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Animals, Volume 11, Issue 5 (May 2021) – 292 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Horses and humans have a long history that continues to evolve. Understanding how horses perceive and interact with humans can aid in developing positive interaction approaches, thereby enhancing their welfare. Evidence suggests that horses can read humans in various ways through our body odours, posture, facial expressions, and attentiveness. This review highlights the current literature surrounding horse–human interaction through the horse’s sensory capabilities, cognition, emotional states, emotional transfer, personality, and attachment styles. Recognition of behavioural indicators of negative emotions in horses is also important so that we can learn to avoid those situations. As we are continuously growing our knowledge on how horses view humans, we need to be open to evolving and modifying practices to create a positive experience for the horse. View this paper
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13 pages, 1304 KiB  
Article
Molecular Diagnosis of Koala Retrovirus (KoRV) in South Australian Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)
by Tamsyn Stephenson, Natasha Speight, Wai Yee Low, Lucy Woolford, Rick Tearle and Farhid Hemmatzadeh
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1477; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051477 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3540
Abstract
Koala retrovirus, a recent discovery in Australian koalas, is endogenised in 100% of northern koalas but has lower prevalence in southern populations, with lower proviral and viral loads, and an undetermined level of endogenisation. KoRV has been associated with lymphoid neoplasia, e.g., lymphoma. [...] Read more.
Koala retrovirus, a recent discovery in Australian koalas, is endogenised in 100% of northern koalas but has lower prevalence in southern populations, with lower proviral and viral loads, and an undetermined level of endogenisation. KoRV has been associated with lymphoid neoplasia, e.g., lymphoma. Recent studies have revealed high complexity in southern koala retroviral infections, with a need to clarify what constitutes positive and negative cases. This study aimed to define KoRV infection status in Mount Lofty Ranges koalas in South Australia using RNA-seq and proviral analysis (n = 216). The basis for positivity of KoRV was deemed the presence of central regions of the KoRV genome (gag 2, pol, env 1, and env 2) and based on this, 41% (89/216) koalas were positive, 57% (124/216) negative, and 2% inconclusive. These genes showed higher expression in lymph node tissue from KoRV positive koalas with lymphoma compared with other KoRV positive koalas, which showed lower, fragmented expression. Terminal regions (LTRs, partial gag, and partial env) were present in SA koalas regardless of KoRV status, with almost all (99.5%, 215/216) koalas positive for gag 1 by proviral PCR. Further investigation is needed to understand the differences in KoRV infection in southern koala populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Diseases of Koalas)
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12 pages, 1187 KiB  
Article
Microbial Prevalence and Antimicrobial Sensitivity in Equine Endometritis in Field Conditions
by María Luisa Díaz-Bertrana, Stefan Deleuze, Lidia Pitti Rios, Marc Yeste, Inmaculada Morales Fariña and Maria Montserrat Rivera del Alamo
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051476 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3307
Abstract
Endometritis is one of the main causes of infertility in mares. In the present study, 363 mares with a history of repetitive infertility, and positive endometrial cytology and/or vaginal discharge were included. An endometrial swab for microbiological purposes plus sensitivity test was obtained [...] Read more.
Endometritis is one of the main causes of infertility in mares. In the present study, 363 mares with a history of repetitive infertility, and positive endometrial cytology and/or vaginal discharge were included. An endometrial swab for microbiological purposes plus sensitivity test was obtained from each mare. A positive culture was obtained in 89% of mares. The main isolated genera were Staphylococcus (25.1%), Streptococcus (18.2%), Escherichia (17.3%) and Pseudomonas (12.1%). With regard to species, the most isolated microorganism was Escherichia coli (17.3%), Staphylococcus spp. (15.6%) and Streptococcus spp. (13.5%). Sensitivity tests showed that the most efficient antimicrobial was amikacin (57.3% of cultures), followed by cefoxitin (48.6%) and gentamicin (48.3%). When sensitivity test was analyzed in terms of Gram+ and Gram– bacteria, Gram+ were highly resistant to cephaloridine (77.3% of cultures), apramycin (70.8%) and penicillin (62.3%), whereas Gram– were highly resistant to penicillin (85.8%), followed by cephaloridine (78.9%). In conclusion, the present study shows the most prevalent microorganisms isolated from equine endometritis, which were found to be resistant to β-lactam antimicrobials. Likewise, these results highlight the significance of performing microbiological analyses as well as sensitivity tests prior to applying an antimicrobial therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genital Microbiota and Reproduction)
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11 pages, 222 KiB  
Article
Effect of Dietary Supplementation of Fermented Pine Needle Extract on Productive Performance, Egg Quality, and Serum Lipid Parameters in Laying Hens
by Damini Kothari, Jong-Seok Oh, Ju-Hee Kim, Woo-Do Lee and Soo-Ki Kim
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051475 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2952
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the supplemental effects of fermented pine (Pinus densiflora) needle extract (FPNE) in laying hen diets on productive performance, egg quality, and serum lipid metabolites. A total of 108 40-week-old Hy-line brown laying hens were randomly assigned [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the supplemental effects of fermented pine (Pinus densiflora) needle extract (FPNE) in laying hen diets on productive performance, egg quality, and serum lipid metabolites. A total of 108 40-week-old Hy-line brown laying hens were randomly assigned to one of the three dietary treatment groups: (1) basal diet + 0 mL FPNE/kg diet (CON), (2) basal diet + 2.5 mL FPNE/kg diet (T1), or (3) basal diet + 5 mL FPNE/kg diet (T2) for 6 weeks. Each group consisted of four replicates of nine hens each. Feed and water provided ad libitum. Results showed that dietary supplementation of FPNE increased egg production percentage (linear, p < 0.01 and quadratic, p < 0.05), egg mass (linear, p < 0.05), and feed intake (linear, p < 0.05) during the entire experimental period. In addition, dietary inclusion of FPNE significantly increased the eggshell color (linear, p < 0.01), egg yolk color (quadratic, p < 0.01), and eggshell breaking strength (linear, p < 0.05 and quadratic, p < 0.05) while the Haugh unit decreased (quadratic, p < 0.05). However, serum lipid profile did not differ among the dietary treatments (p > 0.05). Notably, antioxidant activity of egg yolk was improved by significantly decreasing the malondialdehyde content in egg yolks after 6 weeks of storage (linear, p < 0.001 and quadratic, p < 0.05). In summary, dietary inclusion of FPNE could improve laying performance and the antioxidant capacity of eggs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
12 pages, 1446 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Activity of Urban Bats Populations in Temperate Climate Zone—A Case Study from Southern Poland
by Joanna Kohyt, Ewa Pierzchała, Andrea Pereswiet-Soltan and Krzysztof Piksa
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051474 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2722
Abstract
Municipal greenery can mitigate the negative impact of urbanization on biodiversity, including bats, by providing a migration corridor, food base and roosts. Our study aimed to evaluate the species composition and diversity, test the differences in activity between seasons, and identify the atmospheric [...] Read more.
