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Animals, Volume 12, Issue 5 (March-1 2022) – 138 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Veterinary lameness examinations often include collecting movement symmetry data and assessing the horse while it is ridden. Reference data for ‘Western style’ riding are currently lacking. Thirty reining Quarter Horses (QHs) were assessed with inertial sensors on head, withers, and pelvis during trot in-hand, lunged, and ridden on reining-purpose riding surfaces. Movement was marginally more symmetrical in the ridden horse. Typical for soft surfaces, movement asymmetry indicated reduced weight support with the limb on the inside of the circle and reduced pushoff with the opposite limb. The small but significant asymmetry differences between in-hand and ridden exercise necessitate further studies in lame QHs focusing on ridden exercise and differences between lameness causes with respect to the lame limb on the inside or outside of the circle. View this paper
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19 pages, 334 KiB  
Review
Avian Cell Culture Models to Study Immunomodulatory Properties of Bioactive Products
Animals 2022, 12(5), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050670 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3645
Abstract
Antimicrobial resistance is becoming a greater danger to both human and animal health, reducing the capacity to treat bacterial infections and increasing the risk of morbidity and mortality from resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial efficacy in the treatment of bacterial infections is still a major [...] Read more.
Antimicrobial resistance is becoming a greater danger to both human and animal health, reducing the capacity to treat bacterial infections and increasing the risk of morbidity and mortality from resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial efficacy in the treatment of bacterial infections is still a major concern in both veterinary and human medicine. Antimicrobials can be replaced with bioactive products. Only a small number of plant species have been studied in respect to their bioactive compounds. More research is needed to characterize and evaluate the therapeutic properties of the plant extracts. Due to the more and more common phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance, poultry farming requires the use of natural alternatives to veterinary antibiotics that have an immunomodulatory effect. These include a variety of bioactive products, such as plant extracts, essential oils, probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics. This article presents several studies on bioactive products and their immunomodulatory effects tested in vitro and ex vivo using various avian cell culture models. Primary cell cultures that have been established to study the immune response in chickens include peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), intestinal epithelial cells (IEC), and bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs). Chicken lymphatic lines that can be used to study immune responses are mainly: chicken B cells infected with avian leukemia RAV-1 virus (DT40), macrophage-like cell line (HD11), and a spleen-derived macrophage cell line (MQ-NCSU). Ex vivo organ cultures combine in vitro and in vivo studies, as this model is based on fragments of organs or tissues grown in vitro. As such, it mimics the natural reactions of organisms, but under controlled conditions. Most ex vivo organ cultures of chickens are derived from the ileum and are used to model the interaction between the gastrointestinal tract and the microbiota. In conclusion, the use of in vitro and ex vivo models allows for numerous experimental replications in a short period, with little or no ethical constraints and limited confounding factors. Full article
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12 pages, 3108 KiB  
Article
Number of Primordial Follicles in Juvenile Ringed Seals (Pusa hispida) from the Gulf of Bothnia and West Greenland
Animals 2022, 12(5), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050669 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1766
Abstract
Primordial follicles are important for the reproduction cycle and, therefore, also for the survival of the whole population of a species. Mammals have a large pool of primordial follicles, and it is thought that this pool represents the total number of oocytes. The [...] Read more.
Primordial follicles are important for the reproduction cycle and, therefore, also for the survival of the whole population of a species. Mammals have a large pool of primordial follicles, and it is thought that this pool represents the total number of oocytes. The aim of the present study was to determine the total primordial follicle number of juvenile ringed seals (Pusa hispida) from the Gulf of Bothnia and Greenland. Overall, 52 ovaries from two ringed seal populations (West Greenland (N = 6), Gulf of Bothnia, region in the Baltic Sea (N = 46)) were examined. All ovaries were cut into 2 mm thick slices and every slice was embedded in paraffin. Out of each tissue block, a 5 µm thick section was cut and stained with haematoxylin-eosin. The mean volume of the follicles and the total volume of primordial follicles per ovary were estimated by stereology and used to calculate the total estimated number of primordial follicles. The median of the total estimated number of primordial follicles seemed to be higher in Baltic individuals than in Greenland individuals (Gulf of Bothnia = 565,657; Greenland Sea = 122,475). This widens the total range of primordial follicles in ringed seals overall and might bear some potential for discussions regarding the influence of endocrine disruptors and environmental influences depending on different regions/populations and their exposure to various factors. Thus, this study aims to provide basic reference data of the number and mean volume of ringed seal primordial follicles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Wildlife Endocrinology and Reproduction)
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15 pages, 2029 KiB  
Article
Learning Ability and Hippocampal Transcriptome Responses to Early and Later Life Environmental Complexities in Dual-Purpose Chicks
Animals 2022, 12(5), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050668 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1699
Abstract
In this study, we hypothesized that complex early-life environments enhance the learning ability and the hippocampal plasticity when the individual is faced with future life challenges. Chicks were divided into a barren environment group (BG), a litter materials group (LG), and a perches [...] Read more.
In this study, we hypothesized that complex early-life environments enhance the learning ability and the hippocampal plasticity when the individual is faced with future life challenges. Chicks were divided into a barren environment group (BG), a litter materials group (LG), and a perches and litter materials group (PLG) until 31 days of age, and then their learning abilities were tested following further rearing in barren environments for 22 days. In response to the future life challenge, the learning ability showed no differences among the three groups. In the hippocampal KEGG pathways, the LG chicks showed the downregulation of neural-related genes neuronal growth regulator 1 (NEGR1) and neurexins (NRXN1) in the cell adhesion molecules pathway compared to the BG (p < 0.05). Immune-related genes TLR2 in Malaria and Legionellosis and IL-18 and IL18R1 in the TNF signaling pathway were upregulated in the LG compared to in the BG (p < 0.05). Compared to the BG, the PLG displayed upregulated TLR2A in Malaria (p < 0.05). The PLG showed upregulated neural-related gene, i.e., neuronal acetylcholine receptor subunit alpha-7-like (CHRNA8) in the nicotine addiction pathway and secretagogin (SCGN) gene expression, as compared to the LG (p < 0.05). In conclusion, early-life environmental complexities had limited effects on the learning ability in response to a future life challenge. Early-life perches and litter materials can improve neural- and immune-related gene expression and functional pathways in the hippocampus of chicks. Full article
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14 pages, 1346 KiB  
Article
Changes in Oxidative Status Biomarkers in Saliva and Serum in the Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome and Colic of Intestinal Aetiology: A Pilot Study
Animals 2022, 12(5), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050667 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3273
Abstract
Changes in the oxidative status of the blood of horses suffering from gastric ulcers and colic of intestinal aetiology (CIE) have been reported. However, saliva can also be a source of biomarkers of oxidative status. Therefore, this study aims to validate automated assays [...] Read more.
