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Animals, Volume 14, Issue 12 (June-2 2024) – 126 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Bird feathers serve crucial roles in flight, insulation, communication, and camouflage. Birds must moult regularly to maintain feather function, but factors like food scarcity, stress, and parasites can affect feather quality and moult speed. This study examined the effects of avian haemosporidian infection and uropygial gland volume on plumage of house martins (Delichon urbicum) and sand martins (Riparia riparia) in southwestern Spain. Findings showed that infection was more prevalent in house martins, negatively impacting their feather quality, but not affecting feather growth rate or correlating with uropygial gland volume in either species. This is the first time it has been shown that haemosporidian infection can compromise feather quality. Even so, further research is needed to understand these relationships better. View this paper
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14 pages, 2387 KiB  
Article
Cytokine-Supplemented Maturation Medium Enhances Cytoplasmic and Nuclear Maturation in Bovine Oocytes
by Renata Blocher, Ying Liu, Tayler Patrick and Irina A. Polejaeva
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121837 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Bovine in vitro oocyte maturation (IVM) is an easy way to obtain oocytes for subsequent assisted reproductive techniques but is inefficient compared to in vivo maturation. Supplementation of three cytokines, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), and insulin-like growth factor [...] Read more.
Bovine in vitro oocyte maturation (IVM) is an easy way to obtain oocytes for subsequent assisted reproductive techniques but is inefficient compared to in vivo maturation. Supplementation of three cytokines, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), or FLI, has increased oocyte maturation and embryo development in multiple species, but studies have not explored the oocyte differences caused by FLI IVM supplementation. This study aimed to assess important nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation events in high-quality oocytes. FLI-supplemented oocytes had a decreased GV (3.0% vs. 13.7%, p < 0.01) and increased telophase I incidence (34.6% vs. 17.6%, p < 0.05) after IVM, increased normal meiotic spindles (68.8% vs. 50.0%, p < 0.001), and an increased nuclear maturation rate (75.1% vs. 66.8%, p < 0.001). Moreover, in metaphase II oocytes, the percentage of FLI-treated oocytes with a diffuse mitochondrial distribution was higher (87.7% vs. 77.5%, p < 0.05) and with a cortical mitochondrial distribution was lower (11.6% vs. 17.4%, p < 0.05). Additionally, FLI-supplemented oocytes had more pattern I cortical granules (21.3% vs. 14.4%, p < 0.05). These data suggest that FLI supplementation in bovine in vitro maturation medium coordinates nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation to produce higher-quality oocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in In Vitro Oocyte Development in Domestic Animals)
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17 pages, 1426 KiB  
Review
Lameness in Cattle—Etiopathogenesis, Prevention and Treatment
by Renata Urban-Chmiel, Pavol Mudroň, Beata Abramowicz, Łukasz Kurek and Rafał Stachura
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1836; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121836 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 528
Abstract
The aim of this review was to analyse the health problem of lameness in dairy cows by assessing the health and economic losses. This review also presents in detail the etiopathogenesis of lameness in dairy cattle and examples of its treatment and prevention. [...] Read more.
The aim of this review was to analyse the health problem of lameness in dairy cows by assessing the health and economic losses. This review also presents in detail the etiopathogenesis of lameness in dairy cattle and examples of its treatment and prevention. This work is based on a review of available publications. In selecting articles for the manuscript, the authors focused on issues observed in cattle herds during their clinical work. Lameness in dairy cattle is a serious health and economic problem around the world. Production losses result from reduced milk yield, reduced feed intake, reproductive disorders, treatment costs, and costs associated with early culling. A significant difficulty in the control and treatment of lameness is the multifactorial nature of the disease; causes may be individual or species-specific and may be associated with the environment, nutrition, or the presence of concomitant diseases. An important role is ascribed to infectious agents of both systemic and local infections, which can cause problems with movement in animals. It is also worth noting the long treatment process, which can last up to several months, thus significantly affecting yield and production. Given the high economic losses resulting from lameness in dairy cows, reaching even >40% (depending on the scale of production), there seems to be a need to implement extensive preventive measures to reduce the occurrence of limb infections in animals. The most important effective preventive measures to reduce the occurrence of limb diseases with symptoms of lameness are periodic hoof examinations and correction, nutritional control, and bathing with disinfectants. A clean and dry environment for cows should also be a priority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Foot and Claw Health in Dairy Cow)
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11 pages, 1238 KiB  
Article
Locating Nesting Sites for Critically Endangered Galápagos Pink Land Iguanas (Conolophus marthae)
by Marco Gargano, Giuliano Colosimo, Lorenzo Garizio, Paolo Gratton, Gregory A. Lewbart, Glenn P. Gerber, Pierpaolo Loreti, Alexandro Catini, Lorenzo Bracciale, Massimiliano De Luca, Francesca Mastrangeli, Christian Sevilla and Gabriele Gentile
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1835; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121835 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 684
Abstract
Invasive alien species control is recognized worldwide as a priority action to preserve global biodiversity. However, a lack of general life history knowledge for threatened species can impede the effectiveness of conservation actions. Galápagos pink land iguanas (Conolophus marthae) are endemic [...] Read more.
Invasive alien species control is recognized worldwide as a priority action to preserve global biodiversity. However, a lack of general life history knowledge for threatened species can impede the effectiveness of conservation actions. Galápagos pink land iguanas (Conolophus marthae) are endemic to Wolf Volcano, Galápagos, Ecuador. These iguanas are threatened by invasive alien species, particularly feral cats, that may affect their small population size. To guarantee the long-term survival of C. marthae, the Galápagos National Park Directorate is considering, along with an ongoing campaign of feral cat control, the implementation of a head-start program. However, the success of this management strategy necessarily relies on the identification of pink iguana nesting grounds, which were still unknown at the onset of this study. We modeled the movement patterns of male and female iguanas during the reproductive season, using location data collected from custom-made remote tracking devices installed on adult pink iguanas in April 2021. We first calculated for each individual the vector of distances from its starting location, which was defined as net displacement. We then used net displacement as the response variable in a generalized additive mixed model with day of the year as the predictor. Based on the hypothesis that males and females may behaviorally differ after mating, we looked for female-specific migratory behavior suggesting females were moving toward nesting areas. The results obtained confirmed our hypothesis, as females exhibited a distinct migratory behavior, reaching a small plateau area inside of Wolf Volcano’s caldera and ca. 400 m below the volcano’s northern rim. Moreover, once inside the caldera, females displayed a more aggregated distribution pattern. The movement data obtained allowed Galápagos National Park rangers to locate individual pink iguana nests and subsequently to sight and collect the first observed hatchlings of the species. This work constitutes a necessary baseline to perform dedicated studies of pink iguana nests and emerging hatchling iguanas, which is an essential step toward the development of an effective head-start program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Herpetology)
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29 pages, 4032 KiB  
Article
Behavioral Adaptations in Tropical Dairy Cows: Insights into Calving Day Predictions
by Aqeel Raza, Kumail Abbas, Theerawat Swangchan-Uthai, Henk Hogeveen and Chaidate Inchaisri
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1834; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121834 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 528
Abstract
This study examined changes in the activity patterns of tropical dairy cows during the transition period to assess their potential for predicting calving days. This study used the AfiTag-II biosensor to monitor activity, rest time, rest per bout, and restlessness ratio in 298 [...] Read more.
