Today on the program we are going to talk about a behavioral problem in horses called cribbing. Cribbing is a syndrome in which horses chew on various objects; they hook their upper front teeth on an object and pull backwards. In doing this, they can cause severe damage to fences and barns as well as cause damage to their upper teeth. Many methods have been used to try and stop horses from cribbing. Cribbing collars have been used commonly, and these fit tightly just under the horse's throat. Sometimes they are somewhat effective but in many cases they are not. Electric shock collars have also been used to prevent cribbing by teaching the horse not to crib. These collars deliver a mild shock, but to be effective a person must be present to initiate the shock when the horse starts to crib so it is difficult to have someone watch the horse enough for this to be effective. Various surgeries have also been used to stop cribbing and some have been effective depending on how long the horse has been doing it.
A new treatment for cribbing has recently been used that is not recommended and should not be used because of the pain it causes. Hog rings are metal rings that have been placed between the horse's upper front teeth and into the horse's gums. These rings are inserted to cause the horse pain and decrease cribbing. The American Association of Equine Practitioners has issued a statement indicating that these rings cause significant visible damage to the tissue surrounding the teeth and thus can lead to pain and disease of the teeth. Because of this, the AAEP does not support the use of hog rings to prevent cribbing.
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