A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Dentist

The vet came to the barn the other day to float Pumpkin’s teeth. Floating is something that should be done to a horse’s teeth every year or so. Essentially, it means rasping the back teeth so that they are free of hooks and pointy bits. It’s important to do this so horses are able to better grind and digest their hay. If they don’t have it done, they could starve to death. 

Needless to say, horses are often sedated for this procedure. It helps calm them, while the vet is rasping away at their teeth. A sedated horse remains standing and is conscious. They are just very relaxed and more managable for the vet as they file away at their teeth, which can be quite intense. It is safer for the horse, and safer for the vet. A thousand pound animal that doesn’t want his teeth floated is a dangerous animal.

So on this day, I am holding Pumpkin by the lead on his halter, as the vet puts a dart into his neck to begin the sedation.

Well, Pumpkin started to fidget.

He didn’t like the feel of that dart. He began to walk around and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to hold him.

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! What should I do? What can I do? Is there anything I can do?” I started saying, with panic edging ever so closer in my voice, as the dart is hanging out of his neck.

“You can stop talking” said the vet calmly.

I was more than embarrassed.

Here I was panicking because Pumpkin would not go gently into that floaty zone. And the worst thing to do around a fidgety horse is panic!

I couldn’t help but laugh that Pumpkin’s very congenial, calm and polite vet actually told me to stop talking.

He finished floating Pumpkin’s teeth and all went well. Pumpkin was over the whole thing in no time.

I needed a sedative myself after that. (I asked the vet – but he wouldn’t accommodate me.)

Meanwhile, I had a dentist appointment myself later that same day. And I remembered the lesson learned at Pumpkin’s dentist appointment. And I kept calm.


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