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Animals, Volume 11, Issue 3 (March 2021) – 332 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Animal infections with SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in different countries, and several animal species have been proven to be susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2 both naturally and/or by experimental infection. A seroepidemiological survey was performed to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum samples obtained from 127 household domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) in Spain from January to October 2020. Two ferrets tested seropositive to SARS-CoV-2 (1.57%), and anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies persisted at detectable levels in one of these two ferrets beyond 129 days after the antibodies were first detected. Considering the absence of epidemiological studies of SARS-CoV-2 and ferrets, this study reported for the first time the presence of SARS-CoV-2 exposure in ferrets as companion animals. View this paper
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Communication
New Echinoderm-Crab Epibiotic Associations from the Coastal Barents Sea
Animals 2021, 11(3), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030917 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
During diving surveys for a Russian research project that monitored introduced species, red king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus) were collected at a coastal site of the Barents Sea to study the structure and dynamics of this species. Sampling of the organisms colonizing [...] Read more.
During diving surveys for a Russian research project that monitored introduced species, red king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus) were collected at a coastal site of the Barents Sea to study the structure and dynamics of this species. Sampling of the organisms colonizing the crabs was part of this research project. For the first time, the presence of relatively large specimens of the common starfish Asterias rubens as epibionts of P. camtschaticus was observed in July 2010, 2018, and 2019. In 2010 and 2019, we also found three other echinoderm species (the Atlantic sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa, the green sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, and the brittle star Ophiura sarsii). These findings add to the current list of associated species on king crabs not only in the Barents Sea but also in native areas of this host. Red king crabs have been documented as predators for these echinoderm species, and our records show additional possible interactions between king crabs and echinoderms in this region. More likely, the epibiotic lifestyle allows these echinoderms to avoid predation from red king crabs. There are no potential disadvantages derived by red king crabs through their relationships with the echinoderm epibionts due to low occurrences of these associations. We suggest no negative effects for the local red king crab population and populations of other commercial species in the Barents Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Species Interactions in Marine Benthic Communities)
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Article
Characterizing Sounds of Different Sources in a Commercial Broiler House
Animals 2021, 11(3), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030916 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Audio data collected in commercial broiler houses are mixed sounds of different sources that contain useful information regarding bird health condition, bird behavior, and equipment operation. However, characterizations of the sounds of different sources in commercial broiler houses have not been well established. [...] Read more.
Audio data collected in commercial broiler houses are mixed sounds of different sources that contain useful information regarding bird health condition, bird behavior, and equipment operation. However, characterizations of the sounds of different sources in commercial broiler houses have not been well established. The objective of this study was, therefore, to determine the frequency ranges of six common sounds, including bird vocalization, fan, feed system, heater, wing flapping, and dustbathing, at bird ages of week 1 to 8 in a commercial Ross 708 broiler house. In addition, the frequencies of flapping (in wing flapping events, flaps/s) and scratching (during dustbathing, scratches/s) behaviors were examined through sound analysis. A microphone was installed in the middle of broiler house at the height of 40 cm above the back of birds to record audio data at a sampling frequency of 44,100 Hz. A top-view camera was installed to continuously monitor bird activities. Total of 85 min audio data were manually labeled and fed to MATLAB for analysis. The audio data were decomposed using Maximum Overlap Discrete Wavelet Transform (MODWT). Decompositions of the six concerned sound sources were then transformed with the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) method to generate the single-sided amplitude spectrums. By fitting the amplitude spectrum of each sound source into a Gaussian regression model, its frequency range was determined as the span of the three standard deviations (99% CI) away from the mean. The behavioral frequencies were determined by examining the spectrograms of wing flapping and dustbathing sounds. They were calculated by dividing the number of movements by the time duration of complete behavioral events. The frequency ranges of bird vocalization changed from 2481 ± 191–4409 ± 136 Hz to 1058 ± 123–2501 ± 88 Hz as birds grew. For the sound of fan, the frequency range increased from 129 ± 36–1141 ± 50 Hz to 454 ± 86–1449 ± 75 Hz over the flock. The sound frequencies of feed system, heater, wing flapping and dustbathing varied from 0 Hz to over 18,000 Hz. The behavioral frequencies of wing flapping were continuously decreased from week 3 (17 ± 4 flaps/s) to week 8 (10 ± 1 flaps/s). For dustbathing, the behavioral frequencies decreased from 16 ± 2 scratches/s in week 3 to 11 ± 1 scratches/s in week 6. In conclusion, characterizing sounds of different sound sources in commercial broiler houses provides useful information for further advanced acoustic analysis that may assist farm management in continuous monitoring of animal health and behavior. It should be noted that this study was conducted with one flock in a commercial house. The generalization of the results remains to be explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Poultry Farming)
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Article
Muscle Fibre Architecture of Thoracic and Lumbar Longissimus Dorsi Muscle in the Horse
Animals 2021, 11(3), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030915 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1569
Abstract
As the longissimus dorsi muscle is the largest muscle in the equine back, it has great influence on the stability of the spine and facilitates proper locomotion. The longissimus muscle provides support to the saddle and rider and thereby influences performance in the [...] Read more.
As the longissimus dorsi muscle is the largest muscle in the equine back, it has great influence on the stability of the spine and facilitates proper locomotion. The longissimus muscle provides support to the saddle and rider and thereby influences performance in the horse. Muscular dysfunction has been associated with back disorders and decline of performance. In general, muscle function is determined by its specific intramuscular architecture. However, only limited three-dimensional metrical data are available for the inner organisation of the equine longissimus dorsi muscle. Therefore, we aimed at investigating the inner architecure of the equine longissimus. The thoracic and lumbar longissimus muscles of five formalin-fixed cadaveric horse backs of different ages and body types were dissected layerwise from cranial to caudal. Three-dimensional coordinates along individual muscle fibre bundles were recorded using a digitisation tool (MicroScribe®), to capture their origin, insertion and general orientation. Together with skeletal data from computed tomography (CT) scans, 3D models were created using imaging software (Amira). For further analysis, the muscle was divided into functional compartments during preparation and morphometric parameters, such as the muscle fascicle length, pennation angles to the sagittal and horizontal planes, muscle volume and the physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA), were determined. Fascicle length showed the highest values in the thoracic region and decreased from cranial to caudal, with the cranial lumbar compartment showing about 75% of cranial fascicle length, while in most caudal compartments, fascicle length was less than 50% of the fascicle length in thoracic compartments. The pennation angles to the horizontal plane show that there are differences between compartments. In most cranial compartments, fascicles almost run parallel to the horizontal plane (mean angle 0°), while in the caudal compartment, the angles increase up to a mean angle of 38°. Pennation angles to the sagittal plane varied not only between compartments but also within compartments. While in the thoracic compartments, the fascicles run nearly parallel to the spine, in the caudal compartments, the mean angles range from 0–22°. The muscle volume ranged from 1350 cm3 to 4700 cm3 depending on body size. The PCSA ranged from 219 cm2 to 700 cm2 depending on the muscle volume and mean fascicle length. In addition to predictable individual differences in size parameters, there are obvious systemic differences within the muscle architecture along the longissimus muscle which may affect its contraction behaviour. The obtained muscle data lay the anatomical basis for a specific biomechanical model of the longissimus muscle, to simulate muscle function under varying conditions and in comparison to other species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Equids)
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Commentary
A Commentary about Lessons Learned: Transitioning a Therapy Dog Program Online during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Animals 2021, 11(3), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030914 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1511
Abstract
In 2015, the University of Saskatchewan PAWS Your Stress Therapy Dog program partnered with St. John Ambulance for therapy dog teams to visit our campus and offer attendees love, comfort and support. We recognized at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that students, [...] Read more.
In 2015, the University of Saskatchewan PAWS Your Stress Therapy Dog program partnered with St. John Ambulance for therapy dog teams to visit our campus and offer attendees love, comfort and support. We recognized at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that students, staff and faculty may require mental health support, particularly with the challenges of isolation and loneliness. In response, our team transitioned from an in-person to a novel online format at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We designed online content for participants to (1) connect with therapy dogs and experience feelings of love, comfort and support as occurred in in-person programming, and (2) learn about pandemic-specific, evidence-informed mental health knowledge. Our unique approach highlighted what dogs can teach humans about health through their own care and daily activities. From April to June 2020, we developed a website, created 28 Facebook livestreams and 60 pre-recorded videos which featured therapy dogs and handlers, and cross-promoted on various social media platforms. Over three months, first a combined process-outcome evaluation helped us determine whether our activities contributed to the program’s goals. A subsequent needs assessment allowed us to elicit participant preferences for the program moving forward. This commentary reflects on these findings and our teams’ collective experiences to share our key lessons learned related to program personnel needs, therapy dog handler training and support requirements, and online programming prerequisites. This combined understanding is informing our current activities with the virtual program and should be of interest to other therapy dog programs transitioning online. Full article
Article
Data on before and after the Traceability System of Veterinary Antimicrobial Prescriptions in Small Animals at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Naples
Animals 2021, 11(3), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030913 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
Over recent decades, antimicrobial resistance has been considered one of the most relevant issues of public health. The aim of our study was to evaluate the differences related to the prescription of antimicrobials at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, before and after the [...] Read more.
Over recent decades, antimicrobial resistance has been considered one of the most relevant issues of public health. The aim of our study was to evaluate the differences related to the prescription of antimicrobials at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, before and after the mandatory use of veterinary electronic prescription (VEP). In particular, the consumption of antimicrobials was examined, especially taking into consideration the recommendations of prudent use. A comparison of data collected before and after the use of electronic prescription highlighted that during the period chosen for the study, the choice of antimicrobial molecules was appropriate, favoring those of “first” and “second line.” However, prescription and the use of some molecules not registered for veterinary medicine were observed in the period before VEP. Broad-spectrum antimicrobials, including penicillins with β-lactamase inhibitors, as well as first-generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones, were the most frequently prescribed compounds. There are few studies conducted in Italy aimed at investigating the use of antimicrobials in companion animals under field conditions and with particular regard to prudent use recommendations. This type of study underlines the importance of electronic medical recording in veterinary practice and, above all, its usefulness in monitoring the use of certain antimicrobial agents classified as of critical importance in human medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Resistance: Surveillance and New Strategies)
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Article
Oocyte Ageing in Zebrafish Danio rerio (Hamilton, 1822) and Its Consequence on the Viability and Ploidy Anomalies in the Progeny
Animals 2021, 11(3), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030912 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1200
Abstract
Fish egg quality can be markedly influenced by the oocyte age after ovulation. In this study, we examined the duration of oocyte ageing in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and whether prolonged ageing is associated with the incidence of ploidy anomalies in [...] Read more.
Fish egg quality can be markedly influenced by the oocyte age after ovulation. In this study, we examined the duration of oocyte ageing in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and whether prolonged ageing is associated with the incidence of ploidy anomalies in the resulting embryos. Oocytes were incubated in vitro for 6 h post-stripping (HPS) at 26 °C and fertilized at 2-h intervals. Meanwhile, for eggs fertilized immediately after stripping, the fertilization, embryo survival, and hatching rates started at ~80%; these rates decreased to 39%, 24%, and 16%, respectively, for oocytes that had been stored for 4 h (p ˂ 0.05), and there was an almost complete loss of egg viability at 6 HPS. Furthermore, almost 90% of the embryos derived from 6-h aged oocytes died prior to hatching, and all larvae originating from 4- and 6-h aged oocytes showed malformations. The proportion of ploidy abnormal embryos was significantly greater at 4 HPS (18.5%) than at either 0 or 2 HPS (4.7% and 8.8%, respectively). The results revealed that zebrafish oocytes retained their fertilization potential for up to 2 h after stripping at 26 °C and indicated the contribution of post-ovulatory oocyte ageing in the occurrence of ploidy anomalies in the resulting embryos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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Article
The Comparative Analysis of the Ruminal Bacterial Population in Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus L.) from the Russian Arctic Zone: Regional and Seasonal Effects
Animals 2021, 11(3), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030911 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 913
Abstract
The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus L.) is a unique animal inhabitant of arctic regions. Low ambient temperatures and scant diets (primarily, lichens) have resulted in different evolutional adaptations, including the composition of the ruminal microbiota. In the study presented here, the effects of [...] Read more.
