The effects of restriction of movement on the reliability of heart rate variability measurements in the horse (Equus caballus)

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Analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) is a noninvasive approach for investigating the sympathovagal balance of the autonomic nervous system. In recent years, HRV has been increasingly evaluated in animal research. In horses, it has been suggested that basal resting conditions can be achieved by restraining them. The aim of this study was to verify how restriction of movement influences HRV i2n horses. Ten healthy standardbred mares were used to measure the electrocardiographic signal under 2 conditions: free to move in the stall and restrained in the stock. Results indicate that the restriction of movement is associated with increased nervous system sympathetic activity not consistent with resting conditions.

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