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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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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.