Q: Why do horses have wolf teeth is they cause so many issues?
Asked by Matt K
A: Millions of years ago, wolf teeth were similar in size to the rest of the horse’s molar teeth and functioned as grinding/chewing teeth. Back then, horses were forest-dwelling bush eaters, with the cheek teeth being small and narrow, like those of goats and sheep, who still eat this kind of material. There were therefore at this time seven functional cheek teeth in each ‘arcade’ of teeth, compared to six in today’s horses. This was to allow them to cope with their different diet.
However, as equines have evolved, the wolf teeth have lost their function. They are now no longer necessary for eating and so over the years have become smaller and smaller. Now these teeth are really little more than a nuisance for any ridden horse. Hence, most equine dentists and vets advocate their removal.