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Vallortigara, G., Chiandetti, C., & Sovrano, V. A. (2011). Brain asymmetry (animal). WIREs Cogn Sci, 2(2), 146–157.
Abstract: Once considered a uniquely human attribute, brain asymmetry has been proved to be ubiquitous among non-human animals. A synthetic review of evidence of animal lateralization in the motor, sensory, cognitive, and affective domains is provided, together with a discussion of its development and possible biological functions. It is argued that investigation of brain asymmetry in a comparative perspective may favor the link between classical neuropsychological studies and modern developmental and evolutionary biology approaches. WIREs Cogni Sci 2011 2 146–157 DOI: 10.1002/wcs.100 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website
Uchiyama, H., Ohtani, N., & Ohta, M. (2011). Three-dimensional analysis of horse and human gaits in therapeutic riding. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 135(4), 271–276.
Abstract: Therapeutic horse riding or hippotherapy is used as an intervention for treating individuals with mental and physical disabilities. Equine-assisted interventions are based on the hypothesis that the movement of the horse's pelvis during horseback riding resembles human ambulation, and thus provides motor and sensory inputs similar to those received during human walking. However, this hypothesis has not been investigated quantitatively and qualitatively. This study aimed to verify the hypothesis by conducting a three-dimensional analysis of the horse's movements while walking and human ambulation. Using four sets of equipments, we analysed the acceleration patterns of walking in 50 healthy humans and 11 horses. In addition, we analysed the exercise intensity by comparing the heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure of 127 healthy individuals before and after walking and horse riding. The acceleration data series of the stride phase of horse walking were compared with those of human walking, and the frequencies (in Hz) were analysed by Fast Fourier transform. The acceleration curves of human walking overlapped with those of horse walking, with the frequency band of human walking corresponding with that of horse walking. Exercise intensity, as measured by the heart rate and breathing rate, was not significantly different between horse riding and human walking. The levels of diastolic blood pressure were slightly higher during horse riding than during walking, but were lower during both conditions compared with those in normal conditions (P < 0.01). The present study shows that, although not completely matched, the accelerations of the horse and human walking are comparable quantitatively and qualitatively. Horse riding at a walking gait could generate motor and sensory inputs similar to those produced by human walking, and thus could provide optimum benefits to persons with ambulatory difficulties.
Tan, H., & Wilson, A. M. (2011). Grip and limb force limits to turning performance in competition horses. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1715), 2105–2111.
Abstract: Manoeuverability is a key requirement for successful terrestrial locomotion, especially on variable terrain, and is a deciding factor in predator–prey interaction. Compared with straight-line running, bend running requires additional leg force to generate centripetal acceleration. In humans, this results in a reduction in maximum speed during bend running and a published model assuming maximum limb force as a constraint accurately predicts how much a sprinter must slow down on a bend given his maximum straight-line speed. In contrast, greyhounds do not slow down or change stride parameters during bend running, which suggests that their limbs can apply the additional force for this manoeuvre. We collected horizontal speed and angular velocity of heading of horses while they turned in different scenarios during competitive polo and horse racing. The data were used to evaluate the limits of turning performance. During high-speed turns of large radius horizontal speed was lower on the bend, as would be predicted from a model assuming a limb force limit to running speed. During small radius turns the angular velocity of heading decreased with increasing speed in a manner consistent with the coefficient of friction of the hoof–surface interaction setting the limit to centripetal force to avoid slipping.
Søndergaard, E., Jensen, M. B., & Nicol, C. J. (2011). Motivation for social contact in horses measured by operant conditioning. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 132(3-4), 131–137.
Abstract: Although horses are social animals they are often housed individually with limited social contact to other horses and this may compromise their welfare. The present study included eight young female horses and investigated the strength of motivation for access to full social contact, head contact and muzzle contact, respectively, to a familiar companion horse. Horses were housed individually next to their companion horse and separations between pens prevented physical contact. During daily test sessions horses were brought to a test area where they could access an arena allowing social contact. Arena access during 3 min was given after completion of a predetermined number of responses on a panel. Fixed ratios (FR) of 8, 16, 24, 32 and 40 responses per arena access were applied in a random order, one per daily test session, within each test week (Monday to Friday), and the number of rewards per daily test session was recorded. All horses could access all three types of social contact in a cross-over design, and an empty arena was used as control. Motivational strength was assessed using elasticity of demand functions, which were estimated based on the number of rewards earned and FR. Elasticities of demand for the three types of social contact were low (-0.20), and not significantly different, although increasing FR still resulted in a decrease in rewards obtained for all three types of social contact (P < 0.001). Across FR-levels horses earned more rewards for social contact than for an empty arena, as shown by much higher intercept values (2.51 vs. 0.99; P < 0.001). However, the elasticity of demand for infrequent access to an empty arena (-0.08) was lower than for social contact (P < 0.01) and not significantly different from zero (P = 0.07). Horses performed more social behaviour the lesser the restriction on social contact (full > head > muzzle). However, the finding that horses showed a similar and high motivation for all three types of social contact suggests that they are valued equally highly in a situation where the alternative is no social contact.
