When You Least Expect It

Just when you think, you have only young horses left and it will be a long time before you have to worry for their lives again, they prove you wrong.

Two days ago, Saleem started eating kind of funny, spitting his hay out again, in spit soaked balls… Which is a clear indication that he needs his teeth checked. He had his teeth checked in April, so it is not that long ago, and while I was debating with myself if I was being hysterical if I called the vet again, Saleem made the choice for me. He stopped eating.

So, the vet came by, prepared for a standard teeth check. It’s not like Saleem has never stopped eating before, since he fractured his mandible when he was two years old, we have been battling with his teeth ever since, but most of the time, we manage.

To my great surprise, and horror, Saleem didn’t just have ordinary teeth issues this time. Saleem has broken a tooth, way back in his mouth. One of those you can’t remove, without placing him at a hospital, putting him under completely and hammering the thing out from the inside…

Small wonder he stopped eating. Poor baby. With the broken tooth came sharp edges all around, so my vet elected to file all the edges down, and hope that he would begin to eat normally over the weekend. If he doesn’t, we have to take him to the hospital.

And wahm, that’s how you sweep the rug away from under me in an instant. A long time ago, I elected not to have Saleem’s fistula operated, because I don’t think he can survive the anaesthetic. Now, I may not have a choice, but to put him under and hope he doesn’t go into shock again.

Please keep your fingers crossed for my little boy!

As to how and why he broke the tooth, one can only speculate, but it is possible that it was fractured when he fractured his mandible, (he sustained a very bad kick to the face, from another horse on the pasture,) and that it has been weak all these years and now, finally has fallen apart. I am positive that he has not sustained any new blows to the head, so I see no other explanation for how he could all of a sudden come up with a broken tooth.

Since the vet was by, I had him check Apocalipse’s teeth as well, and that little bastard, I swear he finds it funny. He volunteered, he hardly needs sedation and he doesn’t fight the vet at all while he is being fixed up.

He was sedated though, but I think I may try without it next time. He really is something special, that one. And here he is, sleeping it off, acting all thoroughbred, like his mother… (I am speaking of the front leg… Amalia did that a lot, loads of thoroughbred horses do.)

2014-08-07 14.55.13

And Saleem, five hours after the vet left, still refusing to come out of the sedation… God, I am terrified to put him under…

2014-08-07 14.55.18

I had the vet look over Tardis as well, and we did a biopsy of the strange bald spot on her cheek… So fingers crossed we are not looking for skin cancer here…


Oh and one last thing. Saleem developed this small swelling in his left hind hook about a month ago. I kind of freaked out about it when I discovered it, but he hasn’t been lame and so, I calmed down a bit and tried not to imagine the worst.


I did have my vet look at it yesterday though, while he was busy scaring the shit out of me with explaining how you remove a tooth on a horse…. He instantly asked if Saleem had been tested for spavin. No, it’s a seven year old baby, it’s joins should not be showing wear and tear and yes, that was what I was afraid you would say…. So I instantly asked him how, a young horse like this, could possibly develop spavin. I swear, while riding him, he has not compromised his hind legs. His front legs, yes, but never the hind legs. I have not yet managed to collect him, placing his weight backwards…

Which does raise the other, evil question, why the hell not? Because he is not responding… well, why not? Could it be that he was never capable of collection?

My vet said that spavin in a young horse, is usually related to two things- overweight and a long toe. I have been kicking and screaming at my Ferrier for years now, because Saleem’s hind hooves does not grow evenly, and he does have a long toe on that hind leg, no matter how much the Ferrier tries to correct it. This time, he even drew the shoe back, behind the white line, to make me shut up, which kind of looks funny, since he cannot take off the hoof, behind the white line. I understand what he is doing, I understand that forcing Saleem’s long toe to change, by simply cutting it off, would never work. And I knew it would be a problem one day, that we couldn’t change that.

I just didn’t see it coming so soon.

Now, we don’t know for certain that he has spavin, but it is a very educated guess. Only x -rays will determine it for sure, but I am not pursuing it just now. If he survives this tooth issue, then, I’ll get to it. Starting with feeding him Cortaflex as soon as he can eat again… He has not been lame from it, so whatever it is, is not that big a deal- yet. I just have to find out what it is and how to keep it from killing him anytime soon.

What we are sure of, is that it is an inflammation in a tendon, caused by something we can only guess at without x-rays. My vet wasn’t bothered by it though. If he wasn’t lame, he doesn’t mind, and in a way, it makes sense. Lots of horses end up getting over treated, because people freak out. If there is no clinical symptoms, then what ever it is, clearly doesn’t bother him….

Still, Cortaflex won’t hurt… Just because I can’t do nothing… And I’ll have to poke my Ferrier about it again… If he is still here, in six weeks time. Boy, I hate this.

Please let him eat today…


About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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