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Animals, Volume 10, Issue 7 (July 2020) – 70 articles

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Effect of Dietary Olive Cake Supplementation on Performance, Carcass Characteristics, and Meat Quality of Beef Cattle
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1176; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071176 (registering DOI) - 10 Jul 2020
Abstract
Dietary partially destoned olive cake supplementation on performance, carcass traits and meat quality of intensively finished bulls was evaluated. Forty-five Limousin bulls, divided into three homogenous groups, received a diet with no supplementation (Control-CTR), 7.5% (Low Olive Cake-LOC), and 15.0% of olive cake [...] Read more.
Dietary partially destoned olive cake supplementation on performance, carcass traits and meat quality of intensively finished bulls was evaluated. Forty-five Limousin bulls, divided into three homogenous groups, received a diet with no supplementation (Control-CTR), 7.5% (Low Olive Cake-LOC), and 15.0% of olive cake supplementation (High Olive Cake-HOC). The trial was realized for 150 days; all bulls were individually weighed at the beginning, middle, and end of the trial, to calculate the individual average daily gain (ADG). At slaughtering, on each carcass, hot weight was recorded and, after 7 days, the pH and temperature were measured. On Longissimus lumborum muscle, color, cooking loss, and shear force of the cooked sample were determined. The chemical composition and the fatty acid content of muscle were determined. Olive cake inclusions (7.5% and 15.0%) increased (p < 0.05) the body weight, ADG, slaughter traits and intramuscular fat content and influenced (p < 0.05) the quality indices. The 15.0% of the inclusion reduced (p < 0.05) the cooking loss and shear force, and increased the unsaturated fatty acid content. The olive cake can be considered as a functional component in beef production and, in substitution to a quote of cereals into the diet of bulls, could be an opportunity to improve agriculture sustainability. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Sperm Morphology and Male Age in Black-Throated Blue Warblers, an Ecological Model System
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1175; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071175 (registering DOI) - 10 Jul 2020
Abstract
Extra-pair paternity may drive selection on spermatozoa and ejaculate characteristics through sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Here, we examine sperm morphology in the black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens), an ecological model species where extra-pair paternity is frequent and is linked [...] Read more.
Extra-pair paternity may drive selection on spermatozoa and ejaculate characteristics through sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Here, we examine sperm morphology in the black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens), an ecological model species where extra-pair paternity is frequent and is linked with male age. We test whether sperm morphology relates to several aspects of male phenotype known or suspected to affect extra-pair paternity success. Sperm morphology did not correlate with the size of the white wing spot, a social status signal, nor with the volume of the cloacal protuberance. However, older males tended to have longer sperm cells. Although the sample size was limited, this pattern is intriguing, as longer cells may be advantageous in post-copulatory sexual selection and older males have larger testes and higher extra-pair paternity success in this species. Changes in sperm morphology with age are not observed in other birds, though they have been observed in insects and fishes. More research on sperm morphology is needed to clarify its role in extra-pair fertilizations in this well-studied species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Biotechnology in Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle
TRPV4 Increases the Expression of Tight Junction Protein-Encoding Genes via XBP1 in Mammary Epithelial Cells
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071174 - 10 Jul 2020
Abstract
Mild heat stress (39 °C–40 °C) can positively regulate cell proliferation and differentiation. Indeed, mild heat treatment at 39 °C enhances the less-permeable tight junctions (TJs) formation and milk production in mammary epithelial cells. However, the molecular mechanisms of this response have not [...] Read more.
Mild heat stress (39 °C–40 °C) can positively regulate cell proliferation and differentiation. Indeed, mild heat treatment at 39 °C enhances the less-permeable tight junctions (TJs) formation and milk production in mammary epithelial cells. However, the molecular mechanisms of this response have not yet been delineated. In this study, the involvement of temperature-sensitive transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) in the increase of β-casein and TJ protein-encoding gene expression in response to mild heat treatment (39 °C) has been explored using HCll mouse mammary epithelial cells. Severe heat treatment (41 °C) induced the transcriptional level of Chop (C/EBP homologous protein; proapoptotic marker) and reduced the cell viability. It is speculated that the difference in unfolded protein response (UPR) gene expression upon stimulation at 39 °C vs. 41 °C controls cell survival vs. cell death. The accumulation of Trpv4 mRNA was significantly higher in 39 °C heat treatment cells. The β-casein, Zo-1 (zona occludens-1), Ocln (occludin), and Cldn3 (claudin 3) transcript levels were significantly increased in response to the addition of a selective TRPV4 channel agonist (GSK1016790A) at 37 °C. TRPV4 stimulation with GSK1016790A also increased the X-box-binding protein 1 splicing form (Xbp1s) at the transcript level. The increase in the mRNA levels of β-casein, Zo-1, Ocln, and Cldn3 in response to 39 °C heat treatment was suppressed by XBP1 knockdown. Moreover, the transcript level of Trpv4 was significantly increased at Day 15 of gestation, and its expression declined after 1 day of lactation. TRPV4 is activated not only by temperature but also by mechanical forces, such as cell stretching and shear stress, which guide mammary epithelial development in a normal mammary gland. These findings provide new insights of the possible function of TRPV4 in mammary gland development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Functional Annotation of Genes Related to Horses’ Performance: From GWAS to Post-GWAS
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071173 - 10 Jul 2020
Abstract
Integration of genomic data with gene network analysis can be a relevant strategy for unraveling genetic mechanisms. It can be used to explore shared biological processes between genes, as well as highlighting transcription factors (TFs) related to phenotypes of interest. Unlike other species, [...] Read more.
