Date of Award

Spring 2015

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Bobby Fokidis


Cortisol is a glucocorticoid steroid hormone that is released from the adrenal gland in response to stress in most mammal species. There is currently no method to measure cortisol levels from the dog nail. Development of such method would allow a more accurate analysis of long-term cortisol secretion in relation to current techniques such as measures of blood and saliva, which measure transient increases in cortisol during acute stress. In this study, a novel technique was developed to extract and quantify cortisol concentrations within the nail of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris). Nail samples collected from a local veterinary clinic were homogenized using an attrition mill. Cortisol was then recovered from the homogenized sample using a solid phase extraction technique, and then measured using an enzyme-linked immunoassay. Cortisol was found to be present within the nail at a quantifiable concentration that was variable between both individuals and techniques used. Nail cortisol was also positively correlated with cortisol levels in hair, an already established biomarker. Methodology was refined to maximize cortisol recovery, and this research will lay the groundwork for advancing technology available surrounding cortisol testing in both domestic and wild animals.

Rights Holder

Zoe Mack