Cribbing Prevention for Horses
Prevent Dangerous and Destructive Cribbing in Your Horse!
Cribbing is a stereotypie, that is, a behavior that is repetitive and compulsive. The behavior includes the horse grabbing onto something solid (like a fence board, bucket, or door) with his top incisors, arches his neck, and sucks in air. An audible gulping or belching can usually be heard. Some horse can crib without their teeth on anything. This sucking in of air causes a kind of "head rush" for the horse. The head rush is pleasurable.
Cribbing can have undesirable health effects on your horse. Many horses will wear down their top incisors, sometimes right to the gum line. This will make prehending food difficult for the horse. It can also result in a malocclusion of the teeth of the upper and lower jaws. Special attention should be paid to the teeth of a cribber to prevent any problems associated with tooth wear.
Studies show that there is also a higher association with colic in horses that crib. No certain type or severity of colic, but just an increased risk. It was once thought that cribbers got more gas colic, but studies have not found that to be true.
Some horses can become so addicted to the rush of cribbing that they will forsake eating for it. This can result in a weight loss, malnutrition, and poor performance.
Cribbing collars can be an effective means of controlling cribbing in some horses. It is often necessary to try several different styles to get one that works for your horse. And it is often necessary for the collar to be very tight. Monitor your horse for any signs of abrasions from the collar as well as any difficulties breathing. there have been some instances of horse who pass out from wearing a very tight cribbing collar. However, these cases are rare and controlling the behavior is very important.
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