Urinary Cortisol Levels in Japanese Shorthorn Cattle before and after the Start of a Grazing Season

  • Higashiyama, Y. (Department of Animal Production and Grassland Farming, National Agricultural Research Center for Tohoku Region) ;
  • Narita, H. (Department of Animal Production and Grassland Farming, National Agricultural Research Center for Tohoku Region) ;
  • Nashiki, M. (Department of Animal Production and Grassland Farming, National Agricultural Research Center for Tohoku Region) ;
  • Higashiyama, M. (Department of Animal Production and Grassland Farming, National Agricultural Research Center for Tohoku Region) ;
  • Kanno, T. (Department of Forage Production, National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science)
  • Received : 2004.09.26
  • Accepted : 2005.02.26
  • Published : 2005.10.01


We conducted two experiments to assess the effect of transfer from housing to grazing on stress hormone secretion in cattle using urine samples. In a preliminary experiment, urine samples were collected following an adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) challenge, and cortisol levels in urine were compared with the levels in plasma. In a second experiment, urinary cortisol was measured before and after the start of a grazing season in 6 Japanese Shorthorn cows, all of which had experienced grazing before. In experiment 1, urinary cortisol showed a pattern of changes similar to that of plasma with a 0.5-h temporal lag time, and the peak levels were 4 to 10 times higher than the basal levels. In experiment 2, the urinary cortisol levels in cows did not change after the cows were let out to pasture, with no decreases in body weight. This study suggests that the transfer from housing to grazing did not affect physiological responses to cause high excretion of urinary cortisol in grazing-experienced cattle using a non-invasive sampling method.




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