Effect of dietary supplementation with β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate on stress parameters in goat kids

Janina Sowińska Stanisław Milewski Dorota Witkowska Katarzyna Ząbek Jan Miciński Anna Wójcik Tomasz Mituniewicz About the authors

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to determine the effect of dietary supplementation with β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyric acid (HMB) on live weight loss and selected blood parameters in goat kids after transportation to the slaughterhouse. The study was performed with goat kids that were weaned at 30 days of age and divided into two groups (GK): a control group and an experimental group whose diet was supplemented with HMB (at 50 mg kg−1 of BW) for 60 consecutive days. At the end of the 90-day rearing period, the animals were fasted for 12 h (with access to water) and were transported to the slaughterhouse in the following morning. Blood for analysis was sampled before transportation (BST1) and after unloading in the slaughterhouse (BST2). The animals were weighed on the same dates to determine live weight loss. Red blood cell counts (RBC), white blood cell counts (WBC), hemoglobin concentration (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), neutrophil to lymphocyte (N:L) ratio, and cortisol and glucose concentrations were determined in the sampled blood. The experimental goat kids were characterized by lower weight loss after transportation. Group of kids and BST did not induce variations in RBC, WBC, HGB, and HCT. Cortisol concentration was affected by both GK and BST. Cortisol levels increased after transportation in both groups, but this parameter was significantly higher in the control than in experimental animals at BST2. Glucose levels and the N:L ratio did not differ significantly between GK, but glucose concentration and the N:L ratio were higher at BST2 than at BST1 in both groups. The experimental goat kids were characterized by lower weight loss and lower cortisol concentration after transportation, which could point to the efficacy of HMB in boosting immunity and alleviating transportation stress in goat kids.

body; goat; stress; supplementation

1. Introduction

During pre-slaughter handling, animals are exposed to considerable stress related to fasting, loading onto vehicles, duration of transportation, transportation conditions, unloading in the slaughterhouse, conditions in the slaughterhouse, and waiting time before slaughter (Kannan et al., 2003Kannan, G.; Kouakou, B.; Terrill, T. H. and Gelaye, S. 2003. Endocrine, blood metabolite and meat quality changes in goats as influenced by short-term, preslaughter stress. Journal of Animal Science 81:1499-1507. https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x
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Numerous handling operations are performed within a short period and are a source of stress, which decreases immunity and disrupts homeostasis in animals (Kannan et al., 2003Kannan, G.; Kouakou, B.; Terrill, T. H. and Gelaye, S. 2003. Endocrine, blood metabolite and meat quality changes in goats as influenced by short-term, preslaughter stress. Journal of Animal Science 81:1499-1507. https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x
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Considerable research has been devoted to minimizing stress responses in various animal species through the use of pharmaceuticals, herbs, yeast, seaweeds, minerals, and vitamins (Ali and Al-Qarawi, 2002Ali, B. H. and Al-Qarawi, A. A. 2002. Evaluation of drugs used in the control of stressful stimuli in domestic animals: A review. Acta Veterinara Brno 71:205-216. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb200271020205
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, 2013Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2013. Physiological and behavioral responses of goats to 12-hour road transportation, lairage and grazing periods, and the modulatory role of ascorbic acid. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 8:349–356. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2013.01.001
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; Ali et al., 2006Ali, B. H.; Al-Qarawi, A. A. and Mousa, H. M. 2006. Stress associated with road transportation in desert sheep and goats, and the effect of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine. Research in Veterinary Science 80:343-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.012
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; Ferguson and Warner, 2008Ferguson, D. M. and Warner, R. D. 2008. Have we underestimated the impact of pre-slaughter stress on meat quality in ruminants? Meat Science 80:12-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2008.05.004
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; Ambore et al., 2009Ambore, B.; Ravikanth, K.; Maini, S. and Rekhe, D. S. 2009. Haematological profile and growth performance of goats under transportation stress. Veterinary World 2:195-198.; Sowińska et al., 2016Sowińska, J.; Tański, Z.; Milewski, S.; Ząbek, K.; Wójcik, A.; Sobiech, P. and Illek, J. 2016. Effect of diet supplementation with the addition of Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon stress response in slaughter lambs. Acta Veterinaria Brno 85:177-184. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177
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, 2017Sowińska, J.; Milewski, S.; Tański, Z.; Witkowska, D.; Ząbek, K.; Sobiech, P. and Mituniewicz, T. 2017. The effect of dietary supplementation with β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on stress parameters and meat quality in lambs. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 26:18-25. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016
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). However, not all pharmaceuticals and preparations, in particular antidepressant drugs, can be administered to livestock due to the safety requirements imposed on animal products (Ali and Al-Qarawi, 2002Ali, B. H. and Al-Qarawi, A. A. 2002. Evaluation of drugs used in the control of stressful stimuli in domestic animals: A review. Acta Veterinara Brno 71:205-216. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb200271020205
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https://doi.org/10.1093/ps/82.8.1343...
; Ali et al., 2006Ali, B. H.; Al-Qarawi, A. A. and Mousa, H. M. 2006. Stress associated with road transportation in desert sheep and goats, and the effect of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine. Research in Veterinary Science 80:343-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.012
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).

