Drug testing

Float a Horses Teeth -- What Does that Mean and Why is it Necessary?

So what does it mean to float a horse's teeth? I'm sure you've heard this a time or two (if you haven't, sooner or later you will from another horse owner or from your vet), and if you're like me, you imagined for the longest time what this could possibly mean and wondered what it involved.

To float a horse's teeth certainly sounds funny, too.

Floating means to smooth or contour your horse's teeth with a file (called a "float"). Unlike your own teeth, your horse's teeth keep growing. At times, your horse's teeth may develop sharp edges, making it difficult for her to chew food, hold a bit, or simply have pain and discomfort inside her mouth.

An adult horse may have between 36-44 permanent teeth. And just like humans, your horse gets two sets of teeth in her lifetime. Your horse starts out with temporary baby teeth and by age five, will most likely have her full set of permanent teeth.

The horse's front teeth cut hay and grass, while the top and bottom cheek teeth grind the forage between the flat surfaces in a sideways motion. This grinding action breaks down the food into a pulp before swallowing which helps it to be digested better. If your horse is unable to grind down food all the way due to uneven teeth surfaces, the unchewed food will not be digested as well.

Most often, points develop on the upper cheek teeth toward the outside of the mouth next to your horse's cheek. And on the bottom cheek teeth toward the inside of the mouth next to your horse's tongue. These points can then cut into the cheek and tongue making your horse uncomfortable.

Though it may seem tedious and like a burden, you know having routine dentist check-ups contribute to the overall good health of your own teeth. Well, your horse is no different and deserves some of the same attention to her teeth as you give to yours. Confined horses or those that do not have the ability to graze all day are more prone to teeth overgrowth, as they are not naturally grinding their teeth all day to keep them smooth. Also, just like you, your horse can have other dental problems. A horse can have excessively worn teeth, loose or broken teeth, or infected gums.

One sign that your horse's teeth may need to be floated is if she is consistently dropping food from her mouth and you start seeing signs of weight loss. Your horse may also exhibit behavior like head-tossing or opening her mouth frequently.

Possible horse dental problem indicators:

  • Drops food from her mouth
  • Exhibits difficulty in chewing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Loss of weight
  • Undigested food particles in manure
  • Head-tossing
  • Excessive bit chewing
  • Resisting having the bridle put on
  • Difficult handling while riding
  • Mouth odor
  • Blood in the mouth
  • Face swelling
  • Nasal discharge

Because horses are adaptable creatures, even if they are having discomfort, some do not show any signs of dental problems. So don't assume that if there are no symptoms, there are no problems.

Sharp teeth edges can hurt the inside of your horse's mouth causing pain and creating sores on her tongue or cheeks. Your horse may show resistance when riding due to added pain from the bit pressing against the sores.

The vet or equine dentist will carefully file all your horse's teeth that need smoothing to achieve a flat grinding surface between the upper and lower teeth. Having your horse's teeth floated is well worth it so she digests her food better, is in better spirits, and makes riding more enjoyable for you both.

How often floating is necessary varies quite a bit from one horse to another. Some horses seem to have slower-growing teeth and may require floating only once every several years while others may require floating every few months. Even if your horse does not require her teeth to be floated often, it is still a good idea to have her teeth and gums examined once a year.

The procedure the vet typically uses to float your horse's teeth is to first sedate your horse to make her relaxed. A special halter is put on with a rope thrown over a ceiling rafter or the equivalent in order to hold your horse's head up. A mouth speculum is used to keep your horse's mouth open. The vet will then either manually file your horse's teeth using a rasp in a back and forth motion to flatten the high points, or may use a power tool. The whole procedure is quick and painless - taking about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

If you're like me, you cringe at the thought of someone filing away on your teeth with a rasp. You can imagine the shooting pain from the nerves in your teeth. Personally, the dentist can't give me enough Novocain to make me feel comfortable before poking around or drilling in my mouth.

Unlike us, a horse's nerves end close to the gumline, so there is no nerve where the tooth is being worked on, and therefore does not feel any nerve pain. We humans should be so lucky.