Integration of genomic data with gene network analysis can be a relevant strategy for unraveling genetic mechanisms. It can be used to explore shared biological processes between genes, as well as highlighting transcription factors (TFs) related to phenotypes of interest. Unlike other species, gene–TF network analyses have not yet been well applied to horse traits. We aimed to (1) identify candidate genes associated with horse performance via systematic review, and (2) build biological processes and gene–TF networks from the identified genes aiming to highlight the most candidate genes for horse performance. Our systematic review considered peer-reviewed articles using 20 combinations of keywords. Nine articles were selected and placed into groups for functional analysis via gene networks. A total of 669 candidate genes were identified. From that, gene networks of biological processes from each group were constructed, highlighting processes associated with horse performance (e.g., regulation of systemic arterial blood pressure by vasopressin and regulation of actin polymerization and depolymerization). Transcription factors associated with candidate genes were also identified. Based on their biological processes and evidence from the literature, we identified the main TFs related to horse performance traits, which allowed us to construct a gene–TF network highlighting TFs and the most candidate genes for horse performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Sleep Duration and Behaviours: A Descriptive Analysis of a Cohort of Dogs up to 12 Months of Age
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071172 - 10 Jul 2020
Abstract
Sleep is a vital behaviour that can reflect an animal’s adaptation to the environment and their welfare. However, a better understanding of normal age-specific sleep patterns is crucial. This study aims to provide population norms and descriptions of sleep-related behaviours for 16-week-old puppies [...] Read more.
Sleep is a vital behaviour that can reflect an animal’s adaptation to the environment and their welfare. However, a better understanding of normal age-specific sleep patterns is crucial. This study aims to provide population norms and descriptions of sleep-related behaviours for 16-week-old puppies and 12-month-old dogs living in domestic environments. Participants recruited to a longitudinal study answered questions relating to their dogs’ sleep behaviours in surveys issued to them when their dogs reached 16 weeks (n = 2332) and 12 months of age (n = 1091). For the statistical analysis, subpopulations of dogs with data regarding sleep duration at both timepoints were used. Owners of 16-week-old puppies perceived their dogs to sleep longer during the day and over a 24 h period, but for less time during the night than owners of 12-month-old dogs. At both timepoints, dogs were most commonly settled to sleep by being left in a room/area without human company. However, of dogs that had access to people overnight, 86.7% and 86.8% chose to be around people at 16 weeks and 12 months of age, respectively. The most common sleeping place was in a kennel/crate at 16 weeks (49.1%), and a dog bed at 12 months (31.7%). Future research within this longitudinal study will investigate how sleep duration and behaviours change with age and impact on a dog’s health and behaviour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sleep Behaviour and Physiology of Domestic Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrasonography of Normal Adrenal Glands in Adult Holstein–Friesian Cows: A Pilot Study
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071171 - 10 Jul 2020
Abstract
Ultrasonographic reference values for the adrenal glands of cattle have not been reported to date. Adrenal glands can be affected by different pathologies, such as hyperplasia, neoplasia and atrophy (either primary or secondary). The present findings indicate that the right adrenal gland can [...] Read more.
Ultrasonographic reference values for the adrenal glands of cattle have not been reported to date. Adrenal glands can be affected by different pathologies, such as hyperplasia, neoplasia and atrophy (either primary or secondary). The present findings indicate that the right adrenal gland can be easily characterized by transabdominal ultrasound in adult Holstein–Friesian cows, with no apparent influence of age or weight. The right adrenal gland (mean length 3.86 ± 1.39 cm; and mean thickness 1.39 ± 0.26 cm) was consistently and mainly located in the 12th intercostal space. The left adrenal gland was more difficult to locate due to its more medial position, and to the presence of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, so it could not be visualized in most animals (18/25). Its mean length was 3.72 ± 0.95 cm, and mean thickness was 1.36 ± 0.33 cm, in the sagittal section. This is the first report of the ultrasonographic appearance of the adrenal glands of cows and of the corresponding reference preliminary values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessConference Report
Improving Translation by Identifying Evidence for More Human-Relevant Preclinical Strategies
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071170 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 54
Abstract
Preclinical animal studies are performed to analyse the safety and efficacy of new treatments, with the aim to protect humans. However, there are questions and concerns about the quality and usefulness of preclinical animal research. Translational success rates vary between 0 and 100%, [...] Read more.
Preclinical animal studies are performed to analyse the safety and efficacy of new treatments, with the aim to protect humans. However, there are questions and concerns about the quality and usefulness of preclinical animal research. Translational success rates vary between 0 and 100%, and no clear relationship has been found with possible predictive factors such as animal species or field of research. Therefore, it is not yet possible to indicate what factors predict successful translation. Translational strategies were therefore discussed at an international conference held in the Netherlands in November 2019, aiming to develop practical guidelines for more robust animal-to-human translation. The conference was organised during the course of a research project funded by the Dutch Research Council (313-99-310), addressing possible solutions for the low translational values that had been published for a multitude of animal studies in human health care. This article provides an overview of the project and the conference discussions. Based on the conference results and the findings from the research project, we define four points of attention that are crucial in the search for improved translational success rates: (a) optimising the methods and design of studies; (b) incorporation of the complexity of the human patient in research; (c) start with the patient rather than existing animal models as the gold standard; and (d) more and better collaboration within the chain from funding to pharmacy. We conclude that this requires improved organization and use of procedures, as well as a change of attitude and culture in research, including a consideration of the translational value of animal-free innovations and human-relevant science. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Molecular Detection of Gurltia paralysans by Semi-Nested PCR in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Serum Samples from Domestic Cats (Felis catus)
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071169 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 193
Abstract
Gurltia paralysans is an angio-neurotropic metastrongyloid nematode that infects domestic and wild cats, invading the veins of the subarachnoid space of the spinal cord and mainly causing progressive paralysis of the pelvic limbs. The definitive diagnosis of feline gurltiosis can only be achieved [...] Read more.
