Reasons for performing study: Peripheral caries (PC) of equine teeth is a poorly described disorder that can cause serious clinical problems if it progresses.
Objectives: To assess the prevalence, sites and severity of PC in a population of Swedish horses.
Methods: A post mortem study of 510 equine skulls was performed in 2 Swedish equine abattoirs.
Results: PC only affected the cheek teeth (CT) and was present in 6.1% (31/510) of skulls. It affected mainly the peripheral cementum, and 87% of PC in the 29 affected mature horses occurred in the 3 caudal CT (Triadan 09-11). Concurrent infundibular caries involving most maxillary CT (mean 9.7/skull) was present in 32% of skulls affected with PC. Trotting horses (mean age 8.1 years) believed to be on a high concentrate and silage diet were preferentially affected with PC in this population. Food was usually tightly adherent to the PC lesions and this feature may have promoted the progression of the disease. Significantly increased levels of diastemata were present in PC-affected horses, and periodontal disease was present in areas adjacent to some PC lesions.
Conclusions: PC is a relatively common disorder of horses under certain management conditions that can progress to cause serious dental disorders, especially if concurrent, widespread infundibular caries is present.
Potential relevance: Equine clinicians should be aware of this significant dental disorder and research into its aetiopathogenesis, possible prevention and treatment are required.