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Volume 12, January-1

Animals, Volume 12, Issue 2 (January-2 2022) – 91 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Pet or entertainment chimpanzees tend to endure adverse living conditions. Normally it is nearly impossible both to evaluate the extent of the behavioural aberrancies of these chimpanzees and to assess potential improvements after their transfer to a primate sanctuary, due to a lack of data. The authors of this case study had the rare opportunity to access such data and show that being in sanctuary housing led to an improvement in social competence and an increase in well-being in three former pet chimpanzees. View this paper
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Article
Identification of Copy Number Variations and Genetic Diversity in Italian Insular Sheep Breeds
Animals 2022, 12(2), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020217 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Copy number variants (CNVs) are one of the major contributors to genetic diversity and phenotypic variation in livestock. The aim of this work is to identify CNVs and perform, for the first time, a CNV-based population genetics analysis with five Italian sheep breeds [...] Read more.
Copy number variants (CNVs) are one of the major contributors to genetic diversity and phenotypic variation in livestock. The aim of this work is to identify CNVs and perform, for the first time, a CNV-based population genetics analysis with five Italian sheep breeds (Barbaresca, Comisana, Pinzirita, Sarda, and Valle del Belìce). We identified 10,207 CNVs with an average length of 1.81 Mb. The breeds showed similar mean numbers of CNVs, ranging from 20 (Sarda) to 27 (Comisana). A total of 365 CNV regions (CNVRs) were determined. The length of the CNVRs varied among breeds from 2.4 Mb to 124.1 Mb. The highest number of shared CNVRs was between Comisana and Pinzirita, and only one CNVR was shared among all breeds. Our results indicated that segregating CNVs expresses a certain degree of diversity across all breeds. Despite the low/moderate genetic differentiation among breeds, the different approaches used to disclose the genetic relationship showed that the five breeds tend to cluster in distinct groups, similar to the previous studies based on single-nucleotide polymorphism markers. Gene enrichment was described for the 37 CNVRs selected, considering the top 10%. Out of 181 total genes, 67 were uncharacterized loci. Gene Ontology analysis showed that several of these genes are involved in lipid metabolism, immune response, and the olfactory pathway. Our results corroborated previous studies and showed that CNVs represent valuable molecular resources for providing useful information for separating the population and could be further used to explore the function and evolutionary aspect of sheep genome. Full article
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Review
Linking Animal Welfare and Antibiotic Use in Pig Farming—A Review
Animals 2022, 12(2), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020216 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 2249
Abstract
Preventative measures, such as biosecurity and vaccinations, are essential but not sufficient to ensure high standards of health in pig production systems. Restrictive, barren housing and many widely used management practices that cause pain and stress predispose high-performance pigs reared in intensive systems [...] Read more.
Preventative measures, such as biosecurity and vaccinations, are essential but not sufficient to ensure high standards of health in pig production systems. Restrictive, barren housing and many widely used management practices that cause pain and stress predispose high-performance pigs reared in intensive systems to disease. In this context, antibiotics are used as part of the infrastructure that sustains health and high levels of production in pig farms. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global emergency affecting human and animal health, and the use of antibiotics (AMU) in intensive livestock farming is considered an important risk factor for the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria from animals to humans. Tackling the issue of AMR demands profound changes in AMU, e.g., reducing their use for prophylaxis and ending it for growth promotion. In support of such recommendations, we revise the link between animal welfare and AMU and argue that it is crucial to sustainably reduce AMU while ensuring that pigs can live happy lives. In support of such recommendations, we aimed to revise the link between animal welfare and AMU in pigs by analysing stress factors related to housing and management and their impact on pig welfare. In particular, we reviewed critical management practices that increase stress and, therefore, pigs’ susceptibility to disease and reduce the quality of life of pigs. We also reviewed some alternatives that can be adopted in pig farms to improve animal welfare and that go beyond the reduction in stress. By minimising environmental and management stressors, pigs can become more immunocompetent and prepared to overcome pathogenic challenges. This outcome can contribute to reducing AMU and the risk of AMR while simultaneously improving the quality of life of pigs and, ultimately, maintaining the pig industry’s social license. Full article
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Article
Influence of Slaughter Weight and Sex on Growth Performance, Carcass Characteristics and Ham Traits of Heavy Pigs Fed Ad-Libitum
Animals 2022, 12(2), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020215 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 593
Abstract
Slaughter weight (SW) is critical for dry-cured ham production systems with heavy pigs. A total of 159 C21 Goland pigs (gilts and barrows) at 95 ± 9.0 kg body weight (BW) from three batches were used to investigate the impact of ad libitum [...] Read more.
Slaughter weight (SW) is critical for dry-cured ham production systems with heavy pigs. A total of 159 C21 Goland pigs (gilts and barrows) at 95 ± 9.0 kg body weight (BW) from three batches were used to investigate the impact of ad libitum feeding on SW, growth performance, feed efficiency, and carcass and green ham characteristics. Diets contained 10 MJ/kg of net energy and 7.4 and 6.0 g/kg of SID-lysine. Slaughter weight classes (SWC) included <165, 165–180, 180–110 and >210 kg BW. In each batch, pigs were sacrificed at 230 or 258 d of age. Left hams were scored for round shape, fat cover thickness, marbling, lean colour, bicolour and veining. Data were analyzed with a model considering SWC, sex and SWC × Sex interactions as fixed factors and the batch as a random factor. The linear, quadratic and cubic effects of SWC were tested, but only linear effects were found. Results showed that pigs with greater SWC had greater average daily gain and feed consumption, with similar feed efficiency and better ham quality traits: greater ham weight, muscularity, and fat coveringin correspondence of semimembranosus muscle. Barrows were heavier and produced hams with slightly better characteristics than gilts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Article
Effects of Cage and Floor Rearing Systems on the Metabolic Components of the Uropygial Gland in Ducks
Animals 2022, 12(2), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020214 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 426
Abstract
Background: As a unique skin derivative of birds, the uropygial gland has a potential role in maintaining feather health and appearance. Cage-reared ducks usually have a worse feather condition than floor-reared ducks. We suspected that the metabolic components in the uropygial gland might [...] Read more.
