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They assessed horses’ reactions to the procedure, any pain felt and evidence of continuing inflammation.
Blood cortisol levels were analysed for signs of stress and the memory of the incident was assessed by carrying out a second, dummy run, one week later.
There was more swelling and more evidence of skin damage in branding than in microchipping, which is not surprising and has led the authors to call for branding to be abandoned wherever possible.
Similarly, neither procedure appeared to leave an unpleasant memory, since they caused no distress nor unease when the mock procedures were repeated a week later.
For all the latest veterinary research and developments, see the current issue of Horse & Hound (12 November, ’09)
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