Randall Holman, site owner of Front Range Frenzy and horse enthusiast, is the author of the above article. You will find other easy and practical basic horse care information on his website: http://www.FrontRangeFrenzy.com.

In The News:

2018 has been a busy year for space exploration. Here are some of the highlights.
A new kind of giant dinosaur has been described in Russia. Dubbed Volgatitan, the herbivore belonged to a family of long-necked dinosaurs called sauropods. It weighed 17 tons and walked the earth 200 million to 65 million years ago.
Just in time before you send your list to Santa, miners in the far reaches of Canada announced that they found a rough 552-carat yellow diamond, which is the largest diamond ever discovered in North America and the seventh-largest diamond ever found.
Images revealed during NASA's Juno mission have captivated the internet.
An extremely rare U.S. currency note from the late 19th century is expected to sell for up to $3 million when it is auctioned next year.
It's now beyond official: Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, pose a danger to public health and welfare, according to an exhaustive review that looked at 275 scientific studies published over the past nine years.
An Indiana officer got a stunning view of the Geminid meteor shower — known as one of the best meteor shows of the year — from his patrol car late Wednesday.
The shape of your brain may say a lot about the Neanderthal in you.
WASHINGTON — A historic Transylvanian castle that may have once imprisoned Vlad the Impaler — likely inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula — still stands today.
A polar bear cub no bigger than a guinea pig was caught on video at the Berlin Zoo snuggling with its mother.

Seeing Past Cuteness When Selecting the Best Dog Breed For You: Part 3 of 3

Are there so many great dog breeds out there that... Read More

Seven Ways to Boxer-Proof Your House

You are ready to bring your Boxer home? First, you... Read More

West Highland White Terriers - Make Your Westie Famous

The West Highland White Terrier or Westie, has it's origin,... Read More

Herbs For Your Dog

Herbology, basically, is the use of herbs in the treatment... Read More

Do They Really Need a Dog Bed?

When Lucky was starting to show signs of aging, we... Read More

Dog Aggression: How to Recognize & Respond

Many dog owners are bewildered when they hear their dog... Read More

Breeding Clownfish

Thanks to Disney's Motion Picture 'Finding Nemo,' almost everybody is... Read More

Breeding Tetra Fish Successfully

If you are keeping tetras, chances are you are breeding... Read More

What Type Of Food Should You Really Feed Your Cat?

What should you feed your cat to make sure he... Read More

You Should Teach Your Puppy Proper Chewing Behavior

As much as you may love your cute, new puppy,... Read More

Choosing the Right Dog Breeder

When looking to purchase a purebred dog, you need to... Read More

House Rabbits are Fun and Cute Pets

House rabbits are a perfect pet for many people, regardless... Read More

How to Groom Your Horse

Grooming means taking care of the physical maintenance of the... Read More

Discover: How to Prevent Dog Bites Case

Of all the aggressive behavior in dogs dog bites is... Read More

Water Chemistry For The Discus Tank

Much has been written about the Discus, or Symphysodon aequifasciatus,... Read More

Pet Tracking Devices

It was the Saturday morning of August 20, 2004 and... Read More

Dog Training ? Early Training Is Essential

Dogs are a fantastic edition to any family but like... Read More

Here?s How To Find The Right Pet Meds For Your Favorite Pet

Our pets depend on us for their every need, including... Read More

Dog Safety: How to Keep Your Pups Safe From Loss or Theft

According to the American Humane Society, just 15% of dogs... Read More

Life Long Nutrition A Comparison of Dog Foods

This article discusses two foods in paticual. For the puppy... Read More

Dog Vaccinations - What You Need to Know to Protect Your Dog

Almost all communities in the U.S. require at least one... Read More

So, You?ve Decided To Kill Your Pet!

The other day I was doing a research online for... Read More

Surprising Health Benefits for Pet Owners

Did you know that there are key health benefits that... Read More

Dog Lover Gifts

Whether you are searching for something to say "Happy Birthday"... Read More

A Pregnant Stray Cat Adopted You ? And Now What?

It happens all too often. A family or cat friend... Read More

led street lighting fixtures wind power street lights Pete's produce ..