Sunday, 8 December 2019

Winter Issues

It is only 2 weeks until the shortest day!  The days will start getting longer but the weather really won't be improving for a good while.  So, I have been thinking about the important things I consider for Basil and Tommy at this time of year.

Tommy copes really well with the cold although sometimes feels it when it is really wet.  Basil, as a thoroughbred, needs some help to keep warm so has a rug on inside and outside ... I wrote a blog a while ago about how horses are adapted to cope with different weather conditions.

Mud Fever: can be a big problem at this time of year so I keep a good eye on their legs and heels when I pick out their feet - which I do every evening when I fetch them in. I posted a video for tips on preventing mud fever.

I increase their feed in the winter, although Tommy really only gets a bit of chaff with some apples in to make it more tasty.  Basil gets bigger helpings of the food I feed all year, which is designed for over 16's ... if he needs a bit more help to keep his weight on I will add some sugarbeet.  However, I have plenty of grass so don't think it will be a problem. 

Throughout the year when I ride on the road I wear a Hi-Viz waistcoat and hat cover.  At this time of year I always try to ride out in the middle part of the day when the sun is at its highest so it is also as light as possible.  Depending on the temperature I will also put Basil's bright exercise sheet on and his boots.  

Winter with horses is always a challenge but there are always the weekends!

Have you seen my latest vlog 'November News'  on my You Tube channel, Horse Life and Love? Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!   

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Basil's Teeth Problems - Update

I thought I would give you an update on Basil today. In my blog a couple of weeks ago I let you all know that Basil had a problem with his teeth again.  The vet came out a month after finding the chunk of food stuck between Basil's molars on the lower right side of his mouth.  Unfortunately, although there were signs that his gum was starting to heal the vet felt that he was likely to get more food caught up before it totally recovered. 

This meant that Basil had to go on a little trip in the trailer up to the vets.  If you watch my vlogs on You Tube you will know that I had been practising getting Basil on the trailer for the month because it was possible he would have to go and hadn't travelled for a few years.

I was so pleased with him as he walked all the way onto the trailer with only a little nudge from the vet.  Once on he became a bit stressed, he has never been a great traveller, so in the interests of his safety and my peace of mind he had a little sedation for his 10 minute trip.  This is a huge advantage with my current vets as the last time Basil went for dental work it was 45 minutes in the trailer. 

If I am honest I got a bit upset leaving him there, even though it was only for a couple of hours, but of course he was fine!  I picked him up just after lunch and although he was still a little sleepy the vet helped me get him back on the trailer.  He was calm on the trip home and when I drove in Tommy looked up and trotted up the field from the far corner where he had been stuffing his face.  I am so pleased that Tommy is good at being on his own as it was one less thing to worry about.  Basil had to stay on the yard until he was fully awake but then he went out in the field for a couple of hours. 

The vet had cleared the area out again and filled the gap so that more food can't get stuck.  He also took the opportunity to clear a few bits out of the other side of Basil's mouth.  The vet gave me some painkillers for Basil (I opted for the syringe as he is so difficult with stuff in his food).  He had these for a few days but to be honest did not seem to be as uncomfortable as when the vet cleared it out a month ago.  

I have to organise for the vet to come out to check how things are in February but for now we can all relax.  

Have you seen my latest vlog 'November News'  on my You Tube channel, Horse Life and Love? Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!   

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Damp, dull November.

We have had enough of this damp and dreary weather ......

Luckily we have some tasty grass saved up!

Have you seen my latest vlog  'November News' on my You Tube channel?   Horse Life and Love. Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!   

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Basil's Teeth Problems

About a month ago the vet came out to give Basil and Tommy their annual injections and to check and rasp their teeth.  Tommy's teeth were fine but he noticed that Basil had a big chunk of food stuck between 2 of his lower molars, which could only be seen once he had his mouth held open with the Speculum.

This has happened because as Basil has got older the gap (Diastema) between his teeth has become wider. The food had caused his gum to recede which could ultimately lead to loosening of his tooth!  I had to then rebook the vet for another day to come out to see Basil again.  The food was cleared out and the hope was that his gum would heal.  Tomorrow the vet is coming out to see if it has healed, if not Basil will need some more dental work.  I will keep you updated!!

As you might remember Basil had a similar problem 4 years ago and ended up having to have his tooth out - see my blog here.  The problem with horses is that they are so good at hiding any discomfort.  Although in 2015 Basil developed a lump, both then and now he showed none of the signs detailed below. 

I thought it was worth revisiting a blog I wrote a few years ago - which explains how important it is to have your horse's teeth checked.  Mine have always been checked annually but I may now need Basil to be seen more often, I will take the vet's advice.

