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Pharmaceutical manufacturer CEVA Animal Health is looking to develop an equine pheromone to be used in the control of stereotypies, and is asking horse owners for help.

Pheromones are substances secreted by the body that have an effect on the behaviour of other animals of the same species. Lactating female mammals release substances called appeasing pheromones. Their function is to calm, and provide reassurance to the offspring, especially in unknown situations. They contribute to the foal bonding with the mare.
Search for new approach
to equine stereotypies
Equine appeasing pheromone has been shown to help calm horses in stressful situations. Could it also have a place in modifying stereotypies such as weaving and cribbing?

CEVA Animal Health already markets behaviour modifying produtcs based on pheromones for cats and dogs. These products reproduce natural pheromones that provide a feeling of comfort and help prevent or reduce stress-related behaviours such as urine spraying in cats and firework fears in dogs.

The company is working in partnership with the University of Nottingham’s Veterinary School to carry out initial research in the UK. They are asking owners of horses that display any type of stereotypical behaviour such a crib biting, weaving or box walking to complete a simple online survey about their horse and their management regime.

Liz Mossop BVM&S MRCVS at Nottingham Vet School said “Equine stereotypical behaviour, such as crib biting and weaving, is a difficult problem to manage for many owners. Nottingham Vet School is delighted to be involved with this project which should help to provide some new ideas and answers for both owners and the veterinary surgeons dealing with their horses and ponies. Pheromones have been shown to be very effective in supporting behaviour management of dogs and cats and we hope that an equine pheromone would prove equally useful.”

If you would like to take part please go to

www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/Horseownersurvey

and click on the survey link. It should take no more than 15 minutes of your time to complete the survey and your involvement would be very much appreciated.
Written by Mark Andrews/Edited press release.
Published online 27.09.09