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A total of 90 mares and horses were subjected to blood sampling for determining the effect of management (farm), reproductive condition, sex, age, breed and month of the year during breeding on circulating levels of cortisol and sex hormones. Blood samples were collected from December to the following June from four farms. Blood sera underwent testosterone, estradiol, progesterone and cortisol assaying using ELISA kits. Cortisol levels were significantly low in lactating mares during their foal heat but significantly high levels were recorded in both repeat breeder mares and horses used for racing. High and significant testosterone and estradiol levels were recorded in both stallions used for breeding especially after semen collection and early pregnant mares. Similar testosterone levels were recorded in both early pregnant mares and racing horses but high levels were recorded in stallions. Estradiol was high in both early pregnant and mares with endometritis but the highest levels were observed in stallions. Horses held in private farms had high cortisol levels compared to those of governmental farms. In contrast to mares, horses had low cortisol and high estradiol levels. Cortisol levels were high from April to June (Spring and early summer) compared to its levels from December to March (Winter). Arab horses had low cortisol compared to native and imported foreign breeds. In conclusion, environmental condition, exercise, breed, management and the purpose of raising horses all are affecting its cortisol levels.
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