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Study of crib-biting and gastric inflammation and ulceration in young horses
  1. C. J. Nicol, MA, DPhil1,
  2. H.P. D. Davidson, BSc2,
  3. P. A. Harris, PhD, MRCVS2,
  4. A. J. Waters, BSc, PhD1 and
  5. A. D. Wilson, PhD,MRCVS1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Bristol BS40 5DU
  2. 2 Equine Studies Group, Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Leicestershire LE14 4RT


Nineteen young horses that had recently started to perform the stereotypy of crib-biting were compared with 16 non-stereotypic horses for 14 weeks. After initial observations of their behaviour and an endoscopic examination of the condition of their stomachs, the horses were randomly allocated to a control or an antacid diet. At the start of the trial, the stomachs of the crib-biting foals were significantly more ulcerated and inflamed than the stomachs of the normal foals. In addition, the faecal pH of the crib-biting foals (6.05) was significantly lower than that of the normal foals (6.58). The antacid diet resulted in a significant improvement in the condition of the horses' stomachs. The crib-biting behaviour declined in most of the foals, regardless of their diet, but tended to decline to a greater extent in the foals on the antacid diet.

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