Animals2015, 5(4), 951-964; doi:10.3390/ani5040392 - published 25 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Specific estimates of the risk of horse-related injury (HRI) to university students enrolled in veterinary and animal sciences have not been reported. This study aimed to determine the risk of student HRI during their university education, the nature and management of such injuries. A retrospective questionnaire solicited demographic information, data on students’ equine experience prior to and during their educational programs, and on HRI during their program of study. Of 260 respondents, 22 (8.5%) reported HRI (27 incidents). Including concurrent injuries the most commonly injured body parts were the foot or ankle (nine of 32 injures), the upper leg or knee (eight of 32), and hands (three of 32). Trampling and being kicked by a hind limb were each associated with 30.4% of HRI, and 13% with being bitten. Bruising (91.3% of respondents) and an open wound (17.4%) were most commonly described. No treatment occurred for 60.9% of incidents; professional medical treatment was not sought for the remainder. Most incidents (56.5%) occurred during program-related work experience placements. Although injury rates and severity were modest, a proactive approach to injury prevention and reporting is recommended for students required to handle horses as part of their education. Student accident and injury data should be monitored to ensure effective evaluation of risk-reduction initiatives. The risk and nature of university student horse-related injury (HRI) was studied. Of 260 students, 22 (8.5%) reported HRI (27 incidents). Including multiple injuries, reports described involvement of the foot or ankle (nine of 32 injures), upper leg or knee (eight of 32), and hands (three of 32). Trampling (30.4%) and being kicked (30.4%) accounted for most HRI. The injuries were usually bruising (91.3%) or an open wound (17.4%). Most (60.9%) injuries were untreated; professional medical treatment was not sought for the rest. Most incidents (56.5%) occurred during program-related off-campus work experiences. A proactive approach to injury prevention is recommended for students handling horses.
Animals2015, 5(4), 934-950; doi:10.3390/ani5040393 - published 25 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Within the European AWIN project, a protocol for assessing dairy goats’ welfareon the farm was developed. Starting from a literature review, a prototype includinganimal-based indicators covering four welfare principles and 12 welfare criteria was set up.The prototype was tested in 60 farms for validity, reliability, and feasibility. After testing theprototype, a two-level assessment protocol was proposed in order to increase acceptabilityamong stakeholders. The first level offers a more general overview of the welfare status,based on group assessment of a few indicators (e.g., hair coat condition, latency to thefirst contact test, severe lameness, Qualitative Behavior Assessment), with no or minimalhandling of goats and short assessment time required. The second level starts if welfareAnimals 2015, 5 935problems are encountered in the first level and adds a comprehensive and detailed individualevaluation (e.g., Body Condition Score, udder asymmetry, overgrown claws), supported byan effective sampling strategy. The assessment can be carried out using the AWIN Goatapp. The app results in a clear visual output, which provides positive feedback on welfareconditions in comparison with a benchmark of a reference population. The protocol maybe a valuable tool for both veterinarians and technicians and a self-assessment instrumentfor farmers.
Animals2015, 5(3), 910-933; doi:10.3390/ani5030391 - published 8 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The periparturient period is critical according to health, productivity and profitability. As this period is fundamental for the success of the lactation period, the interest in improving periparturient health by dietary supplements increased in recent years. The present study investigated the effects of feeding nicotinic acid (NA) combined with varying dietary energy densities on immunological, hematological and biochemical parameters of periparturient cows differing in parity. Thirty-six multiparous and 20 primiparous dairy cows were enrolled in the study 42 days before expected parturition date until 100 days postpartum with the half of the cows being supplemented with 24 g of NA/d. After parturition a diet with 30% concentrate was fed to all cows which was followed by different concentrate escalation strategies. Dietary NA supplementation was ceased on day 24 postpartum. Dietary NA increased (P = 0.010) serum nicotinamide concentrations (mean of 3.35 ± 1.65 µg/mL), whereas NA could not be detected. Present data emphasize that periparturient cows are faced with major physiological challenges and that both parity-groups have different prerequisites to adapt to those changes irrespective of NA supplementation. The overfeeding of energy to cows which were similar in body condition score had only minor effects on periparturient immune system function and the metabolism of those cows.
