Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Behavior: separation distress

Synonym(s): Weaning stress, Isolation stress

Contributor(s): Daniel Mills, Natalie Waran

Introduction

  • Separation distress is a general term that describes the behavioral and physiological response of animals to being separated from their social companions.
  • In horses this can be a problem following weaning, when horses are isolated due to management, eg transport, stabling, work, or due to problems with health, eg confinement such as 'box-rest'.
  • Separation-related anxiety is a recognized problem in domestic dogs that have become overly bonded with their owners. Since horses do not develop the same relationship with humans it is more likely that they experience separation distress when isolated from conspecifics, rather than human handlers.

Effects

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Causes

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Dealing with separation distress

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Problems due to isolation and confinement

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Further Reading

Publications

Other sources of information

  • Mills D & Nankervis K (1999)Equine Behavior - Principles and Practice.Blackwell Science, Oxford.


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