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Increased animal productivity has reduced animal fitness, resulting in increased susceptibility to infectious and metabolic diseases, locomotion problems and subfertility. Future animal breeding strategies should focus on balancing high production levels with health status monitoring and improved welfare. Additionally, understanding how animals interact with their internal and external environment is essential for improving health, fitness, and welfare. In this context, the continuous validation of existing biomarkers and the discovery and field implementation of new biomarkers will enable us to understand the specific physiological process and regulatory mechanisms used by the organism to adapt to different environmental conditions. Thus, biomarkers may be used to monitor welfare and improve management and breeding strategies. In this article, we describe major achievements in the establishment of biomarkers in dairy cows and small ruminants. This review mainly focuses on the physiological biomarkers used to monitor animal responses to, and recovery from, environmental perturbations. We highlight future avenues for research in this field and present a timely positioning document to the scientific community.
This research communication aims to test the hypothesis that B-Mode, colour Doppler ultrasonographic measurements and characteristics can identify mastitis in dairy cows. A total of 102 lactating cows were divided into 3 groups: cows in which all mammary quarters were CMT-negative, cows with CMT-positive mammary quarters and cows with clinical mastitis in at least one quarter. Colour Doppler ultrasonography measurements of the supramammary lymph nodes revealed that distortion-type vascular morphology, the rate of type 4 vascular densities and the incidence of mixed-type vascular distributions were highest in the clinical mastitis group, whereas the frequency of avascularity in supramammary lymph nodes was highest in the CMT-negative group. All differences were significant. In conclusion, the use of B-mode and colour Doppler ultrasonographic measurements of the supramammary lymph nodes can provide useful information about the current condition of mastitis in cows, although its diagnostic potential remains to be determined.