Stress is a response of the body to physical or psychological environmental stressors. Cortisol level in blood serum is an indicator of stress, but the blood collection can cause unpleasant conditions and rise of this hormone. Therefore, less invasive methods are searched to determine stress hormone level, for example, by measuring it in saliva.
The aim of the study is to find out the changes of stress hormone in blood and saliva in home and experimental dogs in simulated short-term stress conditions.
The study included six clinically healthy experimental beagle dogs and six home American Staffordshire terriers. The animals were let into a fenced area to adapt. Loud drum sounds were used as a stressor. Blood serum samples were taken for sodium, potassium, glucose and cortisol level determination, saliva samples - for cortisol determination.
Cortisol level in the blood and saliva showed different increase and decrease rate both in home and experimental dogs. Blood sodium, potassium and glucose measurements did not show any significant changes.
Therefore, the authors can conclude that each animal responds to a stressful situation with different hormonal activity. Cortisol level in saliva and blood is released with different speed and is not an objective indicator of acute stress.