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Animals, Volume 8, Issue 11 (November 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK but relatively little is known about where they [...] Read more.
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Open AccessCase Report Veterinary Public Health Activities and Management of the Livestock Sector during Earthquakes and Snowstorms in the Abruzzo Region—Italy, January 2017
Animals 2018, 8(11), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110218
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
In 2017 the Abruzzo region, located in central Italy, was struck by a sequence of four moderately powerful seismic events (5.0 magnitude on Richter scale), in addition to heavy snowfall that caused a state of emergency affecting the resident population and farm animals.
[...] Read more.
In 2017 the Abruzzo region, located in central Italy, was struck by a sequence of four moderately powerful seismic events (5.0 magnitude on Richter scale), in addition to heavy snowfall that caused a state of emergency affecting the resident population and farm animals. A total of 282 stables were reported to have collapsed or been damaged and several animals (224 cows, 4025 ewes, 40,725 chickens, 22 horses and 3092 pigs) were killed. The Istituto Zooprofilattico of Abruzzo and Molise “G. Caporale” (IZSAM)—National Reference Center for Veterinary Urban Hygiene and Non-Epidemic Emergencies (IUVENE), played a crucial role in planning, coordinating and controlling veterinary activities during these catastrophic events. Operational and information tools were used to manage the needs of the communities involved, as well as to prioritize the veterinary interventions, record information, provide real-time data access, and produce reporting maps and Geographic Information System (GIS) layers. These events have highlighted how the integration of veterinary services into disaster management efforts can play an important role in protecting the health and welfare of animals, whilst also restoring economic activity and community life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Hypoxia and Oxidative Stress Are Associated with Reduced Fetal Growth in Twin and Undernourished Sheep Pregnancies
Animals 2018, 8(11), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110217
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
Low birth weight has profound implications for perinatal mortality and morbidity in lambs, causing higher mortality and lower growth potential. Low birth weight, as a consequence of fetal growth restriction, occurs in undernourished and multiple pregnancies, where hypoxia and oxidative stress could play
[...] Read more.
Low birth weight has profound implications for perinatal mortality and morbidity in lambs, causing higher mortality and lower growth potential. Low birth weight, as a consequence of fetal growth restriction, occurs in undernourished and multiple pregnancies, where hypoxia and oxidative stress could play a critical role. Our aim was to establish the effects of nutritional deprivation and pregnancy rank on fetal growth, oxygenation, and oxidative status in sheep pregnancies under extensive Patagonian conditions. At 30 days after mating, single- and twin-bearing ewes were offered only natural pasture (undernutrition group) or natural pasture plus concentrate supplementation (well-nourished group). At day 140 of gestation, blood gases and redox status were evaluated in venous cord blood, and fetal biometric characteristics were obtained after cesarean section. Both maternal undernutrition and twinning led to decreased oxygen supply to the fetuses (p = 0.016 and p = 0.050, respectively), which was associated with decreased intrauterine growth (r = 0.446, p < 0.01). Moreover, twinning increased oxidative stress in cord blood (p < 0.05), which might also contribute to fetal growth restriction. These results reinforce the importance of maternal nutrition, especially for those ewes bearing multiples, and opens new possibilities for nutritional or antioxidant interventions for preventing fetal hypoxia and oxidative stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of ‘Selfie’ Tourism on the Behaviour and Welfare of Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloths
Animals 2018, 8(11), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110216
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 3 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
The use of wild animals as photo props is prevalent across the globe and is widely recognised to represent a potential animal welfare concern. However, detailed information regarding the specific impacts of such activity on wild animal behaviour is currently lacking. Herein, we
[...] Read more.
The use of wild animals as photo props is prevalent across the globe and is widely recognised to represent a potential animal welfare concern. However, detailed information regarding the specific impacts of such activity on wild animal behaviour is currently lacking. Herein, we investigated how brown-throated three-toed sloths (Bradypus variegatus) were handled by tourists, and how sloths behaved during wildlife ‘selfies’ taken in Manaus, Brazil and Puerto Alegria and Iquitos in Peru. In total, we observed 17 sloths (during 70 focal observations) that were provided for use in wildlife selfies on 34 different tours. We found that an average number of 5 people held each sloth during each focal observation. For 48.6% of the time the sloths were handled in a way which involved physical manipulation of the sloths’ head and/or limbs and/or being held by the claws. From the eight different types of sloth behaviour observed, we found that the two types performed for the longest average duration of time were surveillance (55.3%) and limb stretching (12.6%). Our findings show that when being handled sloths were frequently held in ways that may compromise their welfare. Although to date the behaviour of sloths while being handled has not been reported in any published literature, in this study we document certain behaviours which may act as indicators of compromised welfare. We suggest that our data provides a potential baseline for future study into the behaviour and welfare of sloths. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Can Donkey Behavior and Cognition Be Used to Trace Back, Explain, or Forecast Moon Cycle and Weather Events?
Animals 2018, 8(11), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110215
Received: 8 September 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
Donkeys have been reported to be highly sensitive to environmental changes. Their 8900–8400-year-old evolution process made them interact with diverse environmental situations that were very distant from their harsh origins. These changing situations not only affect donkeys’ short-term behavior but may also determine
[...] Read more.
Donkeys have been reported to be highly sensitive to environmental changes. Their 8900–8400-year-old evolution process made them interact with diverse environmental situations that were very distant from their harsh origins. These changing situations not only affect donkeys’ short-term behavior but may also determine their long-term cognitive skills from birth. Thus, animal behavior becomes a useful tool to obtain past, present or predict information from the environmental situation of a particular area. We performed an operant conditioning test on 300 donkeys to assess their response type, mood, response intensity, and learning capabilities, while we simultaneously registered 14 categorical environmental factors. We quantified the effect power of such environmental factors on donkey behavior and cognition. We used principal component analysis (CATPCA) to reduce the number of factors affecting each behavioral variable and built categorical regression (CATREG) equations to model for the effects of potential factor combinations. Effect power ranged from 7.9% for the birth season on learning (p < 0.05) to 38.8% for birth moon phase on mood (p < 0.001). CATPCA suggests the percentage of variance explained by a four-dimension-model (comprising the dimensions of response type, mood, response intensity and learning capabilities), is 75.9%. CATREG suggests environmental predictors explain 28.8% of the variability of response type, 37.0% of mood, and 37.5% of response intensity, and learning capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessCommunication Tail Tip Lesions in Mink (Neovison vison): Effects of an Additional Hammock in Multilevel Cages
Animals 2018, 8(11), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110214
Received: 27 August 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 10 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
The occurrence of wounds in different anatomical regions, such as tail tip lesions, is an important welfare concern in farmed mink. This study investigated whether mechanical factors attributed to cage design in multilevel cages may be involved in the etiology of tail tip
[...] Read more.
The occurrence of wounds in different anatomical regions, such as tail tip lesions, is an important welfare concern in farmed mink. This study investigated whether mechanical factors attributed to cage design in multilevel cages may be involved in the etiology of tail tip lesions. Specifically, effects of an additional hammock intended to reduce speed during transitions between cage levels and thereby assumed to lower the incidence and severity of tails hitting the wire mesh were investigated. Three mink farms and a total of 600 mink participated in the study. On each farm, brown female mink (n = 100) were either housed in multilevel cages equipped with plastic hammocks (placed either perpendicular or parallel to the sidewalls) or in standard multilevel cages without hammocks (n = 100). The study was conducted from December to March using singly housed females. Significant differences in the number of tail tip wounds were found between groups with a hammock installed in the cage vs. control groups in two of the farms (p = 0.029 and p = 0.031), with more wounds developing in cages without a hammock. Furthermore, there was a trend towards difference in the number of tail tip wounds in groups with hammocks installed perpendicular vs. groups with hammocks installed parallel to the cage sidewalls, but a potential farm effect cannot be ruled out. This study is the first to suggest that mechanical factors associated with cage design may play a role in the etiology of tail tip lesions in farmed mink. Further studies are needed to understand the causal relationship between cage design and tail tip lesions in mink. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Brexit and Animal Protection: Legal and Political Context and a Framework to Assess Impacts on Animal Welfare
Animals 2018, 8(11), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110213
Received: 22 September 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 18 November 2018
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Abstract
The British people voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a 2016 referendum. The United Kingdom (UK) has been a member of the EU since the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1993 and before that a member of the European Communities (EC)
[...] Read more.
The British people voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a 2016 referendum. The United Kingdom (UK) has been a member of the EU since the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1993 and before that a member of the European Communities (EC) since 1973. EU animal health and welfare regulations and directives have had a major impact on UK animal protection policy. Similarly, the UK has had a substantial impact on EU animal protection. Brexit represents a substantial political upheaval for animal protection policy, with the potential to impact animal welfare in the UK, EU and internationally. Brexit’s impact on farmed animals will determine the overall impact of Brexit on animals. A major threat to animal welfare is from importing lower welfare products. A major opportunity is reform of UK agricultural policy to reward high welfare outside the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). A soft Brexit, in which the UK remains in the single market and/or customs union, mitigates the threat of importing lower welfare products. A harder Brexit means threats to animal welfare are more likely to materialise. Whether threats and opportunities do materialise will depend on political considerations including decisions of key political actors. The Conservative Government delivering Brexit has a problematic relationship with animal protection. Furthermore, Brexit represents a shift to the political right, which is not associated with progressive animal protection. There is significant political support in the Conservative Party for a hard Brexit. Further research is required to investigate whether the various threats and opportunities are likely to materialise. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dietary Cold Pressed Watercress and Coconut Oil Mixture Enhances Growth Performance, Intestinal Microbiota, Antioxidant Status, and Immunity of Growing Rabbits
Animals 2018, 8(11), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110212
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 17 November 2018
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Abstract
The present study assessed the effect of dietary supplementation with coconut oil (CNO), watercress oil (WCO), and their mixture as promoters of growth, antioxidant status, immunity, and intestinal microbiota in growing rabbits. A total of 120 rabbits were distributed into six groups (20
[...] Read more.
The present study assessed the effect of dietary supplementation with coconut oil (CNO), watercress oil (WCO), and their mixture as promoters of growth, antioxidant status, immunity, and intestinal microbiota in growing rabbits. A total of 120 rabbits were distributed into six groups (20 rabbits/group) receiving a basal diet without supplementation (G1) or diet supplemented with 2 g CNO (G2), 2 g WCO (G3), 0.5 g CNO plus 1.5 g WCO (G4), 1 g CNO plus 1 g WCO (G5), or 1.5 g CNO plus 0.5 g WCO/kg (G6). Live body weight and feed conversion ratio were significantly higher in the G4 and G5 groups than in the other groups. Superoxide dismutase activity and reduced glutathione concentration were significantly improved in the CNO or WCO diets. Supplemental CNO plus WCO at all tested levels produced the best lysozyme and complement 3 activities. Cecal lactobacilli, coliform, Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridium spp. populations were lower in the group who received the 1 g CNO + 1 g WCO/kg diet than that in the control group. Dietary supplementation of 1 g CNO + 1 g WCO or 0.5 g CNO + 1.5 g WCO/kg had the potential to improve growth, feed utilization, antioxidant status, and immunity, and reduce cecal pathogenic bacteria in rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Monensin Alters the Functional and Metabolomic Profile of Rumen Microbiota in Beef Cattle
Animals 2018, 8(11), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110211
Received: 17 October 2018 / Revised: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 17 November 2018
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Abstract
To identify differences in rumen function as a result of feeding monensin to beef cattle, rumen fluid metagenomics and metabolomics analyses were used to evaluate the functional attributes and metabolites of rumen microbiota in beef steers fed no or 200 mg/d of monensin.
[...] Read more.
