The suitability of infrared temperature measurements for continuous temperature monitoring in gilts
Abstract. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether an infrared thermometer, a pyrometer, could detect the body surface temperature in the orbital area of gilts without contacting them. Furthermore, it was tested whether an increase in the gilts' temperatures could be detected. Therefore, fever was induced. During 11 trials, 43 German Landrace gilts were injected with either a Porcilis AR-T DF (Intervet International B.V., Boxmeer, Netherlands) vaccine or 2 ml of 0.9 % NaCl. A commercial temperature logger (TRIX-8, LogTag Recorders, Auckland, New Zealand) was placed in the vagina to record temperature data every 3 min. The pyrometer (optris cs, Optris, Berlin, Germany) was aimed at where the orbital area of the gilts would be. While they were drinking, temperature measurements were done in that site by the pyrometer. Time periods from 0.25 to 6 h were analysed. Considering the 0.25-h period, a positive correlation (ρ=0.473) between temperatures of the logger and the pyrometer was found for 15 of 39 gilts. The longer the chosen measuring period was, the fewer animals showed a significant correlation between the two temperatures. In contrast to the vaginal logger, the pyrometer cannot detect an increase in the body temperature in all fever-induced gilts. In conclusion, a pyrometer cannot detect the body surface temperature reliably. An increase in the body surface temperature over a short time period (on average 5 h) could not be detected by the pyrometer. The temperature increase measured using the pyrometer was too low and time-delayed compared to the temperature detected by the vaginal logger.