OBJECTIVE To identify whether age, sex, or breed is associated with crown height of the left and right maxillary first molar tooth (M1) measured on CT images, to develop a mathematical model to determine age of horses by use of M1 crown height, and to determine the correlation between M1 crown height measured on radiographic and CT images.
SAMPLE CT (n = 735) and radiographic images (35) of the heads of horses.
PROCEDURES Crown height of left and right M1 was digitally measured on axial CT views. Height was measured on a lateral radiographic image when available. Linear regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with crown height. Half the data set was subsequently used to generate a regression model to predict age on the basis of M1 crown height, and the other half was used to validate accuracy of the predictions.
RESULTS M1 crown height decreased with increasing age, but the rate of decrease slowed with increasing age. Height also differed by sex and breed. The model most accurately reflected age of horses < 10 years old, although age was overestimated by a mean of 0.1 years. The correlation between radiographic and CT crown height of M1 was 0.91; the mean for radiographic measurements was 2.5 mm greater than for CT measurements.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE M1 crown height can be used to predict age of horses. Results for CT images correlated well with those for radiographic images. Studies are needed to develop a comparable model with results for radiographic images.