Physiological Stress and Welfare

Stressors induce autonomic responses through the sympatho-adrenal axis that can be measured through heart rate, blood flow and respiratory rate. Rapid changes in the pattern of blood flow, from the periphery to the core via sympathetically-mediated cutaneous vasoconstriction leads to an increase in core body temperature. This is referred to as stress-induced hyperthermia (SIH) and is a widespread phenomenon in endotherms.

There has been some interest in using core body temperature to assess pain and stress responses in animals. However, measurement of core body temperature is invasive and stressful itself. An alternate way in which to assess SIH is provided by the observation that changes in the pattern of blood-flow that lead to an elevated core body temperature also reduce surface temperature.

Credits - N. Peart (FLIR), D. McCafferty

This research aims to examine if acute and chronic stress, as well as positive affective states in captive and wild birds can be detected from changes in surface temperature.

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