Changes in plasma cortisol, corticotropin, and α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone concentrations in cats before and after physical restraint and intradermal testing

Ton Willemse From the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, University of Utrecht, Yalelaan 8, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Margreet W. Vroom From the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, University of Utrecht, Yalelaan 8, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Jan A. Mol From the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, University of Utrecht, Yalelaan 8, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Ad Rijnberk From the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, University of Utrecht, Yalelaan 8, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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SUMMARY

In 6 cats, mean ± sem baseline plasma concentrations of cortisol, corticotropin, and α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-msh) were 87 ± 16 nmol/ L, 73 ± 14 ng/L, and 129 ± 12 ng/L, respectively. The cats were subjected to: handling and subsequent skin testing without anesthesia; anesthesia with 50 mg of ketamine HCl and 2.5 mg of diazepam given IV, immediately followed by handling and skin testing; and anesthesia and handling as previously described, but without skin testing. Significant (P <0.05; multivariate analysis for repeated measures) increase in plasma cortisol, corticotropin, and α-msh concentrations was observed until 20 minutes after the start of the experiments in cats undergoing physical restraint and subsequent skin testing with or without preceding anesthesia. These responses were largely abolished when anesthesia with ketamine and diazepam was only followed by handling.

We conclude that, during stress in cats (in contrast to dogs), the pituitary intermediate lobe is activated to secrete α-msh. In addition, the cortisol response after skin testing of cats under anesthesia may be a reasonable explanation for the reported weak skin test reactivity in cats.

SUMMARY

In 6 cats, mean ± sem baseline plasma concentrations of cortisol, corticotropin, and α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-msh) were 87 ± 16 nmol/ L, 73 ± 14 ng/L, and 129 ± 12 ng/L, respectively. The cats were subjected to: handling and subsequent skin testing without anesthesia; anesthesia with 50 mg of ketamine HCl and 2.5 mg of diazepam given IV, immediately followed by handling and skin testing; and anesthesia and handling as previously described, but without skin testing. Significant (P <0.05; multivariate analysis for repeated measures) increase in plasma cortisol, corticotropin, and α-msh concentrations was observed until 20 minutes after the start of the experiments in cats undergoing physical restraint and subsequent skin testing with or without preceding anesthesia. These responses were largely abolished when anesthesia with ketamine and diazepam was only followed by handling.

We conclude that, during stress in cats (in contrast to dogs), the pituitary intermediate lobe is activated to secrete α-msh. In addition, the cortisol response after skin testing of cats under anesthesia may be a reasonable explanation for the reported weak skin test reactivity in cats.

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