Municipal greenery can mitigate the negative impact of urbanization on biodiversity, including bats, by providing a migration corridor, food base and roosts. Our study aimed to evaluate the species composition and diversity, test the differences in activity between seasons, and identify the atmospheric conditions influencing the bats’ activity in the Planty Park (Cracow). Fieldworks were conducted in 2016 and 2017. We recorded 10 species, two new for this part of Poland: the Kuhl’s pipistrelle (Pipistrellus kuhlii) and the Savi’s pipistrelle (Hypsugo savii). Taxa were divided into three ecological guilds. Myotis group’s activity was insufficient to perform statistical analyses. The activity of Nyctalus, Eptesicus and Vespertilio group peaked in late summer. A similar insignificant trend was observed for Pipistrellus and Hypsugo. Temperature enhanced the activity of Nyctalus, Eptesicus and Vespertilio group in spring and early summer, while cloud cover suppressed their activity in autumn. Temperature also enhanced Pipistrellus and Hypsugo group activity in spring and autumn, but it suppressed their summer activity. Our study is one of the first to investigate temperate urban bats’ phenology and may serve as a preface for further research to introduce detailed urban landscape planning recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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24 pages, 3246 KiB  
Review
Some Examples of the Use of Molecular Markers for Needs of Basic Biology and Modern Society
by Yuri Phedorovich Kartavtsev
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051473 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3011
Abstract
Application of molecular genetic markers appeared to be very fruitful in achieving many goals, including (i) proving the theoretic basements of general biology and (ii) assessment of worldwide biodiversity. Both are provided in the present meta-analysis and a review as the main signal. [...] Read more.
Application of molecular genetic markers appeared to be very fruitful in achieving many goals, including (i) proving the theoretic basements of general biology and (ii) assessment of worldwide biodiversity. Both are provided in the present meta-analysis and a review as the main signal. One of the basic current challenges in modern biology in the face of new demands in the 21st century is the validation of its paradigms such as the synthetic theory of evolution (STE) and biological species concept (BSC). Another of most valuable goals is the biodiversity assessment for a variety of social needs including free web-based information resources about any living being, renovation of museum collections, nature conservation that recognized as a global project, iBOL, as well as resolving global trading problems such as false labeling of species specimens used as food, drug components, entertainment, etc. The main issues of the review are focused on animals and combine four items. (1) A combination of nDNA and mtDNA markers best suits the identification of hybrids and estimation of genetic introgression. (2) The available facts on nDNA and mtDNA diversity seemingly make introgression among many taxa obvious, although it is evident, that introgression may be quite restricted or asymmetric, thus, leaving at least the “source” taxon (taxa) intact. (3) If we consider sexually reproducing species in marine and terrestrial realms introgressed, as it is still evident in many cases, then we should recognize that the BSC, in view of the complete lack of gene flow among species, is inadequate because many zoological species are not biological ones yet. However, vast modern molecular data have proven that sooner or later they definitely become biological species. (4) An investigation into the fish taxa divergence using the BOLD database shows that most gene trees are basically monophyletic and interspecies reticulations are quite rare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Animal Population Genetics and Conservation)
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16 pages, 3009 KiB  
Article
Modeling of Heat Stress in Sows—Part 1: Establishment of the Prediction Model for the Equivalent Temperature Index of the Sows
by Mengbing Cao, Chao Zong, Xiaoshuai Wang, Guanghui Teng, Yanrong Zhuang and Kaidong Lei
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051472 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2964
Abstract
Heat stress affects the estrus time and conception rate of sows. Compared with other life stages of pigs, sows are more susceptible to heat stress because of their increased heat production. Various indicators can be found in the literature assessing the level of [...] Read more.
Heat stress affects the estrus time and conception rate of sows. Compared with other life stages of pigs, sows are more susceptible to heat stress because of their increased heat production. Various indicators can be found in the literature assessing the level of heat stress in pigs. However, none of them is specific to assess the sows’ thermal condition. Moreover, thermal indices are mainly developed by considering partial environment parameters, and there is no interaction between the index and the animal’s physiological response. Therefore, this study aims to develop a thermal index specified for sows, called equivalent temperature index for sows (ETIS), which includes parameters of air temperature, relative humidity and air velocity. Based on the heat transfer characteristics of sows, multiple regression analysis is used to combine air temperature, relative humidity and air velocity. Environmental data are used as independent variables, and physiological parameters are used as dependent variables. In 1029 sets of data, 70% of the data is used as the training set, and 30% of the data is used as the test set to create and develop a new thermal index. According to the correlation equation between ETIS and temperature-humidity index (THI), combined with the threshold of THI, ETIS was divided into thresholds. The results show that the ETIS heat stress threshold is classified as follows: suitable temperature ETIS < 33.1 °C, mild temperature 33.1 °C ≤ ETIS < 34.5 °C, moderate stress temperature 34.5 °C ≤ ETIS < 35.9 °C, and severe temperature ETIS ≥ 35.9 °C. The ETIS model can predict the sows’ physiological response in a good manner. The correlation coefficients R of skin temperature was 0.82. Compared to early developed thermal indices, ETIS has the best predictive effect on skin temperature. This index could be a useful tool for assessing the thermal environment to ensure thermal comfort for sows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing Environment and Farm Animals' Well-Being)
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15 pages, 5325 KiB  
Article
A Study on the Pathological Effects of Trypanorhyncha Cestodes in Dusky Groupers Epinephelus marginatus from the Canary Islands
by Carolina de Sales-Ribeiro, Miguel A. Rivero, Antonio Fernández, Natalia García-Álvarez, Jorge Francisco González, Oscar Quesada-Canales and María José Caballero
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1471; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051471 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3355
Abstract
Trypanorhyncha are cestodes commonly infecting marine fish. Numerous studies have detailed the biology of Trypanorhyncha species, but information on the pathological changes produced by these parasites is limited. Dusky groupers are keystone species necessary for the preservation of several marine ecosystems. Considering their [...] Read more.
Trypanorhyncha are cestodes commonly infecting marine fish. Numerous studies have detailed the biology of Trypanorhyncha species, but information on the pathological changes produced by these parasites is limited. Dusky groupers are keystone species necessary for the preservation of several marine ecosystems. Considering their vulnerable state of conservation and the efforts being made to culture them, identification of the effects caused by Trypanorhyncha is vital. Here, we aimed to determine the prevalence and pathological changes produced by Trypanorhyncha in dusky groupers from the Canary Islands. The prevalence of trypanorhynch plerocerci was 96%. Grossly, in the abdominal cavity, there were numerous larvae-filled cysts and nodules. These were embedded in abundant fibrosis, producing visceral adhesions. Histologically, affecting the peritoneum, stomach, and intestine there were numerous degenerated encysted plerocerci and extensive deposition of mature connective tissue. These findings indicate that Trypanorhyncha is highly prevalent in adult dusky groupers from the Canary Islands, producing a progressive and chronic response. Furthermore, fish immune system appears to attempt to eliminate the parasites through fibrous encapsulation. Nonetheless, extensive fibrosis may have a detrimental impact on fish health when adjacent cells or tissues are compressed and their functions impaired. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fish Pathology)
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14 pages, 2819 KiB  
Article
Importance and Antimicrobial Resistance of Mycoplasma bovis in Clinical Respiratory Disease in Feedlot Calves
by Ana García-Galán, Juan Seva, Ángel Gómez-Martín, Joaquín Ortega, Francisco Rodríguez, Ángel García-Muñoz and Christian De la Fe
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1470; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051470 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3962
Abstract
Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is an important viral and/or bacterial disease that mainly affects feedlot calves. The involvement of Mycoplasma bovis in BRD can lead to chronic pneumonia poorly responsive to antimicrobial treatment. Caseonecrotic bronchopneumonia is a pulmonary lesion typically associated with M. [...] Read more.
Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is an important viral and/or bacterial disease that mainly affects feedlot calves. The involvement of Mycoplasma bovis in BRD can lead to chronic pneumonia poorly responsive to antimicrobial treatment. Caseonecrotic bronchopneumonia is a pulmonary lesion typically associated with M. bovis. In Spain, M. bovis is widely distributed in the feedlots and circulating isolates are resistant to most antimicrobials in vitro. However, the role of this species in clinical respiratory disease of feedlot calves remains unknown. Furthermore, available data are relative to a fixed panel of antimicrobials commonly used to treat BRD, but not to the specific set of antimicrobials that have been used for treating each animal. This study examined 23 feedlot calves raised in southeast Spain (2016–2019) with clinical signs of respiratory disease unresponsive to treatment. The presence of M. bovis was investigated through bacteriology (culture and subsequent PCR), histopathology and immunohistochemistry. The pathogen was found in 86.9% (20/23) of the calves, mainly in the lungs (78.26%; 18/23). Immunohistochemistry revealed M. bovis antigens in 73.9% (17/23) of the calves in which caseonecrotic bronchopneumonia was the most frequent lesion (16/17). Minimum inhibitory concentration assays confirmed the resistance of a selection of 12 isolates to most of the antimicrobials specifically used for treating the animals in vivo. These results stress the importance of M. bovis in the BRD affecting feedlot calves in Spain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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12 pages, 3131 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Alternative Splicing (AS) Events during Chicken (Gallus gallus) Male Germ-Line Stem Cell Differentiation with Single-Cell RNA-seq
by Changhua Sun, Kai Jin, Qisheng Zuo, Hongyan Sun, Jiuzhou Song, Yani Zhang, Guohong Chen and Bichun Li
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051469 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2598
Abstract
Alternative splicing (AS) is a ubiquitous, co-transcriptional, and post-transcriptional regulation mechanism during certain developmental processes, such as germ cell differentiation. A thorough understanding of germ cell differentiation will help us to open new avenues for avian reproduction, stem cell biology, and advances in [...] Read more.
Alternative splicing (AS) is a ubiquitous, co-transcriptional, and post-transcriptional regulation mechanism during certain developmental processes, such as germ cell differentiation. A thorough understanding of germ cell differentiation will help us to open new avenues for avian reproduction, stem cell biology, and advances in medicines for human consumption. Here, based on single-cell RNA-seq, we characterized genome-wide AS events in manifold chicken male germ cells: embryonic stem cells (ESCs), gonad primordial germ cells (gPGCs), and spermatogonia stem cells (SSCs). A total of 38,494 AS events from 15,338 genes were detected in ESCs, with a total of 48,955 events from 14,783 genes and 49,900 events from 15,089 genes observed in gPGCs and SSCs, respectively. Moreover, this distribution of AS events suggests the diverse splicing feature of ESCs, gPGCs, and SSCs. Finally, several crucial stage-specific genes, such as NANOG, POU5F3, LIN28B, BMP4, STRA8, and LHX9, were identified in AS events that were transmitted in ESCs, gPGCs, and SSCs. The gene expression results of the RNA-seq data were validated by qRT-PCR. In summary, we provided a comprehensive atlas of the genome-wide scale of the AS event landscape in male chicken germ-line cells and presented its distribution for the first time. This research may someday improve treatment options for men suffering from male infertility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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24 pages, 303 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Prenatal Supplementation with β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate and/or Alpha-Ketoglutaric Acid on the Development and Maturation of Mink Intestines Are Dependent on the Number of Pregnancies and the Sex of the Offspring
by Piotr Dobrowolski, Siemowit Muszyński, Janine Donaldson, Andrzej Jakubczak, Andrzej Żmuda, Iwona Taszkun, Karol Rycerz, Maria Mielnik-Błaszczak, Damian Kuc and Ewa Tomaszewska
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051468 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2339
Abstract
Prenatal and postnatal supplementation with β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) and alpha-ketoglutaric acid (AKG) affects the development and maturation of offspring. Both substances have the potential to stimulate cell metabolism via different routes. However, parity affects development and may alter the effects of dietary supplementation. This [...] Read more.
Prenatal and postnatal supplementation with β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) and alpha-ketoglutaric acid (AKG) affects the development and maturation of offspring. Both substances have the potential to stimulate cell metabolism via different routes. However, parity affects development and may alter the effects of dietary supplementation. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of gestational supplementation with HMB and/or AKG to primiparous and multiparous minks on the structure and maturation of the offspring’s small intestine. Primiparous and multiparous American minks (Neovison vison), of the standard dark brown type, were supplemented daily with HMB (0.02 g/kg b.w.) and/or AKG (0.4 g/kg b.w.) during gestation (n = 7 for each treatment). Supplementation stopped when the minks gave birth. Intestine samples were collected from 8-month-old male and female offspring during autopsy and histology and histomorphometry analysis was conducted (LAEC approval no 64/2015). Gestational supplementation had a long-term effect, improving the structure of the offspring’s intestine toward facilitating absorption and passage of intestinal contents. AKG supplementation affected intestinal absorption (enterocytes, villi and absorptive surface), and HMB affected intestinal peristalsis and secretion (crypts and Goblet cells). These effects were strongly dependent on parity and offspring gender. Present findings have important nutritional implications and should be considered in feeding practices and supplementation plans in animal reproduction. Full article
10 pages, 6395 KiB  
Article
Myostatin and Related Factors Are Involved in Skeletal Muscle Protein Breakdown in Growing Broilers Exposed to Constant Heat Stress
by Xiumei Li, Minhong Zhang, Jinghai Feng and Ying Zhou
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1467; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051467 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2361
Abstract
Heat stress has an adverse effect on the development of poultry farming, which has always aroused great concern. This study was carried out to investigate the protein breakdown mechanism responsible for the suppressive effect of constant heat stress on muscle growth in growing [...] Read more.
Heat stress has an adverse effect on the development of poultry farming, which has always aroused great concern. This study was carried out to investigate the protein breakdown mechanism responsible for the suppressive effect of constant heat stress on muscle growth in growing broilers. A total of 96, 29-day-old, Arbor Acres male broilers were randomly divided into two groups, a thermoneutral control (21 ± 1 °C, TC) and a heat stress (31 ± 1 °C, HS) group, with six replicates in each group and eight birds in each replicate. The trial period lasted for 14 d, and the trial was performed at 60 ± 7% relative humidity, a wind speed of <0.5 m/s and an ammonia level of <5 ppm. The results showed that the average daily feed intake and average daily gain in the HS group were distinctly lower than those in the TC group (p < 0.05), whereas the HS group showed a significantly increased feed conversion ratio, nitrogen excretion per weight gain and nitrogen excretion per feed intake compared to the TC group (p < 0.05). In addition, the HS group showed a significantly reduced breast muscle yield and nitrogen utilization in the broilers (p < 0.05). The HS group showed an increase in the serum corticosterone level (p < 0.05) and a decrease in the thyroxine levels in the broiler chickens (p < 0.05) compared to the TC group, whereas the HS group showed no significant changes in the serum 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine levels compared to the TC group (p > 0.05). Moreover, the HS group showed increased mRNA expression levels of myostatin, Smad3, forkhead box O 4, muscle atrophy F-box and muscle ring-finger 1, but reduced mRNA expression levels of the mammalian target of rapamycin, the protein kinase B and the myogenic determination factor 1 (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the poor growth performance of birds under constant heat stress may be due to an increased protein breakdown via an mRNA expression of myostatin and related factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Poultry Nutrition and Production)
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11 pages, 239 KiB  
Commentary
Recommendations for Ensuring Good Welfare of Horses Used for Industrial Blood, Serum, or Urine Production
by Xavier Manteca Vilanova, Bonnie Beaver, Mette Uldahl and Patricia V. Turner
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1466; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051466 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4918
Abstract
Various pharmaceutical products have been derived from horse blood and urine for over a century. Production of biologics and therapeutics from these samples is a niche industry and often occurs in regions with little regulation or veterinary oversight. To ensure good welfare of [...] Read more.
Various pharmaceutical products have been derived from horse blood and urine for over a century. Production of biologics and therapeutics from these samples is a niche industry and often occurs in regions with little regulation or veterinary oversight. To ensure good welfare of horses maintained for these purposes, guidance has been developed to support the industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
14 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
Annatto seeds as Antioxidants Source with Linseed Oil for Dairy Cows
by Jesus A. C. Osorio, João L. P. Daniel, Jakeline F. Cabral, Kleves V. Almeida, Karoline L. Guimarães, Micheli R. Sippert, Jean C. S. Lourenço, Francilaine E. De Marchi, João P. Velho and Geraldo T. Santos
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1465; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051465 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3110
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of annatto seeds, linseed oil and their combination on DMI, apparent total tract digestibility, antioxidant capacity and milk composition of dairy cows. Four lactating Holstein cows (120 ± 43 days in milk; 15.98 ± 2.02 kg [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of annatto seeds, linseed oil and their combination on DMI, apparent total tract digestibility, antioxidant capacity and milk composition of dairy cows. Four lactating Holstein cows (120 ± 43 days in milk; 15.98 ± 2.02 kg of milk/day, mean ± SD) were allocated in a 4 × 4 Latin square with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement (with or without annatto seeds at 15 g/kg of dry matter (DM); with or without linseed oil at 30 g/kg of DM) and provided four different diets: control (no annatto seeds or linseed oil); annatto seeds (15 g/kg of DM); linseed oil (30 g/kg of DM); and a combination of both annatto seeds and linseed oil. Annatto seeds reduced DM intake, and milk yield, protein and lactose, but increased content of fat, total solids and short chain fatty acid, with no effect on total antioxidant capacity of milk. Linseed oil supplementation decreased medium chain fatty acid proportion and n-6/n-3 ratio, conversely it increased long chain fatty acids and n-3 fatty acid content of milk, ether extract intake and total-tract digestibility. Thus, linseed oil supplementation in dairy cow diets improved the milk FA profile but decreased milk fat concentration, whereas annatto seeds did not influence antioxidant capacity and depressed feed intake and milk yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyphenols in Animal Nutrition: Biological Effects)
12 pages, 1511 KiB  
Article
The Binding of Free and Sulfated Androstenone in the Plasma of the Boar
by Christine Bone and E. James Squires
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1464; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051464 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2194
Abstract
Androstenone circulates in the plasma bound to albumin before accumulating in the fat, resulting in the development of boar taint. Androstenone sulfate is more abundant in the circulation than free androstenone; however, it is unclear how androstenone sulfate is transported in the plasma [...] Read more.
Androstenone circulates in the plasma bound to albumin before accumulating in the fat, resulting in the development of boar taint. Androstenone sulfate is more abundant in the circulation than free androstenone; however, it is unclear how androstenone sulfate is transported in the plasma and if steroid transport affects the development of boar taint. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to characterize the binding of androstenone sulfate in boar plasma and determine if variability in steroid binding affects the accumulation of androstenone in the fat. [3H]-androstenone sulfate was incubated with plasma and the steroid binding was quantified using gel filtration chromatography. Inter-animal variability was assessed by quantifying androstenone binding specificity in plasma obtained from boars that had high or low fat androstenone concentrations at slaughter. Androstenone sulfate bound minimally in the plasma and to isolated albumin, which suggests that it is transported primarily in solution. The specific binding of androstenone quantified in plasma and isolated albumin from low fat androstenone animals was significantly higher (p = 0.01) than in high fat androstenone boars. These results indicate that the binding of androstenone to albumin varies amongst individual animals and affects the transport of androstenone in the plasma and accumulation in the fat of the boar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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14 pages, 1393 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Microbiome on Feces, Blood and Milk in Dairy Cows with Different Milk Leucocyte Pattern
by Elisa Scarsella, Alfonso Zecconi, Michela Cintio and Bruno Stefanon
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1463; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051463 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3545
Abstract
Mastitis is an inflammatory disease of the mammary gland, caused by the invasion of microorganism on this site, associated with an altered immune response. Recent studies in this field hypothesize that the origin of these pathogens can also be from the gastrointestinal tract, [...] Read more.
Mastitis is an inflammatory disease of the mammary gland, caused by the invasion of microorganism on this site, associated with an altered immune response. Recent studies in this field hypothesize that the origin of these pathogens can also be from the gastrointestinal tract, through the entero-mammary pathway in relation to an increase in gut permeability. In this study, we wanted to investigate if inflammatory status of the mammary gland is related to an alteration of gut permeability. The microbiome of feces, blood and milk of lactating cows, recruited on the basis of the total somatic cell count and of the percentage of polymorphonuclear neutrophils and lymphocytes, was studied. Cows were divided into healthy (G), at risk of mastitis (Y) and with mastitis (R) classifications. The bacterial DNA was extracted and the V3 and V4 regions of 16S rRNA sequenced. Moreover, the quantification of total bacteria was performed with quantitative real-time PCR. A non-parametric Kruskal–Wallis test was applied at the phylum, family and genera levels and beta biodiversity was evaluated with the unweighted UniFrac distance metric. Significant differences between groups were found for the microbial composition of feces (Clostridiaceae, Turicibacteriaceae for family level and Clostridium, Dorea, SMB53 and Turicibacter for genus level), blood (Tenericutes for phylum level and Mycoplasma for genus level) and milk (OD1 and Proteobacteria for phylum level, Enterobacteriaceae and Moraxallaceae for family level and Olsenella and Rhodococcus for genus level). The beta biodiversity of feces and blood did not change between groups. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed between the beta diversity in milk of G group and Y group and between Y group and R group. The number of taxa in common between feces, blood and milk were 8 at a phylum, 19 at a family and 15 at a genus level. From these results, the bacterial crossing from gut to milk in cows was not confirmed but remained hypothetical and deserves further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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9 pages, 3876 KiB  
Article
Morphological and Histological Features of the Vomeronasal Organ in African Pygmy Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris)
by Daisuke Kondoh, Yusuke Tanaka, Yusuke K. Kawai, Takayuki Mineshige, Kenichi Watanabe and Yoshiyasu Kobayashi
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051462 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3942
Abstract
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) detects specific chemicals such as pheromones and kairomones. Hedgehogs (Eulipotyphla: Erinaceidae) have a well-developed accessory olfactory bulb that receives projections from the VNO, but little is known about the hedgehog VNO. Here, we studied the histological features of the [...] Read more.
