A protocol for the adrenocorticotropic (ACTH) stimulation test in American black ducks (Anas rubripes) was established with synthetic ACTH, cosyntropin (Cortrosyn®); ACTH stimulation testing was conducted on 31 adult ducks (14 males, 17 females) in September 1993. Plasma corticosterone concentrations were measured on heparinized blood samples collected 30 min, and 1, 2, and 4 hr post-injection. In comparison with saline controls, cosyntropin (0.25 mg/duck) produced a two- to three-fold increase in corticosterone 30 min after administration. Maximal concentrations ranged from 132 to 312 ng/ml and occurred between 1 and 2 hr post-injection. Corticosterone concentrations declined to basal, pre-injection values after 4 hr. Endogenous ACTH release in response to handling stress was evident in control ducks after saline injection but did not interfere with interpretation of the stimulation test. Recommendations for the ACTH stimulation test in black ducks include a 30 min acclimatization period for recently captured or relocated ducks and determination of plasma corticosterone concentration 1 to 2 hr following intramuscular injection with 0.25 mg cosyntropin.
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Vol. 31 • No. 2