Gurltia paralysans is an angio-neurotropic metastrongyloid nematode that infects domestic and wild cats, invading the veins of the subarachnoid space of the spinal cord and mainly causing progressive paralysis of the pelvic limbs. The definitive diagnosis of feline gurltiosis can only be achieved by post-mortem examination that reveals the presence of the nematode in the spinal cord vein vasculature. An early diagnosis with conclusive results is required since laboratory and imaging findings are not sufficient. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to detect the presence of G. paralysans, via semi-nested PCR, in samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the sera of domestic cats naturally infected with the parasite. A total of 12 cats with a diagnosis suggestive of feline gurltiosis were selected, and they underwent a complete neurological and imaging examination. DNA samples were analysed by semi-nested PCR, with universal (AaGp28Sa1/AaGp28Ss1) and specific (Gp28Sa3/Aa28Ss2) primers, for G. paralysans (G. paralysans 18S rRNA gene, partial sequence; ITS 1, 5.8S rRNA gene, and ITS 2, complete sequence; and 28S rRNA gene, partial sequence) and Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, obtaining amplifications of 356 and 300 bp, which indicated the presence or absence of nematode DNA, respectively. The presence of G. paralysans was detected in the CSF of four out of nine cats, and the sera of seven out of seven cats. In the sera analysis of five out of seven cats, a mixed infection with A. abstrusus was found, despite no alterations of the respiratory tract being observed during the necropsies. It is proposed that serum samples could be more effective than CSF in detecting the parasite by PCR analysis. Sequencing analysis showed high percentages of identity with G. paralysans, which indicated the feasibility of detection and the sensitivity/specificity of the method used, suggesting the implementation of semi-nested PCR as a routine diagnostic test for early and timely detection of feline gurltiosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious and Parasitic Diseases of Cats)
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Open AccessArticle
Pilot Investigation on the Presence of Anti-Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) Antibodies in Piglet Processing Fluids
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071168 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 124
Abstract
Identifying Hepatitis E virus (HEV)-positive pig farms is important to implement surveillance programs for this emerging zoonotic agent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of serosanguineous fluids obtained as part of castration practice (processing fluids (PFs)) to detect anti-HEV [...] Read more.
Identifying Hepatitis E virus (HEV)-positive pig farms is important to implement surveillance programs for this emerging zoonotic agent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of serosanguineous fluids obtained as part of castration practice (processing fluids (PFs)) to detect anti-HEV antibodies in newborn piglets. Ninety-five paired serum and PF samples were collected from piglets of 29 different litters and tested with a commercial ELISA kit. A significant positive correlation (Spearman’s rho: 0.600; p < 0.01) was found between anti-HEV antibodies in serum and PF samples. In 26 out of 29 litters (89.7%), there was at least one positive piglet in the serum. Sixteen litters out of 29 (55.2%) were also positive in PFs. To simulate the use of PF as pooled samples, the limit of detection of the ELISA was assessed mixing the PF sample with strong, medium, medium-weak and weak ELISA titres with 3, 4, 5 and 6 negative PF samples. Our results suggest that it is still possible to identify a positive PF pool when at least one individual PF sample with medium or strong antibody levels is mixed with 5 or 6 individual negative PF samples. The detection of anti-HEV maternal-derived antibodies in PF confirms a past exposure of sows to the virus. PF may represent a rapid, noninvasive and economical tool to identify HEV-positive farms. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Spatial Aspects of Gardens Drive Ranging in Urban Foxes (Vulpes vulpes): The Resource Dispersion Hypothesis Revisited
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071167 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 131
Abstract
Red foxes are a well-established species of urban ecosystems in the UK and worldwide. Understanding the spatial ecology of foxes in urban landscapes is important for enhancement of urban biodiversity and effective disease management. The Resource Dispersion Hypothesis (RDH) holds that territory (home [...] Read more.
Red foxes are a well-established species of urban ecosystems in the UK and worldwide. Understanding the spatial ecology of foxes in urban landscapes is important for enhancement of urban biodiversity and effective disease management. The Resource Dispersion Hypothesis (RDH) holds that territory (home range) size is linked to distribution and richness of habitat patches such that aggregation of rich resources should be negatively associated with range size. Here, we tested the RDH on a sample of 20 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the city of Brighton and Hove. We focused on residential garden areas, as foxes were associated with these in previous studies. We equipped 12 male and 8 female foxes with GPS collars recording at 15 min intervals during discrete seasons over four years. We regressed fox core area size against garden size, number of garden patches, and edge density within and between patches as extracted from GIS in a series of bivariate linear mixed models. We found that foxes used smaller core areas where gardens were large and well-connected and larger core areas where numerous, smaller gardens were fragmented by internal barriers (e.g., fences, walls) or bisected by other habitats such as managed grassland or built-up areas. Our findings confirm the RDH and help to inform future urban planning for wildlife. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Impacts on Urban Mammals)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fin Erosion of Salmo salar (Linnaeus 1758) Infested with the Parasite Caligus rogercresseyi (Boxshall & Bravo 2000)
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071166 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 126
Abstract
Fin condition is a simple indicator of fish welfare, which anticipates detrimental effects on fish in aquaculture systems. This study evaluated the fin condition of Salmo salar at different abundances of the parasite Caligus rogercresseyi. Fish were exposed to infestation with copepodids [...] Read more.
