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Dental Anatomy: How to figure out horses age by his teeth?

Dental Anatomy: How to figure out horses age by his teeth?

Are you looking after your horses dental health as you should? A sound and clean equine mouth reflects the overall wellbeing of a horse. Let’s learn about the basics and understand how to get an idea on equine age by its teeth.

Male horses have 40 teeth: 12 incisors, 24 molars and 4 canines (only a small percentage of females have canines though).

The 6 upper and 6 lower incisors allow to establish roughly the age of a horse and are made of cementum, enamel and dentin. Its shape will let us understand the approximate age, for example: horses aged 11 or less, all of the lower incisors have a rounded or oval shape. As a horse grows up the surface of these teeth will change across a triangular and eventually rectangular shape.

At times, between two teeth the ‘’wolf teeth’’ can appear and require to be extracted as they might cause problems in chewing or accepting the bit. 

Foals generally don’t have teeth and first ones start to come out during the first week, and the 6th week milk teeth will appear too. 

At 2 years old, the small white teeth of the foal will change into adult teeth, yellow and bigger in size. The teeth will keep changing and till the age of 10, when on the lateral surface of the upper third incisor the Galvayne’s groove will appear, another dental feature to determine horses’ age and used for over 10 years. 

Checking your horses dental health is important. At least once a year we suggest to get him/her checked and a dental cleaning done. On Horsesme you can find certified professionals operating in your area of interest. Otherwise, if you are an equine dentist, you can list your services and let interested people contact you directly.

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