Effect of the Work Performed by Tourism Carriage Horses on Physiological and Blood Parameters
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Welfare of working horses is a matter of public concern, with scarce information on their possible physiological coping mechanisms. The aim of this study was to assess changes in possible physiological welfare indicators in working horses, as a result of pulling tourism carriages under field conditions. A descriptive field study of the work performed by tourism carriage horses and their physiological, hematological, and blood biochemistry implications was performed. For this, 10 tourism carriage horses were studied under normal working conditions. For description of work, speed, distance, and force were calculated. To assess welfare, physiological variables including heart rate, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, and hematological and blood biochemistry parameters were evaluated before, during, and after work. Results show that tourism carriage horses exerted a submaximal effort in terms of speed, force, and physiological variables assessed. The heart and respiratory rate showed significant increases (P < .05) after work, but recovered to basal values within the first 10 minutes. Blood variables did not show significant changes that could be related to poor welfare. Lactate and packed cell volume (PCV) were the only blood variables with significant differences across work (P < .05) with lactate decreasing over time and PCV increasing with work and returning to basal levels at 10 minutes after work. Physiological variables showed a possible adaptation to work by the carriage horses but were not sufficient to diagnose a welfare problem. Management practices and other animal-based indicators should be included in further studies to obtain a holistic conclusion.
Artículo de publicación ISI
DOI: DOI: 10.1016/j.jevs.2014.12.018
Quote ItemJournal of Equine Veterinary Science 35 (2015) 213–218
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