Behavior of Domestic Animals

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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Stockbridge Sch of Agriculture
George Howe

BIOLOGICAL RHYTHYMS 1. General A. Influence activity patterns of domestic animal (vary between and within species) B. Patterns of activity and sleep reflect internal rhythms C. Best know and studied are circadian rhythms occurring in 24 hour period I. Circadian periods of activity and inactivity add up to 24 hours D. Other types include high frequency, ultradian, infradian, and annual cycles 1. High Frequency A. High frequency rhythms (heart rate and respiration rates) occur in periods less than 30 minutes I. Heart rate varies with body weight a Cat 110-130 b Hours 28-40 2. Ultradian A. More frequent than 24 hours I. Growth hormone levels in cows in cycles of 3.5 hours II. Internal body temperature varies in cats every hour a Affected by frequent food intake 3. Circadian Rhythms A. Self sustaining under conditions of constant light and dark during 24 hours B. Zeitgebeks—influence circadian rhythms C. Light—naturally occur during a light-dark cycle I. Very important in reproductive cycles D. Barometric pressure I. Mice higher activity with higher barometric pressure II. Horses and dogs higher activity before storms E. Drugs I. Caffeine higher activity II. Melatonin for jet lag III. Certain drugs are more effective and/or less toxic at one time of day F. Pineal Gland I. Responds to light and dark patterns II. In turn influences other hormones a Especially important in seasonal breeders G. Feeding I. In wild, there are rhythms of feeding II. In domestic animals, we impose H. Parasitic Rhythms I. Clinical importance a Heartworm is most active in circulation in evening which coincides with insect vectors that will carry the microfilaria to new host (therefore evening blood samples are better) I. Other rhythms I. Sexual cycles II. Annual or seasonal a Horses and sheep breeding seasons b Cats annual cycles i. Corticosteroids, thyroxin, and epinephrine peak in winter J. Sleep I. Occupies ¼ time in ruminants II. Occupies ½ time in dogs III. Replenish neurotransmitters, conserve energy, consolidate memory, fill up time K. Types of Sleep I. Slow wave sleep (sleep of the mind, quiet sleep) II. REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep) a Mild body movement as inhibitory area in medulla that paral
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