Animals2015, 5(3), 897-909; doi:10.3390/ani5030390 - published 8 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: There is no comprehensive study of the costs of horse-related workplace injuries to Australian Thoroughbred racing jockeys. Objectives: To analyse the characteristics of insurance payments and horse-related workplace injuries to Australian jockeys during Thoroughbred racing or training. Methods: Insurance payments to Australian jockeys and apprentice jockeys as a result of claims for injury were reviewed. The cause and nature of injuries, and the breakdown of payments associated with claims were described. Results: The incidence of claims was 2.1/1000 race rides, with an average cost of AUD 9 million/year. Race-day incidents were associated with 39% of claims, but 52% of the total cost. The mean cost of race-day incidents (AUD 33,756) was higher than non-race day incidents (AUD 20,338). Weekly benefits and medical expenses made up the majority of costs of claims. Fractures were the most common injury (29.5%), but head injuries resulting from a fall from a horse had the highest mean cost/claim (AUD 127,127). Conclusions: Costs of workplace injuries to the Australian Thoroughbred racing industry have been greatly underestimated because the focus has historically been on incidents that occur on race-days. These findings add to the evidence base for developing strategies to reduce injuries and their associated costs.
Animals2015, 5(3), 886-896; doi:10.3390/ani5030389 - published 3 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The EU ban on conventional barren cages for laying hens from 2012 has improved many aspects of laying hen welfare. The new housing systems allow for the expression of highly-motivated behaviors. However, the systems available for intensive large-scale egg production (e.g., aviaries, floor housing systems, furnished cages) may cause other welfare challenges. We have reviewed the literature regarding the health, behavior, production characteristics, and welfare of laying hens when exposed to ammonia in their housing environment. Concentrations of ammonia gas are commonly high in aviaries and floor housing systems in which manure is not regularly removed, whereas they are usually lower in furnished cages. High levels are found during the cold season when ventilation flow is often reduced. Ammonia is a pungent gas, and behavioral studies indicate chickens are averse to the gas. High concentrations of gaseous ammonia can have adverse health effects and, when very high, even influence production performance. The most profound effects seen are the occurrence of lesions in the respiratory tract and keratoconjunctivitis. There is also evidence that high ammonia concentrations predispose poultry to respiratory disease and secondary infections. We conclude that there are animal welfare challenges related to high ammonia levels, and that immediate actions are needed. Development of improved systems and management routines for manure removal and ventilation will be important for the reduction of ammonia levels and hence will contribute to safeguarding hen welfare.
Animals2015, 5(3), 861-885; doi:10.3390/ani5030388 - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Despite the research on opportunities to automatically measure lameness in cattle, lameness detection systems are not widely available commercially and are only used on a few dairy farms. However, farmers need to be aware of the lame cows in their herds in order treat them properly and in a timely fashion. Many papers have focused on the automated measurement of gait or behavioral cow characteristics related to lameness. In order for such automated measurements to be used in a detection system, algorithms to distinguish between non-lame and mildly or severely lame cows need to be developed and validated. Few studies have reached this latter stage of the development process. Also, comparison between the different approaches is impeded by the wide range of practical settings used to measure the gait or behavioral characteristic (e.g., measurements during normal farming routine or during experiments; cows guided or walking at their own speed) and by the different definitions of lame cows. In the majority of the publications, mildly lame cows are included in the non-lame cow group, which limits the possibility of also detecting early lameness cases. In this review, studies that used sensor technology to measure changes in gait or behavior of cows related to lameness are discussed together with practical considerations when conducting lameness research. In addition, other prerequisites for any lameness detection system on farms (e.g., need for early detection, real-time measurements) are discussed.