Comparison of stress level indicators in blood of free-roaming dogs after transportation and housing in the new environment
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Animal welfare is of increasing importance and minimizing the stress is one of its prerequisites. Transport and new uncontrollable or unpredictable social environment are stressful for dogs and can affect their welfare. Particular unpleasant situations for free-roaming dogs include their capture in public areas and caging during the transport, vehicle vibrations, traffic noise, unknown environment, unloading and restricted housing condition. The new environment for free-roaming dogs presents potentially stressful novel experiences, such as new surroundings, unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells and unfamiliar people and other dogs. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of transport and housing in the new environment on blood parameters (cortisol, glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, and leukocyte count and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio) of 40 free-roaming dogs. Glucose concentration, leukocyte and neutrophil counts, and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio wer...e significantly higher (P < 0.001; P < 0.01) after transport in comparison with the level of the same parameters detected in dogs after housing in the new environment. Cortisol, cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations and lymphocyte count were also increased immediately after the transport compared to the levels 24 h after when the dogs were housed in the new environment; yet, these differences were not statistically significant. Accordingly, study results indicate that the transport itself was more stressful for free-roaming dogs than their housing in the new environment.
Keywords:Free-roaming dogs / new environment / transport / stress / welfare
Source:Journal of Applied Animal Research, 2017, 45, 1, 52-55
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