Stuber, G. D., Sparta, D. R., Stamatakis, A. M., van Leeuwen, W. A., Hardjoprajitno, J. E., Cho, S., et al. (2011). Excitatory transmission from the amygdala to nucleus accumbens facilitates reward seeking. Nature, advance online publication.
Abstract: The basolateral amygdala (BLA) has a crucial role in emotional learning irrespective of valence1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 21, 22, 23. The BLA projection to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is thought to modulate cue-triggered motivated behaviours4, 6, 7, 24, 25, but our understanding of the interaction between these two brain regions has been limited by the inability to manipulate neural-circuit elements of this pathway selectively during behaviour. To circumvent this limitation, we used in vivo optogenetic stimulation or inhibition of glutamatergic fibres from the BLA to the NAc, coupled with intracranial pharmacology and ex vivo electrophysiology. Here we show that optical stimulation of the pathway from the BLA to the NAc in mice reinforces behavioural responding to earn additional optical stimulation of these synaptic inputs. Optical stimulation of these glutamatergic fibres required intra-NAc dopamine D1-type receptor signalling, but not D2-type receptor signalling. Brief optical inhibition of fibres from the BLA to the NAc reduced cue-evoked intake of sucrose, demonstrating an important role of this specific pathway in controlling naturally occurring reward-related behaviour. Moreover, although optical stimulation of glutamatergic fibres from the medial prefrontal cortex to the NAc also elicited reliable excitatory synaptic responses, optical self-stimulation behaviour was not observed by activation of this pathway. These data indicate that whereas the BLA is important for processing both positive and negative affect, the glutamatergic pathway from the BLA to the NAc, in conjunction with dopamine signalling in the NAc, promotes motivated behavioural responding. Thus, optogenetic manipulation of anatomically distinct synaptic inputs to the NAc reveals functionally distinct properties of these inputs in controlling reward-seeking behaviours.
Stenglein, J. L., Waits, L. P., Ausband, D. E., Zager, P., & Mack, C. M. (2011). Estimating gray wolf pack size and family relationships using non invasive genetic sampling at rendezvous sites. J Mammal, 92.
Steidele, N. (2011). Beobachtungen einer Przewalski-Junggesellenherde im Jahresverlauf unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Ruheverhalten und Rangordnung.
Slater, C., & Dymond, S. (2011). Using differential reinforcement to improve equine welfare: Shaping appropriate truck loading and feet handling. Behav. Process., 86(3), 329–339.
Abstract: Inappropriate behavior during common handling procedures with horses is often subject to aversive treatment. The present study replicated and extended previous findings using differential reinforcement to shape appropriate equine handling behavior. In Study 1, a multiple baseline across subjects design was used with four horses to determine first the effects of shaping target-touch responses and then successive approximations of full truck loading under continuous and intermittent schedules of reinforcement. Full loading responses were shaped and maintained in all four horses and occurrences of inappropriate behaviors reduced to zero. Generalization of the loading response was also observed to both a novel trainer and trailer. In Study 2, a changing criterion design was used to increase the duration of feet handling with one horse. The horse's responding reached the terminal duration criterion of 1 min and showed consistent generalization and one-week maintenance. Overall, the results of both studies support the use of applied equine training systems based on positive reinforcement for increasing appropriate behavior during common handling procedures.
Sheriff, M. J., Dantzer, B., Delehanty, B., Palme, R., & Boonstra, R. (2011). Measuring stress in wildlife: techniques for quantifying glucocorticoids. Oecologia, 166(4), 869–887.
Abstract: Stress responses play a key role in allowing animals to cope with change and challenge in the face of both environmental certainty and uncertainty. Measurement of glucocorticoid levels, key elements in the neuroendocrine stress axis, can give insight into an animal’s well-being and can aid understanding ecological and evolutionary processes as well as conservation and management issues. We give an overview of the four main biological samples that have been utilized [blood, saliva, excreta (feces and urine), and integumentary structures (hair and feathers)], their advantages and disadvantages for use with wildlife, and some of the background and pitfalls that users must consider in interpreting their results. The matrix of choice will depend on the nature of the study and of the species, on whether one is examining the impact of acute versus chronic stressors, and on the degree of invasiveness that is possible or desirable. In some cases, more than one matrix can be measured to achieve the same ends. All require a significant degree of expertise, sometimes in obtaining the sample and always in extracting and analyzing the glucocorticoid or its metabolites. Glucocorticoid measurement is proving to be a powerful integrator of environmental stressors and of an animal’s condition.
