Infrared Thermography as a Tool for Assessing Animal Welfare and Its Usefulness in Veterinary Research

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Veterinary Clinical Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 March 2024) | Viewed by 16424

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Guest Editor
Neurophysiology, Behavior and Animal Welfare Assessment, DPAA, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco Campus, Mexico City 04960, Mexico
Interests: animal welfare; thermoregulation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue, entitled “Infrared Thermography as a Tool for Assessing Animal Welfare and its Usefulness in Veterinary Research”, was conceived to gather and publish leading research papers on advances in infrared thermography (IRT), thermal imaging processes, and related methods that foment the use of thermal images to evaluate modifications of temperature in domestic or wild animals (poikilothermic and homeothermic populations) as they deal with such environmental challenges such as cold, heat, pain, fear, hunger, anxiety, and boredom, natural processes such as illness, growth, aging, weight gain or loss, exercise, courtship, mating, agonistic behavior, suckling, imprinting, stages of physiological development (estrus, pregnancy, parturition, lactation, etc.), and other factors can that modify or interfere with thermal equilibrium.

IRT systems have proven useful in assessing the thermal status of animals by measuring the radiation emitted from a body that is subjected to changes in superficial microcirculation, which can increase or decrease these emissions. In addition, the IRT technique has the potential to be an effective screening method for clinical research to detect local inflammatory processes, wounds, neoplasms, pain, emotions and neuropathies. Indeed, in animal science and veterinary medicine, thermography has several benefits for animals in terms of evaluating lesions, diseases, and surgical procedures. Applications in veterinary medical science focus on its use as a general diagnostic tool in areas such as oncology, orthopedics, reconstructive surgeries, and rehabilitation. Furthermore, this can be utilized effectively to assess the impact of climate change, heat stress, physiological and behavioral responses associated with external and internal factors, and their interactions in many kinds of animals: farm, companion, laboratory, and wild.

I invite and encourage researchers in these fields to submit original or review manuscripts that address one or more of these diverse topics in these key fields of research. Suggestions include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnostic use of infrared thermography in animals that are experiencing pain;
  • The advantages of IRT for the assessment of the thermal status of zoo animals;
  • The role of IRT in studies of wild or domestic animals (poikilotherms and homeotherms);
  • Climate change and its varied impacts on farm and wild animals;
  • Importance and advantages of using IRT to evaluate adaptive behavioral and physiological responses of animals during transport, mating, pregnancy, parturition, lactation, weaning, growth and development, and death (including stunning and euthanasia);
  • Clinical Importance of IRT for assessing the health status of wild animals under human care;
  • IRT as a method for clinical research to detect local inflammatory processes;
  • Evaluation of IRT as a non-invasive method for measuring autonomic nervous responses;
  • Potential applications of IRT in the human–animal relationship (HAR);
  • Insights into the use of IRT with birds and mammals;
  • Applications of IRT in veterinary medical science;
  • Latest news on the use of thermography in sport science and veterinary medicine;
  • Effects of heat stress on animal reproduction;
  • Infrared thermal imaging and the emotions and behaviors of animals;
  • Clinical usefulness of infrared thermography to detect sick animals;
  • Applications of IRT in poikilothermic populations;
  • Heat stress in homeothermic populations;
  • IRT as a tool for assessing animal health and welfare;
  • Importance of IRT for identifying reproductive disorders;
  • IRT in relation to heat loss or gain in hot and cold environments;
  • Efficacy and function of feathers, hair, fur, coats, and skin in thermoregulation strategies;
  • Usefulness of IRT to assess behavioral and physiological mechanisms of thermoregulation in nonhuman mammals (central and peripheral vasomotor control);
  • Neurophysiological mechanisms of vasomotor responses and thermogenesis;
  • Advances in the use of IRT within relation to farm animal production (milk, meat, eggs);
  • IRT and the assessment of the health and thermostability of laboratory animals;
  • Recent advances in thermal imaging technology in animal science.

