Changes in pig salivary cortisol in response to transport simulation, food and water deprivation, and mixing.Br Vet J. 1989 Nov-Dec; 145(6):501-5.BV
Cortisol concentrations in the saliva of two groups (N = 5/group) of prepubertal pigs were measured by radioimmunoassay. Samples were collected in the home pen under normal husbandry conditions and after a 24 h period when food and water were withheld. The pigs were then transferred to a transport simulator, which was left stationary (control) or set in motion (experimental), and further samples were taken 1 h later before the animals returned to their pens. In the following week, the two groups of pigs were mixed and saliva was collected over a 3 h period. Samples were also taken 2 days later after the pigs had been injected with a maximally stimulating dose of adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH). Transport simulation in deprived animals, and mixing, produced salivary cortisol levels similar to those seen after ACTH. Food and water deprivation alone also increased cortisol secretion whereas transport simulation in non-deprived animals had no effect. These results indicate that salivary cortisol estimation offers a non-invasive means of measuring stress responses in unrestrained pigs.