β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) is an oxidation product of α-ketoisocaproic acid, which is produced primarily in muscle, liver, and fat tissue from the amino acid leucine (Brosnan and Brosnan, 2006Brosnan, J. T. and Brosnan M. E. 2006. Branched-chain amino acids: enzyme and substrate regulation. Journal of Nutrition 136:207S-211S. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.1.207S
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). Leucine plays an important role for the organism, participating in the processes of protein metabolism and inhibiting the processes of their breakdown occurring during effort. Leucine activates the signaling factor of rapamycin (mTOR) in mammals to promote protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. It is also the main regulator of mTOR-sensitive feed intake responses to high-protein diets. Meanwhile, leucine regulates blood glucose levels by promoting gluconeogenesis and helps maintain lean mass in a hypocaloric state. It is also beneficial for animal nutrition (Li et al., 2011Li, F., Yin, Y.; Tan, B.; Kong, X. and Wu, G. 2011. Leucine nutrition in animals and humans: mTOR signaling and beyond. Amino Acids 41:1185. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-011-0983-2
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).

Numerous researchers have demonstrated that dietary supplementation with β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyric acid (HMB), a leucine derivative with immunostimulatory properties, has a positive effect on defense mechanisms, improves performance in animals (Gatnau et al., 1995Gatnau, R.; Zimmerman, D. R.; Nissen, S. L.; Wannemuehler, M. and Ewan, R. C. 1995. Effects of excess dietary leucine and leucine catabolites on growth and immune responses in weanling pigs. Journal of Animal Science 73:159-165. https://doi.org/10.2527/1995.731159x
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; Peterson et al., 1999Peterson, A. L.; Qureshi, M. A.; Ferket, P. R. and Fuller, J. C. 1999. Enhancement of cellular and humoral immunity in young broilers by the dietary supplementation of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 21:307-330. https://doi.org/10.3109/08923979909052765
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; Puchajda-Skowrońska et al., 2006Puchajda-Skowrońska, H.; Siwicki, A. K.; Wójcik, R. and Pudyszak, K. 2006. Effects of 3-hydroxy-3-methylbutyrate (HMB) on selected performance indices and non-specific defense mechanisms in geese. Medycyna Weterynaryjna 62:89-92.; Wiąz et al., 2010Wiąz, M.; Bratos, M.; Kaczmarek, S. and Rutkowski, A. 2010. Application of the beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) acid in broiler chicken feeding. Rocznik Naukowe Polskiego Towarzystwa Zootechnicznego 6:101-108.; Wójcik et al., 2014Wójcik, R.; Małaczewska, J.; Siwicki, A. K.; Miciński, J. and Zwierzchowski, G. 2014. The effect of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) on selected parameters of humoral immunity in calves. Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences 17:357-359. https://doi.org/10.2478/pjvs-2014-0049
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), and is a safe compound (Rathmacher et al., 2004Rathmacher, J. A.; Nissen, S.; Panton, L.; Clark, R. H.; May, P. E.; Barber, A. E.; D’Olimpio, J. and Abumrad, N. N. 2004. Supplementation with a combination of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), arginine, and glutamine is safe and could improve hematological parameters. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 28:65-75. https://doi.org/10.1177/014860710402800265
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). Previous reports in animals are very inconsistent with respect to HMB doses and supplementation duration. The predominant HMB doses used in pigs were 15 mg kg1 of BW (Flummer et al., 2012Flummer, C.; Kristensen, N. B. and Theil, P. K. 2012. Body composition of piglets from sows fed the leucine metabolite β-hydroxy β-methyl butyrate in late gestation. Journal of Animal Science 90:442-444. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.53923
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) and 50 mg kg1 of BW (Tatara et al., 2007Tatara, M. R.; Śliwa, E. and Krupski, W. 2007. Prenatal programming of skeletal development in the offspring: Effects of maternal treatment with β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) on femur properties in pigs at slaughter age. Bone 40:1615-1622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2007.02.018
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2007.02.0...
); in cattle, 20,5 mg kg1 of BW (Van Koevering et al., 1993Van Koevering, M. T.; Gill, D. R.; Smith, R. A.; Owens, F. N.; Nissen, S. and Ball, R. L. 1993. Effect of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate on the health and performance of shipping-stressed calves. Oklahoma State University Research Reports 312-316.); but in sheep, higher than 100 mg kg1 of BW (Tatara, 2008Tatara, M. R. 2008. Neonatal programming of skeletal development in sheep is mediated by somatotrophic axis function. Experimental Physiology 93:763-772. https://doi.org/10.1113/expphysiol.2007.041145
https://doi.org/10.1113/expphysiol.2007....
).

The results of the above studies encouraged the authors to investigate whether the immunostimulant could also minimize stress responses in goat kids during pre-slaughter handling and transportation to the slaughterhouse. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of dietary supplementation with HMB on live weight loss and selected blood parameters in goat kids after transportation to the slaughterhouse.

2. Material and Methods

Research on animals was conducted according to the institutional committee on animal use (protocol No. 18/2013). The study was conducted in Olsztyn, Warmia and Mazury, Poland (53°46' North latitude, 20°30' East longitude, and altitude of 128 m).

The study was performed with 24 single-born male Alpine goat kids that were weaned at 30 days of age and divided into two equal groups: a control group and an experimental group. After weaning, both groups were administered identical diets, composed of the milk replacer (throughout the entire rearing period) and after 30 days of experiment, the following feed was introduced: cielak complementary feed mixture (Wipasz, Olsztyn) and grass haylage. Milk replacer was administered throughout the whole period by the following scheme: days 1-10 of experiment – 4200 mL/animal/day; days 11-20 of experiment – 2800 mL/animal/day; days 21-30 of experiment – 1900 mL/animal/day; and days 31-60 of experiment – 500 mL/animal/day. When the animals reached the 60th day of age, they began to receive extra grass haylage and complementary feed mixture, according to the NRC (2007)NRC - National Research Council. 2007. Nutrient requirements of small ruminants. Sheep, goats, cervids and New World camelids. 6th ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC., for goats with a daily average gain of 100 g. During the experiment, the amount of administered feed and leftovers was controlled. Chemical composition was determined with standard methods (AOAC, 2005AOAC - Association of Official Analytical Chemists. 2005. Official method of analysis 18th ed. AOAC International, Washington, DC.). Based on the results, the amount of nutrients ingested by goat kids was determined for both groups throughout the experimental period (Table 1).