The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus L.) is a unique animal inhabitant of arctic regions. Low ambient temperatures and scant diets (primarily, lichens) have resulted in different evolutional adaptations, including the composition of the ruminal microbiota. In the study presented here, the effects of seasonal and regional aspects of the composition of the ruminal microbiota in reindeer (Nenets breed, 38 animals) were studied (wooded tundra from the Yamalo-Nenetski Autonomous District (YNAD) vs. from the Nenetski Autonomous District (NAD)). The ruminal content of calves (n = 12) and adult animals (n = 26, 15 males and 11 females) was sampled in the summer (n = 16) and winter seasons (n = 22). The composition of the ruminal microbial population was determined by the V3–V4 16S rRNA gene region sequencing. It was found that the population was dominated by Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes phyla, followed by Spirochaetes and Verrucomicrobia. An analysis of the community using non-metric multidimensional scaling and Bray–Curtis similarity metrics provided evidence that the most influential factors affecting the composition of ruminal microbiota are the region (p = 0.001) and season (p = 0.001); heat map analysis revealed several communities that are strongly affected by these two factors. In the summer season, the following communities were significantly larger compared to in the winter season: Coriobactriaceae, Erysipelothrihaceae, and Mycoplasmataceae. The following communities were significantly larger in the winter season compared to in summer: Paraprevotellaceae, Butyrivibrio spp., Succiniclasticum spp., Coprococcus spp., Ruminococcus spp., and Pseudobutyrivibrio spp. In NAD (tundra), the following communities were significantly larger in comparison to YNAD (wooded tundra): Verrucomicrobia (Verruco-5), Anaerolinaceae, PeHg47 Planctomycetes, cellulolytic Lachnospiraceae, and Succiniclasticum spp. The following bacterial groups were significantly larger in YNAD in comparison to NAD: cellulolytic Ruminococaceae, Dehalobacteriaceae, Veillionelaceae, and Oscilospira spp. The significant differences in the ruminal microbial population were primarily related to the ingredients of diets, affected by region and season. The summer-related increases in the communities of certain pathogens (Mycoplasmataceae, Fusobacterium spp., Porphyromonas endodentalis) were found. Regional differences were primarily related to the ratio of the species involved in ruminal cellulose degradation and ruminal fatty acids metabolism; these differences reflect the regional dissimilarities in botanical diet ingredients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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Article
A Model for Dental Age Verification Using Ultrastructural Imaging for Modern and Fossil Representatives of the Rhinocerotidae Family
Animals 2021, 11(3), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030910 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1205
Abstract
The analyses were performed on a right third premolar (P3) of a white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum, Burchell 1817). The specimen was born in captivity at London Zoo (Zoological Society of London), then in the 1970s transferred to Kiev [...] Read more.
The analyses were performed on a right third premolar (P3) of a white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum, Burchell 1817). The specimen was born in captivity at London Zoo (Zoological Society of London), then in the 1970s transferred to Kiev Zoo (Peremohy Avenue), Ukraine, and was kept there until it died at a documented chronological age of 48 years. The female died because of its age, which indicates it was kept in good conditions adequate to the requirements of this species. Photographs and micrographs with radiological documentation were taken on the said tooth. Its structural characteristics were determined, and on the occlusal surface areas and points of anatomical constitution of its crown were identified. The tooth was also histologically evaluated via sections taken horizontally in a mesial-distal plane through the crown, horizontally in a mesial-distal plane through the coronal portion of the root, and longitudinally in a lingual-buccal plane through the crown and the root. Preparations with ground sections were made and observed in white, polarized, and reflected light. In the subsequent stage X-ray and SEM imaging has also been used, for analysis of the distribution of annual growth layers of mineralized dental tissues of cement and dentine, counted from the root canal center to the buccal surface. An attempt was also made to confirm the annual season in which the animal died, based on cement growth lines. It was observed that the growth lines were visible in all the analyzed sections, in dentine and cement. In the cement, the lines were relatively few and did not represent the attested age of the animal. The analysis of the coloration of the cement lines indicated that the animal was regularly fed a diet that was not seasonally differentiated. From the X-ray examination comes a conclusion that the animal did not suffer from periodontal diseases. Visible growth lines were observed on the dentine. On the horizontal section through the crown growth lines in the dentine were few and unclear. On the longitudinal section, both on the caudal and rostral roots, these lines were clearly visible and much more numerous than expected considering the known age of the animal, as more than 50 were counted. On horizontal sections through the upper part of both roots, distinct growth lines were observed in the dentine, and their number—48 for both roots—corresponded precisely to the age of the animal. The results of our study indicate that this method has significant potential for application to verify the age at death for modern and fossil representatives of rhinoceros. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone Morphology in Paleontology and Evolution Research)
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Review
Pain, Pathophysiological Mechanisms, and New Therapeutic Options for Alternative Analgesic Agents in Sheep: A Review and Investigation
Animals 2021, 11(3), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030909 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
Relief from suffering is the guiding principle of medical and veterinary ethics. Medical care for animals should be carried out to meet all welfare conditions. The need for pain management is demonstrated by recent monographs devoting attention to this urgent ethical need. Little [...] Read more.
Relief from suffering is the guiding principle of medical and veterinary ethics. Medical care for animals should be carried out to meet all welfare conditions. The need for pain management is demonstrated by recent monographs devoting attention to this urgent ethical need. Little data, however, are available on the prevention and attenuation of pain in sheep. After administration of narcotic analgesics used for severe visceral pain, sheep react with a state of excitement. Therefore, it was decided to experimentally investigate the usefulness of potential non-narcotic drugs to relieve pain in sheep with intestinal colic caused by 10 min of mechanical distension of their duodenal and/or descending colonic wall. The results indicate the potential usefulness of VGCCIs (diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil), cholecystokinin receptor antagonists (PD, proglumide), and metabotropic glutaminergic receptor antagonists (mGluRAs), such as L-AP3, DL-AP3. As a premedication, these substances prevented the occurrence of symptoms of acute intestinal pain including atony of reticulo-rumen, tachycardia, hyperventilation, moaning, gnashing of teeth, hypercortisolemia, and catecholaminemia; hence, these substances are considered potential agents in the treatment of sheep visceral pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pain Mitigation for Farmed Livestock)
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Article
Lunar Phases and Wildlife–Vehicle Collisions: Application of the Lunar Disk Percentage Method
Animals 2021, 11(3), 908; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030908 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 658
Abstract
We investigated the relationship between lunar illumination based on the percentage of the visible lunar disk (LDP) and the frequency of wildlife–vehicle collisions (WVCs) in Lithuania. We analyzed WVC frequency during ten 10% LDP intervals to more precisely reflect the relationship between LDP [...] Read more.