Fin condition is a simple indicator of fish welfare, which anticipates detrimental effects on fish in aquaculture systems. This study evaluated the fin condition of Salmo salar at different abundances of the parasite Caligus rogercresseyi. Fish were exposed to infestation with copepodids and the cohort was allowed to develop to the adult stage. The relative fin index was measured. Significant differences between infested and control fish for both pectoral and anal fins were observed. Moreover, there were significant negative relationships between fin condition and parasite abundances for pectoral, anal, and pelvic fins, suggesting that infestations with C. rogercresseyi could be a possible cause for fin damage in Atlantic salmon. Moreover, this damage was associated with increased stress levels, suggesting that damage can be related to physiological changes on infested fish. According to these results, pectoral fin assessments have the potential to provide information on the welfare of fish with C. rogercresseyi infestation. Determining the causes of poor fin development may improve fish welfare, even when infested by parasites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches to Fish Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Phenotyping of the Visceral Adipose Tissue Using Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071165 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 117
Abstract
The objective of this study was to phenotype visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in pigs. In this context, the ability to detect VAT by using the DXA CoreScan mode within the enCORE software, version 17 (GE Healthcare) was evaluated in comparison with MRI measurements [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to phenotype visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in pigs. In this context, the ability to detect VAT by using the DXA CoreScan mode within the enCORE software, version 17 (GE Healthcare) was evaluated in comparison with MRI measurements (Siemens Magnetom C!) of the same body region. A number of 120 crossbred pigs of the F1 and F2 generation, with the parental breeds Large White, Landrace, Piétrain, and Duroc, were examined at an age of 150 days. A whole-body scan in two different modes (“thick”, “standard”) was carried out by a GE Lunar iDXA scanner. Very strong relationships (R2 = 0.95, RMSE = 175cm3) were found for VAT between the two DXA modes. The comparison of VAT measured by MRI and DXA shows high linear relationships (“thick”: R2 = 0.76, RMSE = 399.25cm3/“standard”: R2 = 0.71, RMSE = 443.42cm3), but is biased, according to the Bland–Altman analysis. A variance analysis of VAT shows significant differences for both DXA modes and for MRI between male and female pigs, as well as between F1 and F2. In conclusion, DXA “CoreScan” has the ability to estimate VAT in pigs with a close relationship to MRI but needs bias correction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
Open AccessArticle
Reproduction Indicators Related to Litter Size and Reproduction Cycle Length Among Sows of Breeds Considered Maternal and Paternal Components Kept on Medium-Size Farms
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071164 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 113
Abstract
The present research aimed to study twelve reproductive indicators related to litter size and the farrowing interval for three maternal (Polish Large White, Polish Landrace, and Yorkshire) and three paternal (Duroc, Berkshire, Hampshire) breeds, raised on two farms in Poland and a farm [...] Read more.
The present research aimed to study twelve reproductive indicators related to litter size and the farrowing interval for three maternal (Polish Large White, Polish Landrace, and Yorkshire) and three paternal (Duroc, Berkshire, Hampshire) breeds, raised on two farms in Poland and a farm in the United States. The study included 196 sows (45 Polish Large White, 37 Polish Landrace, 26 Berkshire, 33 Duroc, 40 Yorkshire, and 15 Hampshire), which altogether gave birth to 736 litters. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to verify the influence of the breed on the reproductive traits, with a post-hoc procedure for pairwise comparisons implemented in the pgirmes of R. The adegenet, ade4, and factoextra packages of R were used to conduct multivariate analysis of the traits by means of principal component analysis. The breed significantly (p ≤ 0.05) influenced the following traits related to litter size: the total number of piglets born per litter, the number and percentage of piglets born alive per litter, the percentage of stillborn piglets per litter, the number and percentage of weaned piglets per litter; and those related to the farrowing interval: the lengths of gestation, lactation, the farrowing-to-conception interval, and the farrowing interval. The breed did not statistically significantly influence the number of stillborn piglets per litter and the length of the weaning-to-conception interval. Polish Landrace and Polish Large White sows had the highest numbers of born (for both, the mean of 14.0), born alive (12.9 and 12.7), and weaned piglets (11.5 and 10.5), which statistically significantly differed from these parameters in the other breeds. Polish Landrace sows significantly differed from all the other breeds in terms of the percentage of weaned piglets (84.1%), while Berkshire sows in terms of gestation length (118.4 days). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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Open AccessArticle
Bacteriological Quality of Raw Ovine Milk from Different Sheep Farms
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071163 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 119
Abstract
The primary purpose of this research was to examine the bacteriological properties of raw ovine milk produced by Merino, Tsigai, Dorper, Lacaune, and British Milk Sheep flocks on four sheep farms located in the eastern part of Hungary. In addition to individual raw [...] Read more.
The primary purpose of this research was to examine the bacteriological properties of raw ovine milk produced by Merino, Tsigai, Dorper, Lacaune, and British Milk Sheep flocks on four sheep farms located in the eastern part of Hungary. In addition to individual raw milk (IRM) and bulk tank milk (BTM) samples, the udder surface (US) of ewes was also tested for bacteriological quality. A total of 77 US, 77 IRM, and 10 BTM samples were collected in the early morning during regular milking sessions. The samples, kept cooled at temperatures below 4 °C, were delivered to the microbiological laboratory and were examined immediately. The relatively low numbers of bacteria in both US and IRM samples reflected good housing conditions of ewes kept on the four farms studied. However, BTM samples had up to 3.5–4.0 log10 CFU/mL higher mean bacterial counts than their IRM counterparts, and the mean levels of bacteria in BTM on two farms even exceeded the regulatory limit of 6.18 log10 CFU/mL. Further studies need to be performed to clarify this issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Pet Health Insurance on Dog Owners’ Spending for Veterinary Services
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071162 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 148
Abstract
The U.S. pet population is increasing, but access to veterinary care continues to be a concern. One method of alleviating barriers that prevent access to care is the presence of pet health insurance for a pet. Dog owners were surveyed to see the [...] Read more.
