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Effect of dental floating on weight gain, body condition score, feed digestibility, and fecal particle size in pregnant mares

James L. CarmaltDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.

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 MA, VetMB, MVetSc, DABVP
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Hugh G. G. TownsendDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.

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 DVM, MSc
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Eugene D. JanzenDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.

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Nadia F. CymbalukLinwood Equine Ranch, Carberry, MB R0K 0H0, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To investigate the effect of routine dental floating on weight gain, body condition score, feed digestibility, and fecal particle size in pregnant mares fed various diets.

Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Animals—56 pregnant mares.

Procedure—Mares were randomly allocated to 1 of 4 feed groups (n = 14 mares/group). All horses were sedated and an oral examination was performed, after which dental floating was performed on 7 horses in each group. Body weight was measured, and a body condition score was assigned before and at various times for 24 weeks after dental floating. Feed digestibility and fecal particle size were analyzed 7 and 19 weeks after dental floating.

Results—Weight gain, change in body condition score, feed digestibility, and fecal particle size were not significantly different between horses that underwent dental floating and untreated control horses. In contrast, weight gain was significantly associated with feed group. In the control horses, neither the number of dental lesions nor the presence of any particular type of lesion at the time of the initial oral examination was significantly associated with subsequent feed digestibility.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that dental floating does not result in significant short-term changes in body weight, body condition score, feed digestibility, or fecal particle size in healthy pregnant mares. Further studies are necessary to determine the clinical utility of regular dental floating in apparently healthy horses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1889–1893)

Abstract

Objective—To investigate the effect of routine dental floating on weight gain, body condition score, feed digestibility, and fecal particle size in pregnant mares fed various diets.

Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Animals—56 pregnant mares.

Procedure—Mares were randomly allocated to 1 of 4 feed groups (n = 14 mares/group). All horses were sedated and an oral examination was performed, after which dental floating was performed on 7 horses in each group. Body weight was measured, and a body condition score was assigned before and at various times for 24 weeks after dental floating. Feed digestibility and fecal particle size were analyzed 7 and 19 weeks after dental floating.

Results—Weight gain, change in body condition score, feed digestibility, and fecal particle size were not significantly different between horses that underwent dental floating and untreated control horses. In contrast, weight gain was significantly associated with feed group. In the control horses, neither the number of dental lesions nor the presence of any particular type of lesion at the time of the initial oral examination was significantly associated with subsequent feed digestibility.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that dental floating does not result in significant short-term changes in body weight, body condition score, feed digestibility, or fecal particle size in healthy pregnant mares. Further studies are necessary to determine the clinical utility of regular dental floating in apparently healthy horses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1889–1893)