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Technological, environmental and biological factors: Referent variance values for infrared imaging of the bovine.

Montanholi, Y.R., Lim, M.-H., Macdonald, A., Smith, B.A., Goldhawk, C., Schwartzkopf-Genswein, K.S.G., and Miller, S.P. (2015). "Technological, environmental and biological factors: Referent variance values for infrared imaging of the bovine.", Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 6(1: Article number 27). doi : 10.1186/s40104-015-0027-y  Access to full text


Background: Despite its variety of potential applications, the wide implementation of infrared technology in cattle production faces technical, environmental and biological challenges similar to other indicators of metabolic state. Nine trials, divided into three classes (technological, environmental and biological factors) were conducted to illustrate the influence of these factors on body surface temperature assessed through infrared imaging. Results: Evaluation of technological factors indicated the following: measurements of body temperatures were strongly repeatable when taken within 10 s; appropriateness of differing infrared camera technologies was influenced by distance to the target; and results were consistent when analysis of thermographs was compared between judges. Evaluation of environmental factors illustrated that wind and debris caused decreases in body surface temperatures without affecting metabolic rate; additionally, body surface temperature increased due to sunlight but returned to baseline values within minutes of shade exposure. Examination/investigation/exploration of animal factors demonstrated that exercise caused an increase in body surface temperature and metabolic rate. Administration of sedative and anti-sedative caused changes on body surface temperature and metabolic rate, and during late pregnancy a foetal thermal imprint was visible through abdominal infrared imaging. Conclusion: The above factors should be considered in order to standardize operational procedures for taking thermographs, thereby optimizing the use of such technology in cattle operations.

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