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Effects of weather variables on thermoregulation of calves during periods of extreme heat

Theurer, Miles E., Anderson, Daivd E., White, Brad J., Miesner, Matt D., Larson, Robert L.
American journal of veterinary research 2014 v.75 no.3 pp. 296-300
ambient temperature, beef cattle, body weight, calves, crossbreds, heat, heat stress, intranasal administration, nose, relative humidity, summer, thermoregulation, vaccines, viruses, wind speed
Objective-To determine effects of ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, relative barometric pressure, and temperature-humidity index (THI) on nasal submucosal and rectal temperatures in cattle during extreme summer conditions. Animals-20 black crossbred beef heifers (mean body weight, 217.8 kg). Procedures-Nasal submucosal and rectal temperatures were monitored every 2 hours for 24 hours on 3 nonconsecutive days when ambient temperature was forecasted to exceed 32.2°C. Ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and relative barometric pressure were continuously monitored at a remote weather station located at the research facility. The THI was calculated and used in the livestock weather safety index (LWSI). Relationships between nasal submucosal or rectal temperature and weather variables were evaluated. Results-Nasal submucosal and rectal temperatures were related to all weather variables monitored. A positive relationship was determined for ambient temperature and THI with both nasal submucosal and rectal temperatures. A negative relationship was evident for nasal submucosal and rectal temperature with relative humidity, wind speed, and relative barometric pressure. Nasal submucosal and rectal temperatures increased with increasing severity of LWSI category. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Effects of environmental conditions on thermoregulation in calves exposed to extreme heat were detected. The positive relationship between nasal submucosal temperature and ambient temperature and THI raised concerns about the efficacy of intranasal administration of temperature-sensitive modified-live virus vaccines during periods of extreme heat. Environmental conditions must be considered when rectal temperature is used as a diagnostic tool for identifying morbid cattle.