There is a growing appreciation within the livestock industry and throughout society that animal stress is an important issue that must be addressed. With implications for animal health, well-being, and productivity, minimizing animal stress through improved animal management procedures and/or selective breeding is becoming a priority. Effective management of stress, however, depends on the ability to identify and quantify the effects of various stressors and determine if individual or combined stressors have distinct biological effects. Furthermore, it is critical to determine the duration of stress-induced biological effects if we are to understand how stress alters animal production and disease susceptibility. Common stress models used to evaluate both psychological and physical stressors in cattle are reviewed. We identify some of the major gaps in our knowledge regarding responses to specific stressors and propose more integrated methodologies and approaches to measuring these responses. These approaches are based on an increased knowledge of both the metabolic and immune effects of stress. Finally, we speculate on how these findings may impact animal agriculture, as well as the potential application of large animal models to understanding human stress.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited