The Importance of Floating Your Horse’s Teeth

Floating is the process of rasping equine teeth to remove hooks and smooth the chewing surface. It used to be accepted knowledge that horses only needed their teeth floated once they were 10 years old and beyond. However, it is now understood that horses often require dental attention at least once a year. If you do not remember the last time your horse had their teeth floated, it is likely time to make an appointment with your horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN and get this done. Here are four reasons why this is important:

Jaw proportions: Horses’ upper jaws are larger than the lower one. As they chew foliage, teeth are worn down, and due to the discrepancies in jaw size, teeth wear unevenly. Since horse teeth do not stop growing, the parts of the tooth that are not worn eventually start to develop sharp points called “hooks.” As the hooks develop, horses lose the ability to chew their food thoroughly, and that can affect their digestion.

Improved digestion: Horses have one stomach and anywhere from 50 to 70 feet of intestines. This extensive physiology makes it easy for undigested forage to cause blockage and colic. Chewing thoroughly is the main preventative for avoiding this situation. When their teeth grow hooks, horses may swallow forage that is not completely chewed. If it is stuck in their throats, that causes choking and a large vet bill. Even if it makes it to their stomach, it may not be chewed enough for good digestion and risks colic if the mound fails to break up in their intestines. By taking care of your horse’s teeth, you make these dangers much less likely.

Avoid training issues: Horses who suddenly refuse a bit or act up under saddle should always be checked for pain or injury. This includes their teeth. Hooks can make taking a bit much less comfortable, and if the rider has heavy hands, that will especially make handling painful. Hooks can also cause cuts and sores in the mouth and further add to training difficulties. Any issues your horse has with a bit should be investigated with a dental exam.

Avoid infection: When you have your horse’s teeth checked each year, that makes it easier to detect any mouth sores resulting from dental issues and prevent them from becoming infected. Horses rely heavily on being able to eat continuously, and mouth pain and soreness can lead to weight loss and other health issues. If you float regularly and avoid horses cutting their mouths up with hooks, you will avoid infectious sores. Also, even if your horse does not require a float, a dental exam allows your horse vet to find issues before they become serious.

You want to be enjoying the company of your horse and avoid dental problems. That is why it is a good idea to call your horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN and schedule floating. Cannon Veterinary Services offers a full range of horse health services and is available for farm calls or clinic appointments. Call us today to schedule your horse’s dental exam.