Systemic inflammatory and stress markers in cattle and sheep submitted to different reproductive procedures

ABSTRACT: Previous studies have evaluated the effects of different reproductive procedures on discomfort markers in sheep and cattle. Such studies may help stimulate the adoption of techniques that are more beneficial for animal welfare. However, markers that are commonly used to evaluate discomfort are highly influenced by external factors. To overcome this, several systemic markers can be evaluated to more precisely identify stress, pain, and inflammation. Such markers include cortisol, acute phase proteins, bradykinin, and substance P. We aimed to review the potential markers of stress, pain, and inflammation, and discuss how and when they are regulated after different stimuli related to reproductive procedures in cattle and sheep. Furthermore, we aimed to review how reproductive procedures with different degrees of invasiveness cause stress and provide information that may help develop strategies to limit animal discomfort.