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Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

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Short- and long-term effects of weaning on adrenocortical and functional response of lambs

Fazio, EsterinaMedica, PietroCravana, CristinaFerlazzo, Adriana

Background: Weaning period is considered a crucial event in the management of ewes and lambs, resulting in a number of significant challenges. Although multiple stresses significantly affected adaptative capability of ewes in terms of changes in physiological mechanisms insufficient knowledges are available to understand the adrenocortical and functional responses of lambs to adapt to weaning stress. The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of weaning associated with maternal separation on circulating cortisol concentrations, respiratory rate and rectal temperature changes after the first 24 h weaning period and 2 weeks later in cross-bred lambs.Materials, Methods & Results: Thirty-four cross-bred lambs were assigned randomly to two treatments: 17 (unstressed control group) were housed in standard farming conditions with their mothers and 17 lambs (treated group) were submitted to weaning and separation from maternal care. Both groups were studied and sampled 2 weeks before (weaning) in baseline conditions (T0), 24 h (T1) and 2 weeks (T2) after (weaning). In treated group lambs showed decreases of cortisol concentrations 24 h after (P 0.001) and 2 weeks after (P 0.05) weaning, compared to baseline values. Weaning effects were shown for cortisol changes (P 0.0001) in treated lambs. The comparison between control and treated lambs show

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