THERE is probably more misinformation about stereotypic behaviour, colloquially known as 'stable vices', in horses than on any other aspect of equine behaviour. Owner concerns are sometimes misplaced and some 'treatments' which may be attempted can be extremely detrimental to the welfare of the animal and serve only to exacerbate the problem. Conversely, certain behaviour patterns, which should alert both owners and veterinary surgeons to potentially serious clinical problems, may be overlooked, thereby delaying diagnosis and treatment. This article summarises a decade of scientific research on stereotypies, highlighting findings of practical benefit to veterinary surgeons and their clients.
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