Changes in the oxidative status of the blood of horses suffering from gastric ulcers and colic of intestinal aetiology (CIE) have been reported. However, saliva can also be a source of biomarkers of oxidative status. Therefore, this study aims to validate automated assays for the measurement of oxidative status biomarkers (ferric reducing ability of saliva/serum—FRAS/FRAP, cupric reducing antioxidant capacity—CUPRAC, the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity—TEAC, uric acid, and advanced oxidation protein products—AOPP) in the saliva and serum of horses, to assess their changes in the different ulcer gastric diseases (squamous—ESGD and glandular—EGGD) and CIE, and to evaluate their relationship with serum amyloid A (SAA), adenosine deaminase (ADA), and the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) status. The assays showed a low imprecision and good linearity with enough sensitivity in both fluids. In EGGD, higher levels of FRAS, uric acid, and AOPP in saliva were observed compared to the healthy group, correlating with the salivary ADA levels. Horses with CIE showed increases in uric acid concentrations in serum associated with their SIRS status and outcome of the disease. In conclusion, analytes related to the oxidative status can be measured in the saliva and serum from horses by automated assays, and some of them can potentially be assessed as biomarkers in horses with gastric ulcers and CIE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Equids)
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16 pages, 362 KiB  
Article
A Peek into the Bacterial Microbiome of the Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Animals 2022, 12(5), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050666 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1823
Abstract
Sciurus vulgaris (the Eurasian red squirrel) is native to Europe and Asia, but due to habitat destruction or fragmentation, interspecific competition, and infectious diseases, especially in European island areas the species finds itself at the brink of extinction. The repopulation of such bare [...] Read more.
Sciurus vulgaris (the Eurasian red squirrel) is native to Europe and Asia, but due to habitat destruction or fragmentation, interspecific competition, and infectious diseases, especially in European island areas the species finds itself at the brink of extinction. The repopulation of such bare habitats requires healthy squirrel specimens, either translocated from other wild habitats or reintroduced to the wilderness following captive breeding. Captivity, nonetheless, has shown an immense capacity to reshape the structure of wild species’ microbiota, adapting it to the less diverse diet and fewer environmental challenges. Therefore, assessing the differences between “wild” and “captive” microbiota in this species could elucidate if special living conditions are needed in order to augment the survival rate of specimens reintroduced into the wild. Furthermore, the microflora profile of the normal flora of healthy red squirrels raised in captivity could support clinicians in addressing infectious diseases episodes and also raise awareness on the zoonotic risk. Hence, this study aimed at documenting the bacterial species carried by S. vulgaris, disclosing overall similarities and variability patterns of the microbiota identified in individuals from two different living environments. We anticipated that the bacterial community would be less diverse in individuals raised in captivity, owing to their restrictive diet and to unchanging conditions in the enclosure. We also hypothesized that there would be a higher prevalence of zoonotic microorganisms in the captive animals, due to the proximity of humans and of other domestic species. To test this, samples (n = 100) were taken from five body regions of 20 red squirrels, both free-ranging and bred in captivity, processed by classical microbiology techniques, and further identified by biochemical assay (VITEK®2 Compact System). A relatively poor bacterial community, comprising 62 bacterial strains belonging to 18 species and 8 different genera, was identified. Most of these microorganisms were reported for the first time in S. vulgaris. With no discrimination between living environments, the highest prevalence (p < 0.001), was registered in Staphylococcus sciuri (60%; 12/20), followed by Escherichia coli (45%; 9/20) and Bacillus cereus (35%; 7/20). The results suggest unremarkable differences in diversity and richness of the resident aerobic microbiota of S. vulgaris, in relation to the living environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
13 pages, 2416 KiB  
Article
Assessing Genomic Diversity and Selective Pressures in Bohai Black Cattle Using Whole-Genome Sequencing Data
Animals 2022, 12(5), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050665 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2668
Abstract
Bohai Black cattle are one of the well-known cattle breeds with black coat color in China, which are cultivated for beef. However, no study has conducted a comprehensive analysis of genomic diversity and selective pressures in Bohai Black cattle. Here, we performed a [...] Read more.
Bohai Black cattle are one of the well-known cattle breeds with black coat color in China, which are cultivated for beef. However, no study has conducted a comprehensive analysis of genomic diversity and selective pressures in Bohai Black cattle. Here, we performed a comprehensive analysis of genomic variation in 10 Bohai Black cattle (five newly sequenced and five published) and the published whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data of 50 cattle representing five “core” cattle populations. The population structure analysis revealed that Bohai Black cattle harbored the ancestry with European taurine, Northeast Asian taurine, and Chinese indicine. The Bohai Black cattle demonstrated relatively high genomic diversity from the other cattle breeds, as indicated by the nucleotide diversity (pi), the expected heterozygosity (HE) and the observed heterozygosity (HO), the linkage disequilibrium (LD) decay, and runs of homozygosity (ROH). We identified 65 genes containing more than five non-synonymous SNPs (nsSNPs), and an enrichment analysis revealed the “ECM-receptor interaction” pathways associated with meat quality in Bohai Black cattle. Five methods (CLR, θπ, FST, θπ ratio, and XP-EHH) were used to find several pathways and genes carried selection signatures in Bohai Black cattle, including black coat color (MC1R), muscle development (ITGA9, ENAH, CAPG, ABI2, and ISLR), fat deposition (TBC1D1, CYB5R4, TUSC3, and EPS8), reproduction traits (SPIRE2, KHDRBS2, and FANCA), and immune system response (CD84, SLAMF1, SLAMF6, and CDK10). Taken together, our results provide a valuable resource for characterizing the uniqueness of Bohai Black cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Genetic Diversity in Domestic Animals)
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16 pages, 3033 KiB  
Article
The Characteristics and Distribution of α2D-, α2B- and α2C-Adrenoceptor Subtypes in Goats
Animals 2022, 12(5), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050664 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1540
Abstract
α2-Adrenegic receptors (α2Rs) are important presynaptic modulators of central noradrenergic function (auto receptors) and postsynaptic mediators of many of the widespread effects of catecholamines and related drugs. Studies have shown that ruminants (such as goats and cattle) express special α2DR subtypes in addition [...] Read more.
α2-Adrenegic receptors (α2Rs) are important presynaptic modulators of central noradrenergic function (auto receptors) and postsynaptic mediators of many of the widespread effects of catecholamines and related drugs. Studies have shown that ruminants (such as goats and cattle) express special α2DR subtypes in addition to α2BR and α2CR. Real-time quantitative PCR and Western blotting were used to investigate the distribution and density of α2R in different nuclei of the goat central nervous system, selected regions of the spinal cord (L4-L6), and in various peripheral tissues. α2-AR subtype-specific antibodies were injected intrathecally and intracerebroventricularly into the tested goats to block the corresponding subtype of receptors. Pain threshold and physiological parameters were evaluated to explore the functional characteristics of α2BR, α2CR and α2DR in goats. Our results suggest that the expression of the mRNAs and proteins of all three α2R subtypes are widely but unevenly distributed in the goat CNS and peripheral tissues. Furthermore, α2DR plays a more important role in α2R-mediated analgesia in goats than α2BR and α2CR, whereas α2CR activation exerts a greater effect on body temperature than α2BR and α2DR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Use of Therapeutic Drugs for Improved Animal Welfare)
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18 pages, 2900 KiB  
Article
The Arrangement of the Peripheral Olfactory System of Pleuragramma antarcticum: A Well-Exploited Small Sensor, an Aided Water Flow, and a Prominent Effort in Primary Signal Elaboration
Animals 2022, 12(5), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050663 - 06 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2438
Abstract
The olfactory system is constituted in a consistent way across vertebrates. Nasal structures allow water/air to enter an olfactory cavity, conveying the odorants to a sensory surface. There, the olfactory neurons form, with their axons, a sensory nerve projecting to the telencephalic zone—named [...] Read more.
The olfactory system is constituted in a consistent way across vertebrates. Nasal structures allow water/air to enter an olfactory cavity, conveying the odorants to a sensory surface. There, the olfactory neurons form, with their axons, a sensory nerve projecting to the telencephalic zone—named the olfactory bulb. This organization comes with many different arrangements, whose meaning is still a matter of debate. A morphological description of the olfactory system of many teleost species is present in the literature; nevertheless, morphological investigations rarely provide a quantitative approach that would help to provide a deeper understanding of the structures where sensory and elaborating events happen. In this study, the peripheral olfactory system of the Antarctic silverfish, which is a keystone species in coastal Antarctica ecosystems, has also been described, employing some quantitative methods. The olfactory chamber of this species is connected to accessory nasal sacs, which probably aid water movements in the chamber; thus, the head of the Antarctic silverfish is specialized to assure that the olfactory organ keeps in contact with a large volume of water—even when the fish is not actively swimming. Each olfactory organ, shaped like an asymmetric rosette, has, in adult fish, a sensory surface area of about 25 mm2, while each olfactory bulb contains about 100,000 neurons. The sensory surface area and the number of neurons in the primary olfactory brain region show that this fish invests energy in the detection and elaboration of olfactory signals and allow comparisons among different species. The mouse, for example—which is considered a macrosmatic vertebrate—has a sensory surface area of the same order of magnitude as that of the Antarctic silverfish, but ten times more neurons in the olfactory bulb. Catsharks, on the other hand, have a sensory surface area that is two orders of magnitude higher than that of the Antarctic silverfish, while the number of neurons has the same order of magnitude. The Antarctic silverfish is therefore likely to rely considerably on olfaction. Full article
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15 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
How Serious Are Health-Related Welfare Problems in Unowned Unsocialised Domestic Cats? A Study from Denmark Based on 598 Necropsies
Animals 2022, 12(5), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050662 - 06 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2635
Abstract
Free ranging unsocialised domestic cats are widely believed to suffer from a high load of welfare problems. We assessed the validity of this belief by performing necropsies on the corpses of 598 unsocialised cats, originating from all parts of Denmark, that had been [...] Read more.
Free ranging unsocialised domestic cats are widely believed to suffer from a high load of welfare problems. We assessed the validity of this belief by performing necropsies on the corpses of 598 unsocialised cats, originating from all parts of Denmark, that had been euthanised by two Danish cat welfare organisations. We selected a number of variables for health-related cat welfare that could be assessed through necropsy (e.g., gross lesions, ectoparasites and body condition) or by laboratory analysis (e.g., infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and by feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)). Each finding was classified as having either a major or minor welfare impact on the cat. More than 83% of the cats had no major finding, and 54% had no finding indicating a welfare issue at all. More than 83% of the cats had a body condition within normal range. Only 0.3% were emaciated. The most common finding was infestation with ectoparasites, with 15.9% infected with lice, 12.3% with fleas, 4.7% with ticks, and 6.7% with ear mites. FIV and FeLV were detected in 9.2% and 1.2% of the cases, respectively. The most common lesion related to the cats’ teeth. Overall, unsocialised cats in Denmark have a moderate level of health-related welfare problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioural Ecology and Welfare of Free-Ranging Cats)
10 pages, 234 KiB  
Article
A Descriptive Study on the Extent of Dietary Information Obtained during Consultations at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Animals 2022, 12(5), 661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050661 - 06 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1833
Abstract
The majority of dogs with chronic idiopathic gastrointestinal (GI) disease respond to diet. So far, no study has assessed how much dietary information is obtained during consultations. We retrospectively evaluated what dietary information was available from dogs presenting to our Gastroenterology (GE), and [...] Read more.
The majority of dogs with chronic idiopathic gastrointestinal (GI) disease respond to diet. So far, no study has assessed how much dietary information is obtained during consultations. We retrospectively evaluated what dietary information was available from dogs presenting to our Gastroenterology (GE), and Internal Medicine (IM) Service between 10/2017 and 01/2020. Data from 243 dogs presenting for first GE consultations were compared to 239 dogs presenting with chronic GI signs for first IM consultations. Referrals comprised 131 (54%) GE dogs and 112 (47%) IM dogs. Referral documents specified the previously fed diet in 53/131 (40%) GE and 14/112 (13%) IM dogs. No dog had received more than one previous diet trial for chronic GI signs. Irrespective of referral status, diet trials had been performed in 127/199 (64%) GE, and 56/156 (36%) IM dogs. The specific diet fed at the time of consultation could only be named by 106/199 (53%) GE and 40/156 (26%) IM dog owners. Data on response to subsequent newly prescribed diets were available from 86 GE dogs and 88 IM dogs. A positive response to diet was noted in 50/86 (58%) GE and 26/88 (30%) IM dogs. A further 23/35 (66%) GE dogs and 12/21 (57%) IM dogs responded positively to a second diet trial, and 4/9 GE dogs (44%) and 6/7 (86%) IM dogs responded positively to a third diet trial. In conclusion, overall dietary information gained from referring veterinarians and owners was often incomplete. More dietary information could be gained during GE consultations compared to IM consultations for chronic GI signs. A positive response to diet can still be seen after two diet failures. Further studies will help to ascertain if the percentage of diet-responsive GI disease increases when more complete dietary information is obtained at the time of consultations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Canine and Feline Gastrointestinal Disease)
22 pages, 40848 KiB  
Article
A Multi-Point Identification Approach for the Recognition of Individual Leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya)
Animals 2022, 12(5), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050660 - 06 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6420
Abstract
Visual leopard identifications performed with camera traps using the capture–recapture method only consider areas of the skin that are visible to the equipment. The method presented here considered the spot or rosette formations of either the two flanks or the face, and the [...] Read more.
