Limits to using HPA axis activity as an indication of animal welfare

Pete Otovic, Eric Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

HPA axis activity is often measured by corticosteroid release as a means to evaluate stress and well-being in animals. While the analysis of corticosteroid levels can provide useful information in some circumstances, a variety of methodological and technical problems make them difficult to accurately interpret. Furthermore, there is considerable evidence that is inconsistent with the widespread notion that high levels of stress result in a large amount of corticosteroid release, and in some cases the converse is true. This review highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques used to measure corticosteroids, describes a number of studies that failed to find a positive correlation between stress and corticosteroid levels, and delineates ancillary behavioral and cognitive tests that provide insight into an animal's well-being. We conclude by emphasizing that the most holistic account of animal welfare is provided by utilizing a combination of physiological and psychological methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalAltex
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Animal Welfare
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Psychology

Keywords

  • Animal welfare
  • Corticosteroids
  • Cortisol
  • HPA axis
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Limits to using HPA axis activity as an indication of animal welfare. / Otovic, Pete; Hutchinson, Eric.

In: Altex, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2015, p. 41-50.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{60529892c447415b846d6edf8325a684,
title = "Limits to using HPA axis activity as an indication of animal welfare",
abstract = "HPA axis activity is often measured by corticosteroid release as a means to evaluate stress and well-being in animals. While the analysis of corticosteroid levels can provide useful information in some circumstances, a variety of methodological and technical problems make them difficult to accurately interpret. Furthermore, there is considerable evidence that is inconsistent with the widespread notion that high levels of stress result in a large amount of corticosteroid release, and in some cases the converse is true. This review highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques used to measure corticosteroids, describes a number of studies that failed to find a positive correlation between stress and corticosteroid levels, and delineates ancillary behavioral and cognitive tests that provide insight into an animal's well-being. We conclude by emphasizing that the most holistic account of animal welfare is provided by utilizing a combination of physiological and psychological methods.",
keywords = "Animal welfare, Corticosteroids, Cortisol, HPA axis, Stress",
author = "Pete Otovic and Eric Hutchinson",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.14573/altex.1406161",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "32",
pages = "41--50",
journal = "ALTEX : Alternativen zu Tierexperimenten",
issn = "1868-596X",
publisher = "Elsevier GmbH",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Limits to using HPA axis activity as an indication of animal welfare

AU - Otovic, Pete

AU - Hutchinson, Eric

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - HPA axis activity is often measured by corticosteroid release as a means to evaluate stress and well-being in animals. While the analysis of corticosteroid levels can provide useful information in some circumstances, a variety of methodological and technical problems make them difficult to accurately interpret. Furthermore, there is considerable evidence that is inconsistent with the widespread notion that high levels of stress result in a large amount of corticosteroid release, and in some cases the converse is true. This review highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques used to measure corticosteroids, describes a number of studies that failed to find a positive correlation between stress and corticosteroid levels, and delineates ancillary behavioral and cognitive tests that provide insight into an animal's well-being. We conclude by emphasizing that the most holistic account of animal welfare is provided by utilizing a combination of physiological and psychological methods.

AB - HPA axis activity is often measured by corticosteroid release as a means to evaluate stress and well-being in animals. While the analysis of corticosteroid levels can provide useful information in some circumstances, a variety of methodological and technical problems make them difficult to accurately interpret. Furthermore, there is considerable evidence that is inconsistent with the widespread notion that high levels of stress result in a large amount of corticosteroid release, and in some cases the converse is true. This review highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques used to measure corticosteroids, describes a number of studies that failed to find a positive correlation between stress and corticosteroid levels, and delineates ancillary behavioral and cognitive tests that provide insight into an animal's well-being. We conclude by emphasizing that the most holistic account of animal welfare is provided by utilizing a combination of physiological and psychological methods.

KW - Animal welfare

KW - Corticosteroids

KW - Cortisol

KW - HPA axis

KW - Stress

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84921341262&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84921341262&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.14573/altex.1406161

DO - 10.14573/altex.1406161

M3 - Article

C2 - 25418851

AN - SCOPUS:84921341262

VL - 32

SP - 41

EP - 50

JO - ALTEX : Alternativen zu Tierexperimenten

JF - ALTEX : Alternativen zu Tierexperimenten

SN - 1868-596X

IS - 1

ER -