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Animals, Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2021) – 242 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Initial COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the United Kingdom (23rd March–12th May 2020) prompted lifestyle changes for many people. An online survey completed by 4604 owners of dogs obtained before February 2020 provided management data for seven-day periods during lockdown and for February 2020 (pre-lockdown). The authors summarized changes in management and exercise of dogs and explored associations between potential predictors and four outcomes relating to changes pre-/during lockdown (reduction in number and duration of walks; increased frequency of play/training, and provision of toys). Changes identified in dog management during lockdown restrictions have the potential for immediate and longer-term welfare consequences. View this paper.
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Article
Accumulation of C-CTX1 in Muscle Tissue of Goldfish (Carassius auratus) by Dietary Experience
Animals 2021, 11(1), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010242 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1586
Abstract
Ciguatoxins (CTXs) are produced by dinoflagellates usually present in tropical and subtropical waters. These toxins are bioaccumulated and transformed in fish causing ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. Few trials have been performed to understand how CTXs are incorporated into fish. This study [...] Read more.
Ciguatoxins (CTXs) are produced by dinoflagellates usually present in tropical and subtropical waters. These toxins are bioaccumulated and transformed in fish causing ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. Few trials have been performed to understand how CTXs are incorporated into fish. This study developed an experimental model of goldfish (Carassius auratus) fed flesh contaminated with Caribbean ciguatoxin (C-CTX1). Fourteen goldfish were fed 0.014 ng CTX1B (Eq. g−1 of body weight) daily, and control goldfish received non-toxic flesh. CTX presence was determined by a cell-based assay on days 1, 8, 15, 29, 36, 43, and 84. Toxicity was detected in muscle from the second sampling and then seemed to stabilize at ~0.03 ng CTX1B Eq. g−1. After two weeks, all experimental goldfish developed lethargy and loss of brightness, but only two of them displayed erratic swimming and jerking movements near the sixth sampling. One of these fish had its toxic diet replaced by commercial food for 60 more days; the fish showed recovery signs within the first weeks and no CTX activity was detected. These results indicate that C-CTX1 could accumulate in goldfish muscle tissue and produce toxic symptoms, but also remarked on the detoxification and recovery capacity of this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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Article
Identification of Target Chicken Populations by Machine Learning Models Using the Minimum Number of SNPs
Animals 2021, 11(1), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010241 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1439
Abstract
A marker combination capable of classifying a specific chicken population could improve commercial value by increasing consumer confidence with respect to the origin of the population. This would facilitate the protection of native genetic resources in the market of each country. In this [...] Read more.
A marker combination capable of classifying a specific chicken population could improve commercial value by increasing consumer confidence with respect to the origin of the population. This would facilitate the protection of native genetic resources in the market of each country. In this study, a total of 283 samples from 20 lines, which consisted of Korean native chickens, commercial native chickens, and commercial broilers with a layer population, were analyzed to determine the optimal marker combination comprising the minimum number of markers, using a 600 k high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. Machine learning algorithms, a genome-wide association study (GWAS), linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis, and principal component analysis (PCA) were used to distinguish a target (case) group for comparison with control chicken groups. In the processing of marker selection, a total of 47,303 SNPs were used for classifying chicken populations; 96 LD-pruned SNPs (50 SNPs per LD block) served as the best marker combination for target chicken classification. Moreover, 36, 44, and 8 SNPs were selected as the minimum numbers of markers by the AdaBoost (AB), Random Forest (RF), and Decision Tree (DT) machine learning classification models, which had accuracy rates of 99.6%, 98.0%, and 97.9%, respectively. The selected marker combinations increased the genetic distance and fixation index (Fst) values between the case and control groups, and they reduced the number of genetic components required, confirming that efficient classification of the groups was possible by using a small number of marker sets. In a verification study including additional chicken breeds and samples (12 lines and 182 samples), the accuracy did not significantly change, and the target chicken group could be clearly distinguished from the other populations. The GWAS, PCA, and machine learning algorithms used in this study can be applied efficiently, to determine the optimal marker combination with the minimum number of markers that can distinguish the target population among a large number of SNP markers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
More Attention than Usual”: A Thematic Analysis of Dog Ownership Experiences in the UK during the First COVID-19 Lockdown
Animals 2021, 11(1), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010240 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 6348
Abstract
On 23 March 2020, the UK Government imposed a nationwide lockdown as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This study aimed to explore how the experience of dog ownership in the UK was impacted during this lockdown. Data for this [...] Read more.
On 23 March 2020, the UK Government imposed a nationwide lockdown as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This study aimed to explore how the experience of dog ownership in the UK was impacted during this lockdown. Data for this research came from open-ended survey questions and an electronic diary completed by members of the general public and participants involved in “Generation Pup”, an ongoing longitudinal cohort study of dogs. A total of 10,510 free-text entries were analysed. Three major themes emerged: spending time at home with dog(s), walking practices, and behaviour and training. Owners valued having more time than usual with their dog(s) but also recognised that spending extra time with their dog(s) may negatively impact on the dog’s future ability to cope when left alone. However, very few owners provided alone time for their dog(s) during the lockdown. The opportunity to walk their dog(s) as part of their permitted daily exercise was regarded positively, but walks under the lockdown guidelines were not always felt to be adequate with respect to providing sufficient exercise and opportunities for interaction with other dogs. Owners reported observing new undesirable behaviours in their dog(s) during the lockdown, including barking and dogs being “clingy” or vocalising when briefly left alone. Based on these findings, we suggest intervention strategies to best support dog welfare that include helping dog owners to teach dogs to cope with being alone, even if owners do not need to leave their dogs alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Impact of COVID-19 on Animal Management and Welfare)
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Article
The Roles of the miRNAome and Transcriptome in the Ovine Ovary Reveal Poor Efficiency in Juvenile Superovulation
Animals 2021, 11(1), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010239 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Juvenile superovulation can provide a wealth of oocyte material for embryo production, animal cloning, and genetic modification research, but embryos derived from juvenile oocytes show poor efficiency in subsequent developmental capacity. In order to reveal the formation mechanism of large numbers of follicles [...] Read more.
