Evaluation of Cortisol in Saliva Relative to Serum in Lactating Cows, Heifer Calves and Piglets in Response to Applied Stress.

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Title: Evaluation of Cortisol in Saliva Relative to Serum in Lactating Cows, Heifer Calves and Piglets in Response to Applied Stress.
Author: Weston, Emily Iris
Advisors: Dr. Steve Washburn, Committee Member
Dr. Joe Cassady, Committee Member
Dr. Scott Whisnant, Committee Chair
Abstract: The objective was to examine the efficacy of saliva collection techniques and salivary cortisol assay to determine potential stress response in dairy heifers post challenge with adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) (Experiment 1), lactating cows without experimental stressors (Experiment 2), and gilt piglets versus boar piglets within two hours post castration stress (Experiment 3). Data were from the Holstein and Jersey dairy herd maintained by the Dairy Educational Unit at North Carolina State University and the crossbred swine herd maintained by the Swine Educational Unit also at North Carolina State University. In cattle (Experiments 1 & 2), saliva was collected using gauze squares secured by hemostats and introduced to each animal’s mouth until soaked. The same procedure was followed for the piglets (Experiment 3) with the addition of Sprite™ to the gauze before introduction into the animals’ mouth. Serum and saliva cortisol concentrations show a similar pattern after a stimulus to the adrenal gland with ACTH in Experiment 1. Salivary cortisol concentrations were lower than that found in serum and ranged from 27.40% to 59.94% of serum concentrations. In Experiment 2 the lack of an induced stress in lactating cows did not provide sufficient circulating cortisol for the sensitivity of the radioimmunoassay procedure utilized in this project. Data from these collections do illustrate the lack of a measureable stress response in animals from all three cow groups studied: Blood only, blood and saliva, or saliva only collection suggesting that neither sampling method elicits more stress response than the other. Sufficient saliva and circulating cortisol were obtained from the boar and gilt piglets in Experiment 3 to support our hypothesis that saliva is a viable tool for assessing stress in piglets. Mean concentrations for gilts were significantly lower than that of the castrated boars (1.36±0.301 versus 2.3074± 0.22 ng/mL).
Date: 2009-08-07
Degree: MS
Discipline: Animal Science
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1337

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