Background: As a unique skin derivative of birds, the uropygial gland has a potential role in maintaining feather health and appearance. Cage-reared ducks usually have a worse feather condition than floor-reared ducks. We suspected that the metabolic components in the uropygial gland might play a vital role in their feather conditions. Methods: Herein, the uropygial glands of floor- and cage-reared ducks were weighed, and a nontargeted metabolic analysis was performed. Results: At 20 weeks of age, the relative weight of floor-reared duck uropygial glands was significantly higher than that of cage-reared ducks, indicating that the floor rearing system is better for inducing the development of uropygial glands. The nontargeted metabolic data revealed 1190 and 1149 differential metabolites under positive and negative ion modes, respectively. Among them, 49 differential metabolites were annotated between the two rearing systems. Three sulfur-containing amino acids, namely, 2-ketobutyric acid, L-aspartate-semialdehyde, and N-formyl-L-methionine, and some lipids, including inositol and sphingosine, might be responsible for the changes in plumage appearance among the various rearing conditions. Conclusions: The results of our study revealed the differences in the metabolic components of the uropygial gland in ducks reared under different rearing systems and found metabolic components to be possibly responsible for the poor feather condition of caged ducks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Birds)
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Review
Transmission of Zoonotic Diseases in the Daily Life of Ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum (79 CE, Italy): A Review of Animal–Human–Environment Interactions through Biological, Historical and Archaeological Sources
Animals 2022, 12(2), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020213 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 776
Abstract
There is no doubt that the cultural and urban environments contributed to the animal–human interaction in the daily life of the ancient Roman world. The singularity of the circumstances of the burial of Pompeii and Herculaneum, together with literary sources and the [...] Read more.
There is no doubt that the cultural and urban environments contributed to the animal–human interaction in the daily life of the ancient Roman world. The singularity of the circumstances of the burial of Pompeii and Herculaneum, together with literary sources and the extraordinary state of preservation of the archaeological and biological material found, has provided researchers with an opportunity, unique in its kind, to reconstruct the life and ways of living of its inhabitants. This study illustrates the main drivers and mechanisms for the distribution and transmission of zoonotic diseases in these ancient Roman populations, such as (i) the large number and role that different animal species played in the ancient Roman world; (ii) the environmental conditions for the survival of parasites, pathogens and vectors; (iii) the great variety and intensity of commercial activities and occupations that presented certain risks of infections; (iv) the absence of adequate safety controls during processing, distribution and preservation of foodstuffs in unsuitable environments and some culinary habits; (v) the inadequate mechanisms of the disposal of human waste and the biotic contamination of watercourses and reservoirs; and finally (vi) the use of animals related to religious and cultural practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends on Prehistoric and Historical Zooarchaeology)
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Article
Part I of Finnish Agility Dog Survey: Training and Management of Competition-Level Agility Dogs
Animals 2022, 12(2), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020212 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1930
Abstract
Knowledge regarding training, competition, and management routines of agility dogs is lacking. Through a retrospective online questionnaire, Finnish owners and handlers of 745 competition-level agility dogs provided information on training routines and management of these dogs during one year free of agility-related injuries. [...] Read more.
Knowledge regarding training, competition, and management routines of agility dogs is lacking. Through a retrospective online questionnaire, Finnish owners and handlers of 745 competition-level agility dogs provided information on training routines and management of these dogs during one year free of agility-related injuries. Competition routines were collected from the national competition results database. Most dogs trained agility 1–2 times a week, with a median active training time of 18 min a week. Dogs competed in a median of 2.1 runs per month at a speed of 4.3 m/s. Common field surfaces were different types of artificial turfs and dirt surface. Warm-up and cool-down were established routines, and 62% of dogs received regular musculoskeletal care. Moreover, 77% of dogs underwent conditioning exercises, but their frequency was often low. Additionally, dogs were walked for a median of 1.5 h daily. Pearson’s chi-squared and Kruskal–Wallis tests were used to evaluate the association between a dog’s competition level and training and competition variables. A dog’s competition level was associated with competition (p < 0.001) and training frequency (p < 0.001); dogs at higher levels compete more but train less than dogs at lower levels. This study provides information on training, competition, and management routines of competing agility dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Medicine and Animal Rehabilitation)
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Article
The Use of Attractants to Stimulate Neonatal Piglet Interest in Rope Enrichment
Animals 2022, 12(2), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020211 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 551
Abstract
In the United States swine industry, preweaning mortality represents the highest mortality rate of any production phase, nearly half attributed to crushing. The overarching aim of this study was to determine if enrichment ropes would entice neonatal piglets away from the sow and [...] Read more.
In the United States swine industry, preweaning mortality represents the highest mortality rate of any production phase, nearly half attributed to crushing. The overarching aim of this study was to determine if enrichment ropes would entice neonatal piglets away from the sow and reduce preweaning mortality. Rope enrichments were provided to 161 piglets from 26 sows after farrowing. Ropes were dipped in sunflower oil (n = 7), semiochemical (n = 8), or milky cheese (n = 11). Piglet purposeful rope investigations, weight gain, and mortality were recorded. On Day 2, 75% of piglets touched the enrichment at least once, and frequency ranged from 1 to 21 investigations across all treatments. Frequency (p = 0.20) and duration (p = 0.21) of investigations were not affected by treatment. Preweaning litter average weight gain did not differ between treatments (p = 0.71). MC (milky cheese) piglets had the lowest percent mortality when the enrichment ropes were present (Days 2 to 5, p = 0.01), and SC (semiochemical) piglets had the lowest percent mortality after the enrichment ropes were removed (Days 6 to weaning, p < 0.0001). This proof-of-concept study highlights the potential value of neonatal piglet environmental enrichment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Farming and Breeding)
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Article
Characterization of Testicular Tumor Lesions in Dogs by Different Ultrasound Techniques
Animals 2022, 12(2), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020210 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 591
Abstract
In this retrospective study, we assessed the accuracy of different blood flow imaging in diagnosing testicular tumor types in dogs. We recruited 27 dogs with leydigomas (14), seminomas (eight), sertoliomas (six), and mixed cells (five) confirmed histopathologically. In intact dogs, Pampiniform plexus and [...] Read more.
