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An investigation of Dairy Cow Response to Stimulation by a cattle immobilizer

03/17/2013 @ 6:08am

The Company Farmfreund

Objective

To examine plasma cortisol levels in response to stimulation of dairy cows with an cattle immobilizer

Farmfreund offers you products for livestock husbandry, which make the exposure to animals safe and efficient. In addition they will help to reduce staff costs, thus the price for the instruments will be compensated quickly. We manufacture and assemble our own products.

Farmfreund: Experience and Inventive Talent

Since 2002 we develop innovative high-tech products for animal husbandry. Our aim is to provide efficient units, which offer the highest security for animals but also for the people who work with animals.

Objective

To examine plasma cortisol levels in response to stimulation of dairy cows with an cattle immobilizer

Method

Twelve lactating dairy cows of predominantly Holstein-Friesian breed were selected. Following morning milking the cows were grazed in a pasture for four hours and were then loaded side by side in a herringbone race for the duration of experimental period (approximately 2 hours). Measurements were made on two treatment days with an interval of three days between treatment days.

Cows were assigned randomly to the treatment groups in a crossover design such that they received two of the three possible stimulation treatments using a cattle immobilizer during the course of the project (n=8 cows per treatment over the two treatment days). Stimulation was applied for a sustained period of two minutes. This duration was selected as being the period required for most examinations and minor manipulations to be carried out. The levels of stimulation chosen were at Setting 2 and 4 on the device dial. Thus the three treatments consisted of:

Setting 2 – probe inserted into the rectum and stimulation applied at level 2 for two minutes (mils stimulation).

Setting 4 – probe inserted into the rectum and stimulation applied at level 4 for two minutes (moderate stimulation).

Control treatment – probe which was unconnected to any electrical box inserted into the rectum for two minutes.

Coccygeal blood samples were taken before the device was applied and again at 2, 15, 30 and 60 minutes after the end of the stimulation period. Blood samples were collected into heparinised vacutainers and immediately placed into ice water. They were centrifuged at 1800g and 4°C for 12 minutes within 90 minutes of collection. Plasma was then aspirated and stored at -20°C until analysed. Plasma cortisol concentrations were measured by radio-immune assay in a single assay run. This assay has previously been described by Fisher et al (2001) and has a minimum detectable level of 1,1ng/ml. Samples were analysed in duplicate. Within assay coefficients of variation were 11.7%, 9.6% and 8.2% for reference samples or 5.6, 25.7 and 52.3ng/ml, respectively.

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