Visual leopard identifications performed with camera traps using the capture–recapture method only consider areas of the skin that are visible to the equipment. The method presented here considered the spot or rosette formations of either the two flanks or the face, and the captured images were then compared and matched with available photographs. Leopards were classified as new individuals if no matches were found in the existing set of photos. It was previously assumed that an individual leopard’s spot or rosette pattern would not change. We established that the spot and rosette patterns change over time and that these changes are the result of injuries in certain cases. When compared to the original patterns, the number of spots may be lost or reduced, and some spots or patterns may change in terms of their prominence, shape, and size. We called these changes “obliterate changes” and “rejig changes”, respectively. The implementation of an earlier method resulted in a duplication of leopard counts, achieving an error rate of more than 15% in the population at Yala National Park. The same leopard could be misidentified and counted multiple times, causing overestimated populations. To address this issue, we created a new two-step methodology for identifying Sri Lankan leopards. The multi-point identification method requires the evaluation of at least 9–10 spot areas before a leopard can be identified. Moreover, the minimum leopard population at the YNP 1 comprises at least 77 leopards and has a density of 0.5461 leopards per km2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Recent Advance in Wildlife Conservation)
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16 pages, 3411 KiB  
Article
Associations between Animal Welfare Indicators and Animal-Related Factors of Slaughter Cattle in Austria
Animals 2022, 12(5), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050659 - 05 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3669
Abstract
Three cattle welfare indicators (lameness, dirtiness, and abomasal disorders) were evaluated in 412 slaughter cattle in a cross-sectional study in Austria. The aims of this study were (1) to evaluate the prevalence of lameness, dirtiness of slaughter cattle, and abomasal disorders; and (2) [...] Read more.
Three cattle welfare indicators (lameness, dirtiness, and abomasal disorders) were evaluated in 412 slaughter cattle in a cross-sectional study in Austria. The aims of this study were (1) to evaluate the prevalence of lameness, dirtiness of slaughter cattle, and abomasal disorders; and (2) to determine the association between these welfare indicators and animal-related factors (e.g., housing type, carcass weight, transportation and waiting duration of the animals). The lameness prevalence was 0.73%, the abomasal disorders prevalence was 52.43%, and 88.59% of all cattle were contaminated. The latter result indicates that the cattle were kept in a dirty environment. The occurrence of abomasal disorders was associated with cattle housing systems (p ≤ 0.00) and slaughter weight (p = 0.03). The odds for abomasal disorders were 28.0 times higher for cattle housed on slatted flooring compared to cattle kept in a tethered system. The chance for occurrence of abomasal disorders was 3.6 times higher for cattle with a low carcass weight compared to cattle with a high carcass weight. Furthermore, significant associations were found between dirtiness (also referred to as cleanliness or contamination) and husbandry system, sex, and breed. Cattle housed in deep litter boxes had 40.8 times higher odds of being contaminated compared to cattle in a tethered housing system. Cows (odds: 32.9) and heifers (odds: 4.4) had higher odds of being contaminated with feces compared to bulls, whereby female calves (odds: 0.09) and male calves (odds: 0.02) had significantly lower odds of being contaminated. Furthermore, the breeds Brown Swiss (odds: 0.26) and Holstein-Friesian (odds: 0.14) had a significantly lower chance of being contaminated compared to Simmental cattle. Other collected factors, such as production system, transportation duration, life days of the cattle, average daily weight gain, carcass classification, and fat coverage, showed no association with the collected welfare indicators. The study presented here indicates that welfare indicators evaluated for slaughter cattle are suitable to assess cattle welfare, and improvements in husbandry may positively impact both the abomasal physiology and cleanliness of cattle. Full article
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13 pages, 413 KiB  
Article
Piglet Morphology: Indicators of Neonatal Viability?
Animals 2022, 12(5), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050658 - 05 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2509
Abstract
The morphological measures, crown-to-rump length (CR), and abdominal circumference (AC) have been suggested to be as good, if not better, than birth weight for predicting piglet performance. We explored the relationships between CR and AC, and piglet weights at birth and 24 h, [...] Read more.
The morphological measures, crown-to-rump length (CR), and abdominal circumference (AC) have been suggested to be as good, if not better, than birth weight for predicting piglet performance. We explored the relationships between CR and AC, and piglet weights at birth and 24 h, to investigate their predictive value for piglet survival. Piglet weight and AC at birth and 24 h, and CR at 24 h were recorded for 373 piglets born to 31 sows. Morphological measures were categorised into two levels for weight and three levels for AC and CR. Further, AC and CR groupings were concatenated to create a new variable (PigProp) to describe the proportionality of piglet morphology. Proportionate piglets had equal CR and AC levels, and disproportionate piglets had contrasting levels. Birth AC was a good predictor of colostrum intake (p < 0.001) when accounting for birth weight, but 24 h weight and PigProp were good indicators of actual colostrum intake (p < 0.001 for both). The significant interaction of colostrum and PigProp showed that within the smaller piglet groups, those who had greater than 200 g of colostrum had higher 24 h weight and survival (p < 0.001 both). As expected, as body weight and colostrum intake increased, so did weight change to d 21 (P = 0.03 and trend at p = 0.1, respectively). A similar pattern was seen with increasing PigProp group (p < 0.001); however, piglets from the disproportionate group 1,3 had the greatest observed weight change (5.15 ± 0.06 kg). Our data show morphological measures may be more predictive of piglet viability in terms of both performance and survival than weight and there may be subgroups that have higher than expected chances of survival. Full article
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16 pages, 2225 KiB  
Review
Origin, Migration, and Reproduction of Indigenous Domestic Animals with Special Reference to Their Sperm Quality
Animals 2022, 12(5), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050657 - 05 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2539
Abstract
Indigenous domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens have a natural resistance to endo- and ecto-parasites and are tolerant in terms of harsh environmental conditions. These species orginated from the Fertile Cresent between 12,000 and 10,000 BP before migrating into [...] Read more.