In this retrospective study, we assessed the accuracy of different blood flow imaging in diagnosing testicular tumor types in dogs. We recruited 27 dogs with leydigomas (14), seminomas (eight), sertoliomas (six), and mixed cells (five) confirmed histopathologically. In intact dogs, Pampiniform plexus and marginal arteries were scanned through pulsed Doppler. Blood flow and presence of intralesional/perilesional arteries were assessed by color and power Doppler, B-flow, and contrast-enhanced ultrasound. Tumor types did not differ by B-Mode ultrasonography characters. Pampiniform and testicular arteries of sertoliomas had higher (p < 0.05) pulsatility and resistive indexes. The proportion of leydigomas with a perilesional and/or perilesional/intralesional blood flow pattern detected by color and pulsed Doppler and B-flow was higher (p < 0.05) than that of the other tumors counted together. This resulted in a sensitivity of 81.8%, 83.3%, and 85.7%, a specificity of 76.5%, 56.3%, and 73.7%, and a correct classification rate of 78.6%, 67.9%, and 78.8%, respectively. While contrast enhanced ultrasound was highly effective in detecting all tumors, qualitative and quantitative parameters did not contribute to their differential diagnosis. In conclusion, results indicate that different testicular tumor types of dogs have subtly different vascular patterns, a condition that could help in identifying leydigomas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) in Small and Large Animals)
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Review
Management of Chronic Congestive Heart Failure Caused by Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs: A Narrative Review from 1970 to 2020
Animals 2022, 12(2), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020209 - 16 Jan 2022
Viewed by 689
Abstract
The treatment of chronic congestive heart failure (CHF), secondary to myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in dogs, has considerably changed in the last fifty years. An analysis of the literature concerning the therapy of chronic CHF in dogs affected by MMVD is not [...] Read more.
The treatment of chronic congestive heart failure (CHF), secondary to myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in dogs, has considerably changed in the last fifty years. An analysis of the literature concerning the therapy of chronic CHF in dogs affected by MMVD is not available, and it is needed. Narrative reviews (NRs) are aimed at identifying and summarizing what has been previously published, avoiding duplications, and seeking new study areas that have not yet been addressed. The most accessible open-access databases, PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar, were chosen, and the searching time frame was set in five decades, from 1970 to 2020. The 384 selected studies were classified into categories depending on the aim of the study, the population target, the pathogenesis of MMVD (natural/induced), and the resulting CHF. Over the years, the types of studies have increased considerably in veterinary medicine. In particular, there have been 43 (24.29%) clinical trials, 41 (23.16%) randomized controlled trials, 10 (5.65%) cross-over trials, 40 (22.60%) reviews, 5 (2.82%) comparative studies, 17 (9.60%) case-control studies, 2 (1.13%) cohort studies, 2 (1.13%) experimental studies, 2 (1.13%) questionnaires, 6 (3.40%) case-reports, 7 (3.95%) retrospective studies, and 2 (1.13%) guidelines. The experimental studies on dogs with an induced form of the disease were less numerous (49–27.68%) than the studies on dogs affected by spontaneous MMVD (128–72.32%). The therapy of chronic CHF in dogs has considerably changed in the last fifty years: in the last century, some of the currently prescribed drugs did not exist yet, while others had different indications. Full article
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Article
Spawning Performance and Sex Steroid Levels in Female Pikeperch Sander lucioperca Treated with Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) Microparticles
Animals 2022, 12(2), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020208 - 16 Jan 2022
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Pikeperch Sander lucioperca is a piscivorous species considered a promising candidate for the diversification of intensive aquaculture. This study aimed to determine the effect of a sustained-release delivery system incorporating mammalian gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (mGnRHa) into poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles on the sex [...] Read more.
Pikeperch Sander lucioperca is a piscivorous species considered a promising candidate for the diversification of intensive aquaculture. This study aimed to determine the effect of a sustained-release delivery system incorporating mammalian gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (mGnRHa) into poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles on the sex steroid levels and aspects of artificial reproduction of pikeperch. Fish were divided into four groups and injected with 20 µg mGnRHa/kg, 5-day release microparticles encapsulated with 5 µg GnRHa/kg BW (PLGA 5), 20 µg GnRHa/kg (PLGA 20), or 1 mL/kg 0.9% NaCl (control). Cumulative percentage ovulation was 100% in the PLGA 5 group, significantly higher than in other tested groups. No differences among groups were observed in latency or fecundity. The level of 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) peaked at 40 h post-injection, and was sustained during ovulation, in all treated groups. The 17β-estradiol (E2) concentration increased in the mGnRHa-only group immediately after hormone injection, while both PLGA groups showed a reduction in E2 after injection, continuing to decrease until ovulation. A low dose of mGnRHa in PLGA microparticles significantly improves induction of ovulation and results in acceptable reproductive performance, which may positively affect pikeperch production under controlled conditions. Full article
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Article
Characterization of RNA Editome in the Mammary Gland of Yaks during the Lactation and Dry Periods
Animals 2022, 12(2), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020207 - 16 Jan 2022
Viewed by 474
Abstract
The mammary gland is a complicated organ comprising several types of cells, and it undergoes extensive morphogenetic and metabolic changes during the female reproductive cycle. RNA editing is a posttranscriptional modification event occurring at the RNA nucleotide level, and it drives transcriptomic and [...] Read more.
The mammary gland is a complicated organ comprising several types of cells, and it undergoes extensive morphogenetic and metabolic changes during the female reproductive cycle. RNA editing is a posttranscriptional modification event occurring at the RNA nucleotide level, and it drives transcriptomic and proteomic diversities, with potential functional consequences. RNA editing in the mammary gland of yaks, however, remains poorly understood. Here, we used REDItools to identify RNA editing sites in mammary gland tissues in yaks during the lactation period (LP, n = 2) and dry period (DP, n = 3). Totally, 82,872 unique RNA editing sites were identified, most of which were detected in the noncoding regions with a low editing degree. In the coding regions (CDS), we detected 5235 editing sites, among which 1884 caused nonsynonymous amino acid changes. Of these RNA editing sites, 486 were found to generate novel possible miRNA target sites or interfere with the initial miRNA binding sites, indicating that RNA editing was related to gene regulation mediated by miRNA. A total of 14,159 RNA editing sites (involving 3238 common genes) showed a significant differential editing level in the LP when compared with that in the DP through Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference method (p < 0.05). According to the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, genes that showed different RNA editing levels mainly participated in pathways highly related to mammary gland development, including MAPK, PI3K-Akt, FoxO, and GnRH signaling pathways. Collectively, this work demonstrated for the first time the dynamic RNA editome profiles in the mammary gland of yaks and shed more light on the mechanism that regulates lactation together with mammary gland development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
The Social Life of Pigs: Changes in Affiliative and Agonistic Behaviors following Mixing
Animals 2022, 12(2), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020206 - 16 Jan 2022
Viewed by 672
Abstract
This study investigated potentially affiliative behaviors in grow-finish pigs, how these behaviors changed over time and their relationship to agonistic behaviors. A total of 257 Yorkshire barrows were observed for agonistic (reciprocal fights, attacks) and affiliative (nosing, play, non-agonistic contact) behaviors after mixing [...] Read more.