Please receive my best wishes. I look forward to receiving your proposals.

Dr. Daniel Mota-Rojas
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • IRT imaging technology
  • infrared imaging
  • thermal imaging
  • pain assessment
  • climate change
  • zoo animals
  • inflammatory processes
  • heat stress and thermoregulation
  • surgery, anesthesiology
  • emotional responses
  • behavioral thermoregulation
  • immunosuppression
  • neoplasia
  • neuropathies
  • infectious neonatal diseases
  • thermoregulatory capacity
  • behavioral and physiological responses
  • reproductive disorders
  • diagnosing disease
  • burn patients
  • estrus identification
  • diagnosing pregnancy

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 18569 KiB  
Article
Thermographic Profiles in Livestock Systems under Full Sun and Shaded Pastures during an Extreme Climate Event in the Eastern Amazon, Brazil: El Niño of 2023
by Welligton Conceição da Silva, Jamile Andréa Rodrigues da Silva, Lucieta Guerreiro Martorano, Éder Bruno Rebelo da Silva, Carlos Eduardo Lima Sousa, Kedson Alessandri Lobo Neves, Cláudio Vieira de Araújo, Leonel António Joaquim, Thomaz Cyro Guimarães de Carvalho Rodrigues, Tatiane Silva Belo, Raimundo Nonato Colares Camargo-Júnior and José de Brito Lourenço-Júnior
Animals 2024, 14(6), 855; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060855 - 11 Mar 2024
Viewed by 690
Abstract
The El Niño represents a substantial threat to pastures, affecting the availability of water, forage and compromising the sustainability of grazing areas, especially in the northern region of Brazil. Therefore, the objective of this study was to characterize the thermographic profile of three [...] Read more.
The El Niño represents a substantial threat to pastures, affecting the availability of water, forage and compromising the sustainability of grazing areas, especially in the northern region of Brazil. Therefore, the objective of this study was to characterize the thermographic profile of three production systems in the Eastern Amazon, Brazil. The study was conducted on a rural cattle farm in Mojuí dos Campos, Pará, Brazil, between August and November 2023. The experiment involved livestock production systems, including traditional, silvopastoral and integrated, with different conditions of shade and access to the bathing area. An infrared thermographic (IRT) camera was used, recording temperatures in different zones, such as areas with trees, pastures with forage and exposed pastures. The highest mean temperatures (p = 0.02) were observed in pastures with full sun from August to November. On the other hand, the lowest average temperatures were recorded in areas shaded by chestnut trees (Bertholletia excelsa). The highest temperature ranges were found in sunny areas and the lowest were recorded in shaded areas. The highest temperatures were observed in the pasture in full sun, while the lowest were recorded in areas shaded by chestnut trees (p < 0.0001). The interaction between the systems and treatments revealed significant temperature differences (p < 0.0001), with the native trees showing an average temperature of 35.9 °C, lower than the grasses and soil, which reached 61.2 °C. This research concludes that, under El Niño in the Eastern Amazon, areas shaded by Brazil nut trees had lower temperatures, demonstrating the effectiveness of shade. Native trees, compared to grasses and soil, showed the ability to create cooler environments, highlighting the positive influence on different species such as sheep, goats and cattle. Full article
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12 pages, 1606 KiB  
Article
Events with Different Emotional Valence Affect the Eye’s Lacrimal Caruncle Temperature Changes in Sheep
by Marta Comin, Elie Atallah, Matteo Chincarini, Silvia Michela Mazzola, Elisabetta Canali, Michela Minero, Bruno Cozzi, Emanuela Rossi, Giorgio Vignola and Emanuela Dalla Costa
Animals 2024, 14(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010050 - 22 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1079
Abstract
Infrared thermography (IRT) has been recently applied to measure lacrimal caruncle temperature non-invasively since this region is related to the sympathetic response, and it seems a promising technique that is able to infer negative emotions in sheep (e.g., fear). However, the scientific literature [...] Read more.