Table 1
Total nutrient intake per group in the investigated period (30 days)

The diets of experimental goats were additionally supplemented with HMB (Metabolic Technologies Inc. Ames, IA, USA), administered with the supplementary feed mix at 50 mg kg1 of BW. In the available scientific studies, there are no results for goats; therefore, in our study, we applied the most frequently dosage used in other animal species. The animals were kept in boxes in accordance with the guidelines included in the animal protection act, and under the constant veterinarian supervision.

At the end of the 90-day rearing period, the animals were fasted for 12 h (with access to water) and were transported to the slaughterhouse in the following morning. The kids were transported in a standardized vehicle for animal transportation. During transportation, temperature and humidity inside the vehicle were measured with LB-520 thermo-hygrometers (Lab-EL, Poland). The duration of transportation and the conditions inside the stock crate are presented in Table 2. Goat kids were transported to the slaughterhouse on a windless day (in June) with ambient temperature of 14.3 ℃ and relative air humidity of 61% at 6 h. Vehicle speed, temperature, and humidity inside the vehicle during the 90 min of transportation were adequate. The space allowance per animal inside the vehicle was consistent with the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transportation and related operations.

Table 2
Duration and conditions inside the transportation vehicle

The animals were weighed before and after transportation to the slaughterhouse to determine live weight loss. Blood was sampled from the jugular vein before transportation (BST1) and after transportation (BST2) to determine stress responses. Hematological analyses were performed to determine red blood cell counts (RBC), white blood cell counts (WBC), hemoglobin concentration (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), and leukocyte profile (leukogram). Basic parameters were determined in the Sysmex hematology analyzer. A differential analysis of leukograms was performed by Pappenheim blood smear staining, and the results were used to calculate the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (N:L). Cortisol and glucose concentrations in the blood serum were determined in biochemical analyses with a Cobas Integra 800 analyzer (Roche, Rotkreuz, Switzerland). Cortisol levels were measured with a competitive enzyme immunoassay kit with an anti-cortisol polyclonal antibody (Elycsys Cortisol, Roche, Rotkreuz, Switzerland). Glucose levels were measured with an enzymatic reference method involving hexokinase. Blood parameters were determined in a specialist laboratory according to the Analytical Quality Control procedure (Chapter 2: Laboratory diagnostics).

The animals were handled during transportation, and blood samples were collected by the same team of experienced professionals. The duration of handling operations, including herding, weighing, and blood sampling in the goat farm and in the abattoir did not exceed 45 s.

The results were processed statistically in the Statistica 13.0 PL program (StatSoft Inc., Tulsa, OK, USA). Live weight loss and blood parameters were analyzed (x ±SD). The results were validated by two-way (GK × BST) or one-way (GK or BST) ANOVA. The differences among groups of kids (GK) or blood sampling time (BST) were estimated using the following model:

Y ij = μ + Y i + e ij ,

in which Yij is the observation of dependent variable, µ is the overall mean, Yi is fixed effect of supplementation = (Yi = µi - µ), µi is the mean for the i group, and eij is the random residual error.

Fixed effect of supplementation (GK) and blood sampling time (BST) and their interaction were included in the model. The model used was:

Y ij = μ + S i + T j + ( S × T ) ij + e ij ,

in which Yij is the observation of dependent variable, µ is the overall mean, Si is the effect of HMB supplementation (GK), Tj is the effect of blood sampling time (BST), (S × T)ij is the interaction term of GK and BST, and eij is the random residual error.

3. Results

During the 60 days of the study, no great differences in the feed intake of the kids were recorded (Table 1). The experimental goats consumed no more than 0.62% DM and, consequently, no more crude protein and crude fiber. It may be thus assumed that it was comparable in both groups.

No significant differences in body weights were observed between groups before transportation and after unloading in the slaughterhouse (Table 3). Body weights were somewhat higher in animals whose diets were supplemented with HMB, but the noted difference was not significant. Live weight loss after transportation (kg, %) was significantly lower in the experimental group than in the control group.

Table 3
Body weight of control and experimental group of kids and body weight losses during pre-slaughter transportation (mean±SD)

In the group of hematological parameters, RBC, WBC, HBC, and HCT values did not differ significantly between GK or BST (Table 4).

Table 4
Effect of group of kids and blood sampling time on blood parameters (mean±SD)

Cortisol levels were significantly affected by both GK and sampling dates. Transportation led to a significant increase in cortisol concentration in both groups, but it was significantly higher in the control than in the experimental group, in which the diet was supplemented with HMB (Table 4).

Serum glucose concentration did not differ significantly between groups. The above parameter increased significantly after transportation in both groups. A similar pattern of changes was observed in the N:L ratio (Table 4).

4. Discussion

In the current experiment, live weight loss after transportation (Table 3) was significantly lower in the experimental group than the control group. The experimental kids were heavier and characterized by significantly lower weight loss.

Numerous authors have demonstrated that transportation to the slaughterhouse and the accompanying handling operations are considerable stressors that decrease live body weight. During transportation, animals lose weight due to dehydration and loss of energy required for the maintenance of homeostasis (Knowles, 1995Knowles, T. G. 1995. A review of post-transport mortality among younger calves. Veterinary Record 137:406-407. https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.137.16.406
https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.137.16.406...
). Many researchers have evaluated body weight loss in young ruminants in view of the animals’ age and breed, duration of transportation, and space allowances inside the vehicle (Kannan et al., 2000Kannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Gazal, O. S.; Gelaye, S.; Amoah, E. A. and Samaké, S. 2000. Transportation of goats: effects on physiological stress responses and live weight loss. Journal of Animal Science 78:1450-1457. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x
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, 2007aKannan, G.; Saker, K. E.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Galipalli, S. and Gelaye, S. 2007a. Effect of seaweed extract supplementation in goats exposed to simulated preslaughter stress. Small Ruminant Research 73:221-227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2007.02.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
,b; Kadim et al., 2006Kadim, I. T.; Mahgoub, O.; Al-Kindi, A.; Al-Marzooqi, W. and Al-Saqri, N. M. 2006. Effects of transportation at high ambient temperatures on physiological responses, carcass and meat quality characteristics of three breeds of Omani goats. Meat Science 73:626-634. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.03.003
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.0...
; Kadim et al., 2007Kadim, I. T.; Maghoub, O.; AlKindi, A. Y.; Al-Marzoqui, W.; Al-Saqri, N. M.; Almaney, M. and Mahmoud, I. Y. 2007. Effects of transportation at high ambient temperatures on physiological responses, carcass and meat quality characteristics in two age groups of Omani sheep. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 20:424-431. https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2007.424
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2007.424...
; Nikbin et al., 2016Nikbin, S.; Panandam, J. M. and Sazili, A. Q. 2016. Influence of pre-slaughter transportation and stocking density on carcass and meat quality characteristics of Boer goats. Italian Journal of Animal Science 15:504-511. https://doi.org/10.1080/1828051X.2016.1217752
https://doi.org/10.1080/1828051X.2016.12...
; Akin et al., 2018Akin, P. D.; Yilmaz, A. and Ekiz, B. 2018. Effects of stocking density on stress responses and meat quality characteristics of lambs transported for 45 minutes or 3 hours. Small Ruminant Research 169:134-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2018.08.009
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
; Yalcintan et al., 2018Yalcintan, H.; Akin, P. D.; Ozturk, N.; Avanus, K.; Muratoglu, K.; Kocak, O.; Yilmaz, A. and Ekiz, B. 2018. Effect of lairage time after 2 h transport on stress parameters and meat quality characteristics in Kivircik ewe lambs. Small Ruminant Research 166:41-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2018.07.007
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
), but their findings were inconclusive. In a study by Kannan et al. (2000)Kannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Gazal, O. S.; Gelaye, S.; Amoah, E. A. and Samaké, S. 2000. Transportation of goats: effects on physiological stress responses and live weight loss. Journal of Animal Science 78:1450-1457. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x...
, live weight loss in 15-month-old goats was not affected by stocking density and reached 9.8-10.2% after 2.5 h of transportation. In contrast, Nikbin et al. (2016)Nikbin, S.; Panandam, J. M. and Sazili, A. Q. 2016. Influence of pre-slaughter transportation and stocking density on carcass and meat quality characteristics of Boer goats. Italian Journal of Animal Science 15:504-511. https://doi.org/10.1080/1828051X.2016.1217752
https://doi.org/10.1080/1828051X.2016.12...
reported higher live weight loss (1.36%) in 12-month-old goats after 3.5 h of transportation at higher stocking density compared with lower stocking density (0.44%). In the work of Akin et al. (2018)Akin, P. D.; Yilmaz, A. and Ekiz, B. 2018. Effects of stocking density on stress responses and meat quality characteristics of lambs transported for 45 minutes or 3 hours. Small Ruminant Research 169:134-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2018.08.009
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
, differences in stocking density did not influence live weight loss during short transportation (45 min), whereas significantly higher weight loss was noted after longer transportation (3 h) at higher stocking density.

Live weight loss during transportation to the slaughterhouse should be minimized to increase profits, and many researchers have analyzed the efficacy of various supplements that enhance defense mechanisms and decrease weight loss in animals (Kannan et al., 2007bKannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B. and Galipalli, S. 2007b. Blood metabolite changes and live weight loss following brown seaweed extract supplementation in goats subjected to stress. Small Ruminant Research 73:228-234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2007.02.010
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
; Minka and Ayo, 2007Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2007. Physiological responses of transported goats treated with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season. Animal Science Journal 78:164-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00421.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007...
, 2013Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2013. Physiological and behavioral responses of goats to 12-hour road transportation, lairage and grazing periods, and the modulatory role of ascorbic acid. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 8:349–356. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2013.01.001
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2013.01.0...
; Minka et al., 2009Minka, N. S.; Ayo, J. O.; Sackey, A. K. and Adelaiye, A. B. 2009. Assessment and scoring of stresses imposed on goats during handling, loading, road transportation and unloading, and the effect of pretreatment with ascorbic acid. Livestock Science 125:275-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05...
; Sowińska et al., 2017Sowińska, J.; Milewski, S.; Tański, Z.; Witkowska, D.; Ząbek, K.; Sobiech, P. and Mituniewicz, T. 2017. The effect of dietary supplementation with β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on stress parameters and meat quality in lambs. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 26:18-25. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016
https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016...
). The results of their studies were also ambiguous. The addition of seaweed extract to the diets of goats of two breeds did not affect live weight loss after 6 h of transportation, but significant differences in the evaluated parameter were noted between breeds (Kannan et al., 2007bKannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B. and Galipalli, S. 2007b. Blood metabolite changes and live weight loss following brown seaweed extract supplementation in goats subjected to stress. Small Ruminant Research 73:228-234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2007.02.010
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
). Sowińska et al. (2017)Sowińska, J.; Milewski, S.; Tański, Z.; Witkowska, D.; Ząbek, K.; Sobiech, P. and Mituniewicz, T. 2017. The effect of dietary supplementation with β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on stress parameters and meat quality in lambs. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 26:18-25. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016
https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016...
found no significant differences in the body weights of young rams fed beta-glucan, determined after 80 min of transportation. According to other authors, the administration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) minimized live weight loss in goats. Minka and Ayo (2007)Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2007. Physiological responses of transported goats treated with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season. Animal Science Journal 78:164-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00421.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007...
observed significantly lower weight loss (1.04%) in the group of goats supplemented with vitamin C than in the control group (11.9%) after 8 h of transportation. Lower live weight loss was also reported in goats that received ascorbic acid (1.6 and 5.7%) before a 12-h-long transportation (Minka et al., 2009Minka, N. S.; Ayo, J. O.; Sackey, A. K. and Adelaiye, A. B. 2009. Assessment and scoring of stresses imposed on goats during handling, loading, road transportation and unloading, and the effect of pretreatment with ascorbic acid. Livestock Science 125:275-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05...
). Ambore et al. (2009)Ambore, B.; Ravikanth, K.; Maini, S. and Rekhe, D. S. 2009. Haematological profile and growth performance of goats under transportation stress. Veterinary World 2:195-198. demonstrated that herbal preparations (Restobal liquid, Stresomix premix) were effective in reducing transportation-related live weight loss in goats. In the present study, the experimental kids were characterized by significantly lower weight loss after transportation, which suggests that dietary supplementation with HMB results in positive effects.

Transportation is one of the greatest stressors in livestock rearing. The severity of stress is determined not only by handling operations before transportation and slaughter (Knowles et al., 1998Knowles, T. G.; Warris, P. D.; Brown, S. N. and Edwards, J. E. 1998. Effects of stocking density on lambs being transported by road. Veterinary Record 142:503-509. https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.142.19.503
https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.142.19.503...
; Fisher et al., 2005Fisher, A. D.; Steward, M.; Duganzich, D. M.; Tacon, J. and Matthews, L. R. 2005. The effects of stationary periods and external temperature and humidity on thermal stress conditions within sheep transport vehicles. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 53:6-9. https://doi.org/10.1080/00480169.2005.36461
https://doi.org/10.1080/00480169.2005.36...
), but also by other factors that cause physiological changes in animals (Hartung, 2003Hartung, J. 2003. Effects transport on health of farm animals. Veterinary Research Communications 27:525-527. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:VERC.0000014212.81294.78
https://doi.org/10.1023/B:VERC.000001421...
; Minka and Ayo 2007Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2007. Physiological responses of transported goats treated with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season. Animal Science Journal 78:164-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00421.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007...
). The values of RBC, WBC, HGB, and HCT did not differ significantly between blood sampling times (Table 4), which is consistent with the results of many studies. Ekiz et al. (2012)Ekiz, B.; Ekiz, E. E.; Kocak, O.; Yalcintan, H. and Yilmaz, A. 2012. Effect of pre-slaughter management regarding transportation and time in lairage on certain stress parameters, carcass and meat quality characteristics in Kivircik lambs. Meat Science 90:967-976. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2011.11.042
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2011.1...
did not observe significant differences in the hematological parameters of lambs after 75 min of transportation in comparison with base levels. Bórnez et al. (2009)Bórnez, R.; Linares, M. B. and Vergara, H. 2009. Haematological, hormonal and biochemical blood parameters in lamb: Effect of age and blood sampling time. Livestock Science 121:200-206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2008.06.009
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2008.06...
also reported an absence of significant variations in RBC, HCT, and HGB values in 30-day-old and 70-day-old lambs after 30 min of transportation. Ali et al. (2006)Ali, B. H.; Al-Qarawi, A. A. and Mousa, H. M. 2006. Stress associated with road transportation in desert sheep and goats, and the effect of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine. Research in Veterinary Science 80:343-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.012
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.0...
did not observe significant differences in HCT, HGB, or WBC in lambs after 2 h of transportation, and Miranda-de la Lama et al. (2011)Miranda-de la Lama, G. C.; Monge, P.; Villarroel, M.; Olleta, J. L.; Garcia-Belenguer, S. and María, G. A. 2011. Effects of road type during transport on lamb welfare and meat quality in dry hot climates. Tropical Animal Health and Production 43:915-922. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9783-7
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9783-...
found similar values of RBC, WBC, and HCT in lambs after 3 h of transportation.

