Comparison of Female Verzaschese and Camosciata delle Alpi Goats' Hematological Parameters in The Context of Adaptation to Local Environmental Conditions in Semi-Extensive Systems in Italy

Animals (Basel). 2022 Jun 30;12(13):1703. doi: 10.3390/ani12131703.


Local livestock breeds are pivotal to ensure sustainable agriculture and represent a real genetic resource in the context of genetic variability reduction. This study aimed at broadening the knowledge about hematological values in female Verzaschese and Camosciata delle Alpi goats (an Italian local and a cosmopolitan goat breed, respectively) and investigating factors affecting them (i.e., breed, age, season). Blood samples were collected monthly from 34 Verzaschese and 37 Camosciata delle Alpi female goats kept under the same semi-extensive farming system for a whole year. The main hematological parameters were evaluated, and descriptive as well as inferential statistical analyses were performed. Reference intervals for complete blood cell count were established and several inter-breed differences were found. In particular, most of the red blood cell parameters were higher in Verzaschese than Camosciata delle Alpi (p < 0.05) suggesting a greater gastrointestinal parasites’ resilience of the local breed. The age effect (p < 0.05) was consistent with the literature while the season effect (p < 0.05) could be explained by the melatonin immunostimulant action and gastrointestinal parasitism influence. Overall, differences in blood values could be attributed to physiological changes and adaptive strategies developed through centuries highlighting the remarkable rusticity and adaptation to the environment and farming system of the local breed.

Keywords: Alpine goat; Verzasca goat; biodiversity; inter-breed genetic variability; melatonin; reference intervals.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.