This study investigated potentially affiliative behaviors in grow-finish pigs, how these behaviors changed over time and their relationship to agonistic behaviors. A total of 257 Yorkshire barrows were observed for agonistic (reciprocal fights, attacks) and affiliative (nosing, play, non-agonistic contact) behaviors after mixing (at 10 weeks of age), and weeks 3, 6, and 9 after mix. The least square means of affiliative behaviors were compared across time points. Relationships among affiliative and agonistic behaviors were assessed using generalized linear mixed models. Non-agonistic contact with conspecifics increased until week 6 then remained stable between weeks 6 and 9. Nosing was highest at mix, then decreased in the following weeks. Play was lowest at mix and highest at week 3. Affiliative behaviors were negatively related with aggression at mix (p < 0.001). Pigs who engaged in play and nosing behaviors were more likely to be involved in agonistic interactions in the weeks after mixing (p < 0.05), while pigs engaging in non-agonistic contact were less likely to be involved in agonistic interactions (p < 0.001). There appear to be relationships between affiliative and agonistic behaviors in pigs, with contact being the most predictive of less aggression. Future studies could focus on promoting positive non-agonistic contact in unfamiliar pigs as a way to mitigate aggressive interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Article
Myostatin Knockout Regulates Bile Acid Metabolism by Promoting Bile Acid Synthesis in Cattle
Animals 2022, 12(2), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020205 - 15 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 531
Abstract
Myostatin (MSTN) is a major negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass and causes a variety of metabolic changes. However, the effect of MSTN knockout on bile acid metabolism has rarely been reported. In this study, the physiological and biochemical alterations of serum in [...] Read more.
Myostatin (MSTN) is a major negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass and causes a variety of metabolic changes. However, the effect of MSTN knockout on bile acid metabolism has rarely been reported. In this study, the physiological and biochemical alterations of serum in MSTN+/− and wild type (WT) cattle were investigated. There were no significant changes in liver and kidney biochemical indexes. However, compared with the WT cattle, lactate dehydrogenase, total bile acid (TBA), cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the MSTN+/− cattle were significantly increased, and glucose, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides (TG) were significantly decreased, indicating that MSTN knockout affected glucose and lipid metabolism and total bile acids content. Targeted metabolomic analysis of the bile acids and their derivatives was performed on serum samples and found that bile acids were significantly increased in the MSTN+/− cattle compared with the WT cattle. As the only bile acid synthesis organ in the body, we performed metabolomic analysis on the liver to study the effect of MSTN knockout on hepatic metabolism. Metabolic pathway enrichment analysis of differential metabolites showed significant enrichment of the primary bile acid biosynthesis and bile secretion pathway in the MSTN+/− cattle. Targeted metabolomics data further showed that MSTN knockout significantly increased bile acid content in the liver, which may have resulted from enhanced bile acid synthesis due to the expression of bile acid synthesis genes, cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) and sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27A1), and upregulation in the liver of the MSTN+/− cattle. These results indicate that MSTN knockout does not adversely affect bovine fitness but regulates bile acid metabolism via enhanced bile acid synthesis. This further suggests a role of MSTN in regulating metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Article
Telomere Length in Pig Sperm Is Related to In Vitro Embryo Development Outcomes
Animals 2022, 12(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020204 - 15 Jan 2022
Viewed by 511
Abstract
Telomere length has attracted much interest as a topic of study in human reproduction; furthermore, the link between sperm telomere length and fertility outcomes has been investigated in other species. This biomarker, however, has not been much explored in other animals, such as [...] Read more.
Telomere length has attracted much interest as a topic of study in human reproduction; furthermore, the link between sperm telomere length and fertility outcomes has been investigated in other species. This biomarker, however, has not been much explored in other animals, such as pigs, and whether it is related to sperm quality and fertility outcomes remains unknown. The present work aimed to determine the absolute value of telomere length in pig sperm, as well as its relationship to sperm quality parameters and embryo development. Telomere length was determined through quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (qFISH) in 23 pig sperm samples and data were correlated to quality parameters (motility, morphology, and viability) and in vitro fertilization outcomes. We found that the mean telomere length in pig sperm was 22.1 ± 3.6 kb, which is longer than that previously described in humans. Whilst telomere length was not observed to be correlated to sperm quality variables (p > 0.05), a significant correlation between telomere length and the percentage of morulae 6 days after in vitro fertilization was observed (rs = 0.559; 95% C.I. = (−0.007 to 0.854); p = 0.047). Interestingly, this correlation was not found when percentages of early blastocysts/blastocysts (rs = 0.410; 95% C.I. = (−0.200 to 0.791); p = 0.164) and of hatching/hatched blastocysts (rs = 0.356; 95% C.I. = (− 0.260 to 0.766); p = 0.233) were considered. Through the separation of the samples into two groups by the median value, statistically significant differences between samples with shorter telomeres than the median and samples with longer telomeres than the median were found regarding development to morula (11.5 ± 3.6 vs. 21.8 ± 6.9, respectively) and to early blastocyst/blastocysts (7.6 ± 1.4 vs. 17.9 ± 12.2, respectively) (p < 0.05). In the light of these results, sperm telomere length may be a useful biomarker for embryo development in pigs, as sperm with longer telomeres lead to higher rates of morulae and blastocysts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sperm Quality and Fertility of Livestock Animals)
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Article
Tranquillizing Effect of Passiflora incarnata Extract: Outcome on Behavioral and Physiological Indicators in Weaning Pigs with Intact Tails
Animals 2022, 12(2), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020203 - 15 Jan 2022
Viewed by 467
Abstract
Tail docking has been used in the pig industry to decrease the occurrence of tail biting behavior. This abnormal behavior has a multifactorial origin since it is a response to simultaneous environmental, nutritional and management changes. Given the calming properties of Passiflora incarnata [...] Read more.
