Physiological and metabolic responses of gestating Brahman cows to repeated transportation. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study characterized physiological responses to repeated transportation (TRANS) of gestating cows of differing temperaments. Cows were classified as Calm (C; = 10), Intermediate (I; = 28), or Temperamental (T; = 10). Based on artificial insemination date and pregnancy confirmation, cows were TRANS for 2 h on d 60 (TRANS1), 80 (TRANS2), 100 (TRANS3), 120 (TRANS4), and 140 (TRANS5) 5 d of gestation. Indwelling vaginal temperature (VT) monitoring devices were inserted 24 h before each TRANS with VT recorded from 2 h before TRANS and averaged into 5-min intervals through 30 min after TRANS. Serum samples were collected before loading and on unloading from the trailer to determine concentrations of cortisol, glucose, and nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA). Data were analyzed by repeated measures analysis in SAS. Serum cortisol concentrations were affected by temperament ( < 0.001), with T cows having the greater concentrations of cortisol before each TRANS event. All cows (100%) regardless of temperament exhibited elevations in cortisol following each TRANS event. Peak VT was greater ( < 0.001) at TRANS1 relative to all other TRANS events regardless of cow temperament. During TRANS, the T cows tended ( < 0.09) to have greater peak VT (39.86 0.15C) compared to C (39.41 0.16C) and I cows (39.55 0.08C). Area under the VT curve decreased ( = 0.002) from TRANS1 through TRANS5. Pre-TRANS serum glucose concentration at TRANS1 was greater ( < 0.03) for T (68.13 4.31mg/dL) compared to I (53.42 2.78 mg/dL) and C cows (52.76 4.60 mg/dL). The C and I cows had greater changes in NEFA concentration between pre- and post-transport, and T cows showed the least change ( < 0.001). Cow VT and serum glucose concentration decreased in all temperaments ( < 0.01) with repeated TRANS; however, serum NEFA concentration post-TRANS did not vary ( > 0.10) with repeated TRANS events. Serum glucose concentrations were affected ( < 0.02) by a TRANS event by temperament interaction with T cows taking more TRANS events to decrease their change in glucose concentration compared to C and I cows. These results demonstrate that temperament influences physiological responses to stress in gestating Brahman cows. Although repeated transport in our study is confounded with day of gestation, seasonal changes, and learning from repeated handling and transport, repeated transport is a useful model of repeated stress in studying the effects of temperament.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Price, D. M., Lewis, A. W., Neuendorff, D. A., Carroll, J. A., Burdick Sanchez, N. C., Vann, R. C., Welsh, T. H., & Randel, R. D.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Price, DM||Lewis, AW||Neuendorff, DA||Carroll, JA||Burdick Sanchez, NC||Vann, RC||Welsh, TH||Randel, RD

publication date

  • February 2015