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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Discussion of Characterizing Stress: Measuring and Interpreting Thermo Regulatory Responses

Authors
item Weesner, Gary
item Eigenberg, Roger

Submitted to: Proceedings Of Animal Stress Workshop
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: January 19, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: In the production environment, animals are exposed to a range of thermal challenges. Such challenges can be a significant source of stress to food-producing animals. How an animal responds to such thermal stressors, and how best to measure these responses are challenging questions facing animal scientists. Skin temperatures tend to fluctuate rapidly with the environment and can vary significantly over the surface of the animal. Such measurements may help us better understand how animals either conserve or dissipate heat energy in an attempt to thermoregulate. Rectal temperatures generally reflect the animal's core body temperature. This temperature does not change as rapidly with the environment and tells us about the overall success or failure of an animal to maintain an appropriate body temperature in a given environment. Some research has begun using implanted transmitters to measure and record the body temperature of animals in their production environments. Since we do not currently know which temperature site (e.g. rectal, skin, subdermal) or combination of sites best serves as indicators of animal well being, researchers should still use multiple sites and methods when evaluating responses to thermal stress.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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