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Cribbing ‘more likely down to stress than gastric discomfort’
‘It is plausible that there is no direct inherent link between crib biting equine gastric ulceration syndrome – rather that both conditions are linked to environmental and physiological stress.'
Study explores stomachs of crib-biting and non crib-biting horses 

Cribbing is more likely to be a response to stress than gastric discomfort in horses, scientists have said.

A research team from the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) examined 42 horse stomachs collected from an abattoir - half of which came from crib biters.

Researchers tested for the presence for ulcers, stomach PH levels and the hormone gastrin, which stimulates the production of stomach acid. According to the results, which were published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, there was no anatomical or physiological difference between the two sets of stomachs.

‘It is plausible that there is no direct inherent link between CB (crib biting) and EGUS (equine gastric ulceration syndrome) rather that both conditions are linked to environmental and physiological stress,’ the authors wrote.

Lead researcher Dr Simon Daniels is quoted by Horse and Hound as saying: “…in both humans and horses gastric ulceration is associated with stress - both environmental stressors and physiological stress, such as from increased free radical production and too few antioxidants.

“Similarly crib-biting behaviour is understood to be a stress coping mechanism for horses. These horses display higher levels of free radicals and reduced antioxidant defences, which is a sign of physiological stress, when compared to non crib-biting horses.”

If there is a link between crib-biting and gastric ulceration, Dr Daniels said that “management of horses that suffer with these conditions - for example by giving nutritional antioxidant support and reducing environmental stress by changing housing or turnout arrangements - may be beneficial in the welfare of this specific group of horses.”

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Veterinary Evidence Student Awards winners revealed

News Story 1
 The first winners of the RCVS Knowledge Veterinary Evidence Student Awards have been revealed.

Molly Vasanthakumar scooped first prize for her knowledge summary comparing the ecological impact of woven versus disposable drapes. She found that there is not enough evidence that disposable synthetics reduce the risk of surgical site.

Second prize went to Honoria Brown of the University of Cambridge, for her paper: ‘Can hoof wall temperature and digital pulse pressure be used as sensitive non-invasive diagnostic indicators of acute laminitis onset?’

Edinburgh’s Jacqueline Oi Ping Tong won third prize for critically appraising the evidence for whether a daily probiotic improved clinical outcomes in dogs with idiopathic diarrhoea. The papers have all achieved publication in RCVS Knowledge’s peer-reviewed journal, Veterinary Evidence.  

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Animal Welfare Foundation seeks new trustees

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) seeks three new trustees to help drive the charity’s mission to improve animal welfare through veterinary science, education and debate.

Veterinary and animal welfare professionals from across the UK may apply, particularly those with experience in equine and small animal practice and research management. Trustees must attend at least two meetings a year, as well as the annual AWF Discussion Forum in London.

For more information about the role, visit www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk. Applications close at midnight on 13 August 2019.