Tail docking has been used in the pig industry to decrease the occurrence of tail biting behavior. This abnormal behavior has a multifactorial origin since it is a response to simultaneous environmental, nutritional and management changes. Given the calming properties of Passiflora incarnata, we hypothesized that dietary supplementation with the extract in weaned pigs could result in a modification of behavior and physiologic indicators linked to stress. Weaned piglets (n = 120, mean body weight 9.07 ± 2.30 kg) were randomly allocated to one of two dietary treatments: control diet (CON) and CON supplemented with 1 kg/t of P. incarnata (PAS). The trial was 28 days long. The presence of skin lesions was assessed at d-1, d-10, d-19, and d-28, and saliva samples were collected for IgA and cortisol determinations at the same sampling times. Results showed the PAS group was characterized by equal growth performance as the CON group, fewer ear lesions (p < 0.05), less aggressive behavior (p < 0.001), higher enrichment exploration (p < 0.001) and lower cortisol levels (p < 0.01). Time effect was observed for tail lesions (p < 0.001) and behavioral observations (p < 0.001). Additional research is required to determine the effect of P. incarnata extract using a larger number of animals and longer period of supplementation when risks associated with tail biting are uncontrolled. Full article
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Article
Lying, Feeding and Activity Preference of Weaned Piglets for LED-Illuminated vs. Dark Pen Compartments
Animals 2022, 12(2), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020202 - 15 Jan 2022
Viewed by 451
Abstract
Little is known on the effect of light on pig behaviour. The choice behaviour of weaned piglets kept under two different light-emitting diode (LED) illuminance levels was investigated: 32 piglets (in two batches) were housed in a preference test room composed of two [...] Read more.
Little is known on the effect of light on pig behaviour. The choice behaviour of weaned piglets kept under two different light-emitting diode (LED) illuminance levels was investigated: 32 piglets (in two batches) were housed in a preference test room composed of two identical double pen units. One side of the pen unit was permanently illuminated with 600 lux, while the other was darkened to almost 0 lux (~0 lx); by using a passageway, piglets could move between the two sides. The “lying”, “eating” and “activity” behaviours were evaluated during three days in the first, third and fifth experimental week based on video recordings and a 5-min time sampling method. At first, piglets preferred to stay in the 600 lux illuminated compartments. Then, this preference decreased for the “eating” and “activity” behaviours and reversed for the “lying” behaviour, with the darkened compartments being preferred. The results also show that pen soiling was higher under 600 lux, but feed consumption was not affected by the illuminance. Since pigs choose between the two illuminance levels to perform specific behaviours, illuminance could be used to divide the pens into functional areas and, thus, help in meeting pigs’ behavioural needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour of Pigs in Relation to Housing Environment)
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Article
A Modified Memetic Algorithm with an Application to Gene Selection in a Sheep Body Weight Study
Animals 2022, 12(2), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020201 - 15 Jan 2022
Viewed by 486
Abstract
Selecting the minimal best subset out of a huge number of factors for influencing the response is a fundamental and very challenging NP-hard problem because the presence of many redundant genes results in over-fitting easily while missing an important gene can more detrimental [...] Read more.
Selecting the minimal best subset out of a huge number of factors for influencing the response is a fundamental and very challenging NP-hard problem because the presence of many redundant genes results in over-fitting easily while missing an important gene can more detrimental impact on predictions, and computation is prohibitive for exhaust search. We propose a modified memetic algorithm (MA) based on an improved splicing method to overcome the problems in the traditional genetic algorithm exploitation capability and dimension reduction in the predictor variables. The new algorithm accelerates the search in identifying the minimal best subset of genes by incorporating it into the new local search operator and hence improving the splicing method. The improvement is also due to another two novel aspects: (a) updating subsets of genes iteratively until the no more reduction in the loss function by splicing and increasing the probability of selecting the true subsets of genes; and (b) introducing add and del operators based on backward sacrifice into the splicing method to limit the size of gene subsets. Additionally, according to the experimental results, our proposed optimizer can obtain a better minimal subset of genes with a few iterations, compared with all considered algorithms. Moreover, the mutation operator is replaced by it to enhance exploitation capability and initial individuals are improved by it to enhance efficiency of search. A dataset of the body weight of Hu sheep was used to evaluate the superiority of the modified MA against the genetic algorithm. According to our experimental results, our proposed optimizer can obtain a better minimal subset of genes with a few iterations, compared with all considered algorithms including the most advanced adaptive best-subset selection algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Total Perineal Prostatectomy: A Retrospective Study in Six Dogs
Animals 2022, 12(2), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020200 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Perineal hernia refers to the herniation of pelvic and abdominal viscera into the subcutaneous perineal region through a pelvic diaphragm weakness: a concomitant prostatic disease is observed in 25–59% of cases. Prostatectomy involves the removal of the prostate, either partially (partial prostatectomy) or [...] Read more.
Perineal hernia refers to the herniation of pelvic and abdominal viscera into the subcutaneous perineal region through a pelvic diaphragm weakness: a concomitant prostatic disease is observed in 25–59% of cases. Prostatectomy involves the removal of the prostate, either partially (partial prostatectomy) or completely (total prostatectomy). In case of complicated perineal hernia, staged procedures are recommended: celiotomy in order to perform colopexy, vasopexy, cystopexy, and/or to treat the prostatic disease, and perineal access in order to repair the perineal hernia. Very few reports relate prostatectomy using a perineal approach and, to the extent of the author’s knowledge, this technique has not been thoroughly investigated in the literature. The aim of this article is to retrospectively describe the total perineal prostatectomy in dogs presenting perineal hernia with concomitant prostatic diseases which required the removal of the gland. The experience in six dogs (three dogs with the prostate within hernial contents and three dogs with intrapelvic prostate) is reported as well as advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of the surgical procedure. In the authors’ clinical practice, total perineal prostatectomy has been a useful surgical approach to canine prostatic diseases, proven to be safe, well tolerated, and effective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Article
The Quality of Five Natural, Historical Italian Cheeses Produced in Different Months: Gross Composition, Fat-Soluble Vitamins, Fatty Acids, Total Phenols, Antioxidant Capacity, and Health Index
Animals 2022, 12(2), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020199 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Five natural historic cheeses of Southern Italy were investigated—Caciocavallo Palermitano (CP), Casizolu del Montiferru (CdM), Vastedda della Valle del Belìce (VVB), Pecorino Siciliano (PS), and Caprino Nicastrese (CN)—which are produced with raw milk and with traditional techniques and tools, from autochthonous breeds [...] Read more.