To identify differences in rumen function as a result of feeding monensin to beef cattle, rumen fluid metagenomics and metabolomics analyses were used to evaluate the functional attributes and metabolites of rumen microbiota in beef steers fed no or 200 mg/d of monensin. Eight rumen-fistulated steers were used in the study for a period of 53 days. Rumen fluid samples were collected on the last day of the experiment. Monensin increased the relative abundance of Selenomonas sp. ND2010, Prevotella dentalis, Hallella seregens, Parabacteroides distasonis, Propionispira raffinosivorans, and Prevotella brevis, but reduced the relative abundance of Robinsoniella sp. KNHs210, Butyrivibrio proteoclasticus, Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium symbiosum, Burkholderia sp. LMG29324, and Clostridium butyricum. Monensin increased the relative abundance of functional genes involved in amino acid metabolism and lipid metabolism. A total of 245 metabolites were identified. Thirty-one metabolites were found to be differentially expressed. Pathway analysis of the differentially expressed metabolites revealed upregulated metabolic pathways associated with metabolism of linoleic acid and some amino acids. These findings confirm that monensin affects rumen fermentation of forage-fed beef cattle by modulating the rumen microbiome, and by reducing amino acid degradation and biohydrogenation of linoleic acid in the rumen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Using Radio-Frequency Identification Technology to Measure Synchronised Ranging of Free-Range Laying Hens
Animals 2018, 8(11), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110210
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 16 November 2018
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Abstract
Free-range laying hen systems provide individuals a choice between indoor and outdoor areas where range use may be socially influenced. This study used radio-frequency identification technology to track the ranging of individually-tagged hens housed in six experimental free-range pens from 28 to 38
[...] Read more.
Free-range laying hen systems provide individuals a choice between indoor and outdoor areas where range use may be socially influenced. This study used radio-frequency identification technology to track the ranging of individually-tagged hens housed in six experimental free-range pens from 28 to 38 weeks of age (46–50 hens/pen). All daily visits to the range were used to study group behaviour. Results showed that 67.6% (SD = 5.0%) of all hen movements through the pop-holes outdoors or indoors were following the movement of another hen (‘pop-hole-following’) compared to only 50.5% of movements in simulated random data. The percentage overlap in time that all combinations of hen pairs within each pen spent simultaneously outdoors or indoors showed a median value of overlap greater than the 90th percentile of random data. Pens housing hens that had been provided variable enrichments from 4 to 21 days (n = 3 pens) showed higher ‘pop-hole-following’ behaviour and a higher percentage of hen-pair association compared to hens reared in non-enriched conditions (n = 3 pens). These results show that birds in each free-range pen were primarily a cohesive flock and early enrichment improved this social cohesiveness. These results have implications for understanding free-range flock-level behaviour. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Qualitative Behavioural Assessment as a Method to Identify Potential Stressors during Commercial Sheep Transport
Animals 2018, 8(11), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110209
Received: 3 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
Land transport is an unavoidable experience for most livestock, yet there is limited research comparing animal welfare under different conditions. We video recorded sheep responses during short (2 h) commercial road transport journeys. Using Qualitative Behavioural Assessment, observers (blinded to the treatments) scored
[...] Read more.
Land transport is an unavoidable experience for most livestock, yet there is limited research comparing animal welfare under different conditions. We video recorded sheep responses during short (2 h) commercial road transport journeys. Using Qualitative Behavioural Assessment, observers (blinded to the treatments) scored the behavioural expression of sheep and reached significant consensus in their scoring patterns (p < 0.001). There were also significant effects of vehicle crate design (sheep transported in a ‘standard’ crate were more calm/relaxed than those transported in a ‘convertible’ crate), deck position (sheep on upper decks were more curious/alert than those on lower decks), and sheep breed (fat-tail sheep were more agitated/distressed than merino sheep) on observer scores. We only found marginal differences for sheep originating from feedlot or saleyard. Significant effects of vehicle driver (included as a random factor in all but one of our analyses) suggest driving patterns contributed to demeanour of the sheep. Finally, the fourteen drivers who participated in the study were asked their opinions on livestock transport; none of the factors we tested were identified by drivers as important for sheep welfare during transport. This study supports the use of qualitative measures in transport and revealed differences that could inform truck design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Dietary Crude Protein Level and Supplemental Herbal Extract Blend on Selected Blood Variables in Broiler Chickens Vaccinated against Coccidiosis
Animals 2018, 8(11), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110208
Received: 4 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
Immunoprophylaxis with a live anticoccidial vaccine is regarded as the most promising alternative in place of in-feed coccidiostats in the poultry industry. An experiment, designed as a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with 6 replicate pens per treatment and 8 male
[...] Read more.
Immunoprophylaxis with a live anticoccidial vaccine is regarded as the most promising alternative in place of in-feed coccidiostats in the poultry industry. An experiment, designed as a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with 6 replicate pens per treatment and 8 male Ross 308 chicks per pen, was conducted to evaluate the effect of dietary crude protein (CP) levels (21.6% or 23.6%, during the starter phase) and a herbal extract (HE) blend dietary supplementation (Echinacea purpurea, Salvia officinalis, Thymus vulgaris, Rosmarinus officinalis, Allium sativum, Origanum vulgare; 0 or 2 g/kg of feed) on selected hematological, biochemical, redox, and immunological parameters in broilers vaccinated against coccidiosis (anticoccidial vaccine (ACV); none or 1× dose, administered at 1 d of age). The blood samples were collected at 14 d of age. Anticoccidial vaccination (p < 0.05) had a negative effect on immune responses, as shown by a reduced total white blood cells (WBC) count, a reduced lymphocytes count (L), a higher proportion of heterophils (H) in leukogram assessments, as well as H/L-ratio increase. ACV resulted in a decrease in phagocytic activity assessed as decreased percentage of phagocytic cells, phagocytic index and NBT test, as well as in reductions in plasma glucose and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, and increases in HDL-cholesterol and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity. In terms of redox status, ACV significantly increased the catalase (CAT) activity and ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP), and decreased malondialdehyde concentrations. An increase in dietary CP in vaccinated chickens resulted in higher relative L and lower relative H counts, a lower H/L ratio, a decrease in AST and an increase in CAT activities, but also a decrease in FRAP and concentrations of lipid peroxides. Vaccinated chickens fed a diet supplemented with HE were characterized by higher relative L and lower relative H counts, a lower H/L ratio, and a decrease in AST activity. A change of diet composition, such as an increase in CP content and dietary HE supplementation, can be recommended in broilers vaccinated against coccidiosis, mainly due to its positive effect in alleviating stress levels. However, the simultaneous increase of CP and HE dietary supplementation offered no additional relevant benefits in most of the blood indices of vaccinated chickens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessArticle Animal Welfare and Mountain Products from Traditional Dairy Farms: How Do Consumers Perceive Complexity?
Animals 2018, 8(11), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110207
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
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Abstract
This qualitative study aims to investigate consumers’ perceptions toward dairy cow welfare in traditional mountain farms. While consumers’ understanding of conventional dairy production and animal welfare has already been investigated, how consumers perceive animal welfare in traditional mountain dairy farming remains still unexplored.
[...] Read more.
This qualitative study aims to investigate consumers’ perceptions toward dairy cow welfare in traditional mountain farms. While consumers’ understanding of conventional dairy production and animal welfare has already been investigated, how consumers perceive animal welfare in traditional mountain dairy farming remains still unexplored. Focus group interviews were conducted with consumers having different degrees of geographical proximity to mountains and with an explicit interest in local dairy products. The results of this qualitative study show that participants expect mountain farming to be on a smaller scale when compared to non-mountain farming systems and expect mountain products to be healthier. Similarly, all participants consider origin, locality, and small-scale production as relevant quality attributes of mountain cheese. However, the appreciation of these abstract features did not necessarily result in their recognition when sample pictures of traditional husbandry systems were provided especially in the case of urban participants. This study contributes to reveal the gap between urban consumers’ conception of mountain farming and the actual farming practices. It also indicates the need to promote an effective science-based dialogue on animal welfare that goes beyond an anthropomorphic perspective and tackles the complexity of farming systems in relation to the context in which they are located. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Spread of an Experimental Salmonella Derby Infection in Antibiotic-Treated or Lawsonia intracellularis Vaccinated Piglets
Animals 2018, 8(11), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110206
Received: 7 October 2018 / Revised: 1 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
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Abstract
Lawsonia intracellularis infections are a common reason for antibiotic treatment in pig production. Experimental studies in animals naturally infected with Lawsonia intracellularis comparing the course of an experimental Salmonella infection in piglets previously treated with tylosin or vaccinated against Lawsonia intracellularis are scarce.
[...] Read more.
Lawsonia intracellularis infections are a common reason for antibiotic treatment in pig production. Experimental studies in animals naturally infected with Lawsonia intracellularis comparing the course of an experimental Salmonella infection in piglets previously treated with tylosin or vaccinated against Lawsonia intracellularis are scarce. A total of 72 seven-week-old Salmonella-free pigs were taken from a herd with a Lawsonia intracellularis history in piglet rearing. The pigs were divided into two groups with three replicates each. Animals had either been previously treated with tylosin (10 mg/kg body weight) for seven days (AB+VAC) or had been vaccinated as suckling pigs by drenching (Enterisol®Ileitis; ABVAC+). Two animals per replicate were primarily infected with Salmonella Derby (1.04 × 108 colony-forming units per animal). The detection of Salmonella in faeces (p < 0.0001, odds ratio: 3.8364) and in the ileocaecal lymph nodes (p = 0.0295, odds ratio: 3.5043) was significantly more frequent in AB+VAC animals. Overall, the odds ratio for detecting Salmonella in any substrate or organ was significantly higher in the AB+VAC group animals (p = 0.0004, odds ratio: 5.9091). Treatment with tylosin can significantly increase the spread of a Salmonella infection, which is not observed after early Lawsonia intracellularis vaccination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Antibiotics in Farm Animal Production Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of a Change from an Indoor-Based Total Mixed Ration to a Rotational Pasture System Combined With a Moderate Concentrate Feed Supply on Rumen Fermentation of Dairy Cows
Animals 2018, 8(11), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110205
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 7 November 2018 / Published: 10 November 2018
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Abstract
In spring, transition from a total mixed ration (TMR) to pasture requires rumen adaptions for the cow. It had been shown that transition period does not necessarily mean an increased risk for subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). After adaption to pasture, however, supplying low
[...] Read more.
In spring, transition from a total mixed ration (TMR) to pasture requires rumen adaptions for the cow. It had been shown that transition period does not necessarily mean an increased risk for subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). After adaption to pasture, however, supplying low amounts of concentrate did indicate increased risk, but caused no adverse effects on rumen morphology and absorption capacity. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of transition, and how a supply of 4.5 kg dry matter concentrate·cow−1 · day−1 during fulltime grazing influenced different rumen parameters. During a 12-week trial eleven rumen-cannulated dairy cows were observed during transition from confinement to pasture (PG; n = 6) and compared to cows fed TMR indoors (CG; n = 5). The CG stayed on a TMR based ration (35% corn silage, 35% grass silage, 30% concentrate; dry matter basis), whereas the PG slowly switched to a pasture-based ration (week 0 and 1 = TMR, week 2 = TMR and 3 h pasture·day−1, week 3 and 4 = TMR and 12 h pasture·day−1, and week 5 to 11 = pasture combined with 4.5 kg DM concentrate · cow−1·day−1). Papillae surface area decreased during transition and increased again during fulltime grazing, while the fractional absorption rate of volatile fatty acids (VFA) was not influenced. This suggests only a limited effect of papillae surface area on VFA absorption rate. Feeding changes resulted in different fermentation profiles of VFA. Changing ratio of starch to sugar during transition to fulltime grazing plus concentrate supply did not lead to lower rumen pH. In conclusion, the concentrate supply combined with high fermentable grass during fulltime grazing increased papillae surface area but did not affect absorption rate or rumen pH, so that risk for SARA was not increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Diet Supplementation with Quinoa Seed and/or Linseed on Immune Response, Productivity and Meat Quality in Merinos Derived Lambs
Animals 2018, 8(11), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110204
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 10 November 2018
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Abstract
In the last years several studies have investigated the strong relation between nutrition and immune response in the livestock production, particularly in dairy cattle and sheep. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of supplementation based on linseed, quinoa seeds
