On Wednesday, Biz and I went for a ride up to the vet clinic to play out a story that is becoming a spring ritual – x-rays and having a tooth pulled. We are becoming veterans at this.
In case you don’t know the story, Biz has EOTRH, short for Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis, a degenerative disease where the teeth gradually break down on the inside. I give a better description in my post from a few years back.
This year’s surgery was the easiest ever, as my vet found the perfect tool last year for separating the tooth from the gum and the periodontal ligament that holds it in. We also learned from our experience last year that we shouldn’t close the front of the stanchion while Biz is sedated, so he doesn’t faint and fall down.
The tooth clearly needed to go, as there was a little pocket of infection in the gum below the tooth creating a fissure, and once we got his mouth propped open we could see that the back of the tooth had a black, decayed part. Once the tooth was out, the vets packed off the hole with an antibiotic capsule, sterile gauze and plaster of Paris. Apparently some vets are now recommending to just let the wound stay open, but this system has worked for us so far, so we decided to stick with it.
Biz got topped off with a tetanus shot while he was still sleepy, and then we hung out for awhile waiting for him to wake up. Once he was awake and steady on his feet, he got to come home. He was on a restricted diet Wednesday night and Thursday because he had an episode of colic last year after he was sedated for his x-rays. Better safe than sorry.
Once we got home, Biz walked himself around the arena while I watched; him restlessly walking is a symptom of the sedation – on a normal day he would roll, run around maniacally for a few minutes and then stop and look at himself in the mirror (he’s vain…). During his restless wanderings the other evening, he was probably silently cursing me for not giving him much dinner. After 24 years together, I know the look. But it couldn’t be helped. I love this old boy too much to feed him.
Yesterday I started flushing the wound with salt water and a syringe – preventing infection is the key now. I’ll be doing that until the wound closes, however long that takes. He doesn’t mind – it’s our thing…
If only the tooth fairy would drop some cash by to help pay the vet bill. I know I’m not the only one with a million dollar animal – what’s your story?