Effects of seasonal ambient heat stress (spring vs. summer) on physiological and metabolic variables in hair sheep located in an arid region
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Twenty Dorper × Pelibuey primiparous ewes were used to evaluate effects of seasonal ambient heat stress (i.e., spring vs. summer) on physiological and metabolic responses under production conditions in an arid region. Ten ewes experiencing summer heat stress (i.e., temperature = 34.8 ± 4.6 °C; THI = 81.6 ± 3.2 units) and 10 under spring thermoneutral conditions (temperature = 24.2 ± 5.4 °C; THI = 68.0 ± 4.8 units) were corralled together to measure rectal temperature, respiratory frequency, and skin temperatures at 0600, 1200, 1800, and 2400 h on four occasions over 40 days. Blood metabolite and electrolyte concentrations were also measured at 0600 and 1800 hours. Data were analyzed with a completely randomized design using repeated measurements in time. Rectal and skin temperatures, as well as respiratory frequency, were higher (P < 0.01) in summer than spring at all measured days. Blood serum glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and chlorine concentrations were lower (P < 0.01) in summer than spring at 0800 and 1800 hours. In contrast, summer heat stress increased (P < 0.01) blood urea and potassium concentrations at 0800 and 1800 hours. Compared with spring thermoneutral conditions, summer heat stress affected the physiological and metabolic status of hair breed ewes in an arid region, which included blood metabolite and electrolyte adjustments to efficiently cope with summer heat stress.
KeywordsHair breed Body temperature Heat tolerance Circadian rhythms Glucose
This study was supported through the first author by the PROMEP-SEP program in the 2011, likewise by the Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico. The authors thank Yolanda Osorio and Samantha Perard for their technical assistance in the development of the current study.
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures involving sheep were conducted within the guidelines of approved local official techniques of animal care in Mexico (NOM-051-ZOO-1995: humanitarian care of animals during mobilization).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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