Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit
Title: Relationships Between Temperament and Transportation With Rectal Temperature and Serum Concentrations of Cortisol and Epinephrine in Bulls Authors
|Willard, S -|
|Vann, R -|
|Welsh Jr, T -|
|Randel, R -|
Submitted to: Livestock Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 25, 2010
Publication Date: February 16, 2010
Citation: Burdick, N.C., Carroll, J.A., Hulbert, L.E., Dailey, J.W., Willard, S.T., Vann, R.C., Welsh Jr, T.H., Randel, R.D. 2010. Relationships Between Temperament and Transportation With Rectal Temperature and Serum Concentrations of Cortisol and Epinephrine in Bulls. Livestock Science. 129:166-172. Interpretive Summary: Livestock with bad temperaments are sometimes a problem in animal handling facilities and can lead to poor production performance. This study investigated whether animal temperament can influence measures of body temperature and serum concentrations of cortisol and epinephrine (stress hormones) in response to routine transportation of cattle. Brahman bulls were selected based on temperament score (Calm vs. Moderate vs. Temperamental), outfitted with a temperature recording device, and blood samples collected pre- and post-transport. Our finding indicated that temperament was predictive of changes in body temperature and stress hormone responses before and after transportation. These data may be used in the future to select cattle that may not be as negatively affected by transportation stress during routine animal management procedures in beef cattle.
Technical Abstract: This study investigated whether temperament influences rectal temperature and serum concentrations of cortisol and epinephrine in response to transportation. Brahman bulls were selected based on temperament score (average of exit velocity, EV, and pen score, PS) measured 28 days prior to weaning with the 8 most Calm (0.89 ± 0.15 EV and 1.00 ± 0.00 PS), 8 most Temperamental (3.70 ± 0.29 EV and 4.88 ± 0.13 PS), and the 8 Intermediate (1.59 ± 0.12 EV and 2.25 ± 0.16 PS) selected from a pool of 60 bulls. Whole blood was collected pre- and post-transport, and rectal temperature recording devices were inserted pre-transport for continual collection of rectal temperature during transport. Bulls were transported in a trailer 770 km from Overton, TX (32.27 N, - 94.98 W, 153 m altitude) to New Deal, TX (33.74 N, - 101.84 W, 1006 m altitude). Serum cortisol and plasma epinephrine concentrations were determined. Prior to transportation (0 min) Temperamental bulls had greater rectal temperature than Calm or Intermediate bulls (P < 0.05). Rectal temperature peaked within 30 min after the onset of transportation with Temperamental bulls having greater peak rectal temperatures than Calm or Intermediate bulls (P < 0.05). The lowest mean rectal temperature was reached 400 min after the onset of transportation with Calm bulls having lower mean rectal temperatures than Intermediate or Temperamental bulls (P < 0.05). Prior to transportation Temperamental bulls had greater cortisol concentrations than Calm bulls (P < 0.05). Temperamental bulls had greater concentrations of epinephrine prior to transportation than Calm or Intermediate bulls (P < 0.05). Temperamental bulls also had greater concentrations of cortisol and epinephrine post-transportation than Calm bulls (P < 0.05). Maximum and minimum rectal temperature were positively correlated (r = 0.73; P < 0.01). There was a positive correlation between EV and maximum rectal temperature (r = 0.62; P = 0.01), and a trend for EV to be positively correlated with minimum rectal temperature (r = 0.43; P = 0.10). Epinephrine tended to be positively correlated with maximum rectal temperature (r = 0.46; P = 0.06). Both cortisol (pre-transportation r = 0.55; P = 0.02) and epinephrine (pre- and post-transportation (r = 0.64; P < 0.01 and r = 0.59; P < 0.01, respectively) were positively correlated with EV. In summary, temperament was predictive of 1) changes in rectal temperature due to transportation and 2) circulating concentrations of cortisol and epinephrine before and after transportation.