Reflections on Pain in Equine Behavior

Catherine Bell, CHBC

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard (or seen on social media) someone say “I’ve had all the physical checks so it must be behavioural” when referring to a behavioural problem. What exactly are “all the physical checks”? A quick once-over from the vet? A 5 star vetting? Checks from vet, saddler and dentist? Checks from vet, saddler and dentist plus additional checks from two osteopaths, a chiropractor, 3 complementary therapists, and a physiotherapist? I’m not being facetious in my last suggestion. Sometimes this is what it takes to find a physical problem that is the underlying cause of something apparently behavioural. I’d go as far as saying that we can never say we have “done all the checks” — until the problem has been solved, there is always a chance there could be a physical cause.

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