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Susan Allen Feed Digestion and Teeth Floating
by Susan Allen, click here for bio

Program: Land & Livestock Report
Date: September 22, 2010


When my rope horse became a senior I noticed he was having difficulty chewing his feed by evidence of the amount of Purina Senior mix  that ended up on the ground. So I became diligent about keeping Smokey’s teeth floated, now it seems it might  have  been for naught  because research shows that floating ( and for you  non -horsey folks that  means filing and leveling equine teeth) doesn’t improve feed digestion. For me that seems a bit hard to swallow. I’m Susan Allen back with the study when Open Range returns.  Yes pampered horses like people get regular manicures and dental check ups but in a study of seventeen Quarter and draft horses researchers in Canada discovered there was no correlation between teeth abnormality and feed digestibility. The veterinarian that presented these findings at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention told his peers that while floating teeth is valuable for fixing dental problems,  the horses ability to digest feed is a soft tissue issue. Realizing this, more vets today are looking for cheek ulcerations and tooth rot to determine digestive issues.  The rational behind old horses loosing weight was believed due to tooth wear, today  more and more veterinarians  have determined poor condition occurs more from pain, the reason an older horse might take much longer to eat. Annual/biannual dental exams are still important for our equine friends  but now floating teeth should be done to reduce pain not with the hopes it will improve digestion. I’m Susan Allen   

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