We investigated the relationship between lunar illumination based on the percentage of the visible lunar disk (LDP) and the frequency of wildlife–vehicle collisions (WVCs) in Lithuania. We analyzed WVC frequency during ten 10% LDP intervals to more precisely reflect the relationship between LDP and WVC. The 10% LDP interval approach showed a significant trend of increasing WVC frequencies with an increasing LDP at night. We also examined the correlation between the daily numbers of WVCs and LDP for different months and seasons. The relationship seemed to be stronger at night and during the late autumn–winter months, particularly in December, suggesting the importance of lunar illumination on WVCs. There was a weak positive correlation between LDP and overall daily number of WVCs (rs = 0.091; p < 0.001) and between LDP and night WVCs (rs = 0.104; p < 0.001). We found significant positive correlations for winter (December–February) (rs = 0.118; p = 0.012) and autumn (August–November) (rs = 0.127; p = 0.007). Our study suggests that the LDP interval approach may provide more possibilities for the evaluation and quantification of WVCs and lunar light relationships than the traditional lunar phase approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Article
Is Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) Exhaled Breath Sampling Suitable for Hormonal Assessments?
Animals 2021, 11(3), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030907 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1000
Abstract
Over the last decades, exhaled breath sampling has been established for laboratory analysis in various cetacean species. Due to their small size, the usability of respiratory vapor for hormone assessments was questionable in harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). This pilot study compared [...] Read more.
Over the last decades, exhaled breath sampling has been established for laboratory analysis in various cetacean species. Due to their small size, the usability of respiratory vapor for hormone assessments was questionable in harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). This pilot study compared three different blow collection devices for their suitability in the field and during laboratory processing: a sterile petri dish covered by a Nitex membrane, as well as sterile 50 mL centrifuge tubes with or without manganese(II) chloride as a stabilizer. Collected exhales varied between three, five or ten, depending on feasibility. Hormones were extracted through an ether mix, followed by centrifugal evaporation and cortisol analysis using an immunoassay. Although close to the lower end of the assay’s dynamic range, the ELISA produced results (n = 110, 0.102–0.937 ng/mL). Hence, a simple 50 mL centrifuge tube was determined as the best suited blow collection device, while three consecutive exhales proved sufficient to yield results. These findings are promising regarding the suitability of exhaled breath as a matrix for future endocrine and immune system-related studies in harbor porpoises. If further advanced, blow sampling can become an important, non-invasive tool for studying and monitoring health, stress levels and diseases in harbor porpoises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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Article
Physicochemical, Microbiological and Technological Properties of Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) Milk during Lactation
Animals 2021, 11(3), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030906 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 972
Abstract
This study describes chemical, physical, microbiological and technological characteristics of red deer milk and the effect of lactation on these parameters in order to know their potential aptitude to elaborate dairy products. During 18 weeks, milk from five hinds was monitored for composition, [...] Read more.
This study describes chemical, physical, microbiological and technological characteristics of red deer milk and the effect of lactation on these parameters in order to know their potential aptitude to elaborate dairy products. During 18 weeks, milk from five hinds was monitored for composition, bacteriology, somatic cell count (SCC), physical properties and rennet coagulation. Mean values (g/100 g) for fat, protein, lactose and dry matter were 10.4, 7.1, 4.3 and 24.2, respectively, and for urea, 265 mg/100 mL. Except for lactose, a significant increase in these components was observed (p < 0.01) as lactation progressed. The average values for bacteriology and SCC were 5.3 log cfu/mL and 4.7 log cells/mL, respectively. Regarding physical properties, conductivity (mean: 2.8 ms/cm), viscosity (3.1 Cp), coordinates L* (89.9) and a* (−3.1) and milk fat globule diameter (D4,3: 6.1 µm) increased along with lactation while density (1.038 g/mL) decreased (p < 0.01). The pH (6.7), acidity (22.9° Dornic), coordinate b* (8.4) and ethanol stability (66.6% v/v) were stable during the study period. The stage of lactation also has a significant impact on milk coagulation properties and mean curd yield was 3.29 g/10 mL. These results suggest that red deer milk could be a potential innovative source of milk for the dairy industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into the Milk)
Retraction
Retraction: Shah, A.M., et al. Glutamine Metabolism and Its Role in Immunity, a Comprehensive Review. Animals 2020, 10, 326
Animals 2021, 11(3), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030905 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
The journal retracts the article “Glutamine Metabolism and Its Role in Immunity, a Comprehensive Review” cited above [...] Full article
Review
Whole-Genome Sequencing and Characterization of Buffalo Genetic Resources: Recent Advances and Future Challenges
Animals 2021, 11(3), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030904 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1381
Abstract
The buffalo was domesticated around 3000–6000 years ago and has substantial economic significance as a meat, dairy, and draught animal. The buffalo has remained underutilized in terms of the development of a well-annotated and assembled reference genome de novo. It is mandatory to [...] Read more.
The buffalo was domesticated around 3000–6000 years ago and has substantial economic significance as a meat, dairy, and draught animal. The buffalo has remained underutilized in terms of the development of a well-annotated and assembled reference genome de novo. It is mandatory to explore the genetic architecture of a species to understand the biology that helps to manage its genetic variability, which is ultimately used for selective breeding and genomic selection. Morphological and molecular data have revealed that the swamp buffalo population has strong geographical genomic diversity with low gene flow but strong phenotypic consistency, while the river buffalo population has higher phenotypic diversity with a weak phylogeographic structure. The availability of recent high-quality reference genome and genotyping marker panels has invigorated many genome-based studies on evolutionary history, genetic diversity, functional elements, and performance traits. The increasing molecular knowledge syndicate with selective breeding should pave the way for genetic improvement in the climatic resilience, disease resistance, and production performance of water buffalo populations globally. Full article
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Article
Effects of L-Glutamine Supplementation during the Gestation of Gilts and Sows on the Offspring Development in a Traditional Swine Breed
Animals 2021, 11(3), 903; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030903 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 986
Abstract
The use of amino acids during pregnancy, such as glutamine (Gln), seems to be a promising strategy in selected swine breeds to improve the offspring prenatal development. The main goal of the current study was to assess the development of the offspring from [...] Read more.
