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onesweetfrog

Tooth Problem

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This is no longer my horse, but it is one I bred and sold. The lady that bought her is at her wits end.

2 year old filly with abscessed molar, lower jaw, started in December. The abscess was drained, other baby caps pulled and she was put on antibiotic for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks on antibiotics the vet extended it for another 2 weeks, she was still oozing pus. After that, back to the vet, xray shows infection under tooth, cleaned it out and put her on more antibiotic. Owner requested they just pull the tooth, vet didn't want to do that, said it would cause chronic infections. Still didn't clear up, back after 4 weeks, recleaned, xrayed, more antibiotics. Again owner requested pulling the tooth, they said no. Back to the vet 2 weeks ago, same symptoms - they took out some fragments? Still refused to pull tooth, more antibiotics. Back to the vet a couple days ago, they said the infection was more generalized and not as bad but have now decided they want to pull the tooth at the price of $3000(!!!). They want to pull it, and keep her at the vet, stalled so they can repack it every day for 7 days. She just cannot afford this.

This poor woman has now put thousands of dollars into this tooth. What is the problem with just pulling it and sending her home?

Anyone have any ideas or experiences?

Thanks in advance!!

Edited by onesweetfrog

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I like my vet, we sit down and talk issues out, ideas for attacking said issue, and what works penny wise as well as fastest healing...sounds like she needed a new vet several v isits ago. Get second vet oppinion.

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I will put money on the fact that the current vet doesn't have the appropriate equipment to pull a young, long-rooted tooth but got in too far over his/her head to admit it. Take the horse to a veterinary college or large referral center and have the original series of x-rays along for comparison. As long standing as it is, you'll (they) will likely be facing tooth extraction, bone biopsy, curetting the diseased bone and tract culture. The roots on these teeth are substantial at such a young age. Remember that equine teeth are constantly erupting and wearing, which is why floating needs to be done with some frequency. That 2-year old filly has all the tooth she'll need for the rest of her life embedded in her jaw currently, so its not a quick and easy proposition to just pull it. You're looking at a very difficult process, with the potential to damage adjacent teeth (not knowing which tooth is involved...) or potentially even a mandibular fracture.

At this point, even having the x-rays sent for a radiologist and surgeon evaluation would be a good place to start as well.

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The vets she is using are referring her to another clinic for the actual removal, where there are radiologists and surgeons. Having never dealt with tooth issues, I didn't realize it was that involved to actually pull one.

These two vets are both known for nickel and diming everything and are the most expensive in southern Alberta for everything horsey related. That being said, they are also supposed to be the "experts" in their field, there are no other colleges or referral centers to go to, not that I know of anyway.

I spent yesterday calling around and talking to different clinics, and they all said they would refer her to the one that she is being referred to.

Thank you for your responses, I appreciate it.

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Not to be a complete downer, but this is my experience, and might give some insight as to why the vet is so reluctant to pull the tooth....

I had to have teeth pulled on my horse, it was a nightmare. Tooth infection led to chronic sinusitis. Pulled the offending tooth, and the suspicious one next to it. They tried rocking it out, but just as it loosened, it shattered. They ended up drilling thru his skull to punch the tooth. Month, month and a half of drains, antibiotics, daily flushing followed. Sinusitis never full resolved. Several more "mini surgeries" followed, mostly involving draining the puss from his sinus cavity and more flushing of his sinuses, different abx.

Finally I gave up on the local vets (3 or 4 at this point) and trucked him to Rhinebeck Equine Hospital in NY. They did a flap procedure (aka cutting a large "c" shaped from his skull, cleaning out everything, pulling another tooth or two and stitching him back together). He was there about a week and released with an "extremely guarded" prognosis. I guess sinus issues are notoriously difficult to fix.

When all was said and done, I could have bought a small house for the what I spent on him. But, the flap procedure was done a few years ago, and so far so good. I still have a minor pain attack when I see snot from his right nostril, other than that, no ill effects :-)

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Hey Smilie...that is who she's being referred to, I raised horses in the area for close to 15 years...Moore and company is great, and I'm on a first name basis with a few of the vets there, but also the most expensive in Southern Alberta!

Milo, that's crazy...who knew a tooth would be so difficult...or expensive!! Thanks for your input!

Edited by onesweetfrog

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Just a passing comment....I've read some strange stories in Equus Magazine about cases where horses have had tooth problems/infections that wouldn't resolve themselves. Turned out that most of them had gotten a piece of wood, or some other object under the gumline and that was why the infection wouldn't resolve itself until the underlying problem was discovered. Maybe this young filly had something going on of this nature and it wasn't seen on the Xrays that were taken!!!

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The following dental problems and abnormal wear patterns require the attention of a veterinarian.

Hooks--sharp protrusions that develop on teeth when an overbite, underbite or other dental deformity causes an imperfect meeting of the top and bottom arcades. Most common on the upper first cheek tooth and lower last molar.

Ramps--typically premolars with a surface that slopes like a ski jump. Ramps can cut or scrape the tongue or cheek, especially when a horse is bitted.

Step mouth--a cheek teeth row with one molar that has grown unopposed so it juts above the rest of the arcade. A gap in the opposite molar lineup usually initiates the abnormality.

Wave mouth--a severely restricting abnormality that occurs when two or more teeth in an arcade are high, creating a series of ascending and declining grinding surfaces.

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