This study examined changes in the activity patterns of tropical dairy cows during the transition period to assess their potential for predicting calving days. This study used the AfiTag-II biosensor to monitor activity, rest time, rest per bout, and restlessness ratio in 298 prepartum and 347 postpartum Holstein Friesian cows across three lactation groups (1, 2, and ≥3). The data were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models in SPSS, and five machine learning models, including random forest, decision tree, gradient boosting, Naïve Bayes, and neural networks, were used to predict the calving day, with their performance evaluated via ROC curves and AUC metrics. For all lactations, activity levels peak on the calving day, followed by a gradual return to prepartum levels within two weeks. First-lactation cows displayed the shortest rest duration, with a prepartum rest time of 568.8 ± 5.4 (mean ± SE), which is significantly lower than higher-lactation animals. The random forest and gradient boosting displayed an effective performance, achieving AUCs of 85% and 83%, respectively. These results indicate that temporal changes in activity behavior have the potential to be a useful indicator for calving day prediction, particularly in tropical climates where seasonal variations can obscure traditional prepartum indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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18 pages, 3815 KiB  
Article
Liver Histopathological and Immunohistochemical Evaluation from Fasciola hepatica Experimentally Infected and Reinfected Sheep
by Guillem Herrera-Torres, María T. Ruiz-Campillo, María J. Bautista, Francisco J. Martínez-Moreno, Rafael Zafra, Leandro Buffoni, Pablo J. Rufino-Moya, Álvaro Martínez-Moreno, Verónica Molina-Hernández and José Pérez
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1833; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121833 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 540
Abstract
Fasciolosis is an important economic disease of livestock. There is a global interest in the development of protective vaccines since the current anthelmintic therapy is no longer sustainable. A better knowledge of the host–parasite interaction is needed to design effective vaccines. To date, [...] Read more.
Fasciolosis is an important economic disease of livestock. There is a global interest in the development of protective vaccines since the current anthelmintic therapy is no longer sustainable. A better knowledge of the host–parasite interaction is needed to design effective vaccines. To date, few studies have evaluated host–parasite interaction by comparing infected and reinfected animals. The present study evaluates the microscopical hepatic lesions in sheep infected and reinfected with Fasciola hepatica during the acute and chronic stages of infection. The histopathological study revealed the presence of necrotizing foci (NF1) associated with larvae migration during the early stages of infection in the primoinfected (PI) and reinfected (RI) groups. In the late stages of infection of the PI group and at the early and late stages of infection in the RI groups, extensive necrotizing/hemorrhagic foci (NF2) were found in the vicinity of enlarged bile ducts, some containing adult flukes, suggesting parasites may have caused NF2 while feeding. The immunohistochemical study revealed an increase in Foxp3+ T cells in both PI and RI groups with respect to the UC group and in the infiltrates adjacent to NF1 in the RI groups with respect to the PI group, suggesting the F. hepatica induce Foxp3 T cell expansion to facilitate parasite survival. In addition, in both the PI and RI groups, and during acute and chronic stages of the infection, a poor expression of iNOS was found accompanied by a strong expression of CD163, suggesting a marked M2 activation of macrophages in the hepatic lesions, which may be related with healing processes, and it also may facilitate parasite survival. The main differences between PI and RI animals were the more severe infiltration of eosinophils and Foxp3+ T cells, whereas RI did not modify M2 activation of macrophages which occurs since the early stages of primoinfection. Full article
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23 pages, 3517 KiB  
Article
Digital and Precision Technologies in Dairy Cattle Farming: A Bibliometric Analysis
by Franck Morais de Oliveira, Gabriel Araújo e Silva Ferraz, Ana Luíza Guimarães André, Lucas Santos Santana, Tomas Norton and Patrícia Ferreira Ponciano Ferraz
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121832 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 772
Abstract
The advancement of technology has significantly transformed the livestock landscape, particularly in the management of dairy cattle, through the incorporation of digital and precision approaches. This study presents a bibliometric analysis focused on these technologies involving dairy farming to explore and map the [...] Read more.
The advancement of technology has significantly transformed the livestock landscape, particularly in the management of dairy cattle, through the incorporation of digital and precision approaches. This study presents a bibliometric analysis focused on these technologies involving dairy farming to explore and map the extent of research in the scientific literature. Through this review, it was possible to investigate academic production related to digital and precision livestock farming and identify emerging patterns, main research themes, and author collaborations. To carry out this investigation in the literature, the entire timeline was considered, finding works from 2008 to November 2023 in the scientific databases Scopus and Web of Science. Next, the Bibliometrix (version 4.1.3) package in R (version 4.3.1) and its Biblioshiny software extension (version 4.1.3) were used as a graphical interface, in addition to the VOSviewer (version 1.6.19) software, focusing on filtering and creating graphs and thematic maps to analyze the temporal evolution of 198 works identified and classified for this research. The results indicate that the main journals of interest for publications with identified affiliations are “Computers and Electronics in Agriculture” and “Journal of Dairy Science”. It has been observed that the authors focus on emerging technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision for behavioral monitoring, dairy cattle identification, and management of thermal stress in these animals. These technologies are crucial for making decisions that enhance health and efficiency in milk production, contributing to more sustainable practices. This work highlights the evolution of precision livestock farming and introduces the concept of digital livestock farming, demonstrating how the adoption of advanced digital tools can transform dairy herd management. Digital livestock farming not only boosts productivity but also redefines cattle management through technological innovations, emphasizing the significant impact of these trends on the sustainability and efficiency of dairy production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring of Cows: Management and Sustainability)
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17 pages, 820 KiB  
Article
Determination of Equine Behaviour in Subjectively Non-Lame Ridden Sports Horses and Comparison with Lame Sports Horses Evaluated at Competitions
by Sue Dyson and Danica Pollard
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1831; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121831 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 367
Abstract
The Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram (RHpE) was developed to facilitate the identification of musculoskeletal pain. The aim of the current study was to collate behavioural data using the RHpE from horses at competitions assumed by their owners and/or riders to be fit for [...] Read more.
The Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram (RHpE) was developed to facilitate the identification of musculoskeletal pain. The aim of the current study was to collate behavioural data using the RHpE from horses at competitions assumed by their owners and/or riders to be fit for competition. The objectives were to quantify the frequency of occurrence of behaviours in pain-free horses and those with lameness or abnormalities of canter and to determine any differences between disciplines and levels of competition. The RHpE was applied to 1358 horses competing in Grand Prix (GP) dressage (n = 211), 5* three-day events (TDE) (n = 137), or low-level one-day events (ODE) (n = 1010). The median RHpE score for all horses was 4 (interquartile range [IQR] 2, 5; range 0, 12) and the median lameness grade was 0 (IQR 0, 1; range 0, 4). The Kruskal–Wallis test, followed by Dunn’s test for pairwise comparisons, found a difference in median RHpE scores between low-level ODE and GP dressage (p = 0.001), but not between 5* TDE and low-level ODE (p = 0.09) or between GP dressage and 5* TDE (p = 1.00). The median RHpE score was highest for low-level ODE. The Chi-square/Fisher’s exact test identified a significant difference in prevalence of most of the 24 behaviours of the RHpE in non-lame compared with lame horses. Recognition of the behaviours of non-lame horses may improve equine welfare and performance, and rider comfort, confidence, and safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Equids)
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12 pages, 3900 KiB  
Article
Characterization and Association of the Missing Ventral Tubercle(s) from the Sixth Cervical Vertebra and Transpositions on the Ventral Surface of the Seventh Cervical Vertebra in Modern Equus ferus caballus
by Sharon May-Davis, Pamela Blades Eckelbarger, Diane Dzingle and Elle Saber
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1830; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121830 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 1641
Abstract
In recent years, equine complex vertebral malformation (ECVM) has been of concern in the equine community, with studies identifying numerous associative morphological variations. Here, we examine the morphological association between C6 and C7 for dependency in ECVM cases, where the partially absent ventral [...] Read more.
In recent years, equine complex vertebral malformation (ECVM) has been of concern in the equine community, with studies identifying numerous associative morphological variations. Here, we examine the morphological association between C6 and C7 for dependency in ECVM cases, where the partially absent ventral process of C6 transposes on the ventral surface of C7. A C6 ventral process presents two tubercles, one cranial (CrVT) and one caudal (CVT). In this study, the C6 osseous specimens (n = 85) demonstrated a partial or completely absent CVT (aCVT) graded 1–4 that often extended cranially creating a partially absent cranial ventral tubercle (aCrVT) graded 1–3. In the 85 C6 osseous specimens examined, the corresponding C7s demonstrated either a complete or incomplete transposition of the ventral process from C6 in 44/85, with 30/44 replicating a transverse foramen. A strong statistical dependency existed between C6 grade 4 aCVTs and grades 1–3 aCrVTs and C7 transpositions with replicated transverse foramen. Sidedness was also demonstrated, where a left sided absent C6 associated with transposition on the left ventral surface of C7. This likewise applied to right sidedness and most bilateral cases. These findings might benefit practitioners when radiographing the extent of the ECVM configuration in patients presenting caudal cervical pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Equids)
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5 pages, 183 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Medeiros-Ventura et al. The Impact of Phytase and Different Levels of Supplemental Amino Acid Complexed Minerals in Diets of Older Laying Hens. Animals 2023, 13, 3709
by Waleska R. L. Medeiros-Ventura, Carlos B. V. Rabello, Marcos J. B. Santos, Mércia R. Barros, Rogério V. Silva Junior, Heraldo B. Oliveira, Fabiano S. Costa, Andresa G. Faria and Alba K. Fireman
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121829 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 367
Abstract
To allow the original publication to be better understood [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
14 pages, 2392 KiB  
Article
The Association of Delayed Milk Ejection with Milking Performance in Holstein Cows in a Large Dairy Herd with Suboptimal Premilking Teat Stimulation
by Ajay Singh, Madeleine Eve Spellman, Haritha Somula, Mohammad Osamah Dahl and Matthias Wieland
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1828; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121828 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 595
Abstract
The primary objective was to investigate the association between delayed milk ejection (DME) and the average milk flow rate, milking unit-on time, and duration in a low milk flow rate in Holstein dairy cows in a large dairy herd with suboptimal premilking teat [...] Read more.
The primary objective was to investigate the association between delayed milk ejection (DME) and the average milk flow rate, milking unit-on time, and duration in a low milk flow rate in Holstein dairy cows in a large dairy herd with suboptimal premilking teat stimulation. Our second objective was to study the association between peak lactation milk yield and the occurrence of DME. This longitudinal field study was conducted at a 4300-cow dairy farm with a thrice-daily milking schedule over a 1-week period. We analyzed data from 61,677 cow milking observations from 2937 cows. Delayed milk ejection was defined as present if the 30–60 s milk flow rate was ≤3.1 kg/min. The mean average milk flow rate (MAMF, kg/min), mean milking unit-on time (MMUT, s), and mean duration of a low milk flow rate (MLMF, s) were calculated as the mean values from the 21 milking observations. General linear multivariable models revealed associations of DME with MAMF, MMUT, and MLMF. A multivariable ordinal logistic regression model revealed an association between peak lactation milk yield and DME. Cows with lower peak lactation milk yield had greater odds of exhibiting a higher frequency level of DME. The observed associations between DME and milking performance indices suggest that DME can negatively affect milking and parlor efficiency. Peak lactation milk yield may serve as a proxy to estimate cows’ risk of recurrent DME. Future research is warranted to test if alleviating DME through, for example, a modified milking routine influences the milking performance indices described herein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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19 pages, 1482 KiB  
Article
Effect of Lighting Methods on the Production, Behavior and Meat Quality Parameters of Broiler Chickens
by Tibor István Pap, Rubina Tünde Szabó, Ákos Bodnár, Ferenc Pajor, István Egerszegi, Béla Podmaniczky, Marcell Pacz, Dávid Mezőszentgyörgyi and Mária Kovács-Weber
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121827 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Many farms have been replacing traditional lighting sources with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs because of technological modernization. We aimed to investigate the effects of incandescent lighting (IL) and LED lighting on Cobb 500 broiler chickens for six weeks. Production parameters (body weight, feed [...] Read more.
Many farms have been replacing traditional lighting sources with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs because of technological modernization. We aimed to investigate the effects of incandescent lighting (IL) and LED lighting on Cobb 500 broiler chickens for six weeks. Production parameters (body weight, feed consumption, feed conversion ratio), calculated slaughter values (yield%, relative breast%, thigh%) and breast meat quality parameters (pH at 45 min and 24 h postmortem, color, drip loss, kitchen equipment losses, shear force, meat composition) were recorded. Non-stop recordings were used to analyze the behavior of the birds during several periods of rearing. The LED group was significantly better in the body weight parameter between week 1 and 5 and the feed conversion ratio between week 2 and 3. The most significant difference in behavior was observed in the middle of the rearing period. The chickens in the LED group spent more time eating, drinking and interacting, and rested less. There was no difference in the meat quality parameters; only shear force was significantly lower in the LED group (1781.9 g/s vs. 2098.8 g/s). According to our results, LED lighting can bring about positive changes in animal production efficiency, behavior and other important characteristics for meat consumers. Full article
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15 pages, 1819 KiB  
Article
Use of Knotless Barbed Sutures in Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernioplasty in Horses: 40 Cases
by Francisco J. Vázquez, David Argüelles, Juan A. Muñoz, Martin Genton, José L. Méndez Angulo, Frederic Climent, Imma Roquet, Manuel Iglesias, Ana Velloso Álvarez, Arantza Vitoria, Fernando Bulnes, Aritz Saitua, Antonio Romero, Javier Ezquerra, Marta Prades, F. Javier López-Sanromán and Fabrice Rossignol
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1826; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121826 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 307
Abstract
Inguinal hernias (IHs) and ruptures are a relatively common condition in horses, occurring in foals (congenital) and adult (acquired) animals. A retrospective observational analysis was conducted on 40 cases that underwent laparoscopic surgery to close the VRs using barbed sutures alone or combined [...] Read more.
