Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Transl. Anim. Sci. 2019.3:1691–1695


© The Author(s) 2019.

Open access

doi: 10.1093/tas/txz059


Body composition correlates to carcass value in livestock, which makes the ability to accurately estimate body composition in the live animal beneficial (Berg and Marchello, 1994). Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a clinical tool used to assess body composition in humans (Lukaski et al., 1985), but its use in livestock has been minimal. Lean and fat content contribute to profitability for livestock producers, and poor body composition can be caused by stress that occurs either during in utero development (De Blasio et al., 2007) or during postnatal growth (Boyd et al., 2015). Maternal hyperthermia-induced placental insufficiency (Brown et al., 2015) and sustained maternal inflammation (Cadaret et al., 2018) are two established causes of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). IUGR-born animals are characterized by asymmetrical growth restriction that alters lifelong body composition due to impaired muscle growth capacity (Yates et al., 2018). In addition, acute heat stress during periods of peak postnatal growth can alter body composition in livestock (Boyd et al., 2015). We postulate that BIA can detect these changes in the live animal. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine whether BIA measurements can predict changes to body composition in live neonatal lambs exposed to intrauterine stress and in heat-stressed feedlot lambs.