Teeth Floating for Horses
Could you imagine having to brush your horse's teeth? Luckily we do not have to but yearly maintenance is a must for preventative care. It is needed at least once a year and possibly twice for senior horses with bad teeth. The vet or equine dentist will check for loose teeth, ridges or high points, how their teeth line up for grinding, gums, and for excess plaque. Horses need their teeth examined and filed to make sure they can grind food and reduce the risk of choke. Either a hand file or a power file will be used to file off the high points and round the edges so they do not irritate the cheeks and the horse is able to chew the food with ease.
Horses are good at hiding minor pain since in the wild they would be seen as easy prey so it is up to the care giver to observe and notice any slight differences. Horses will adapt to minor pain.
Signs that your horse needs her teeth floated:
1. Dropping grain when eating or trouble chewing
2. Undigested food in manure
3. Weight loss
4. Nasal discharge or foul smell from the mouth
5. You find hay balls in the stall
As horses age they loose teeth and wear them down to the roots which makes it harder for them to grind dry grain so consider wetting their grain with water to make a mash that will be easier for them to eat.
Be sure to ask questions when your horse is having their teeth floated. I love looking in their mouths and learning what the vet is looking at and what causes it. Plaque buildup can occur and should be scaled off by the vet to keep the gums and teeth healthy.
Did you know that only geldings and stallions have bridle (canine) teeth and a total of 40 teeth? Mares usually do not have them and have 36 teeth.