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) detects specific chemicals such as pheromones and kairomones. Hedgehogs (Eulipotyphla: Erinaceidae) have a well-developed accessory olfactory bulb that receives projections from the VNO, but little is known about the hedgehog VNO. Here, we studied the histological features of the VNO in five individual African pygmy hedgehogs by hematoxylin-eosin, periodic acid-Schiff, and Alcian blue stains. The hedgehog VNO comprises a hyaline cartilage capsule, soft tissue and epithelial lumen, and it branches from the site just before the incisive duct opening into the nasal cavity. The soft tissues contain several small mucous (or mucoserous) glands and a large serous gland, and many venous sinuses all around the lumen. The VNO lumen is round to oval throughout the hedgehog VNO, and the sensory epithelium lines almost the entire rostral part and medial wall of the middle part. These findings indicate that the VNO is functional and plays an important role in the hedgehog. Notably, the VNO apparently has a characteristic flushing mechanism with serous secretions like those of gustatory glands, which the hedgehog might frequently use to recognize the external environment. Full article
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23 pages, 641 KiB  
Article
Recommendations for Abnormal Behaviour Ethograms in Monkey Research
by Andrea Polanco, Brenda McCowan, Lee Niel, David L. Pearl and Georgia Mason
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1461; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051461 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4611
Abstract
Laboratory monkey ethograms currently include subcategories of abnormal behaviours that are based on superficial morphological similarity. Yet, such ethograms may be misclassifying behaviour, with potential welfare implications as different abnormal behaviours are likely to have distinct risk factors and treatments. We therefore investigated [...] Read more.
Laboratory monkey ethograms currently include subcategories of abnormal behaviours that are based on superficial morphological similarity. Yet, such ethograms may be misclassifying behaviour, with potential welfare implications as different abnormal behaviours are likely to have distinct risk factors and treatments. We therefore investigated the convergent validity of four hypothesized subcategories of abnormal behaviours (‘motor’, e.g., pacing; ‘self-stimulation’, e.g., self-sucking; ‘postural’, e.g., hanging; and ‘self-abuse’, e.g., self-biting). This hypothesis predicts positive relationships between the behaviours within each subcategory. Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) data on 19 abnormal behaviours were obtained from indoor-housed animals (n = 1183). Logistic regression models, controlling for sex, age, and the number of observations, revealed that only 1/6 ‘motor’ behaviours positively predicted pacing, while 2/3 ‘self-abuse’ behaviours positively predicted self-biting (one-tailed p-value < 0.05). Furthermore, ‘self-stimulation’ behaviours did not predict self-sucking, and none of the ‘postural’ behaviours predicted hanging. Thus, none of the subcategories fully met convergent validity. Subsequently, we created four new valid subcategories formed of comorbid behaviours. The first consisted of self-biting, self-hitting, self-injurious behaviour, floating limb, leg-lifting, and self-clasping. The second comprised twirling, bouncing, rocking, swinging, and hanging. The third comprised pacing and head-twisting, while the final subcategory consisted of flipping and eye-poking. Self-sucking, hair-plucking, threat-biting, and withdrawn remained as individual behaviours. We encourage laboratories to replicate the validation of these subcategories first, and for scientists working with other species to validate their ethograms before using them in welfare assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-human Primates: Emotion, Cognition and Welfare)
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16 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
Deathly Silent: Exploring the Global Lack of Data Relating to Stranded Cetacean Euthanasia
by Rebecca M. Boys, Ngaio J. Beausoleil, Emma L. Betty and Karen A. Stockin
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051460 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4667
Abstract
The compromised state of stranded cetaceans means that euthanasia is often required. However, current knowledge and implementation of euthanasia methods remain highly variable, with limited data on the practicalities and welfare impacts of procedures. This study evaluated the available published data on cetacean [...] Read more.
The compromised state of stranded cetaceans means that euthanasia is often required. However, current knowledge and implementation of euthanasia methods remain highly variable, with limited data on the practicalities and welfare impacts of procedures. This study evaluated the available published data on cetacean euthanasia, highlighting knowledge gaps and providing direction to improve stranded cetacean welfare. A total of 2147 peer-reviewed articles describing marine mammal euthanasia were examined. Of these 3.1% provided details on the method used, with 91% employing chemical methods. Two countries, the United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand (NZ), provided euthanasia reports to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) between 2007 and 2020. Methods employed were reported for 78.3% and 100% of individual cetaceans euthanised in the UK and NZ, respectively. In the UK, chemical euthanasia was most common (52%), whilst in NZ only ballistics methods were used. Few data were available about time to death/insensibility (TTD); 0.5% of peer-reviewed articles provided TTD, whilst TTD was reported for 35% of individuals in the UK and for 98% in NZ. However, IWC reports lacked detail on how death/insensibility were assessed, with multiple individuals “presumed instantly” killed. Overall, the findings highlight the lack of available information on cetacean euthanasia, and suggest increased data collection and the application of appropriate methods to improve welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Euthanasia of Animals)
21 pages, 669 KiB  
Article
Getting It Straight: Accommodating Rectilinear Behavior in Captive Snakes—A Review of Recommendations and Their Evidence Base
by Clifford Warwick, Rachel Grant, Catrina Steedman, Tiffani J. Howell, Phillip C. Arena, Angelo J. L. Lambiris, Ann-Elizabeth Nash, Mike Jessop, Anthony Pilny, Melissa Amarello, Steve Gorzula, Marisa Spain, Adrian Walton, Emma Nicholas, Karen Mancera, Martin Whitehead, Albert Martínez-Silvestre, Vanessa Cadenas, Alexandra Whittaker and Alix Wilson
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1459; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051459 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 9296
Abstract
Snakes are sentient animals and should be subject to the accepted general welfare principles of other species. However, they are also the only vertebrates commonly housed in conditions that prevent them from adopting rectilinear behavior (ability to fully stretch out). To assess the [...] Read more.
