Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 01-05

Evaluation of heart rate as marker of stress during road transport in horses

Piccione, GiuseppeBazzano, MarilenaGiannetto, ClaudiaPanzera, MicheleFazio, Francesco

Background: Nowadays horse transportation represents an increasingly practice as a greater number of horses are subjected to transport for several purpose including sport competitions, breeding and selling. In the past, horses were usually transported by train and ship however, at the present time, they move mainly by road with trailers or vans. Transport represents a potential stressor that might compromise horse performance therefore, the chance to monitor horse welfare during transportation is of great interest. The autonomic nervous system and its regulation of cardiovascular function have been considered suitable indicators of stress and welfare in humans and animals. Measuring the vagal tone provide a best knowledge about stress vulnerability and the magnitude of a stress response. Considering that heart rate (HR) represents the effect of the vagus, the aim of this study was to evaluate if this parameter is an affordable indicator of stress in horses subjected to different experimental conditions concerning the duration and the time of the day of road transportation. Materials, Methods & Results: Twelve clinically healthy athletic Italian Saddle horses, divided into three equal groups, were transported over two different distances (110 Km and 225 Km) at the same time of the day (5.00 pm) (group A and B), and over the same distance (110 Km) during the evening (5.00 pm)

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