1 Because my horse trailer was buried in snow, we relied on the animal rehab center for transportation. Betsy and Dolma led Rutger and Ramon through the icy snow to the waiting horse trailer.
2 The Friesians were secured in the trailer with no problems. Then it was off to visit the dentist!
3 My vet, Dr. Elizabeth Kilgallon, was waiting for the horses to arrive. She referred to an X-ray of the affected area so as to pinpoint the bad tooth. It was quickly revealed!
4 PJ Murphey, an equine dentist, is one of a select few in the U.S. trained to perform this type of tooth extraction. He and Elizabeth spoke strategy and then he sterilized his tools for the operation.
5 Betsy led Rutger, who had been rolling in the stall, to the operating area.
6 Rutger knows and trusts Betsy so he was quite calm as she stood by while Elizabeth administered a sedative to keep him relaxed during the extraction.
7 PJ began the procedure by fitting a speculum around Rutger's head and mouth to keep the mouth open. The exam was underway.
8 Nicole Chiarullu, an assistant, cleaned the area where the local anesthesia was administered.
9 Elizabeth prepared the injection.
10 The earlier administered sedative had set in nicely and Rutger was very calm and collected as the local anesthesia was injected.
11 PJ used an angled dental mirror to get a close look at the problem tooth. The muddy green patch is all the compacted particles of food wedged into the tooth.
12 First PJ used this tool to wedge a gap between the affected tooth and the adjacent healthy tooth. This gave him some room to rock the bad tooth back and forth, loosening it before pulling.
13 He used another tool which clamps onto the tooth to extract.
14 The leather strap pictured here is connected to a harness, which is tied to a pole above. This kept Rutger's head elevated during his sedation.
15 And behold! Twenty minutes later the bad tooth was successfully pulled!
16 You can see how the tooth was cracked, allowing food into the crack, impacting it.
17 The tooth actually fell apart.
18 Here's the tooth reassembled for the camera.
19 PJ flushed the area of any potential loose fragments and left over material in preparation for a second x-ray.
20 To the right is the portable x-ray machine equipped with a radio transmitter to beam the x-ray images to the laptop on the left.
21 Kerri, another vet, helped with the x-ray. She wore a special body smock and gloves to shield herself from harmful rays.
22 This x-ray will show if there are any remaining broken fragments of tooth.
23 It was a clean pull! No fragments left.
24 PJ used gauze to do a final cleaning of the cavity to ensure it was clean.
25 Here he is gently dabbing the area.
26 Not very much blood at all!
27 To protect the area from becoming infected, a plug was made using a special dental compound impression material.
28 The two parts were combined.
29 And then mixed together.
30 When blended, the material has the consistency of a rubbery sneaker sole.
31 The objective is to insert the plug into the empty space, leaving enough room for the gum membrane to grow back and heal.
32 The impression material was trimmed to fit.
33 Rutger was so patient while PJ fit the plug. It will remain in the extraction space for about three weeks.
34 The next step was to flush the sinus cavity of any bacteria that may have accumulated.
35 A local anesthesia is necessary for this procedure, so the area was first sanitized.
36 The local anesthesia was injected.
37 A surgical drill was prepared.
38 The hole was made.
39 This looks quite alarming, but it's a necessary step and Rutger did not feel any pain. The hole will mend itself in just a couple of days.
40 A small tube was inserted.
41 Laura pumped the flushing solution into the sinus cavity.
42 After flushing the sinus, the solution naturally exits through the nose into a bucket.
43 The eye, ear, nose, mouth, and throat are all connected.
44 The procedure was a complete success! A very happy and relieved Rutger posing with his specialists - Elizabeth Kilgallon, Nicole Chiarullu, Laura Faulkner, and PJ Murphey.