Though the role of an equine veterinarian is to help horses, a good understanding of their behavior is key. However, a new study has shown that some vet students misinterpret equine behavior, reports The Horse.
Some students even perceived the horse's emotional state to be the exact opposite of what was actually being displayed. This error in understanding could mean the future veterinarians miss the signs of poor welfare as well as put themselves at risk of injury.
Dr. Gabriella Gronqvist, lead author of the study, tested 127 first-year vet students as well as undergraduate equine science students. The students were shown a video and asked to classify the horse's behavior as agitated, anxious, at ease, curious, fearful, happy, playful and uncomfortable, among other choices.
There were significant contradictions in the terms students used to describe the horses in the videos. The students who had more equine experience were able to recognize the horse's behavior accurately, while those students with less equine experience, many who had lived in urban areas, had behavior assessments that were cause for concern.
The study concluded that the inability of vet students to understand equine behavior could compromise a horse's welfare, as well as place the vet at risk for injury.
Read more at The Horse.
Read the full study in Animals.
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