This week we had a visit from a specialist vet, Chris Pearce of the Equine Dental Clinic. Chris had come to see two of our donkeys needing further advanced treatment for very different reasons.
Cesar is a 6 year old gelding who has recently come in to us and on first examination by Gemma, our equine dental technician, was noticed to have an extra tooth.
This tooth was lying inside the usual line of teeth and although not causing him pain at the moment, food was getting stuck in the gap between the teeth and had caused periodontal (gum) disease.
If left, this would only get worse and eventually could cause infection or sinus problems. As well as this, because donkey’s teeth grow continuously and rely on being ground down by an opposing tooth, the odd placement of the extra tooth meant there was no opposing tooth, so without further intervention this would continue to grow and cause difficulty eating later on, ulcers on the tongue and pain.
Also, the odd placement of the tooth meant that it would be very difficult to get out by normal means as none of our instruments were able to get between the teeth to remove it. Chris used a relatively new technique where he made a small hole in Cesar’s cheek in order to drill into the tooth from outside and pull it down into the mouth.
Once the tooth was out the hole in the mouth was filled with some packing to prevent food getting stuck, the hole in the cheek was closed with a staple and Cesar was sent back to Axnoller Farm the next day.
This was the first time this technique has been used at The Donkey Sanctuary and is a vast improvement on old methods that have meant a lot more pain, swelling and complications.
Porto is a 3 year old donkey that has obviously been bounding around the fields with his friends and getting into trouble in the process as he was noticed with a fractured incisor tooth.
This was his first permanent adult tooth and so we were concerned there would be problems with the health of the tooth further down the line as the fracture had opened the pulp cavity, containing the sensitive part of the tooth and predisposing Porto to a tooth root abscess later on.
Being so young we didn’t want to have to remove the tooth unless absolutely necessary as that could also cause problems later in life. Thankfully Chris was able to do endodontic treatment to seal off the pulp to stop infection getting in ensuring Porto gets to keep his tooth and quickly go back to his friends for some more playtime at Axnoller Farm.
Thank you Chris for coming down and treating our donkeys... they certainly appreciated it!