Pupillary stress index: A new thermal comfort index for crossbred goats

ABSTRACT Goats are homeothermic animals considered as rustic from the bioclimatic point of view, but the reduction of their productive efficiency may occur in unfavorable thermal conditions. The present study was carried out to evaluate pupil dilation as an indicator of thermal stress in Boer crossbred goats maintained under controlled environmental conditions. Six male crossbred goats of the Boer breed were distributed in a completely randomized design submitted to temperatures of 26, 29 and 33 °C. The pupillary dilation and pupillary temperature, respiratory frequency, heart rate, surface and rectal temperatures were monitored. The significant increase in physiological responses occurred in response to the increase in air temperature. An increase of pupillary dilation was observed in the animals with the elevation of the air temperature, with an increase of 26.96 mm2 in pupillary area when comparing the temperatures 26 and 33 °C, and it was possible to establish a correlation between air temperature and pupillary diameter increase, named pupillary stress ratio (PSR).