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Veterinary, Australia

Phillips C.J.C.,Center for Animal Welfare and Ethics | Pines M.K.,Center for Animal Welfare and Ethics | Latter M.,Center for Animal Welfare and Ethics | Muller T.,Center for Animal Welfare and Ethics | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2012

Ammonia can accumulate in highlystocked sheep accommodation, for example duringlive export shipments, and could affect sheep healthand welfare. Thus, the objective of this experiment wasto test the effects of 4 NH3 concentrations, 4 (control),12, 21, and 34 mg/m3, on the physiology and behaviorof wether sheep. Sheep were held for 12 d undera micro-climate and stocking density similar to shipboardconditions recorded on voyages from Australiato the Middle East during the northern hemisphericsummer. Ammonia increased macrophage activity intranstracheal aspirations, indicating active pulmonaryinflammation; however, it had no effect (P > 0.05) onhematological variables. Feed intake decreased (P =0.002) in proportion to ammonia concentration, andBW gain decreased (P < 0.001) at the 2 greatest concentrations.Exposure to ammonia increased (P = 0.03)the frequency of sneezing, and at the greatest ammoniaconcentration, sheep were less active, with less locomotion,pawing, and panting. Twenty-eight days afterexposure to NH3, the pulmonary macrophage activityand BW of the sheep returned to that of sheep exposedto only 4 mg/m3. It was concluded that NH3 induceda temporary inflammatory response of the respiratorysystem and reduced BW gain, which together indicateda transitory adverse effect on the welfare of sheep. © American Society of Animal Science.

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