Changes in various blood parameters can be used to assess the relative stressfulness of farm practices. In order to overcome confounding effects of stress inherent in standard methods of blood collection, a portable remote blood sampling device ("Dracpac") has been developed and tested. Twelve heparinised blood samples can be taken from the jugular vein and stored in insulated packs on the animal. The stability of blood parameters taken from and stored on red deer was determined. Analyses of subsamples taken from a bulk initial sample over 12 hours showed that levels of cortisol, haematocrit and glucose did not significantly differ from initial values. In a second experiment stags were sampled remotely during restraint in a mechanical crush and subsequent recovery at pasture on 2 successive days. On both days cortisol, haematocrit, glucose and lactate levels were elevated during restraint and thereafter decreased significantly to reach levels substantially lower than previously reported for this species using standard methods of blood sampling. The development of this device permits reliable remote blood sampling of free ranging animals without the stress associated with manual blood sampling.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 54, , 39-42, 1994
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