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Vices of Horses and Equines: Cribbing, Weaving, Pacing, Chewing, Coprophagia

Description
In nature, the horse is a gregarious, roaming animal that grazes constantly. In captivity, the horse is frequently confined, alone, and without anything to chew. When you consider the changes in habits that we ask of the horse, it is amazing that he adapts at all. When pushed too far he will find ways to satisfy his physical and psychological needs and, like humans, what is too far varies widely from individual to individual. With repetition, these adaptations to an abnormal environment can become ingrained behavior that are impossible to eradicate. There is evidence to suggest that some of these behaviors are based on the release of some of the pleasure chemicals in the horses brain called endorphins and enkephalins. We call these habits vices and they include: cribbing or wind sucking, weaving, pacing and kicking the stall.





CRIB BITING, EQUINE CRIBBING, WIND SUCKING, ORAL STEREOTYPY IN HORSES
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Description: When cribbing, or crib-biting, a horse places its incisors or chin on a solid object, arches its neck, and swallows air accompanied by a characteristic sound. In wind-sucking, there is similar behavior without supporting the incisors or chin. There is evidence that this sequence of events is not related to deglutition, there is transient dilation of the esophagus with little or no air swallowed to the stomach

CIRCLING, WEAVING, PACING, STALL OR FENCE WALKING OR KICKING IN HORSES
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Description: Stabled horses can become bored and develop the habit or rhythmically shifting its weight from one foreleg to another while swinging the head, 'weaving', or compulsive circling or walking up and down stalls or fences. Some horses develop the habit of 'stall kicking', repetitively kicking a wall or striking the floor with a hoof.

COPROPHAGIA, COPROPHAGY, IN HORSES AND DOGS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Description: While foals will often ingest feces, this is not normally seen in adult horses. Some possible causes include inadequate caloric intake, protein less than 10% in the total diet and inadequate chewing time when horses are fed complete feeds. Coprophagy can also be seen in dogs.

WOOD CHEWING BY HORSES
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Description: Domestic horses commonly develop the vice of compulsive wood chewing. In rare cases there may be intestinal obstruction due to aggregations of wood splinters in the small intestine.

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