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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 10 (October 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Domesticated pet rabbits typically exhibit shorter, flatter skulls than their wild counterparts [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Heat Stress on Autophagy and Apoptosis of Rumen, Abomasum, Duodenum, Liver and Kidney Cells in Calves
Animals 2019, 9(10), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100854 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the effect of heat stress on the autophagy and apoptosis of the rumen, abomasum, duodenum, liver and kidney in calves. Two groups of Holstein male calves were selected with similar birth weights and health conditions. [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to assess the effect of heat stress on the autophagy and apoptosis of the rumen, abomasum, duodenum, liver and kidney in calves. Two groups of Holstein male calves were selected with similar birth weights and health conditions. Heat stress (HT): Six calves (birth weight 42.2 ± 2.3) were raised from July 15 to August 19. Cooling (CL): Six calves (birth weight 41.5 ± 3.1 kg) were raised from April 10 to May 15. All the calves were euthanized following captive bolt gun stunning at 35 d of age. The expression of protein 1 light chain 3-Ⅱ (LC3-Ⅱ) and caspase3 in the rumen, abomasum, duodenum, liver and kidney were determined by western blotting. In addition, other possible relevant serum biochemical parameters were evaluated. Significant differences were observed in alkaline phosphatase (ALP), albumin (ALB) and glucose (Glu). The results showed that heat stress could increase the autophagy and apoptosis of the kidney, duodenum and abomasum. However, heat stress had no effect on the autophagy and apoptosis of the liver. Additionally, the expression of caspase-3 in the rumen in HT was significantly lower than that in CL. In conclusion, the effects of heat stress on autophagy and apoptosis are organ-specific. The results provide knowledge regarding autophagy and autophagy in calf heat stress management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calf and Heifer Feeding and management)
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Open AccessReview
The Welfare of Pig-Hunting Dogs in Australia
Animals 2019, 9(10), 853; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100853 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
Hunting feral pigs using dogs is a popular recreational activity in Australia. Dogs are used to flush, chase, bail, and hold feral pigs, and their use for these activities is legal in some states and territories and illegal in others. However, there is [...] Read more.
Hunting feral pigs using dogs is a popular recreational activity in Australia. Dogs are used to flush, chase, bail, and hold feral pigs, and their use for these activities is legal in some states and territories and illegal in others. However, there is little knowledge about the health and welfare of dogs owned specifically for the purpose of pig hunting. We conducted a review of the literature on working dogs in Australia and overseas to determine the likely welfare impacts confronting pig-hunting dogs. We identified numerous challenges facing pig-hunting dogs throughout their lives. Risks to welfare include overbreeding, wastage due to behavioural incompatibilities, the use of aversive training techniques including electronic shock collars, solitary kenneling and tethering, high exposure to infectious diseases including zoonotic diseases, inadequate vaccination and anthelmintic prophlyaxis, high incidence of traumatic and other injuries during hunts, climatic exposure during transportation, mortality during hunts, and a suboptimal quality of life after retirement. There are also significant welfare concerns for the wild pigs hunted in this manner. We conclude that research needs to be conducted in order to determine the current health and welfare of pig-hunting dogs, specifically in Australia. The humaneness of this method of pest control urgently requires further assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Partial Replacment of Dietary Forage Using Kelp Powder (Thallus laminariae) on Ruminal Fermentation and Lactation Performances of Dairy Cows
Animals 2019, 9(10), 852; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100852 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
Background: Kelp powder, which was rich in novel oligosaccharides and iodine might be utilized by the rumen microbiome, promoted the ruminal fermentation and finally enhanced the lactation performance of dairy cows. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of [...] Read more.