Juvenile superovulation can provide a wealth of oocyte material for embryo production, animal cloning, and genetic modification research, but embryos derived from juvenile oocytes show poor efficiency in subsequent developmental capacity. In order to reveal the formation mechanism of large numbers of follicles and poor oocyte quality in juvenile ovaries under superovulation treatment, differentially expressed microRNAs (miRNAs) and messenger RNAs (mRNAs) were characterized and investigated in the ovaries of lambs and adult sheep using high-throughput sequencing technology. The majority of differentially expressed miRNAs (337/358) were upregulated in lamb libraries. The expression levels of mRNAs related to hormone receptors (follicle-stimulating hormone receptor, FSHR; luteinizing hormone/choriogonadotropin receptor, LHCGR; estrogen receptor 1, ESR1), steroid hormone secretion (cytochrome P450 family 11 subfamily A member 1, CYP11A1; cytochrome P450 family 17 subfamily A member 1, CYP17A1; cytochrome P450 family 19 subfamily A member 1, CYP19A1), and oocyte quality (pentraxin 3, PTX3; BCL2 apoptosis regulator, BCL2; caspase 3, CASP3) were significantly different between the lamb and adult libraries. The miRNA aor-miR-143, which targets FSHR, was highly and differentially expressed, and PTX3 was predicted to be targeted by oar-miR-485-3p and oar-miR-377-3p in the ovine ovary. A considerable number of miRNAs were predicted to inhibit ESR1 expression in lamb ovaries. In conclusion, oar-miR-143 and FSHR molecules, among others, might regulate follicle formation, and oar-miR-485-3p, oar-miR-377-3p, and PTX3, among others, may be associated with oocyte quality. These identified miRNAs and mRNAs will be beneficial for the prediction of ovarian superovulation potential and screening of oocytes. Full article
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Article
Mineral Element Deposition and Gene Expression across Different Tissues of Cherry Valley Ducks
Animals 2021, 11(1), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010238 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the deposition of several mineral elements and the mRNA levels of mineral-related genes across different tissues of cherry valley ducks. The contents of magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), zinc (Zn), and selenium (Se) in ducks’ breast muscle, thigh [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the deposition of several mineral elements and the mRNA levels of mineral-related genes across different tissues of cherry valley ducks. The contents of magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), zinc (Zn), and selenium (Se) in ducks’ breast muscle, thigh muscle, liver, skin, and tibia at the age of 0, 21, 35, 49, and 63 days, respectively, were measured using an atomic fluorescence spectrophotometer, while the mRNA levels of mineral-related genes were detected by qRT-PCR. The results revealed that the dynamics of Mg and K were generally similar in each tissue, with a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05). In the breast muscle, thigh muscle, and liver, the contents of almost all mineral elements reached their peak values (p < 0.05) at the age of 49 to 63 days. Interestingly, the expression of most mineral-related genes was the highest at birth (p < 0.05). In addition, there was a significant negative correlation between the expression of ATP1A1 and the deposition of K (r = −0.957, p < 0.05), and a similar result was found for the expression of ATP8 and the deposition of Zn (r = −0.905, p < 0.05). Taken together, Mg and K could be used as joint indicators for the precise breeding of the high-quality strain of cherry valley ducks, while the age of 49 to 63 days could be used as the reference for the best marketing age. In addition, ATP1A1 and ATP8 could be used as the key genes to detect K and Zn, respectively. Hence, the findings of this study can be used to improve the production and breeding efficiency of high-quality meat ducks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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Erratum
Erratum: Gravrok, J., et al. Beyond the Benefits of Assistance Dogs: Exploring Challenges Experienced by First-Time Handlers. Animals 2019, 9, 203
Animals 2021, 11(1), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010237 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 726
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections [1]:In Table 1, under case study 4, the code was originally labeled as H8, P8 and ADI 8; these labels should be H4, P4 and ADI 4, respectively [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Assisted Therapies and Interventions 2019)
Article
Prediction of Calving to Conception Interval Length Using Algorithmic Analysis of Endometrial mRNA Expression in Bovine
Animals 2021, 11(1), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010236 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1195
Abstract
After parturition, the uterus undergoes significant reconstruction, allows the endometrium to create an environment for subsequent embryo development. Here, we used an unsupervised algorithmic approach to select characteristic endometrial mRNA expression patterns of proposed markers and investigate each marker’s role as an individual [...] Read more.
After parturition, the uterus undergoes significant reconstruction, allows the endometrium to create an environment for subsequent embryo development. Here, we used an unsupervised algorithmic approach to select characteristic endometrial mRNA expression patterns of proposed markers and investigate each marker’s role as an individual indicator of reproductive success. Clinically healthy cows at a sixth week postpartum were examined, the percentage of neutrophils (PMNs%) in the cytological smear was calculated, and an endometrial biopsy was taken for qPCR. Based on pregnancy examination, cows were divided into three groups: Pregnant before 100 days postpartum (P100, n = 11), pregnant between 100–200-day (P200, n = 14), and culled (C, n = 10). Animals were also classified based on two PMNs% thresholds > 5% PMNs and > 10% PMNs. The expression of IL1B, IL6, CXCL8, and IL17A was higher in >10%PMNs. The expression of PTGS1 was higher in the P200 compared to P100. Upregulation of inhibin A subunit (INHA) and downregulation of inhibin β A subunit (INHBA) were observed in the P100. INHBA/INHA ratio was the most accurate linear predictor of the calving-to-conception interval. The application of the k-means algorithm allowed the identification of five unique expression patterns. The sensitivity and specificity of predicting allocation to P100 were 81% and 79%. We also documented the low efficiency of genes associated with subclinical endometritis and PMNs% in determining reproductive capability. These results suggested the presence of distinctive expression patterns in 6 weeks postpartum, correlated with cows’ reproductive capacity. Furthermore, we proposed the INHBA/INHA ratio as an indicator of calving-to-conception interval length. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
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Article
The Probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum Biocenol CCM 7514 Moderates Campylobacter jejuni-Induced Body Weight Impairment by Improving Gut Morphometry and Regulating Cecal Cytokine Abundance in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2021, 11(1), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010235 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1303
Abstract
This research was conducted to investigate if the administration of the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum could influence body weight, intestinal morphometry and the cecal cytokine response in Campylobacter jejuni-infected chickens. Seventy-two 1-day old COBB 500 male chicks were allocated randomly into four experimental [...] Read more.
