Floating Horses Teeth – Why is it Important

The following was posted by GAIT, Inc. regarding one of their rescued Tennessee Walking Horse.

Christa received a much needed dental float on Saturday. Thank you to Sean McCarthy of McCarthy Equine Dental for coming out on Christmas eve. The transformation for this mare was immediate and nothing short of a miracle for her. We have been struggling to get her to eat. She appeared to be a picky eater, possibly with stomach ulcers. But 10 minutes after her float (which was done without sedation), she eagerly ate her entire meal for the first time in the two weeks she's been here and in a quarter of the time it had been taking.

Dental issues can cause so many problems for a horse, it is excruciating for them to have constant mouth pain from sharp teeth! Physical and behavior problems can range from weight loss and stress to cranky attitude, resistance under the saddle. It can progress to major problems like head tossing, resistance to the bit and even rearing. Get your horse on a regular annual dental program, it's way cheaper than having to fix training problems and you'll save money on wasted food too!

As you can see from this story, keeping your horse's teeth healthy can be a matter of life or death for a horse. 

If you're an experienced horse owner, I'm sure you're well aware of what Floating is and how it benefits your horse.

However, for those who are unaware...Floating means to smooth or contour your horse's teeth with a file, which is called a "float". Unlike human teeth, horse teeth keep growing. At times, your horse's teeth may develop sharp edges which may make it difficult to chew food or hold a bit.  These sharp edges can also cause significant pain and discomfort inside the horse's mouth and cause sores on the tongue or cheeks.

As mentioned above...Some signs that your horse may be having dental problems include:

  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Weight Loss
  • Undigested food particles in manure
  • Head Tossing
  • Excessive bit chewing
  • Resistance accepting the bridle
  • Difficult handling when riding
  • Mouth odor
  • Blood in the mouth
  • Face swelling
  • Nasal discharge

Floating should be done by a qualified Vet or Equine Dentist.

How often will your horse be required to have his/her teeth floated? 

It really depends on the horse.  Some can go more than a year, while others may require floating every few months. Even if your horse doesn't need his/her teeth floated, it is a good idea to have the teeth and gums examined at least once a year.

Since a horse's nerves are closer to the gums, the whole procedure is quick and painless and should take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

If you haven't had your horse's teeth floated in recent memory, it's probably a good bet that it's time to call in a good Equine dentist and have it taken care of. 

Your horse will thank you for it!

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