What is horse floating?
There is a special type of file called a 'float' that is used to even out a horse's teeth, the whole procedure is called 'floating'. A horse that has undergone this process has relatively smooth or flat chewing surfaces. Although the process is painless, most horses will not willingly go through it! Some may even have to be sedated prior to the floating routine.
Why do we float our horse's teeth?
Horses are very prone to developing uneven chewing surfaces, which inhibits their ability to properly prepare food for digestion. We therefore limit the chances of this happening by gently smoothing their teeth, enhancing the way they breakdown foods in the mouth in preparation for maximum absorption of nutrients in the stomach. Floating is also helpful when preventing sharp edges that sometimes cut the horse on the inner lining of their mouth.
Start to finish steps when floating your horse's teeth.
You may choose to mildly sedate the horse to curb any form of aggression, although some horse owners opt to skip this step. It all depends on the nature of your horse. Remember, a horse may be agitated simply because of anxiety but not because of pain.
Use a dental wedge to keep the horse's mouth open during the floatation process. The manual wedge is placed between the upper and lower jaws in the back teeth. Some equine vets may go for a dental speculum which is a device that is fitted into the horse's incisors then adjusted to open the horse's mouth for a better view. Proper use of any of these tools is key for the protection of your horse's dental formula.
Gently hold the tongue to one side to prevent any injuries to the horse, then proceed with the examination.
Sometimes a halter (or a special dental care halter) is necessary so that the horse's head is elevated to the right angle for proper examination.
Examine the horse's mouth to check for areas that need floating. This step may sound simple but it could be quite risky! As you use your fingers to check for sharp edges, the horse may bite down and cause some serious injury. This is why you must never do it alone or without the help of a dental wedge.
You may now use a manual or electric float to carry out the actual procedure. Although the electric float is faster, it makes some noise which may agitate your horse even more. This is why most horse care providers opt for a manual float. If your equine is new to this process, you can then gently introduce the powered float in the subsequent floatations.
Remember, proper hygiene is a must, so keep a bucket with disinfectant by your side so you can dip your float in before inserting it in your horse's mouth. Also, a regular mouth check up by an equine vet or an experienced person is very important for your horse's overall health. As we all know, it is best to be in the know when there is a slight problem so we can deal with it before it makes our equine friend too uncomfortable to feed.
Floating is best left to the experts! But knowledge will come in handy for you as the horse owner... So although you may not be able to float your own horse, you've hopefully gained some information to know how and why we encourage horse teeth floating.
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