Yearly Dental Check-Up
Every year our vet comes out to float all of Hanaeleh’s horses teeth. Unlike humans, horses’ teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime. In the wild, horses eat for 10-12 hours a day, so they naturally grind down their teeth. Domesticated horses, however, are fed at intervals, and their teeth can get sharp points. Older horses often have special needs to keep their bite surface flat so they can masticate (chew) their food efficiently.
The vet checks for points that need to be filed down, waves that need to be flattened, and will identify any ulcers in the mouth. Sometimes older horses will have loose or chipped teeth, and these often need to be removed. This year, thankfully, none of the horses needed an extraction, so that made the visit much easier!
What is floating?
We often get asked why filing the teeth down is called “floating.” This term was coined because the tool that was used by veterinarians and equine dentists to file their teeth down is a masonry tool called a float. Nowadays, the vets and dentists use power tools, which make the experience much faster and easier on everyone!
We are very thankful for Dr. Hunter and everyone at OC Equine for getting all of the horses’ floats done in two days- of course, they had to be the HOTTEST days possible, but we stayed in the shade and the horses did just fine.
The vet first gave the horses a light sedative that keeps them from moving around too much during the procedure. The horses wear a speculum during the short procedure, a device that fits over their head and helps to hold the mouth open so the horse doesn’t bite the vet’s arm off!
The float itself only takes a few minutes, and the horses usually come out of the sedation within about 15-20 minutes, although we make sure not to feed the horses for a few hours afterwards in order to prevent them from choking on their food. Thankfully, the horses were all fine and ate their dinner that night without any issues.
All of the horses did great for the vet- except for Lou Dillon, that is. He was incredibly naughty and kept wriggling around while the vet was trying to file down his teeth! He doesn’t have the best teeth, either, so it was very important that she get his bite surface correct. Maybe he was trying to impress her with his moves, or many like many of us, he doesn’t like the dentist, but we told him that it’s better to stay still so she can do her best work.
Yes, Yearly Sheath Cleaning, too!
The only real upside of having a barn almost all filled with mares is that means we only have a few sheaths to clean! The geldings need to have their sheaths cleaned at least once a year in order to get rid of beans and smegma that build up in the sheath area. This isn’t the most fun job, and most horses will try to kick you, so it’s often safest to clean the sheath right after the horses have had their teeth done and are still sedated.
The only horse we were really concerned about was Ollie, but he was a champ during the process. Lou Dillon redeemed himself and was a good boy during the sheath cleaning, but Quixote got the gold star for being the best for both the teeth and sheath cleaning!
The vet bill was right around $4,000. While we budget for the yearly teeth floating, it would mean so much to us if even a small donation was made to cover some of the costs. Your donation makes an immediate impact as every dollar goes towards the floating bill. Here’s a link to donate and thank you!