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In the last years several studies have investigated the strong relation between nutrition and immune response in the livestock production, particularly in dairy cattle and sheep. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of supplementation based on linseed, quinoa seeds and their combination on welfare, productivity and quality of meat from merinos derived lambs. 32 weaned lambs were divided into 4 experimental groups: quinoa (Q), linseed (LS) and combination of quinoa and linseed (LS + Q) that received the respective supplementation and control group (C) without supplementation. Lambs from all supplemented groups showed lower plasma urea, creatinine and cholesterol than control. Both linseed and quinoa supplementation enhanced the cell-mediated immune responses of lambs, furthermore, linseed supplementation resulted in the lowest level of cortisol secretion after handling, loading and transport. Meat from lambs supplemented with linseed and LS + Q showed the highest pH, at 1 and 3 h post-mortem, while, meat from all supplemented groups was more tender than meat from control. Results indicated that linseed and quinoa seeds supplementation can help the animal to cope with stressful events due to the close link between stress responses and the immune system and for improving meat quality in terms of better tenderness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting Trailer Thermal Environment Experienced by Market Pigs Transported in the US
Animals 2018, 8(11), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110203
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
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Abstract
Extreme weather conditions challenge pig thermoregulation during transport and are addressed by the National Pork Board (NPB) Transport Quality Assurance® (TQA) program that provides guidelines for trailer boarding, bedding, and misting. These guidelines are widely applied, yet very little is known about
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Extreme weather conditions challenge pig thermoregulation during transport and are addressed by the National Pork Board (NPB) Transport Quality Assurance® (TQA) program that provides guidelines for trailer boarding, bedding, and misting. These guidelines are widely applied, yet very little is known about the microenvironment within the trailer. In this study, TQA guidelines (V4) were evaluated via extensive thermal environment measurements during transport in order to evaluate spatial variability and implications on ventilation pattern. Effects of trailer management strategies including bedding, boarding, and misting were examined and the trailer was monitored for interior temperature rise and THI responses within six separate zones. The trailer thermal environment was not uniformly distributed in the colder trips with the top front and bottom zones were the warmest, indicating these zones had the majority of outlet openings and experienced air with accumulated sensible and latent heat of the pigs. Relatively enhanced thermal environment uniformity was observed during hot trips, suggesting that ventilation patterns and ventilation rate were different for colder vs. warmer weather conditions. Misting applied prior to transport cooled interior air temperature, but also created high THI conditions in some cases. Neither boarding and bedding combinations in the TQA nor boarding position showed impacts on trailer interior temperature rise or spatial distribution of temperature inside the trailer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Open AccessReply Reply to the Comment from Watson, K.M. “Letter to the Editor Re: Kipperman, B.S. and German, A.J. Animals 2018, 8, 143” Animals 2018, 8, 179
Animals 2018, 8(11), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110202
Received: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
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Abstract
We appreciate the interest [1] in our opinion paper [2] regarding companion animal obesity and, although there is limited published evidence, agree that some pet owners might respond negatively when this issue is addressed [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Open AccessArticle Examining Canadian Equine Industry Participants’ Perceptions of Horses and Their Welfare
Animals 2018, 8(11), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110201
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 3 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
The diversity of the Canadian equine industry makes determining baseline attitudes and beliefs a challenge. Adult members of the Canadian equine industry (n = 901) participated in an online survey to report demographic information and views on the role of horses and their
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The diversity of the Canadian equine industry makes determining baseline attitudes and beliefs a challenge. Adult members of the Canadian equine industry (n = 901) participated in an online survey to report demographic information and views on the role of horses and their ability to experience affective states. Questions regarding the welfare state of all horses in the industry, potential ways to address welfare issues, and eight short scenarios were presented. Qualitative analysis, descriptive statistics, and a Chi-squared test for independence examined survey results and potential relationships. Participants strongly believed horses were capable of feeling positive and negative emotions, particularly pain and fear, but rarely were these beliefs reflected in their answers regarding aspects of equine welfare, which may be due to the large bias in these beliefs. Lack of knowledge and financial difficulties were noted as the biggest threats to equine welfare. Overall, there was widespread agreement regarding the presence of welfare issues within the equine industry, but opinions were more divided regarding how to best address them and which horses were most at risk. Understanding these perceptions may be useful to direct educational programs and industry-wide initiatives to address equine welfare through human behaviour change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A 5-Methylcytosine Site of Growth Differentiation Factor 9 (GDF9) Gene Affects Its Tissue-Specific Expression in Sheep
Animals 2018, 8(11), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110200
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 21 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
Growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) plays an important role in the early folliculogenesis of sheep. This study investigated the mRNA expression of ovine GDF9 in different tissues by real-time PCR. GDF9 exhibits significantly higher levels of expression (p < 0.01)
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Growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) plays an important role in the early folliculogenesis of sheep. This study investigated the mRNA expression of ovine GDF9 in different tissues by real-time PCR. GDF9 exhibits significantly higher levels of expression (p < 0.01) in the ovary, relative to other tissues, indicating that its expression is tissue specific. To explore the regulatory mechanism of this tissue-specific expression, the methylation level of one CpG island (−1453 to −1854) of GDF9 promoter in ovary and heart was determined. In this region (−1987 to −1750), only the mC-4 site was present in the Sp4 binding site showed differential methylation between the heart and ovary; with increased (p < 0.01) methylation being observed in the heart. Additionally, the methylation level was negatively correlated with GDF9 mRNA expression (R = −0.75, p = 0.012), indicating that the methylation of this site plays an important role in transcriptional regulation of GDF9. The methylation effect of the mC-4 site was confirmed by using dual-luciferase. Site-directed mutation (methylation) of mC-4 site significantly reduced (p < 0.05) basal transcriptional activity of GDF9 promoter in oocytes. These results imply that methylation of GDF9 promoter CpG island mC-4 site may affect the binding of the Sp4 transcription factor to the GDF9 promoter region in sheep, thereby regulating GDF9 expression and resulting in a tissue-specific expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle The Status of Pet Rabbit Breeding and Online Sales in the UK: A Glimpse into an Otherwise Elusive Industry
Animals 2018, 8(11), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110199