Five natural historic cheeses of Southern Italy were investigated—Caciocavallo Palermitano (CP), Casizolu del Montiferru (CdM), Vastedda della Valle del Belìce (VVB), Pecorino Siciliano (PS), and Caprino Nicastrese (CN)—which are produced with raw milk and with traditional techniques and tools, from autochthonous breeds reared under an extensive system. The effects of the month of production on gross composition, MUFA, PUFA, PUFA-ω6, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, retinol, cholesterol, TPC, TEAC, and GHIC were evaluated. In CP, CLA, TPC, and GHIC were higher in April than in February. CdM showed higher values in terms of fat, saturated fatty acids, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, TEAC, and GHIC in May than in February and September, while low values in terms of protein, moisture, and CLA were found. In VVB, MUFA, PUFA-ω6, and α-tocopherol increased in June compared with April; conversely, protein, FRAP, and TEAC were higher in April. In PS, protein, CLA, PUFA, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, and GHIC increased in May compared with January; on the contrary, moisture, NaCl, and TEAC showed high values in January. CN showed higher values in terms of PUFA, PUFA-ω6, PUFA-ω3, TPC, TEAC, and GHIC in April and June compared with January. It is shown that each cheese is unique and closely linked to the production area. Cheeses produced in the spring months showed a high nutritional quality due to the greatest presence of healthy compounds originating from an extensive feeding system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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Article
Chemical Composition, Fatty Acid Profile, and Lipid Quality Indices in Commercial Ripening of Cow Cheeses from Different Seasons
Animals 2022, 12(2), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020198 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 461
Abstract
The aim of the study was to compare and demonstrate whether commercial rennet ripening cheeses available on the market in summer and winter differ in their chemical composition, fatty acid profile, content of cis9trans11 C18:2 (CLA) acid and other trans [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to compare and demonstrate whether commercial rennet ripening cheeses available on the market in summer and winter differ in their chemical composition, fatty acid profile, content of cis9trans11 C18:2 (CLA) acid and other trans isomers of C18:1 and C18:2 acid and whether they are characterized by different values of lipid quality assessment indices. The experimental material consisted of rennet ripening of cheeses produced from cow’s milk available in the Polish market. The first batch contained cheeses produced in winter and purchased from the market between May and June. The second batch contained cheeses produced in summer and purchased between November and December. Chemical composition was analyzed by FoodScan apparatus. The gas chromatography (GC) method was used to determine the content of fatty acids. Results obtained in the presented study indicate that the chemical composition, content of fatty acids trans isomers, and lipid quality indices varied between summer and winter cheeses. The summer cheeses were richer sources of MUFA and PUFA compared to winter cheeses. Summer cheeses were also characterized by lower content of SFA, higher content n − 3, lower n − 6/n − 3 ratio, and higher content of DFA. Higher contents of CLA and trans C18:1 and C18:2 were found in summer cheeses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional Quality Assessment in Milk and Dairy Products)
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Article
The Spatial Distribution of the House Mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, in Multi-Family Dwellings
Animals 2022, 12(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020197 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 637
Abstract
The house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, creates significant public health risks for residents in low-income multi-family dwellings (MFDs). This study was designed to evaluate the spatial distribution of house mice in MFDs. Four low-income high-rise apartment buildings in three cities in New [...] Read more.
The house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, creates significant public health risks for residents in low-income multi-family dwellings (MFDs). This study was designed to evaluate the spatial distribution of house mice in MFDs. Four low-income high-rise apartment buildings in three cities in New Jersey were selected for building-wide monitoring on two occasions with approximately one year between the monitoring events. The presence of a house mouse infestation was determined by placing mouse bait stations with three different non-toxic baits for a one-week period in all accessible units as well as common areas. Permutation tests were conducted to evaluate house mouse infestation spatial patterns. All four analyzed buildings exhibited a significant correlation between apartments with house mouse infestations and whether they share a common wall or ceiling/floor at both sampling periods except one building during the second inspection, which contained a high number of isolated apartments. Foraging ranges, speed of locomotion, and dispersal behavior of house mice are relatively larger, faster, and more common, respectively, compared to common urban arthropod pests. This could lead to the conclusion that house mice are as likely to infest non-neighboring apartments as those that share a wall or floor/ceiling. However, these results demonstrate that house mouse infestations tend to occur among apartments that share common walls or ceilings/floors. This spatial distribution pattern can be utilized in rodent management plans to improve the efficiency of house mouse management programs in MFDs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion)
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Article
Partial Vaginectomy, Complete Vaginectomy, Partial Vestibule-Vaginectomy, Vulvo-Vestibule-Vaginectomy and Vulvo-Vestibulectomy: Different Surgical Procedure in Order to Better Approach Vaginal Diseases
Animals 2022, 12(2), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020196 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 539
Abstract
Total or partial vulvo-vaginectomy or vaginectomy are not routinely performed due to the complexity of the techniques and because they are considered radical treatments. Little information can be found in the literature, as the same technique is often named in a different way [...] Read more.
Total or partial vulvo-vaginectomy or vaginectomy are not routinely performed due to the complexity of the techniques and because they are considered radical treatments. Little information can be found in the literature, as the same technique is often named in a different way by different authors, confusing the reader. Therefore, the aim of this essay is to describe five different surgical techniques: partial vaginectomy, complete vaginectomy, partial vestibule-vaginectomy, vulvo-vestibule-vaginectomy and vulvo-vestibulectomy. All techniques are described on the basis of the correct identification of the anatomical nomenclature related to structures involved in surgery, in order to give a more precise and unambiguous description and execution of surgical techniques. Moreover, possible intraoperative and perioperative complications and the authors’ clinical experience in 33 dogs are described. All techniques are well tolerated and could be curative in case of benign or malignant tumours that have not yet metastasized and palliative in other cases. Moreover, they are also useful for therapeutic purposes for chronic vaginitis, severe vaginal cysts or congenital abnormalities. It is our opinion that having five different available techniques to approach vaginal disease is useful to perform the best surgery according to the clinical findings, patient’s characteristics, technique invasiveness and whether it is palliative or not. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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Article
The Effect of Rider:Horse Bodyweight Ratio on the Superficial Body Temperature of Horse’s Thoracolumbar Region Evaluated by Advanced Thermal Image Processing
Animals 2022, 12(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020195 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 424
Abstract
Appropriate matching of rider–horse sizes is becoming an increasingly important issue of riding horses’ care, as the human population becomes heavier. Recently, infrared thermography (IRT) was considered to be effective in differing the effect of 10.6% and 21.3% of the rider:horse bodyweight ratio, [...] Read more.