The U.S. pet population is increasing, but access to veterinary care continues to be a concern. One method of alleviating barriers that prevent access to care is the presence of pet health insurance for a pet. Dog owners were surveyed to see the impact of pet health insurance on dog owners’ visits and expenditures at the veterinarian. Using several logit models, it was found that pet health insurance had a significant and positive impact on the amount spent at the veterinarian. Other dog and dog owner characteristics were found significant in impacting expenditures and visits at the veterinarian. Findings from this study can help address the accessibility issue facing Americans across the country in obtaining affordable pet care. This research is the first which seeks to identify the driving factors behind dog owners’ choices regarding health care for their dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessEditorial
Antimicrobial Resistance in Horses
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071161 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 141
Abstract
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly recognized global public health threat to the modern health-care system that could hamper the control and treatment of infectious diseases [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Resistance in Horses)
Open AccessArticle
Machine-Learning Techniques Can Enhance Dairy Cow Estrus Detection Using Location and Acceleration Data
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071160 - 08 Jul 2020
Viewed by 167
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess combining location, acceleration and machine learning technologies to detect estrus in dairy cows. Data were obtained from 12 cows, which were monitored continuously for 12 days. A neck mounted device collected 25,684 records for location [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess combining location, acceleration and machine learning technologies to detect estrus in dairy cows. Data were obtained from 12 cows, which were monitored continuously for 12 days. A neck mounted device collected 25,684 records for location and acceleration. Four machine-learning approaches were tested (K-nearest neighbor (KNN), back-propagation neural network (BPNN), linear discriminant analysis (LDA), and classification and regression tree (CART)) to automatically identify cows in estrus from estrus indicators determined by principal component analysis (PCA) of twelve behavioral metrics, which were: duration of standing, duration of lying, duration of walking, duration of feeding, duration of drinking, switching times between activity and lying, steps, displacement, average velocity, walking times, feeding times, and drinking times. The study showed that the neck tag had a static and dynamic positioning accuracy of 0.25 ± 0.06 m and 0.45 ± 0.15 m, respectively. In the 0.5-h, 1-h, and 1.5-h time windows, the machine learning approaches ranged from 73.3 to 99.4% for sensitivity, from 50 to 85.7% for specificity, from 77.8 to 95.8% for precision, from 55.6 to 93.7% for negative predictive value (NPV), from 72.7 to 95.4% for accuracy, and from 78.6 to 97.5% for F1 score. We found that the BPNN algorithm with 0.5-h time window was the best predictor of estrus in dairy cows. Based on these results, the integration of location, acceleration, and machine learning methods can improve dairy cow estrus detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal-Centered Computing)
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Open AccessArticle
Housing and Management of Turkey Flocks in Canada
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071159 - 08 Jul 2020
Viewed by 155
Abstract
An increased understanding of the turkey sector and how farmers manage flocks can help maintain and improve the health and welfare of turkeys. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among turkey farmers in Canada to gain information regarding general farm characteristics, housing aspects (incl. [...] Read more.
An increased understanding of the turkey sector and how farmers manage flocks can help maintain and improve the health and welfare of turkeys. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among turkey farmers in Canada to gain information regarding general farm characteristics, housing aspects (incl. lighting, ventilation), litter management, feed and water management, flock characteristics, and flock health management. The survey was distributed to 500 farmers through the Turkey Farmers of Canada in April–December 2019. A total of 83 final responses (response rate approx. 20%) were used for a descriptive analysis to determine the frequency of housing and management practices (77 commercial flocks, 6 breeder flocks). Hen flocks (n = 53) had a median age of eight weeks (IQR: 7–12 weeks) and tom flocks (n = 30) had a median age of 12 weeks (IQR: 9–14 weeks). Turkey flocks within Canada are typically kept in indoor barn systems on a concrete floor (87.5%), with bedding (e.g., straw, wood shavings) provided (100%). The majority followed a brood and move growing system (68.8%), and a large proportion of farmers indicated that they raised turkeys under the ‘Raised Without Antibiotics/Antibiotic Free’ or the ‘Responsible Use of Antibiotics’ certification (70.5%). Possible room for improvement could be found in terms of litter management and biosecurity practices, however, further research is needed to make clear recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
Open AccessArticle
A Dietary Sugarcane-Derived Polyphenol Mix Reduces the Negative Effects of Cyclic Heat Exposure on Growth Performance, Blood Gas Status, and Meat Quality in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071158 - 08 Jul 2020
Viewed by 93
Abstract
Heat stress (HS) compromises growth performance and meat quality of broiler chickens by interrupting lipid and protein metabolism, resulting in increased oxidative damages. The experiment attempted to investigate whether dietary polyphenols (Polygain (POL)) could ameliorate the aforementioned adverse effects of HS on performance [...] Read more.
Heat stress (HS) compromises growth performance and meat quality of broiler chickens by interrupting lipid and protein metabolism, resulting in increased oxidative damages. The experiment attempted to investigate whether dietary polyphenols (Polygain (POL)) could ameliorate the aforementioned adverse effects of HS on performance and meat quality. One hundred and twenty one day-old-male chicks were allocated to two temperature conditions, thermoneutral (TN) or HS, and fed with either a control diet (CON) or the CON plus four different doses of POL (2, 4, 6 and 10 g/kg). Heat stress caused respiratory alkalosis as evidenced by increased rectal temperature (p < 0.001) and respiration rate (p < 0.001) due to increased blood pH (p < 0.001). Heat stress decreased final body weight (p = 0.061) and breast muscle water content (p = 0.013) while POL improved both (p = 0.002 and p = 0.003, respectively). Heat stress amplified muscle damages, indicated by increased thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (p < 0.001) and reduced myofibril fragmentation index (p = 0.006) whereas POL improved both (p = 0.037 and p = 0.092, respectively). Heat stress impaired meat tenderness (p < 0.001) while POL improved it (p = 0.003). In conclusion, HS impaired growth performance and meat quality whereas POL ameliorated these responses in a dose-dependent manner, and effects of POL were evident under both temperature conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution and Anthropogenic Factors on the Dispersion of Asian Black-Spined Toads (Duttaphrynus melanostictus)
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071157 - 08 Jul 2020
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Abstract
Divergence-time estimation critically improves the understanding of biogeography processes underlying the distribution of species, especially when fossil data is not available. We hypothesise that the Asian black-spined toad, Duttaphrynus melanostictus, expanded into the Eastern Indomalaya following the Quaternary glaciations with the subsequent [...] Read more.
