The Effect of Transport on Core and Peripheral Body Temperatures and Heart Rate of Sheep

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Abstract:

The effect of transport on core and peripheral body temperatures and heart rate was assessed in ten 18-month-old Coopworth ewes (Ovis aries). Manual recordings of core (rectal) temperatures were obtained, and automated logging of peripheral (external auditory canal and pinna) temperatures and heart rate was carried out on the day prior to (day 1) and during (day 2) a standardised transport procedure. Transport produced a significant increase in the rectal temperature, which declined following unloading. Peripheral measures of body temperature also exhibited changes with transport. However, both ear-canal and pinna temperatures declined during actual transport, reflecting to some extent the decline in ambient temperatures recorded externally by sensors on the ear tags of the animals. Peripheral measurement of temperature, particularly at the readily accessible ear canal, may offer potential as a technique for the long-term monitoring of thermal responses to stress. However, further research is required into the potentially confounding effects of ambient temperature and wind chill factors.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; BODY TEMPERATURE; HEART RATE; SHEEP; TRANSPORT

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: February 1, 2002

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