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 30 October 2018 / Accepted: 3 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
Conditions of pet rabbit breeding colonies and breeder practices are undocumented and very little is known about the pet rabbit sales market. Here, multiple methods were employed to investigate this sector of the UK pet industry. A freedom of information request sent to
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Conditions of pet rabbit breeding colonies and breeder practices are undocumented and very little is known about the pet rabbit sales market. Here, multiple methods were employed to investigate this sector of the UK pet industry. A freedom of information request sent to 10% of councils revealed confusion and inconsistency in licensing conditions. Data from 1-month of online sale adverts (3446) identified 646 self-declared breeders, of which 1.08% were licensed. Further, despite veterinary advice to vaccinate rabbits from five weeks, only 16.7% rabbits were vaccinated and 9.2% of adult rabbits were neutered. Thirty-three breeders completed a questionnaire of which 51.5% provided smaller housing than recommended, the majority housed rabbits singly and bucks were identified as most at risk of compromised welfare. However, most breeders provided enrichment and gave a diet compliant with recommended guidelines. Mini-lops and Netherland dwarfs were the most commonly sold breeds, both of which are brachycephalic, which can compromise their health and wellbeing. From sales data extrapolation, we estimate that 254,804 rabbits are purposefully bred for the UK online pet sales market each year. This data is the first of its kind and highlights welfare concerns within the pet rabbit breeding sector, which is unregulated and difficult to access. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Antibiotic Use on Goat Farms: An Investigation of Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Missouri Goat Farmers
Animals 2018, 8(11), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110198
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Use of low dose, prophylactic antibiotics contributes to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In one study, goat meat in Missouri was found to have a higher percentage of antibiotic residues at slaughter than the national average, so we attempted to identify factors
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Use of low dose, prophylactic antibiotics contributes to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In one study, goat meat in Missouri was found to have a higher percentage of antibiotic residues at slaughter than the national average, so we attempted to identify factors related to goat production that may contribute to this issue. Using the knowledge, attitude, and behavior (KAB) model, we interviewed 11 Missouri goat farmers about factors affecting antibiotic use. Most of the farmers did not have specific protocols for managing illnesses and only relied on veterinarians for major health issues. Many felt veterinarians lacked knowledge about goat medicine so instead relied on other farmers’ or their own experiences for treatment modalities. While most agreed that antibiotic resistance was a concern, only 4 of the 11 indicated that they only used antibiotics when prescribed by the veterinarian. Veterinarians should be relied on and valued for their medical expertise, but they are not always being utilized in this manner. Therefore, veterinary education should emphasize goat health management to a greater extent than it currently does, and soft skills to build collaborative relationships with farmers should be taught to promote preventative health measures and more judicious use of antibiotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Antibiotics in Farm Animal Production Systems)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Prevailing Clusters of Canine Behavioural Traits in Historical US Demand for Dog Breeds (1926–2005)
Animals 2018, 8(11), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110197
Received: 4 October 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
Drawing on American Kennel Club (AKC) puppy registration numbers for approximately 82 varieties of pedigree dogs between 1926 and 2005, the current article analyses behavioural reports on 32,005 dogs of these varieties reported through the Canine Behavioural Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ). Cluster
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Drawing on American Kennel Club (AKC) puppy registration numbers for approximately 82 varieties of pedigree dogs between 1926 and 2005, the current article analyses behavioural reports on 32,005 dogs of these varieties reported through the Canine Behavioural Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ). Cluster analysis of C-BARQ scores indicates that the 82 breeds fell into six clusters. Average scores for each of the 14 behavioural subscales and 22 miscellaneous traits in C-BARQ were calculated for each cluster, and the breeds in each cluster with average scores most similar to the cluster averages were selected as titular breeds. Titular breeds for each cluster were the Maltese terrier, the Great Dane, the Akita, the Australian shepherd, the American Staffordshire terrier, and the Weimaraner. Using the AKC data, we tracked longitudinal trends in annual registration numbers of breeds of each cluster over the period from 1926 to 2005. This period was subdivided into periods with differing overall trends by fitting natural cubic splines to the overall raw trend and considering both the spline and its derivative curves. Differences in the absolute numbers of dogs and trends in registrations over nearly 80 years were identified: an Early period (1926–1944, during which total registration numbers were very low); a Mid-Century Period (1945–1971, during which total registration numbers were tending to rise from year to year); a First Decline (1972–1979, a brief period during which registration numbers experienced a trend of more gradual decline); a Recovery (1980–1992, where registration numbers began to gradually rise again); and a Second Decline (1993–2005, a second sustained period of falling registration numbers, more dramatic than the first decline). The current article describes the ways in which the clustered behaviour of dogs associate with these trends. That said, there is no compelling evidence that shifts in the popularity within or between the clusters reflect consumer canine behavioural preferences. Understanding historic trends in the demand for certain canine behavioural traits could help veterinary and urban animal management stakeholders to anticipate future needs for education and infrastructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Conditions Associated with Marine Lipid-Induced Milk Fat Depression in Sheep Cause Shifts in the In Vitro Ruminal Metabolism of 1-13C Oleic Acid
Animals 2018, 8(11), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110196
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
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Abstract
Shifts in ruminal oleic acid (OA) metabolism have received little research attention but recent studies have suggested their association with marine lipid-induced milk fat depression (MFD) in ewes and cows. Measurement of specific products of OA within the complex mixture of digesta lipids