Inguinal hernias (IHs) and ruptures are a relatively common condition in horses, occurring in foals (congenital) and adult (acquired) animals. A retrospective observational analysis was conducted on 40 cases that underwent laparoscopic surgery to close the VRs using barbed sutures alone or combined with other techniques. Signalment, clinical presentation, surgery, and follow-up data were obtained. In total, fifty-nine VRs were closed using barbed sutures (alone or in combination with other methods), with six cases performed prophylactically and forty-four due to acquired IH. Of the forty-four cases with IH, four were non-strangulated hernias, while thirty presented with strangulated small intestines (twenty-eight acquired and two congenital). The results obtained in this study suggest that laparoscopic hernioplasty with barbed sutures is an effective and safe surgical procedure that could be recommended as a standard practice for managing inguinal hernias in horses, particularly when sparing testicles or preserving reproductive capabilities is a priority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minimally Invasive Surgery in Equines)
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17 pages, 667 KiB  
Article
Faecal Short-Chain, Long-Chain, and Branched-Chain Fatty Acids as Markers of Different Chronic Inflammatory Enteropathies in Dogs
by Cristina Higueras, Ángel Sainz, Mercedes García-Sancho, Fernando Rodríguez-Franco and Ana I. Rey
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1825; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121825 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 480
Abstract
Chronic inflammatory enteropathies (CIEs) are classified based on treatment trials, and new methods are being sought for earlier differentiation and characterization. Giardia infection (GIA) is one of the first differential diagnoses and may be present in CIE-affected dogs. The aim of this study [...] Read more.
Chronic inflammatory enteropathies (CIEs) are classified based on treatment trials, and new methods are being sought for earlier differentiation and characterization. Giardia infection (GIA) is one of the first differential diagnoses and may be present in CIE-affected dogs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the faecal characteristics and faecal fatty acid profile (short, medium, long, and branched-chain fatty acids) in dogs with food-responsive enteropathy (FRE), immunosuppressant-responsive enteropathy (IRE), and dogs infected with Giardia compared to healthy control (HC) animals as a potential non-invasive indicator of intestinal health that helps in the differentiation of CIEs. The C16:1n-7 percentage (p = 0.0001) and C16:1n-7/C16:0 ratio (p = 0.0001) served to differentiate between HC, FRE, and IRE. IRE dogs presented lower levels of short-chain fatty acids (∑SCFAs) (p = 0.0008) and acetic acid (C2) (p = 0.0007) compared to the other three groups and lower propionic acid (C3) (p = 0.0022) compared to HCs. IRE and GIA presented higher faecal fat content (p = 0.0080) and ratio of iso/anteiso branched-chain fatty acids (BCFAs) compared to HC and FRE. Correlations between some fatty acids and desaturation indices with the canine inflammatory bowel disease activity index and faecal characteristics were observed, suggesting that these compounds could play an important role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Biomarker Research in Animal Pathological States)
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16 pages, 4223 KiB  
Article
Impacts of Dietary Standardized Ileal Digestible Lysine to Net Energy Ratio on Lipid Metabolism in Finishing Pigs Fed High-Wheat Diets
by Jiguang Wang, Haojie Li, He Zhu, Shuangshuang Xia, Fang Zhang, Hui Zhang, Chunxue Liu, Weijiang Zheng and Wen Yao
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1824; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121824 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 370
Abstract
The present study aimed to investigate the impacts of dietary standardized ileal digestible lysine to net energy (SID Lys:NE) ratio on lipid metabolism in pigs fed high-wheat diets. Thirty-six crossbred growing barrows (65.20 ± 0.38 kg) were blocked into two treatment groups, fed [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to investigate the impacts of dietary standardized ileal digestible lysine to net energy (SID Lys:NE) ratio on lipid metabolism in pigs fed high-wheat diets. Thirty-six crossbred growing barrows (65.20 ± 0.38 kg) were blocked into two treatment groups, fed high-wheat diets with either a high SID Lys:NE ratio (HR) or a low SID Lys:NE ratio (LR). Each treatment group consisted of three replicates, with six pigs per pen in each replicate. The diminishing dietary SID Lys:NE ratio exhibited no adverse impacts on the carcass trait (p > 0.05) but increased the marbling score of the longissimus dorsi muscle (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, LR diets tended to increase the serum triglyceride concentration (p < 0.1). LR diets upregulated fatty acid transport protein 4 and acetyl-coA carboxylase α expression levels and downregulated the expression level of adipose triglyceride lipase (p < 0.05). LR diets improved energy metabolism via decreasing the expression levels of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) α1, sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) (p < 0.05). Additionally, LR diets stimulated hepatic bile acid synthesis via upregulating the expression levels of cytochrome P450 family 7 subfamily A member 1 and cytochrome P450 family 27 subfamily A member 1, and downregulating farnesol X receptor (FXR) and small heterodimer partner (SHP) expression levels (p < 0.05). A lowered SID Lys:NE ratio affected the colonic microbial composition, characterized by increased relative abundances of YRC22, Parabacteroides, Sphaerochaeta, and Bacteroides, alongside a decreased in the proportion of Roseburia, f_Lachnospiraceae_g_Clostridium, Enterococcus, Shuttleworthia, Exiguobacterium, Corynebacterium, Subdoligranulum, Sulfurospirillum, and Marinobacter (p < 0.05). The alterations in microbial composition were accompanied by a decrease in colonic butyrate concentration (p < 0.1). The metabolomic analysis revealed that LR diets affected primary bile acid synthesis and AMPK signaling pathway (p < 0.05). And the mantel analysis indicated that Parabacteroides, Sphaerochaeta, f_Lachnospiraceae_g_Clostridium, Shuttleworthia, and Marinobacter contributed to the alterations in body metabolism. A reduced dietary SID Lys:NE ratio improves energy metabolism, stimulates lipogenesis, and inhibits lipolysis in finishing pigs by regulating the AMPKα/SIRT1/PGC-1α pathway and the FXR/SHP pathway. Parabacteroides and Sphaerochaeta benefited bile acids synthesis, whereas f_Lachnospiraceae_g_Clostridium, Shuttleworthia, and Marinobacter may contribute to the activation of the AMPK signaling pathway. Overall, body metabolism and colonic microbiota collectively controlled the lipid metabolism in finishing pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploration of Sustainable Feed Resources and Pig Dietary Strategies)
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15 pages, 3450 KiB  
Article
Cetacean Stranding Response Program and Spatial–Temporal Analysis in Taiwan, 1994–2018
by Lien-Siang Chou, Chiou-Ju Yao, Ming-Chih Wang, Wei-Lien Chi, Yun Ho and Wei-Cheng Yang
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1823; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121823 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
A national cetacean stranding response program in Taiwan has evolved significantly in the past three decades. Initially co-ordinated by National Taiwan University from 1994, the program transitioned to the Taiwan Cetacean Society in 1999, and local governments took on a more prominent role [...] Read more.
