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dc.contributor.authorFreymond, S. Briefer
dc.contributor.authorBardou, D.
dc.contributor.authorBriefer, E. F.
dc.contributor.authorBruckmaier, R.
dc.contributor.authorFouche, N.
dc.contributor.authorFleury, J.
dc.contributor.authorMaigrot, A. -L
dc.contributor.authorRamseyer, A.
dc.contributor.authorZuberbuehler, K.
dc.contributor.authorBachmann, I.
dc.identifier.citationFreymond , S B , Bardou , D , Briefer , E F , Bruckmaier , R , Fouche , N , Fleury , J , Maigrot , A -L , Ramseyer , A , Zuberbuehler , K & Bachmann , I 2015 , ' The physiological consequences of crib-biting in horses in response to an ACTH challenge test ' , Physiology & Behavior , vol. 151 , pp. 121-128 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 202730440
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 36d0138d-cab7-45f6-97ce-ad86a9b14ae5
dc.identifier.otherRIS: urn:9FE2D943E7AA21530A94F70347140ECA
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000362602600016
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 84937441464
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-8378-088X/work/64360636
dc.description.abstractStereotypies are repetitive and relatively invariant patterns of behavior, which are observed in a wide range of species in captivity. Stereotypic behavior occurs when environmental demands produce a physiological response that, if sustained for an extended period, exceeds the natural physiological regulatory capacity of the organism, particularly in situations that include unpredictability and uncontrollability. One hypothesis is that stereotypic behavior functions to cope with stressful environments, but the existing evidence is contradictory. To address the coping hypothesis of stereotypies, we triggered physiological reactions in 22 horses affected by stereotypic behavior (crib-biters) and 21 non-crib-biters (controls), using an ACTH challenge test. Following administration of an ACTH injection, we measured saliva cortisol every 30 min and heart rate (HR) continuously for a period of 3 h. We did not find any differences in HR or HR variability between the two groups, but crib-biters had significantly higher cortisol responses than controls (mean ± SD: CB, 5.84 ± 2.62 ng/ml, C, 4.76 ± 3.04 ng/ml). Moreover, crib-biters that did not perform the stereotypic behavior during the 3- h test period (Group B) had significantly higher cortisol levels than controls, which was not the case of crib-biters showing stereotypic behavior (Group A) (A, 5.58 ± 2.69 ng/ml; B, 6.44 ± 2.38 ng/ml). Our results suggest that crib-biting is a coping strategy that helps stereotypic individuals to reduce cortisol levels caused by stressful situations. We conclude that preventing stereotypic horses from crib-biting could be an inappropriate strategy to control this abnormal behavior, as it prevents individuals from coping with situations that they perceive as stressful.
dc.relation.ispartofPhysiology & Behavioren
dc.rightsCopyright © 2015 Published by Elsevier Inc. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at
dc.subjectStress physiologyen
dc.subjectCoping strategyen
dc.subjectBF Psychologyen
dc.titleThe physiological consequences of crib-biting in horses in response to an ACTH challenge testen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Psychology and Neuroscienceen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciencesen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolutionen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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