Thermographic evaluation of the mammary development of buffaloes and their endocrine regulation in different physiological stages

ABSTRACT The knowledge of the mammary development of a dairy herd is key, since it is related to its productive efficiency. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of mammary thermal parameters with hormonal concentrations of buffaloes at different physiological stages. Twenty-four Murrah crossbred buffaloes were used in four groups (n= 6): group 1 (calves), group 2 (heifers), group 3 (pregnant animals) and group 4 (lactating animals). Every 28 days, for 4 months, infrared digital thermography was performed to check the surface temperature of cranial (CrCM) and caudal (CCM) corpus mammae, cranial (CrC) and caudal (CC) cisterns and cranial (CrT) and caudal teats (CT). Rectal temperature (RT) was measured and blood was collected to measure plasma concentrations of insulin-like factor I, insulin (INS), growth hormone (GH), progesterone (P4) and estradiol. Groups 1 and 2 presented correlation of RT with CrC. In group 3, RT correlated with CrT, CT and plasma P4 concentrations. In group 4, there was correlation of RT with CC, CrT and plasma concentrations of INS and GH, and CT with plasma GH concentrations. In all four groups, CrC correlated with CrCM and CrT, similar to that observed in the caudal portion. The thermal changes in the mammary glands reflected the expected physiological changes in the evaluated periods.