A national cetacean stranding response program in Taiwan has evolved significantly in the past three decades. Initially co-ordinated by National Taiwan University from 1994, the program transitioned to the Taiwan Cetacean Society in 1999, and local governments took on a more prominent role after 2009. A comprehensive stranding database (1994–2018) has been maintained, which documented 1320 stranding events involving 1698 animals from at least 27 species. The most commonly stranded species include finless porpoises, bottlenose dolphins, Kogia spp., and Risso’s dolphins. The stranding rates varied annually and seasonally, with increases noted from an average of 16 events per year for the first 3 years to 44–58 events per year between 1997 and 2015, and a sharp rise to over 90 events per year for the period of the last three years. Seasonal variations were also significant, with higher stranding rates during the northeastern monsoon (NEM, October to next April) than that during southwestern monsoon (SWM, May to September). From the aspect of distribution, more frequent and even strandings occurred along the coast of northern Taiwan, while mass strandings were concentrated in the southwestern counties during NEM. Among all strandings, 390 events (29.5%) and 660 animals (38.9%) were live ones. Under great effort in rescuing and rehabilitating 52 cases, 15 cetacean individuals have been released since 2000. Additionally, there have been 56 mass strandings involving at least 11 species since 1994, predominated by pygmy killer whales, particularly during the NEM season along the southwest coast. This study not only contributes to our understanding of the stranding patterns and diversity of the cetaceans in Taiwan, but also provides valuable insights for future conservation strategies on cetaceans in the western Pacific. Full article
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15 pages, 3767 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Antioxidant Defense Mechanisms in the Silkworm Bombyx mori after Exposure to Lead
by Yang Ye, Yan-Xia Shi, Qi Jiang, Ye Jin, Fan-Xing Chen, Wen-Hui Tang, Qin Peng, Qiu-Ning Liu, Bo-Ping Tang and Jia-Lian Wang
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1822; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121822 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Lead (Pb) is a major source of heavy metal contamination, and poses a threat to biodiversity and human health. Elevated levels of Pb can hinder insect growth and development, leading to apoptosis via mechanisms like oxidative damage. The midgut of silkworms is the [...] Read more.
Lead (Pb) is a major source of heavy metal contamination, and poses a threat to biodiversity and human health. Elevated levels of Pb can hinder insect growth and development, leading to apoptosis via mechanisms like oxidative damage. The midgut of silkworms is the main organ exposed to heavy metals. As an economically important lepidopteran model insect in China, heavy metal-induced stress on silkworms causes considerable losses in sericulture, thereby causing substantial economic damage. This study aimed to investigate Pb-induced detoxification-related genes in the midgut of silkworms using high-throughput sequencing methods to achieve a deeper comprehension of the genes’ reactions to lead exposure. This study identified 11,567 unigenes and 14,978 transcripts. A total of 1265 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were screened, comprising 907 upregulated and 358 downregulated genes. Subsequently, Gene Ontology (GO) classification analysis revealed that the 1265 DEGs were distributed across biological processes, cellular components, and molecular functions. This suggests that the silkworm midgut may affect various organelle functions and biological processes, providing crucial clues for further exploration of DEG function. Additionally, the expression levels of 12 selected detoxification-related DEGs were validated using qRT-PCR, which confirmed the reliability of the RNA-seq results. This study not only provides new insights into the detoxification defense mechanisms of silkworms after Pb exposure, but also establishes a valuable foundation for further investigation into the molecular detoxification mechanisms in silkworms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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13 pages, 1209 KiB  
Article
Self-Reported Management of Incidentally Detected Heart Murmurs in Puppies: A Survey among Veterinarians
by Marie D. B. van Staveren, Esther Muis and Viktor Szatmári
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1821; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121821 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Background: Heart murmurs in puppies can be innocent or pathologic; the latter is almost always related to a congenital heart disease. Differentiating between these murmurs can be challenging for practicing veterinarians, but this differentiation is essential to ensure the best prognosis for puppies [...] Read more.
Background: Heart murmurs in puppies can be innocent or pathologic; the latter is almost always related to a congenital heart disease. Differentiating between these murmurs can be challenging for practicing veterinarians, but this differentiation is essential to ensure the best prognosis for puppies having a congenital heart disease. Our study aimed to reveal how veterinarians manage puppies with a heart murmur. Methods: A web-based questionnaire was sent to Dutch and Belgian veterinary practices. Results: Data from 452 respondents were analyzed. Though 88% of the respondents find detecting a heart murmur easy, only 9% find differentiating innocent murmurs from pathologic murmurs in puppies easy. Of the respondents, only 80% recommend immediate additional examination when detecting a loud heart murmur during the first veterinary health check at 6 weeks of age. Most of the respondents are aware that normal growth and the absence of clinical signs do not exclude severe congenital heart disease. Of the respondents, 31% were uncertain whether early surgical intervention could lead to improved outcomes. Conclusions: Veterinarians are aware of the importance of echocardiography for puppies with a loud heart murmur, and recognize their limitations when differentiating an innocent from a pathological heart murmur in a puppy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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11 pages, 896 KiB  
Article
Effect of Rumen-Protected L-Tryptophan or L-Ascorbic Acid on Plasma Metabolites and Milk Production Characteristics of Lactating Holstein Cows during Summer Conditions
by Young-Lae Kim, So-Hee Lee, Gi-Hwal Son, Jong-Suh Shin, Min-Ji Kim and Byung-Ki Park
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1820; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121820 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 567
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of rumen-protected L-tryptophan or L-ascorbic acid supplementation on the productivity of lactating Holstein cows during a high-temperature period. Thirty cows were assigned to three dietary groups: control (CON), treatment 1 (TRT 1; rumen-protected L-tryptophan, 20 g/cow/d), and treatment [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effects of rumen-protected L-tryptophan or L-ascorbic acid supplementation on the productivity of lactating Holstein cows during a high-temperature period. Thirty cows were assigned to three dietary groups: control (CON), treatment 1 (TRT 1; rumen-protected L-tryptophan, 20 g/cow/d), and treatment 2 (TRT 2; rumen-protected L-ascorbic acid, 20 g/cow/d). As the high-temperature period progressed, the decrease in milk yield and dry matter intake (DMI) in the TRT 1 and TRT 2 groups was lower than that in the CON group. The total protein level in the plasma of the TRT 1 group was higher than that in the CON group (p < 0.05). Milk melatonin concentration was higher in the TRT 1 group than in the CON and TRT 2 groups (p < 0.05). Thus, the present results indicate that rumen-protected L-tryptophan or L-ascorbic acid has positive effects in preventing declines in DMI and milk yield by reducing heat stress in Holstein cows. In particular, rumen-protected L-tryptophan is considered effective in increasing the melatonin concentration in milk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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19 pages, 2395 KiB  
Article
Attitudes and Perceptions of Local Communities towards Nile Crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) in the Sudd Wetlands, South Sudan
by John Sebit Benansio, Gift Simon Damaya, Stephan M. Funk, Julia E. Fa, Massimiliano Di Vittorio, Daniele Dendi and Luca Luiselli
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1819; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121819 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 942
Abstract
Conflicts between human populations and Nile crocodiles are widespread with crocodiles posing significant threats to fisherfolk and riverine communities across r-Saharan Africa. Hundreds of deadly attacks take place annually, and mortality rates may range from 50% to 100%. Attitudes and perceptions towards crocodiles [...] Read more.