Indigenous domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens have a natural resistance to endo- and ecto-parasites and are tolerant in terms of harsh environmental conditions. These species orginated from the Fertile Cresent between 12,000 and 10,000 BP before migrating into surrounding continents. In view of limited information on the reproductive status of indigenous breeds, it is important to examine their semen characteristics in order to select males to improve livestock production. We have largely relied on existing literature but also our published and ongoing research on sperm quality assessment of several indigenous breeds. The sperm quality of these breeds is similar to current commercial breeds and has been quantified using cutting-edge methods. In this context, we have presented sperm functional tests which provide a better estimate of semen quality than just a standard semen analysis. Initial results suggest that the indigenous breeds have a high sperm quality and sperm functionality similar to currently farmed exotic or crossbreeds. In the long-term, the importance of preserving the favorable traits of these breeds is a priority in view of crossbreeding with existing good meat and milk producers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Reproduction: Semen Quality Assessment)
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9 pages, 262 KiB  
Commentary
African Swine Fever—How to Unravel Fake News in Veterinary Medicine
Animals 2022, 12(5), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050656 - 05 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2936
Abstract
In recent years, fake scientific news has spread much faster through the Internet and social media within the so-called “infodemic”. African Swine Fever (ASF) is a perfect case study to prove how fake news can undermine the public health response, even in the [...] Read more.
In recent years, fake scientific news has spread much faster through the Internet and social media within the so-called “infodemic”. African Swine Fever (ASF) is a perfect case study to prove how fake news can undermine the public health response, even in the veterinary field. ASF is a highly contagious infective disease affecting exclusively domestic and wild pigs such as wild boars. ASF can cause social damage and economic losses both directly (due to the high mortality rate) and indirectly (due to international sanctions). Although ASF is not a threat to human health, since 2018 newspapers have often reported false or misleading news, ranging from misinterpreted findings/data to fake or alarmistic news. In some cases, fake news was spread, such as the use of snipers at the border of nations to kill wild boars, or those reports concerning possible risks to human health. In order to provide real and fact-based news on epidemics, some organizations have created easy-to-read infographic and iconographic materials, available on their websites, to help the readers identifying the fake news. Indeed, it is crucial that governments and scientific organizations work against fear and anxiety, using simple and clear communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Wildlife Disease Ecology and Management)
8 pages, 253 KiB  
Case Report
Influence of a Single Dose of Meloxicam Administrated during Canine Estrus on Progesterone Concentration and Fertility—A Clinical Case Study
Animals 2022, 12(5), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050655 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2438
Abstract
This case report presents an observation of the influence of meloxicam administration, during the periovulatory phase, on corpora lutea function in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris). A 2 year old female German Shepherd dog, with a level of progesterone suggestive of the periovulatory [...] Read more.
This case report presents an observation of the influence of meloxicam administration, during the periovulatory phase, on corpora lutea function in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris). A 2 year old female German Shepherd dog, with a level of progesterone suggestive of the periovulatory period (5.97 ng/mL), received a single subcutaneous injection of meloxicam (0.2 mg/kg body weight). In this female, subsequent evaluation to detect the optimal time for mating revealed a strong decrease in P4 (2.77 ng/mL), although it increased to 13.98 ng/mL within the following three days. The same female conceived and delivered a litter of the same size as in a subsequent cycle where meloxicam was not administered. The use of NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and particularly meloxicam, as a COX-2 inhibitor that influences the production of prostaglandins has been reported as being potentially harmful for ovulation and pregnancy in various species, including humans. In dogs, the secretion of prostaglandin E (PGE) is thought to be important for ovulation and the formation of the corpora lutea, the only source of P4, which is required for pregnancy maintenance. Although previous case reports have indicated an influence of meloxicam administration on CL function in domestic dogs, here, the decreased progesterone level observed directly after a single dose of meloxicam was only temporary, with no negative impact on fertility. Based on our observations, further studies related to the influence of the timing of meloxicam administration on ovarian cycle advancement, as well as the influence of duration of treatment, dosage, and route of administration on progesterone levels, as an indicator of CL function, are required. Full article
15 pages, 1208 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Nesfatin-1 on Bone Metabolism Markers Concentration, Densitometric, Tomographic and Mechanical Parameters of Skeletal System of Rats in the Conditions of Established Osteopenia
Animals 2022, 12(5), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050654 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1615
Abstract
Our study aimed to evaluate the impact of nesfatin-1 administration on bone metabolism and properties in established osteopenia in ovariectomized female rats. In total, 21 female Wistar rats were assigned to two groups: sham-operated (SHAM, n = 7) and ovariectomized (OVA, n = [...] Read more.
Our study aimed to evaluate the impact of nesfatin-1 administration on bone metabolism and properties in established osteopenia in ovariectomized female rats. In total, 21 female Wistar rats were assigned to two groups: sham-operated (SHAM, n = 7) and ovariectomized (OVA, n = 14). After 12 weeks of osteopenia induction in the OVA females, the animals were given i.p. physiological saline (OVA, n = 7) or 2 µg/kg body weight of nesfatin-1(NES, n = 7) for the next 8 weeks. The SHAM animals received physiological saline at the same time. Final body weight, total bone mineral density and content of the skeleton were estimated. Then, isolated femora and tibias were subjected to densitometric, tomographic, and mechanical tests. Bone metabolism markers, i.e., osteocalcin, bone specific alkaline phosphatase (bALP), and crosslinked N-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (NTx) were determined in serum using an ELISA kit. Ovariectomy led to negative changes in bone metabolism associated with increased resorption, thus diminishing the densitometric, tomographic, and mechanical parameters. In turn, the administration of nesfatin-1 led to an increase in the value of the majority of the tested parameters of bones. The lowest bALP concentration and the highest NTx concentration were found in the OVA females. The bALP concentration was significantly higher after nesfatin-1 administration in comparison to the OVA rats. In conclusion, the results indicate that nesfatin-1 treatment limits bone loss, preserves bone architecture, and increases bone strength in condition of established osteopenia. Full article
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13 pages, 1293 KiB  
Article
Effects of Age at First Joining and Ewe Genotype on the Performance of Two-Tooth Ewes and That of Their Progeny to Slaughter
Animals 2022, 12(5), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050653 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1341
Abstract
The effects of first-joining age (7 or 19 months) and genotype on ewe performance when joined to lamb at 2 years, and the performance of their progeny, were evaluated using 424 ewes, representing 3 genotypes: Belclare (Bel), Suffolk × Belclare (Suf × Bel) [...] Read more.
