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Author (up) Nagy, K.; Bodó, G.; Bárdos, G.; Harnos, A. pdf  openurl
  Title Is modified Forssell"s operation superior to cribbing collar in preventing crib-biting in horses? Type Conference Article
  Year 2008 Publication IESM 2008 Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume Issue Pages  
  Keywords stereotypic behaviour, heart-rate variability, stress, equine welfare  
  Abstract Crib-biting (wind-sucking) might be a coping response of the horses to the challenges of

uncontrolled environmental events. Prevention of this stereotypic behaviour evokes

physiological responses consistent with increased stress. Reducing the incidence of cribbiting,

however, is important in order to prevent undesirable physical and behavioural

consequences (tooth erosion, altered gut function, gastric inflammation/ulceration, colic, etc.).

Common treatment of crib-biting is the application of a cribbing collar, which limits the

flexion of the neck making this stereotypic movement uncomfortable and difficult. Another

method, the modified Forssell“s operation, is becoming more and more popular amongst the

horse owners. It is based on the removal of the muscles used in crib-biting (m.omohyoideus,

m.sternohyoideus, m.sternothyrohyoideus) and the ventral branches of the spinal accessory

nerves. Surveys on the success of this surgical procedure have revealed inconsistent results,

and, contrary to the cribbing collar, its effect on the stress level have not been studied either.

The aim of our study was to determine whether the modified Forssell”s procedure is superior

to the cribbing collar treatment.

Differences in stress management was tested by a crib-biting provoking test, in which

surgically treated horses, crib-biting horses, crib-biting horses with cribbing collar, and

normal horses (those showing no stereotypies), altogether 56 horses were compared. In this

test, a food bucket had been placed out of the reach of the animal, from which titbits were

given 3 times. Behaviour and heart rate variability (HRV) of the horses were recorded and

analysed throughout the test. Hypotheses were tested by linear mixed model.

According to our results, both prevention methods (collar or surgery) inhibited crib-biting

successfully though not totally. Regarding behaviour and heart rate variability, horses

prevented from crib-biting (by collar or surgery) differed significantly from crib-biting and

normal horses but not from each other.

Normal horses were usually trying to reach the food-bucket while present and were standing

still afterwards, whereas the other three groups had not really made efforts to reach the

bucket, spent less time with resting, and performed or tried crib-biting. During the stress-test,

normal and crib-biting horses had shown good stress-adaptation to the challenge since their

HRV, after an initial increase, returned to the basal value by the end. On the contrary, HRV of

the two prevented groups remained elevated and showed large oscillations throughout. They

had not found a successful coping behaviour either.

Our results suggest that since prevention may significantly increase distress, the treatment in

itself, without changing the motivation of the horse to perform the replacement behaviour – it

seems to be unsatisfactory and insufficient. After prevention the motivation of the horse to

perform crib-biting should be addressed. In addition, considering that prevention by collar and

surgery had not resulted in any significant behavioural or physiological differences, the

superiority of the modified Forssell"s procedure might be questioned. However, the surgery

might be recommended if treatment with collar is ineffective.
  Address Szent István University, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Budapest, István u. 2, H-1078, Hungary;Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, Budapest, Pázmány P. stny. 1/C, H-1117, Hungary  
  Corporate Author Nagy, K. Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference IESM 2008  
  Notes Talk 15 min IESM 2008 Approved yes  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 4492  
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