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Shifts in ruminal oleic acid (OA) metabolism have received little research attention but recent studies have suggested their association with marine lipid-induced milk fat depression (MFD) in ewes and cows. Measurement of specific products of OA within the complex mixture of digesta lipids is however challenging. Therefore, this in vitro trial combined the isotopic labelling technique with the use of rumen inoculum from cannulated sheep fed a diet supplemented or not with 2% of fish oil (which has been demonstrated to cause MFD in dairy ruminants) to characterize the metabolism of OA in response to ruminal alterations associated with MFD. The products of 13C-OA after 24 h of incubation were analysed by gas chromatography-combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS). Numerous 13C-labeled 18:1 intermediates and oxygenated FA were detected and no elongation or desaturation of 13OA occurred. Diet supplementation with fish oil (i.e., MFD conditions) resulted in no unique metabolites of 13OA but in relevant changes in the relative contribution of specific metabolic pathways. The inhibition of 18:0 saturation caused by this treatment appeared largely attributable to increased oxygenated FA proportion, in particular the candidate milk fat inhibitor 10-oxo-18:0, and warrants further research on the association between MFD and oxygenated FA. Changes in the concentration of 13C-labeled trans 18:1 intermediates but not in cis 18:1, were also observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessArticle Use of Foaming Disinfectants and Cleaners to Reduce Aerobic Bacteria and Salmonella on Poultry Transport Coops
Animals 2018, 8(11), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110195
Received: 2 September 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 2 November 2018
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Abstract
Transport coops are infrequently washed and have been demonstrated to cross-contaminate broiler carcasses. We hypothesized that peracetic acid or a chlorinated cleaner, commonly used within poultry processing plants, can also be used to disinfect transport coops when applied via a compressed air foam
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Transport coops are infrequently washed and have been demonstrated to cross-contaminate broiler carcasses. We hypothesized that peracetic acid or a chlorinated cleaner, commonly used within poultry processing plants, can also be used to disinfect transport coops when applied via a compressed air foam system (CAFS). A mixture of fresh layer manure and concentrated Salmonella Typhimurium (ST) was evenly applied to the floors of four pre-cleaned transport coops and allowed to dry for thirty minutes. Treatments consisted of a (1) water rinse only, (2) product application with a water rinse, (3) product application followed by power washing and (4) power washing followed by application of product. Each foaming treatment was applied with a compressed air foam system and allowed 10 min of contact time. Samples were aseptically collected from the transport coops prior to and following treatment using a sterile 2 × 2-inch stainless steel template and a gauze swab pre-enriched with buffered peptone water. The chlorinated cleaner significantly (p < 0.05) reduced aerobic bacteria and ST by 3.18 to 4.84 logs across application methods. The peroxyacetic acid (PAA) disinfectant significantly (p < 0.05) reduced aerobic bacteria and ST by 3.99 to 5.17 logs across application methods. These data indicate that a compressed air foam system may be used in combination with a commercially available cleaner or disinfectant to reduce aerobic bacteria and ST on the surfaces of commercial poultry transport coops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Observed and Controlled Water Intake on Reticulorumen Temperature in Lactating Dairy Cattle
Animals 2018, 8(11), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110194
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 29 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
Dairy precision technologies helps producers monitor individual animals. Reticulorumen temperature boluses are a way to monitor core body temperature; however, factors such as water intake affects reticulorumen temperature. This research determined the effect of natural water intake and a controlled water drench on
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Dairy precision technologies helps producers monitor individual animals. Reticulorumen temperature boluses are a way to monitor core body temperature; however, factors such as water intake affects reticulorumen temperature. This research determined the effect of natural water intake and a controlled water drench on reticulorumen temperature (RT) in dairy cattle. In observational study part 1, tie- stall cows (n = 4) with RT transponders were observed for natural water intake (recorded by in line water meters) for 48 h. In experiment part 2, a randomized Latin square design with cows (n = 12) restricted on feed for 4 h, were drenched daily with a water quantity of 6.7 L, 11.4 L or 22.7 L, and at controlled water temperature of 1.7 °C, 7.2 °C, 15.5 °C, or 29.4 °C. Descriptively, observational study 1 had (Mean ± SD 0.27 ± 0.31 L ingested per drinking event (n = 84) and RT decline from baseline was 2.29 ± 1.82 °C. For the experiment, a 48-h specific rolling baseline temperature range (BTR) was calculated for each cow prior to the experiment to determine time required for RT to reach BTR, and time to return to BTR. In part 2 of the experiment, as water quantity increased, RT had a greater maximum degree drop from baseline. Water temperature and water quantity interaction influenced time required for BTR to reestablish. The coldest water temperature at the highest drench quantity affected time for BTR to reestablish the longest (103 min). Results from this study suggest that an algorithm could be designed to predict water intake events for producers using reticulorumen temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Duration of Dietary Rapeseed and Soybean Oil Feeding on Physical Characteristics, Fatty Acid Profile, and Oxidative Stability of Pig Backfat
Animals 2018, 8(11), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110193
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 18 October 2018 / Accepted: 29 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
This study compared the effect of two vegetable oils and their feeding duration on pig backfat quality. The experiment was conducted with 60 DanBred pigs that were fed a diet supplemented (40 g/kg) with rapeseed or soybean oil for 2, 4 or 6
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This study compared the effect of two vegetable oils and their feeding duration on pig backfat quality. The experiment was conducted with 60 DanBred pigs that were fed a diet supplemented (40 g/kg) with rapeseed or soybean oil for 2, 4 or 6 weeks before slaughter at 152 d of age. The supplementation of both vegetable oils in the diets for 6 weeks negatively changed backfat consistency. The pigs fed soybean oil for 4 (17.64%) and 6 weeks (18.52%) before slaughter showed an increase in backfat linoleic acid content (p = 0.002), whereas, in contrast to the other groups, rapeseed oil in the diet for 6 weeks (2.38%) increased α-linolenic acid content (p = 0.039). The content of PUFAs (p = 0.024) and n-6 PUFAs (p = 0.003) was increased by adding soybean oil to the diet for 4 and 6 weeks. The ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs was decreased (p = 0.040) by supplementing rapeseed oil for 4 and 6 weeks. The oil feeding duration decreased (p < 0.001) the atherogenic and thrombogenic indices. The lipid oxidative stability of backfat stored for 3 and 5 days increased (p < 0.001) in pigs fed dietary vegetable oils for 6 weeks prior to slaughter. In conclusion, the feeding of rapeseed oil for 4 weeks before slaughter is sufficient for improving the FA profile without negative effect on the consistency of the backfat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessArticle Long Term Benefits on Social Behaviour after Early Life Socialization of Piglets
Animals 2018, 8(11), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110192
Received: 4 October 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 29 October 2018
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Early life socialization of piglets has been shown to reduce piglet aggression at weaning, but information on sow health and long-term benefits is lacking. We aimed to assess how socialization impacts sow udder quality and long-term pig behaviour and growth. At two weeks