The use of amino acids during pregnancy, such as glutamine (Gln), seems to be a promising strategy in selected swine breeds to improve the offspring prenatal development. The main goal of the current study was to assess the development of the offspring from parity 1–3 sows of a traditional breed, which were supplemented with 1% glutamine after Day 35 of gestation, under farm conditions. A total of 486 (288 treated) piglets from 78 (46 treated) Iberian sows were used. At birth and slaughterhouse, fatty acid composition, metabolism, and mTOR pathway gene expression were analyzed. At birth, treated newborns showed greater amounts of specific amino acids in plasma, such as glutamine, asparagine, or alanine, and Σn-3 fatty acids in cellular membranes than control newborns. The expression of genes belonging to mTOR Complex 1 was also higher in treated piglets with normal birth-weight. However, these findings did not improve productive traits at birth or following periods in litters from supplemented gilts (parity 1) or sows (parities 2–3). Thus, further research is needed to properly understand the effects of prenatal glutamine supplementation, particularly in traditional swine breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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Article
Thai Native Chicken as a Potential Functional Meat Source Rich in Anserine, Anserine/Carnosine, and Antioxidant Substances
Animals 2021, 11(3), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030902 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1531
Abstract
This study identified anserine and anserine/carnosine in chicken breast of Thai native chicken (TNC; 100% Thai native), Thai synthetic chicken (TSC; 50% Thai native), and Thai native crossbred chicken (TNC crossbred; 25% Thai native) compared with commercial broiler chicken (BR; 0% Thai native) [...] Read more.
This study identified anserine and anserine/carnosine in chicken breast of Thai native chicken (TNC; 100% Thai native), Thai synthetic chicken (TSC; 50% Thai native), and Thai native crossbred chicken (TNC crossbred; 25% Thai native) compared with commercial broiler chicken (BR; 0% Thai native) using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and the effect on antioxidant activity using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl assay (DPPH). We conducted experiments with a completely randomized design and explored principal components analysis (PCA) and orthogonal projection to latent structure-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) to identify the distinguishing metabolites and relative concentrations from 1H NMR spectra among the groups. The relative concentrations and antioxidant properties among the groups were analyzed by analysis of variance (ANOVA) using the general linear model (GLM). This study revealed seven metabolites alanine, inositol monophosphate (IMP), inosine, and anserine/carnosine, lactate, anserine, and creatine. Lactate, anserine, and creatine were major components. In terms of PCA, the plots can distinguish BR from other groups. OPLS-DA revealed that anserine and anserine/carnosine in the chicken breast were significantly higher in TNC, TSC, and TNC crossbred than BR according to their relative concentrations and antioxidant properties (p < 0.01). Therefore, TNCs and their crossbreeds might have the potential to be functional meat sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Production: Factors Affecting Meat Quality)
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Article
Effect of Season and Social Environment on Semen Quality and Endocrine Profiles of Three Endangered Ungulates (Gazella cuvieri, G. dorcas and Nanger dama)
Animals 2021, 11(3), 901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030901 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 780
Abstract
Knowledge of factors affecting semen quality could be of great importance for the collection and preservation of semen from threatened animals. To assess the effect of seasonality, sperm parameters and testosterone levels were examined throughout the year and compared with the distribution of [...] Read more.
Knowledge of factors affecting semen quality could be of great importance for the collection and preservation of semen from threatened animals. To assess the effect of seasonality, sperm parameters and testosterone levels were examined throughout the year and compared with the distribution of conceptions. Cuvier’s gazelle showed higher sperm quantity in April, coinciding with one peak of conceptions. In dorcas gazelle, sperm parameters showed a drop in October. However, percentage of conceptions increased during that month. In Mohor gazelle, sperm quality was best in April and August, in agreement with higher conception rates and high testosterone levels. Percentage of conceptions was correlated with photoperiod and rainfall in Cuvier’s gazelle and with temperature in Mohor gazelle. To assess the effect of social environment, semen quality, testosterone and cortisol levels were quantified in males housed alone, in bachelor groups or with females. No differences were seen in Cuvier’s and Mohor gazelles’ semen traits, whereas dorcas males housed with females showed lower semen quality than males kept alone or with other males. Overall, ejaculate quality is influenced by seasonal factors in the three gazelle species, while social factors only appear to affect that of dorcas gazelle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Biotechnology in Wildlife)
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Article
Design and Implementation of Poultry Farming Information Management System Based on Cloud Database
Animals 2021, 11(3), 900; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030900 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2519
Abstract
Aiming at breaking down the bottleneck problems of different scale of poultry farms, the low profitability of poultry farming, and backward information management in China, a safe and efficient information management system for poultry farming was designed. This system consists of (1) a [...] Read more.
Aiming at breaking down the bottleneck problems of different scale of poultry farms, the low profitability of poultry farming, and backward information management in China, a safe and efficient information management system for poultry farming was designed. This system consists of (1) a management system application layer, (2) a data service layer, and (3) an information sensing layer. The information sensing layer obtains and uploads production and farming information through the wireless sensor network built in the poultry house. The use of a cloud database as an information storage carrier in the data service layer eliminates the complex status of deploying local server clusters, and it improves the flexibility and scalability of the system. The management system application layer contains many sub-function modules including poultry disease detection functions to realize the visual management of farming information and health farming; each module operates independently and cooperates with each other to form a set of information management system for poultry farming with wide functional coverage, high service efficiency, safety, and convenience. The system prototype has been tested for the performance of wireless sensor network and cloud database, and the results show that the prototype is capable of acquiring and managing poultry farming information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Poultry Farming)
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Article
Genotyping Strategies Using ddRAD Sequencing in Farmed Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus)
Animals 2021, 11(3), 899; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030899 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
Incorporation of genomic technologies into fish breeding programs is a modern reality, promising substantial advances regarding the accuracy of selection, monitoring the genetic diversity and pedigree record verification. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays are the most commonly used genomic tool, but the investments [...] Read more.
Incorporation of genomic technologies into fish breeding programs is a modern reality, promising substantial advances regarding the accuracy of selection, monitoring the genetic diversity and pedigree record verification. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays are the most commonly used genomic tool, but the investments required make them unsustainable for emerging species, such as Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), where production volume is low. The requirement to genotype a large number of animals for breeding practices necessitates cost effective genotyping approaches. In the current study, we used double digest restriction site-associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing of either high or low coverage to genotype Arctic charr from the Swedish national breeding program and performed analytical procedures to assess their utility in a range of tasks. SNPs were identified and used for deciphering the genetic structure of the studied population, estimating genomic relationships and implementing an association study for growth-related traits. Missing information and underestimation of heterozygosity in the low coverage set were limiting factors in genetic diversity and genomic relationship analyses, where high coverage performed notably better. On the other hand, the high coverage dataset proved to be valuable when it comes to identifying loci that are associated with phenotypic traits of interest. In general, both genotyping strategies offer sustainable alternatives to hybridization-based genotyping platforms and show potential for applications in aquaculture selective breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquaculture Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Steatitis in Cold-Stunned Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys kempii)
Animals 2021, 11(3), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030898 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1181 | Correction
Abstract
The pathogenesis of steatitis that infrequently occurs in cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (KRT; Lepidochelys kempii) has been undetermined. The objectives of this study were to investigate the clinical (n = 23) and histologic findings (n = 11) in cold-stunned [...] Read more.
