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Animal welfare

With increasing public concern for the humane treatment of domestic, wild and zoo animals, ensuring animal welfare is paramount. Those responsible for keeping captive animals must respond quickly to symptoms of animal stress as well as proactively manage the welfare of their animals.

AHVLA specialises in research to assess the physiological indices of stress and reproduction by non-invasive means in many different species. Apart from the obvious negative welfare effects of blood sampling, the technique can also trigger other adverse physiological effects such as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can be fatal.

As a result AHVLA has developed a range of non-invasive techniques to measure stress hormones (cortisol and corticosterone) and reproductive indicators (such as progesterone) in faeces and saliva. Using these substrates means disturbance to the animals is minimised, and avoids the need for expensive training in regulating procedures.

Non-invasive measurement of physiology

We are constantly developing new assays and have the capability and expertise to respond to requests for assays suitable for novel species.

Flexible services tailored to your needs

Our services can be tailored to meet individual clients’ requirements – ranging from basic analytical services to a comprehensive package. We can provide:

  • Hormone measurement from faeces and/or saliva
  • Advice and assistance with sampling methods and techniques
  • Data interpretation and report production


Our specialists in stress and reproductive hormone analysis conduct research for and advise various policy divisions of Defra. We also provide services to private clients such as FlamingoLand, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and a number of universities. For information about the service we can provide, please download our Service Briefing.

To discuss your requirements please contact our Wildlife Team

Tel: +44 (0) 1904 406125

Page last modified: 10 September, 2015