What is horse teeth floating and why is it so important? Horse owners should understand the impact a horse’s dental health has on the horse’s well-being. Beginning quite early in a horse’s life, dental health is crucial to its condition.
Horse teeth floating is a dental process to remove the sharp points that form on horse’s teeth. It also makes an even grinding pattern for the horse’s chewing which aids in digestion.
Horse Teeth Anatomy
A horse is born without teeth, but within one year a young horse will have 24 teeth. In an adult horse or year 5 of a horse’s life, they will now have 36-40 teeth. Usually, an adult horse will have 12 incisor teeth at the very front which cut the grass or hay while grazing. There is a gap, or what is referred to as an interdental space and lastly, there are 12 premolars and 12 molars in the back.
What does it mean to float a horse’s teeth?
As we stated at the very beginning, teeth floating is the process of removing the sharp points from horse’s teeth making an even grinding pattern for chewing.
As a horse develops those points on the teeth, the points can poke into the gums causing pain. The pain can be the point that a horse will lose their appetite and/or drop food from their mouth. We should go over a few signs that could mean a horse is ready for teeth floating.
- Dropping hay or gain from the mouth while chewing
- Major drooling while eating
- Weight loss due to reduced appetite
- Resistant or uncomfortable with the bit
- Cribbing, especially with a horse that hasn’t had a history of cribbing
- Quidding (packing forage between the teeth and cheek.
- Sharp points on horse teeth.
All of these could indicate that a horse is ready for teeth floating. Don’t overlook these signs as your horse could be experiencing the pain that goes along with teeth that need attention. Razor-like edges can form and cut the inside of the mouth or cause gum irritation.
What should you do for floating horse teeth?
It all starts early in a horse’s life. In the first few years of your horse’s life, get a dental checkup every 6 months. This should help you catch anything that could be problematic later in life. Your veterinarian will probably check your horse’s teeth at their annual check-up in their adult years, however, when your horse is getting older it may require more dental care. Aged teeth = frequent care.
Can I float my horse’s teeth?
No, you should not attempt to float your own horse’s teeth. Your veterinarian has taken a lot of training for this and they know what to do. They need to be careful not to file/float too much enamel off or there won’t be enough roughened area to tear food apart.
Horse teeth floating cost explained.
How much does it cost to float my horse’s teeth? The average horse teeth floating costs between $80-$200. The cost will vary based on your location and the type of veterinarian you hire. Most vets will charge a first-time float fee and travel fees. If your horse requires extractions it could add $20-$80 and sedation fees are usually $10-$30.
What is the process of floating horse teeth?
You are probably reading this article to find out how the whole process goes so we’ll give you a basic summary. If your horse needs any sedation, we’ll take care of that first, then your vet will use an instrument called a speculum that holds the horse’s mouth open. Then the vet will take out their float, or rasp, and file the sharp points on the teeth.
As we stated earlier, this process isn’t painful for the horse at all if done properly. We’ll warn you now, floating horse teeth smells terrible!
At Riverside Horse Farm…
At Riverside Horse Farm we provide this service to all our horses annually. We realize that a retiring horse needs extra care, so we make sure our horse’s teeth are filed to smoothen and straighten the chewing surfaces. We take care of all our horses and treat them as our own. Contact us today to learn more about retiring your horse at Riverside Horse Farm and don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have!