Biochemical and Physiological Changes during Thermal Stress in Bovines: A Review

Document Type: Review Article


1 Department of Animal Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Veterinary Medicine, Agra Road, Jaipur, India

2 Department of Animal Physiology, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India


The variation in climatic variables like temperature, humidity and radiations were recognized as the potential hazards in the growth and production of all domestic livestock species. Thermal environment is a major factor that can negatively affect both production and reproduction in dairy animals, especially in animals of high genetic merit. Among the stressors, heat stress has been of major concern in reducing animal’s productivity in tropical, sub-tropical and arid areas. There are few effective strategies for reducing the effects of heat stress on animal’s health and performance. The major strategiesproviding elaborate housinginvolving shade, sprinklers, fans, air conditioner, etc. are capital intensive, not very efficient and are of limited use for small and medium-size dairies. Sweating, high respiration rate, vasodilation with increased blood flow to skin surface, elevated rectal temperature, reduced metabolic rate, decreased DM intake, efficiency of feed utilization and altered water metabolism are the physiological responses that are associated with negative impacts of heat stress on production and reproduction in dairy animals.This article aimed to review biochemical and physiological changes which occur during thermal stress in bovines.


AengwanichW., Kongbuntad W. and Boonsorn T. (2011). Effects of shade on physiological changes, oxidative stress and total antioxidant power in Thai Brahman cattle. Int. J. Biometeorol. 55, 741-748.
AhmedH.I.A. (1990). Studies on alleviation of thermal stress in imported Friesian cattle under Egyptian environmental conditions. Ph D Thesis. Zagazig Univ. Zagazig, Egypt.
AlfredoM., Pereira F., Flávio Baccari Jr., Evaldo A., Titto L., and Afonso Almeida J.A. (2008). Effect of thermal stress on physiological parameters, feed intake and plasma thyroid hormones concentration in Alentejana, Mertolenga, Frisian and Limousine cattle breeds. Int. J. Biometeorol. 52, 199-208.
AltanO., Pabuccuoglu A., Alton A., Konyalioglu S. and Bayraktar H. (2003). Effect of heat stress on oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation and some stress parameters in broilers. Br. Poult. Sci. 4,545-550.
AshokK., Praveen K. and Singh S.V. (2007). Oxidative stress markers profile in erythrocytes of natural and heat exposed cattle and buffalos. Indian J. Dairy Sci. 60, 114-118.
BernabucciU., Ronchi B., Lacetera N. and Nardone A. (2002). Markers of oxidative status in plasma and erythrocytes of transition dairy cows during hot season. J. Dairy Sci. 95, 2173-2179.
Bisla R.S., Singh J., Chawla S.K. and Krishnamurtthy D. (2004). Assessment of ascorbic acid as an antioxidant in buffaloes during diaphragmatic herniarrhaphy. Indian J. Vet. Surgery. 25, 94-97.
Brown-Brandl T.M., Eigenberg R., Hahn G.L. and Nienaber J.A. (2001). Correlations of respiration rate, core body temperatures, and ambient temperatures for shaded and non-shaded cattle. Pp. 448-454 in Proc. Int. Symp. Livest. Environ., Louisville, Kentucky.
Celi P., Trana A.D. and Quaranta A. (2008). Metabolic profile and oxidative status in goats during the peripartum period. Aust. J Exp. Agric. 48, 1004-1008.
ChaiyabutrN., Chanchai W., Boonsanit D., Sitprija S. and Chanpongsang S. (2011). Different responses of oxidative stress index in the plasma of crossbred Holstein cattle during cooling and supplemental recombinant bovine somatotropin. J. Anim. Vet. Adv. 10(8), 1045-1053.
ChanceB., Sies H., and Boveris A. (1979). Hydroperoxide metabolism in mammalian organs. Physiol. Rev. 59: 527-605.
ChandraG.(2009). Antioxidative status of high body condition periparturient crossbred cows with and without supplementation of alpha Tocopherol acetate during summer and winter seasons. MS Thesis. NDRI, Deemed Univ. Karnal, India.
Chen J.J. and Yu B.P. (1994). Alteration in mitochondrial membrane fluidity by lipid peroxidation products. Free Radical Biol. Med. 17, 411-418.
