Skip to main content Accessibility help

The effect of shearing procedures on blood levels of growth hormone, cortisol and other stress haematochemical parameters in Sarda sheep

  • V. Carcangiu (a1), G. M. Vacca (a1), A. Parmeggiani (a2), M. C. Mura (a1), M. Pazzola (a1), M. L. Dettori (a1) and P. P. Bini (a1)...


The aim of this research was to investigate how growth hormone (GH) cortisol and some haematochemical parameters could be modified by the stress caused by the stages of shearing in Sarda breed sheep. Five groups of 10 sheep each were formed. Group A, only separated from the flock; Group B, only tied; Group C, both tied and shorn (animals in these three groups were ewe lambs shorn for the first time); Group D, adult females both tied and shorn; and Group E, adult entire males both tied and shorn (animals in these two groups had been shorn previously). Five blood samples were taken from each animal: the day before treatment (first sample); at the start of the treatment (second sample); in the middle of shearing for Groups C, D and E, 10 min after separation in Group A and 10 min after tying in Group B (third sample); at the end of treatment (fourth sample); and on the day after treatment (fifth sample). Plasma GH levels showed a decrease (P < 0.01) in Groups A, B, C and D during treatment (third and fourth samples), while Group E only at the end of shearing (fourth sample). In the third sample, the highest GH levels were recorded for Group E (P < 0.05), while it was recorded in the fourth sample for Groups A and E (P < 0.05). Cortisol levels showed a clear increase (P < 0.01) in all groups during treatment, but Group A showed a decrease in the fourth sample in comparison to the third sample. Males in the second, third and fourth sample and Group A only in the fourth sample showed lower cortisol levels when compared with the other groups (P < 0.05). Plasma glucose levels showed an increase (P < 0.01) in all groups during treatment but Groups B, C and E showed the highest values (P < 0.05). Magnesium (Mg) showed an increase in all groups in the third and fourth sample, while sodium (Na), in the same samples, only in Groups B, C and D. Potassium (K) values showed a significant decrease (P < 0.05) only in Groups C and D at the end of shearing. These results show that GH secretion is influenced by all the stress procedure: separation, tying and shearing. Shearing, even if necessary for animals, causes a significant change of the blood parameters involved in the stress response.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Achmadi, J, Sano, H, Terashima, Y 2001. Effect of hypomagnesemia and cold exposure on tissue responsiveness to insulin in sheep given a low magnesium and high potassium diet. Domestic Animal Endocrinology 20, 101108.
Ali, BH, Silsby, JL, el Halawani, ME 1987. The effect of magnesium aspartate, xylazine and morphine on the immobilization-induced increase in the levels of prolactin in turkey plasma. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 10, 119126.
Ali, BH, Al-Qarawi, AA, Mousa, HM, Mohammed, SM 2001. Tyrosine ameliorates some of the chemical, biochemical and haematological effects of acute stress associated with transportation of desert sheep. Veterinary Research Communication 25, 503510.
Al-Qarawi, AA, Ali, BH 2005. Isolation stress in desert sheep and goats and the influence of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine. Veterinary Research Communication 29, 8190.
Baldock, NM, Sibly, RM 1990. effects of handling and transportation on the heart rate and behaviour of sheep. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 28, 1539.
Cataldi, M, Magnan, E, Guillaume, V, Dutour, A, Sauze, N, Mazzocchi, L, Conte-Devolx, B, Oliver, C 1994. Acute stress stimulates secretion of GHRH and somatostatin into hypophysial portal blood of conscious sheep. Neuroscience Letters 178, 103106.
Celi, P, Seren, E, Celi, R, Parmeggiani, A, Di Trana, A 2003. Relationships between blood hormonal concentrations and secondary fibre shedding in young cashmere-bearing goats at their first moult. Animal Science 77, 371381.
Clark, R 1997. The somatogenic hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1: stimulators of lymphopoiesis and immune functions. Endocrine Reviews 18, 157179.
Colthorpe, KL, Anderson, ST, Martin, GB, Curlewis, JD 1998. Hypothalamic dopamine D1 receptors are involved in the stimulation of prolactin secretion by high environmental temperature in the female sheep. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 10, 503509.
Cronin, MT, Siegel, BJ, Moberg, GP 1981. Effect of behavioural stress on plasma levels of growth hormone in sheep. Physiology and Behavior 26, 887890.
Dantzer, R, Mormede, P 1983. Stress in farm animals: a need for reevaluation. Journal of Animal Science 57, 618.
Davis, SL 1998. Environmental modulation of the immune system via the endocrine system. Domestic Animal Endocrinology 15, 283289.
Dawood, T, Williams, MRI, Fullerton, MJ, Myles, K, Schuijers, J, Funder, JW, Sudhir, K, Komesaroff, PA 2005. Glucocorticoid response to stress in castrate and testosterone-replaced rams. Regulatory Peptides 125, 4753.
