Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Teeth: aging by dentition

Contributor(s): Gordon Baker, Jack Easley, Jill Richardson, Bayard A Rucker

Introuduction

  • Careful examination of the appearance and conformation of teeth in a horse can provide information for an 'informed guess' of the age of that individual.
  • It is advisable to make written records at the time of examination to show the dental features upon which the age estimate was made.

Print-off the Owner Factsheet onDental care  Dental care  andCaring for the older horse  Caring for the older horse  to give to your client.

Background

  • Numerous dental criteria are considered when making an age estimation, however, it is not possible to assign specific ages to each dental feature and hence accuracy of age estimates can be unacceptably low.

Age

  • Generally, the younger the horse, the more accurate the age estimation.
  • Up until age 5, age can be determined by incisor and cheek teeth eruption.
  • However, even in horses <5 years, variations in observed features have been recorded.
  • As the age of the horse increases, the accuracy of age estimation rapidly decreases.
  • Features used in age estimation:
    • Balance between rates of eruption.
    • Attritional wear of the teeth.
  • Inaccuracy due to:
  • Teeth are identified using the Triadan modified system, which uses three-number designation for each tooth. Traditional nomenclature is used in some places.

Dental features used in age estimation

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Conclusion

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Rucker B (2005)Using dentition to age horses. Vet Review 99, 52-53.
  • Richardson J D (1997)Aging horses - an illustrated guide. In Pract19(9), 486-489.
  • Richardson J D, Cripps P J, Hillyer M H, O'Brien J K, Pinsent P J N & Lane J G (1995)An evaluation of the accuracy of aging horses by their dentition: A matter of experience? Vet Rec137, 88-90.
  • Richardson J D, Cripps P J & Lane J G (1995)An evaluation of the accuracy of aging horses by their dentition: Can a computer model be accurate? Vet Rec137, 139-140.
  • Richardson J D,Cripps P J & Lane J G (1995)An evaluation of the accuracy of aging horses by their dentition - Changes of dental morphology with age. Vet Rec137, 117-121.
  • Richardson J D, Lane J G & Waldron K R (1994)Is dentition an accurate means to estimate the age of a horse? Vet Rec135, 31-34.
  • Walmsley J (1993)Some observations on the value of aging 5-7 year old horses by examination of their incisor teeth. Equine Vet Educ5, 295-298.
  • McMullan W C (1983)Dental criteria for estimating age in the horse. Equine Pract5(10), 36-43.

Other sources of information

  • Muylle S (1999)Aging Equine Dentistry.Eds: Baker & Easley. W B Saunders Co, London. pp 35-46.
  • American Association of Equine Practitioners (1988)Official guide for determining the age of the horse.5th edn. Golden, Colorado.
  • Goody P C (1983)Incisor Teeth and Aging of the Horse - 1 and 2.In: Horse Anatomy. A Pictorial Approach to Equine Structure.1st edn. Allen J A, London. pp 38-41.
  • Tutt J F D (1968)The Examination of the Mouth for Age.In: Captain M Horace Hayes' Veterinary Notes for Horse Owners.16th edn. Stanley Paul Publishers, London. pp 512-526.
  • Miller W C & Robertson E D S (1952)Dentition and Ageing.In: Practical Animal Husbandry.6th edn. Oliver & Boyd, London. pp 357-383.
  • Galvayne S (1912)Horse Dentition.In: The XXth Century Book on the Horse.3rd edn. Bailliere, Tindall & Cox, London. pp 212-238.


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