ChikamuneT. and Shimizu H. (1983). Comparison of physiological response to climate condition in swamp buffaloes and cattle. Indian J. Anim. Sci. 53, 595-599.
ChikamuneT. (1983). Effect of environmental temperature on thermoregulatory responses and oxygen consumption in swamp buffalo and Holstein cattle. Buffalo J. 2, 151-160.
DasS.K., Upadhyaya R.C. and Madan M.L. (1999). Heat stress in murrah buffalo calves. Livest. Prod. Sci. 61, 71-78.
DavidN.K., Anthony J.M. and Robert E.F. (1990). Effect of stress on the immune system. Immunol. Today. 11, 170-175.
DobsonH. and Smith R.F. (2000). What is stress and how does it affect reproduction? Anim. Reprod. Sci. 60, 743-752.
El-Masery K.A. and Marai I.F.M. (1991). Comparison between Friesians and water buffaloes in growth rate, milk production and some blood constituents, during winter and summer conditions. Egypt J. Anim. Prod. 53, 39-43.
El-Nouty F.D., Elbanna I.M., Davis T.P. and Johnson H.D. (1980) . Aldosterone and ADH response to heat and dehydration in cattle. J. Appl. Physiol.  48, 249-255.
GudevD., Popova Ralcheva S., Moneva P., Aleksiev Y., Peeva T., Penchev P., and IlievaI. (2007). Physiological indices in b- uffaloes exposed to sun. Arciva Zootech. 10, 1-7.
HalliwelB. (1998). Albumin an excellent extra cellular antioxidant. Biochem. Pharmacol. 37, 569-571.
HalliwellB. and Chirico S. (1993). Lipid peroxidation: its mechanism, measurement, and significance. American J. Clin. Nutr. 57, 715-725.
HansenJ.R.S. and Arechiga C.F. (1999). Strategies for managing reproduction in the heat stressed dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 77, 36-50.
HolterJ.B., West J.W. and Mc Gilliard M.L. (1997). Predicting ad libitum dry matter intake and yields of Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. 80, 2188-2199.
IPCC. (2007). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th AssessmentAReport.
JoshiB.C. and Tripathy K.C. (1991). Heat stress effect on weight gain and related physiological responses of buffalo calves. J. Vet. Physiol. Allied. Sci. 10, 43-48.
KogaA., Kuhara T. and Kanai Y. (2004). Comparison of body water retention during water deprivation between swamp buffaloes and Fresian cattle. J. Agric. Sci. 138, 435-440.
KoubkovaM., Knizkova I., Kunc P., Hartlova H., Flusser J. and Dolezal O. (2002). Influence of high environmental temperatures and evaporative cooling on some physiological, haematological and biochemical parameters in high yielding dairy cows. Czech J. Anim. Sci. 47, 309-318.
KumarA. (2005). Status of oxidative stress markers in erythrocytes of heat exposed cattle and buffaloes. MS Thesis. NDRI, Deemed Univ. Karnal, India.
LallawmkimiC.M. (2009). Impact of thermal stress and vitamin-E supplementation on heat shock protein 72 and antioxidant enzymes in Murrah buffaloes. Ph D Thesis. NDRI, Deemed Univ. Karnal, India.
LeagatesJ.E., Farthing B.R., Casady R.B. and Barrada M.S. (1991). Body temperature and respiratory rate of lactating dairy cattle under field and chamber conditions. J. Dairy Sci. 74, 2491-2500.
LohrkeB., Viergutz T., Kanitz W., Losand B., Weiss D.G. and Simko M. (2005). Short communication: hydroperoxides in circulating lipids from dairy cows: implications for bioactivity of endogenous-oxidized lipids. J. Dairy Sci. 88, 1708-1710.
MaderT.L., Davis M.S. and Brown Brandl T. (2006). Environmental factors influencing heat stress in feedlot cattle. J. Anim Sci. 84, 712-719.
MannT. and Keilin D. (1938). Haemocuprin and hepatocuprin, copper protein compounds and liver in mammals. Proceedings of Royal Scociety of London Series B. Biol. Sci. 126, 303-315.
Mc Cord J.M. and Fridovich I. (1969). Superoxide dismutase: an enzymic function for erythrocuprein (Hemocuprein). J. Biol. Chem. 244, 6049-6055.
MegahedG.A., Anwar M.M., Wasfy S.I. and Hammadeh M.E.(2008). Influence of heat stress on the cortisol and oxidant-antioxident balance during oestrous phase in buffalo-cows (Bubalus bubalis): thermo-protective role of antioxidant treatment. Reprod. Domest. Anim. 43, 672-677.
MillerJ.K. and Brezeinska Slebodizinska E. (1993). Oxidative stress, antioxidants and animal function. J. Dairy Sci. 76, 2812-2823.
MiyazakiT., Sucoka K., Dharmarajan A.H., Atlas S.J., Bulkley J.B. and Wallach E.E. (1991). Effect of inhibition of oxygen free radical on ovulation and progesterone production by the in vitro perfused rabbit ovary. J. Reprod. Fertil. 91, 207-212.
