Med. Weter. 75 (5), 302-304, 2019

full text

Level of stress hormones in American mink with an evaluated behavioral profile based on an empathic test
The aim of the study was to assess the level of stress hormones (cortisol and testosterone) in the blood of minks with a known behavioral profile based on the empathic test. The research was conducted on 100 one-year-old American mink (Neovison vison) females. The empathic test was performed according to the method described by Malmkvist and Hansen (2002) in triplicate with a two-week pause between tests. The test consisted of inserting a wooden stick into the living space of the animal. Animals were classified into four behavioral profiles: aggressive, curious, fearful and neutral. In the evaluation of stress level, the levels of testosterone and cortisol in postmortem blood were determined. Blood levels of testosterone (ng/ml) and cortisol (ng/ml) were determined by the ELFA method (Enzyme Linkes Fluorescent Assay). It has been shown that the behavioral profile of mink had no significant effect on the levels of testosterone and cortisol in the mink blood. Cortisol levels were similar in animals from all four behavioral profiles (40.6 to 46.0 ng / ml). The lowest level of testosterone was found in animals evaluated in the empathic test as aggressive and fearful (0.056 ng/ml and 0.071 ng/ml, respectively). Post mortem sampling reduces the effect of stress resulting from the blood collection itself, but the results of the study indicate that the determination of stress hormone levels in postmortem blood was a non-differentiating characteristic in the context of their behavioral profile.
Keywords: American mink, behavior, stress hormones