30Mar 2015

Weaving horses. Etiological, clinical and paraclinical investigation

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The stronger dissociation of animals from their natural habitat, the increasing role of the anthropogenic factor in animal biology and the utilisation of animals for different purposes (often uncommon for them) by men are responsible for the increased prevalence of stereotypic (psychic) disorders in a number of animal species. One of frequently seen unwanted stereotypes in horses is weaving. Over a 2-year period, ?tiological, clinical and paraclinical investigations on 7 weaving horses have been carried out and the obtained results were compared to the same number of healthy subjects. In our opinion, the main cause for weaving is the state of expectation of various stimuli – feeding, walking, training etc. from the part of horses. On the basis of our ?tiological investigations we assumed that frustration was the main triggering factor of the weaving horse vice as the animals were motivated (willing) to perform certain activities but they were not allowed to. Weaving in horses represents abnormal repetitive swaying of the head and the neck of various duration, accompanied by swaying of the body from side to side with the front extremities. Most often, this behaviour could be observed about an hour before feeding or walking (training). Blood samples were collected from all horses twice at 10-day intervals from v. jugularis for analysis of calcium, inorganic phosphorus, magnesium, plasma total protein, blood glucose, urea, creatinine, aspartate amino-transferase, alanine amino-transferase, alkaline phosphatase, thyroid stimulating hormone, free thyroxine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone (somatotropin), cortisol, insulin, dopamine, serotonin and melatonin. In weaving horses, blood magnesium, adrenocorticotropic hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone and melatonin were decreased while the level of serotonin was higher vs control horses. These data suggest that during the demonstration of the abnormal behaviour, the horses “felt happy”; furthermore, repetitive weaving was a means for increasing serotonin levels and thus, the personal feeling of comfort.

[Rumen Binev (2015); Weaving horses. Etiological, clinical and paraclinical investigation Int. J. of Adv. Res. 3 (Mar). 0] (ISSN 2320-5407). www.journalijar.com

Rumen Binev