WARNING—This post has photos that some might consider graphic or just plain gross. If you don’t like blood or cuts in horse’s mouths, don’t continue.
As horses do, Ax finally blessed me with an unexpected vet bill.
After a few days off post-hunter pace and visits mostly to groom and wrap his legs, I got to the barn on May 24th to find Ax with a windpuffed hind fetlock. I tossed him on the lunge to check for any unsoundness and was happy to find none, so I figured he had been playing around in the mud. I wasn’t too concerned as there was no heat or pain and he would be getting the rest of the week off since I would be away.
I poulticed the fetlock, wrapped his legs and went about my normal barn routine until I went to smoosh his nose and give him a goodbye snuggle. He flinched away twice before I could lift his lip to find what looked like a two-inch cut by his outermost upper left incisor that was packed with hay. He wouldn’t let me flush the gunk out and the vet was already coming the next day, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a professional take a peek and clean it.
Turns out it was quite a bit worse. After some sedation in order to get a good look at whatever he did to his mouth, we found the wound to be pretty deep and close to the root of his tooth. A giant pile of gauze and big bag of saline laced with antibiotics later, the hole was cleaned out and I was given a jar of antibiotics for him to get for the next week or so in some soupy grain with instructions to smell the area to check for necrosis (yum). Our biggest concerns were an infection of some sort as it was in a location prone to food, any damage to the tooth’s root that may cause it to rot, and any tissue death around the area. Fun stuff.
Thankfully, Ax is far from picky had no issue eating his medication in his nightly oatmeal. And thankfully my boyfriend and barn owner are heroes and checked on his mouth daily since I had to leave the next day for a four-day trip two states away.
As expected and as with everything else Ax does, his mouth is healing slowly (even though gum tissue is supposed to heal quickly), so he has had the better part of the last month off with the occasional bitless ride tossed in. Of course, when I do ride he trots out like this: