Hand floating for Equine mouth health
Horses (and ponies) teeth, unlike dogs and cats, continue to grow as long as there is a root structure supporting the teeth. As a result of the continuing growth, sharp enamel points arise on the sides of the molars and premolars. As a horse eats, the grinding of the food against the teeth wears down some of the sharp points. However, even a perfect mouth will get sharp points over time and need to have the edges removed through the use of a rasp.
By sedating a horse and using a speculum to keep the horse’s mouth open, a veterinarian is able to practice equilibration - the process of ensuring all teeth are in contact and bear the same amount of pressure and wear. This distributes the wear that occurs during eating onto as many viable teeth as possible, thus allowing horses to live longer and more comfortably.
While using a powertool to float teeth is the industry standard, Dr. Mills continues to practice the art of hand (manual) floating. Each pass of the rasp takes a very small amount of enamel off, giving Dr. Mills more time to properly achieve equilibration. The risk with powertools is that a millisecond too long on a tooth will breakthrough the enamel and hit the nerve, causing a high amount of pain.