This research was conducted to investigate if the administration of the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum could influence body weight, intestinal morphometry and the cecal cytokine response in Campylobacter jejuni-infected chickens. Seventy-two 1-day old COBB 500 male chicks were allocated randomly into four experimental groups. (I) Control group (C), in which chicks were left untreated. (II) LB group, treated with L. fermentum. (III) Cj group, infected with C. jejuni and (IV) coexposure group in which both bacteria were administered. Body weight was registered and then all birds were slaughtered; samples from the small intestine and caecum were collected at 4- and 7-days post infection. The experiment lasted eleven days. Villi height and crypt depth ratios of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum were evaluated using appropriate software, while reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) was utilized for assessing transcript levels of key cecal inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-18, IL-17, IL-15, IL13 and IL-4). Campylobacter-infected birds showed lower body weight values than those supplemented with the probiotic; these birds, in turn, proved to be heavier than those reared under control conditions. L. fermentum administration improved morphometrical parameters of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum; in general, villi were larger and crypts deeper than those identified in control conditions. Moreover, the negative effects elicited by C. jejuni were not observed in chickens exposed to the probiotic. Significant differences were also determined with regards to transcript abundance of all evaluated cytokines in the caecum. C. jejuni induced a downregulation of the studied interleukins; however, such a response was heightened by administration of L. fermentum, with an increase rate of transcription that promoted a more effective response to a C. jejuni infection. The effects of experimental treatments proved to vary between sampling points. Conclusively, these results demonstrate that L. fermentum lessens the negative effects elicited by C. jejuni on body weight by alleviating the impact on intestinal morphometry and cecal cytokine response, which ultimately improve chicken growth performance. Full article
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Review
Regenerative Medicine for Equine Musculoskeletal Diseases
Animals 2021, 11(1), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010234 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2116
Abstract
Musculoskeletal injuries and chronic degenerative diseases commonly affect both athletic and sedentary horses and can entail the end of their athletic careers. The ensuing repair processes frequently do not yield fully functional regeneration of the injured tissues but biomechanically inferior scar or replacement [...] Read more.
Musculoskeletal injuries and chronic degenerative diseases commonly affect both athletic and sedentary horses and can entail the end of their athletic careers. The ensuing repair processes frequently do not yield fully functional regeneration of the injured tissues but biomechanically inferior scar or replacement tissue, causing high reinjury rates, degenerative disease progression and chronic morbidity. Regenerative medicine is an emerging, rapidly evolving branch of translational medicine that aims to replace or regenerate cells, tissues, or organs to restore or establish normal function. It includes tissue engineering but also cell-based and cell-free stimulation of endogenous self-repair mechanisms. Some regenerative medicine therapies have made their way into equine clinical practice mainly to treat tendon injures, tendinopathies, cartilage injuries and degenerative joint disorders with promising results. However, the qualitative and quantitative spatiotemporal requirements for specific bioactive factors to trigger tissue regeneration in the injury response are still unknown, and consequently, therapeutic approaches and treatment results are diverse. To exploit the full potential of this burgeoning field of medicine, further research will be required and is ongoing. This review summarises the current knowledge of commonly used regenerative medicine treatments in equine patients and critically discusses their use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Equine Training and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Is Intestinal Bacterial Diversity Enhanced by Trans-Species Spread in the Mixed-Species Flock of Hooded Crane (Grus monacha) and Bean Goose (Anser fabalis) Wintering in the Lower and Middle Yangtze River Floodplain?
Animals 2021, 11(1), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010233 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 942
Abstract
Diversity of gut microbes is influenced by many aspects, including the host internal factors and even direct or indirect contact with other birds, which is particularly important for mixed-species wintering waterbird flocks. In this study, Illumina high-throughput sequencing was used to analyze the [...] Read more.
Diversity of gut microbes is influenced by many aspects, including the host internal factors and even direct or indirect contact with other birds, which is particularly important for mixed-species wintering waterbird flocks. In this study, Illumina high-throughput sequencing was used to analyze the intestinal bacteria of the hooded crane and bean goose whose niches overlap at Shengjin Lake. We tested whether contact time enhances the trans-species spread of gut bacteria. Results indicate alpha-diversity and microbial composition displayed significant separation between the two hosts in every wintering period, although the number of bacteria types shared increased with increasing contact time. For the same species, with the lengthening of contact time, alpha-diversity and the number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in the host intestine augmented, and the common OTUs and structural similarity of microflora in the middle and late periods were more than in the early and middle periods. In addition, we found a very high proportion of shared pathogens. Our results indicate that, although intestinal microflora of different species were separated, direct or indirect contact in the mixed-species flock caused the spread of gut bacteria trans-species, indicating that more attention should be paid to intestinal pathogens in wild birds. Full article
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Article
Effects of Leaving Amputated Ovaries Intra-Abdominally during Elective Bilateral Standing Laparoscopic Ovariectomy in Equids
Animals 2021, 11(1), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010232 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 785
Abstract
There is risk of dropping an amputated ovary within the abdomen during standing laparoscopic ovariectomies in mares. If the ovary can no longer be directly visualized with the laparoscope, the procedure is then converted to a flank laparotomy for manual retrieval of the [...] Read more.
There is risk of dropping an amputated ovary within the abdomen during standing laparoscopic ovariectomies in mares. If the ovary can no longer be directly visualized with the laparoscope, the procedure is then converted to a flank laparotomy for manual retrieval of the ovary which negates the minimally invasive nature of the laparoscopic procedure. The objective was to identify if ovaries left in the abdomen after amputation would atrophy or if they re-vascularize. Standing bilateral ovariectomies were performed in mature mares, but after transection of the ovarian pedicle, the ovaries were intentionally dropped and left within the abdomen. Post-operative endocrine values were at basal levels and an improvement in all mare’s behavior and general herd dynamics was observed. While this study does not encourage to leave ovaries in the abdomen after amputation, we report no complication related to their voluntary release into the abdomen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Veterinary Endocrinology and Reproduction in the Mare)
Article
Endocrine Fertility Parameters—Genomic Background and Their Genetic Relationship to Boar Taint in German Landrace and Large White
Animals 2021, 11(1), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010231 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 786
Abstract
The surgical castration of young male piglets without anesthesia is no longer allowed in Germany from 2021. One alternative is breeding against boar taint, but shared synthesis pathways of androstenone (AND) and several endocrine fertility parameters (EFP) indicate a risk of decreasing fertility. [...] Read more.
