TRF Blog (Post #3): Teeth, Hooves & Xrays!
May: The journey to health continues
With the arrival of May, we said farewell to the frosty mornings at the TRF Saratoga Summer Farm and we moved forward with the next steps in the journey to health for Joey, Candyman, Iceman and Emma… with alot of attention to the infrastructure upon which their fragile systems depend: their teeth, their hooves and learning alot about their bones too.
Time to tackle those teeth
While our team has been carefully, cautiously and gradually increasing the calories and nutrients in each horse’s daily feeding, with grain twice a day and constant access to hay and water, this month we felt they were stable enough to tolerate their first visit with “the dentist” – aka, the terrific team at Oakencroft Equine Clinic. We had to wait due to their insufficient weight, to safely administer sedation so the veterinarians could file the sharp points off their teeth. On May 2, Dr. Jaynes and her colleague, Ronja came out to take a look at the mouths of our four furry friends. As was expected, their teeth had not been attended in quite some time – and without good teeth, our kids would be challenged to extract all the nutrition we want them to absorb along their road to recovery. Horses’ teeth grow throughout their lives, and as they chew the teeth can develop hooks, waves or points as they grind their food. The Oakencroft team felt it best to give the horses a light tranquilizer to lessen the stress of the filing process, which uses an electric file to “float” the teeth. Floating creates a flat surface on each tooth to give maximum surface area for grinding hay and grain and increasing the percentage of nutrition absorbed and digested from their food. Dental care for horses, like humans, is a critical piece in the overall health of the animal. Throughout our herd, the TRF horses’ have their teeth checked by a vet annually, and floated generally every year or every other year depending on their age and individual dentistry needs.
No hooves, no horse…
While taking care of their teeth ensures that our four rescues can continue to gain weight and regain their body condition, our awesome farrier, Ashley Gasky of Ballston Spa, NY, came out on May 1st to take a look at the four most critical elements in a horse’s longterm welfare – its hooves. All of the horses had overgrown feet, though thankfully there weren’t any significant cracks of splits that would have required additional farrier work. Ashley is an AFA (American Farrier Association) certified farrier, who regularly attends seminars, clinics and demonstrations to always continue learning more about her trade. We couldn’t ask for a better farrier!
And then, the x-rays.
While the interns (fully licensed, newly graduated veterinarians) of Oakencroft worked on the teeth of our rescues, they made the most of their time with the horses to start on the incredibly valuable “full workups” that Oakencroft has so generously donated to the TRF. These comprehensive evaluations help us understand exactly what injuries and physical challenges each of our newest members of the herd have experienced before arriving in our care. This information gives the TRF herd manager and farm managers incredibly valuable insight into the needs of these horses as they age with us, and for those wonderful and amazing individuals who decide to adopt horses from the TRF, these workups give total transparency to the underlying issues that they will need to care for over the horse’s life in their care.
With our newest charges, we learned some really interesting things through the Oakencroft workups… namely, that our friend Candyman had survived the incredible experience of having BOTH of his front legs repaired with screws and pins. Wow. The pictures say it all, but this certainly demonstrates the care he was given at the end of his career… until he somehow fell between the cracks.
Confirmed by x-rays, Candyman has two screws in each of his large metatarsal (canon) bones. The connections who raced him spend thousands to rehab this beautiful horse.
We were told that Joey suffered a breakdown at the track, but that his connections spent considerable time and money to rehab him back to health. Upon arrival we could confirm by sight that he had suffered an injury to his front right fetlock, and thanks to Dr. Jaynes, were able to confirm what was going on beneath the skin. Joey has a sub-luxated pastern, most likely the result of a soft tissue injury. Today though he is sound! Able to trot and gallop with the rest of the herd in the field.
Thanks to our Heroes for the Horses
We simply cannot say THANK YOU enough times to Dr. Jaynes, her team and Ashley at Precision Hoof Care for their incredible care for our rescues. We similarly cannot say THANK YOU adequately to each of the generous TRF supporters who have made gifts to support the rehabilitation and special care required by Joey, Candyman, Iceman and Emma. You are all heroes for the horses!
We were overwhelmed with the response to our Derby Day email and we’re steadily marching toward our goal of $40,000 ($10,000 per horse) to cover the supplies, care and additional medicines required by our “forgotten four”. Please visit our TRF Rescues Webpage to learn more and give (every little bit helps!) and click here to read the “Forgotten Four” email (and share with your friends).
We’ll be back in touch soon!