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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Methods and Measurements to Assess the Physiological State of Livestock

Authors
item LAY, JR., DONALD
item Wilson, Matt - WEST VIRGINIA UNIV

Submitted to: European Association of Animal Production Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2001
Publication Date: August 1, 2001
Citation: LAY JR, D.C. METHODS AND MEASUREMENTS TO ASSESS THE PHYSIOLOGICAL STATE OF LIVESTOCK. EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF ANIMAL PRODUCTION PROCEEDINGS. 2001. ABSTRACT P. 131.

Technical Abstract: The physiological state of an animal is in constant flux, working to maintain itself within some pre-determined range under which the animal can function at an optimum performance. There are many challenges to the maintenance of this optimum state, such as temperature changes, social pressures, management procedures, over and under nourishment, injury, and disease. By their inherent nature, some management practices and procedures challenge the animal in such a way that its physiology is altered in order to maintain itself within its optimal range. Physiological alterations that excessively challenge the animal are detrimental to its welfare and productivity, and these alterations may create erroneous experimental data. Therefore, reliable assessment of the physiological state of an animal is imperative. Traditional physiological measurements have relied on quantifying alterations to homeostasis. It is also well recognized that when these common alterations in baseline homeostatic mechanisms are dramatically altered, organism life strategies such as growth, disease resistance, and reproduction can be affected. Therefore, a great deal of research has concentrated on quantifying outward signs of failure of these systems, such as low growth rates, infertility, and an increased number of diseased animals. Scientists have done a good job of measuring all of these physiological alterations, unfortunately the underlying challenge that continues to confront scientists is how to define the degree of physiological change that translates into distress.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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