Infrared thermography (IRT) has been recently applied to measure lacrimal caruncle temperature non-invasively since this region is related to the sympathetic response, and it seems a promising technique that is able to infer negative emotions in sheep (e.g., fear). However, the scientific literature so far is limited in understanding whether a caruncle’s temperature changes also in response to positive emotional states in sheep. Through classical conditioning, we aimed to assess how a positive or a negative event affects the physiological (lacrimal caruncle temperature measured with IRT and cortisol levels) and behavioral responses of sheep (ear position). Fourteen ewes from the same flock were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: positive (n = 7) and negative (n = 7). Each group was then trained through classical conditioning to associate a neutral auditory (ring bell) stimulus to an oncoming event: for the positive group, the presence of a food reward (maize grains), while for the negative one, the opening of an umbrella. After three weeks of training, before (at rest) and after (post-treatment), lacrimal caruncle temperature was non-invasively measured via IRT, and saliva samples were gently collected to measure cortisol levels. During treatment, sheep behavior was videorecorded and then analyzed using a focal animal sampling technique. At rest, the eye’s lacrimal caruncle temperature was similar in both groups, while post-treatment, a significant increase was shown only in the negative group (t-test; p = 0.017). In the anticipation phase, sheep in the positive group kept their ears forward longer compared to those in the negative one (Mann–Whitney; p < 0.014), 8.3 ± 2.1 s and 5.2 ± 4.2 s, respectively. The behavioral response observed reflects a learnt association between a neutral stimulus and events with different emotional valence. Cortisol concentration slightly increased in both groups post-treatment. Our results confirm that IRT is a non-invasive technique that can be useful when applied to assess how positive and negative events may affect the physiological response in sheep. Full article
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15 pages, 942 KiB  
Article
Caffeine Administration in Piglets with Low Birthweight and Low Vitality Scores, and Its Effect on Physiological Blood Profile, Acid–Base Balance, Gas Exchange, and Infrared Thermal Response
by Dina Villanueva-García, Marcelo Ghezzi, Patricia Mora-Medina, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Adriana Olmos-Hernández, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado, Karina Lezama-García, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Daniela Rodríguez-González and Miriam Marcet-Rius
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3491; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223491 - 12 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 957
Abstract
Intrapartum asphyxia, fetal hypoxia, and their consequences (e.g., acidosis, hypercapnia, hypoglycemia, and hypothermia) are the main factors related to physio-metabolic imbalances that increase neonatal mortality in piglets, particularly in piglets with low birthweight and low vitality scores. This study aimed to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Intrapartum asphyxia, fetal hypoxia, and their consequences (e.g., acidosis, hypercapnia, hypoglycemia, and hypothermia) are the main factors related to physio-metabolic imbalances that increase neonatal mortality in piglets, particularly in piglets with low birthweight and low vitality scores. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of three different doses of caffeine (10, 20, and 30 mg/kg) administered orally to 480 newborn piglets with low birthweight and low vitality scores. Blood gas parameters (pH, pO2, pCO2, and HCO3), physio-metabolic profile (Ca++, glucose, and lactate), and the thermal response assessed through infrared thermography in four thermal windows (ocular, auricular, snout, and hindlimb) and rectal temperature were evaluated during the first 24 h of life. Doses of 30 mg/kg resulted in significant differences at 24 h for all evaluated parameters, suggesting that caffeine administration improved the cardiorespiratory function and metabolic activity of piglets by reducing acidosis, restoring glycemia, and increasing surface and rectal temperature. In conclusion, caffeine at 30 mg/kg could be suggested as an appropriate dose to use in piglets with low birthweight and low vitality scores. Future research might need to study the presentation of adverse effects due to higher caffeine concentrations. Full article
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8 pages, 771 KiB  
Communication
Associations between Surface and Rectal Temperature Profiles of Low-Birth-Weight Piglets
by Bryony S. Tucker, Kiro R. Petrovski, Jessica R. Craig, Rebecca S. Morrison, Robert J. Smits and Roy N. Kirkwood
Animals 2023, 13(20), 3259; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13203259 - 19 Oct 2023
Viewed by 803
Abstract
The use of infrared cameras to record surface temperature has shown some promise in older pigs, but neonatal piglets are metabolically less mature and experience rapid temperature changes during their first 24 h. The present experiment aimed to compare rectal temperature to surface [...] Read more.
