Sickness behavior in animals: Implications for health and wellness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


Sickness behavior represents a centrally organized suite of behaviors - depression, inactivity, anorexia, sleepiness, and reduction of grooming - that evolved in animals living in nature to conserve body resources for the high energetic costs of fever in fighting infections. The domestic scene reveals that sickness behaviors can be an early marker of infections such as mastitis in cows. Aspects of sickness behavior are markers of stressful situations such as separating a young animal from its mother. In husbandry of animals that are pets, farm animals or in zoos, markers of sickness behavior are indications of infection, or stress and impaired welfare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780128132517
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Lying down
  • Movement
  • Sickness behavior
  • Sleepiness
  • Thirst
  • Welfare
  • Wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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