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Eklund, Annika (2008) Influence of daily free time spent outside in a paddock and stable management on behavioural disturbances and health in the horse. Other thesis, SLU.

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Abstract

"People involved with horses must understand causes and effects of behaviours, why they arise, their cost and benefits, if they truly are undesirable behaviours and in that case to whom and in the end how to best treat them without reducing the horses quality of life"(Cooper and Mason 1998). The present study investigated whether lack of daily spent free time outside in a paddock, possibility for social contact between horses, number of feeding occasions of roughage and concentrate and keeping horses on muddy grounds affects the prevalence of behavioural disturbances (like wood-chewing, wind-sucking, crib-biting, weaving and box-walking) and the health of the horse (in particular problem related to the hooves and legs, to the respiratory system and to the digestive system). A total of 841 horses in the central part of Sweden were studied during 2002 and 2004. The type of horses included were Swedish trotters, ponies, Swedish halfbloods, Icelandic horses, mixed large breeds, coldbloods and thoroughbreds, divided into categories of mares with foal, weaned foal, horses that had reached one year but were not yet in training, competition horses, companionship or exercise horses, convalescents and stallions. Data collection was carried out during personal inspections, made by the same inspector at all locations, including a personal meeting with each horse-keeper at the farm. Participants were provided with questionnaires detailing the housing, diet, daily spent free time outside in a paddock, social contact between horses, injuries occurring when spending free time outside in a paddock or indoors in housing or during transport, behavioural disturbances (wood-chewing, weaving, crib-biting and box-walking) and health related problems (related to the hooves/legs, respiratory- or digestive systems) of the horses. The questions were framed in a way that enabled comparison of results on both national and international levels. The prevalence of behavioural disturbances reported in the present study was on average 3.3% (1.4% wood-chewing, 0.6% either weaving or crib-biting and 0.4% box-walking) compared to an average 21.4% (11.8% wood-chewing, 4.1% crib-biting, 3.3% weaving and 2.2% box-walking) on an international level. The results from the present study indicate that fewer feeding occasions of roughage may increase the risk of behavioural disturbances and digestive related health problems. Further, spending less than 12h/day outside may increase the risk of behavioural disturbance and respiratory related problems in horses.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: horse, horse welfare, horse behaviour, behaviour problems, horse health, social contact, horse injuries, housing, injuries, stable management, respiratory problems,
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science > Dept. of Animal Enviroment and Health
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Depositing User: Yezica Norling
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 10:15
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/3340

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