Stress stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to release cortisol from adrenal glands, which is why cortisol concentration in the blood is regarded as a reliable indicator of stress (Ferguson and Warner, 2008Ferguson, D. M. and Warner, R. D. 2008. Have we underestimated the impact of pre-slaughter stress on meat quality in ruminants? Meat Science 80:12-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2008.05.004
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2008.0...
; Minka and Ayo, 2010bMinka N. S. and Ayo J. O. 2010b. Physiological responses of food animals to road transportation stress. African Journal of Biotechnology 9:6601-6613.; Zimerman et al., 2013Zimerman, M.; Domingo, E.; Grigono, G.; Taddeo, H. and Willems, P. 2013. The effect of pre-slaughter stressors on physiological indicators and meat quality traits on Merino lambs. Small Ruminant Research 111:6-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2012.12.018
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
). Numerous authors have reported an increase in the serum cortisol levels of transported animals (Knowles, 1995Knowles, T. G. 1995. A review of post-transport mortality among younger calves. Veterinary Record 137:406-407. https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.137.16.406
https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.137.16.406...
; Nwe et al., 1996Nwe, T. M.; Hori, E.; Manda, M. and Watanable, S. 1996. Significance of catecholamines and cortisol levels in blood during transportation stress in goats. Small Ruminant Research 20:129-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-4488(95)00781-4
https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-4488(95)007...
; Kannan et al., 2000Kannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Gazal, O. S.; Gelaye, S.; Amoah, E. A. and Samaké, S. 2000. Transportation of goats: effects on physiological stress responses and live weight loss. Journal of Animal Science 78:1450-1457. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x...
, 2003Kannan, G.; Kouakou, B.; Terrill, T. H. and Gelaye, S. 2003. Endocrine, blood metabolite and meat quality changes in goats as influenced by short-term, preslaughter stress. Journal of Animal Science 81:1499-1507. https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x...
; Kadim et al., 2006Kadim, I. T.; Mahgoub, O.; Al-Kindi, A.; Al-Marzooqi, W. and Al-Saqri, N. M. 2006. Effects of transportation at high ambient temperatures on physiological responses, carcass and meat quality characteristics of three breeds of Omani goats. Meat Science 73:626-634. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.03.003
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.0...
; Sowińska et al., 2006Sowińska, J.; Brzostowski, H.; Tański, Z. and Lisowska, J. 2006. Stress reaction of lambs to weaning and short transport to slaughterhouse regards to the breed and age. Medycyna Weterynaryjna 62:946-948.; Miranda-de la Lama, 2010; Yalcintan et al., 2018Yalcintan, H.; Akin, P. D.; Ozturk, N.; Avanus, K.; Muratoglu, K.; Kocak, O.; Yilmaz, A. and Ekiz, B. 2018. Effect of lairage time after 2 h transport on stress parameters and meat quality characteristics in Kivircik ewe lambs. Small Ruminant Research 166:41-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2018.07.007
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
).

Kannan et al. (2000)Kannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Gazal, O. S.; Gelaye, S.; Amoah, E. A. and Samaké, S. 2000. Transportation of goats: effects on physiological stress responses and live weight loss. Journal of Animal Science 78:1450-1457. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x...
noted a significant increase in goat cortisone levels after 2.5 h of transportation, regardless of stocking density. In another study, cortisol concentration increased after 2 h of transportation in Alpine goats from all age groups (Kannan et al., 2003Kannan, G.; Kouakou, B.; Terrill, T. H. and Gelaye, S. 2003. Endocrine, blood metabolite and meat quality changes in goats as influenced by short-term, preslaughter stress. Journal of Animal Science 81:1499-1507. https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x...
). A considerable increase in the cortisol levels of male goats, regardless of breed, was also reported after 2 h of transportation by Kadim et al. (2006)Kadim, I. T.; Mahgoub, O.; Al-Kindi, A.; Al-Marzooqi, W. and Al-Saqri, N. M. 2006. Effects of transportation at high ambient temperatures on physiological responses, carcass and meat quality characteristics of three breeds of Omani goats. Meat Science 73:626-634. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.03.003
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.0...
. In the current study, cortisol concentration increased significantly in 90-day-old male Alpine goats after 1.5 h of transportation. The above findings confirm that even short transportation is a source of considerable stress for animals.

