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.
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