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Hair cortisol in horses (Equus caballus) in relation to management regimes, personality and breed
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (AVIAN Behavioural Genomics and Physiology group)
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (AVIAN Behavioural Genomics and Physiology group)
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Clinical Chemistry. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Center for Diagnostics, Department of Clinical Chemistry.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0756-7723
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (AVIAN Behavioural Genomics and Physiology group)
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2020 (English)In: Journal of Veterinary Behavior, ISSN 1558-7878Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hair cortisol is a promising biomarker to measure long-term stress since cortisol is incorporated into the hair shaft as it grows. However, few studies have previously assessed hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) in horses. In this study, HCC was evaluated in both mane hair from the neck and body hair from the withers in 153 horses of different breeds, from seven different stables with three different management regimes (Free-roaming horses, Riding school horses, Trotter horses). In addition, 4 hours of behavioral observations were performed at each stable, and for 43 of the horses, a personality survey was completed. Mane and withers HCC correlated moderately, but significantly (rs=0.48, p<0.001). Differences between the stables were found for both mane and withers hair (both p<0.01) and the stable with lowest HCC also showed highest occurrences of positive social and resting behaviors (both p<0.01). There were no significant differences in HCC between the management regimes even though Free-roaming horses showed less negative social behavior compared to Riding school horses (p=0.041) and Trotter horses (p=0.055). The personality traits Dominance, Anxiousness, and Excitability revealed weak to moderate correlations with mane HCC (rs=-0.34, p=0.027; rs=-0.46, p=0.002; rs=-0.31, p=0.043 respectively) which might suggest that personality could also be related to long-term stress levels in horses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020.
Keywords [en]
Horse; Cortisol; Behavior; Stress; Welfare; Management; Personality
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Other Veterinary Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-163937DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2019.12.002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-163937DiVA, id: diva2:1397278
Available from: 2020-02-27 Created: 2020-02-27 Last updated: 2020-04-03Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2021-02-19 09:46
Available from 2021-02-19 09:46

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Theodorsson, ElvarSvensson Holm, Ann-Charlotte B.Roth, Lina

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Sauveroche, MathildeHenriksson, JosefineTheodorsson, ElvarSvensson Holm, Ann-Charlotte B.Roth, Lina
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BiologyFaculty of Science & EngineeringDivision of Clinical ChemistryFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesDepartment of Clinical Chemistry
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