Conflicts between human populations and Nile crocodiles are widespread with crocodiles posing significant threats to fisherfolk and riverine communities across r-Saharan Africa. Hundreds of deadly attacks take place annually, and mortality rates may range from 50% to 100%. Attitudes and perceptions towards crocodiles were studied using structured questionnaires among fisherfolk along the River Nile and the Sudd wetlands in South Sudan. Local communities used crocodiles for their meat and skin/leather trades. The meat is regarded to enhance longevity, sexual potency, and protection against witchcraft. Crocodiles are perceived as a main threat to lives and livelihoods as they restrict people’s freedom of movement along water bodies, attack livestock and humans, and devastate fishing equipment. To assess whether responses were influenced by the intensity of crocodile threats, published data on fatal crocodile attacks on humans and livestock were analysed using Generalised Linear Models (GLMs). This analysis indicated a direct link between the number of crocodile attacks and human attitudes. Crocodiles were generally feared and hated, and there was the agreement of the need to destroy breeding habitats. However, some attitudes were complex and nuanced as highlighted by the agreement of local communities on the need to destroy Nile Crocodile breeding habitats on the one hand and the need to establish crocodile sanctuaries as the the preferred strategy to mitigate risks and conflict on the other hand. There is a need for the creation of a crocodile sanctuary in the Sudd wetlands to minimise the risks of illegal hunting and to buffer the increasing pressure on crocodiles due to human population growth and economic upturn after the civil war. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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9 pages, 588 KiB  
Article
Observational Study on Cardiac Activity in Rescue Dogs with Holter and Electrocardiogram Methodologies during a Simulated Search Activity
by Mirella Lopedote, Annarita Amodio, Maria Ferrara, Francesca Sciutto, Maria Stella Rigo and Giuseppe Spinella
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1818; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121818 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 490
Abstract
The aim of this study was to observe electric cardiac activity in real working conditions, with the application of Holter and the electrocardiogram in search and rescue dogs. Thirty-one handlers of search and rescue dogs voluntarily participated in this study. Nine dogs were [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to observe electric cardiac activity in real working conditions, with the application of Holter and the electrocardiogram in search and rescue dogs. Thirty-one handlers of search and rescue dogs voluntarily participated in this study. Nine dogs were selected to wear the Holter, and twenty-three were submitted to electrocardiographic recordings (one dog, excluded by Holter examination, was then included in the ECG group). Our results showed few cardiac rhythm alterations, such as escape beats, premature ventricular beat, and depression and elevation of the ST segment, particularly during the working phase in the Holter group and during recovery time immediately after activity in the electrocardiographic group. Detected alterations in real working conditions may provide more information than routine checks, and Holter monitoring can be more functional. However, not all dogs tolerate wearing the Holter harness, and more time is thus needed to apply the equipment. In addition, the results are not immediate, and the absence of water is essential because it would damage the equipment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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16 pages, 1654 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Genetic Parameters for Growth and WSSV Resistance Traits in Litopenaeus vannamei
by Juan Sui, Kun Sun, Jie Kong, Jian Tan, Ping Dai, Jiawang Cao, Kun Luo, Sheng Luan, Qun Xing and Xianhong Meng
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1817; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121817 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 379
Abstract
The current study aimed to provide a precise assessment of the genetic parameters associated with growth and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) resistance traits in Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). This was achieved through a controlled WSSV challenge assay and the [...] Read more.
The current study aimed to provide a precise assessment of the genetic parameters associated with growth and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) resistance traits in Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). This was achieved through a controlled WSSV challenge assay and the analysis of phenotypic values of five traits: body weight (BW), overall length (OL), body length (BL), tail length (TL), and survival hour post-infection (HPI). The analysis included test data from a total of 1017 individuals belonging to 20 families, of which 293 individuals underwent whole-genome resequencing, resulting in 18,137,179 high-quality SNP loci being obtained. Three methods, including pedigree-based best linear unbiased prediction (pBLUP), genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP), and single-step genomic BLUP (ssGBLUP) were utilized. Compared to the pBLUP model, the heritability of growth-related traits obtained from GBLUP and ssGBLUP was lower, whereas the heritability of WSSV resistance was higher. Both the GBLUP and ssGBLUP models significantly enhanced prediction accuracy. Specifically, the GBLUP model improved the prediction accuracy of BW, OL, BL, TL, and HPI by 4.77%, 21.93%, 19.73%, 19.34%, and 63.44%, respectively. Similarly, the ssGBLUP model improved prediction accuracy by 10.07%, 25.44%, 25.72%, 19.34%, and 122.58%, respectively. The WSSV resistance trait demonstrated the most substantial enhancement using both genomic prediction models, followed by body size traits (e.g., OL, BL, and TL), with BW showing the least improvement. Furthermore, the choice of models minimally impacted the assessment of genetic and phenotypic correlations. Genetic correlations among growth traits ranged from 0.767 to 0.999 across models, indicating high levels of positive correlations. Genetic correlations between growth and WSSV resistance traits ranged from (−0.198) to (−0.019), indicating low levels of negative correlations. This study assured significant advantages of the GBLUP and ssGBLUP models over the pBLUP model in the genetic parameter estimation of growth and WSSV resistance in L. vannamei, providing a foundation for further breeding programs. Full article
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15 pages, 3178 KiB  
Review
African Swine Fever in the Philippines: A Review on Surveillance, Prevention, and Control Strategies
by Cherry P. Fernandez-Colorado, Woo Hyun Kim, Rochelle A. Flores and Wongi Min
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1816; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121816 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 734
Abstract
African swine fever (ASF), a highly contagious disease of swine, has posed a significant global threat to the swine industry. As an archipelago, the Philippines has a geographic advantage when it comes to the risk of ASF transmission. However, since its introduction to [...] Read more.
African swine fever (ASF), a highly contagious disease of swine, has posed a significant global threat to the swine industry. As an archipelago, the Philippines has a geographic advantage when it comes to the risk of ASF transmission. However, since its introduction to the Philippines in 2019, it has proliferated not only in backyard and commercial farms but also in wild pig populations. While certain parts of the country were more affected than others, the epidemiologic features of ASF necessitate that all affected areas must be closely monitored and that confirmed cases be treated with the utmost care. With the very limited data on ASF epidemiology and surveillance in the Philippines, future efforts to combat ASF must place even greater emphasis on improved prevention and control strategies. It is worth mentioning that the government’s efforts toward comprehensive ASF surveillance and epidemiological investigation into the possible ASFV sources or transmission pathways are the most important measures in the prevention and control of ASF outbreaks. This review article provides a comprehensive overview of the current swine industry and ASF situation in the Philippines, which includes its epidemiology, surveillance, prevention, and control strategies. Full article
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17 pages, 2778 KiB  
Article
Transcriptional Evaluation of Neuropeptides, Hormones, and Tissue Repair Modulators in the Skin of Gilthead Sea Bream (Sparus aurata L.) Subjected to Mechanical Damage
by Rocío Piñera-Moreno, Felipe E. Reyes-López, Merari Goldstein, María Jesús Santillán-Araneda, Bárbara Robles-Planells, Camila Arancibia-Carvallo, Eva Vallejos-Vidal, Alberto Cuesta, María Ángeles Esteban and Lluis Tort
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1815; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121815 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 351
Abstract
The skin of bony fish is the first physical barrier and is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the fish. Lesions make the skin vulnerable to potential infection by pathogens present in the aquatic environment. In this way, wound repair has barely been [...] Read more.
