Dental disorders are commonly found during routine oral examination in equine practice and during autopsies. The objectives of this study were to investigate the prevalence of dental disorders in different age groups of an abattoir (meat processing plant) population of South African horses, and to compare post‐mortem examination of intact heads with examination of bisected heads.
Heads from 40 horses, 19 males and 21 females, were examined and divided into immature (2 to 5 years), adult (6 to 14 years) or older (15 years and older) horses based on dental age. Older horses had a significantly higher prevalence of infundibular caries or dental decay (92%), diastemata or a gap between the teeth (67%) and fractures (58%). Dental wear disorders affected all age groups and included sharp enamel points (97%), wave mouth (57%), and focal overgrowths (40%). Gasterophilus spp. larvae (bots) were detected in 20% of the horses.
A short oral examination performed on intact heads was adequate for diagnosing major disorders, but the occurrence of many conditions had only fair to poor agreement with the bisected heads. A more detailed oral examination may be needed for reliable diagnosis of many disorders. For more information on this study, click here.
You can sign up for the University of Minnesota Horse Newsletter online.