Cheek teeth (CT) diastemata are now recognised as a clinically significant equine disorder, but their prevalence in the general equine population is unknown. There is also limited information on the signalment of affected horses; the more commonly affected Triadan sites; and the shape and clinical characteristics of CT diastemata. During the 12-month study period (2008 to 2009), standardised records were obtained during routine dental examinations performed by five veterinarians in a first-opinion equine practice. Cheek teeth diastemata were identified in 49.9 per cent of all horses (n=471) of mean age 11 years (range one to 30 years), with 83.5 per cent of all diastemata affecting mandibular CT and 16.5 per cent affecting maxillary CT. The mean number of diastemata per case was 1.7 (range one to 20) and the mandibular 07 to 08 position was most commonly affected. Valve diastemata were more common (72.1 per cent prevalence) than open diastemata (27.9 per cent). Food trapping was present in 91.4 per cent of diastemata, with gingivitis and periodontal pockets adjacent to 34.2 per cent and 43.7 per cent, respectively. Halitosis was present in 45.5 per cent of affected horses. There was an age-related increase in both the prevalence of diastemata, and in the numbers of diastemata per affected horse, and horses over 15 years old had a significantly increased proportion of open diastemata.
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