The use of infrared cameras to record surface temperature has shown some promise in older pigs, but neonatal piglets are metabolically less mature and experience rapid temperature changes during their first 24 h. The present experiment aimed to compare rectal temperature to surface temperature at the base of the ear, measured using an infrared camera, for piglets of different birth weights. During farrowing, 48 multiparous sows were monitored, and rectal and surface temperatures were recorded for their lower-birth-weight (≤1.2 kg) piglets within 3 min of birth and at 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1, 1.25, 1.50, 2, 3, 4, and 24 h. Piglet birth weights were assigned to one of three categories (BWC): BWC1 (≤0.80 kg), BWC2 (0.81 to 1.10 kg), or BWC3 (1.11 to 1.20 kg). Piglet rectal temperatures at 1.25 h after birth were assigned to one of three categories: RC1 (≤32.0 °C), RC2 (32.1 to 35.0 °C), or RC3 (≥35.1 °C). Surface temperatures showed a similar recovery pattern to rectal temperatures in the first 24 h across all piglet birth weights, although large and variable differences seen in the current study militate against surface temperature being an appropriate replacement for neonatal rectal temperature for use in production. Full article
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22 pages, 6091 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Thermal Patterns Using Infrared Thermography and Thermolytic Responses of Cattle Reared in Three Different Systems during the Transition Period in the Eastern Amazon, Brazil
by Welligton Conceição da Silva, Jamile Andréa Rodrigues da Silva, Éder Bruno Rebelo da Silva, Antônio Vinicius Correa Barbosa, Carlos Eduardo Lima Sousa, Katarina Cardoso de Carvalho, Maria Roseane Pereira dos Santos, Kedson Alexandri Lobo Neves, Lucieta Guerreiro Martorano, Raimundo Nonato Colares Camargo Júnior and José de Brito Lourenço-Júnior
Animals 2023, 13(17), 2735; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13172735 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1194
Abstract
In the Lower Amazon mesoregion, there are basically three types of production systems: the traditional (without shade and no bathing area), the silvopastoral (with shade and no bathing area), and the integrated (with shade and bathing area). It is considered that the type [...] Read more.
In the Lower Amazon mesoregion, there are basically three types of production systems: the traditional (without shade and no bathing area), the silvopastoral (with shade and no bathing area), and the integrated (with shade and bathing area). It is considered that the type of production system influences the thermal comfort and productivity of cattle, so this research aims to evaluate the influence of these three types of production systems on the thermoregulation of Nellore cattle. The experiment was carried out on a rural property for raising cattle, located in Mojuí dos Campos, Pará, Brazil, during the transition period (June/July). Thirty bovine males (not castrated, aged between 18 and 20 months, average weight of 250 ± 36 kg, body condition score of 3.5, clinically healthy) were randomly divided into three groups: Silvopastoral System—SS (n = 10), Traditional System—TS (n = 10), and Integrated System—IS (n = 10). Climate variables were collected (air temperature (AT °C), relative humidity (RH %), wind speed (WS, m/s), solar radiation (SR), black globe temperature (BGT °C), and physiological parameters, such as respiratory rate (RR) and rectal temperature (RT)) at 6 a.m., 12 p.m., 6 p.m., and 12 a.m. to determine the thermal comfort situation of the animals. Thermographic images of the environment and animals were captured in order to obtain the body surface temperature (BST) through infrared thermography. The Benezra Thermal Comfort Index (BTCI), Environmental Stress Index (ESI), Equivalent Temperature Index (ETI), and Iberian Heat Tolerance Index (Iberian HTI) were used. The results showed that the silvopastoral system, with shading by chestnut trees and an ample vegetative area, presented better thermal conditions, with an average of 28.98 °C, in comparison with the traditional system (35.93 °C) and the integrated one (34.11 °C). It was observed that the body surface temperature of cattle did not differ significantly between the anatomical regions of the body and the studied systems (p > 0.05). As for the respiratory rate, the traditional system registered higher values, with an average of 41 movements per minute, indicating possible thermal stress (p < 0.05). The thermal comfort indices revealed that all systems presented moderate stress conditions during times of higher solar intensity. It is concluded that the silvopastoral system proved to be more favorable for cattle, providing shade and reducing thermal stress, which may have a positive impact on animal welfare and productivity in this region. Full article
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15 pages, 770 KiB  
Article
Is the Weight of the Newborn Puppy Related to Its Thermal Balance?
