Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Behavior Problems in Mares: Ovaries Aren’t Always to Blame - Full Article

Removing the ovaries won’t fix other issues, from static shock to bladder adhesions, that can make mares behave badly.

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor | Feb 2, 2018

The veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center regularly evaluate mares for suspected ovary-related behavior issues. In most cases, however, they find the root cause is something else entirely.

Sue McDonnell, PhD, CAAB, adjunct professor of reproductive behavior and founding head of the University’s Equine Behavior Program, has been evaluating these so-called problem mares for decades. At the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas, she described how the team at New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, evaluates them and shared some case examples.

“Diagnosing the root causes (for behavior problems) is important for welfare, safety, and client satisfaction,” she said.

When evaluating a mare whose owner complains of “marish” or “hormonal” behavior, McDonnell said she first obtains and views a 24-hour video sample of the horse in its stall. During this period, she will watch for behavior patterns suggesting the mare is in discomfort, such as tail- or hip-rubbing, udder-nuzzling, kicking at walls, etc...

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