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Comparative analyses of tooth wear in free-ranging and captive wild equids


Taylor, L A; Müller, D W H; Schwitzer, C; Kaiser, T M; Castell, J C; Clauss, Marcus; Schulz-Kornas, E (2016). Comparative analyses of tooth wear in free-ranging and captive wild equids. Equine Veterinary Journal, 48(2):240-245.

Abstract

Reasons for performing study: Captive breeding has played a crucial role in the conservation of threatened equid species. Grazing ruminants and rhinoceros in captivity have less abrasion-dominated tooth wear than their free-ranging conspecifics, with potential negative consequences for their health. However, a similar study on wild equids in captivity is missing.
Objectives: The aim was to establish if different tooth wear patterns are exhibited by free-ranging and captive equids.
Study design: Cross-sectional study of museum specimens comparing free-ranging and captive equids.
Methods: Dental casts of maxillary cheek teeth of 228 museum specimens (122 from free-ranging and 106 from captive individuals) of 7 wild equid species were analysed using the extended mesowear method. Although teeth showing specific abnormalities were not scored, the presence of focal overgrowths (hooks) of the rostral premolars (106, 206) was recorded.
Results: Captive Equus ferus przewalskii, E. grevyi, E. hemionus, E. quagga boehmi and E. zebra hartmannae have less abrasion-dominated tooth wear on their premolars than their free-ranging conspecifics (P<0.001). Fewer differences were exhibited between populations in the molars. No differences were exhibited in the distal cusp of the molars (110, 210) between populations, except in a small sample of E. kiang. Captive equids exhibited more homogeneous wear along the tooth row whereas free-ranging equids exhibited a tooth wear gradient, with more abrasion on premolars than molars. There were more rostral hooks on the premolars (106, 206) in the captive than the free-ranging population (P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Captive equids did experience less abrasion-dominated tooth wear than their free-ranging conspecifics, but the differences in tooth wear were less pronounced than those between captive and free-ranging wild ruminant and rhinoceros species. This indicates that feeding regimes for captive equids deviate less from natural diets than those for captive ruminants and rhinoceros but that factors leading to hook formation, in particular feeding height, should receive special attention.

Abstract

Reasons for performing study: Captive breeding has played a crucial role in the conservation of threatened equid species. Grazing ruminants and rhinoceros in captivity have less abrasion-dominated tooth wear than their free-ranging conspecifics, with potential negative consequences for their health. However, a similar study on wild equids in captivity is missing.
Objectives: The aim was to establish if different tooth wear patterns are exhibited by free-ranging and captive equids.
Study design: Cross-sectional study of museum specimens comparing free-ranging and captive equids.
Methods: Dental casts of maxillary cheek teeth of 228 museum specimens (122 from free-ranging and 106 from captive individuals) of 7 wild equid species were analysed using the extended mesowear method. Although teeth showing specific abnormalities were not scored, the presence of focal overgrowths (hooks) of the rostral premolars (106, 206) was recorded.
Results: Captive Equus ferus przewalskii, E. grevyi, E. hemionus, E. quagga boehmi and E. zebra hartmannae have less abrasion-dominated tooth wear on their premolars than their free-ranging conspecifics (P<0.001). Fewer differences were exhibited between populations in the molars. No differences were exhibited in the distal cusp of the molars (110, 210) between populations, except in a small sample of E. kiang. Captive equids exhibited more homogeneous wear along the tooth row whereas free-ranging equids exhibited a tooth wear gradient, with more abrasion on premolars than molars. There were more rostral hooks on the premolars (106, 206) in the captive than the free-ranging population (P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Captive equids did experience less abrasion-dominated tooth wear than their free-ranging conspecifics, but the differences in tooth wear were less pronounced than those between captive and free-ranging wild ruminant and rhinoceros species. This indicates that feeding regimes for captive equids deviate less from natural diets than those for captive ruminants and rhinoceros but that factors leading to hook formation, in particular feeding height, should receive special attention.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:17 Feb 2016 15:45
Last Modified:02 Oct 2016 07:52
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0425-1644
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/evj.12408

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