NardoneA., Ronchi B., Lacetera N., Ranieri M.S. and Bernabucci U. (2010). Effects of climate changes on animal production and sustainability of livestock systems. Livest. Sci. 130,57-69.
OshinoN. and Chance B. (1977). Properties of glutathione release observed during reduction of organic hydroperoxide, demethylation of aminopyrine and oxidation of some substances in perfused rat liver and their implications for the physiological function of catalase. Biochem. J. 162, 509-529.
PadillaL., Matsui T., Kamiya Y., Tanaka M. and Yano H., (2006). Heat stress decreases plasma vitamin C concentration in lactating cows. Lives. Sci. 101, 300-304.
PathanM.M., Latif A., Hemen D., Siddique G.M. and Vadodaria V.P. (2009). Antioxidant status in periparturient Mehsana buffaloes. Rev. Vet. 21(1), 748-751.
PayneW.J.A. (1990). An Introduction to Animal Husbandry in the Tropics. Longman Scientific and Technical, England.
PodarC. and Oroian I. (2003). The influence of high temperature on milk cows. Seria Zootech Biotehnol. 59, 130-133.
RasooliA., Nouri M., Khadjeh G.H. and Rasekh A. (2004). The influences of seasonal variations on thyroid activity and some biochemical parameters of cattle. Iranian J. Vet. Res. 5, 55-62.
RosalesA.G. (1994). Stress syndrome in birds. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 3,199-203.
SalahM.S., Al Shaikh M.A., Al Saiadi M.Y. and Mogawer H.H. (1995). Effect of prolactin inhibition on thermoregulation, water and food intake in heat stressed fat-tailed male lambs. Anim. Sci. 60, 87-91.
Seath D.M. and Miller G.D. (1946). The relative importance of high temperature and pulse rate of dairy cows. Int. J. Biometeorol. 27, 47-62.
SethiR.K., Bharadwaj A. and Chopra S.C. (1994). Effect of heat stress on buffaloes under different shelter strategies. Indian J. Anim. Sci. 64, 1282-1285.
ShafieM.M. and Badreldin A.L. (1962). The role of blood in regulation of body heat in bovines. J. Anim. Prod. 2, 61-76.
ShebaitaM.K. and El Banna I.M. (1982). Heat load and heat dissipation in sheep and goats under environmental heat stress. Pp. 459-469 in Proc. 6th Int. Conf. Anim. Poult. Prod., Univ. Zagazig, Zagazig, Egypt.
SilanikoveN., Maltz E., Nalevi A. and Shinder D. (1997). Metabolism of water, sodium, potassium and chloride by high yielding dairy cows at the onset of lactation. J. Dairy Sci. 80, 949-956.
TanakaM., Kamiya Y.M. and Nakai Y. (2007). Effect of high environmental temperatures on ascorbic acid, sulfydryl residues and oxidized lipid concentrations in plasma of dairy cows. Anim Sci. J. 78, 301-306.
TrevisanM., Browne R., Ram M., Muti P., Freudenheim J.A., Carosella M. and Armstrong D. (2001). Correlates of markers of oxidative status in the general population. American J. Epidemiol. 154, 348-356.
UmphreyJ.E., Moss B.R., Wilcox C.J. and Van Horn H.H. (2001). Interrelationship in lactating Holsteins of rectal and skin temperature, milk yield and composition, dry matter intake, body weight, and feed efficiency in summer in Alabama. J. Dairy Sci. 84, 2680-2685.
VermaD.N., Lal S.N., Singh S.P. and Prakash O. (2000). Effect of season on biological response and productivity of buffaloes. Int. J. Anim. Sci. 15, 237-244.
VijayK. (2005). Effect of thermal stress management on nutritional, physiological and behavioural responses of buffalo heifers. Ph D Thesis. Deemed Univ. IndianVet. Res. Inst., Izatnagar, India.
WeissW.P. (2006). Antioxidant nutrients, cow health and milk quality. Pp. 11-18 in Proc. Workshop Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutr., Grantvill, Canada. www.milk
WestJ.W. (2003). Effects of heat stress on production in dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 86, 2131-2144.
WestJ.W., Hill G.M., Fernandez J.M., Mandebvu P. and Mullinix B.G. (1999). Effects of dietary fiber on intake, milk yield, and digestion by lactating dairy cows during cool or hot, humid weather. J. Dairy Sci. 82, 2455-2465.
WilliamsC.A., Hoffman R.M., Kronfeld D.S., Hess T.M., Waldron J.E., Splan R.K., Saker K.E. and Harris P.A. (2002). Oxidative stress and antioxidant supplementation in horses during a competitive endurance ride. J. Dairy Sci. 85, 171-172.
YousefH.M. (1990). Studies on adaptation of Friesian cattle in Egypt. Ph D Thesis. Zagazig Univ., Zagazig, Egypt.