The surgical castration of young male piglets without anesthesia is no longer allowed in Germany from 2021. One alternative is breeding against boar taint, but shared synthesis pathways of androstenone (AND) and several endocrine fertility parameters (EFP) indicate a risk of decreasing fertility. The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic background between AND, skatole (SKA), and six EFP in purebred Landrace (LR) and Large White (LW) populations. The animals were clustered according to their genetic relatedness because of their different origins. Estimated heritabilities (h2) of AND and SKA ranged between 0.52 and 0.34 in LR and LW. For EFP, h2 differed between the breeds except for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (h2: 0.28–0.37). Both of the breeds showed unfavorable relationships between AND and testosterone, 17-β estradiol, and FSH. The genetic relationships (rg) between SKA and EFP differed between the breeds. A genome-wide association analysis revealed 48 significant associations and confirmed a region for SKA on Sus Scrofa chromosome (SSC) 14. For EFP, the results differed between the clusters. In conclusion, rg partly confirmed physiologically expected antagonisms between AND and EFP. Particular attention should be spent on fertility traits that are based on EFP when breeding against boar taint to balance the genetic progress in both of the trait complexes. Full article
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Article
Effects of Fish Oil and Dietary Antioxidant Supplementation on Bone Health of Growing Lambs
Animals 2021, 11(1), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010230 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 817
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of partial replacement of rapeseed oil (RO) with fish oil (FO) combined with dietary supplementation of various antioxidants on the characteristics of lamb femur. Thirty male lambs were assigned to five dietary [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of partial replacement of rapeseed oil (RO) with fish oil (FO) combined with dietary supplementation of various antioxidants on the characteristics of lamb femur. Thirty male lambs were assigned to five dietary treatments and fed isoproteinous and isoenergetic diets for 35 days. The control diet was enriched with 3.0% RO, while the experimental diets were enriched either only with 2.0% RO and 1.0% FO or additionally with 0.1% carnosic acid, 0.1% carnosic acid and 0.35 ppm Se as selenized yeast, or 0.1% carnosic acid and 0.35 ppm Se as sodium selenite. After 35 days, the lambs were slaughtered, and the femur was dissected from the carcass of each animal and analyzed for morphometric, geometric, densitometric, and biomechanical properties. The dietary modifications, specifically the supplementation of FO and selenized yeast, significantly improved the geometric, densitometric, and biomechanical properties of lamb femur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Gut and Bone in Health and Disease)
Review
Toxic Wasting Disorders in Sheep
Animals 2021, 11(1), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010229 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1083
Abstract
Infectious and parasitic agents have been frequently associated with debilitating and wasting conditions in sheep. The prevalence of these agents has probably undermined the role of toxic causes as contributors to such disorders. In addition, many of these intoxications frequently produce acute clinical [...] Read more.
Infectious and parasitic agents have been frequently associated with debilitating and wasting conditions in sheep. The prevalence of these agents has probably undermined the role of toxic causes as contributors to such disorders. In addition, many of these intoxications frequently produce acute clinical disease with specific and characteristic lesions, thus a causal relationship with the toxic substance may be relatively easy to establish. However, persistent exposure to some of these organic or inorganic toxic substances may lead to emaciation, ill-thrift, and poor external aspect. The anti-nutritional factors and alkaloids of several plants, including pyrrolizidine alkaloids, among others, have also been associated with emaciation and/or poor general performance in sheep flocks. In this review, some of these disorders are discussed with an emphasis on clinical signs and lesions, relevant diagnostic aspects, and available therapeutic approaches. In most cases, demonstrating a history of exposure should be one of the most relevant aspects of the diagnostic approach, and removing the animals from the toxic source is the cornerstone of the majority of the treatment strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wasting Diseases Affecting Sheep)
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Article
Influence of Immunocastration on Slaughter Traits and Boar Taint Compounds in Pigs Originating from Three Different Terminal Sire Lines
Animals 2021, 11(1), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010228 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 925
Abstract
The aim of the research was to investigate the influence of terminal sire line (TSL) and male category (MC) on carcass and meat quality of commercial fatteners. The study was performed on 180 pigs originating from three terminal sire lines: A (Pietrain × [...] Read more.
The aim of the research was to investigate the influence of terminal sire line (TSL) and male category (MC) on carcass and meat quality of commercial fatteners. The study was performed on 180 pigs originating from three terminal sire lines: A (Pietrain × Large White), B (pure Pietrain), and C (Pietrain × Duroc × Large White), being assigned to three groups according to MC: immunocastrates (IC, n = 60), surgical castrates (SC, n = 60) and entire males (EM, n = 60). TSL affected most of the carcass and meat quality traits, together with the androstenone concentration. At the same time, MC had a significant effect on fat thickness, ham circumference, drip loss, cooking loss and androstenone and skatole concentrations. A significant interaction effect was observed for carcass length and ham circumference, as well as for most of the measured meat quality traits (except cooking loss, CIE L*, CIE b*, and Warner Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF)). Among the three investigated sire lines, immunocastration was shown to be most beneficial for fatteners sired by the TSL C. However, if deciding to raise EM, fatteners from the TSL B are recommended in terms of carcass and meat quality, although strategies for avoiding boar taint in their carcasses must be taken into consideration. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of the Morphometry of Sperm from the Epididymides of Dogs Using Different Staining Methods
Animals 2021, 11(1), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010227 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 876
Abstract
Evaluation of sperm morphometry is an important criterion in the diagnosis of a male animal’s suitability for breeding. The aim of the study was to evaluate the morphometry of sperm from the epididymides of dogs subjected to routine castration using various staining methods. [...] Read more.
Evaluation of sperm morphometry is an important criterion in the diagnosis of a male animal’s suitability for breeding. The aim of the study was to evaluate the morphometry of sperm from the epididymides of dogs subjected to routine castration using various staining methods. The study was carried out on semen collected from ten healthy dogs. Gonads were obtained from each dog during routine castration at a veterinary surgery. Then, the epididymides (caput, corpus, cauda) were isolated from the gonads, semen was collected from them and microscope slides were prepared. The slides for evaluation of sperm morphometry were prepared by four methods: DiffQuik, SpermBlue, eosin-nigrosin and eosin-gentian. A total of 2400 sperm were analyzed (240 sperm from the dog). The sperm collected from the caput and corpus of the epididymis were found to have larger heads and tails than those collected from the cauda of the epididymis. The staining method was shown to affect the morphometry of sperm taken from the epididymides of dogs. The staining methods differentiate the dimensions of the head of sperm in different parts of the epididymis but do not affect the length of the sperm tail. The occurrence of differences in the head dimensions of sperm may be linked to the use of different fixatives and chemical reagents in the staining procedure. Sperm stained by the EN method had the smallest head and tail dimensions. The greatest head area was noted in the sperm stained by the EG method. In the slides stained by the SB method, the sperm heads were relatively long but narrow. The methods used are suitable for the evaluation of sperm structure, and the possibility of using all four methods enables a full characterization of sperm collected from the caput, corpus and cauda of the epididymides of dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Andrology)
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Review
Abattoir-Based Measures to Assess Swine Welfare: Analysis of the Methods Adopted in European Slaughterhouses
Animals 2021, 11(1), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010226 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1621
Abstract
The assessment of swine welfare requires feasible, reliable, and reasonable indicators. On-farm evaluation of pig welfare can provide valuable information to veterinarians and farmers. However, such protocols can result expensive and time-consuming. With this regard, an interest in the appraisal of swine welfare [...] Read more.
The assessment of swine welfare requires feasible, reliable, and reasonable indicators. On-farm evaluation of pig welfare can provide valuable information to veterinarians and farmers. However, such protocols can result expensive and time-consuming. With this regard, an interest in the appraisal of swine welfare at abattoir has grown over the recent years. In particular, the use of certain lesions collected directly from slaughtered animals to determine the welfare status of pigs has been evaluated by several authors. In the present review, the different methods developed to score lesions collected directly from the body and the viscera of animals slaughtered in European abattoirs (“abattoir-based measures”) are presented. The text specifically focuses on the methods currently available in the literature for the scoring of body, pluck and gastric lesions during post-mortem activities. Moreover, the strengths and weaknesses of abattoir-based measures schemes are discussed. To conclude, the future perspectives of the assessment of pig welfare at the slaughterhouse are described, appealing for a benchmarking system that can be systematically used by veterinarians and other professional figures involved in the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Assessment of Animal Welfare Indicators)
Article
On the Variability of Microbial Populations and Bacterial Metabolites within the Canine Stool. An in-Depth Analysis
Animals 2021, 11(1), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010225 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 986
Abstract
Canine faecal microbial populations and metabolome are being increasingly studied to understand the interplay between host and gut microbiome. However, the distribution of bacterial taxa and microbial metabolites throughout the canine stool is understudied and currently no guidelines for the collection, storage and [...] Read more.
Canine faecal microbial populations and metabolome are being increasingly studied to understand the interplay between host and gut microbiome. However, the distribution of bacterial taxa and microbial metabolites throughout the canine stool is understudied and currently no guidelines for the collection, storage and preparation of canine faecal samples have been proposed. Here, we assessed the effects that different sampling points have on the abundance of selected microbial populations and bacterial metabolites within the canine stool. Whole fresh faecal samples were obtained from five healthy adult dogs. Stool subsamples were collected from the surface to the inner part and from three equally sized areas (cranial, central, caudal) along the length axis of the stool log. All samples were finally homogenised and compared before and after homogenisation. Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Clostridium cluster I, Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp. and Enterococcus spp. populations were analysed, as well as pH, ammonia and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) concentrations. Compared to the surface of the stool, inner subsamples resulted in greater concentrations of SCFA and ammonia, and lower pH values. qPCR assay of microbial taxa did not show any differences between subsamples. Homogenisation of faeces does not affect the variability of microbial and metabolome data. Although the distribution patterns of bacterial populations and metabolites are still unclear, we found that stool subsampling yielded contradictory result and biases that can affect the final outcome when investigating the canine microbiome. Complete homogenisation of the whole stool is therefore recommended. Full article
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Article
Exogenous Melatonin Improves the Reproductive Outcomes of Yearling Iberian Red Deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) Hinds
Animals 2021, 11(1), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010224 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 788
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of melatonin implants on the reproductive performance of yearling Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) hinds. It also explored exogenous melatonin administration as a tool to minimize the negative effect of [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of melatonin implants on the reproductive performance of yearling Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) hinds. It also explored exogenous melatonin administration as a tool to minimize the negative effect of a low yearling hind’s liveweight on their reproductive efficiency. In addition, the effect of melatonin-treated yearling hinds on non-treated hinds was studied in order to provide a practical and economical protocol to improve farms’ productivity. A total of 4520 Iberian red deer hinds belonging to the same farm were included in this study. Melatonin (108 mg/hind) implants were administered three-fold every 30 days before the breeding season. Fertility rates, calves’ weights and calving dates were registered for each hind. The results showed that exogenous melatonin increased significantly (p < 0.05) the calves’ weight (32.39 ± 1.07 kg vs. 27.65 ± 1.11 kg for Weight 1calf (July) and 46.59 ± 1.50 kg vs. 41.79 ± 1.54 kg for Weight 2calf (August, at weaning)) and advanced the calving date by 15 days in yearling hinds compared to the non-treated group. In addition, the administration of melatonin implants before the breeding season was able to minimize the negative effect of low yearling hinds’ liveweight (Weight 1hind) on their future reproductive outcomes, as the fertility rates increased by 46% and the calves’ weight increased by 7 kg after the melatonin treatment, regardless of the yearlings’ weight. Finally, when both experimental groups (melatonin and non-treated) were kept separate, higher fertility rates (76.73 ± 7.18% vs. 66.94 ± 7.41%) were observed for the melatonin-treated hinds compared to the non-treated hinds. However, when both groups of yearling hinds were maintained together, no significant differences were observed in their fertility outcomes (78.13 ± 21.26% vs. 78.12 ± 23.32%). Therefore, melatonin implants may be used in yearling Iberian red deer hinds as a management tool to improve their reproductive productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Biotechnology in Wildlife)
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Article
Equine Transport-Related Problem Behaviors and Injuries: A Survey of Italian Horse Industry Members
Animals 2021, 11(1), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010223 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1401
Abstract
An online survey was conducted to determine associations between equine transport management and transport-related injuries and problem behaviors in Italy. The survey was composed of four sections: respondents’ demographic information and background, transport management practices, journey details and vehicle design, and transport injuries [...] Read more.
