How Do Wild Horses Float Their Teeth?

Just like human beings, horses need their teeth checked and maintained to keep their teeth formation since floating grounds have uneven and sharp parts on the horse’s teeth. Wild horses undergo the floating process naturally during their day-to-day feeding. A horse ranging from five to twenty years of age required an annual teeth floating process to maintain their dental pattern, and an easy time chewing. Uneven and sharp tooth edges can cause bruises and injuries across the horse’s mouth walls during the chewing process. This usually happens when the stallion’s jaw moves side to side when the chewing motion occurs pulling the cheeks against the serrated parts of its teeth. How do wild horses float their teeth? During meals, wild horses feed on leaves, grass, and branches that might contain pebbles which help ground the beast’s teeth. However, this natural grinding process has been known to decrease the tooth size of wild horses over a certain period of time. 

Since world horses naturally survive on their own, they can’t really do anything themselves to save their dental system from malocclusion which tends to occur due to excessive grinding of their teeth. Hereby, we have to jump in to save this amazing creature from such oral and dental problems by introducing artificial floating. Malocclusion is when the upper jaw and lower jaw of a horse fail to align properly thus resulting in a ‘Poor bite’ or crooked teeth formation.  In this article, we’ll not only go through wild horse teeth floating but also the reasons why floating can be so crucial for a wild horse’s teeth. Therefore, we’ll begin with the basic information you have to know about your horse’s teeth before we check out the floating process and its advantages to the horse.

Read: Horses with Long Hair on Feet

Horse Teeth Basic Information

Upon inspecting a horse’s teeth, one can easily guess and determine their horse’s age. An adult or full-grown stallion has a total of 40 teeth. This consists of twenty-four Molars, twelve incisors (6 lower and 6 upper incisors), and lastly four canines which are usually absent in a female horse’s dental system. However, a small proportion of female horses have some canines while others can have all of them. Unfortunately, sometimes a horse can experience dental abnormalities which might cause an extra tooth to grow in the midst of two teeth thus causing a crooked formation. If teeth on both jaws fail to align perfectly, this can lead to a ‘poor bite’ which can be a big problem when the horse is chewing. Unlike domestic horses, wild horses end up suffering poor mastication since they receive little or no treatment for such dental problems. In such cases, the extra tooth has to be extracted to prevent further problems such as poor food processing, and pain which might introduce stress to this spectacular creature. 

When a foal is born, it has no teeth at all. Its first milk teeth start to appear during the first week. As the horse grows, transformations such as falling off of the ivory white milk teeth start falling off while being replaced by larger-yellow teeth. You’ll notice the growth of adult teeth as the foal approaches two years. As soon as it gets to 2 ½ years, the growing horse starts growing adult teeth which are relatively larger and stronger when compared to the milk teeth. When foals reach three years of age, their teeth start shifting in shape and the adult teeth continue growing after every year. An average adult horse contains 36-44 teeth. To identify the horse’s age, you should inspect its incisor teeth growth and pattern. 

Importance of Wild Horse Teeth Floating

Naturally, many animals are able to ingest and digest food even if it’s directly swallowed without chewing. The case is however different when it comes to horses since they have to chew all their food properly for efficient digestion. Improper food chewing can expose the horse to various horse diseases. In consequence, if a wild horse’s teeth are irregular, oddly sharp, or offer less chewing surface area; the stallion might experience improper digestion thus altering their health levels negatively. This might lead to weight loss and low performance in terms of movement and daily activity. 

How do wild horses float their teeth? Wild horses can undergo natural teeth from time to time chewing but they’re usually in need of artificial floating to protect them from hurting themselves. Failure to chew its food properly due to malocclusion causes improper nutrient absorption to the horse’s body. Since many horses are prone to this problem, humans have to jump in as guardians to help them acquire a flat and regular dental formation. Consequently, a wild stallion’s teeth should be floated at least once annually to maintain and improve their chewing capability and most importantly their general health.  

When Should Teeth Floating Be Ddone?

The floating process should be introduced to the horses early at the young age of 10 years. This rule claims that a horse’s teeth can begin undergoing floating as long as the horse has lived for more than a decade. However, horse treatment experts advise you to examine the horse’s teeth at least once a year in order to conclude whether the teeth should be floated or not at a particular time. Therefore, we should keep an eye on the check-up schedule to maintain the health status of our stallions. Many stablemen wonder if the floating process might be painful thus holding back not knowing whether to take action or not. No, the floating process is not painful at all. This is because the top layer of the teeth does not contain any nerves thus making floating a painless process for our horses. 

Conclusion: How Do Wild Horses Float Their Teeth?

However, being a painless process doesn’t mean that it would be that easy to perform. Some horses might become aggressive during the process thus not cooperating with you during floating. Others might even become aggressive and make the whole process a pain in the neck for the veterinarian. In such cases, the horse might have to be sedated during the floating process. At this point, we believe we’ve answered your big stable question, ‘How do wild horses float their teeth?’ Read through the whole process to understand the key steps you’ll follow during floating, its importance, and the perfect time to undertake this task. 

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