Snakes are sentient animals and should be subject to the accepted general welfare principles of other species. However, they are also the only vertebrates commonly housed in conditions that prevent them from adopting rectilinear behavior (ability to fully stretch out). To assess the evidence bases for historical and current guidance on snake spatial considerations, we conducted a literature search and review regarding recommendations consistent with or specifying ≥1 × and <1 × snake length enclosure size. We identified 65 publications referring to snake enclosure sizes, which were separated into three categories: peer-reviewed literature (article or chapter appearing in a peer-reviewed journal or book, n = 31), grey literature (government or other report or scientific letter, n = 18), and opaque literature (non-scientifically indexed reports, care sheets, articles, husbandry books, website or other information for which originating source is not based on scientific evidence or where scientific evidence was not provided, n = 16). We found that recommendations suggesting enclosure sizes shorter than the snakes were based entirely on decades-old ‘rule of thumb’ practices that were unsupported by scientific evidence. In contrast, recommendations suggesting enclosure sizes that allowed snakes to fully stretch utilized scientific evidence and considerations of animal welfare. Providing snakes with enclosures that enable them to fully stretch does not suggest that so doing allows adequate space for all necessary normal and important considerations. However, such enclosures are vital to allow for a limited number of essential welfare-associated behaviors, of which rectilinear posturing is one, making them absolute minimum facilities even for short-term housing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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15 pages, 847 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Performance, Egg Quality, and Yolk Fatty Acid Profile in Two Turkish Genotypes (Atak-S and Atabey) in a Free-Range System
by Arda Sözcü, Aydın İpek, Züleyha Oguz, Stefan Gunnarsson and Anja B. Riber
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1458; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051458 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3790
Abstract
Consumer interest in buying eggs from animal welfare-friendly systems with outdoor access is increasing, leading to an increase in the need for knowledge on genotypes suitable for free-range systems. Two Turkish laying hen genotypes, Atak-S (brown, n = 210) and Atabey (white, n [...] Read more.
Consumer interest in buying eggs from animal welfare-friendly systems with outdoor access is increasing, leading to an increase in the need for knowledge on genotypes suitable for free-range systems. Two Turkish laying hen genotypes, Atak-S (brown, n = 210) and Atabey (white, n = 210), were reared in a free-range system from 19–72 weeks of age, and their suitability for the system was assessed based on laying performance, egg quality, and yolk fatty acid profile. Mean hen-day and hen-housed egg production were found to be higher in Atabey than Atak-S (p < 0.01). The brown eggs from Atak-S hens tended to be heavier than the white eggs from Atabey hens (p < 0.01). Brown eggs obtained from Atak-S hens had a stronger shell structure (p < 0.01), while white eggs from Atabey hens had higher mean yolk index, albumen index, and Haugh unit than brown eggs (p < 0.05). At 56 weeks of age, total saturated fatty acid content in yolk was higher in white eggs than in brown eggs (p < 0.01). These findings related to genotype could help free-range egg producers in their choices for more profitable production and for meeting consumer demands on egg quality and egg yolk fatty acid levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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19 pages, 315 KiB  
Review
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus Disease Modelling Review
by Karina Brotto Rebuli, Mario Giacobini and Luigi Bertolotti
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051457 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2795
Abstract
Mathematical modelling is used in disease studies to assess the economical impacts of diseases, as well as to better understand the epidemiological dynamics of the biological and environmental factors that are associated with disease spreading. For an incurable disease such as Caprine Arthritis [...] Read more.
Mathematical modelling is used in disease studies to assess the economical impacts of diseases, as well as to better understand the epidemiological dynamics of the biological and environmental factors that are associated with disease spreading. For an incurable disease such as Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE), this knowledge is extremely valuable. However, the application of modelling techniques to CAE disease studies has not been significantly explored in the literature. The purpose of the present work was to review the published studies, highlighting their scope, strengths and limitations, as well to provide ideas for future modelling approaches for studying CAE disease. The reviewed studies were divided into the following two major themes: Mathematical epidemiological modelling and statistical modelling. Regarding the epidemiological modelling studies, two groups of models have been addressed in the literature: With and without the sexual transmission component. Regarding the statistical modelling studies, the reviewed articles varied on modelling assumptions and goals. These studies modelled the dairy production, the CAE risk factors and the hypothesis of CAE being a risk factor for other diseases. Finally, the present work concludes with further suggestions for modelling studies on CAE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Small Ruminant Lentiviruses)
14 pages, 4365 KiB  
Article
Karyotype Evolution and Genomic Organization of Repetitive DNAs in the Saffron Finch, Sicalis flaveola (Passeriformes, Aves)
by Rafael Kretschmer, Benilson Silva Rodrigues, Suziane Alves Barcellos, Alice Lemos Costa, Marcelo de Bello Cioffi, Analía del Valle Garnero, Ricardo José Gunski, Edivaldo Herculano Corrêa de Oliveira and Darren K. Griffin
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051456 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4466
Abstract
The Saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola), a semi-domestic species, is tolerant of human proximity and nesting in roof spaces. Considering the importance of cytogenomic approaches in revealing different aspects of genomic organization and evolution, we provide detailed cytogenetic data for S. [...] Read more.
The Saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola), a semi-domestic species, is tolerant of human proximity and nesting in roof spaces. Considering the importance of cytogenomic approaches in revealing different aspects of genomic organization and evolution, we provide detailed cytogenetic data for S. flaveola, including the standard Giemsa karyotype, C- and G-banding, repetitive DNA mapping, and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) FISH. We also compared our results with the sister groups, Passeriformes and Psittaciformes, bringing new insights into the chromosome and genome evolution of birds. The results revealed contrasting rates of intrachromosomal changes, highlighting the role of SSR (simple short repetition probes) accumulation in the karyotype reorganization. The SSRs showed scattered hybridization, but brighter signals were observed in the microchromosomes and the short arms of Z chromosome in S. flaveola. BACs probes showed conservation of ancestral syntenies of macrochromosomes (except GGA1), as well as the tested microchromosomes. The comparison of our results with previous studies indicates that the great biological diversity observed in Passeriformes was not likely accompanied by interchromosomal changes. In addition, although repetitive sequences often act as hotspots of genome rearrangements, Passeriformes species showed a higher number of signals when compared with the sister group Psittaciformes, indicating that these sequences were not involved in the extensive karyotype reorganization seen in the latter. Full article
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11 pages, 1264 KiB  
Communication
Enteric Viral Infections among Domesticated South American Camelids: First Detection of Mammalian Orthoreovirus in Camelids
by Dayana Castilla, Victor Escobar, Sergio Ynga, Luis Llanco, Alberto Manchego, César Lázaro, Dennis Navarro, Norma Santos and Miguel Rojas
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051455 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3047
Abstract
Enteric infections are a major cause of neonatal death in South American camelids (SACs). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of enteric viral pathogens among alpacas and llamas in Canchis, Cuzco, located in the southern Peruvian highland. Fecal samples [...] Read more.
Enteric infections are a major cause of neonatal death in South American camelids (SACs). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of enteric viral pathogens among alpacas and llamas in Canchis, Cuzco, located in the southern Peruvian highland. Fecal samples were obtained from 80 neonatal alpacas and llamas and tested for coronavirus (CoV), mammalian orthoreovirus (MRV), and rotavirus A (RVA) by RT-PCR. Of the 80 fecal samples analyzed, 76 (95%) were positive for at least one of the viruses tested. Overall, the frequencies of positive samples were 94.1% and 100% among alpacas and llamas, respectively. Of the positive samples, 33 (43.4%) were monoinfected, while 43 (56.6%) had coinfections with two (83.7%) or three (16.3%) viruses. CoV was the most commonly detected virus (87.5%) followed by MRV (50%). RVA was detected only in coinfections. To our knowledge, this is the first description of MRV circulation in SACs or camelids anywhere. These data show that multiple viruses circulate widely among young alpaca and llama crias within the studied areas. These infections can potentially reduce livestock productivity, which translates into serious economic losses for rural communities, directly impacting their livelihoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Viruses in the Pandemic Era)
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14 pages, 256 KiB  
Review
Alpha-Lipoic Acid as a Nutritive Supplement for Humans and Animals: An Overview of Its Use in Dog Food
by Reshma M. Anthony, Jennifer M. MacLeay and Kathy L. Gross
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051454 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 10123
Abstract
Alpha-lipoic acid (a-LA) is used as a nutritive additive in dog food. Therefore, we performed a systematic review of studies published to date in PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane Library and MedlinePlus involving alpha-lipoic acid supplementation, which included human clinical trials as well as [...] Read more.
