Attn: Horse people...Teeth floating question

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Coco, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Coco

    Coco In the Brooder

    Apr 18, 2008
    Just curious, at what age does a horse need their teeth to be floated? I've heard it's not necessary w/all horses, anyone know if that's true? And what are the signs to watch for, for when it's time? I know one sign is if food is falling out of the mouths excesively...anything else?

  2. buck-wild-chick

    buck-wild-chick Songster

    Jul 24, 2008
    Hamilton C. FL
    I think its once a year or every two years.. beacuase you never know when there teeth may chip and then the gum will get cut up pretty bad.
  3. KierBri

    KierBri Songster

    Apr 4, 2008
    ne conneticut
    not all horses need their teeth floated but all do need to be checked on a yearly basis by a professional to see if they need to be. if there's no problems a young horse should be checked before they're bitted for the first time (this includes bosals and hackamores). yearly thereafter.

    problems/signs: quidding (dropping food), wadding hay (little clumps build up in the cheeks and are spit out), weight loss, tilting/head shaking while eating or bridled, difficulty bridling, over/behind bit, tongue lacerations, pink dots on sides of mouth/tongue, slow eating

    it should be noted that any problems are problems, that floating is then a correction not a preventive (like getting your teeth cleaned versus drilling)

    older horses need more attention (ie tooth loss) as do non-perfect mouths
  4. texasreb

    texasreb Songster

    May 18, 2008
    We used to have our weanlings checked by an equine dentist. More often than not, he made minor adjustments to make the bite "perfect." The earlier you start any corrective work, the less problematic their dentition will be later in life.

    Also, starting them young gets them used to the process so that they can have dental work done without sedation later in life.
  5. rjv_piper

    rjv_piper Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    The only problem is at age 3-5 their teeth are being lost and coming back in, so if they are young, and lose weight its normal, but as long as they pull through you shouldn't need to waste a trip to the dentist just because they are growing in. If they don't pull through, you need to get it done ASAP. We had a three year old horse we were training who didn't eat well, and started laying down alot, and we had the owners take her to the vet. They checked her teeth. She had a few that were rotten and some with really sharp edges. They pulled a bunch, and floated the rest.
  6. Teeth are as vital as hoof care. I would get either a vet who is good at floating and teeth care or an equine dentist. We do our babies at about a year to get them familiar with the process. It is not pleasant for many, and the sooner they feel a rasp and have someone poking around, the better. Most horses will need floating some time in their lives. We do annual or biannual depending on how things seem.

    Just my thoughts.[​IMG]
  7. texasreb

    texasreb Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Granted, they lose their baby teeth, but why shouldn't they have a good bite as youngsters? The equine dentist can also dislodge retained caps in those losing their baby teeth. Retained caps are the source of all kinds of horsey woes including colic due to the discomfort and/or improper chewing.

    IMO, twice yearly is a good starting place for dental checks. Those with improperly aligned bites could benefit from more frequent dental care. Those with proper alignment need to be checked to ensure continued dental health. Not every horse will need a rasp every time, but it's cheap insurance.

  8. UnttouchableRose

    UnttouchableRose Songster

    Mar 12, 2008
    Blountville, TN
    All of our horses 1 year and up have their teeth checked twice a year. Our younger horses usually need more work than our old ones. We have a 36 year old gelding that has never needed work done. They have always been in great shape and my dentist is always bragging about him.

    I don't think it's how often they are done more like they need to be checked a minimum of once a year type thing.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yeah, the HARD part is finding someone COMPETENT (like, more than barely minimally adequate, I mean) to do it. I've never lived anywhere there was a GOOD equine dentist or dentally-inclined vet, and have lived several places where quite honestly I never found anyone that I would want within a float's reach of my horses' teeth [​IMG]

    If you have someone REALLY GOOD, I'd get them to look at the horse when you think about starting him into work (assuming there was no earlier reason to be concerned), see what he thinks, then follow his recommendations.

    If you only have someone basically ok but not brilliant, I would leave it til the horse is 6 or 7 and has a reasonably full adult mouth UNLESS problems develop in training where the teeth are a possible suspect, or you have any other reason to worry. You could have your vet just *look* at the teeth as best he can during an annual exam if it would make you feel better. Once the horse is fully grown, I have seen no compelling arguments/evidence for having an apparently-ok horse 'dentisted' more than every 3 years or so. Be particularly leery of frequent visits if the practitioner is one of the Dremel-type people -- power tools remove more teeth faster than manual tools, and you want your horse to have some tooth LEFT when he's 20 [​IMG]

    If there is nobody especially good in the area, my personal preference (in the absence of Actual Problems) is to wait til you can get together with other horse-owning friends and hire a good dentist or dental vet to come in for a day or two and do everybody all at once. A bad dentist or dental vet can do actual harm (and sadly, IME a *vet* is more apt to be really very bad at dentistry than a non-vet equine dentist, no matter how much the veterinary industry may prefer to pretend otherwise. Never let a non-vet dentist try to sedate your horse however, nor do anything major like an extraction without a real vet right there).


  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I totally second Pat!

    It could be because I am also in a 'vet challenged' area. [​IMG] In fact, just getting a good farrier has been a royal pain.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by