Twink’s Day Out

was all about a tooth. When she had her annual dental back in the summer, Veronika muttered darkly about a bit of receding gum. When she looked again last week, there was only one way to go – down to the surgery for an extraction.

Twinkle is an old hand at going places. She has been to more competitions, weddings and carnivals as a driving horse than you could shake a metaphorical stick at! So when she got her bib clipped last week and her mane and tail tidied, she rather thought she would be going to a show. And when the legwraps went on yesterday morning, well! She is sometimes worse than me at getting excited, and that’s saying something. Anyhow, she almost trotted up the ramp and off they went.

Down at Priory Vets in Cardigan, there is a big new shed with a roller door. Veronika gets up to all sorts in there, and is gradually adding to the services that the practice can offer to horses, ponies and (not forgetting) donkeys. Twink walked into the stocks and was loosely pillar tied.She still thought there was excitement to come, but then Veronika gave her a big jab of sedative and she drifted off into a nice little daydream – had to be reminded to stand up now and again, I heard.

Pillar tied in the stocks

Pillar tied in the stocks


Looking at teeth without using stocks is tricky and procedures can be dangerous for the vet and handler. A dental gag is used to hold the jaws open so the vet can get at those scary back teeth. While under sedation, the horse’s head can be lifted so the vet can work more easily. Twinkle is a terror at getting out of the tooth gag, so Veronika had arranged a new design of headcollar to fit snugly around her jaw. She then had a nerve block and some pain killer to last a few hours.

Twink's head is lifted gently into position, with gadget which awaits patent!

Twink’s head is lifted gently into position, with gadget which awaits patent!

Our back teeth neeed to be extracted with extreme caution. Although this one of Twink’s was quite loose, an extraction could damage several lots of ligaments and her sinuses if the vet is not very careful. So a lot of wiggling and loosening has to go on, as well as flushing and cleaning as we go. Twink had started a course of antibiotics in advance of this day, as a safeguard against infection as well.

Her head is lowered for the final stage.

Her head is lowered for the final stage.

Twink’s sedation was carefully timed and had to be topped up at this point. Veronika places great emphasis on her patient’s comfort and welfare – that’s why we all like her!

At last, the tooth emerged and we could see that the gum had receded to a dangerous level. There was already food impacted into the root and this would certainly have caused a sinus infection if it had been left. Poor Twink!. No wonder she had been chewing carefully lately.

Better out than in!

Better out than in!


After all this, her mouth was cleaned again and she got more pain relief to last her until the morning. She recovered quietly, leaning against the side of the stocks and was soon able to walk back into her trusty trailer for the journey home.

Twink recovers slowly before the journey home.

Twink recovers slowly before the journey home.

Then came the worst part of the day – no food for four hours! I kept her company and sympathised. After another mouth flush, she was able to go out to the field with Hooligan and graze on some long grass. This morning she was at the gate, honking for her grub as usual. We have to go carefully for a few days now, with more pain relief and antibiotics, but our dear Twink is home and safe.

Not the day she had imagined, but I’m not sure she remembers the nasty bit at all!










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