Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Volume: 55 Issue: 1

  • Open Access
  • Research Article

Exploring the interplay between skin temperature and rectal temperature as a key to assess heat stress in early lactating crossbred dairy cattle

Athulya Swaminathan1, V. Beena1*, V. Ramnath1, M. Shynu2 and V. Babitha1

1. Department of Veterinary Physiology

2. Department of Veterinary Biochemistry

College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur- 680651 Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Kerala, India

*Corresponding author: [email protected], Ph. 9447532177

Year: 2024, Page: 167-171, Doi:

Received: Oct. 13, 2023 Accepted: Dec. 21, 2023 Published: March 31, 2024


The thermal stress adversely affects the health and production of crossbred dairy cattle of Kerala especially when the animals are in the early lactation. The purpose of the current study is to investigate correlation between skin temperatures (ST) at various body regions with in-house temperature humidity index (THI) and rectal temperature (RT) so as to understand the feasibility of measuring ST for assessing heat stress in animals. Out of the total two sets of experimental animals used for the study, the first set included six crossbred cattle with their early lactation falling in the identified period with the least THI (December- February, season Ⅰ). The second set comprised of animals with their early lactation falling in the maximum THI period (March- May, season Ⅱ). In-house temperature, relative humidity and ST (forehead, neck, udder, forelegs and ear) were recorded at a three day intervals at 10.00 A.M., 2.00 P.M. and 5.00 P.M. A significant increase in ST was noted in all the five body regions during heat stressed season (p<0.05). The ST at neck and forehead showed strong correlation with ITHI and RT across specified time intervals within the second season. A consistent correlation was shown by the ST at forelegs with RT and ITHI even at moderate elevation of RT and ITHI. So it can be concluded that at higher RTs, measurements of ST from forehead and neck would give more reliable indication whereas the levels at which the body crossed the thermoregulatory threshold could clearly be identified from foreleg ST. 

Keywords: Heat stress, early lactation, skin temperature


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Cite this article

Swaminathan, A., Beena, V., Ramnath, V., Shynu, M. and Babitha, V. 2024. Exploring the interplay between skin temperature and rectal temperature as a key to assess heat stress in early lactating crossbred dairy cattle. J. Vet. Anim. Sci. 55(1):167-171