- 公益社団法人 日本獣医学会
- Journal of Veterinary Medical Science (ISSN:09167250)
- vol.69, no.4, pp.379-383, 2007 (Released:2007-05-08)
Dolphins in a captive environment are exposed to various kinds of stresses. Handling and transportation are stressful events for terrestrial mammals, and such stress may affect immune system function and increase susceptibility to infectious diseases. The same phenomenon could occur in dolphins, however, few studies have reported this in dolphins. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between stress and polymorphonuclear (PMN) cell function of dolphins during transportation. Four bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were transported for 6 hr by truck. Serum cortisol levels, leukograms, phagocytosis, and superoxide production of PMN cells were evaluated during handling and transportation compared to resting values. The mean serum cortisol level was significantly increased during handling and transportation (p<0.05) when compared with the resting values. White blood cell (WBC) counts, eosinophil counts, phagocytosis, and superoxide production of PMN cells during handling and transportation stages decreased significantly in comparison with the resting stage (p<0.05). The concentration of serum cortisol was significantly correlated with the results of the WBC counts, eosinophil counts, superoxide production, and phagocytosis (p<0.01, p<0.05, p<0.05, and p<0.001, respectively). The present results indicate that handling and transportation are stressful events for dolphins and could affect their PMN cell functions, thereby leading to the impairment of the immune system.