by Karina Lezama-García, Julio Martínez-Burnes, Míriam Marcet-Rius, Angelo Gazzano, Adriana Olmos-Hernández, Patricia Mora-Medina, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Alfredo M. F. Pereira, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Uri Baqueiro-Espinosa, Ana de Mira Geraldo, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado and Daniel Mota-Rojas
Animals 2022, 12(24), 3536; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12243536 - 14 Dec 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1700
Abstract
Hypothermia, a factor associated with neonatal mortality, can occur immediately after birth as a protective mechanism to prevent hypoxic damage in neonates, or to reduce the metabolic rate to improve the chances of survival in the first hours of life. The heat interchange [...] Read more.
Hypothermia, a factor associated with neonatal mortality, can occur immediately after birth as a protective mechanism to prevent hypoxic damage in neonates, or to reduce the metabolic rate to improve the chances of survival in the first hours of life. The heat interchange through the superficial temperature of animals can be evaluated with infrared thermography (IRT). However, to date, there is no information on thermal windows in puppies. This study aimed to evaluate, with the use of IRT, the microcirculatory alterations in 8 different thermal windows identified at 7 different times in 289 newborn puppies assigned to different groups. Three thermograms were taken from four zones of each puppy: the facial, frontal, right lateral, and left lateral regions. Newborn puppies were grouped in 4 quartiles according to their weight: Q1 (126–226 g) n = 73, Q2 (227–330 g) n = 72, Q3 (331–387 g) n = 74, and Q4 (388–452 g) n = 70. A total of 8 thermal windows were considered at 7 evaluation times from Wet at birth until 24 h after birth (AB). Two-way mixed ANOVA within and between subjects’ design for each thermal window (eight models) was performed. Results revealed a positive correlation between the puppy’s weight and its ability to achieve thermostability in all the evaluated thermal windows. Statistically significant differences (p < 0.0001) between the 4 quartiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4) were found. The lowest temperatures were recorded when the pups were still wet and the highest at 24 h AB. Thermal windows with the highest temperatures were abdominal (34.234 ± 0.056 °C), thoracic (33.705 ± 0.049 °C), nasal (30.671 ± 0.110 °C), and upper left palpebral (34.066 ± 0.052 °C), while the lowest were thoracic limb brachial biceps (27.534 ± 0.051 °C), thoracic limb elbow (27.141 ± 0.049 °C), thoracic limb metacarpal (27.024 ± 0.062 °C), and femoral pelvic limb (27.654 ± 0.055 °C). Assessing the thermal response in newborn puppies can help identify drastic temperature reductions or deficient thermoregulatory compensation during the first hours of life, preventing the consequences of hypothermia. Full article
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Review

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16 pages, 6259 KiB  
Review
Utilization of Infrared Thermography in Assessing Thermal Responses of Farm Animals under Heat Stress
by Marcelo Daniel Ghezzi, Fabio Napolitano, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Adriana Olmos-Hernández and Alfredo M. F. Pereira
Animals 2024, 14(4), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040616 - 14 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 740
Abstract
Heat stress is a condition that can affect the health, performance, and welfare of farm animals. The perception of thermal stress leads to the activation of the autonomic nervous system to start a series of physiological and behavioral mechanisms to restore thermostability. One [...] Read more.
