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You are here: Home / Theses / White Blood Cell Counts, Parasite Prevalence, and Plasma Cortisol Levels of Dogs in a County Animal Shelter: Changes over Days and Impact of a Program of Repeated Human Interaction / About

White Blood Cell Counts, Parasite Prevalence, and Plasma Cortisol Levels of Dogs in a County Animal Shelter: Changes over Days and Impact of a Program of Repeated Human Interaction

By Emily S. Dudley

Category Theses
Abstract

Animal shelter housing is highly stressful for a dog, compromising welfare and leading to undesirable behaviors and unknown health consequences. We documented the changes in circulating numbers of white blood cells, plasma cortisol, and fecal parasite shedding of dogs housed for 10 days at a county animal shelter. White blood cell changes were most prominent on Day 10 after arrival to the shelter. Changes included increased total leukocytes, mature neutrophils, and lymphocytes, with less consistent increases in monocytes and neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (N:L). Fecal parasite shedding was elevated and not affected by day. Cortisol levels of shelter dogs declined over time, and when compared with dogs living in stable home environments were higher on all days measured (1, 3, and 10). Total leukocytes, neutrophils, monocytes, and N:L were also higher in shelter dogs than control dogs. Petting sessions of 30 minutes daily for 10 days reduced the cortisol of shelter dogs, but did not have an effect on white blood cells or parasite shedding. This study documents high rates of parasitic infection, large and increasing immunological responses, and plasma cortisol elevations of dogs in an animal shelter. Increasing opportunities for daily interaction with caregivers is likely to improve the welfare of shelter dogs, but additional research must be done to identify potential health benefits.

Submitter

Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2014
Pages 34
Publisher Wright State University
Location of Publication Dayton, Ohio
Department Microbiology and Immunology
URL http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/etd_all/1231/
Language English
Tags
  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animal shelters
  5. Animals in culture
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Blood
  8. Dogs
  9. fecal parasite
  10. Health
  11. Leukocytes
  12. Mammals
  13. monocytes
  14. neutrophils
  15. Parasites
  16. Physical environment
  17. plasma
  18. plasma cortisol
  19. Social Environments
  20. white blood cell
  21. Wild animals