Alpha-lipoic acid (a-LA) is used as a nutritive additive in dog food. Therefore, we performed a systematic review of studies published to date in PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane Library and MedlinePlus involving alpha-lipoic acid supplementation, which included human clinical trials as well as animal studies, to evaluate its utility as a supplement in foods for healthy, adult dogs. While an upper limit of alpha-lipoic acid intake in humans has not been conclusively determined, the levels for oral intake of a-LA have been better defined in animals, and distinct differences based on species have been described. The maximum tolerated oral dose of a-LA in dogs has been reported as 126 mg/kg body weight and the LD50 as 400 to 500 mg/kg body weight. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective benefits of alpha-lipoic acid in dogs were observed at concentrations much lower than the maximum tolerated dose or proposed LD50. At concentrations of 2.7–4.94 mg/kg body weight/day, alpha-lipoic acid is well tolerated and posed no health risks to dogs while providing improved antioxidant capacity. This review thereby supports the utility of alpha-lipoic acid as an effective nutritive additive in dog food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
18 pages, 1921 KiB  
Article
Cost of Coexisting with a Relict Large Carnivore Population: Impact of Apennine Brown Bears, 2005–2015
by Andrea Galluzzi, Valerio Donfrancesco, Gianluca Mastrantonio, Cinzia Sulli and Paolo Ciucci
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1453; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051453 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2901
Abstract
Human-carnivore conflicts are a major conservation issue. As bears are expanding their range in Europe’s human-modified landscapes, it is increasingly important to understand, prevent, and address human-bear conflicts and evaluate mitigation strategies in areas of historical coexistence. Based on verified claims, we assessed [...] Read more.
Human-carnivore conflicts are a major conservation issue. As bears are expanding their range in Europe’s human-modified landscapes, it is increasingly important to understand, prevent, and address human-bear conflicts and evaluate mitigation strategies in areas of historical coexistence. Based on verified claims, we assessed costs, patterns, and drivers of bear damages in the relict Apennine brown bear population in the Abruzzo Lazio and Molise National Park (PNALM), central Italy. During 2005–2015, 203 ± 71 (SD) damage events were verified annually, equivalent to 75,987 ± 30,038 €/year paid for compensation. Most damages occurred in summer and fall, with livestock depredation, especially sheep and cattle calves, prevailing over other types of damages, with apiaries ranking second in costs of compensation. Transhumant livestock owners were less impacted than residential ones, and farms that adopted prevention measures loaned from the PNALM were less susceptible to bear damages. Livestock farms chronically damaged by bears represented 8 ± 3% of those annually impacted, corresponding to 24 ± 6% of compensation costs. Further improvements in the conflict mitigation policy adopted by the PNALM include integrated prevention, conditional compensation, and participatory processes. We discuss the implications of our study for Human-bear coexistence in broader contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Human-Wildlife Conflict and Interaction)
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17 pages, 4788 KiB  
Article
Fermented Diet Liquid Feeding Improves Growth Performance and Intestinal Function of Pigs
by Huailu Xin, Mingyu Wang, Zou Xia, Bing Yu, Jun He, Jie Yu, Xiangbing Mao, Zhiqing Huang, Yuheng Luo, Junqiu Luo, Hui Yan, Huifen Wang, Quyuan Wang, Ping Zheng and Daiwen Chen
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1452; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051452 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3644
Abstract
Accumulating evidences demonstrate that fermented feed and liquid feeding exerted a great beneficial influence on growth performance and health in the pig industry. This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of fermented liquid feeding on the growth performance and intestinal function of [...] Read more.
Accumulating evidences demonstrate that fermented feed and liquid feeding exerted a great beneficial influence on growth performance and health in the pig industry. This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of fermented liquid feeding on the growth performance and intestinal function of pigs. Two hundred and eighty-eight 27-day-old weaned piglets (8.21 ± 0.27 kg) were randomly allocated to a control group (basal diet (CON)), an antibiotic group (basal diet supplemented with antibiotics (AB)) and a fermented liquid feeding group (basal diet with fermented liquid feeding (FLF)), with 6 replicates per treatment and 16 weaned piglets per replicate. The experiment lasted for 160 days. Fresh fecal samples were collected to evaluate the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of nutrients from the last 4 days of each stage. The results are shown as follows: (1) Compared with the CON group, in the whole stage, the FLF diet significantly increased the final body weight (BW) and ADG of pigs (P < 0.05), and had a tendency to increase ADFI (P = 0.086), but had no effect on F/G. (2) The ATTD of dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), crude ash (CA), crude fiber (CF), gross energy (GE), calcium (Ca) and total phosphorus (TP) in the FLF group was significantly elevated compared with those of the CON group at 8–20 kg stage (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, the ATTD of EE in the FLF group was significantly increased compared with that of the CON group at the 50–75 kg and 100–125 kg stages (P < 0.05), and the ATTD of Ca was higher than that of CON group at the 100–125 kg stage (P < 0.05). (3) Compared with that of the CON group, the level of serum leptin in the FLF group had a tendency to decrease (P = 0.054), the level of serum ghrelin in the FLF group was significantly elevated (P < 0.05) and the level of serum peptide YY in the FLF group was significantly decreased (P < 0.05). (4) The abundance of Lactobacillus in cecal and colonic digesta was observably enhanced in FLF group. Meanwhile, the abundance of Escherichia coli in cecal and colonic digesta were dramatically reduced in the FLF group compared with that in the CON and AB groups (P < 0.05). (5) The levels of acetic acid in colonic digesta were significantly increased in the FLF group (P < 0.05), and an increasing trend was observed in total VFA in colonic digesta compared with CON (P < 0.1). The levels of acetic acid in colonic digesta were significantly promoted in the FLF group compared with that of the AB group (P < 0.05). In conclusion, these results indicate that fermented liquid feeding improved the growth performance of pigs, which might be associated with gastrointestinal hormone and intestinal functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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27 pages, 6873 KiB  
Article
Lankesterella (Apicomplexa, Lankesterellidae) Blood Parasites of Passeriform Birds: Prevalence, Molecular and Morphological Characterization, with Notes on Sporozoite Persistence In Vivo and Development In Vitro
by Carolina Romeiro Fernandes Chagas, Josef Harl, Vytautas Preikša, Dovilė Bukauskaitė, Mikas Ilgūnas, Herbert Weissenböck and Gediminas Valkiūnas
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1451; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051451 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4084
Abstract
Recent studies confirmed that some Hepatozoon-like blood parasites (Apicomplexa) of birds are closely related to the amphibian parasite Lankesterella minima. Little is known about the biology of these pathogens in birds, including their distribution, life cycles, specificity, vectors, and molecular characterization. [...] Read more.
