The present study explored the feasibility of a hair cortisol assay in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) and dogs (Canis familiaris) as a valid and reliable alternative to existing non-invasive techniques for monitoring the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. To this aim, 56 new hair growth samples and 870 faecal samples from 27 domestic cats and 29 domestic dogs were collected and cortisol content was assessed. A significant positive association was observed in both species between the concentrations of cortisol determined in hair and faeces. This finding is discussed in the light of the existing knowledge of hair physiology and in the perspective of its application to studies on chronic stress.
"This stability together with the ease of obtaining hair samples make HCC an attractive method for naturalistic chronic stress research. The general assumptions underlying hair cortisol analysis have now been supported by considerable evidence confirming both high test—retest reliability (Stalder et al., 2012b) as well as general validity of the method (e.g., Davenport et al., 2006; Accorsi et al., 2008; Kirschbaum et al., 2009; Stalder et al., 2010; Thomson et al., 2010; D'Anna-Hernandez et al., 2011; Manenschijn et al., 2011). Despite these generally supportive data, however, there are still some concerns about whether HCC are indeed unaffected by acute influences (review: Sharpley et al., 2012). "
"Unbound (free) steroids are thought to be incorporated into growing hair via the blood vessel that feeds the hair follicle and may also come from local synthesis of steroids in the follicle and/or from secretions of glands surrounding the hair follicle (Ito et al. 2005; Pragst & Balikova 2006; Keckeis et al. 2012). Accordingly, levels of hormones in hair have been correlated with measures in saliva and faeces , which are known to reflect circulating levels, in canids and other species (Davenport et al. 2006; Accorsi et al. 2008; Bennett & Hayssen 2010). Moreover, a number of recent studies have revealed that hormone levels in hair reflect meaningful biological and ecological patterns (e.g. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human-caused harassment and mortality (e.g. hunting) affects many aspects of wildlife population dynamics and social structure. Little is known, however, about the social and physiological effects of hunting, which might provide valuable insights into the mechanisms by which wildlife respond to human-caused mortality.To investigate physiological consequences of hunting, we measured stress and reproductive hormones in hair, which reflect endocrine activity during hair growth. Applying this novel approach, we compared steroid hormone levels in hair of wolves (Canis lupus) living in Canada's tundra–taiga (n = 103) that experience heavy rates of hunting with those in the northern boreal forest (n = 45) where hunting pressure is substantially lower.The hair samples revealed that progesterone was higher in tundra–taiga wolves, possibly reflecting increased reproductive effort and social disruption in response to human-related mortality. Tundra–taiga wolves also had higher testosterone and cortisol levels, which may reflect social instability.To control for habitat differences, we also measured cortisol in an out-group of boreal forest wolves (n = 30) that were killed as part of a control programme. Cortisol was higher in the boreal out-group than in our study population from the northern boreal forest.Overall, our findings support the social and physiological consequences of human-caused mortality. Long-term implications of altered physiological responses should be considered in management and conservations strategies.
"All concentrations were expressed in pg/mg of fecal matter. The extraction methodology was modified from the methods of Schatz and Palme (2001) and Accorsi et al. (2008). Five milliliters of a methanol:water (4:1 v/v) solution were added to 60 mg (wet weight) of feces in capped-glass tube vials. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this investigation was to study the welfare of 3 captive groups of cotton-top tamarins housed in different zoological parks. Ethological observations were conducted during 1 year. In addition, fecal samples were collected and the concentrations of glucocorticoids, androgens, and progestogens were measured. Within each group, no significant differences in fecal cortisol concentrations were found between subjects. The fecal concentrations of testosterone and progesterone significantly differed depending on the sexes and ages of the tamarins. A significant association was found among hormone concentrations, exhibit dimensions, and group composition. A highly significant correlation was found between all hormones considered and the space available for each subject. Significant differences in behavioral patterns were observed among groups, including social-individual, affiliative-aggressive, and anogenital-suprapubic scent marking. Correlations between hormone measurements and behaviors were detected. In conclusion, this study confirmed the associations between some behaviors exhibited by these nonhuman primates and both cortisol and testosterone; these data also highlight the role played by progesterone in these behaviors.
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