January 18, 2013

Cattle activity can give clues to acute and chronic infections


It takes a sharp eye to spot the early stages of disease. In an experiment recently published in the Journal of Animal Science, a team of researchers studied small changes in cattle behavior to see if cattle acted differently when fighting acute and chronic health challenges.

To monitor changes in cattle behavior, the researchers split a herd of Holstein-Friesian beef bulls into three groups. One group got three doses of a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) intravenous bolus. This was administered over five days to simulate an acute immune challenge. The second group got a single dose of the abomasal parasite Ostertagia ostertagi. This was meant to cause a chronic immune challenge. The control group received neither treatment.

The next second was to monitor the bulls’ behavior and immune response. To do this, the researchers analyzed antibodies. They also used sensors and video cameras to keep a close eye on the cattle.

What were the results? Read the paper to find out.

View more articles from the latest edition of the Journal of Animal Science