The pathogenesis of steatitis that infrequently occurs in cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (KRT; Lepidochelys kempii) has been undetermined. The objectives of this study were to investigate the clinical (n = 23) and histologic findings (n = 11) in cold-stunned KRT, and to compare plasma concentrations of α-tocopherol (vitamin E), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and the TBARS to vitamin E (T/E) ratio (an assessment of oxidative stress) between cold-stunned KRT with clinically and/or histologically confirmed steatitis (n = 10) and free-ranging KRT (n = 9). None of the cold-stunned turtles had clinically detectable steatitis at admission, and the median number of days to diagnosis of steatitis was 71 (range 33–469). Histologic findings of affected adipose tissue included heterophilic (n = 9) and/or histiocytic (n = 5) steatitis, fat necrosis (n = 7), myonecrosis (n = 2), and intralesional bacteria (n = 6). Cold-stunned KRT had significantly lower plasma vitamin E concentrations (median = 3.5 nmol/g), lower plasma TBARS concentrations (median = 1.6 nmol/g), and higher T/E ratios (median = 0.50), than controls (62.3 nmol/g; 2.1 nmol/g; 0.03, respectively). These results suggest a multifactorial etiology for the development of steatitis in KRT during rehabilitation, including tissue injury, septicemia, and various factors resulting in imbalances of anti-/oxidative status. By highlighting the need to provide more effective vitamin E supplementation, and the need to re-assess specific components of the diet, this study may lead to reduced incidence and improved medical management of steatitis in cold-stunned sea turtles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Veterinary Sciences and Sea Turtles)
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Article
Validation of Reference Genes via qRT-PCR in Multiple Conditions in Brandt’s Voles, Lasiopodomys brandtii
Animals 2021, 11(3), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030897 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 763
Abstract
The choice of optimal reference gene is challenging owing to the varied expression of reference genes in different organs, development stages, and experimental treatments. Brandt’s vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii) is an ideal animal to explore the regulatory mechanism of seasonal breeding, and [...] Read more.
The choice of optimal reference gene is challenging owing to the varied expression of reference genes in different organs, development stages, and experimental treatments. Brandt’s vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii) is an ideal animal to explore the regulatory mechanism of seasonal breeding, and many studies on this vole involve gene expression analysis using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). In this study, we used the method of the coefficient of variation and the NormFinder algorithm to evaluate the performance of nine commonly used reference genes Gapdh, Hprt1, β-actin, PPIA, Rpl13a, Tbp, Sdha, Hmbs, and B2M using qRT-PCR in eight different tissues, five developmental stages, and three different photoperiods. We found that all nine genes were not uniformly expressed among different tissues. B2M and Rpl13a were the optimal reference genes for different postnatal development stages in the hypothalamus for males and females, respectively. Under different photoperiods in the hypothalamus, none of the selected genes were suitable as reference genes at 6 weeks postnatal; β-actin and PPIA were the optimal reference genes at 12 weeks postnatal; Hprt1, β-actin, PPIA, Hmbs, and B2M were excellent reference genes at 24 weeks postnatal. The present study provides a useful basis for selecting the appropriate reference gene in Lasiopodomys brandtii. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Can Hydrolysable Tannins in Diet of Entire Male Pigs Affect Carcass, Pork Quality Traits, Amino and Fatty Acid Profiles, and Boar Taint, Skatole and Androstenone Levels?
Animals 2021, 11(3), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030896 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 871
Abstract
The slaughtering of entire males increases the probability of incidence of tainted pork due to the presence two main compounds—androstenone and skatole. If a surgical castration of young entire male pigs is stopped in the EU countries, fattening of boars is likely to [...] Read more.
The slaughtering of entire males increases the probability of incidence of tainted pork due to the presence two main compounds—androstenone and skatole. If a surgical castration of young entire male pigs is stopped in the EU countries, fattening of boars is likely to become one of the most commonly used systems in pig farming. Since skatole production and accumulation in fat tissue can be controlled by dietary approaches, several studies have investigated various feed additives to reduce this compound of boar taint. Ones of the most promising is tannins. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of different dietary tannin level supplementation on carcass, pork quality, chemical, amino and fatty acid composition. as well as perception of boar taint and accumulation of skatole and androstenone in adipose tissue. Eighty entire males were randomly distributed to control (T0) and four experimental groups. Control pigs received standard feed mixture (16.8% CP, 13.9 MJ ME) without any tannin supplementation. Experimental pigs received the same diet with administration of 1% (T1), 2% (T2), 3% (T3) and 4% (T4)—sweet chestnut extract rich in hydrolysable tannins for 40 days (from average live weight of 80 kg until slaughter at average weight 122.28 kg ± 5.63 kg). Dietary tannins supplementation did not show any significant effect on chemical composition, cholesterol content, and amino acid composition of muscle as well as fatty acid composition and androstenone accumulation in adipose tissue. A slight or small effect was observed on carcass and meat quality, respectively. Pigs in groups T4 and/or T3-T4 had higher electrical conductivity in semimembranosus muscle and cooking loss value compared to T1, T2 or T0, T1, and T2 groups (p < 0.05). Tannins in the pig’s diet greatly affected fatty acid profile in meat of entire males. The highest tannin levels (4%) increased concentrations of lauric, myristic, vaccenic, linoleic, total PUFA, and n-6 PUFA in muscle compared to the control. Similar results were found in group T3 except for vaccenic, linoleic, and total PUFA. On the contrary, concentrations of heptadecanoic and oleic acids in groups T3 and T4 were lower than those in T1 and T2 groups. Perception of boar taint using „hot iron“ method (insertion a hot iron tip of soldering iron into adipose tissue) tended to decrease in T2 group compared with control. Skatole accumulation in fat tissue was reduced in groups T2-T4 at significance level (p = 0.052–0.055) compared to the control pigs. In summary, tannins supplementation had no effect on chemical and amino acid composition as well as fatty acid profile in adipose tissue, and only slight on carcass value. However, 4% concentration of tannins significantly increased content of some fatty acids compared to control group. Full article
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Article
Attachment to Pets Moderates Transitions in Latent Patterns of Mental Health Following the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of a Survey of U.S. Adults
Animals 2021, 11(3), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030895 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2617
Abstract
This cross-sectional study examined whether, and to what extent, attachment to pets was associated with changes in latent patterns of adults’ perceived mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 1942). We used latent transition analysis to determine the stability of [...] Read more.
