[MARMAM] FW: Branding paper

Stobo, Wayne StoboW at mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Tue Aug 29 06:11:23 PDT 2006

> On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to announce the publication of
> the following paper in Wildlife Research.
> Pierre-Yves Daoust, G.Mark Fowler and Wayne T. Stobo. 2006.  Comparison of
> the healing process in hot and cold brands applied to harbour seal pups
> (Phoca vitulina). Wildlife Research 33: 361-372
> Abstract.  Hot branding has been used for many years by researchers to
> identify seals from a long distance.  In livestock, cold branding has been
> proposed as an alternative because it is thought to be less painful.  The
> purpose of this study was to compare the healing process of hot and cold
> brands applied to harbour seal pups (Phoca vitulina).  A total of 306
> animals were each branded with a unique set of four characters: three
> applied for 3-5 s with an iron heated to 500C, one applied for either 10
> or 20 s with an iron frozen to -175C.  At three subsequent times over 10
> weeks, 43, 41 and 51 animals, respectively, were recaptured, the
> macroscopic appearance of their brands recorded, and biopsies taken for
> microscopic examination.  Cold brands had a faster healing rate than hot
> brands.  However, they had less destruction of hair follicles, and cold
> brands applied for 20 s had more depigmentation.  Regrowth of hair
> follicles could subsequently obscure brands, while depigmentation reduces
> the contrast between the brand and the surrounding fur.  Cold brands
> applied for 20 s also had more extensive deep vascular damage, which
> subsequently may have resulted in deeper wounds in some animals.  Yet,
> macroscopically, other cold brands, or portions thereof, were almost
> invisible.  Based on this short-term study, the technique of cold branding
> that we used in harbour seals does not appear as reliable as that of hot
> branding to provide permanent legible brands.
> Wayne
> Dr. Wayne T. Stobo
> Population Ecology Division
> Bedford Institute of Oceanography
> Fisheries and Oceans Canada
> B2Y 4A2
> Phone:  (902) 426-3316
> Fax (902) 426 -1506
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