Recent studies confirmed that some Hepatozoon-like blood parasites (Apicomplexa) of birds are closely related to the amphibian parasite Lankesterella minima. Little is known about the biology of these pathogens in birds, including their distribution, life cycles, specificity, vectors, and molecular characterization. Using blood samples of 641 birds from 16 species, we (i) determined the prevalence and molecular diversity of Lankesterella parasites in naturally infected birds; (ii) investigated the development of Lankesterella kabeeni in laboratory-reared mosquitoes, Culex pipiens forma molestus and Aedes aegypti; and (iii) tested experimentally the susceptibility of domestic canaries, Serinus canaria, to this parasite. This study combined molecular and morphological diagnostic methods and determined 11% prevalence of Lankesterella parasites in Acrocephalidae birds; 16 Lankesterella lineages with a certain degree of host specificity and two new species (Lankesterella vacuolata n. sp. and Lankesterella macrovacuolata n. sp.) were found and characterized. Lankesterella kabeeni (formerly Hepatozoon kabeeni) was re-described. Serinus canaria were resistant after various experimental exposures. Lankesterella sporozoites rapidly escaped from host cells in vitro. Sporozoites persisted for a long time in infected mosquitoes (up to 42 days post exposure). Our study demonstrated a high diversity of Lankesterella parasites in birds, and showed that several avian Hepatozoon-like parasites, in fact, belong to Lankesterella genus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Blood Parasites)
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11 pages, 584 KiB  
Article
Effect of a Black Soldier Fly Ingredient on the Growth Performance and Disease Resistance of Juvenile Pacific White Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)
by Andrew Richardson, João Dantas-Lima, Maxime Lefranc and Maye Walraven
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1450; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051450 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4823
Abstract
This study was performed as part of developing a functional feed ingredient for juvenile Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Here we assess the effects of dietary inclusion of a Black Soldier Fly Ingredient (BSFI) from defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia [...] Read more.
This study was performed as part of developing a functional feed ingredient for juvenile Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Here we assess the effects of dietary inclusion of a Black Soldier Fly Ingredient (BSFI) from defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae meal on growth performance, tolerance to salinity stress, and disease resistance when challenged with Vibrio parahaemolyticus or a strain of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). A control diet was used for comparison with three test diets including 4.5, 7.5, and 10.5% of BSFI (BSFI4.5, BSFI7.5, and BSFI10.5). After 28 days, all diets with BSFI had improved weight gain, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and specific growth rate (SGR) compared to control. Indeed, SGR was significantly improved from inclusion of 4.5% in the diet, whilst FCR was significantly improved at 7.5% (p < 0.05). During the growth trial, survival was not affected by diet. Shrimp health performance was not significantly affected by the diets across the disease and salinity challenges. Overall, the results indicate that the inclusion of BSFI from H. illucens improves the performance of juvenile L. vannamei. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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15 pages, 10965 KiB  
Article
Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy Analysis to Predict Diet Composition of a Mountain Ungulate Species
by Laia Jarque-Bascuñana, Jordi Bartolomé, Emmanuel Serrano, Johan Espunyes, Mathieu Garel, Juan Antonio Calleja Alarcón, Jorge Ramón López-Olvera and Elena Albanell
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051449 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2615
Abstract
The diet composition of ungulates is important to understand not only their impact on vegetation, but also to understand the consequences of natural and human-driven environmental changes on the foraging behavior of these mammals. In this work, we evaluated the use of near [...] Read more.
The diet composition of ungulates is important to understand not only their impact on vegetation, but also to understand the consequences of natural and human-driven environmental changes on the foraging behavior of these mammals. In this work, we evaluated the use of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy analysis (NIRS), a quick, economic and non-destructive method, to assess the diet composition of the Pyrenean chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica. Fecal samples (n = 192) were collected from two chamois populations in the French and Spanish Pyrenees. Diet composition was initially assessed by fecal cuticle microhistological analysis (CMA) and categorized into four functional groups, namely: woody, herbaceous, graminoid and Fabaceae plants. Regressions of modified partial least squares and several combinations of scattering correction and derivative treatments were tested. The results showed that models based on the second derivative processing obtained the higher determination coefficient for woody, herbaceous and graminoid plants (R2CAL, coefficient of determination in calibration, ranged from 0.86 to 0.91). The Fabaceae group, however, was predicted with lower accuracy (R2CAL = 0.71). Even though an agreement between NIRS and CMA methods was confirmed by a Bland–Altman analysis, confidence limits of agreement differed by up to 25%. Our results support the viability of fecal NIRS analysis to study spatial and temporal variations of the Pyrenean chamois’ diets in summer and winter when differences in the consumption of woody and annual plants are the greatest. This new use for the NIRS technique would be useful to assess the consequences of global change on the feeding behavior of this mountain ungulate and also in other ungulate counterparts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Response of Wildlife Populations and Communities to Global Change)
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14 pages, 2900 KiB  
Article
Role of Fucoidan on the Growth Behavior and Blood Metabolites and Toxic Effects of Atrazine in Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758)
by Abdel-Wahab A. Abdel-Warith, Elsayed M. Younis, Nasser A. Al-Asgah, Mahmoud S. Gewaily, Shaimaa M. El-Tonoby and Mahmoud A. O. Dawood
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051448 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3888
Abstract
Waterborne herbicides are stressful agents that threaten the productivity and safety of finfish species. In this study, the toxicity impacts of atrazine (ATZ) and the protective role of fucoidan were investigated on the health performance of Nile tilapia. For 40 days, the total [...] Read more.
Waterborne herbicides are stressful agents that threaten the productivity and safety of finfish species. In this study, the toxicity impacts of atrazine (ATZ) and the protective role of fucoidan were investigated on the health performance of Nile tilapia. For 40 days, the total number of 180 Nile tilapia was assigned in four groups (triplicates, 15 fish/replicate), where the first (control) and third groups were offered the control diet, while the second and fourth groups were offered a fucoidan (FCN). Further, in the third and fourth groups, the water was mixed with atrazine (ATZ) at 1.39 mg/L daily. The growth rate, FCR, and survival rate were markedly enhanced by fucoidan but severely declined by ATZ exposure (p < 0.05). The morphological structure of the intestine in the control fish revealed normal structure, while fucoidan-treated groups showed eminent enhancement and branching of the intestinal villi. The intestine of ATZ-treated fish revealed deterioration and the intestinal mucosa, inflammatory cell infiltration, and separation of lining epithelium. The highest Hb, PCV, RBCs, WBCs, total protein, and albumin were observed in Nile tilapia fed fucoidan, but the worst values were seen in ATZ-intoxicated fish (p < 0.05). The liver-related enzymes (ALT and AST) and kidney function (urea and creatinine) showed impaired values by ATZ toxicity and were regulated by dietary fucoidan. Meanwhile, fish fed fucoidan and exposed to ATZ had lower total cholesterol and triglyceride values than fish exposed to ATZ without fucoidan feeding (p < 0.05). The SOD, CAT, GPx, cortisol, and glucose levels were increased in ATZ-exposed fish and reduced by fucoidan (p < 0.05). However, the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) was reduced in fucoidan-fed fish and increased in ATZ-exposed fish (p < 0.05). Altogether, dietary fucoidan is required in fish diets to alleviate the impacts of ATZ-induced toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Effects of Pollutants on Fish)
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