Heat stress is a condition that can affect the health, performance, and welfare of farm animals. The perception of thermal stress leads to the activation of the autonomic nervous system to start a series of physiological and behavioral mechanisms to restore thermostability. One of these mechanisms is vasodilation of peripheral blood vessels to increase heat loss through the skin. Due to this aspect, infrared thermography has been suggested as a method to assess the thermal state of animals and predict rectal temperature values noninvasively. However, it is important to consider that predicting rectal temperature is challenging, and its association with IRT is not always a direct linear relationship. The present review aims to analyze the neurobiological response associated with heat stress and how thermal imaging in different thermal windows can be used to recognize heat stress in farmed ungulates. Full article
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19 pages, 3277 KiB  
Review
Thermal Imaging as a Method to Indirectly Assess Peripheral Vascular Integrity and Tissue Viability in Veterinary Medicine: Animal Models and Clinical Applications
by Daniel Mota-Rojas, Asahi Ogi, Dina Villanueva-García, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Pamela Lendez and Marcelo Ghezzi
Animals 2024, 14(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010142 - 31 Dec 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Infrared thermography (IRT) is a technique that indirectly assesses peripheral blood circulation and its resulting amount of radiated heat. Due to these properties, thermal imaging is currently applied in human medicine to noninvasively evaluate peripheral vascular disorders such as thrombosis, thromboembolisms, and other [...] Read more.
Infrared thermography (IRT) is a technique that indirectly assesses peripheral blood circulation and its resulting amount of radiated heat. Due to these properties, thermal imaging is currently applied in human medicine to noninvasively evaluate peripheral vascular disorders such as thrombosis, thromboembolisms, and other ischemic processes. Moreover, tissular damage (e.g., burn injuries) also causes microvasculature compromise. Therefore, thermography can be applied to determine the degree of damage according to the viability of tissues and blood vessels, and it can also be used as a technique to monitor skin transplant procedures such as grafting and free flaps. The present review aims to summarize and analyze the application of IRT in veterinary medicine as a method to indirectly assess peripheral vascular integrity and its relation to the amount of radiated heat and as a diagnostic technique for tissue viability, degree of damage, and wound care. Full article
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26 pages, 9810 KiB  
Review
Assessment of Pain and Inflammation in Domestic Animals Using Infrared Thermography: A Narrative Review
by Alexandra L. Whittaker, Ramon Muns, Dehua Wang, Julio Martínez-Burnes, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva and Daniel Mota-Rojas
Animals 2023, 13(13), 2065; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13132065 - 22 Jun 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1767
Abstract
Pain assessment in domestic animals has gained importance in recent years due to the recognition of the physiological, behavioral, and endocrine consequences of acute pain on animal production, welfare, and animal model validity. Current approaches to identifying acute pain mainly rely on behavioral-based [...] Read more.