An online survey was conducted to determine associations between equine transport management and transport-related injuries and problem behaviors in Italy. The survey was composed of four sections: respondents’ demographic information and background, transport management practices, journey details and vehicle design, and transport injuries experienced by the horse in the previous two-year period. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression with a binary outcome variable was performed to explore associations between variables (respondents’ and journeys’ details and transport practices) and equine transport-related problem behaviors (TRPBs) and injuries. TRPBs were also considered an explanatory variable for injuries. The survey generated 201 responses; only 148 were complete and analyzed. TRPBs were reported by 14.45% of the respondents and the odds of TRPBs was linked to the respondent gender (p = 0.034), the use of tranquilizers prior to transport (p = 0.002), the use of a whip for loading (p = 0.049), the lack of protection equipment (p = 0.050), and shavings (p = 0.025) on the vehicle floor. Horse injuries (11.49%) were reported by more respondents who did not check the brakes of their transport vehicle before traveling (p = 0.043), had vehicles with padding on the chest bar (p = 0.038), and for horses reported to display TRPBs (p = 0.001). Finally, 10 respondents reported they were injured during horse transport (10/140; 7.14%), 50% simultaneously with their horses. The study findings should be interpreted with caution due to small sample size bias and participants’ recall bias. Nevertheless, the results are in concordance with the literature, confirming that horse transport is a risk for the horse’s and handler’s health and well-being. Further studies are needed to identify best management practices to educate equine industry members on how to minimize transport-related problems. Full article
Article
Machine Learning-Based Microclimate Model for Indoor Air Temperature and Relative Humidity Prediction in a Swine Building
Animals 2021, 11(1), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010222 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1228
Abstract
Indoor air temperature (IAT) and indoor relative humidity (IRH) are the prominent microclimatic variables; still, potential contributors that influence the homeostasis of livestock animals reared in closed barns. Further, predicting IAT and IRH encourages farmers to think ahead actively and to prepare the [...] Read more.
Indoor air temperature (IAT) and indoor relative humidity (IRH) are the prominent microclimatic variables; still, potential contributors that influence the homeostasis of livestock animals reared in closed barns. Further, predicting IAT and IRH encourages farmers to think ahead actively and to prepare the optimum solutions. Therefore, the primary objective of the current literature is to build and investigate extensive performance analysis between popular ML models in practice used for IAT and IRH predictions. Meanwhile, multiple linear regression (MLR), multilayered perceptron (MLP), random forest regression (RFR), decision tree regression (DTR), and support vector regression (SVR) models were utilized for the prediction. This study used accessible factors such as external environmental data to simulate the models. In addition, three different input datasets named S1, S2, and S3 were used to assess the models. From the results, RFR models performed better results in both IAT (R2 = 0.9913; RMSE = 0.476; MAE = 0.3535) and IRH (R2 = 0.9594; RMSE = 2.429; MAE = 1.47) prediction among other models particularly with S3 input datasets. In addition, it has been proven that selecting the right features from the given input data builds supportive conditions under which the expected results are available. Overall, the current study demonstrates a better model among other models to predict IAT and IRH of a naturally ventilated swine building containing animals with fewer input attributes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Farm)
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Article
MicroRNA-210 Regulates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Apoptosis in Porcine Embryos
Animals 2021, 11(1), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010221 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress can be triggered during in vitro embryo production and is a major obstacle to embryo survival. MicroRNA (miR)-210 is associated with cellular adaptation to cellular stress and inflammation. An experiment was conducted to understand the effects of miR-210 on [...] Read more.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress can be triggered during in vitro embryo production and is a major obstacle to embryo survival. MicroRNA (miR)-210 is associated with cellular adaptation to cellular stress and inflammation. An experiment was conducted to understand the effects of miR-210 on in vitro embryo development, ER stress, and apoptosis; to achieve this, miR-210 was microinjected into parthenogenetically activated embryos. Our results revealed that miR-210 inhibition significantly enhanced the cleavage rate, blastocyst formation rate, and total cell number (TCN) of blastocysts, and reduced expression levels of XBP1 (p < 0.05). miR-210 inhibition greatly reduced the expression of ER stress-related genes (uXBP1, sXBP1, ATF4, and PTPN1) and Caspase 3 and increased the levels of NANOG and SOX2 (p < 0.05). A miR-210-mimic significantly decreased the cleavage, blastocyst rate, TCN, and expression levels of XBP1 compared with other groups (p < 0.05). The miR-210-mimic impaired the expression levels of uXBP1, sXBP1, ATF4, PTPN1, and Caspase 3 and decreased the expression of NANOG and SOX2 (p < 0.05). In conclusion, miR-210 plays an essential role in porcine in vitro embryo development. Therefore, we suggest that miR-210 inhibition could alleviate ER stress and reduce apoptosis to support the enhancement of in vitro embryo production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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Article
Entomological Surveillance and Cantharidin Concentrations in Mylabris variabilis and Epicauta rufidorsum Blister Beetles in Slovenia
Animals 2021, 11(1), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010220 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
True blister beetles (genus Epicauta, family Meloidae) produce cantharidin, which can cause toxicosis in humans and animals. Some recent reports suggest that poisoning by the blister beetle has occurred in the Mediterranean part of Slovenia, which has never been reported before. Drought [...] Read more.
