Cortisol concentration in the saliva of horses subjected to different kinds of exercise

Katarzyna Strzelec, Marta Kankofer, Sławomir Pietrzak
2011 Acta Veterinaria Brno  
The aim of this study was to characterize the stress level in sport horses subjected to exercise by measuring the cortisol concentration in their saliva. The experiment was conducted on 5 groups of horses (49 animals): one control and four groups undergoing different types of exercises. The saliva samples were collected 3 × a day: late at night (between 20:00 and 23:00 h), early in the morning (between 5:00 and 8:00 h) and directly after the exercise. The concentration of cortisol was measured
more » ... tisol was measured by the enzyme-immunoassay programme. The highest cortisol concentration was observed for the horses participating in 3-day events (8.93 nmol/dm 3 ), whereas in the control group it was only 0.28 nmol/dm 3 . When compared to the cortisol concentration of other horse groups, this suggests that the stress level as measured by the cortisol concentration in saliva increases with increasing exercise intensity and its duration. The obtained results do not confirm the existence of a day rhythm of the cortisol concentration in horses. Moreover, the results may help in choosing the appropriate system of training and in improving horse welfare during competitions.
doi:10.2754/avb201180010101 fatcat:2wumjf4cgzdnfp6fqjgfwxttb4