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

Evaluate the influence of rearing environment on cortisol and DHEA as measures of longer-term stress in pigs

Research Team:

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

Funding Agency:

Project Timeline:

  • To be completed in 2023


Quantifying the hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in swine hair is of increasing interest to evaluate long-term stress and resilience. To be able to interpret results of randomly sampled pigs, reference values need to be collected for pigs of different ages, and the effects of circadian rhythm, housing system and innate behavioural stress response on the concentration of these hormones in hair needs to be established.

Project Objectives:

  • Establish rearing system and pig age reference values
  • Understand whether the circadian rhythm development of hormone levels and innate behavioural stress response influences concentration of these hormones accumulating in hair
  • Determine whether rearing system influences concentrations of DHEA, cortisol and their ratio in saliva and hair
  • Determine whether concentrations of hair cortisol, DHEA and the ratio relate to measures of welfare

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. Understanding the factors that influence the levels of hormones in swine hair provides valuable information for understanding and correct interpretation of hormone levels in swine hair as a measure of welfare.

What we discovered:

Check back soon for research results.