Equine Teeth

New PictureEquine teeth differ from ours by continually erupting until they wear out. This constant descent of 1/8″ per year replaces the surface of incisor and cheek teeth ground away by chewing.

Radiographs below (courtesy of Dr. Ross Rich, Dr. Elaine Carpenter, and Kelly Horton at Cave Creek Eq Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Center) and this resin copy of a horse skull below ( by Dr. Clay Stubbs) reveal the tremendous length of teeth lurking below the gumline.

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The free ranging horses who graze the gritty plants of drier climates wear their teeth evenly. Their constant grinding with full range of jaw motion balances the mouth until they run out of tooth.

 

The following photos are of the skulls of feral horses. No humans touched these teeth in life yet they appear to be worked by a master dentist (except no bit seats and wolf teeth not removed).

Relentless foraging on the harsh vegetation of the Colorado Plateau wore them properly. No malocclusions. Minimal waves, hooks, shear mouth, or sharp edges (points). All incisor and molar table angles were normal. No incisor line deviations. These horses had full range of motion of the mouth and almost 100 percent molar occlusion. Great teeth.
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These wild horses wear their teeth well but fast. When their reserve roots are used up they starve.

Another skull – from an older feral horse on the Colorado Plateau.

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Horses, asses, and mules are most closely related to the the rhinocerii. Ha! Well that’s just odd.