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Development and Characterization of a Continuous Tympanic Temperature Logging (CTTL) Probe for Bovine Animals

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 59(2): 703-714. (doi: 10.13031/trans.59.11367) @2016
Authors:   Jacob J. Mayer, Jeremiah D. Davis, Joseph L. Purswell, Emile J. Koury, Nicolas H. Younan, Jamie E. Larson, Tami M. Brown-Brandl
Keywords:   Core body temperature, Fever, Heat stress, Sampling rate, Tympanic temperature, Vaginal temperature.

Abstract. Developing a research tool that is low cost, easy to install, and can be implemented in group-housed animals is important to quantify parameters needed to promptly assess animal health and well-being. However, a practical and cost-effective solution for monitoring large numbers of animals in a production setting has not been developed. The objectives of this study were to (1) develop a self-contained and easily deployed continuous tympanic temperature logging (CTTL) probe capable of recording and storing tympanic temperature (TT) data from group-housed beef cattle, (2) determine the minimum sampling interval needed to measure TT in beef cattle, and (3) quantify the temperature differences among the ears (left and right) and vagina (TV). A two-part device was developed consisting of a temperature logger housed in a molded foam probe. The CTTL probe can be effectively used to measure TT in both the left and right ears of group-housed animals. The CTTL is cheaper, faster, and easier to install and remove when compared to past methods. Recovery rate was greatly affected by cattle behavior, weather, duration of collection, and installer, but a recovery rate of ≥75% should be considered successful and ≤50% unsatisfactory. When planning research trials, increasing the number of required animals would compensate for a few dislodged temperature loggers. Periodogram analysis determined that a minimum effective sampling interval of 2.5 min (lower than in past studies) was needed to capture the dynamic nature of TT in field conditions. Mean temperatures were different (p < 0.0001): 39.3°C, 38.5°C, and 38.4°C for TV and TT in the right and left ears, respectively. The mean temperature difference between the ears (left - right = -0.10°C) was smaller than the mean difference between the vagina and each ear (vagina - left ear = 0.92°C; vagina - right ear = 0.83°C). The variability in the temperature profiles both within and between animals presents difficulty in characterizing, modeling, and subsequent prediction of thermal status using mean values. Future research should be directed toward characterizing TT profiles of beef cattle using signal analysis for different phenotypes and growth stages.

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