Effects of liver abscess presence on stress-related physiological parameters associated with well-being in beef feedlot cattle

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Source: Science Direct

F.S.Baier*, T.Grandin, T.E.EnglePAS, S.L.Archibeque, J.J.WagnerPAS, L.N.Edwards-Callaway

Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523

ABSTRACT

Objective

Production diseases, such as liver abscesses, can affect cattle performance; however, the well-being implications are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of liver abscess presence on stress-related parameters in beef breed feedlot cattle.

Materials and Methods

A total of 363 Bos taurus crossbred beef feedlot steers (675 ± 2.3 kg) were assigned to 1 of 3 groups in accordance with the liver abscess score assigned after slaughter: no liver abscess presence (n = 316), mild liver abscess presence (n = 21), and severe liver abscess presence (n = 24). Hair cortisol concentrations were obtained from hair samples collected from each animal 2 d before slaughter. A maximum eye temperature using infrared thermography and a mobility score were assigned to each animal. Serum cortisol concentrations were collected via exsanguination blood for 115 of the 363 animals. Analyses of variance were used to determine differences in measured well-being variables between liver abscess score groups.

Results and Discussion

All measured parameters, including infrared thermography (P = 0.55), hair cortisol (P = 0.96), and serum cortisol (P = 0.21), showed no effect of liver abscess scores. No statistical analysis was performed with mobility data because only scores of normal locomotion were assigned.

Implications and Applications

Under the conditions of this experiment, liver abscesses did not affect measured stress-related outcomes. Further research is warranted to improve our understanding of the relationship between liver abscess presence and other stress-related parameters associated with well-being in cattle.

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