Debenedetti, A 1998. Endocrinologia. In Fisiologia degli animali domestici con elementi di etologia (ed. G Aguggini, V Beghelli and LF Giulio), pp. 645748. UTET, Torino, Italy.
Gluckman, PD, Breier, BH, Davis, SR 1987. Physiology of the somatotropic axis with particular reference to the ruminant. Journal of Dairy Science 70, 442466.
Grandin, T 1997. Assessment of stress during handling and transport. Journal of Animal Science 75, 249257.
Greenwood, GC, Landon, J 1966. Growth hormone secretion in response to stress in man. Nature 210, 540541.
Hargreaves, AL, Hutson, GD 1990a. The stress response in sheep during routine handling procedures. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26, 8390.
Hargreaves, AL, Hutson, GD 1990b. Changes in heart rate, plasma cortisol and haematocrit of sheep during a shearing procedure. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26, 91101.
Hargreaves, AL, Hutson, GD 1990c. An evaluation of the contribution of isolation, up-ending and wool removal to the stress response to shearing. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26, 103113.
Hargreaves, AL, Hutson, GD 1990d. Some effects of repeated handling on stress responses in sheep. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26, 253265.
Herman, JP, Cullinan, WE 1997. Neurocircuitry of stress: central control of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Trends in Neurosciences 20, 7884.
Khosraviani, M, Davis, SL 1996. Hormonal regulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in sheep. Domestic Animal Endocrinology 13, 139150.
van Lier, E, Perez-Clariget, R, Forsberg, M 2003. Sex differences in cortisol secretion after administration of an ACTH analogue in sheep during the breeding and non-breeding season. Animal Reproduction Science 79, 8192.
Lovinger, RD, Connors, MH, Kaplan, SL, Ganong, WF, Grumbach, MM 1974. Effect of L-Dihdryoxyphenylalanine (L-Dopa), anesthesia and surgical stress on the secretion of growth hormone in the dog. Endocrinology 95, 13171321.
Machlin LJ, Takahashi Y, Horino M, Hertelendy F, Gordon RS and Kipnis D 1968. Regulation of growth hormone secretion in non-primate species. Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Growth Hormone, Excerpta Medical Foundation. Milan, Italia, p. 292.
McDonald, LE 1975. Veterinary endocrinology and reproduction, 1st edition. Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia, USA.
McGlone, JJ, Salak, JL, Lumpkin, EA, Nicholson, RI, Gibson, M, Norman, RL 1993. Shipping stress and social status effects on pig performance, plasma cortisol, natural killer cell activity, and leukocytes numbers. Journal of Animal Science 71, 888896.
McMahon, M, Gerich, J, Rizza, R 1988. Effects of glucocorticoids on carbohydrate metabolism. Diabetes Metabolism Reviews 4, 1730.
Meyer, V, Knobil, E 1967. Growth hormone secretion in the unanesthetized rhesus monkey in response to noxious stimuli. Endocrinology 80, 163171.
Miller, DB, O’Callaghan, JP 2002. Neuroendocrine aspects of the response to stress. Metabolism 51 (suppl. 1), 510.
Moberg, GP, Wood, VA 1982. Effect of differential rearing on the behavioural and adrenocortical response of lambs to a novel environment. Applied Animal Ethology 8, 269279.
Mormede, P 1988. Les responses neuroendocriniennes de stress. Recueil Médecine Vètérinaire 164, 723741.
Muller, EE, Arimura, A, Saito, T 1967. Growth hormone releasing activity in plasma of normal and hypophysectomized rats. Endocrinology 80, 7781.
Salacinsky, PRP, McLean, C, Sykes, JEC, Clement-Jones, VV, Lowry, PJ 1981. Iodination of proteins, glycoproteins and peptides using a solid-phase oxidizing agent, 1, 3, 4, 6-tetracloro 3α, 6α diphenyl glycuril (iodogen). Analytical Biochemistry 117, 136146.
Sartin, JL, Kemppainen, RJ, Coleman, ES, Steele, B, Williams, JC 1994. Cortisol inhibition of growth hormone-releasing hormone-stimulated growth hormone release from cultured sheep pituitary cells. Journal of Endocrinology 141, 517525.
Tamanini, C, Giordano, N, Chiesa, F, Seren, E 1983. Plasma cortisol variations induced in the stallion by mating. Acta Endocrinologica 102, 447450.
Thompson, K, Coleman, ES, Hudmon, A, Kemppainen, RJ, Soyoola, EO, Sartin, JL 1995. Effects of short-term cortisol infusion on growth hormone-releasing hormone stimulation of growth hormone release in sheep. American Journal of Veterinary Research 56, 12281231.
Trenkle, A 1978. Relation of hormonal variations to nutritional studies and metabolism of ruminants. Journal of Dairy Science 61, 281293.
Turner, AI, Canny, BJ, Hobbs, RJ, Bond, JD, Clarke1, IJ, Tilbrook, AJ 2002. Influence of sex and gonadal status of sheep on cortisol secretion in response to ACTH and on cortisol and LH secretion in response to stress: importance of different stressors. Journal of Endocrinology 173, 113122.


The effect of shearing procedures on blood levels of growth hormone, cortisol and other stress haematochemical parameters in Sarda sheep

  • V. Carcangiu (a1), G. M. Vacca (a1), A. Parmeggiani (a2), M. C. Mura (a1), M. Pazzola (a1), M. L. Dettori (a1) and P. P. Bini (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed