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Evidence of negative affective state in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with syringomyelia

Cockburn, A, Smith, M, Rusbridge, Clare, Fowler, C, Paul, E, Murrell, J, Blackwell, E, Casey, R, Whay, H and Mendl, M (2017) Evidence of negative affective state in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with syringomyelia Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

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Abstract

Syringomyelia is a common and chronic neurological disorder affecting Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The condition is putatively painful, but evaluating the affective component of chronic pain in non-human animals is challenging. Here we employed two methods designed to assess animal affect – the judgement bias and reward loss sensitivity tests – to investigate whether Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with syringomyelia (exhibiting a fluid filled cavity (syrinx) in the spinal cord of ≥2mm diameter) were in a more negative affective state than those without the condition. Dogs with syringomyelia did not differ in age from those without the condition, but owners reported that they scratched more (P<0.05), in line with previous findings. They also showed a more negative judgement of ambiguous locations in the judgement bias task (P<0.05), indicating a more negative affective state, but did not show a greater sensitivity to loss of food rewards. These measures were unaffected by whether the dog was or was not receiving pain-relieving medication. Across all subjects, dogs whose owners reported high levels of scratching showed a positive judgement bias (P<0.05), indicating that scratching was not directly associated with a negative affective state. Tests of spontaneous behaviour (latency to jump up to or down from a 30cm high platform) and physiology (thermography of the eye) did not detect any differences. These results provide initial evidence from the judgement bias task that syringomyelia may be associated with negative affect in dogs, and open the way for further and larger studies to confirm findings and investigate the effects of medication in more detail.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Cockburn, AUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Smith, MUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rusbridge, Clarec.rusbridge@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Fowler, CUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Paul, EUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Murrell, JUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Blackwell, EUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Casey, RUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Whay, HUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Mendl, MUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 12 December 2017
Identification Number : 10.1016/j.applanim.2017.12.008
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Uncontrolled Keywords : Animal welfare; Cognitive bias; Reward loss sensitivity; Affective state; Dog; Syringomyelia
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 03 Jan 2018 10:48
Last Modified : 03 Jan 2018 10:52
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/845519

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