The effects of first-joining age (7 or 19 months) and genotype on ewe performance when joined to lamb at 2 years, and the performance of their progeny, were evaluated using 424 ewes, representing 3 genotypes: Belclare (Bel), Suffolk × Belclare (Suf × Bel) and Suffolk-type (≥75% Suffolk ancestry (Suf75)). Ewes were managed in a grass-based system. Ewes first joined at 7 months were lighter (p < 0.01) at 19 months and immediately post lambing; otherwise, age at first joining had no effects (p > 0.05) on ewes or their progeny and there were no important interactions with genotype. Bel and Suf × Bel had larger litters (p < 0.001) and reared more lambs per ewe joined (p < 0.01) than Suf75. Ewe genotype had no effect (p > 0.05) on proportion failing to lamb, incidence of lambing assistance, lamb mortality, ewe survival to 31 months, or progeny performance. Increasing the body weight of ewes at 7 months of age increased the probability (p < 0.02) of rearing 1 or more lambs at 2 years and there was no interaction with genotype. It is concluded that age at first joining had no negative impact on the performance of ewes or their progeny. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hogget Production and Longevity)
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9 pages, 1156 KiB  
Article
Sperm Gone Smart: A Portable Device (iSperm®) to Assess Semen Concentration and Motility in Dogs
Animals 2022, 12(5), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050652 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2748
Abstract
The iSperm® is a portable device for semen analysis. This study aimed to investigate its correlation with a conventional computer-assisted sperm analyzer (ISAS®v1) for the assessment of semen concentration and kinematic parameters in dogs (n = 224). The intra-assay [...] Read more.
The iSperm® is a portable device for semen analysis. This study aimed to investigate its correlation with a conventional computer-assisted sperm analyzer (ISAS®v1) for the assessment of semen concentration and kinematic parameters in dogs (n = 224). The intra-assay variability of both devices and their ability to estimate semen concentration at a fixed value of 40 × 106/mL were also investigated. Results showed that the intra-assay variability was lower for the ISAS®v1 for all parameters compared to the iSperm®. Hence, iSperm® estimates were more variable in-between fields. Both the iSperm® and the ISAS®v1 were not reliable in estimating semen concentration (ISAS®v1: median 30 × 106/mL, interquartile range (IQR) 12, p < 0.01; iSperm®: median 35.12 × 106/mL, IQR 11.11, p < 0.01). Finally, positive correlations were found between both devices with stronger correlations obtained when four fields were analyzed by the iSperm®. However, the low number of spermatozoa analyzed per field and the inability to avoid artifacts are downsides that currently limit the reliability of the iSperm®. Therefore, the software of iSperm® needs some improvement to make it a valid and practical alternative to automated computerized systems for the analysis of canine semen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotechnology and Reproduction in Companion Animals)
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14 pages, 566 KiB  
Systematic Review
Molecular Biomarkers of Adult Human and Dog Stress during Canine-Assisted Interventions: A Systematic Scoping Review
Animals 2022, 12(5), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050651 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2694
Abstract
Positive relationships, including those between humans and other animals, particularly dogs, may be a way to reduce stress in humans. However, research into this area is relatively new, and a comprehensive review of the impacts of these interactions on humans and dogs has [...] Read more.
Positive relationships, including those between humans and other animals, particularly dogs, may be a way to reduce stress in humans. However, research into this area is relatively new, and a comprehensive review of the impacts of these interactions on humans and dogs has not been conducted. A scoping review of the scientific literature was conducted to explore what is known about the impacts of canine-assisted interventions on molecular biomarkers (e.g., cortisol and oxytocin) and associated measures (e.g., heart rate and blood pressure) of human and canine stress. As reported across 27 identified studies, canine-assisted interventions have consistently been demonstrated to elicit positive changes in human stress markers, and typically do not cause negative impacts on the studied canine stress markers. However, results were inconsistent across measures of stress. For example, in humans, it was common for a study to show improvements to cortisol levels but no change to self-reported stress, or vice versa. Many of the reviewed studies also had significant methodological issues, such as not aligning the timing of sample collections to when the analyzed stress biomarkers could be expected to peak. More rigorous research should be conducted on the impacts of canine-assisted interventions on a wider range of stress biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers of Health and Welfare from a One Health Context)
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16 pages, 3083 KiB  
Article
Integration of Long Non-Coding RNA and mRNA Profiling Reveals the Mechanisms of Different Dietary NFC/NDF Ratios Induced Rumen Development in Calves
Animals 2022, 12(5), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050650 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1538
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of dietary non-fibrous carbohydrate to neutral detergent fiber (NFC/NDF) ratios on rumen development of calves, and to investigate the mechanisms by integrating of lncRNA and mRNA profiling. Forty-five weaned Charolais hybrid calves [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of dietary non-fibrous carbohydrate to neutral detergent fiber (NFC/NDF) ratios on rumen development of calves, and to investigate the mechanisms by integrating of lncRNA and mRNA profiling. Forty-five weaned Charolais hybrid calves [body weight = 94.38 ± 2.50 kg; age = 70 ± 2.69 d] were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment groups with different dietary NFC/NDF ratios: 1.10 (H group), 0.94 (M group) and 0.60 (L group), respectively. The ventral sac of the rumen was sampled for morphological observation and transcriptional sequencing. The average daily gain of calves in the high NFC/NDF ratio group was significantly higher than that in other groups (p < 0.05). Papillae width was largest in high NFC/NDF ratio group calves (p < 0.05). Identified differentially expressed genes that were significantly enriched in pathways closely related to rumen epithelial development included focal adhesion, Wingless-int signaling pathway, thyroid hormone signaling pathway, regulation of actin cytoskeleton and cGMP-PKG signaling pathway. The lncRNA-mRNA network included XLOC_068691 and MOAB, XLOC_023657 and DKK2, XLOC_064331 and PPP1R12A which we interpret to mean they have important regulatory roles in calve rumen development. These findings will serve as a theoretical basis for further analysis of the molecular genetic mechanism of dietary factors affecting rumen development in calves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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12 pages, 746 KiB  
Article
Soybean vs. Pea Bean in the Diet of Medium-Growing Broiler Chickens Raised under Semi-Intensive Conditions of Inner Mediterranean Areas: Growth Performance and Environmental Impact
Animals 2022, 12(5), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050649 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2913
Abstract
The effects of Glycine max L. (SOY) vs. Pisum sativum L. (PEA) in the diet were investigated on in vivo performance of two medium-growing broiler genotypes and on environmental impact. Sixty Kabir Red Plus and sixty New Red chickens were randomly allocated in [...] Read more.
