It is widely accepted that the age of a horse can be determined from an examination of its teeth, but there is no evidence that the accuracy of the systems of ageing used has been validated. A dental record was made of 80 horses of known age. There was a good correlation between the actual and apparent age of the horses up to five years, but older horses showed much greater variability and accuracy declined markedly after 11 years of age. The disappearance of the 'cup', but not the 'mark', proved to be one of the more reliable features. The average age at which the dental star appeared was one to two years earlier than usually stated. The occlusal angle of the incisors and Galvayne's groove were useful indicators of age, but the caudal upper incisor hook was observed in horses of practically any age over six years.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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