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Induced Stress and Tactile Stimulation Applied to Primiparous does and their Consequences on Maternal Behavior, Human-Animal Relationships, and Future Offspring's Sexual Disorders

By A. C. F. Oliveira, L. M. Bernardi, A. L. B. Monteiro, K. G. Silva, S. H. Weber, T. D. Borges, A. Dalmau, L. B. Costa

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate whether tactile stimulation in rabbits during the gestation phase improve the maternal behavior and human-animal relationships as well as the effects on reproductive behavior of male kits when reached maturity compared to induced stress. A total of 33 primiparous New Zealand does were selected after pregnancy confirmation and allocated in a randomized complete block design. The treatments applied were as follows: (C) animals not stimulated during the experimental period; (TS) animals that received tactile stimulation; and (SS) does which were immobilized. The nest building behavior as well as the weight, sexual behavior, mortality, and semen analysis of the offspring was recorded. In addition, the novel object, flight distance, social isolation, and human-approach tests were conducted. Under the conditions of the present trial, TS animals showed more trust in the unfamiliar observer when compared to the other two treatments. The treatments applied to the females (TS and SS) were sufficient to confirm that the control group presented better values for the number of stillbirths and the proportion of deaths in the first week. Finally, the handling of does reduce the males' ejaculation and sperm presence but not inhibited sexual behavior or impaired semen quality. It is possible to conclude that TS did not impair does welfare or maternal behavior and it improved the human-animal relationship, however there was a negative impact on the litter. More studies that directly assess impact on the future reproductive capacity of the offspring are necessary.

Publication Title Vet Res Commun
ISBN/ISSN 0165-7380
DOI 10.1007/s11259-022-09920-9
Language eng
Notes 1573-7446Oliveira, Angela C FOrcid: 0000-0001-7868-5773Bernardi, Luiza MOrcid: 0000-0002-4813-7589Monteiro, Ana Larissa BOrcid: 0000-0002-8547-3231Silva, Kassy GOrcid: 0000-0002-1127-4563Weber, Saulo HOrcid: 0000-0002-7584-8044Borges, Tâmara DOrcid: 0000-0003-4076-4147Dalmau, AntoniOrcid: 0000-0003-2248-6796Costa, Leandro BOrcid: 0000-0002-1852-4860Journal ArticleNetherlandsVet Res Commun. 2022 Mar 30. doi: 10.1007/s11259-022-09920-9.
Author Address Graduate Program of Animal Science - PPGCA, School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná - PUCPR, Imaculada Conceição, 1155 - Prado Velho, Curitiba, PR, Brazil.Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries - IRTA, Monells, Spain.Graduate Program of Animal Science - PPGCA, School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná - PUCPR, Imaculada Conceição, 1155 - Prado Velho, Curitiba, PR, Brazil. batista.leandro@pucpr.br.
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  1. Behavior and behavior mechanisms