True blister beetles (genus Epicauta, family Meloidae) produce cantharidin, which can cause toxicosis in humans and animals. Some recent reports suggest that poisoning by the blister beetle has occurred in the Mediterranean part of Slovenia, which has never been reported before. Drought and modern harvesting techniques are thought to increase the likelihood of blister beetle forage contamination and cantharidin intoxication in animals. A survey of fields associated with blister beetle contamination was conducted and the Meloid species present were identified. Entomological surveillance was conducted for Mylabris variabilis and Epicauta rufidorsum. Cantharidin concentrations were also measured in both blister beetle species. Cantharidin concentration in Mylabris variabilis (n = 17) ranged from 0.038 to 0.354 µg/mg (mean 0.151 µg/mg). Cantharidin concentration in Epicauta rufidorsum (n = 36) ranged from 0.055 to 0.341 µg/mg (mean 0.142 µg/mg). Both species exhibited variable concentrations of cantharidin that could not be associated with their biology, sex, age, size, and/or reproductive status. Epicauta rufidorsum have never previously been studied as a possible source of forage contamination, nor have cantharidin concentrations been determined in this species. It is the most likely source of forage contamination due to its abundance in the investigated fields, its swarming activity, and its tendency to reside in the green parts of plants immediately after cutting. Delaying the simultaneous processing and storage of forage after cutting would reduce the likelihood of forage contamination by blister beetles, as they can then retreat to the ground or fly away. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Review
Current Aspects Regarding the Clinical Relevance of Electroacupuncture in Dogs with Spinal Cord Injury: A Literature Review
Animals 2021, 11(1), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010219 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
In recent years, the use of acupuncture and electroacupuncture has been increasing as more clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of animals, particularly dogs. Electroacupuncture is a more complex and specific acupuncture technique that involves electrical stimulation on [...] Read more.
In recent years, the use of acupuncture and electroacupuncture has been increasing as more clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of animals, particularly dogs. Electroacupuncture is a more complex and specific acupuncture technique that involves electrical stimulation on acupuncture needles. Most of the studies have shown that the beneficial effects of electroacupuncture are more evident than in acupuncture alone. This review included studies focused only on dogs with spinal cord injury. Research facility animals (mice, rats, and rabbits) were avoided. Titles and abstracts of identified articles were read, and outlines were made to be better understood. Clinical applications are discussed and suggested in each section. When specialists use this method, electroacupuncture can be an excellent complementary therapy for veterinary patients’ pain control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
Brief Report
Nucleotide Supplementation to Whole Milk Has Beneficial Effects on Post-Weaning Holstein Calf Performance
Animals 2021, 11(1), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010218 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 839
Abstract
The positive effects of nucleotide (NU) supplementation in milk replacer have been elucidated in infants and in dairy calves; however, NU addition to whole milk has not been evaluated previously. This study aimed to assess NU supplementation in the whole milk on calf [...] Read more.
The positive effects of nucleotide (NU) supplementation in milk replacer have been elucidated in infants and in dairy calves; however, NU addition to whole milk has not been evaluated previously. This study aimed to assess NU supplementation in the whole milk on calf growth and health. Thirty Holstein calves (body weight: 39.1 ± 1.0 kg; 3 d after birth) were randomly assigned to the following treatments: whole milk without any supplementation (NU0), whole milk + 0.5 g/d added a NU-containing supplement to whole milk (NUCS0.5), and whole milk + 1 g/d added a NU-containing supplement to whole milk (NUCS1). Calves were weaned at d 55 and stayed on study until d 75. Calves had free access to feed and water throughout the study. Dry matter intakes (DMI) were similar among treatments (p > 0.05) during the pre-weaning period; however, increasing NU resulted in a linear (p < 0.05) increase in DMI during the post weaning period (2158, 2432, and 2518 g/d for NU0, NUCS0.5, and NUCS1, respectively). Treatments did not affect body weight (BW) at the first and second month of study, but final BW linearly increased as NU was added (87.1, 90.6, and 95.4 kg for NU0, NUCS0.5, and NUCS1, respectively). Neither pre-weaning average daily gain nor post-weaning average daily gain was affected by treatments; accordingly, feed efficiency was similar among treatment groups. Days with loose fecal score were linearly decreased as NU was added to whole milk during the first month of life, while the fecal score did not differ among treatments until the end of the study. No difference was observed in the skeletal growth of calves in the current study. Therefore, it can be concluded that NU supplementation in the whole milk has some beneficial effects on calf performance in terms of final BW, post-weaning DMI, and less days with loose feces. Full article
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Communication
The Impacts of Waterproof Insulated Jackets on Lamb Performance on a UK Lowland Farm
Animals 2021, 11(1), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010217 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1092
Abstract
The majority of lamb losses occur within the first two weeks of life, with cold stress being a major cause of lamb morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the effect of insulating lamb jackets on newborn lambs. One hundred and four newborn lambs [...] Read more.
The majority of lamb losses occur within the first two weeks of life, with cold stress being a major cause of lamb morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the effect of insulating lamb jackets on newborn lambs. One hundred and four newborn lambs were randomly allocated by birth date to two treatment groups, (a) non-jacketed (n = 52) or (b) jacketed (n = 52), for fourteen days after birth. The live weights of lambs were recorded regularly up to 21 days, and average daily weight gains were calculated from these data. For the first two days after recruitment to the study, surface and body temperatures of lambs were also recorded. The jackets significantly increased the lambs’ surface temperatures, providing a warmer microclimate and reduced cold stress for jacketed lambs. There was no significant effect of the insulating jackets on estimated body temperatures, live weights or average daily weight gain of the lambs in this study. There were no detrimental effects of the jackets, and no rejection of lambs occurred. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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Review
Laparoscopic Ovum Pick-Up Followed by In Vitro Embryo Production and Transfer in Assisted Breeding Programs for Ruminants
Animals 2021, 11(1), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010216 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
The potential of laparoscopic ovum pick-up (LOPU) followed by in vitro embryo production (IVEP) as a tool for accelerated genetic programs in ruminants is reviewed in this article. In sheep and goats, the LOPU-IVEP platform offers the possibility of producing more offspring from [...] Read more.
