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Tuesday, May 24 • 16:00 - 17:00
Physiological stress coping in greyhound dogs with or without aggression

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The way a dog copes with stress could influence it’s propensity to be aggressive. This study used an emerging technique in behavioural research – heart rate variability. Potential links between heart rate variability, reactivity and the way in which an animal copes with stress may exist. Greyhound dogs (n=34) from a canine blood bank service were recruited. Dogs were individually tested during their monthly blood donation, with individual salivary cortisol measurements taken 5 minutes prior to, and 20 minutes after the procedure. During the procedure, a Polar® heart rate monitor was used to measure heart rate variability. During the following 6 months, the dogs were tested for rehoming suitability including a test for inter-dog aggression. Dogs that failed the aggression test had a significantly greater difference between the pre and post-bleeding cortisol levels compared with dogs that passed (0.97ng/ml, 95% CI, 0.11 to 1.83, P = 0.029). Mean heart rate during the procedure was greater in dogs that failed the aggression test (13.6bpm, 95% CI, 2.3 to 24.8, P = 0.018), however heart rate variability (SDNN) was greater in dogs that passed (53.5, 95% CI, 24.7 to 82.2, P = 0.001). This study demonstrates a novel method of measuring stress coping style in dogs which opens new avenues for future research into canine aggression


Dr Dennis Wormald

Dennis Wormald started his research career in 2006, completing a behavioural neuroscience honours year at the Howard Florey Institute with Melbourne University. Dennis then completed the bachelor of Veterinary Science at Melbourne University in 2010. Following two years in private... Read More →

Tuesday May 24, 2016 16:00 - 17:00 ACST
Hall N Adelaide Convention Centre