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Methods for Assessing Horse Well Being During Transport

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

Citation:  Paper number  034092,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15650) @2003
Authors:   Green, JL Purswell, RS Gates, LM Lawrence, RJ Coleman, EF Wheeler
Keywords:   Keywords. Horses, Body Temperature, Heart rate, Telemetry, Transport, Physiological monitoring

Horse transport has been associated with numerous ailments such as injuries and respiratory infections. Previous studies have reported physiological responses to transport, including changes in body temperature, heart rate, behavior, and blood chemistry, some of which might be useful as indicators of well being. This research focuses on evaluating a telemetry-based system for continuous monitoring of core body temperature (CBT). The monitoring system consists of an ingestible temperature sensor and an external recording device that receives the transmitted signals. This system can be used simultaneously with external electrodes to measure and record heart rate. To assess the utility of this new temperature monitoring method, the system was applied concurrent with traditional equine body temperature monitoring methods. Eight mature geldings were instrumented with three monitoring devices (blood temperature BT, rectal temperature RT, and telemetry-based temperature TBT), for simultaneous sampling every 10 s for 6 h. On average, TBT was 0.5C higher than RT (P<0.001) and 1.0C higher than BT (P<0.001), reflecting temperature variation among these three sites within the horses body. Though CBT values for each method were different, TBT reflected changes in temperature over time similarly to RT. BT had greater variability than TBT and RT. Beyond validation, the usefulness of this system has been assessed for monitoring during transport.

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