Biz is in for More Surgery…

Tomorrow afternoon I’m taking Biz up to the vet clinic for another round of tooth extractions. We know he’s definitely losing one, but they may decide to pull a second as well, because the one that has to go is one in from the edge, and when it goes, there will no longer be any stability for the outermost incisor. So, that means I’ll be doing double duty again – flushing his mouth with saline solution as the wounds in his mouth heal.

For those of you who haven’t heard these stories before, Biz has EOTRH – which is the long acronym for a disease with an incredibly long name – Equine Odonoclastic Tooth Resorptive and Hypercementosis disease. In short, Biz’s teeth are getting spongy on the inside. And as they get spongy, his body creates balls of “cement” around the root of the tooth to try to prevent the tooth from just deteriorating and breaking off. This latest tooth is close to breaking and is very loose in his jaw, so it’s gotta go. Better to have a planned extraction than an emergency trip because it broke. So tomorrow, Biz will take the trip up to the vet clinic, get sedated, have a nerve block, and have that long, spongy, breaking tooth tap-tap-tapped out of his jaw. Likely in several pieces. And with much cringing by his human mother throughout the procedure. Because unlike last time, I know what to expect – and it’s worthy of some cringing.

Actually, I’m pretty lucky that my horse’s vet is one of those gentle kinds of vets who has a true fascination and passion for the work that he does. He genuinely wants to teach others what is going on with the disease processes of their animals. And because he knows I’ve been to hell and back with Biz (see my other posts about Biz if you have an interest in those other traumas), he doesn’t worry at all about me breaking down in the operating room. So I get to watch! Although there is an element of squeamishness, I get to stay throughout the procedure, talk to Biz, and see firsthand how big a horse’s tooth is, all the way to the end of the root. And just how firmly rooted it is in that jaw, even if it is falling apart.

So, even though I try not to worry, I will anyway.  I’ll feel a lot better tomorrow afternoon when Biz is done with his surgery and he’s home… Why can’t we stop time and stay young?  I guess that’s a post for another time.

7 thoughts on “Biz is in for More Surgery…

  1. i have an older man that is having this surgery today. he is 22. he has been very healthy his whole life so this was a surprise to me. It happened very quickly, from one dental exam to the next, 6 months. he is a t New Bolton today getting all of his incisors removed. all of the bottom teeth were affected. the top teeth don’t look as bad but it is said that eventually they will have to come out as well. so rather than put him through 2 rounds of surgery at his age, i am opting to have them all removed. it seemed that there might be one or two affected on the top. This whole process has been traumatic. i researched all that i could, started him on a holistic regimen but i was losing the battle. I was wondering how your horse felt AFTER he had the teeth extracted. I consulted with 4 surgeons and they all told me the same thing, removal of all incisors. However they did say that the horses that have had the procedure have felt much better after and coped quite well with their loss of teeth….

    • Obviously Biz didn’t go through as much as yours will, with having them all removed at once. I don’t know how your guy was diagnosed or how bad the teeth look, but Biz was diagnosed kind of as a fluke. He sheared the tip off one of his wolf teeth, and the pulp was exposed, so the vet wanted to do an x-ray to ensure that there was no infection brewing under the gumline on that tooth. At that point the problems with the incisors became apparent, and the focus shifted to that, but we wouldn’t have known without the x-ray – you couldn’t tell just looking at his teeth.

      I have had a couple lengthy discussions about the merits of each strategy (leave them in or pull them all at once), and we decided to go the more cautious route, because Biz hasn’t exhibited any pain (he doesn’t show a lot of discomfort when you press the teeth or gums, he eats well and his weight is good). Biz healed very well – his stitches held longer than we expected them too, and he didn’t have any trouble with infection or residual effects (he has always been a good healer). Everything my vets have said mirrors what you have heard – that the horses adjust to having no incisors, and don’t need them for eating hay. And as for fresh grass, well, they just use their lips to rip it off.

      Keep me posted on how your guy does – because Biz’s next surgery will be more major. I hope your man’s healing is quick and uneventful!

  2. Pingback: Another Year, Another Tooth | Wine and History Visited

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