The effects of Glycine max L. (SOY) vs. Pisum sativum L. (PEA) in the diet were investigated on in vivo performance of two medium-growing broiler genotypes and on environmental impact. Sixty Kabir Red Plus and sixty New Red chickens were randomly allocated in 20 pens (n = 6 birds per pen). Each pen, i.e., experimental unit, received 1.18 kg dry matter (DM) including soybean (3.39%) in SOY, or pea bean (6.78%) in PEA groups. DM intake, DM refusals and bodyweight (BW) were recorded on pen basis, and average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion rate (FCR) were calculated. Data on in vivo performance were processed by ANOVA General Linear Model followed by Student–Newman–Keuls post hoc test. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were evaluated on a year basis by GLEAM-i software. The diet did not affect (p > 0.05) DM intake and DM refusals, BW, ADG and FCR. Diet x genotypes affected (p < 0.05) DM intake and DM refusals. PEA diet, cheaper than SOY diet, allowed the reduction in total GHG and CO2, and of meat emission intensity. However, an increase in total CH4 and N2O emissions was observed. The replacement of soybean with pea bean can represent a possible management strategy to reach trade-off between good farming practices and environmental protection on small-scale poultry farms of inner Mediterranean areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Current Advances in Poultry Research)
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13 pages, 302 KiB  
Article
Spermatozoa Survival in Egg Yolk-Based and Soybean-Based Extenders at Ambient and Chilling Temperature in Domestic Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo)
Animals 2022, 12(5), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050648 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
Populations of many galliform species have declined mainly due to habitat loss and over-hunting, notably the Congo peacock, which has been classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The domestic turkey, being a species of least [...] Read more.
Populations of many galliform species have declined mainly due to habitat loss and over-hunting, notably the Congo peacock, which has been classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The domestic turkey, being a species of least concern, which has been reported to be closely related to peacocks, could serve as a model for the optimization of assisted reproductive technologies for the Congo peacock. This study was aimed at developing a suitable turkey semen extender for artificial insemination in field conditions. Semen was collected using the dorso-abdominal massage technique from seven turkey toms and analyzed. Ejaculates with >70% motility and >80% live spermatozoa were pooled and divided into four aliquots (four treatments). Each of the four treatments was extended in a soybean-based extender or an egg yolk-based extender, with or without L-ascorbic acid. Two liquid preservation protocols (ambient temperature (35 °C) and chilled (4 °C)) were employed, and quality parameters including motility, viability and morphology were evaluated. The results show that the two extenders were similar with regard to semen quality parameters, and L-ascorbic acid supplementation of the turkey semen extenders improved semen quality during liquid storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Status and Advances in Semen Preservation)
12 pages, 984 KiB  
Article
Estimates of Effective Population Size in Commercial and Hatchery Strains of Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum, 1792))
Animals 2022, 12(5), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050647 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2395
Abstract
Understanding the genetic status of aquaculture strains is essential for developing management guidelines aimed at sustaining the rates of genetic gain for economically important traits, as well as securing populations that will be robust to climate change. Coho salmon was the first salmonid [...] Read more.
Understanding the genetic status of aquaculture strains is essential for developing management guidelines aimed at sustaining the rates of genetic gain for economically important traits, as well as securing populations that will be robust to climate change. Coho salmon was the first salmonid introduced to Chile for commercial purposes and now comprises an essential component of the country’s aquaculture industry. Several events, such as admixture, genetic bottlenecks, and rapid domestication, appear to be determinants in shaping the genome of commercial strains representing this species. To determine the impact of such events on the genetic diversity of these strains, we sought to estimate the effective population size (Ne) of several of these strains using genome-wide approaches. We compared these estimates to commercial strains from North America and Japan, as well as a hatchery strain used for supportive breeding of wild populations. The estimates of Ne were based on a method robust to assumptions about changes in population history, and ranged from low (Ne = 34) to relatively high (Ne = 80) in the Chilean strains. These estimates were higher than those obtained from the commercial North American strain but lower than those observed in the hatchery population and the Japanese strain (with Ne over 150). Our results suggest that some populations require measures to control the rates of inbreeding, possibly by using genomic information and incorporating new genetic material to ensure the long-term sustainability of these populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Genetics and Livestock Production: The Biodiversity Challenge)
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16 pages, 2654 KiB  
Article
A Friend in Prison: Human-Animal Bond, Stress and Self-Esteem of Detained Juveniles in Dutch Cell Dogs
Animals 2022, 12(5), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050646 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2799
Abstract
This study examined to what extent the human–animal bond (HAB) had a positive impact on stress and self-esteem among detained juveniles participating in the prison-based dog training program Dutch Cell Dogs (DCD). Participants were 75 detained juveniles (mean age = 19.5, 86.7% male). [...] Read more.
This study examined to what extent the human–animal bond (HAB) had a positive impact on stress and self-esteem among detained juveniles participating in the prison-based dog training program Dutch Cell Dogs (DCD). Participants were 75 detained juveniles (mean age = 19.5, 86.7% male). Self-reported stress and self-esteem were assessed before the start of DCD (T1), after four weeks (halfway training/T2) and after eight weeks (end training/T3). Structured interviews and questionnaire items were used to measure the HAB quality and perceived reciprocity in the HAB at T2 and T3. Data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. In the variable-centered approach analyses, only the cross-sectional positive association between HAB quality and self-esteem at T2 was significant in the cross-lagged panel models. None of the cross-lagged paths between the HAB and stress or self-esteem were significant. In the person-centered approach analyses, growth mixture modeling identified two patterns of self-esteem (“high stable” and “high decreasing”); however, these patterns were not predicted by HAB. Thus, in contrast to our hypotheses, the HAB did not predict improvements in detained juveniles’ stress and self-esteem. These findings underline the need for more research into the often-presumed role of HAB within prison-based dog training programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Mental Health: Human–Animal Interaction)
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18 pages, 2193 KiB  
Article
Monthly Dynamics of Plasma Elements, Hematology, Oxidative Stress Markers, and Hormonal Concentrations in Growing Male Shiba Goats (Capra hircus) Reared in Tokyo-Japan
Animals 2022, 12(5), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050645 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2185
Abstract
From a clinical point of view, the establishment of laboratory variables during the first few months of an animal’s life helps clinicians to make sure they base their medical decisions on laboratory values for the specific breed and age group. The present study [...] Read more.