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Early life socialization of piglets has been shown to reduce piglet aggression at weaning, but information on sow health and long-term benefits is lacking. We aimed to assess how socialization impacts sow udder quality and long-term pig behaviour and growth. At two weeks of age, 65 litters either experienced socialization with one other litter (SOC) or did not (control; CON). Sows (housed in farrowing crates) were scored for teat damage and piglets were observed for aggressive behaviour (resident-intruder test) and growth and skin lesions up to 11 weeks under conventional farm conditions (including weaning and regrouping). At weaning, SOC sows had more teat damage than CON sows (p = 0.04). SOC piglets had double the number of lesions 24 h post-socialization compared to the control (19 versus 8; p < 0.001). In the resident-intruder test, more SOC pigs attacked the intruder (SOC 78%; CON 66%; p < 0.01), and attacked more quickly (p = 0.01). During regrouping (week 8), SOC pigs had 19% fewer lesions (SOC 68; CON 84; p < 0.05), but three weeks later, groups did not differ. Growth was unaffected by treatment. Overall, socialized piglets seem to be equipped with greater confidence or agonistic skills, leading to fewer injuries from fighting up to at least six weeks after socialization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Parameters for the Analysis of Social Bonds in Horses
Animals 2018, 8(11), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110191
Received: 8 October 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 27 October 2018
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Social bond analysis is of major importance for the evaluation of social relationships in group housed horses. However, in equine behaviour literature, studies on social bond analysis are inconsistent. Mutual grooming (horses standing side by side and gently nipping, nuzzling, or rubbing each
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Social bond analysis is of major importance for the evaluation of social relationships in group housed horses. However, in equine behaviour literature, studies on social bond analysis are inconsistent. Mutual grooming (horses standing side by side and gently nipping, nuzzling, or rubbing each other), affiliative approaches (horses approaching each other and staying within one body length), and measurements of spatial proximity (horses standing with body contact or within two horse-lengths) are commonly used. In the present study, we assessed which of the three parameters is most suitable for social bond analysis in horses, and whether social bonds are affected by individual and group factors. We observed social behaviour and spatial proximity in 145 feral horses, five groups of Przewalski’s horses (N = 36), and six groups of feral horses (N = 109) for 15 h per group, on three days within one week. We found grooming, friendly approaches, and spatial proximity to be robust parameters, as their correlation was affected only by the animals’ sex (GLMM: N = 145, SE = 0.001, t = −2.7, p = 0.008) and the group size (GLMM: N = 145, SE < 0.001, t = 4.255, p < 0.001), but not by the horse breed, the aggression ratio, the social rank, the group, the group composition, and the individuals themselves. Our results show a trend for a correspondence between all three parameters (GLMM: N = 145, SE = 0.004, t = 1.95, p = 0.053), a strong correspondence between mutual grooming and friendly approaches (GLMM: N = 145, SE = 0.021, t = 3.922, p < 0.001), and a weak correspondence between mutual grooming and spatial proximity (GLMM: N = 145, SE = 0.04, t = 1.15, p = 0.25). We therefore suggest either using a combination of the proactive behaviour counts mutual grooming and friendly approaches, or using measurements of close spatial proximity, for the analysis of social bonds in horses within a limited time frame. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Management of Pet Cats: The Impact of the Cat Tracker Citizen Science Project in South Australia
Animals 2018, 8(11), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110190
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 18 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 24 October 2018
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Domestic cats (Felis catus) are popular pets worldwide and play an important role in the lives of many of their owners; however, there is growing awareness of the potential negative impacts of cats. Accordingly, there is increasing interest in pet cat
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Domestic cats (Felis catus) are popular pets worldwide and play an important role in the lives of many of their owners; however, there is growing awareness of the potential negative impacts of cats. Accordingly, there is increasing interest in pet cat management, including changing the attitudes and behaviours of cat owners. The Cat Tracker citizen science project was conducted in South Australia to better understand domestic cats, their movement, and related community views. The project was deliberately designed to engage cat owners and assist them to make informed decisions about the management of their pet cats. The project collected data through an online social survey (n = 3192) and GPS tracking of pet cats (n = 428), conducted between February 2015 and September 2016. A public report was published in February 2017 and an evaluation survey (n = 410) was conducted between March and May 2017. This study evaluates the project and examines its impact on participant knowledge, attitude, and behaviour. We found that participation in the tracking activity had a statistically significant influence on participant-reported learning. For participant cat owners, we recorded statistically significant increases in the level of importance placed on containing cats (both during the day and at night). Participants reported that they changed their behaviour with existing pet cats and reported intentions to change behaviour with future pet cats. We discuss impacts beyond what we set out to measure, including impacts on project onlookers, profound impacts on participants, and how the rebound effect (which can generate negative impacts) may be avoided. We describe social science applied to citizen science and advocate for further research in this area to understand how projects can drive positive changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Open AccessCommunication Cetobacterium Is a Major Component of the Microbiome of Giant Amazonian Fish (Arapaima gigas) in Ecuador
Animals 2018, 8(11), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110189
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 15 September 2018 / Published: 24 October 2018
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Abstract
Arapaima gigas is a large air-breathing fish found in Amazonian rivers, a characteristic that gives this species an advantage in oxygen-deprived waters. It shows high potential for aquaculture in the Amazon region due to its fast growth rate that approaches 10–15 kg/year. The
[...] Read more.
Arapaima gigas is a large air-breathing fish found in Amazonian rivers, a characteristic that gives this species an advantage in oxygen-deprived waters. It shows high potential for aquaculture in the Amazon region due to its fast growth rate that approaches 10–15 kg/year. The aim of this study was to explore the composition of the intestinal bacterial community of Arapaima gigas reared in Ecuador using 16S rRNA gene high-throughput sequencing. The analysis revealed significant differences in alpha diversity indices (p < 0.05) and differential distribution of minor components of the intestinal microbiome between small and large fish. However, components with greater relative abundance, such as Cetobacterium, are found in similar proportions. Full article
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