Saturday, June 10, 2017

Horses ask humans to help solve problems

Researchers in Japan have shown that when horses face problems they cannot solve themselves, they use visual and tactile signals to get human attention and ask for help.

The study also suggests that horses alter their communicative behaviour based on humans' knowledge of the situation.

Scientists investigated horses' social cognitive skills with humans in a problem-solving situation where food was hidden in a place accessible only to humans. The experiment was carried out in a paddock belonging to the equestrian club at Kobe University, where eight horses from the club participated with the cooperation of their student caretakers.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Equine herpes virus more stable than previously thought

A new study challenges the belief that herpes viruses are relatively unstable outside their host. 

Herpes viruses, such as EHV-1, have a lipid-containing envelope surrounding the viral DNA.  The envelope is relatively sensitive to desiccation, heat and detergents. This makes these viruses more susceptible to disinfectants than non-enveloped viruses. Typically, they only survive for a limited time outside the host, and tend to spread directly from one animal to another.

The research found that, equine herpesvirus remained stable and infectious over a three-week period, under a variety of conditions. This suggests that untreated water could be a source of infection by some herpesviruses.

Using GPS units to monitor behaviour of mares and foals

Researchers in Japan have shown that Global positioning System (GPS) units could be useful in studying mare and foal behaviour.

By recording the positions of the mare and the foal at the same time they could calculate the distance between them. They could then monitor the way the distance between each mare and her foal changed as the foal grew.