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Open AccessArticle

Ethological and Physiological Parameters Assessment in Donkeys Used in Animal Assisted Interventions

1
Centro Universitario Specializzato per gli Interventi Assistiti con gli Animali, Università degli Studi di Messina, 98168 Messina, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università degli Studi di Messina, 98168 Messina, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1867; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101867
Received: 3 September 2020 / Revised: 26 September 2020 / Accepted: 29 September 2020 / Published: 13 October 2020
The study aimed to obtain scientific data useful for the development of methodologies and standardized protocols for welfare donkey monitoring during animal-assisted interventions (AAIs). For this purpose, on thirteen donkeys, ethological tests and physiological parameters (heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), and root mean square of successive differences (rMMSD)) were assessed during AAI sessions. The AAI sessions determined modifications of tested parameters. These preliminary results can be considered as a starting point for the investigation of the welfare in donkeys used in AAIs.
Background: Few studies have been performed to identify objective indicators for the selection of therapeutic donkeys or to assess their welfare during animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the response to the ethological test and the modifications of physiological parameters in donkeys subjected to AAI sessions. Methods: Thirteen donkeys were subjected to a behavioral evaluation during an AAI session. Heart rate, heart rate variability, and root mean square of successive difference values were detected. Results: Statistically significant changes in the tested parameters were observed during AAI sessions. Conclusions: In donkeys, there was a neurovegetative involvement during AAI sessions. Our data give a contribution to the evaluation of donkey welfare during AAIs. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; human-animal interactions; donkeys; AAIs animal welfare; human-animal interactions; donkeys; AAIs
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Panzera, M.; Alberghina, D.; Statelli, A. Ethological and Physiological Parameters Assessment in Donkeys Used in Animal Assisted Interventions. Animals 2020, 10, 1867.

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