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Introduction to Behavior of Horses

By

Gary M. Landsberg

, BSc, DVM, MRCVS, DACVB, DECAWBM, North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic;


Sagi Denenberg

, DVM, DACVB, Dip. ECAWBM (Behaviour), MACVSc (Behaviour), North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic

Last full review/revision Mar 2019 | Content last modified Apr 2019

Behavioral medicine is the scientific study of everything animals do, whether the animals are insects, birds, mammals, fish, or humans. The field of animal behavior is concerned with understanding the causes, functions, development, and evolution of behavior. Behavior refers to the actions or reactions of an animal. Behavior is controlled by the endocrine and nervous systems. The complexity of an animal’s behavior is related to the complexity of its nervous system. Generally, animals with complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn new responses and thus adjust their behavior.

An animal’s behavior is influenced by many factors. Some of these factors include genetic predisposition, experience and learning, environment, and physiology. The amount and type of human handling (especially during the first days and months of life) and exposure to novel stimuli can influence a horse’s behavior and character. The brain and its associated neurotransmitters also play a fundamental role in temperament and behavior. Abnormal levels of various hormones may play a role in aggression and fear. Regulatory functions of the brain decrease with age, which results in an increase in fears and anxieties.

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Fluid Therapy in Animals
Abnormalities of circulation can be due to a number of causes and may result in circulatory shock, an emergency situation. All types of circulatory shock respond to administration of fluid therapy to some extent, but some types require additional medications. Which type of circulatory shock is most readily handled with fluid therapy alone?
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