Reasons for performing study: Although crib-biting (cribbing)/windsucking has previously been associated with 2 types ofcolic, additional research into the possible role of otherbehaviours on incidence of colic by type and severity has notbeen undertaken.Objectives: To investigate: a relationship between cribbing/windsucking and colic; a relationship between cribbing/windsucking and different types of colic, both medical andsurgical; and whether horses displaying specific behaviourtraits were more likely to have had colic.Methods: A matched case-control retrospective study wasconducted evaluating horses with various surgical andmedical colic diagnoses, admitted to a referral hospital over a3 year period. Computerised records and a validated internetquestionnaire were used to obtain information on ownerperceivedbehavioural traits and repetitive behaviours.Results: Cribbing/windsucking was significantly associatedwith colic but was unassociated with one category or severityof colic over another. No other repetitive behaviour wasassociated with colic. Age (≥20 years) was significantlyassociated with colic. An anxious temperament was notassociated with risk of colic.Conclusion: Animals at higher risk for colic may be identifiedbased on history of cribbing/windsucking behaviour, but thisbehaviour was unassociated with increased risk for aparticular category or severity of colic. Horses characterisedas being more anxious were not at increased risk for colic.Potential relevance: There is a need to elucidate a causalrelationship between cribbing/windsucking andgastrointestinal function as development of more effectiveand humane strategies to treat cribbing/windsuckingbehaviour may help to improve equine welfare and reducethe risk of colic.
- Risk factor
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