Cortisol determination in hair and faeces from domestic cats and dogs

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 […]

Discrimination between conspecific odour samples in the horse (Equus caballus)

Behavioural observations suggest that smell is important in social discriminations between horses but balanced studies of this capacity are lacking. We used a habituation–discrimination procedure to investigate the ability of horses to distinguish between pairs of odour samples from different individuals. In Study 1, separate tests were conducted for urine, faeces or fleece fabric previously […]

Glucocorticoid metabolites in rabbit faeces–Influence of environmental enrichment and cage size

The concentration of glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in rabbit faeces has been suggested as a non-invasive indicator of stress. In the present study, GCM concentrations were measured in faeces of fattening rabbits kept in groups of eight, at seven different stocking densities (between 5 and 20 animals/m2), with or without environmental enrichment (a wooden structure used mainly […]

Can non-invasive glucocorticoid measures be used as reliable indicators of stress in animals?

Refinement techniques are being increasingly employed in all fields of animal research to try to ensure that the highest standards of welfare are upheld. This review concerns one of the main emerging techniques for the assessment of welfare itself, namely the non-invasive measurement of glucocorticoids (GCs) as indicators of stress. The paper is divided into […]

Monitoring stress hormone metabolites as a useful, non-invasive tool for welfare assessment in farm animals

A multitude of endocrine mechanisms are involved in coping with challenges. Glucocorticoids, secreted by the adrenal glands, are in the front line of the battle to overcome stressful situations. They are usually measured in plasma samples as parameters of adrenal activity and thus of disturbance. Unfortunately, collecting blood samples itself can disturb an animal. Thus, […]

Chemical signals of age, sex and identity in black rhinoceros

Olfactory communication may be particularly important to black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis, because they are solitary living and have comparatively poor eyesight but their populations are structured by inter- and intrasexual relationships. Understanding olfactory functions and processes might achieve better conservation management but their study in rhinoceros remains anecdotal or descriptive. Experimental approaches are required but […]

Measuring faecal glucocorticoid metabolites as a non-invasive tool for monitoring adrenocortical activity in South American camelids

The welfare and productivity of South American camelids may be affected by stressful events. The purpose of this study was to validate a non-invasive method for stress monitoring using faecal samples and to apply it to evaluate a stressful event, such as confinement. For physiological validation, nine alpacas (Vicugna pacos) and six llamas (Lama glama) […]