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Fuchs, Christine; Kiefner, Lena Charlotte; Kalus, Magdalena; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Erhard, Michael; Wöhr, Anna-Caroline (June 2018): Polysomnography as a Tool to asses equine Welfare. 11th International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research, 5. - 8. Juni 2018, Manchester, UK.
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Abstract

Sleep is a naturally recurring state that involves functions of the body and the mind. It is part of every species ethogram and essential for an individual’s physical and mental health. Extreme sleep deprivation ultimately leads to death [1, 2]. Nonetheless, when evaluating the well-being of an animal or the welfare aspects of a husbandry system, this functional interaction is rarely considered. Whereas the sleep behaviour of humans has been thoroughly investigated for many years [3], knowledge on animal sleep behaviour is based mostly on visual observations and on electro-encephalic examinations [4]. However, as some animals such as horses sleep while standing, such observations and examinations can be challenging. Polysomnography (PSG) is a multi-parametric test to determine the depth and quality of sleep. It entails the continuous and synchronous recording of several body functions such as brain wave activity, muscle activity and eye movements and is routinely used in human sleep laboratories [3]. The presented study is a summary of two separate studies. Their objective was to examine the normal sleep behaviour of healthy horses via polysomnography as well as to examine pathological deviations in the equine sleep behaviour.