Test your knowledge of your horse's teeth.
December 14, 2017
Horses have a unique dental structure. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, horses' teeth are divided into two major sections: the incisors, which are the teeth seen in the front of the horse's mouth, and the cheek teeth, made up of the premolars and molars.
The molars and premolars are lined up tightly against each other, creating the appearance of one chewing surface. This alignment of teeth is called the dental arcade.
The incisors are separated from the cheek teeth by a large space. Canine teeth can be found in the space between the incisors and premolars. The incisor teeth are responsible for the grasping and tearing of food, while the cheek teeth are used for grinding of feed.
The horse chews in a circular motion with the lower jaw sliding along the upper teeth. This circular motion maintains the occlusive surfaces of the teeth. This motion is reduced as the horse eats smaller feed particles. Horses eating grains and pelleted feeds may chew in almost an up-and-down fashion.
Make sure you are knowledgeable on your horse’s health. Don’t miss out, download the e-book Common Horse Health Issues today!
Take this horse teeth quiz!
Scroll down for the answers.
a. Are more pointed than incisors or cheek teeth
b. Are characteristic of mares
c. Get in the way of the bit
d. Are what horses use to bite dogs
a. Have bigger teeth
b. Wear their teeth out faster
c. Almost always have four more teeth than females
d. All of the above
Like most human children, barring injury, the two front teeth will be the first "baby" teeth a horse loses.
a. Are often removed to avoid interference with the bit
b. Sometimes never come in
c. Are the remnants of teeth that were well-developed in the eocene ancestors of the horse
d. Are often shed about the same time as the milk tooth behind it, but might remain indefinitely
e. All of the above
It's easier to estimate a horse's age from the upper teeth than the lower.
"Galvayne's groove" is a:
a. Name of a popular disco song
b. David Letterman-like space between a horse's front teeth
c. A line on the upper corner incisor that appears when a horse is nine or 10, and runs the length of the tooth by the time he's 20
Looking at the profile, the angle between the upper and lower incisors become more acute with age.
If a horse is parrot-mouthed or is a cribber, it is much more difficult to get an accurate estimate of its age by looking at its teeth.
Wolf teeth erupt through the gum at:
a. Five to six months
b. 12 months
c. 18 months
d. 24 months
No single feature or sign, such as Galvayne's groove or dental stars, should be considered as reliable; all features must be evaluated.
Teeth aren’t the only concern when it comes to a your horse’s health. Download the Common Horse Health Issues e-book today and stay updated on any horse health issues.
Answers to the Tooth Quiz
1. a; 2. c; 3. a; 4. e; 5. b; 6. c; 7. a; 8. a; 9. a; 10. a.
To find a veterinarian to perform regular maintenance on your horse's teeth, call (800) GET-A-DVM.