The monitoring of stress physiology includes studying a wide range of endocrinological mechanisms, which can be assessed using multiple tissue samples. This study aimed to evaluate the seasonal variations of hair C, T and DHEA-S in horses for a whole year, as well as to assess the variations between seasons of C/DHEA-S and T/C ratios as a retrospective measure of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal and hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis activity. Ten pure-breed Menorca stallions were included in the study. The hair samples were collected approximately every two months following the shave-reshave method caudally to the sternum. After a methanol-based extraction, samples were analyzed by enzyme immunoassay for cortisol, testosterone, and dehy-droepiandrosterone sulphate. Following our findings, we detected that cortisol, testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate were significantly affected by seasonality, with the highest values of cortisol during summer and the lowest values of testosterone during spring. Dehydroepiandros-terone sulphate concentrations were increased in autumn compared to the other studied periods. Additionally, the studied hormone ratios showed variations between seasons. To conclude, season should, therefore, be considered when assessing sexual and stress hormones in stallion hair, since this variable can be a potential influencing factor and led to misinterpretations.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate
- Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis
- Hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis