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|Measurement of cortisol in the blood, saliva and feces of Beluga whales|
Fecal and salivary cortisol determinations have been used in many species to monitor adrenal activity and the stress response. This study examines the feasibility of measuring cortisol in saliva and feces of belugas as an alternative to blood collection. Multiple methods have been used to measure cortisol in the blood, saliva and feces. We predict that a cortisol EIA kit designed for human serum will cross-react and measure cortisol in beluga serum, feces, and saliva. We hypothesize that cortisol levels in saliva reflect real-time blood levels of cortisol and can be used to detect acute stress whereas cortisol levels in feces reflect levels over a longer time frame and may be indicative of chronic stress.
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