Carcangiu, Vincenzo and Vacca, Giuseppe Massimo and Parmeggiani, Albamaria and Mura, Maria Consuelo and Pazzola, Michele and Dettori, Maria Luisa and Bini, Pier Paolo (2008) The Effect of shearing procedures on blood levels of growth hormone, cortisol and other stress haematochemical parameters in Sarda sheep. Animal, Vol. 2 (4), p. 606-612. eISSN 1751-732X. Article.
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The aim of this research was to investigate how growth hormone (GH) cortisol and some haematochemical parameters could be modified by the stress caused by the stages of shearing in Sarda breed sheep. Five groups of 10 sheep each were formed. Group A, only separated from the flock; Group B, only tied; Group C, both tied and shorn (animals in these three groups were ewe lambs shorn for the first time); Group D, adult females both tied and shorn; and Group E, adult entire males both tied and shorn (animals in these two groups had been shorn previously). Five blood samples were taken from each animal: the day before treatment (first sample); at the start of the treatment (second sample); in the middle of shearing for Groups C, D and E, 10 min after separation in Group A and 10 min after tying in Group B (third sample); at the end of treatment (fourth sample); and on the day after treatment (fifth sample). Plasma GH levels showed a decrease (P < 0.01) in Groups A, B, C and D during treatment (third and fourth samples), while Group E only at the end of shearing (fourth sample). In the third sample, the highest GH levels were recorded for Group E (P < 0.05), while it was recorded in the fourth sample for Groups A and E (P < 0.05). Cortisol levels showed a clear increase (P < 0.01) in all groups during treatment, but Group A showed a decrease in the fourth sample in comparison to the third sample. Males in the second, third and fourth sample and Group A only in the fourth sample showed lower cortisol levels when compared with the other groups (P < 0.05). Plasma glucose levels showed an increase (P < 0.01) in all groups during treatment but Groups B, C and E showed the highest values (P < 0.05). Magnesium (Mg) showed an increase in all groups in the third and fourth sample, while sodium (Na), in the same samples, only in Groups B, C and D. Potassium (K) values showed a significant decrease (P < 0.05) only in Groups C and D at the end of shearing. These results show that GH secretion is influenced by all the stress procedure: separation, tying and shearing. Shearing, even if necessary for animals, causes a significant change of the blood parameters involved in the stress response.
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