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Daily and estrous rhythmicity of body temperature in domestic cattle

Author(s): Piccione Giuseppe | Caola Giovanni | Refinetti Roberto

Journal: BMC Physiology
ISSN 1472-6793

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 7;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Abstract Background Rhythmicity in core body temperature has been extensively studied in humans and laboratory animals but much less in farm animals. Extending the study of rhythmicity of body temperature to farm animals is important not only from a comparative perspective but also from an economic perspective, as greater knowledge of this process can lead to improvements in livestock production practices. In this study in cattle, we investigated the maturation of the daily rhythm of body temperature in newborn calves, characterized the parameters of the daily rhythm in young cows, and studied the oscillation in body temperature associated with the estrous cycle in adult cows. Results We found that the daily rhythm of body temperature is absent at birth but matures fully during the first two months of life. The mature rhythm had a mean level of 38.3°C, a range of excursion of 1.4°C, and was more robust than that of any mammalian species previously studied (90% of maximal robustness). Sexually mature cows also exhibited a robust estrous rhythm of body temperature. An elevation of about 1.3°C was observed every 21 days on the day of estrus. Small seasonal variations in this pattern were observed. Conclusion In conclusion, calves exhibit a very robust daily rhythm of body temperature, although this rhythm is absent at birth and develops during the first two months of life. Adult cows exhibit also 21-day rhythmicity in body temperature reflecting the duration of the estrous cycle.
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