This cross-sectional study examined whether, and to what extent, attachment to pets was associated with changes in latent patterns of adults’ perceived mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 1942). We used latent transition analysis to determine the stability of subgroup membership pre- and post-COVID and the effect of attachment to pets on transition probabilities. Mental health before COVID-19 was measured retrospectively. Five subgroups were identified: low symptoms, mild symptoms, moderate symptoms, high symptoms, and severe symptoms. Among individuals in the moderate and high symptoms subgroups, those who reported high attachment to pets generally had greater odds of transitioning to a less severe symptom profile (OR = 2.12) over time than those with low attachment to pets (OR = 1.39). However, those who had a severe symptom profile and high attachment to pets had lower odds of transitioning to a less severe symptom profile (OR = 0.30) and higher odds of maintaining a severe symptom profile (OR = 3.33) than those with low attachment to pets. These findings suggest that the protective and risk effects of attachment to pets differ based on individuals’ psychological symptom patterns across multiple indicators. We discuss the implications of these findings for research, policy, and practice. Full article
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Article
Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Exposure to Equine Coronavirus in Apparently Healthy Horses in Israel
Animals 2021, 11(3), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030894 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
Equine coronavirus (ECoV) infection is the cause of an emerging enteric disease of adult horses. Outbreaks have been reported in the USA, EU and Japan, as well as sporadic cases in the UK and Saudi Arabia. Infection of ECoV in horses in Israel [...] Read more.
Equine coronavirus (ECoV) infection is the cause of an emerging enteric disease of adult horses. Outbreaks have been reported in the USA, EU and Japan, as well as sporadic cases in the UK and Saudi Arabia. Infection of ECoV in horses in Israel has never been reported, and the risk of exposure is unknown. Importation and exportation of horses from and into Israel may have increased the exposure of horses in Israel to ECoV. While the disease is mostly self-limiting, with or without supportive treatment, severe complications may occur in some animals, and healthy carriers may pose a risk of infection to other horses. This study was set to evaluate the risk of exposure to ECoV of horses in Israel by using a previously validated, S1-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A total of 41 out of 333 horses (12.3%) were seropositive. Exposure to ECoV was detected in 17 of 29 farms (58.6%) and the seroprevalence varied between 0 and 37.5% amongst farms. The only factor found to be significantly associated with ECoV exposure in the multivariable model was the geographical area (p < 0.001). ECoV should be included in the differential diagnosis list of pathogens in cases of adult horses with anorexia, lethargy, fever and gastrointestinal signs in Israel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus Infection in Equine)
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Systematic Review
Systematic Review: Comparison of the Main Variables of Interest in Publications of Canine Bite Accidents in the Written Press, Gray and Scientific Literature in Chile and Spain, between the Years 2013 and 2017
Animals 2021, 11(3), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030893 - 21 Mar 2021
Viewed by 998
Abstract
Dog bites are a major public health problem, with consequences such as physical injury, psychological trauma, transmission of zoonoses, infections, and economic costs. For this reason, it is necessary to develop preventive programs, which require quality information to support the authorities’ decision-making and [...] Read more.
Dog bites are a major public health problem, with consequences such as physical injury, psychological trauma, transmission of zoonoses, infections, and economic costs. For this reason, it is necessary to develop preventive programs, which require quality information to support the authorities’ decision-making and to raise public awareness about the application of the proposed measures. The objective of this review was to analyze the press, indexed and gray dog bite literature published during the 2013–2017 period. During that period, 385 articles from three sources of information were analyzed: Press literature, scientific literature, and gray literature. Of these, the greatest amount of information corresponding to the context and the aggressor animal was found in the press literature, where it was recorded that the greatest number of records reported in the Chilean articles were caused by potentially dangerous breeds (87.50%), having significant differences with the gray literature (p = 0.030), and in Spain, the greatest number of attacks was also made by potentially dangerous dogs 91.30% (21/23), statistically significant differences with the gray literature (p = 0.002) and with the indexed (p < 0.001). In the case of the scientific and gray literature, the greatest amount of information was found about the victim of the attack and the treatments applied to them. In these cases, the highest percentage of victims included in the reports contained both sexes for the two literatures (44.62% and 87.71%, respectively). Regarding the treatment applied, in the scientific literature in most of the reports, the patients received washings, rabies vaccine, and tetanus vaccine (46.26%) and presented significant differences in Chile with the information contained in the gray literature (p = 0.023), in Spain with the gray (p = 0.017) and with the press (p = 0.023). In conclusion, the press literature differs in multiple variables with the information reported in the scientific literature and, in some cases, with the gray literature. The reason why the material that is being distributed to the population would not coincide in multiple relevant variables in other literature and the representative reality of the problem is the basis for this topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoonoses: Wild and Domestic Animal Interaction)
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Review
Cannabis, Cannabidiol Oils and Tetrahydrocannabinol—What Do Veterinarians Need to Know?
Animals 2021, 11(3), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030892 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4634
Abstract
As cannabis-derived products have become more available, veterinarians are seeing more cases of toxicosis. In addition, animal owners are having an increasing interest in using these products for their pets. This review looks at the situation in Europe and North America, the different [...] Read more.
As cannabis-derived products have become more available, veterinarians are seeing more cases of toxicosis. In addition, animal owners are having an increasing interest in using these products for their pets. This review looks at the situation in Europe and North America, the different types of cannabis and cannabis-derived products with historical examples of use in animals, and the cannabis industry. The existing regulatory framework for use in humans and animals as medicines and/or supplements was examined. Finally, a review of the clinical indications for which medicinal cannabis is authorised, a discussion of toxicosis, and recommendations and warnings around medical cannabis use are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
Article
Changes Associated with the Peri-Ovulatory Period, Age and Pregnancy in ACTH, Cortisol, Glucose and Insulin Concentrations in Mares
Animals 2021, 11(3), 891; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030891 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Although there are many hormonal changes associated with reproduction, the effects of ovulation and early pregnancy on adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and insulin concentrations are poorly described. We hypothesise that both ovulation and early pregnancy will alter ACTH and insulin concentrations in healthy mares. [...] Read more.
