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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2016

Authors: Keinprecht H; Pichler M; Pothmann H; Huber J; Iwersen M; Drillich M

Title: Short term repeatability of body fat thickness measurement and body condition scoring in sheep as assessed by a relatively small number of assessors.

Source: Small Ruminant Research 2016; 139: 30-38

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Drillich Marc
Huber Johann
Iwersen Michael
Pichler Martina
Pothmann Harald

Vetmed Research Units
University Clinic for Ruminants, Clinical Unit of Herd Management in ruminants

This study evaluated the intra-observer repeatability of the rump fat thickness (RFT) measurements by ultrasound and body condition scoring (BCS) in sheep, and the reproducibility of RFT and BCS determined i) by six investigators, ii) at different sites (left and right, lumbar and sternal) and iii) in unshorn and shorn sheep. Six investigators with different experience in estimating body condition score in sheep determined BCS and RFT repeatedly at the different sites in 65 ewes before and after shearing. Intraobserver repeatability was greater for repeated measurement of RFT left (r = 0.83 and r = 0.84, in unshorn and shorn sheep) than RFT right (r = 0.64 and r = 0.77, resp.). A lower repeatability for measuring the sternal fat thickness (SFT) in unshorn sheep (r=0.31) indicates that this method is not feasible to score ewes. The correlation between fat thicknesses determined at different sites (RFT left, RFT right, SFT) and in unshorn and shorn sheep revealed a generally higher reproducibility of RFT measurements left and right (r = 0.63-0.76) compared with the reproducibility of RFT and SFT (r = 0.37-0.79). Repeatability and reproducibility varied between investigators and in unshorn and shorn sheep. The repeatability for measuring BCS lumbar in unshorn and shorn sheep was greater (K = 0.73 and K=0.67, resp.) than for determining BCS sternal (K=0.01 and K=0.44, resp.) and varied between investigators and in unshorn and shorn ewes. Reproducibility of lumbar and sternal BSC determined by the six investigators was poor to fair in unshorn and poor to moderate in shorn ewes. In summary, measuring RFT or BCS at a sternal site cannot be recommended. Furthermore, taking measurement on shorn seep improved reproducibility. Based on these results, the assessment of RFT or BCS in sheep has the greatest repeatability in the lumbar region. It has to be noted that this study analyzed the repeatability but not the accuracy of the described methods. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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