Without nutrition no living thing can survive, for a herbivore's it is vital that they chew their food properly before digestion!   A horse's teeth are precious and vulnerable but most horse owners know little about them.  To allow a horse to benefit fully from the food we give them their teeth need to be in the best possible condition.  

Horses have 12 incisors at the front and 24 molars at the back.  Incisors are for biting and molars are for grinding/chewing.  All male (and some female) horses have 4 tushes (canines) and some horses also develop wolf teeth.  As the wolf teeth erupt they can cause discomfort and the position of the bit should be monitored carefully.  Wolf teeth are often removed.

A young horse will lose his milk teeth at between ages 2 and 4 years when they will be replaced by a permanent set.  Teeth are not a reliable way of ageing a horse but can give a guide.

·         At birth - 3 cheek teeth, temporary premolars
·         7 - 10 days - 2 central incisors, temporary
·         4 - 10 weeks - lateral incisors
·         6 - 9 months - corner incisors
·         1 year - 4 cheek teeth (3 premolars and the 1st permanent molar), full complement of temporary incisors
·         2 years - incisors show signs of wear and another permanent molar is present
·         2 - 3 years -  permanent central incisors appear
·         3 years - central incisors are in wear.  1st and 2nd molars are pushed out by the permanent molars.  Wolf teeth often appear.
·         3 - 4 years - lateral incisors appear. Tushes may appear.
·         4 years - lateral incisors are up and in wear.
·         4 - 5 years - corner incisors appear.
·         6 years - corner incisors in full wear.
·         7 years - 'hook' may appear on top corner incisor
·         8 years - hook levels out
·         9 - 10 years - Galvayne's groove begins
·         11/13 years - hook reappears, teeth become rounded with central pulp mark
·         15 years - Galvayne' s groove is half way down the tooth

Their teeth continue to erupt throughout their lives (hence older horses have longer teeth)  until they have worn out.

Horse's eat for approximately 18 hours a day and will continue to eat even if they have oral discomfort.  However, as horses grind the food their molars can wear unevenly.  The outside of the top molar teeth and the insides of the bottom ones can develop sharp projections.  These sharp edges can cut into the horses cheeks causing pain.  The uneven wear can also lead to a horse 'quidding' which is when the horse chews the food but instead of swallowing drops large amounts out of his mouth.

You will know your horse's normal behaviour so if there are any changes make sure to consider that it may be his teeth!  

Signs of your horse having trouble with his teeth:

·         obvious signs of pain
·         not wanting to open his mouth for the bit
·         head shaking
·         head throwing/head tilting whilst being ridden
·         lack of condition or winter weight loss
·         longer than normal particles in droppings
·         bleeding from mouth
·         bad breath
·         inability to shift jaw laterally
·         cheeks sensitive to pressure against teeth
·         bolting and quidding of feed
·         slow eating
·         eating hay before grain
·         dunking hay in water
·         hard to bit
·         dribbling of feed from mouth
·         excessive salivation or drooling
·         troubled expression and bad general attitude
·         irregular movement of the mandible
·         dental cysts or enlargements of the skull (bumps on jaw)
·         fistulous discharge from the jaw or face
·         discharge from the eye or nose
·         sores of the lips, gums or palate and lacerations
·         riding problems - rearing, non-contact and lack of concentration
·         taking hold of the bit and lack of control

Get your horses teeth checked 6 monthly or annually by a vet or qualified dental technician.  They will check  the health of all the teeth and remove tartar as well as rasping the sharp edges away.

Dental Terms

·         Caps are the deciduous/ milk teeth.
·         Caudal hooks are the overgrowths to the rear of the mouth.  They occur when the upper cheek teeth are further forward than the lower ones.
·         Diastema - this is the gap between the teeth that often become bigger as the horse ages. If food gets trapped in the gap it can cause infection and gum disease.  This can lead to loosening of the tooth!
·         Overjet this is when the upper incisors are slightly further forward than the lower incisors.
·         Overshot jaw - also called 'parrot mouth' the upper incisors are so far forward of the lower ones that the upper jaw can develop caudal hooks and the lower jaw 'caudal ramps'.
·         Rostral hooks are overgrowths to the front of the mouth.
·         Steps occur if a horse is missing a tooth the opposite one will continue to erupt but not be worn away - a step!  This will affect the ability of the jaw to move and impair the ability to chew.
·         Tartar is light brown, organic substance that builds up most often around the canines. 
         Ventral curve is when the lower incisors are higher on the corners which gives the appearance of a smile.  A Dorsal curve is the opposite.

Have you seen my latest vlog 'October Sunshine' on my You Tube channel, Horse Life and Love? Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!