Appropriate matching of rider–horse sizes is becoming an increasingly important issue of riding horses’ care, as the human population becomes heavier. Recently, infrared thermography (IRT) was considered to be effective in differing the effect of 10.6% and 21.3% of the rider:horse bodyweight ratio, but not 10.1% and 15.3%. As IRT images contain many pixels reflecting the complexity of the body’s surface, the pixel relations were assessed by image texture analysis using histogram statistics (HS), gray-level run-length matrix (GLRLM), and gray level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) approaches. The study aimed to determine differences in texture features of thermal images under the impact of 10–12%, >12 ≤15%, >15 <18% rider:horse bodyweight ratios, respectively. Twelve horses were ridden by each of six riders assigned to light (L), moderate (M), and heavy (H) groups. Thermal images were taken pre- and post-standard exercise and underwent conventional and texture analysis. Texture analysis required image decomposition into red, green, and blue components. Among 372 returned features, 95 HS features, 48 GLRLM features, and 96 GLCH features differed dependent on exercise; whereas 29 HS features, 16 GLRLM features, and 30 GLCH features differed dependent on bodyweight ratio. Contrary to conventional thermal features, the texture heterogeneity measures, InvDefMom, SumEntrp, Entropy, DifVarnc, and DifEntrp, expressed consistent measurable differences when the red component was considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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Article
Analysis Polyadenylation Signal Usage in Sus scrofa
Animals 2022, 12(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020194 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 409
Abstract
RNA polyadenylation is an important step in the messenger RNA (mRNA) maturation process, and the first step is recognizing the polyadenylation signal (PAS). The PAS type and distribution is a key determinant of post-transcriptional mRNA modification and gene expression. However, little is known [...] Read more.
RNA polyadenylation is an important step in the messenger RNA (mRNA) maturation process, and the first step is recognizing the polyadenylation signal (PAS). The PAS type and distribution is a key determinant of post-transcriptional mRNA modification and gene expression. However, little is known about PAS usage and alternative polyadenylation (APA) regulation in livestock species. Recently, sequencing technology has enabled the generation of a large amount of sequencing data revealing variation in poly(A) signals and APA regulation in Sus scrofa. We identified 62,491 polyadenylation signals in Sus scrofa using expressed sequence tag (EST) sequences combined with RNA-seq analysis. The composition and usage frequency of polyadenylation signal in Sus scrofa is similar with that of human and mouse. The most highly conserved polyadenylation signals are AAUAAA and AUUAAA, used for over 63.35% of genes. In addition, we also analyzed the U/GU-rich downstream sequence (DSE) element, located downstream of the cleavage site. Our results indicate that APA regulation was widely occurred in Sus scrofa, as in other organisms. Our result was useful for the accurate annotation of RNA 3′ ends in Sus scrofa and the analysis of polyadenylation signal usage in Sus scrofa would give the new insights into the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation. Full article
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Systematic Review
Canine Seventh Lumbar Vertebra Fracture: A Systematic Review
Animals 2022, 12(2), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020193 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 735
Abstract
(1) Background: Lumbosacral traumatic injuries are reported as 39% of canine vertebral lesions. This area is prone to fracture and luxation. Several surgical techniques were described from 1975 to 2021 to stabilize the traumatic injuries of the lumbosacral junction. This report aims to [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Lumbosacral traumatic injuries are reported as 39% of canine vertebral lesions. This area is prone to fracture and luxation. Several surgical techniques were described from 1975 to 2021 to stabilize the traumatic injuries of the lumbosacral junction. This report aims to critically review the available literature focused on clinical presentation, surgical techniques, and follow-up of the lumbar vertebra fracture. (2) Methods: Three bibliographic databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, and Scopus were used with a board search of Lumbosacral junction fracture AND, of L7 fracture AND (canine OR dog). The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal Checklist for case reports and case series was applied for the studies included. (3) Results: A total of 432 reports yielded only nine that met the inclusion criteria. Non-ambulatory paraparesis/plegia, sciatic nerve involvement, faecal/urinary incontinence, and severe back lumbar pain were the most reported signs. Survey radiographs were the most reported technique to confirm the diagnoses. The surgical treatment was reported in all reports examined with a good long-term prognosis. (4) Conclusions: The seventh lumbar vertebra fracture, despite the different surgical techniques performed, had a favourable prognosis for long-term outcome and neurological recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Orthopedics and Fracture Repair)
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Article
Trait-Based Vaccination of Individual Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) against Tuberculosis Provides Evidence to Support Targeted Disease Control
Animals 2022, 12(2), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020192 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 487
Abstract
Individuals vary in their potential to acquire and transmit infections, but this fact is currently underexploited in disease control strategies. We trialled a trait-based vaccination strategy to reduce tuberculosis in free-living meerkats by targeting high-contact meerkats (socially dominant individuals) in one study arm, [...] Read more.
Individuals vary in their potential to acquire and transmit infections, but this fact is currently underexploited in disease control strategies. We trialled a trait-based vaccination strategy to reduce tuberculosis in free-living meerkats by targeting high-contact meerkats (socially dominant individuals) in one study arm, and high-susceptibility individuals (young subordinates) in a second arm. We monitored infection within vaccinated groups over two years comparing the results with untreated control groups. Being a member of a high-contact group had a protective effect on individuals’ survival times (Hazard Ratio = 0.5, 95% Confidence Interval, CI: 0.29–0.88, p = 0.02) compared to control groups. Over the study, odds of testing positive for tuberculosis increased more than five-fold in control groups (Odds Ratio = 5.40, 95% CI = 0.94–30.98, p = 0.058); however, no increases were observed in either of the treatment arms. Targeted disease control approaches, such as the one described in this study, allow for reduced numbers of interventions. Here, trait-based vaccination was associated with reduced infection rates and thus has the potential to offer more efficient alternatives to traditional mass-vaccination policies. Such improvements in efficiency warrant further study and could make infectious disease control more practically achievable in both animal (particularly wildlife) and human populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Disease Ecology and Management)
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Article
Thermographic Screening of Beef Cattle Metatarsal Growth Plate Lesions
Animals 2022, 12(2), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020191 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 420
Abstract
Lameness represents one of the main causes of decreased productive performance and impaired animal welfare in the bovine industry. Young beef bulls are predisposed to develop diseases of the growing skeleton, especially growth plate lesions. Early diagnosis is indispensable for ensuring correct treatment, [...] Read more.
Lameness represents one of the main causes of decreased productive performance and impaired animal welfare in the bovine industry. Young beef bulls are predisposed to develop diseases of the growing skeleton, especially growth plate lesions. Early diagnosis is indispensable for ensuring correct treatment, fast recovery and reduction losses. However, when dealing with beef cattle, this is not always possible. Fast and reliable diagnostic imaging techniques are necessary to improve dealing with lameness in beef animals. The aim of the present study was to examine the potential of thermographic imaging as a non-invasive tool for rapidly screening beef bulls for the presence of growth plate lesions. Here, 20 Charolais and Limousine beef bulls affected by growth plate lesions in one of the rear limbs were selected. IRT was performed on both hind limbs using a digital infrared camera (ThermaCam T420 Model, Flir Systems, Boston, MA, USA), prior to radiographic imaging and clinical examination. The temperature of healthy and affected limbs was measured in two regions: the area correspondent to the growth plate (AR01) and the whole area of the metatarsus (AR02). Growth plate lesions were found to increase the maximum, mean, and minimum temperatures in AR01; and the mean and maximum temperatures in AR02, therefore, indicating the potential of IRT as a reliable, practical tool for screening growth plate lesions in beef bulls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnostic Imaging Applied to the Internal Medicine of Ruminants)
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Article
Varying Degrees of Animal Reification by Stakeholders in Experimental Research
Animals 2022, 12(2), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020190 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 387
Abstract
The attitude towards animals in research depends on both the role of the stakeholder and their personal characteristics. Most studies on the subject have been carried out on stakeholders from biomedical research institutes with comparatively few sociological studies on stakeholders from agricultural research [...] Read more.
The attitude towards animals in research depends on both the role of the stakeholder and their personal characteristics. Most studies on the subject have been carried out on stakeholders from biomedical research institutes with comparatively few sociological studies on stakeholders from agricultural research centers. Previous findings suggest that animal caretakers at agricultural research centers felt undervalued by the hierarchy, and that animal reification was present in the sector. This may indicate that a lack of consideration for the animal subjects correlates with an inadequate sensitivity towards humans. Since these findings were published twenty years ago, there has been an increasing emphasis on the importance and actions of ethics committees in research, animal welfare bodies, and public concern for animals, which may have impacted the current perspective. To better understand current degrees of animal reification amongst stakeholders of agricultural research, we conducted semi-directive interviews at a leading agricultural research institute in France (INRAE). The interviews targeted both animal caretakers and researchers who were involved in the study of infectious diseases in livestock, or the behavior of horses and quails. After having transcribed the recorded interviews into text, semi-automatized analyses were carried out to categorize them into distinct groups, from which the most characteristic words and sentences were extracted. Three groups of stakeholders were identified: (i) animal caretakers involved in invasive infectious disease research; (ii) animal caretakers involved in behavioral research; and (iii) researchers. The findings show that animal caretakers felt acknowledged by their hierarchy. It is possible the increased skill criteria for people recruited into this position over the years, combined with greater prospects for continuous learning and development in the profession, may have fostered a more respectful regard across the hierarchy. The animal caretakers clearly expressed that their primary objective was to successfully execute the research protocols and that the animals were viewed as prototypes for research, with which they could, on occasion, develop a bond with. The bond was more important for animal caretakers involved in behavioral studies than for those involved in the study of infectious diseases, where invasive biological sampling and restraining of the animals is required. Researchers prioritized the procurement of robust data to test hypotheses, analyze phenomena, and publish their results. Their concern for the animals rather reflected the views of the general public opposed to thought-out personal opinions on the matter; this is possibly due to their comparatively limited interaction with the animals. They considered the animals in abstract terms that were indicative of reification. This study concludes that animal reification is still present, albeit to varying degrees amongst the stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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Article
Platelet Lysate for Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Culture in the Canine and Equine Species: Analogous but Not the Same
Animals 2022, 12(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020189 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 507
Abstract
Platelet lysate (PL) is an attractive platelet-based therapeutic tool and has shown promise as xeno-free replacement for fetal bovine serum (FBS) in human and equine mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) culture. Here, we established a scalable buffy-coat-based protocol for canine PL (cPL) production (n [...] Read more.
Platelet lysate (PL) is an attractive platelet-based therapeutic tool and has shown promise as xeno-free replacement for fetal bovine serum (FBS) in human and equine mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) culture. Here, we established a scalable buffy-coat-based protocol for canine PL (cPL) production (n = 12). The cPL was tested in canine adipose MSC (n = 5) culture compared to FBS. For further comparison, equine adipose MSC (n = 5) were cultured with analogous equine PL (ePL) or FBS. During canine blood processing, platelet and transforming growth factor-β1 concentrations increased (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001), while white blood cell concentrations decreased (p < 0.05). However, while equine MSC showed good results when cultured with 10% ePL, canine MSC cultured with 2.5% or 10% cPL changed their morphology and showed decreased metabolic activity (p < 0.05). Apoptosis and necrosis in canine MSC were increased with 2.5% cPL (p < 0.05). Surprisingly, passage 5 canine MSC showed less genetic aberrations after culture with 10% cPL than with FBS. Our data reveal that using analogous canine and equine biologicals does not entail the same results. The buffy-coat-based cPL was not adequate for canine MSC culture, but may still be useful for therapeutic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stem Cells in Domestic Animals: Applications in Health and Production)
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Case Report
Herpetic Pneumonia in Indian Ringneck Parrots (Psittacula krameri): First Report of Novel Psittacid Alphaherpesvirus-5 Infection in Europe
Animals 2022, 12(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020188 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 629
Abstract
The first two European outbreaks of herpetic pneumonia caused by Psittacid alphaherpesvirus-5 were diagnosed based on gross pathology findings, histological examination, transmission electron microscopy visualization and genome sequencing. The outbreaks, characterized by high morbidity and high mortality rates, involved two parrot species, namely [...] Read more.
The first two European outbreaks of herpetic pneumonia caused by Psittacid alphaherpesvirus-5 were diagnosed based on gross pathology findings, histological examination, transmission electron microscopy visualization and genome sequencing. The outbreaks, characterized by high morbidity and high mortality rates, involved two parrot species, namely the Indian ringneck parrot (Psittacula krameri) and the Alexandrine parakeet (Psittacula eupatria). Clinical signs observed were ruffled feathers, dyspnea, tail bobbing, open wings while breathing, depression and anorexia. Necropsy was performed on Indian ringneck parrots only, and the most evident and serious gross lesion found in all the birds was a diffuse marked consolidation of the lungs associated with parenchyma congestion and oedema. Histological examination confirmed the existence of bronchopneumonia characterized by the presence of syncytial cells with intranuclear inclusion bodies. In one bird, fibrinous airsacculitis was observed as well. Lung tissue inspection through electron microscopy revealed the presence of virus particles resembling herpesviruses. Viral DNA was extracted, amplified using primers for Alloherpesviridae DNA polymerase gene detection, and then sequenced. BLAST analysis showed a 100% identity with the only previously reported sequence of PsHV-5 (MK955929.1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research in Animal Herpesviruses)
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