Glucose is a source of energy that is rapidly depleted under exposure to stress (Broom et al., 1996Broom, D. M.; Goode, J. A.; Hall, S. J. G.; Lloyd, D. M. and Parrott, R. F. 1996. Hormonal and physiological effects of a 15-hour road journey in sheep: Comparison with the responses to loading, handling and penning in the absence of transport. British Veterinary Journal 152:593-604. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0007-1935(96)80011-X
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0007-1935(96)80...
), which is why serum glucose concentration is also regarded as an indicator of transportation stress in animals (Kannan et al., 2000Kannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Gazal, O. S.; Gelaye, S.; Amoah, E. A. and Samaké, S. 2000. Transportation of goats: effects on physiological stress responses and live weight loss. Journal of Animal Science 78:1450-1457. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x...
, 2003Kannan, G.; Kouakou, B.; Terrill, T. H. and Gelaye, S. 2003. Endocrine, blood metabolite and meat quality changes in goats as influenced by short-term, preslaughter stress. Journal of Animal Science 81:1499-1507. https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x...
; Minka and Ayo, 2010a). Research has demonstrated that an increase in blood glucose levels is preceded by an increase in cortisol concentration (Sanhouri et al. 1992Sanhouri, A. A.; Jones, R. S. and Dobson, H. 1992. Effects of xylazine on the stress response to transport in male goats. British Veterinary Journal 148:119-128. https://doi.org/10.1016/0007-1935(92)90103-8
https://doi.org/10.1016/0007-1935(92)901...
). Cortisol plays a very important role in gluconeogenesis because it stimulates the liver to convert fat and protein to indirect metabolites. These metabolites are ultimately converted to glucose as a source of energy (Saeb et al., 2010Saeb, M.; Baghshani, H.; Nazifi, S. and Saeb, S. 2010. Physiological response of dromedary camels to road transportation in relation to circulating levels of cortisol, thyroid hormones and some serum biochemical parameters. Tropical Animal Health and Production 42:55-63. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-009-9385-9
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-009-9385-...
). Numerous researchers have demonstrated that glucose is a reliable indicator of stress in animals. Glucose levels increased in response to the stress induced by 1.5-2.5 h (Kannan et al., 2000Kannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Gazal, O. S.; Gelaye, S.; Amoah, E. A. and Samaké, S. 2000. Transportation of goats: effects on physiological stress responses and live weight loss. Journal of Animal Science 78:1450-1457. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x...
, 2003Kannan, G.; Kouakou, B.; Terrill, T. H. and Gelaye, S. 2003. Endocrine, blood metabolite and meat quality changes in goats as influenced by short-term, preslaughter stress. Journal of Animal Science 81:1499-1507. https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2003.8161499x...
; Rajion et al., 2001Rajion, M. A.; Saat, I. M.; Zulkifli, I. and Goh, Y. M. 2001. The effects of road transportation on some physiological stress measures in goats. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 14:1250-1252. https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2001.1250
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2001.1250...
; Ali et al., 2006Ali, B. H.; Al-Qarawi, A. A. and Mousa, H. M. 2006. Stress associated with road transportation in desert sheep and goats, and the effect of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine. Research in Veterinary Science 80:343-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.012
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.0...
; Sowińska et al., 2016Sowińska, J.; Tański, Z.; Milewski, S.; Ząbek, K.; Wójcik, A.; Sobiech, P. and Illek, J. 2016. Effect of diet supplementation with the addition of Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon stress response in slaughter lambs. Acta Veterinaria Brno 85:177-184. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177
https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177...
, 2017Sowińska, J.; Milewski, S.; Tański, Z.; Witkowska, D.; Ząbek, K.; Sobiech, P. and Mituniewicz, T. 2017. The effect of dietary supplementation with β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on stress parameters and meat quality in lambs. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 26:18-25. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016
https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016...
), 6 h (Nwe et al., 1996Nwe, T. M.; Hori, E.; Manda, M. and Watanable, S. 1996. Significance of catecholamines and cortisol levels in blood during transportation stress in goats. Small Ruminant Research 20:129-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-4488(95)00781-4
https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-4488(95)007...
; Galipalli et al., 2004Galipalli, S.; Gadiyaram, K. M.; Kouakou, B.; Terril, T. H. and Kannan, G. 2004. Physiological responses to preslaughter transportation stress in Tasco-supplemented Boer goats. South African Journal of Animal Science 34(Supplement 1): 198-200.; Kannan et al., 2007bKannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B. and Galipalli, S. 2007b. Blood metabolite changes and live weight loss following brown seaweed extract supplementation in goats subjected to stress. Small Ruminant Research 73:228-234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2007.02.010
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
), as well as 12 h of transportation (Minka and Ayo, 2010a). In the present experiment, a significant increase in the serum glucose levels of goat kids transported to the slaughterhouse also indicates that glucose is a useful parameter for evaluating stress responses in animals.

Many studies have also evaluated the impact of transportation stress on the N:L ratio in livestock. Stress triggers the release of corticoids, which increase neutrophil counts and decrease lymphocyte counts in the leukogram (Stanger et al., 2005Stanger, K. J.; Ketheesan, N.; Parker, A. J.; Coleman, C. J.; Lazzaroni, S. M. and Fitzpatrick, L. A. 2005. The effect of transportation on the immune status of Bos indicus steers. Journal of Animal Science 83:2632-2636. https://doi.org/10.2527/2005.83112632x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2005.83112632x...
). A significant increase in the N:L ratio was observed regardless of the duration of transportation (1.5-12 h) (Nwe et al., 1996Nwe, T. M.; Hori, E.; Manda, M. and Watanable, S. 1996. Significance of catecholamines and cortisol levels in blood during transportation stress in goats. Small Ruminant Research 20:129-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-4488(95)00781-4
https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-4488(95)007...
; Kannan et al., 2000Kannan, G.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Gazal, O. S.; Gelaye, S.; Amoah, E. A. and Samaké, S. 2000. Transportation of goats: effects on physiological stress responses and live weight loss. Journal of Animal Science 78:1450-1457. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x
https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7861450x...
, 2007aKannan, G.; Saker, K. E.; Terrill, T. H.; Kouakou, B.; Galipalli, S. and Gelaye, S. 2007a. Effect of seaweed extract supplementation in goats exposed to simulated preslaughter stress. Small Ruminant Research 73:221-227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2007.02.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.20...
; Rajion et al., 2001Rajion, M. A.; Saat, I. M.; Zulkifli, I. and Goh, Y. M. 2001. The effects of road transportation on some physiological stress measures in goats. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 14:1250-1252. https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2001.1250
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2001.1250...
; Galipalli et al., 2004Galipalli, S.; Gadiyaram, K. M.; Kouakou, B.; Terril, T. H. and Kannan, G. 2004. Physiological responses to preslaughter transportation stress in Tasco-supplemented Boer goats. South African Journal of Animal Science 34(Supplement 1): 198-200.; Minka and Ayo, 2007Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2007. Physiological responses of transported goats treated with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season. Animal Science Journal 78:164-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00421.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007...
; Minka et al., 2009Minka, N. S.; Ayo, J. O.; Sackey, A. K. and Adelaiye, A. B. 2009. Assessment and scoring of stresses imposed on goats during handling, loading, road transportation and unloading, and the effect of pretreatment with ascorbic acid. Livestock Science 125:275-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05...
; Sowińska et al., 2016Sowińska, J.; Tański, Z.; Milewski, S.; Ząbek, K.; Wójcik, A.; Sobiech, P. and Illek, J. 2016. Effect of diet supplementation with the addition of Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon stress response in slaughter lambs. Acta Veterinaria Brno 85:177-184. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177
https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177...
, 2017Sowińska, J.; Milewski, S.; Tański, Z.; Witkowska, D.; Ząbek, K.; Sobiech, P. and Mituniewicz, T. 2017. The effect of dietary supplementation with β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on stress parameters and meat quality in lambs. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 26:18-25. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016
https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016...
). In the current study, the N:L ratio in goat kids also increased significantly after transportation to the slaughterhouse.

