Over the last few weeks, I’ve been busy helping and doing dental floats with an equine veterinarian, which has been a phenomenal learning experience. With all of that time spent in horses’ mouths, I have seen some well-maintained mouths and others that are a nightmare. Floating a horse’s teeth yearly or as recommended by a veterinarian is an important part of horse health, but unfortunately it is one that is often overlooked.
All the owners that I’ve worked with over the last month have one thing in common–they want what’s best for their horse. However, in many cases they didn’t know how to get that. Many clients thought their horse’s teeth didn’t need to be floated or used unlicensed individuals to float their horse’s teeth and assumed the job was done well.
The easiest way to educate a client in regards to equine dental health is to open the horse’s mouth with a speculum and allow the client to feel the teeth. Letting the client feel the hooks and points as well as see any ulcerations in the cheek from these hooks and points helps them understand the benefits of a good dental float. Most owners are shocked at how sharp the points and hooks can be. Then letting the owner feel the teeth after the float shows them what should be done. Owners are usually amazed after a dental float how smooth their horse’s teeth are compared with before the float. Once an owner feels the before and after, most realize just how important regular dentistry is for their horses and are eager to keep up with their horse’s teeth.
It isn’t hard to educate owners–it just takes a little extra time. In the case of equine dentistry, if a veterinarian doesn’t address the issue, who will? It is part of our responsibility to the animals we care for.