The skin of bony fish is the first physical barrier and is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the fish. Lesions make the skin vulnerable to potential infection by pathogens present in the aquatic environment. In this way, wound repair has barely been studied in gilthead sea bream. Thus, this study investigated the modulation of peripheral neuro-endocrine and tissue repair markers at the transcriptional level in the skin of teleost fish subjected to mechanical damage above or below the lateral line (dorsal and ventral lesions, respectively). Samples were evaluated using RT-qPCR at 2-, 4-, and 20-days post-injury. Fish with a ventral lesion presented a trend of progressive increase in the expressions of corticotropin-releasing hormone (crh), pro-opiomelanocortin-A (pomca), proenkephalin-B (penkb), cholecystokinin (cck), oxytocin (oxt), angiotensinogen (agt), and (less pronounced) somatostatin-1B (sst1b). By contrast, fish with a dorsal lesion registered no significant increase or biological trend for the genes evaluated at the different sampling times. Collectively, the results show a rapid and more robust response of neuro-endocrine and tissue repair markers in the injuries below than above the lateral line, which could be attributable to their proximity to vital organs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress in Growth, Health and Metabolism of Fishes)
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13 pages, 2997 KiB  
Brief Report
Preliminary Report on Diet Estimation of Taruka (Hippocamelus antisensis d’Orbigny, 1834) in an Agricultural Area of the Andean Foothills of the Tarapacá Region, Chile
by Giorgio Luis Castellaro, Carla Loreto Orellana, Juan Pablo Escanilla, Nicolás Fuentes-Allende and Benito A. González
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1814; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121814 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 534
Abstract
The success of conservation programs for the taruka (Hippocamelus antisensis d’Orbigny), an endemic and endangered deer, depends on many factors, highlighting anthropogenic and ecological effects. Among the latter, how this herbivore interacts with forage resources is important. The objective of the study [...] Read more.
The success of conservation programs for the taruka (Hippocamelus antisensis d’Orbigny), an endemic and endangered deer, depends on many factors, highlighting anthropogenic and ecological effects. Among the latter, how this herbivore interacts with forage resources is important. The objective of the study was to describe the main attributes of the diet of this deer in rangelands adjacent to agricultural areas of the foothills of the Tarapacá Region, Chile. The botanical composition of the diet (BCD) was determined by microhistology of feces and fecal nitrogen (NF, %) was measured in two contrasting seasons (rainy summer and dry winter). From the BCD and FN, their relative diversity (J) and crude protein percentage were estimated. In the BCD, Medicago sativa dominated (27.6 ± 8.2% vs. 53.9 ± 9.2%, in rainy summer and dry end winter, respectively), followed by herbaceous dicots (46.2 ± 9.4% vs. 19.4 ± 8.7%) and shrubby species (21.5 ± 7.8% vs. 23.4 ± 7.0%), from rangelands. The contribution of grasses and graminoid species was low, not exceeding 3% and 0.4% of the diet, respectively, with no differences between seasons of the year. Intake of horticultural crop species was marginal (1.3 ± 1.3%), being detected only in the wet season. Diet relative diversity was higher during the wet period (0.75 ± 0.07) compared to the dry period (0.58 ± 0.06), since in the first period it was possible to find a greater number of palatable species. There were no significant differences in the FN attributed to the time of the year (average of 1.8 ± 0.19%), which indicates that the diet of this deer would be stable in terms of its protein quality. These FN levels estimate sufficient dietary protein content to satisfy maintenance and early pregnancy, but these could be limiting during late gestation and lactation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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13 pages, 873 KiB  
Article
Hemogram-Derived Inflammatory Markers in Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease
by Martina Krofič Žel, Alenka Nemec Svete, Nataša Tozon and Darja Pavlin
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1813; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121813 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 541
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by chronic inflammation, which mediates the progressive replacement of functional nephrons by fibrotic tissue. Hemogram-derived inflammatory markers are known to serve as markers of pathological conditions; however, their diagnostic value in feline CKD is still unknown. The [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by chronic inflammation, which mediates the progressive replacement of functional nephrons by fibrotic tissue. Hemogram-derived inflammatory markers are known to serve as markers of pathological conditions; however, their diagnostic value in feline CKD is still unknown. The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate selected hemogram-derived inflammatory markers (neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio (MLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) and the systemic immune-inflammatory index (SII)) in cats at different clinical stages of CKD. Eighty-eight client-owned cats with CKD and thirty-two healthy control cats were included. Cats with CKD were divided into two groups: early CKD (IRIS stage 1 and 2; 62 cats) and progressed CKD (IRIS stage 3 and 4; 26 cats). The values of inflammatory markers were compared between the two CKD groups and the control group. All investigated hemogram-derived inflammatory markers were significantly (p < 0.05) greater in cats with advanced CKD than in those in the other two groups. Additionally, we demonstrated a statistically significant weak to moderate correlation between serum urea, creatinine, selected hematologic and urinary parameters, and the investigated inflammatory markers in cats with CKD. Chronic inflammation can be easily and inexpensively assessed with hemogram-derived markers. Full article
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15 pages, 904 KiB  
Review
Lipids in Equine Airway Inflammation: An Overview of Current Knowledge
by Jenni Mönki and Anna Mykkänen
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1812; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121812 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Mild–moderate and severe equine asthma (MEA and SEA) are prevalent inflammatory airway conditions affecting horses of numerous breeds and disciplines. Despite extensive research, detailed disease pathophysiology and the differences between MEA and SEA are still not completely understood. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cytology, broadly [...] Read more.
Mild–moderate and severe equine asthma (MEA and SEA) are prevalent inflammatory airway conditions affecting horses of numerous breeds and disciplines. Despite extensive research, detailed disease pathophysiology and the differences between MEA and SEA are still not completely understood. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cytology, broadly used in clinical practice and in equine asthma research, has limited means to represent the inflammatory status in the lower airways. Lipidomics is a field of science that can be utilized in investigating cellular mechanisms and cell-to-cell interactions. Studies in lipidomics have a broad variety of foci, of which fatty acid and lipid mediator profile analyses and global lipidomics have been implemented in veterinary medicine. As many crucial proinflammatory and proresolving mediators are lipids, lipidomic studies offer an interesting yet largely unexplored means to investigate inflammatory reactions in equine airways. The aim of this review article is to collect and summarize the findings of recent lipidomic studies on equine airway inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Equine Respiratory Disease: Severe Equine Asthma Syndrome)
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9 pages, 879 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Inbreeding in the Slovak Simmental Breed and Its Effect on Length of Productive Life
by Eva Strapáková and Peter Strapák
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1811; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121811 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 444
Abstract
This study aimed to estimate the average inbreeding coefficient in Slovak Simmental dairy cattle and evaluate the effect of inbreeding on the length of productive life. All pedigrees included 463,282 animals dating back to 1914. The inbreeding coefficients for each animal in the [...] Read more.