From a clinical point of view, the establishment of laboratory variables during the first few months of an animal’s life helps clinicians to make sure they base their medical decisions on laboratory values for the specific breed and age group. The present study aimed to investigate the monthly dynamics in some plasma elements, hematology, reproductive hormones, and oxidative stress marker profiles during the first five months of age (neonatal and peri-puberty stage) in male Shiba goat’s kids. Sixteen kids were investigated from the first to the fifth month (M1 to M5), and the data were presented as the statistical difference between them. Whole blood and plasma samples were collected monthly for analysis of basal hematology, plasma elements concentration (trace elements: Cu, Zn, Se, Fe, and Cr; macroelements: Ca and Mg), circulating hormones (cortisol, FSH, LH, IGF1, immunoreactive inhibin, testosterone, T3, and T4), and oxidative stress markers (MDA, CAT, SOD, and GPX). The results showed age-related changes in the observed parameters. The fifth month recorded the lowest level of almost all investigated minerals, except for Cr. Plasma hormone levels revealed age-dependent increases in IGF-1 and testosterone, age-related decreases in T3 and T4, and non-significant changes in cortisol and FSH. Besides, the concentrations of inhibin and LH were significantly higher at M1–M3 compared with M4–M5. Plasma SOD, GPX, and CAT were increased with age. In conclusion, age-related changes and a distinction of age in months was found necessary to interpret the laboratory results, specifically in terms of age in months and the peri-puberty stage in young goats, which are important to follow up the age-specific diseases, reproductive status, and treatment follow-ups in this stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Trace Element in Animal Health and Metabolic)
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12 pages, 1155 KiB  
Review
Poultry Production and Sustainability in Developing Countries under the COVID-19 Crisis: Lessons Learned
Animals 2022, 12(5), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050644 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 10725
Abstract
Poultry farming is a significant source of revenue generation for small farmers in developing countries. It plays a vital role in fulfilling the daily protein requirements of humans through meat and eggs consumption. The recently emerged pandemic Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) impacts the poultry [...] Read more.
Poultry farming is a significant source of revenue generation for small farmers in developing countries. It plays a vital role in fulfilling the daily protein requirements of humans through meat and eggs consumption. The recently emerged pandemic Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) impacts the poultry production sector. Although the whole world is affected, these impacts may be more severe in developing countries due to their dependency on exporting necessary supplies such as feed, vaccines, drugs, and utensils. In this review, we have discussed poultry production in developing countries under the COVID-19 crisis and measures to regain the loss in the poultry industries. Generally, due to the lockdown, trade limitations have negatively impacted poultry industries, which might exacerbate global poverty. Coordinated activities have to be taken at the private and government levels to arrange soft loans so that these farms can restore their production and marketing to normal levels. In addition, here, we have focused on the supply of farm input, feed, other raw materials, management system, improved breeding efficiency, veterinary services, and marketing of egg and meat, which have to be ensured to secure a sustainable poultry production chain. Full article
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17 pages, 4055 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Skin and Mucosa at the Equine Oral Commissures to Assess Pathology from Bit Wear: The Oral Commissure Assessment Protocol (OCA) for Analysis and Categorisation of Oral Commissures
Animals 2022, 12(5), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050643 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2835
Abstract
This study addresses the presence and location of natural pigmentation, potentially pathological changes in pigment, interruptions of the natural lining (scars), roughness, and erosions/contusion (bruising) in and around the corners of the lips of 206 horses presented to a veterinarian for routine preventative [...] Read more.
This study addresses the presence and location of natural pigmentation, potentially pathological changes in pigment, interruptions of the natural lining (scars), roughness, and erosions/contusion (bruising) in and around the corners of the lips of 206 horses presented to a veterinarian for routine preventative dental treatment. After sedation, photographs were taken and later evaluated for the presence of lesions. During the photographic analysis, the Oral Commissure Assessment (OCA) protocol was developed to map precisely the areas of skin and mucosa around the corners of the lips, and the presence of lesions was recorded for each area. Potentially pathological pigment changes occurred more frequently in horses with a higher level of training (p = 0.04) and in light-coloured horses (p = 0.0004), but there was no association with the current use of a bit or the discipline that the horse participated in (p = 0.20). Scars occurred more frequently in horses competing at a higher level. Only two horses had contusions or erosions, five had ulcers, and none showed bleeding; these numbers were too low for statistical analysis. Using the OCA protocol provides a detailed method for categorizing and recording lesions in and around the corners of the lips, including natural vs. potential and/or definite pathological character. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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12 pages, 1296 KiB  
Communication
Effects of Synbiotic Preparation Containing Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 on Body Fat in Obese Dogs: A Pilot Study
Animals 2022, 12(5), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050642 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3075
Abstract
Obesity is an important health concern in humans and dogs. It can cause a variety of secondary problems, including low bacterial diversity. Several approaches have been tried to solve this problem; one of them is probiotic supplementation. Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 is derived from [...] Read more.
Obesity is an important health concern in humans and dogs. It can cause a variety of secondary problems, including low bacterial diversity. Several approaches have been tried to solve this problem; one of them is probiotic supplementation. Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 is derived from breast milk and has been proven to be effective for obesity in humans. However, there have been no studies using a synbiotic preparation containing L. gasseri BNR17 for obesity management in dogs. Therefore, the present study evaluated the effectiveness of a synbiotic preparation containing L. gasseri BNR17 in reducing body fat in obese dogs. A group of obese dogs were fed a synbiotic preparation for 10 weeks. Obesity variables included body weight, body condition score, subcutaneous fat thickness, subcutaneous fat mass and proportion of the fat mass. In addition, feces collected at 0-week and 10-week time points were analyzed for the intestinal microbiome. Results showed a significant decrease in body weight, body condition score, and subcutaneous fat mass and proportion at the level of the third lumbar vertebra. Diversity and functional analysis of the microbiota in obese dogs showed increased microbial diversity, and increased abundance of metabolism of carbohydrate, and lipid after supplementation with a synbiotic preparation. This study was conducted as a pilot study, and the results demonstrated that a synbiotic preparation containing L. gasseri BNR17 may play a role in reducing body fat and resolving the obesity in dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health Problems of Obesity in Animals)
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17 pages, 4162 KiB  
Article
In Its Southern Edge of Distribution, the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) Is More Sensitive to Extreme Temperatures Than to Rural Development
Animals 2022, 12(5), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050641 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1765
Abstract
Populations at the warm edge of distribution are more genetically diverse, and at the same time are more susceptible to climate change. Between 1987–1996, we studied Tawny Owls in Israel, the species’ global southern edge of distribution and a country undergoing a rapid [...] Read more.
Populations at the warm edge of distribution are more genetically diverse, and at the same time are more susceptible to climate change. Between 1987–1996, we studied Tawny Owls in Israel, the species’ global southern edge of distribution and a country undergoing a rapid land cover transformation for over a century. To assess the potential impacts of land cover transformation, we modelled the species’ most suitable habitat and climate and analyzed how climate and habitat affected the nesting success and prey selection. Moreover, we monitored Tawny Owl juveniles’ survival and ontogeny from eggs to dietary independent young, to find out whether the Israeli population is a sink. While the species distribution model correctly predicted the Tawny Owl’s densest areas of occurrence, it failed to predict its occurrence in adjacent regions. The model also predicted that areas included in the species’ historical range remained suitable habitats. The number of fledglings increased with precipitation and in rural settings but was adversely affected by extreme temperatures. While voles dominated the diet in all habitats, the Tawny Owl’s diet is considerably more variable than other Israeli owls. Our results suggest that the Tawny Owl can adapt to rural-agricultural environments, but is susceptible to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Owls' Responses to Environmental Challenges)
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