The potential of laparoscopic ovum pick-up (LOPU) followed by in vitro embryo production (IVEP) as a tool for accelerated genetic programs in ruminants is reviewed in this article. In sheep and goats, the LOPU-IVEP platform offers the possibility of producing more offspring from elite females, as the procedure is minimally invasive and can be repeated more times and more frequently in the same animals compared with conventional surgical embryo recovery. On average, ~10 and ~14 viable oocytes are recovered by LOPU from sheep and goats, respectively, which results in 3–5 transferable embryos and >50% pregnancy rate after transfer. LOPU-IVEP has also been applied to prepubertal ruminants of 2–6 months of age, including bovine and buffalo calves. In dairy cattle, the technology has gained momentum in the past few years stemming from the development of genetic marker selection that has allowed predicting the production phenotype of dairy females from shortly after birth. In Holstein calves, we obtained an average of ~22 viable oocytes and ~20% transferable blastocyst rate, followed by >50% pregnancy rate after transfer, declaring the platform ready for commercial application. The present and future of this technology are discussed with a focus on improvements and research needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Technologies in Ruminant Breeding)
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Article
Heat Stress Reduces Metabolic Rate While Increasing Respiratory Exchange Ratio in Growing Pigs
Animals 2021, 11(1), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010215 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1286
Abstract
Heat stress (HS) diminishes animal production, reducing muscle growth and increasing adiposity, especially in swine. Excess heat creates a metabolic phenotype with limited lipid oxidation that relies on aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis as a predominant means of energy production, potentially reducing metabolic rate. [...] Read more.
Heat stress (HS) diminishes animal production, reducing muscle growth and increasing adiposity, especially in swine. Excess heat creates a metabolic phenotype with limited lipid oxidation that relies on aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis as a predominant means of energy production, potentially reducing metabolic rate. To evaluate the effects of HS on substrate utilization and energy expenditure, crossbred barrows (15.2 ± 2.4 kg) were acclimatized for 5 days (22 °C), then treated with 5 days of TN (thermal neutral, 22 °C, n = 8) or HS (35 °C, n = 8). Pigs were fed ad libitum and monitored for respiratory rate (RR) and rectal temperature. Daily energy expenditure (DEE) and respiratory exchange ratio (RER, CO2:O2) were evaluated fasted in an enclosed chamber through indirect calorimetry. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the longissimus dorsi pre/post. HS increased temperature (39.2 ± 0.1 vs. 39.6 ± 0.1 °C, p < 0.01) and RER (0.91 ± 0.02 vs. 1.02 ± 0.02 VCO2:VO2, p < 0.01), but decreased DEE/BW (68.8 ± 1.7 vs. 49.7 ± 4.8 kcal/day/kg, p < 0.01) relative to TN. Weight gain (p = 0.80) and feed intake (p = 0.84) did not differ between HS and TN groups. HS decreased muscle metabolic flexibility (~33%, p = 0.01), but increased leucine oxidation (~35%, p = 0.02) compared to baseline values. These data demonstrate that HS disrupts substrate regulation and energy expenditure in growing pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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Article
Effects of Positive Human Contact during Gestation on the Behaviour, Physiology and Reproductive Performance of Sows
Animals 2021, 11(1), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010214 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1714
Abstract
Previous positive interactions with humans may ameliorate the stress response of farm animals to aversive routine practices such as painful or stressful procedures, particularly those associated with stockpeople. We studied the effects of positive handling by providing younger (parity 1–2) and older (parity [...] Read more.
Previous positive interactions with humans may ameliorate the stress response of farm animals to aversive routine practices such as painful or stressful procedures, particularly those associated with stockpeople. We studied the effects of positive handling by providing younger (parity 1–2) and older (parity 3–8) sows housed in pens of fifteen (n = 24 pens in total) with either positive human contact (+HC) or routine human contact (control) during gestation. The +HC treatment involved a familiar stockperson patting and scratching sows and was imposed at a pen-level for 2 min daily. Measurements studied included behavioural, physiological and productivity variables. The +HC sows showed reduced avoidance of the stockperson conducting pregnancy testing and vaccination in the home pens, however the behavioural and cortisol responses of sows in a standard unfamiliar human approach test did not differ. There were no effects of +HC on aggression between sows, serum cortisol or serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor concentrations during gestation, or on the behavioural and cortisol response to being moved to farrowing crates. There were also no effects of +HC on the maternal responsiveness of sows, farrowing rate or the number of piglets born alive, stillborn or weaned. Sows in the +HC pens reduced their physical interaction with the stockpeople imposing the treatment after 2 weeks, which suggests the sows may have habituated to the novel or possible rewarding elements of the handling treatment. This experiment shows that regular positive interaction with stockpeople does reduce sows’ fear of stockpeople, but does not always confer stress resilence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion)
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Article
Training with Multiple Structurally Related Odorants Fails to Improve Generalization of Ammonium Nitrate Detection in Domesticated Dogs (Canis familiaris)
Animals 2021, 11(1), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010213 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 931
Abstract
A critical aspect of canine scent detection involves the animal’s ability to respond to odors based on prior odor training. In the current study, dogs (n = 12) were initially trained on an olfactory simple discrimination task using vanillin as the target [...] Read more.
A critical aspect of canine scent detection involves the animal’s ability to respond to odors based on prior odor training. In the current study, dogs (n = 12) were initially trained on an olfactory simple discrimination task using vanillin as the target odorant. Based on their performance on this task, dogs were assigned to experimental groups. Dogs in group 1 and 2 (n = 5 dogs/group; 1 dog/group were removed due to low motivation or high error rates) were trained with either two or six forms of ammonium nitrate (AN), respectively. Dogs were then assessed with a mock explosive with AN and powdered aluminum. Dogs in both groups failed to respond to the novel AN-aluminum odor. Mean success rates were 56 ± 5 and 54 ± 4% for groups 1 and 2, respectively. Overall, and individual dog performance was not statistically higher than chance indicating that dogs did not generalize from AN to a similar AN-based odorant at reliable levels desired for explosive detection dogs. These results suggest the use of authentic explosive materials, without the added complication of including category-learning methods, likely remains a cost-effective and efficient way to train explosive scent detection dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Olfaction of Dogs)
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