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Dental Issues and Zorro

Updated: May 10, 2022

This past February I made a dental appointment for Oliver and Zorro. Zorro was visibly having trouble chewing his hay and leaving large wads of hay all over. For the last two years he has been leaving wads of hay. My other vet explored it slightly but simply figured his hyoid bone was broken and giving him trouble. Thank goodness that is not the case! (And also such a random thing. He asked me if Zorro has ever been ROPED! No. He has never been roped.)

The vet at this clinic is a dental specialist. It does cost a bit more but it's worth it! They really nailed Sky and Zorro's dental last spring. And again he nailed it with Zorro, but it was a bit stressful the last two months.

First he felt that Zorro was very sensitive on one of his molars on the left side. He asked if it was alright to do x-rays. I said yes because, honestly, I was curious about what is going on in his mouth myself. And I wanted ANSWERS.

It turns out Zorro has some bone remodeling on the left hand side of his face, as though he was kicked. The vet said it probably happened about 2 years ago. FINALLY!!! This explains his issues with nose bands. I am so tired of people telling me he is a spoiled pony and needs to wear a nose band. Actually, the nose bands hurt him. THAT is why he frantically tries to rub them off unless they are incredibly loose. Sometimes there actually is a reason for their behavior. Rarely is it because they are spoiled or being 'naughty'. I'm so glad I didn't listen to those people who insisted I needed to push him through.

We had the opportunity to weigh both Zorro and Oliver at that appointment. Zorro weighed 350 and Oliver weighed 160.

We put him on some Equioxx for two weeks and I brought him back for a follow up appointment. At that appointment we found an abscess between molar 9 and 10 on the RIGHT side! Zorro also had some gingivitis. The vet did remark that these issues are kind of 'old horse' issues. Zorro will be 6 this year (I think anyway!) If the Equioxx helped the vet was thinking we might have to remove that molar that is effected by the bone remodeling. EEEK!

He poked at the abscess and made it drain, got it bleeding pretty good and then sent me home again, with a follow up appointment in two weeks. I was to get a product called Plaque Off, a product for dogs, an unflavored powder, and feed it to him for those two weeks. We both had a conflict on the date we set for the two week appointment so the follow up ended up being three weeks later. It was then that we got a clean bill of health! Phew! Zorro only leaves one or two wads of hay a day and is chewing 100% normally now. I'm so relieved that we don't have to remove that tooth, at this time. Not that it won't cause trouble later but for now it's looking good!

Zorro also had some pretty bad diarrhea this last winter. So bad that I had to braid his tail and put it up in some vet wrap. That way I wasn't having to wash his tail daily. Instead I just had to use warm water and clean up his rear end every day for a week or two.

The vet checked his manure and found sand so wanted me to put him on a psyllium product. It was a pellet, apple flavored and Zorro said a hard NO to that. He wouldn't touch his food with that in it. It was tricky getting the Equioxx into him every day as well. And he was on a few other things, as per the vet (which I can't remember right now!) that were proving impossible to get into him. I ended up giving up. He is super easy to syringe things into but some of the meds were not something you could crush up and put in water, so syringing was not an option. Zorro is SUPER picky and getting things into him is very hard. This caused some teary, frustrated mornings to go by, until I decided it wasn't worth the struggle. I was so grateful the Plaque off was a herb based product, didn't smell and was something I could give in amounts as small as 1 teaspoon, so he ate it right up!

I tried several different psyllium products without success, couldn't find a horse product that didn't have some kind of flavoring, so ended up buying some ground psyllium husk powder from Bulk Supplements. And guess what!? It's working! He is eating it. Thank goodness! I have found the key to getting some of these things into him is making sure they don't have a smell. That leads me to... WHY do they insist on putting flavoring in EVERYTHING horse related?! Why do humans think they know what horses like? It's so frustrating to try to find some of these things, just simple and plain, no smell, barely any taste. Even the vet was a bit frustrated because the meds were all apple flavored. Zorro HATES apples.

At his last vet appointment I was able to weigh him again and he is 338 pounds. I am so happy our walking and weighing of hay is working to get that excess 50 pounds off him. I need him in great shape, healthy weight and happy this summer so we can do lots of long hikes and some awesome camping trips! An ideal weight for Zorro is 300 pounds. He is 40" tall.

Below is a photo of Zorro at his ideal weight:

Oliver is looking really good. He is at the perfect weight, just the right amount of ribs when I push on his sides and very energetic right now. He is so so fuzzy!! lol!

He has an appointment for a little 'brain' surgery on April 5th. He has started to get quite grumpy and studdy lately, trying to climb on both myself and Zorro, biting quite aggressively, pinning his ears and just acting like quite a stallion lately. So it's time!

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