The Frequency of Errors in Determining Age Based on Selected Features of the Incisors of Icelandic Horses
Department of Horse Breeding, Institute of Animal Science, Agricultural University, Al. Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Cracow, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 April 2019 / Revised: 16 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Equids
Methods of assessing the age of horses based on the appearance of teeth, although used for many years, seem to suffer from relatively large errors. However, this method can play an auxiliary role in identifying horses of unknown origin. Furthermore, this method is a useful tool for owners, breeders, or veterinary surgeons to make decisions regarding purchase, insurance, or treatment and provides information on the specific characteristics of horses of different breeds. This study aimed to assess the suitability of selected features of the incisors for the determination of the age of Icelandic horses. Determining the age of Icelandic horses based on the appearance of teeth only matched the real age in more than one-third of the 126 individuals assessed. The average percentage of errors made in the assessment of age based on the eruption and growth of deciduous incisors was significantly smaller compared to determining age based on replacement of deciduous to permanent incisors, the disappearance of cups, and/or changes in the shape of the grinding surfaces. It is likely that characteristic changes occurring in Icelandic horses’ incisors may be related to the specific course of development processes of this breed.