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FLIR Systems ThermaCAM P65 infrared cameras used for bovine thermography to keep stock bulls in form

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According to FLIR Systems Australia , infrared cameras from FLIR Systems are being used in bovine thermography applications by cattle breeders.

Infrared thermography is increasingly being used in veterinary medicine with applications including equine thermography and inspection of zoo animals to detect inflammation or follow up gestation.

Infrared thermography can also be used to preserve other valuable animal assets such as livestock breeding.

FLIR Systems recently sponsored a relevant research project involving bovine thermography among Fleckvieh bulls.

The second largest cattle breed in the world, Fleckvieh animals are a sturdy breed, well suited for abundant milk and beef production and originating from the Bavarian pre-alpine region.

Trading and exporting semen of the prized Fleckvieh bulls is an established business, requiring efficient medical inspection of the animals.

Christoph Gschoederer at the Fachhochschule Weihenstephan, a subsidiary of the Munich University of Applied Sciences and a renowned school for agricultural, food and brewing science presented a study proving the economic plausibility of thermographic inspections of cattle.

The survey was conducted at the artificial insemination centre and breed station at Grub in Munich, a modern facility supported by Fleckvieh breeders from the southern Bavarian region and by the rising export figures of its Fleckvieh genetics to large agricultural markets in Eastern Europe, the Americas, and southern Africa.

Infrared cameras can be used to conduct useful examinations of livestock including:

  • Time-saving and safe body temperature measurement 
  • Early detection of inflammation at the animal’s extremities 
  • Easy inspection of testicles function 
  • Easy inspection of udder health 
  • Heat control 
  • Mobile inspection of young bulls prior to their purchase at the cattle market 
  • Monitoring of waiting bulls in quarantine 
Veterinary thermography gives a clear indication of any anomaly in the animal’s body. Infection or injury activates the animal’s natural resistance mechanism, which is marked by a movement of energy throughout the tissue, manifested through higher blood flow and reflected in the surface temperature.


Veterinary thermography can also trace oedemas as pathologically cool zones on the body surface. In addition to tissue damage, the infrared camera can detect overload on certain joints, indicated by higher surface temperature caused by the impact on the blood flow.

Infrared thermography is also used for preventive hoof care as healthy hooves are a prerequisite to successful livestock breeding. Calculations show that bull lameness in a milk cow stable can add up to 300 Euros per case. Preventive action is required to avoid economic losses caused by lameness.

Gschoederer’s project was based on a regular inspection of 50 bulls with a FLIR Systems ThermaCAM P65 infrared camera.

Impressed by the accuracy and imaging capabilities of the ThermaCAM P65, Gschoederer comments that the high-end infrared camera offers high resolution, accuracy of 0.1ºC, a large screen and several user options.

While thermography does not give an exact diagnosis, it can detect bulls or cows with anomalies for further clinical veterinary examination.

Infrared thermography offers convincing results for inflammation diagnosis in veterinary medicine. Additionally, infrared cameras employ a contactless, stress-free and safe technique to scan the animals.

Dr Thomas Grupp, general manager of Bavarian Fleckvieh Genetics sees great potential for infrared thermography technology at their insemination centre as well as for their dairy herds as a powerful preventive method against digital dermatitis and other livestock diseases, which badly affect production.

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