Although there are many hormonal changes associated with reproduction, the effects of ovulation and early pregnancy on adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and insulin concentrations are poorly described. We hypothesise that both ovulation and early pregnancy will alter ACTH and insulin concentrations in healthy mares. Eighteen mares showing no clinical signs suggestive of, or laboratory findings consistent with, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction PPID and insulin dysregulation (ID) are enrolled. ACTH, cortisol, insulin and glucose concentrations are measured over their peri-ovulatory period, as determined via ultrasounds and progesterone concentrations. The mares are grouped by age and gestation status, and a two-way repeated-measures ANOVA is used to determine the effects of age and early pregnancy, along with the peri-ovulatory period, on analyte concentrations. No significant effect of age, ovulation or early pregnancy is detected on the mares’ cortisol, insulin or glucose concentrations; however, there is a significant effect of early pregnancy and ovulation on ACTH concentrations (p = 0.04 and p = 0.04 respectively). ACTH concentrations change around ovulation and with early pregnancy. Therefore, knowledge of a mare’s reproductive status might be beneficial when interpreting ACTH concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Endocrinology and Medicine Research)
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Article
Socialization in Commercial Breeding Kennels: The Use of Novel Stimuli to Measure Social and Non-Social Fear in Dogs
Animals 2021, 11(3), 890; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030890 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1129
Abstract
Understanding the behavioral welfare of dogs in commercial breeding kennels (CBKs) is important for improving breeders’ management practices as well as dog welfare. In the current study, breeding dogs from CBKs were exposed to novel stimuli to evaluate their behavioral responses, with emphasis [...] Read more.
Understanding the behavioral welfare of dogs in commercial breeding kennels (CBKs) is important for improving breeders’ management practices as well as dog welfare. In the current study, breeding dogs from CBKs were exposed to novel stimuli to evaluate their behavioral responses, with emphasis on indicators of fear. Subjects were presented with a standard stranger-approach test, a traffic cone, and a realistic dog statue. Sixty dogs were exposed to the three stimuli and behavioral responses were scored using an ethogram developed for this study. Dogs spent significantly more time investigating the environment, staying further away from the stimulus, and they took longer to approach and investigate when presented with the cone than with the dog statue or stranger (p < 0.01). These findings suggest that the cone elicited more fear-related behaviors than the dog statue and stranger. Given these results, in addition to socializing their dogs to unfamiliar people and other dogs within their kennels, commercial breeders should be encouraged to increase the exposure of their dogs to more diverse novel stimuli to reduce non-social fear and support the welfare of dogs while they reside in the kennel and when they transition to new homes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Article
Growth, Hemato-Biochemical Parameters, Body Composition, and Myostatin Gene Expression of Clarias gariepinus Fed by Replacing Fishmeal with Plant Protein
Animals 2021, 11(3), 889; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030889 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
In this study, we evaluated the consequences of replacement of fishmeal with plant protein sources (soybean and sunflower meal) on fish growth parameters, haemato-biochemical factors, body composition, and myostatin gene expression of Clarias gariepinus. A total of 150 C. gariepinus were organized [...] Read more.
In this study, we evaluated the consequences of replacement of fishmeal with plant protein sources (soybean and sunflower meal) on fish growth parameters, haemato-biochemical factors, body composition, and myostatin gene expression of Clarias gariepinus. A total of 150 C. gariepinus were organized in glass aquaria into five investigational groups, with each group in triplicate (30 fish/group; 10 fish/replicate). Group 1 was fed a control diet (15% fishmeal). The other groups were fed diets where fishmeal was replaced gradually with plant protein, with 10% fishmeal in the second group (D1), 7.5% fishmeal in the third group (D2), 5% fishmeal in the fourth group (D3), and 0% fishmeal in the fifth group (D4). There were no significant differences regarding growth performances and body composition among the groups, except that the feed conversion ratio was improved in D4. The different diet types did not affect hematologic parameters and blood indices. Serum growth hormone and amylase levels also revealed no significant (p = 0.09 and 0.55, respectively) differences among the groups, while serum lipase levels decreased significantly (p = 0.000) due to partial (D2) or complete (D4) substitution of fishmeal with plant protein. The replacement of fishmeal had no effects on liver (p = 0.51) and kidney functions (p = 0.34). However, D4 showed the best profit and economic efficiency compared to the other groups. Altogether, we concluded that substitution of fishmeal with plant protein sources is economically beneficial and may be without any adverse effects on growth parameters, body composition, or hematologic and biochemical parameters, but with the addition of synthetic amino acids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Animals: New Horizons for Blue Growth)
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Article
Differential Rotational Movement of the Thoracolumbosacral Spine in High-Level Dressage Horses Ridden in a Straight Line, in Sitting Trot and Seated Canter Compared to In-Hand Trot
Animals 2021, 11(3), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030888 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4641
Abstract
Assessing back dysfunction is a key part of the investigative process of “loss of athletic performance” in the horse and quantitative data may help veterinary decision making. Ranges of motion of differential translational and rotational movement between adjacent inertial measurement units attached to [...] Read more.
Assessing back dysfunction is a key part of the investigative process of “loss of athletic performance” in the horse and quantitative data may help veterinary decision making. Ranges of motion of differential translational and rotational movement between adjacent inertial measurement units attached to the skin over thoracic vertebrae 5, 13 and 18 (T5, T13, T18) lumbar vertebra 3 (L3) and tuber sacrale (TS) were measured in 10 dressage horses during trot in-hand and ridden in sitting trot/canter. Straight-line motion cycles were analysed using a general linear model (random factor: horse; fixed factor: exercise condition; Bonferroni post hoc correction: p < 0.05). At T5-T13 the differential heading was smaller in sitting trot (p ≤ 0.0001, 5.1° (0.2)) and canter (p ≤ 0.0001, 3.2° (0.2)) compared to trotting in-hand (7.4° (0.4)). Compared to trotting in-hand (3.4° (0.4)) at T18-L3 differential pitch was higher in sitting trot (p ≤ 0.0001, 7.5° (0.3)) and canter (p ≤ 0.0001, 6.3° (0.3)). At L3-TS, differential pitch was increased in canter (6.5° (0.5)) compared to trotting in-hand (p = 0.006, 4.9° (0.6)) and differential heading was higher in sitting trot (4° (0.2)) compared to canter (p = 0.02, 2.9° (0.3)). Compared to in-hand, reduced heading was measured in the cranial–thoracic area and increased in the caudal–thoracic and lumbar area. Pitch increased with ridden exercise from the caudal–thoracic to the sacral area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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