Isolation stress in desert sheep and goats and the influence of pretreatment with xylazine or sodium betaine

A. A. Al-Qarawi, Badreldin H. Ali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We studied some behavioural, clinical, biochemical and haematological variables in Desert (Najdi) sheep and goats subjected to the acute stressful stimulus of isolation from the flock, and the influence of pretreatment with xylazine (n = 6) or sodium betaine (n = 6). The isolation stress resulted in increased vocalization and in variable and statistically nonsignificant increases in heart, pulse and respiratory rates. Isolation caused significant increases in the plasma concentrations of cortisol (from about 35.2 to about 83.8 mmol/L) and glucose (from 3.1 to 4.2 mmol/L), and a decrease in that of magnesium (from 0.82 to 0.65 mmol/L). The endogenous thiocyanate concentration was unaffected. The isolation stress also significantly decreased the haematocrit (PCV), and the number of lymphocytes, and increased the concentration of haemoglobin. Pretreatment of sheep and goats with xylazine at a dose of 0.01 mg/kg by the intravenous route significantly ameliorated the effects induced by the stressful stimulus. The effects of pretreatment of the two species with sodium betaine (10 mg/kg) produced variable and nonsignificant effects. There were no significant differences between sheep and goats in the responses to the isolation stress, except in vocalization, which was greater in sheep than in goats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Cortisol
  • Glucose
  • Haematocrit
  • Haemoglobin
  • Isolation
  • Lymphocytes
  • Sheep
  • Sodium betaine
  • Stress
  • Xylazine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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