Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What does it mean to float a horses' teeth?

In domesticated horses, it is very common for their teeth to wear unevenly and develop sharp points and sharp edges that can cut into their jaws or tongue. As you can imagine, this can make it very difficult and painful for a horse to eat. Also, when they can't chew properly, their food is not digested properly and a horse can very quickly loose weight and look in poor or sick condition, no matter how much food they're getting.

Floating a horses teeth is a term that means the vet or equine dentist takes a long handled rasp and files off any sharp points and edges on the horses teeth.

Eeek! Sounds painful, huh? I thought so, too. (The first time I saw a horses' teeth floated, I cried! Yes, I am a sap :D But every vet and equine dentist I've talked to and everything I've read says that this procedure is not painful to the horse because the sensitive nerves are located so deep within the tooth. (And horses' teeth are very long, some teeth are up to 4 inches!)

Although I may never be 100% totally convinced it's not painful, it probably is true. Whether it's true or not, I do believe a good equine dentist can make it comfortable (or at least tolerable) for the horse and let's face the facts: nobody (especially us humans) likes the dentist but it's something that we just have to do.

Like people, a horse should have regular dental checkups and if your horse looses some weight and you don't know why and/or drops a lot of grain from their mouth while eating, it is a pretty good sign that they need their teeth checked. I believe word of mouth is the best advertising so ask around with other horse people you know and find a good equine dentist or vet to take care of your horses' teeth.

1 comment:

Harriet said...

It was a bit unerving when I first saw my horses teeth being floated, probably because of my own experience! But they do not have these nerve endings like our own and eventually I got used to it; so much so that I now use Equine Dentistry Rasps to maintain my horses teeth. Thanks for sharing this advice especially to dispel the idea that it actually hurts a horse!

Please feel free to email me your horse questions and I'll do my best to answer them or at least point you to someone or someplace that can. (Scroll down to the "About Me" section and click on "View my complete profile" to send me an email) I look forward to hearing from you! ~Melanie