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Behavioural and physiological effects of virginiamycin in the diets of horses with stereotypies
  1. R. Freire, BSc, PhD1,
  2. H. A. Clegg, BAppSc, MScVetSc1,
  3. P. Buckley, BVSc, DipVetClinStud, MVetClinStud, MACVSc1,
  4. M. A. Friend, BSc, PhD1 and
  5. P. D. McGreevy, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, MRCVS2
  1. 1 School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia
  2. 2 Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia


The effects of dietary supplements of virginiamycin on the behaviour and physiology of 17 thoroughbred geldings (five cribbers, six weavers and six control horses) were compared with the effects of a placebo over a period of 16 weeks. Virginiamycin had no effect on the horses' stereotypic behaviour, but it reduced their explorative behaviour, possibly owing to a reduction in feeding motivation. Virginiamycin increased the water intake of the cribbers and decreased the water intake of the control horses, but it was not possible to eliminate possible confounding factors for this effect. Virginiamycin had no other significant effects on the behaviour or physiology of the horses, and had no effect on the digestibility of their diets.

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