Abstract: The effects of a short road journey on haematological variables and cortisol levels were studied in 138 healthy sheep. Animals were divided into two groups: group A (n = 93:54 pregnant ewes, 24 post-partum ewes and 15 rams) were transported 125 km by road for 3 h group B (n = 45:20 pregnant ewes, 15 post-partum ewes and 10 rams) was the control group. Blood samples were collected from both groups under basal conditions and in group A after transport and unloading. In group A pregnant ewes showed higher Red blood cell Distribution Width (RDW) (p<0.05), Plateletocrit (Pct) (p<0.01), Platelet (Plt) (p<0.01) and cortisol levels (p<0.001) after transport than basal values; post-partum ewes showed higher RDW (p<0.01), Mean Platelet Volume (MPV) (p<0.05) and cortisol levels (p<0.001), rams showed higher values of RDW (p<0.05), Plt (p<0.05) and cortisol levels (p<0.05). Pregnant ewes also showed lower values of White Blood Cell (WBC) (p<0.01) and higher values of Red Blood Cell (RBC) (p<0.01) than post partum ewes. In addition, pregnant ewes and rams showed higher cortisol levels (p<0.05) before transport than control group (p<0.05). In group B pregnant ewes showed higher WBC and RBC values (p<0.01) than post-partum ewes. Evaluation of haematological variables and circulating cortisol after a short journey is therefore, effective in evaluating short term stress in sheep and provides an additional tool for distinguishing between control group and transported animals.
Esterina Fazio, Pietro Medica, Sebastian Mignacca, Cristina Cravana and Adriana Ferlazzo, 2011. Haematological and Cortisol Changes after a 3 h Road Journey in Sheep. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 10: 2487-2492.