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Type of publication: Diploma Thesis
Type of document:

Year: 2011

Authors: Skoda, Marianne

Title: Kaugeräusche bei Pferden unter besonderer Berücksichtigung verschiedener Futtermittel - eine Pilotstudie.

Other title: Examination of chewing sounds in horses masticating hay and corn - a pilot study

Source: Diplomarbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 46.


Schramel Johannes
Simhofer Hubert

Riedelberger Klaus
Schramel Johannes

Vetmed Research Units:
University Equine Clinic, Clinical Unit of Equine Surgery

Graduation date: 11.08.11

This Pilot study was performed in order to show that chewing sounds of horses can be measured, are reproducible and specific for different food types. In order to obtain sufficient data, 20 horses of varying age, size, breed and gender were used. In order to avoid bias by different types of food accurate comparison could be made, all feed types were taken from the same delivery and supplier. The feeds used in this particular study were hay, and whole corn taken from the 2010 harvest. A button microphone (Type MCE101), connecting horse and a diaphragm of a stethoscope (Heintel) were used to record the chewing sounds. The diaphragm was glued with Veet R (Reckitt Benckiser Austria GmbH) warm wax onto the noseridge of each horse, and the microphone connected to a laptop (Acer Aspire 6920). Chewing sounds where recorded while the horses were masticating the above described feeds. For these measurements and further processing a custom computer software (Audacity 1.2.6) was used. The results were converted to Microsoft Excel 2007. In an initial attempt a microphone was placed next to the muzzle and then in other attempts was hung through the headcollar. However, this setup created significant amounts of friction sounds. With the use of double sided cellotape a stethoscope was attached to the noseridge in order to hold the microphone securely and produce readable results. Another problem to ofer come was the thik winter coat of some horses witch compromised the secure fit of the membrane on the skin. This problem was solved buy using warm wax as an adhesive for the membrane. This setup seemed to fulfill the requirements for this study and was used for all further measurements. The average duration of a masticatory cycle chewing hay was 0,81 ± 0,07 seconds and chewing corn 0,74 ± 0,08 seconds. The duration of the chewing motion masticating hay was 10% longer than the chewing motion eating corn. The duration of the power stroke was 45,31 ± 0,07% with hay and 50,25 ± 0,04% with corn. The power stroke duration was 5% longer in corn compared to hay. It was also found that duration of the masticatory cycle correlated with the weight of the horses. Heavier horses displayed longer masticatory cycle. In summary the chewing sounds of horses are measurable, reproducible and specific for different feed types.

horse, chewing sounds, power stroke length, feeds

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