Zylkéne to load? The effects of alpha-casozepine on compliance and coping in horses during loading

Horses are routinely transported for access to safe off-road riding, veterinary care, breeding, sale, or moving to a new home environment. However, transport is a known stressor in horses. For this reason, problem behavior when loading is a commonly reported issue, which presents risks to handlers and horse welfare. Existing literature and manufacturers’ recommendations suggests […]

The potential beneficial effect of classical music on heart rate variability in dogs used in veterinary training

Heart rate variability (HRV), the variability between subsequent heart beats, is a measure of autonomic tone, influenced by psychophysiological factors, neurohormonal mechanisms and cardiac disease. Auditory stimulation, specifically classical music, has been documented to benefit well-being in a number of animal species. The aim of this study was to determine whether exposure to classical music […]

Eye temperature and heart rate variability of calves disbudded with or without local anaesthetic

The possibility that pain can be detected from changes in eye temperature and heart rate variability (HRV) during disbudding was examined in thirty calves, randomly assigned to four treatments: 1) sham handling (control), 2) local anaesthetic (LA, cornual nerve injection) and sham disbudded, 3) sham LA and disbudded, 4) LA and disbudded. During a 40 […]

Autonomic reactions indicating positive affect during acoustic reward learning in domestic pigs

Cognitive processes, such as stimulus appraisal, are important in generating emotional states and successful coping with cognitive challenges is thought to induce positive emotions. We investigated learning behaviour and autonomic reactions, including heart rate (HR) and its variability (standard deviation (SDNN) and root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) of a time series of interbeat […]

Heart rate variability and saliva cortisol assessment in shelter dog: Human–animal interaction effects

The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of a human interaction program on shelter dogs and to determine the effect on canine heart rate variability, behaviour, and salivary cortisol levels. Twenty dogs were behaviourally (temperament tests) and clinically (full cardiologic examination) pre-tested and then matched in two homogenous groups. Ten dogs (group […]

Heart rate variability as a measure of autonomic regulation of cardiac activity for assessing stress and welfare in farm animals — A review

Measurement of heart rate variability (HRV) is a non-invasive technique that can be used to investigate the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, especially the balance between sympathetic and vagal activity. It has been proven to be very useful in humans for both research and clinical studies concerned with cardiovascular diseases, diabetic autonomic dysfunction, hypertension […]

Gentle vs. aversive handling of pregnant ewes: II. Physiology and behavior of the lambs

We compared the effects of aversive and gentle handling in late pregnant ewes on fearfulness, heart rate variability and spatial learning in lambs. Twenty-four Norwegian-Dala ewes were studied. Ewes were subjected to gentle (i.e. soft talking and calm behavior) or aversive handling (i.e. swift movements and shouting) for 10 min twice a day during the last […]

Applying fractal analysis to heart rate time series of sheep experiencing pain

The objective assessment of pain is difficult in animals and humans alike. Detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) is a method which extracts “hidden” information from heart rate time series, and may offer a novel way of assessing the subjective experience associated with pain. The aim of this study was to investigate whether any fractal differences could […]

Physiological expression of emotional reactions in sheep

With the aim of judging emotional valence from an animal’s perspective, multiple physiological variables were recorded in sheep when they were exposed to situations likely to induce negative and positive emotional states. Fourteen sheep were conditioned for several weeks to anticipate the delivery of standard feed. In three experimental trials carried out thereafter, the animals’ […]

Equine behaviour and heart rate in temperament tests with or without rider or handler

The aim of the present study was to compare horses’ heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (RMSSD, pNN50) and behaviour in the same temperament test when being ridden, led, and released free. Behavioural measurements included scores and linear measurements for reactivity (R), activity (A), time to calm down (T) and emotionality (E), recorded during the […]