Various methods for minimizing stress and its negative effects on animal health have been evaluated in the literature. The efficacy of various preparations, including seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) extract (Galipalli et al., 2004Galipalli, S.; Gadiyaram, K. M.; Kouakou, B.; Terril, T. H. and Kannan, G. 2004. Physiological responses to preslaughter transportation stress in Tasco-supplemented Boer goats. South African Journal of Animal Science 34(Supplement 1): 198-200.; Kannan et al., 2007a,b), xylazine (Ali et al., 2006Ali, B. H.; Al-Qarawi, A. A. and Mousa, H. M. 2006. Stress associated with road transportation in desert sheep and goats, and the effect of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine. Research in Veterinary Science 80:343-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.012
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.0...
), ascorbic acid (Minka and Ayo, 2007Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2007. Physiological responses of transported goats treated with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season. Animal Science Journal 78:164-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00421.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007...
, 2010aMinka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2010a. Serum biochemical activities and muscular soreness in transported goats administered with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season. European Journal of Translational Myology - Basic Applied Myology 1:193-203.; Minka et al., 2009Minka, N. S.; Ayo, J. O.; Sackey, A. K. and Adelaiye, A. B. 2009. Assessment and scoring of stresses imposed on goats during handling, loading, road transportation and unloading, and the effect of pretreatment with ascorbic acid. Livestock Science 125:275-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05...
), and dried yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) (Sowińska et al., 2016Sowińska, J.; Tański, Z.; Milewski, S.; Ząbek, K.; Wójcik, A.; Sobiech, P. and Illek, J. 2016. Effect of diet supplementation with the addition of Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon stress response in slaughter lambs. Acta Veterinaria Brno 85:177-184. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177
https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177...
, 2017Sowińska, J.; Milewski, S.; Tański, Z.; Witkowska, D.; Ząbek, K.; Sobiech, P. and Mituniewicz, T. 2017. The effect of dietary supplementation with β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on stress parameters and meat quality in lambs. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 26:18-25. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016
https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016...
), has been evaluated in animals. In the works of Galipalli et al. (2004)Galipalli, S.; Gadiyaram, K. M.; Kouakou, B.; Terril, T. H. and Kannan, G. 2004. Physiological responses to preslaughter transportation stress in Tasco-supplemented Boer goats. South African Journal of Animal Science 34(Supplement 1): 198-200. and Kannan et al. (2007a), seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) extract did not lower cortisol concentration, glucose levels, or the N:L ratio in goats after transportation. Dietary supplementation with dried brewer’s yeast (Sowińska et al., 2016Sowińska, J.; Tański, Z.; Milewski, S.; Ząbek, K.; Wójcik, A.; Sobiech, P. and Illek, J. 2016. Effect of diet supplementation with the addition of Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon stress response in slaughter lambs. Acta Veterinaria Brno 85:177-184. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177
https://doi.org/10.2754/avb201685020177...
) and beta-glucan (Sowińska et al., 2017Sowińska, J.; Milewski, S.; Tański, Z.; Witkowska, D.; Ząbek, K.; Sobiech, P. and Mituniewicz, T. 2017. The effect of dietary supplementation with β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on stress parameters and meat quality in lambs. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 26:18-25. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016
https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/68050/2016...
) did not cause significant differences in cortisol levels between control and experimental lambs, but it significantly lowered blood glucose and the N:L ratio after transportation.

Ali et al. (2006)Ali, B. H.; Al-Qarawi, A. A. and Mousa, H. M. 2006. Stress associated with road transportation in desert sheep and goats, and the effect of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine. Research in Veterinary Science 80:343-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.012
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.07.0...
showed a significantly higher HCT and lymphocyte counts and significantly lower cortisol and glucose levels in the group of goats which received xylazine before the 2-h transportation compared with the control group. The efficacy of ascorbic acid supplementation before transportation, in particular under exposure to high temperature and high humidity, was demonstrated in a series of experiments by Minka and Ayo (2007Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2007. Physiological responses of transported goats treated with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season. Animal Science Journal 78:164-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00421.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007...
, 2013Minka, N. S. and Ayo, J. O. 2013. Physiological and behavioral responses of goats to 12-hour road transportation, lairage and grazing periods, and the modulatory role of ascorbic acid. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 8:349–356. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2013.01.001
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2013.01.0...
) and Minka et al. (2009)Minka, N. S.; Ayo, J. O.; Sackey, A. K. and Adelaiye, A. B. 2009. Assessment and scoring of stresses imposed on goats during handling, loading, road transportation and unloading, and the effect of pretreatment with ascorbic acid. Livestock Science 125:275-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2009.05...
. In the present study, goat kids fed diets supplemented with HMB were characterized by significantly lower cortisol concentration after transportation. The evaluated supplement had no significant effect on glucose levels or the N:L ratio, but glucose concentration after transportation increased 1.7-fold in the experimental group and 2-fold in the control group. The N:L ratio increased 1.4- and 2.1-fold in the respective groups, which indicates that HMB is a promising feed additive.

5. Conclusions

The results of this study demonstrated that the supplementation of goat kid diets with β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (at 50 mg kg1 of BW) can alleviate stress and its consequences on the animals’ health. The analyzed immunostimulant, a leucine derivative, has a beneficial influence on immune function and reduces stress responses evaluated based on blood parameters and live weight loss.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    21 Aug 2020
  • Date of issue
    2020

History

  • Received
    6 Mar 2020
  • Accepted
    9 June 2020
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