Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Ryan, Peter L.

Committee Member

Vann, Rhonda

Committee Member

Willard, Scott T.

Committee Member

Baravik-Munsell, Erica D.

Committee Member

Christiansen, David L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Animal Physiology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Animal Physiology Program


An adequate vascular perfusion status is essential not only to maintain life, but to ensure the proper physiology of the different systems that form the animal’s body. Due to its role in the transport of oxygen and nutrients toward, and the removal of cellular waste products away from the body’s tissues, the circulatory system is responsible for the maintenance of body homeostasis. Production related functions in farm animals are not an exception, and directly depend on sufficient vascular physiology. In the past, the study of blood flow in large domestic species was restricted to highly invasive techniques. However, even when such techniques are the foundation for the actual understanding of vascular dynamics in these animals, their limited feasibility and potential impact over the normal vascular physiology represent significant limitations to these approaches. Recently, the development and application of non-invasive technologies (i.e., Doppler and B- mode ultrasound) to the area of animal sciences has provided the potential for the study of vascular dynamics while, the negative implications aforementioned are avoided. In our studies, these technologies were applied to assess the role of the circulatory system on different production related variables such as: temperament, reproduction, and milk production in the bovine. A tendency toward differences in jugular blood flow was associated with the temperament in beef calves in this study. Also, a significant increase in vasodilation in the uterine arteries of beef cows was found to be associated with a numerically higher reproductive efficiency (i.e., pregnancy rates). Moreover, an increase in blood flow towards the mammary gland in dairy cows was associated with administration of bovine somatotropin. In conclusion, B- mode and Doppler ultrasound resulted in tools able to reflect the essential role of an adequate vascular perfusion in the normal physiology and productive performance in the bovine. However, in real farm scenarios the feasibility of these techniques in large domestic species is limited. Therefore, further specialization of this instrument to the conditions existent in such farm scenarios are recommended to improve its feasibility and to significantly accelerate the rate of knowledge acquisition in this area.