Stall Rest Suggestions

I have a horse that is on stall rest while recovering from a fractured humeru

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Q: I have a horse that is on stall rest while recovering from a fractured humerus (forearm bone). He has started becoming aggressive in his stall (biting and kicking). I don’t want to reprimand him for fear he might reinjure himself, but I’m beginning to fear for my own safety when entering his stall. What can I do in this situation?

via e-mail

A: Without more specifics on the circumstances of your horse’s aggressive behavior, and in particular what seems to trigger the biting and kicking responses, I can only give you general recommendations.

First, be sure your veterinarian has taken appropriate measures to evaluate your horse’s pain. Biting and kicking are commonly seen with horses in pain. If you or your veterinarian are not sure if your horse’s reactions are pain-related, send me a video clip. I can likely get a pretty good idea if he is in pain. Similarly, be sure the horse is free of gastric ulcers. Gastric ulcer discomfort can make horses crabby in ways that include kicking and biting, especially at feeding time

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Written by:

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

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