Schnerr, C. U. (2011). Feldstudie zur Epidemiologie und Bekämpfung von Strongyliden in Pferdebeständen im Raum Baden- Württemberg. Ph.D. thesis, , .
Abstract: In der Zeit von April 2005 bis März 2006 wurden bei 105 Pferden monatlich
koprologische Untersuchungen durchgeführt. Die Pferde waren zu zwei Drittel
Jungtiere (≤ 4 Jahre) und ein Drittel > 4 Jahre. Die zur Verfügung stehenden vier
Betriebe befanden sich alle im Raum Baden-Württemberg.
Die Kotproben wurden mit Hilfe der Flotation auf Magen-Darmnematoden untersucht
und anschließend einer quantitativen Eizahlbestimmung nach Mc Master unterzogen.
Ab einem Eigehalt von 250 Eiern pro Gramm Kot (EpG) wurden die Pferde
entsprechend der Gruppenzugehörigkeit entweder mit Pyrantel oder Ivermectin
Es wurden bei 73 Pferden ausschließlich Strongylideneier nachgewiesen; bei vier
Pferden waren in der Flotation zusätzlich Eier von Parascaris equorum zu finden.
Bei 28 (26,7%) der untersuchten Pferde wurden in keiner der 12 untersuchten
Proben Eier von Magen-Darmnematoden nachgewiesen. Insgesamt mussten
57 (54,3%) der Pferde über den gesamten Untersuchungszeitraum hinweg nicht
behandelt werden. 48 (45,7%) Pferde mussten mindestens einmal anthelminthisch
behandelt werden. Kein Pferd musste häufiger als dreimal behandelt werden.
In den Monaten August bis November war der Anteil an positiven Proben der
Jungtiere signifikant höher als bei den Pferden > 4 Jahre. Innerhalb der
Jungtiergruppe nahm die Höhe der Strongyliden-Eiausscheidung mit zunehmendem
Alter signifikant ab.
Ebenso nahm die Anzahl der positiven Proben im Laufe des
Untersuchungszeitraums signifikant ab.
Die beiden zur Entwurmung eingesetzten Substanzen (Pyrantel und Ivermectin)
waren voll wirksam. In 98,8% der untersuchten Proben war ein Rückgang der
Ei-Ausscheidung noch vier Wochen nach der Behandlung auf 0 EpG nachweisbar,
d. h. es gab keinerlei Anzeichen für das Vorliegen von Resistenzen gegen die
Die vorliegenden Untersuchungen sind ein weiterer Beweis dafür, dass mit Hilfe der
selektiven anthelminthischen Behandlung die Anzahl der Entwurmungen –
insbesondere auch bei Jungtieren – deutlich gesenkt werden kann.
Die Eiausscheidung und damit die Weidekontamination werden mit Hilfe dieses
Verfahrens deutlich reduziert.
[Between April 2005 and March 2006 monthly koprological examinations where
carried out on 105 horses.
Two third of the horses were young animals (≤ 4 years) and a third were > 4 years
The four farms on hand were all located in the Baden- Württemberg area.
Faecal samples were examined for gastro-intestinal nematodes by means of flotation
and subsequently subjected to an egg-quantity counting according to Mc Master.
Starting from an egg content of 250 eggs per gram faeces (EpG), the horses were
treated with either Pyrantel or Ivermectin according to their group affiliation.
In 73 horses solely Strongyle eggs were detected; the flotation of four horses
additionaly showed eggs of Parascaris equorum.
In 28 (26,7%) of the examined horses none of the 12 examined samples showed
eggs of gastro-intestinal nematodes.
Overall 57 (54,3%) horses didn´t need any treatment during the total examination
cycle. 48 (45,7%) of the horses needed at least one anthelminthic treatment.
None of the horses needed to be treated more than three times.
From August to November the rate of positive samples within the group of young
animals was significantly higher than in the horses > 4 years.
Whithin the group of young animals the level of Strongyle egg excretions dropped
significantly with advancing age.
Likewise, the number of positive samples also dropped significantly in the course of
the examination cycle.
Both substances (Pyrantel and Ivermectin) applied for deworming were fully effective.
Even a further 4 weeks after treatment the examined sample showed a drop of egg
excretion to 0 EpG in 98,8% of the samples, in other words there were no signs of
prevailing resistance appearances towards the applied substance.
The present studies are further proof that the number of dewormings-especially in
young animals can be distinctly reduced by means of selective anthelminthic
Egg excretion and therewith pasture land contamination can be clearly reduced by
means of this procedure.]