Transport Stress and Exercise Hyperthermia Recorded in Sheep by Radiotelemetry
Deep body temperature was measured in four wethers and four ewes surgically implanted with biotelemetry devices. Records were taken over several days in the home pen (baseline data) and also in response to three potentially stressful procedures: transport, exposure to a sheepdog, and
forced exercise. Loading the animals into a vehicle and transporting them for 2.5h produced a rise in core temperature that, in males, persisted for several hours. Moving the sheep into an outside pen and subsequent exposure to the dog appeared to produce transient increases in body temperature,
although these changes were not statistically significant. By contrast, exercise for 30min resulted in a rapid and pronounced (approximately 2°C) temperature rise that was followed by an equally abrupt return to baseline. Sustained increases in deep body temperature or changes in circadian
temperature rhythms in healthy sheep may be a response to psychological distress and, therefore, indicative of poor welfare.