This study aimed to estimate the average inbreeding coefficient in Slovak Simmental dairy cattle and evaluate the effect of inbreeding on the length of productive life. All pedigrees included 463,282 animals dating back to 1914. The inbreeding coefficients for each animal in the pedigree were computed using the software CFC 1.0. Length of productive life (LPL) was defined as the time (days) from the first calving to culling, death, or censoring. The influence of inbreeding on the length of productive life was calculated and tested using the Weibull proportional hazards model. The average inbreeding coefficient, the average number of discrete generation equivalents, and the average longest ancestral path for inbred animals were 0.01, 6.59, and 13.08, respectively. While the largest decrease in the mean coefficient of inbreeding was observed from the year of birth 1995 (F = 1.50%) to 2001 (F = 0.59%), an increasing trend of inbreeding in the population was found from 2003 onwards. A weak but significant effect of inbreeding on the length of productive life of Simmental cows was confirmed using survival analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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11 pages, 946 KiB  
Communication
Optimization of Fair Arterial Spin Labeling Magnetic Resonance Imaging (ASL-MRI) for Renal Perfusion Quantification in Dogs: Pilot Study
by Amber Hillaert, Luis Carlos Sanmiguel Serpa, Yangfeng Xu, Myriam Hesta, Stephanie Bogaert, Katrien Vanderperren and Pim Pullens
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1810; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121810 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI allows non-invasive quantification of renal blood flow (RBF) and shows great potential for renal assessment. To our knowledge, renal ASL-MRI has not previously been performed in dogs. The aim of this pilot study was to determine parameters essential [...] Read more.
Arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI allows non-invasive quantification of renal blood flow (RBF) and shows great potential for renal assessment. To our knowledge, renal ASL-MRI has not previously been performed in dogs. The aim of this pilot study was to determine parameters essential for ALS-MRI-based quantification of RBF in dogs: T1, blood (longitudinal relaxation time), λ (blood tissue partition coefficient) and TI (inversion time). A Beagle was scanned at 3T with a multi-TI ASL sequence, with TIs ranging from 250 to 2500 ms, to determine the optimal TI value. The T1 of blood for dogs was determined by scanning a blood sample with a 2D IR TSE sequence. The water content of the dog’s kidney was determined by analyzing kidney samples from four dogs with a moisture analyzer and was subsequently used to calculate λ. The optimal TI and the measured values for T1,blood, and λ were 2000 ms, 1463 ms and 0.91 mL/g, respectively. These optimized parameters for dogs resulted in lower RBF values than those obtained from inline generated RBF maps. In conclusion, this study determined preliminary parameters essential for ALS-MRI-based RBF quantification in dogs. Further research is needed to confirm these values, but it may help guide future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaging Techniques and Radiation Therapy in Veterinary Medicine)
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12 pages, 3821 KiB  
Review
Fibropapillomatosis: A Review of the Disease with Attention to the Situation Northern Coast of Brazil
by Karoline Petrini Pinheiro da Cruz, Marco Aurélio Gattamorta, Eliana Reiko Matushima and Felipe Masiero Salvarani
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1809; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121809 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Fibropapillomatosis in sea turtles is a potentially debilitating and fatal disease for which there is still a lack of knowledge, especially for specific regions of Brazil. The diagnosis is made through the observation of clinical manifestations, and despite its association with Chelonid Alphaherpesvirus [...] Read more.
Fibropapillomatosis in sea turtles is a potentially debilitating and fatal disease for which there is still a lack of knowledge, especially for specific regions of Brazil. The diagnosis is made through the observation of clinical manifestations, and despite its association with Chelonid Alphaherpesvirus 5 (ChHV5) as the etiological agent, the expression of the disease may also be related to immunological and environmental factors caused by anthropic degradation of the environment. Thus, this review aims to elucidate what is known about this disease globally, and especially in various regions of Brazil, promoting a better understanding of its evolution, spatiotemporal prevalence, and relationship with human activities. Furthermore, the review explores the molecular biology of ChHV5, including its genomic structure, replication cycle, and mechanisms of pathogenesis. The role of environmental factors, such as temperature and pollution, in modulating ChHV5 infection and FP development is also discussed. Additionally, the review summarizes current diagnostic methods for detecting ChHV5 infection in sea turtles, highlighting the importance of early detection and monitoring for effective disease management and conservation efforts. Finally, the review outlines future research directions aimed at improving our understanding of ChHV5 and developing strategies for FP control and prevention in sea turtle populations. Full article
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14 pages, 1271 KiB  
Article
Prevalence and Genetic Characterization of Giardia duodenalis and Blastocystis spp. in Black Goats in Shanxi Province, North China: From a Public Health Perspective
by Han-Dan Xiao, Nan Su, Ze-Dong Zhang, Ling-Ling Dai, Jun-Lin Luo, Xing-Quan Zhu, Shi-Chen Xie and Wen-Wei Gao
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1808; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121808 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 608
Abstract
Blastocystis spp. and Giardia duodenalis are two prevalent zoonotic intestinal parasites that can cause severe diarrhea and intestinal diseases in humans and many animals. Black goat (Capra hircus) farming is increasingly important in China due to the remarkable adaptability, high reproductive [...] Read more.
Blastocystis spp. and Giardia duodenalis are two prevalent zoonotic intestinal parasites that can cause severe diarrhea and intestinal diseases in humans and many animals. Black goat (Capra hircus) farming is increasingly important in China due to the remarkable adaptability, high reproductive performance, rapid growth rate, and significant economic value of black goats. A number of studies have indicated that black goats are the potential reservoir of multiple zoonotic protozoans in China; however, the prevalence and zoonotic status of G. duodenalis and Blastocystis spp. in black goats in Shanxi Province is still unknown. Thus, a total of 1200 fecal samples of black goats were collected from several representative regions at different altitudes in Shanxi Province and were examined for the presence and genotypes of G. duodenallis and Blastocystis spp. by amplifying the beta-giardin (bg), glutamate dehydrogenase (gdh), and triosephosphate isomerase (tpi) loci of G. duodenalis and SSU rRNA of Blastocystis spp. using PCR and sequence analysis methods, respectively. The overall prevalence of G. duodenalis and Blastocystis spp. in black goats in Shanxi Province were 7.5% and 3.5%, respectively. Two assemblages (B and E) of G. duodenalis and four subtypes (ST5, ST10, ST14, and ST30) of Blastocystis spp. were identified, with assemblage E and ST10 as the prevalent genotype and subtype in black goats, respectively. One novel multilocus genotype (MLG) was identified in MLG-E and was designated as MLG-E12. For both G. duodenalis and Blastocystis spp., the prevalence was significantly related to the region and age groups (p < 0.05). This is the first report on the prevalence of G. duodenalis and Blastocystis spp. in black goats in Shanxi Province. These results not only provide baseline data for the prevention and control of both parasites in black goats in Shanxi Province, but also enhance our understanding of the genetic composition and zoonotic potential of these two parasites. Full article
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