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Ageing horses by an examination of their incisor teeth: an (im)possible task?
  1. S. Muylle, DVM1,
  2. P. Simoens, DVM, PhD1 and
  3. H. Lauwers, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1 Department of Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ghent, Casinoplein 24, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

Abstract

It is generally considered that the age of a horse can be determined by examining its incisor teeth. However, the criteria used to determine age from dental configurations differ widely. The existence of this variety of rules and guidelines was the challenge for the present examination. Detailed descriptions of the incisor teeth of 212 horses of registered age were recorded and the results were compared with the age criteria of various authors. The time at which teeth were shed and the appearance of dental stars seemed to be more reliable features than the disappearance of the cups. The disappearance of the marks occurred four years later than usually stated. Other criteria, such as the presence of the seven-year notch and Galvayne's groove, were too variable and inconsistent to be reliable for the determination of age.

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