Comparison of reticular and rectal core body temperatures in lactating dairy cows

J. M. Bewley, M. E. Einstein, M. W. Grott, M. M. Schutz

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74 Scopus citations


The Phase IV Cattle Temperature Monitoring System (CTMS; Phase IV Engineering Inc., Boulder, CO) marketed by MaGiiX (MaGiiX Inc., Post Falls, ID) uses a passive bolus equipped with a temperature sensor, a panel reader placed at a parlor entrance or exit to query the bolus, and a software package to collect, analyze, and view data. The biologically inert bolus resides in the cow's reticulum and is queried each time the cow passes the reader. Reticular temperature (RETT) and rectal temperature (RECT) were recorded simultaneously in the milking parlor exit lane in 4 consecutive milkings in each of 4 seasons, totaling 16 measurements per cow. The RETT were obtained by using the phase IV CTMS, whereas the RECT were obtained manually with a GLA M750 thermometer (GLA Agricultural Electronics, San Luis Obispo, CA). Data were edited to remove RETT likely to have been affected by a recent drinking bout. For the 2,042 observations used in analyses, means (±SD) were 39.28 (±0.41), 38.83 (±0.36), and 0.45 (±0.33) for RETT, RECT, and the difference between RETT and RECT, respectively. The RETT and RECT were strongly correlated (r = 0.645). The relationship between RETT and RECT varied by season, milking, housing system, and parity. Because dairy producers and veterinarians are accustomed to viewing rectal temperatures, equations to adjust reticular temperatures to a rectal-based scale may increase the utility of the phase IV CTMS. The resulting conversion equations were RECT = 19.23 + 0.496(RETT) for the a.m. milking and RECT = 15.88 + 0.587(RETT) for the p.m. milking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4661-4672
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Biosensor
  • Rectal temperature
  • Reticular temperature
  • Temperature monitoring


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