NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
(306) 966-7151
WCVM, UofS, 52 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK

Determining the appropriate laboratory methods to clean swine hair prior to analysis of cortisol and DHEA

Research Team:

  • PhD Student: Darian Pollock
  • Supervisor: Dr. Yolande Seddon
  • Project Members: David Janz – WCVM University of Saskatchewan, Diego Moya – WCVM University of Saskatchewan

Funding Agency:

Project Timeline:

  • Completed 2021


Quantifying the hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in swine hair is of increasing interest to evaluate long-term stress and resilience. It is currently unknown how external contamination (for example, with feces and urine that also contain these hormones) influences hair hormone concentrations, and if current wash protocols prior to analysis are effective at removing contamination.

Project Objectives:

  • Determine if wash solvents (methanol versus isopropanol), hair contamination level (none, mild, or severe), and the number of washes (one, three, or five) influenced hair cortisol and DHEA concentrations.

Value of this research:

The welfare of animals reared for food is important and having clear, objective markers of welfare is important to support evaluation of welfare and monitoring for continual improvement. Having a well-developed laboratory protocol for analyzing cortisol and DHEA in hair as biomarkers for long-term stress and resilience is important to obtain reliable results.