Divergence-time estimation critically improves the understanding of biogeography processes underlying the distribution of species, especially when fossil data is not available. We hypothesise that the Asian black-spined toad, Duttaphrynus melanostictus, expanded into the Eastern Indomalaya following the Quaternary glaciations with the subsequent colonisation of new landscapes during the Last Glacial Maximum. Divergence dating inferred from 364 sequences of mitochondrial tRNAGly ND3 supported the emergence of a common ancestor to the three D. melanostictus clades around 1.85 (±0.77) Ma, matching with the Lower to Mid-Pleistocene transition. Duttaphrynus melanostictus then dispersed into Southeast Asia from the central Indo-Pacific and became isolated in the Southern Sundaic and Wallacea regions 1.43 (±0.10) Ma through vicariance as a result of sea level oscillations. The clade on the Southeast Asian mainland then colonised the peninsula from Myanmar to Vietnam and expanded towards Southeastern China at the end of the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution 0.84 (±0.32) Ma. Population dynamics further highlight an expansion of the Southeast Asian mainland population towards Taiwan, the Northeastern edge of the species’ range after the last interglacial, and during the emergence of the Holocene human settlements around 7000 BP. Thus, the current divergence of D. melanostictus into three segregated clades was mostly shaped by Quaternary glaciations, followed by natural dispersion events over land bridges and accelerated by anthropogenic activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Human Attachment Style on Horse Behaviour and Physiology during Equine-Assisted Activities–A Pilot Study
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071156 - 08 Jul 2020
Viewed by 239
Abstract
Equine-assisted activities (EAA) for human well-being and health rely on human–horse interactions for therapeutic effect. At-risk participants with mental and emotional difficulties can show poor social skills and functioning relationships, potentially leading to unsuccessful human–horse interaction in EAA. This study addresses the effect [...] Read more.
Equine-assisted activities (EAA) for human well-being and health rely on human–horse interactions for therapeutic effect. At-risk participants with mental and emotional difficulties can show poor social skills and functioning relationships, potentially leading to unsuccessful human–horse interaction in EAA. This study addresses the effect of the attachment style (AS) of at-risk adolescents on horse physiology and behaviour during an equine-facilitated learning (EFL) program. Thirty-three adolescents participated in a 10-week EFL program with nine therapy horses (the same therapy horse per adolescent throughout the program). Adolescent AS was categorized into secure (n = 7), preoccupied (n = 11), dismissing (n = 1), or fearful (n = 12) using an Experiences in Close Relationships – Relationship Structure questionnaire. Horse heart rate (HR) and behaviour (affiliative and avoidance behaviours) in response to adolescents were recorded during grooming and riding. Over time, horses with fearful AS adolescents showed consistently more affiliative behaviours compared to those with preoccupied AS adolescents during grooming, and more constant HR and avoidance behaviours compared to those with secure AS adolescents during riding. These results suggest that a more predictable and less stressful physiological and behavioural response of therapy horses toward participants in EAA with emotional and behavioural difficulties can be mediated by a human insecure attachment style. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equine Assisted Interventions)
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Open AccessArticle
Behavior and Performance of Suckling Piglets Provided Three Supplemental Heat Sources
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071155 - 07 Jul 2020
Viewed by 185
Abstract
This study compared water-heated mats (WM) and electric-heated mats (EM) with heat lamps (HL) as supplemental heat sources for suckling piglets. Forty-two litters were studied in 3 trials. In all trials, behavior of piglets was video-recorded on day 1, 3, 7, 14, and [...] Read more.
This study compared water-heated mats (WM) and electric-heated mats (EM) with heat lamps (HL) as supplemental heat sources for suckling piglets. Forty-two litters were studied in 3 trials. In all trials, behavior of piglets was video-recorded on day 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 postpartum. Videos were scan-sampled to register postures (lying and standing) and locations (on or away from mat) to assess piglet use of heat sources. Litter size and weight at birth and weaning, and pre-weaning mortality were recorded. Data were analyzed using Glimmix Procedures of SAS. Piglets spent more time on WM than under HL (67.5% vs. 51.0%, p = 0.002). No difference in piglet performance between WM and HL was observed, except mortality tended to be higher in WM (22.9% vs. 8.9%; p = 0.06). Piglet performance and use of the heat source were comparable for HL and EM. When comparing WM with EM, piglets provided WM spent more time on the mat compared to those provided EM (21.8% vs. 17.1%; p = 0.02). No difference in pre-weaning mortality, litter weight, and individual daily gain was observed between WM and EM group. These results suggest EM and HL were comparable to maintain performance and postural behaviors of piglets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Sodium Butyrate Alleviates Mouse Colitis by Regulating Gut Microbiota Dysbiosis
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071154 - 07 Jul 2020
Viewed by 177
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) develops as a result of complicated interactions between genetic susceptibility, excessive innate immunity, and environmental factors, which are mainly related to the gut microbiota. The present study aimed to elucidate the protective effects and underlying mechanisms of a short-chain [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) develops as a result of complicated interactions between genetic susceptibility, excessive innate immunity, and environmental factors, which are mainly related to the gut microbiota. The present study aimed to elucidate the protective effects and underlying mechanisms of a short-chain fatty acid salt, sodium butyrate, on colonic inflammation induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) in mice. Pretreatment with sodium butyrate attenuated colitis, as demonstrated by the decreased disease activity index (DAI), colon length shortening, spleen tumidness, and histopathology scores, while maintaining intestinal barrier integrity, as observed by H&E staining and electron microscopy. 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed that sodium butyrate caused a remarkable alteration of the gut microbiota. Bacteroides, Lachnospiraceae, the Lachnospiraceae NK4A136 group, and Ruminiclostridium 6 presented dramatic differences after sodium butyrate supplementation. This work verifies that sodium butyrate can improve mouse colitis via microbe–host interactions by regulating the microbial community. Taken together, the findings demonstrate that sodium butyrate shows great potential as a probiotic agent for ameliorating colitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Simulation Study on the Integration of Health Traits in Horse Breeding Programs
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071153 - 07 Jul 2020
Viewed by 168
Abstract
Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) is a degenerative disease of the cartilage leading to osseous fragments in the joints. It is important in horse breeding both from an animal welfare and an economic perspective. To study adequate breeding strategies to reduce OCD prevalence, a lifelike [...] Read more.
Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) is a degenerative disease of the cartilage leading to osseous fragments in the joints. It is important in horse breeding both from an animal welfare and an economic perspective. To study adequate breeding strategies to reduce OCD prevalence, a lifelike simulation of the breeding program of German Warmblood horses was performed with the R package MoBPS. We simulated complex breeding schemes of riding horses with different selection steps and realistic age structure, mimicking the German situation. As an example, osseous fragments in fetlock and hock joints were considered. Different scenarios, either using threshold selection, index selection or genomic index selection, respectively, were compared regarding their impact on health and performance traits. A rigorous threshold selection as well as the integration of OCD in a selection index at the stage of stallion licensing and chosen frequency of use in breeding cases on a selection index that includes breeding values for OCD traits performed best on a comparable level. Simply integrating OCD in this breeding value was less effective in terms of OCD reduction. Scenarios with a higher reduction of OCD also showed a slightly reduced improvement in the riding horse performance traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Paper Mulberry Silage on the Milk Production, Apparent Digestibility, Antioxidant Capacity, and Fecal Bacteria Composition in Holstein Dairy Cows
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071152 - 07 Jul 2020
Viewed by 173
Abstract
Paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera; PM) is an excellent and extensive type of roughage in Asia. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of PM silage on the milk production, apparent digestibility, antioxidant capacity, and fecal bacteria composition in Holstein dairy cows. [...] Read more.
Paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera; PM) is an excellent and extensive type of roughage in Asia. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of PM silage on the milk production, apparent digestibility, antioxidant capacity, and fecal bacteria composition in Holstein dairy cows. Forty-five lactating Holstein dairy cows with a similar milk yield and parity were selected and randomly assigned to three groups. The control group was fed a non-PM silage diet, and the PM-treated groups were fed 4.5 and 9.0% PM silage supplementary diets for 28 days. Then, treatment groups were fed diets containing 13.5 and 18.0% PM silage for the next 28 days, respectively. PM silage increased the milk urea nitrogen and decreased the somatic cell count (p < 0.05), but did not affect the dry matter intake, milk yield, apparent digestibility, and energy balance of dairy cows. PM silage can enhance the blood total antioxidant capacity, superoxide dismutase, and immune globulin content (p < 0.05). The PM silage significantly decreased the relative abundance of the genera Ruminococcaceae UCG-013 and Tyzzerella-4 (p < 0.05). In conclusion, PM silage enhanced the antioxidant capacity and immunity of dairy cows, but did not influence the milk yield, dry matter digestibility, and fecal bacteria composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
Open AccessArticle
Tenebrio molitor Larvae Meal Affects the Cecal Microbiota of Growing Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071151 - 07 Jul 2020
Viewed by 157
Abstract
The hypothesis tested was that dietary inclusion of insect meal (IM) causes an alteration in the cecal microbiota composition and its fermentation activity of growing pigs. Five-week-old male crossbred pigs were randomly assigned to three groups of 10 pigs each, and fed isonitrogenous [...] Read more.
The hypothesis tested was that dietary inclusion of insect meal (IM) causes an alteration in the cecal microbiota composition and its fermentation activity of growing pigs. Five-week-old male crossbred pigs were randomly assigned to three groups of 10 pigs each, and fed isonitrogenous diets either without (CON) or with 5% IM (IM5) or 10% IM (IM10) from Tenebrio molitor larvae for four weeks. The relative abundance of the phylum Bacteroidetes was lower in group IM10 than in group CON (p < 0.05), whereas the relative abundance of Firmicutes and the Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes-ratio tended to be higher in groups IM10 and IM5 than in group CON (p < 0.1). The relative abundance of the Proteobacteria tended to be higher in group IM10 than in groups CON and IM5 (p < 0.1). The concentrations of the total short-chain fatty acids in the cecal digesta did not differ between the three groups, but the concentrations of the branched-chain fatty acids in the cecal digesta were higher in group IM5 and IM10 than in group CON (p < 0.05). The present study shows for the first time that the replacement of soybean meal by Tenebrio molitor larvae meal causes a shift of the cecal microbial community and its fermentation activity in growing pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alternatives Protein in Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
The Study of the Response of Fat Metabolism to Long-Term Energy Stress Based on Serum, Fatty Acid and Transcriptome Profiles in Yaks
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071150 - 07 Jul 2020
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Abstract
Long-term energy stress (ES) during the cold season is a serious problem for the breeding of yaks. In this paper, the response of fat metabolism in yaks to long-term ES during the cold season was studied. Gas chromatography (GC) analysis showed that the [...] Read more.
