Effects of transport stress on physiological responses and milk production in lactating dairy cows

  • Hong, Heeok (Department of Medical Science, Konkuk University School of Medicine) ;
  • Lee, Eunchae (Department of Animal Bioscience and Technology, Konkuk University) ;
  • Lee, In Hyung (Department of Animal Bioscience and Technology, Konkuk University) ;
  • Lee, Sang-Rak (Department of Animal Bioscience and Technology, Konkuk University)
  • Received : 2018.02.06
  • Accepted : 2018.08.08
  • Published : 2019.03.01


Objective: This study was conducted to investigate the effect of transport stress on physiological and hematological responses and milk performance in lactating dairy cows. Methods: Ten lactating dairy cows were randomly divided into 2 groups. The treatment group (TG) was transported 200 km for 4 h by truck, and the control group (NTG) was restrained by stanchion for 4 h in Konkuk University farm. Blood and milk samples were collected at 24 h pre-transport; 1, 2, and 4 h during transport; and 2, 24, and 48 h post-transport. Milk yields were measured at 24 h pre-transport, 0 h during transport, and 24, 48, and 72 h post-transport. Results: Leukocyte, neutrophil, and monocyte numbers in the TG were significantly higher than those of the NTG at each experimental time point. Lymphocyte numbers in the TG were significantly (p<0.05) higher than those of the NTG at 48 h post-transport. Additionally, the neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio of the TG was 45% and 46% higher than that of the NTG at 4 h during transport and 2 h post-transport, respectively. There were no significant differences in erythrocyte numbers, hemoglobin concentrations, platelet numbers, and hematocrit percentages between two groups. Cortisol levels in the TG were significantly (p<0.05) higher than those in the NTG. Milk yields in the TG were lower than those in the NTG. The somatic cell count (SCC) of the TG was significantly (p<0.05) higher than that of the NTG at 1 and 2 h during transport; that of the TG increased dramatically at 1 h during transport and gradually decreased subsequently. Conclusion: Transport stress increased blood parameters including leucocyte, neutrophil, and monocyte numbers by increased cortisol levels, but did not affect erythrocytes, hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. Additionally, transport resulted in a decrease in milk yield and reduced milk quality owing to an increase in milk SCC.


Supported by : Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (IPET)


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