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Article

Thermographic Screening of Beef Cattle Metatarsal Growth Plate Lesions

1
Department of Animal Medicine, Productions and Health (MAPS), University of Padua, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, PD, Italy
2
MSD Animal Health Srl, 20090 Segrate, MI, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Johann Kofler
Animals 2022, 12(2), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020191
Received: 22 November 2021 / Revised: 6 January 2022 / Accepted: 7 January 2022 / Published: 13 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnostic Imaging Applied to the Internal Medicine of Ruminants)
Young beef bulls are predisposed to develop diseases of the growing skeleton, especially growth plate lesions. These lesions jeopardize both welfare and production, often leading to anticipated culling and diminished weight gain. However, beef cattle are prey animals and do not exhibit signs of pain and lameness until the disease becomes extensive and severe. Fast methods to screen for growth plate lesions presence could therefore lead to prompt treatment of the affected animals, enhancing recovery and diminishing losses. The aim of the present study was to examine the potential of infrared thermography as a non-invasive tool for rapidly screening beef bulls for the presence of growth plate lesions. Here, 20 Charolais and Limousine beef bulls affected by growth plate lesions were screened using infrared thermography. A difference in maximum, mean, and minimum temperatures was detected between healthy and affected growth plate areas, and a difference in mean and maximum temperatures was detected globally in the affected limbs against healthy ones. Infrared thermography could therefore serve as a reliable tool for screening growth plate lesions in beef bulls, permitting rapid detection at pen level and aiding fast and targeted treatment, thus improving animal welfare and production.
Lameness represents one of the main causes of decreased productive performance and impaired animal welfare in the bovine industry. Young beef bulls are predisposed to develop diseases of the growing skeleton, especially growth plate lesions. Early diagnosis is indispensable for ensuring correct treatment, fast recovery and reduction losses. However, when dealing with beef cattle, this is not always possible. Fast and reliable diagnostic imaging techniques are necessary to improve dealing with lameness in beef animals. The aim of the present study was to examine the potential of thermographic imaging as a non-invasive tool for rapidly screening beef bulls for the presence of growth plate lesions. Here, 20 Charolais and Limousine beef bulls affected by growth plate lesions in one of the rear limbs were selected. IRT was performed on both hind limbs using a digital infrared camera (ThermaCam T420 Model, Flir Systems, Boston, MA, USA), prior to radiographic imaging and clinical examination. The temperature of healthy and affected limbs was measured in two regions: the area correspondent to the growth plate (AR01) and the whole area of the metatarsus (AR02). Growth plate lesions were found to increase the maximum, mean, and minimum temperatures in AR01; and the mean and maximum temperatures in AR02, therefore, indicating the potential of IRT as a reliable, practical tool for screening growth plate lesions in beef bulls. View Full-Text
Keywords: beef cattle; growth plate lesions; infrared thermography; physitis beef cattle; growth plate lesions; infrared thermography; physitis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fabbri, G.; Gianesella, M.; Tessari, R.; Bassini, A.; Morgante, M.; Contiero, B.; Faillace, V.; Fiore, E. Thermographic Screening of Beef Cattle Metatarsal Growth Plate Lesions. Animals 2022, 12, 191. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020191

AMA Style

Fabbri G, Gianesella M, Tessari R, Bassini A, Morgante M, Contiero B, Faillace V, Fiore E. Thermographic Screening of Beef Cattle Metatarsal Growth Plate Lesions. Animals. 2022; 12(2):191. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020191

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fabbri, Giorgia, Matteo Gianesella, Rossella Tessari, Andrea Bassini, Massimo Morgante, Barbara Contiero, Vanessa Faillace, and Enrico Fiore. 2022. "Thermographic Screening of Beef Cattle Metatarsal Growth Plate Lesions" Animals 12, no. 2: 191. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020191

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