Pain assessment in domestic animals has gained importance in recent years due to the recognition of the physiological, behavioral, and endocrine consequences of acute pain on animal production, welfare, and animal model validity. Current approaches to identifying acute pain mainly rely on behavioral-based scales, quantifying pain-related biomarkers, and the use of devices monitoring sympathetic activity. Infrared thermography is an alternative that could be used to correlate the changes in the superficial temperature with other tools and thus be an additional or alternate acute pain assessment marker. Moreover, its non-invasiveness and the objective nature of its readout make it potentially very valuable. However, at the current time, it is not in widespread use as an assessment strategy. The present review discusses scientific evidence for infrared thermography as a tool to evaluate pain, limiting its use to monitor acute pain in pathological processes and invasive procedures, as well as its use for perioperative monitoring in domestic animals. Full article
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28 pages, 8960 KiB  
Review
Thermal Imaging to Assess the Health Status in Wildlife Animals under Human Care: Limitations and Perspectives
by Daniel Mota-Rojas, Alfredo M. F. Pereira, Julio Martínez-Burnes, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Patricia Mora-Medina, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado, Jennifer Rios-Sandoval, Ana de Mira Geraldo and Dehua Wang
Animals 2022, 12(24), 3558; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12243558 - 15 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3744
Abstract
Promoting animal welfare in wildlife species under human care requires the implementation of techniques for continuously monitoring their health. Infrared thermography is a non-invasive tool that uses the radiation emitted from the skin of animals to assess their thermal state. However, there are [...] Read more.
Promoting animal welfare in wildlife species under human care requires the implementation of techniques for continuously monitoring their health. Infrared thermography is a non-invasive tool that uses the radiation emitted from the skin of animals to assess their thermal state. However, there are no established thermal windows in wildlife species because factors such as the thickness or color of the skin, type/length of coat, or presence of fur can influence the readings taken to obtain objective, sensitive values. Therefore, this review aims to discuss the usefulness and application of the ocular, nasal, thoracic, abdominal, and podal anatomical regions as thermal windows for evaluating zoo animals’ thermal response and health status. A literature search of the Web of Science, Science Direct, and PubMed databases was performed to identify relevant studies that used IRT with wild species as a complementary diagnostic tool. Implementing IRT in zoos or conservation centers could also serve as a method for determining and monitoring optimal habitat designs to meet the needs of specific animals. In addition, we analyze the limitations of using IRT with various wildlife species under human care to understand better the differences among animals and the factors that must be considered when using infrared thermography. Full article
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

17 pages, 743 KiB  
Commentary
Thermoregulation during Field Exercise in Horses Using Skin Temperature Monitoring
by Elisabeth-Lidwien J. M. M. Verdegaal, Gordon S. Howarth, Todd J. McWhorter and Catherine J. G. Delesalle
Animals 2024, 14(1), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010136 - 30 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1089
Abstract
Hyperthermia and exertional heat illness (EHI) are performance and welfare issues for all exercising horses. Monitoring the thermoregulatory response allows for early recognition of metabolic heat accumulation during exercise and the possibility of taking prompt and effective preventative measures to avoid a further [...] Read more.
Hyperthermia and exertional heat illness (EHI) are performance and welfare issues for all exercising horses. Monitoring the thermoregulatory response allows for early recognition of metabolic heat accumulation during exercise and the possibility of taking prompt and effective preventative measures to avoid a further increase in core body temperature (Tc) leading to hyperthermia. Skin temperature (Tsk) monitoring is most used as a non-invasive tool to assess the thermoregulatory response pre- and post-exercise, particularly employing infrared thermographic equipment. However, only a few studies have used thermography to monitor skin temperature continuously during exercise. This commentary provides an overview of studies investigating surface skin temperature mainly by infrared thermography (IRT) during exercise. The scientific evidence, including methodologies, applications, and challenges associated with (continuous) skin temperature monitoring in horses during field exercise, is discussed. The commentary highlights that, while monitoring Tsk is straightforward, continuous Tsk alone does not always reliably estimate Tc evolvement during field exercise. In addition, inter-individual differences in thermoregulation need to be recognized and accounted for to optimize individual wellbeing. With the ongoing development and application of advanced wearable monitoring technology, there may be future advances in equipment and modeling for timely intervention with horses at hyperthermic risk to improve their welfare. However, at this point, infrared thermographic assessment of Tsk should always be used in conjunction with other clinical assessments and veterinary examinations for a reliable monitoring of the welfare of the horse. Full article
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