Horses That Struggle With Attention May Be Battling Pain

Horses that ignore their surroundings (including their handlers) may not be cranky or depressed—they may be in pain. Drs. Louise Dodds, Laura Knight, Kate Allen and Joanna Murrell created a study that tested the reactions of 20 horses to novel objects and sounds just before and after they underwent a surgical procedure. They compared the surgical horse’s reactions to those of 16 control horses who didn’t have surgery.

The research team found that the surgical horses spent significantly less time interacting with a pool noodle and a flipper immediately after surgery than they did before the surgery. There was no difference in interaction times in the control horses when they encountered the objects a second time.

Surgical horses also were less likely to react to the noise of a hair dryer after surgery than before. The response of the control horses did not change from one exposure to the next.

The scientists conclude that pain effect a horse’s response and startle times. Exposing the horse to a situation that demands attention may be a useful biomarker of pain, they say.

Read more at EQUUS magazine.

The post Horses That Struggle With Attention May Be Battling Pain appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.