Hemato-biochemical profile of meat cattle submitted to different types of pre-loading handling and transport times.


Pre-loading handling and conditions of transport are related to welfare, disease risk and product quality of production animals. These steps continue to be one of the major animal management problems in Brazil. This study evaluated the effects of different types of pre-loading handling and road transport times on the haematological and biochemical traits of cattle. Eighteen male cattle were submitted to three travel times (24, 48 and 72 h) in a truck soon after load using different types of pre-loading handling: traditional (rough handling), training (gentle handling) and use of flags to movement cattle. Haematological traits, blood biochemical measures as well as blood and faecal cortisol were analysed in order to assess animal welfare and physiological status. The traditional management showed to be more stressful, also had animals with a greater number of neutrophils and lower numbers of lymphocytes than handling with flags, showing that animals submitted to more stressful situations can have compromised immune system. Serum aspartate aminotransferase concentrations were within the reference levels and when taken together with increased creatine kinase patterns observed indicate muscle damage in traditional management. Decrease in glucose concentrations over time from traditional management to flag management was observed, while fructosamine was increased in traditional management with 72 h of travel. When taken together, all reported factors, immune, enzymatic, energetic and hormonal, indicate that the quality of pre-loading handling and time of transport were determinant for animal welfare, its homeostatic balance and sanitary conditions.