Long-term energy stress (ES) during the cold season is a serious problem for the breeding of yaks. In this paper, the response of fat metabolism in yaks to long-term ES during the cold season was studied. Gas chromatography (GC) analysis showed that the percentage of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) in the subcutaneous fat of the yaks in the ES group was 42.7%, which was less than the 56.6% in the CO group (p < 0.01) and the percentage of polyunsaturated unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the subcutaneous fat of the yaks in the ES group was 38.3%, which was more than the 26.0% in the CO group (p < 0.01). The serum analysis showed that fatty acid oxidation in yaks was increased under long-term ES. In the subcutaneous fat of yaks under long-term ES, the gene expression levels of glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase 4 (GPAT4), hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 2 (PNPLA2), acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (ACAD), acyl-coenzyme A thioesterase 8 (ACOT8), facilitated glucose transporter (GLUT4), 3-oxoacyl-[acyl-carrier-protein] synthase (OXSM), oestradiol 17-beta-dehydrogenase 8 (HSD17B8) and malonate-Co-A ligase ACSF3 (ACSF3) were downregulated (q < 0.05), whereas the gene expression levels of aquaporin-7 (AQP7), long-chain-fatty-acid-CoA ligase (ACSL), elongation of very long chain fatty acids protein (ELOVL) and fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1) were upregulated (q < 0.05), indicating the inhibition of fat catabolism, fat anabolism, fatty acid oxidation, glucose (GLU) intake and SFA synthesis and the promotion of glycerinum (GLY) transportation and PUFA synthesis. Additional findings showed that the gene expression levels of leptin (LEP), adenosine 5′-monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) were upregulated (q < 0.05), whereas the gene expression levels of malonyl-CoA decarboxylase (MCD), sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBF1), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and serine/threonine-protein kinase (AKT) were downregulated (q < 0.05), indicating that fat metabolism in the subcutaneous fat of yaks under ES was mainly regulated by AMPK signaling and mTOR and PI3K-AKT signaling were also involved. Energy consumption was inhibited in the subcutaneous fat itself. This study can provide a theoretical basis for the healthy breeding and genetic breeding of yaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Intraspecific Hybrids Versus Purebred: A Study of Hatchery-Reared Populations of Sterlet Acipenser ruthenus
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071149 - 07 Jul 2020
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Abstract
Hatchery-reared sterlet originating from the Danube and Volga river basins that showed population-discriminatory alleles on at least one microsatellite locus were used to produce purebred (within-population) and hybrid crosses to evaluate intraspecific hybridization with respect to the genetic polymorphism and physiological fitness of [...] Read more.
Hatchery-reared sterlet originating from the Danube and Volga river basins that showed population-discriminatory alleles on at least one microsatellite locus were used to produce purebred (within-population) and hybrid crosses to evaluate intraspecific hybridization with respect to the genetic polymorphism and physiological fitness of fish for commercial aquaculture and, conservation programs. Reciprocal crossing assessed the effect of parent position. The fish were reared in indoor and outdoor tanks and monitored over 504 days for growth traits. The highest final mean body weight (144.9 ± 59.5 g) was recorded in the Danube (♀) × Volga (♂) hybrid and the highest survival in the Volga (♀) × Danube (♂) hybrid. The Volga purebred exhibited the lowest mean body weight (124.8 ± 57.6 g). A set of six microsatellites was used to evaluate the heterozygosity. The mean number of alleles was highest in the Danube (♀) × Volga (♂) hybrid and lowest in the Volga purebred, suggesting an influence of the parent position in the hybridization matrix. The higher level of genetic polymorphism, as in the Danube (♀) × Volga (♂) hybrid, may confer greater fitness in a novel environment. Our analysis revealed that the intraspecific hybrids performed better than the purebred fish in the controlled and suboptimal rearing conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Preliminary Findings on a Novel Behavioural Approach for the Assessment of Pain and Analgesia in Lambs Subject to Routine Husbandry Procedures
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071148 - 07 Jul 2020
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Abstract
The identification and assessment of pain in sheep under field conditions are important, but, due to their stoic nature, are fraught with many challenges. In Australia, various husbandry procedures that are documented to cause pain are routinely performed at lamb marking, including ear [...] Read more.
The identification and assessment of pain in sheep under field conditions are important, but, due to their stoic nature, are fraught with many challenges. In Australia, various husbandry procedures that are documented to cause pain are routinely performed at lamb marking, including ear tagging, castration, mulesing, and tail docking. This study evaluated the validity of a novel methodology to assess pain in lambs: qualitative behavioural assessment (QBA) was used to compare the behavioural expression of control lambs (CONTROL) with that of lambs subject to these procedures that received either a saline placebo 15 min before procedures (PLACEBO), or were administered meloxicam 15 min before procedures in addition to the standard analgesic Tri-Solfen at the time of procedures, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations (ANALGESIC TREATMENT; AT). In terms of behavioural expression, it was expected that: CONTROL ≠ PLACEBO, AT = CONTROL, and PLACEBO ≠ AT. Video footage of the 6−8-week-old lambs (n = 10 for each treatment) was captured approximately 1.5 h postprocedure and was presented, in a random order, to 19 observers for assessment using the Free-Choice Profiling (FCP) approach to QBA. There was significant consensus (p < 0.001) among the observers in their assessment of the lambs, with two main dimensions of behavioural expression explaining 69.2% of the variation. As expected, observers perceived differences in the demeanour of lambs in the first dimension, scoring all lambs subject to the routine husbandry procedures as significantly more ‘dull’ and ‘uneasy’ compared to the control lambs (p < 0.05). Contrary to expectations, the results also suggested that analgesic treatment did not provide relief at the time of observation. Further investigations to validate the relationship between behavioural expression scores and pain are necessary, but these results suggest that painful husbandry procedures alter the behavioural expression of lambs and these differences can be captured using QBA methodology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Assessment of Animal Welfare Indicators)
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Open AccessArticle
Effectiveness of Stocking Density Reduction on Mitigating Lameness in a Charolais Finishing Beef Cattle Farm
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071147 - 07 Jul 2020
Viewed by 156
Abstract
This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups of 10 or 8 animals/pen for high (HD) [...] Read more.
This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups of 10 or 8 animals/pen for high (HD) or low density (LD) corresponding to an individual space of 3.5 or 4.7 m2, respectively. Bulls were fitted with collars that measured rumination time and activity. Three 8-h observational sessions were conducted to record behaviors. Data about health conditions were collected daily. No differences were found in the animals’ performance. However, performance results might have been impaired by the culling rate experienced during the trial, which prevented from keeping a consistent SKD. Behaviors did not differ between groups, except for rumination time, which was higher for LD bulls during the third observation (p < 0.05). However, rumination time, recorded by collars, did not vary among treatments. There were no differences in the percentage of sick or lame bulls, but the percentage of animals treated repeatedly due to relapse was higher for the HD group (p < 0.05). It was concluded that a larger space allowance could improve the health of bulls kept on fully slatted floors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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