Special Issue "Biomarkers of Stress in Companion Animals"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Companion Animals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Angelo Gazzano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge, 2- 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: animal welfare; veterinary physiology; animal behavior
Dr. Asahi Ogi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: dog behavior; veterinary physiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, companion animals have been considered progressively as part of the family. Their role within our society ranges from “simple” companionship to a wide variety of practical tasks, such as hunting, assisting people with disability, working with military forces, or playing sports. Whatever the role, companion animals may be subjected to different stressors which could reduce their welfare and their performances.

This Special Issue aims to explore and understand the possible assessment of stress levels in  companion animals measuring, through validated biomarkers, the significance of both psychological perception of the environmental pressure and the body’s reaction to it.

You are invited to submit a manuscript on multiple systems involved in the stress response, including behavioral and physical signs which can be measured through biological indicators of homeostasis displacement

Prof. Angelo Gazzano
Dr. Asahi Ogi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • companion animals
  • stress
  • animal welfare
  • stress coping
  • stress marker
  • dog
  • cat
  • rabbit
  • exotic pets

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Neurohormonal Profiles of Assistance Dogs Compared to Pet Dogs: What Is the Impact of Different Lifestyles?
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2594; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092594 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 682
Abstract
Assistance dogs must manage stress efficiently because they are involved in challenging tasks. Their welfare is currently a fundamental issue. This preliminary study aimed to compare assistance dogs (AD; n = 22) with pet dogs (PD; n = 24), using blood neuromodulator indicators [...] Read more.
Assistance dogs must manage stress efficiently because they are involved in challenging tasks. Their welfare is currently a fundamental issue. This preliminary study aimed to compare assistance dogs (AD; n = 22) with pet dogs (PD; n = 24), using blood neuromodulator indicators to help find biomarkers that can improve the AD breeding, selection, training, and welfare monitoring. Both populations originated from different breeds, are of different ages, and had different lifestyles. Basal peripheral concentrations of prolactin (PRL), serotonin (5-HT), free (fOT) and total (tOT) oxytocin were measured by immunoassays. Multiple linear regressions were performed to assess the effect of activity, age, sex, and their interactions on these parameters. Correlations between neurohormonal levels were analyzed. No interactions were significant. fOT and tOT concentrations were significantly influenced by age (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0002, respectively) and dogs’ activity (p = 0.0006 and p = 0.0277, respectively). A tendency was observed for age effect on PRL (p = 0.0625) and 5-HT (p = 0.0548), as well as for sex effect on tOT (p = 0.0588). PRL concentrations were heterogenous among AD. fOT and tOT were significantly but weakly correlated (Pearson’s r = 0.34; p = 0.04). Blood prolactin, serotonin, and oxytocin may represent biomarkers to assess workload and chronic stress-related responses in ADs and eventually improve their selection and training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers of Stress in Companion Animals)
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Article
Blood Biomarker Profile Alterations in Newborn Canines: Effect of the Mother′s Weight
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082307 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1038
Abstract
This study aims to determine the effect of the weight of bitches on liveborn and stillbirth puppies from eutocic births, and physiological blood alterations during the first minute postpartum. A total of 52 female dogs were evaluated and distributed in four categories: C1 [...] Read more.
This study aims to determine the effect of the weight of bitches on liveborn and stillbirth puppies from eutocic births, and physiological blood alterations during the first minute postpartum. A total of 52 female dogs were evaluated and distributed in four categories: C1 (4.0–8.0 kg, n = 19), C2 (8.1–16.0 kg, n = 16), C3 (16.1–32.0 kg, n = 11), and C4 (32.1–35.8 kg, n = 6). The dams produced 225 liveborn puppies and 47 were classified as stillbirth type II. Blood samples were taken from the umbilical vein to evaluate the concentration of gases, glucose, lactate, calcium, hematocrit levels, and blood pH. The liveborn puppies in C2, C3, and C4 had more evident physiological alterations (hypercapnia, acidosis) than those in C1 (p < 0.05). These signs indicate a process of transitory asphyxiation. The stillborn pups in all four categories had higher weights than their liveborn littermates. C3 and C4 had the highest mean weights (419.86 and 433.79 g, respectively) and mortality rates (C3 = 20.58%, C4 = 24.58%). Results suggest that if the weight of the bitch is >16.1 kg in eutocic births, there is a higher risk of intrapartum physiological alterations and death. The results of this study allowed us to identify that the weight of dams before birth determines the weight of the puppies at birth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers of Stress in Companion Animals)
Article
How Stressful Is Maternity? Study about Cortisol and Dehydroepiandrosterone-Sulfate Coat and Claws Concentrations in Female Dogs from Mating to 60 Days Post-Partum
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061632 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 1498
Abstract
In dogs, the phase from mating to the end of weaning lasts about 120 days and encompasses many aspects that, interacting, contribute to increase the allostatic load. The coat and claws, useful for long-term change assessments, have the advantage of being collectable without [...] Read more.
In dogs, the phase from mating to the end of weaning lasts about 120 days and encompasses many aspects that, interacting, contribute to increase the allostatic load. The coat and claws, useful for long-term change assessments, have the advantage of being collectable without invasiveness. In the present study, the Cortisol (C) and Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) concentration monthly changes in the coat and claws were studied in female dogs from mating to the end of weaning to assess Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal (HPA) axis activation during pregnancy and the post-partum period. The results from 15 Dobermann Pinscher female dogs showed a trend of increase of the coat C from mating to 60 days post-partum, with significant changes between mating and parturition-60 days post-partum (p < 0.01) and between the 30-day pregnancy diagnosis (PD) and 30–60 days post-partum (p < 0.05). The claws C trend showed significant increases between mating and 30–60 days post-partum (p < 0.05) and between the PD and 60 days post-partum (p < 0.01). DHEA-S in both matrices showed non-significant changes. The results suggest that maternity could play a pivotal role in the HPA axis activation, with a subsequent chronic secretion of C determining an increase in the allostatic load in the mothers. Neither maternal parity nor litter size played a significant role in the accumulation of C and DHEA-S in both matrices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers of Stress in Companion Animals)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: How stressful is maternity? Study about Cortisol and Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate coat and claws concentrations in bitches from mating to 60 days post-partum
Authors: Fusi J; Peric T; Probo M; Cotticelli A; Faustini M; Veronesi MC
Affiliation: Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan, via dell’Università 6, 26900 Lodi, Italy Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Via Sondrio, 2/a, 33100 Udine, Italy
Abstract: In dogs, the phase from mating to the end of weaning lasts about 120 days and encompasses many aspects that, interacting, contribute to increase the allostatic load. Coat and claws, useful for long-term changes assessment, have the advantage of being collectable without invasiveness. In the present study, Cortisol (C) and Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) concentrations monthly changes in coat and claws were studied in bitches from mating to the end of weaning, to assess Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis activation during pregnancy and post-partum period. Results from 16 Dobermann Pinscher bitches showed a trend of increase of coat C from mating to 60 days post-partum, with significant changes between mating and parturition-60 days post-partum (P<0.01), and between pregnancy diagnosis and 30-60 days post-partum (P<0.05). Claws C trend showed significant increases between mating and 30-60 days post-partum (P<0.05), and between pregnancy diagnosis and 60 days post-partum (P<0.01). DHEA(S) in both matrices showed nonsignificant changes. The results suggest that maternity could play a pivotal role in the HPA axis activation, with subsequent chronic secretion of C, determining an increase in the allostatic load in the mothers. Neither maternal parity nor litter-size played a significant role in the accumulation of C and DHEA(S) in both matrices.

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