Background: Kelp powder, which was rich in novel oligosaccharides and iodine might be utilized by the rumen microbiome, promoted the ruminal fermentation and finally enhanced the lactation performance of dairy cows. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of kelp powder partially replacing dietary forage on rumen fermentation and lactation performance of dairy cows. (2) Methods: In the present study, 20 Chinese Holstein dairy cows were randomly divided into two treatments, a control diet (CON) and a kelp powder replacing diet (Kelp) for a 35-d long trial. Dry matter intake (DMI), milk production, milk quality, ruminal fermentable parameters, and rumen microbiota were measured to investigate the effects of kelp powder feeding on dairy cows. (3) Results: On the lactation performance, kelp significantly increased milk iodine content and effectively enhanced milk production and milk fat content. On the fermentable aspects, kelp significantly raised TVFA while reducing the ammonia-N content. On the rumen microbial aspect, kelp feeding significantly promoted the proliferation of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria while suppressing Bacteroidetes. (4) Conclusion: kelp powder as an ingredient of feedstuff might promote the rumen fermentation ability and effectively increase milk fat and iodine content, and consequently improve the milk nutritional value. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variability and Potential of Seaweeds as Ingredients of Ruminant Diets: An In Vitro Study
Animals 2019, 9(10), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100851 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
This study was designed to analyze the chemical composition and in vitro rumen fermentation of eight seaweed species (Brown: Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata, Pelvetia canaliculata, Saccharina latissima; Red: Mastocarpus stellatus, Palmaria palmata and Porphyra sp.; Green: Cladophora rupestris [...] Read more.
This study was designed to analyze the chemical composition and in vitro rumen fermentation of eight seaweed species (Brown: Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata, Pelvetia canaliculata, Saccharina latissima; Red: Mastocarpus stellatus, Palmaria palmata and Porphyra sp.; Green: Cladophora rupestris) collected in Norway during spring and autumn. Moreover, the in vitro ruminal fermentation of seventeen diets composed of 1:1 oat hay:concentrate, without (control diet) or including seaweeds was studied. The ash and N contents were greater (p < 0.001) in seaweeds collected during spring than in autumn, but autumn-seaweeds had greater total extractable polyphenols. Nitrogen in red and green seaweeds was greater than 2.20 and in brown seaweeds, it was lower than 1.92 g/kg DM. Degradability after 24 h of fermentation was greater in spring seaweeds than in autumn, with Palmaria palmata showing the greatest value and Pelvetia canaliculata the lowest. Seaweeds differed in their fermentation pattern, and autumn Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata, Saccharina latissima and Palmaria palmata were similar to high-starch feeds. The inclusion of seaweeds in the concentrate of a diet up to 200 g/kg concentrate produced only subtle effects on in vitro ruminal fermentation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vitro Digestibility in Animal Nutritional Studies)
Open AccessArticle
The Anti-Oxidation and Mechanism of Essential Oil of Paederia scandens in the NAFLD Model of Chicken
Animals 2019, 9(10), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100850 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
The aim of the study is to determine the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of oxidative stress and detect the anti-oxidative target of essential oil of Paederia scandens in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Chicken NAFLD was modeled by feeding with a high-capacity diet and [...] Read more.
The aim of the study is to determine the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of oxidative stress and detect the anti-oxidative target of essential oil of Paederia scandens in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Chicken NAFLD was modeled by feeding with a high-capacity diet and Paederia scandens essential oil was used to treat the disease. The levels of hepatic reactive oxygen species (ROS), malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and the differential proteins and network of protein–protein interactions were investigated in model and drug-treated groups. The results showed that essential oil of Paederia scandens down regulated the hepatic ROS and MDA level significantly (p < 0.05 and 0.01, respectively). The heat shock cognate 71 kDa protein (HSP7C) was down regulated significantly, which was in the center of the network and interacted with 22 other proteins. The results showed that oxidative stress played an important role in the pathogenesis of chicken NAFLD. The essential oil of Paederia scandens showed good anti-oxidation activity by down regulating the HSP7C protein, which can be used as a potential therapeutic target in chicken NAFLD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Socio-Economic Status on Accessibility of Dog Training Classes
Animals 2019, 9(10), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100849 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
Behaviour problems are amongst the most common reasons given for relinquishing dogs to rehoming centres. Some behaviour problems may be amenable to being tackled pre-emptively with classes educating owners on basic dog training and understanding behaviour; however, it is recognised that people with [...] Read more.
Behaviour problems are amongst the most common reasons given for relinquishing dogs to rehoming centres. Some behaviour problems may be amenable to being tackled pre-emptively with classes educating owners on basic dog training and understanding behaviour; however, it is recognised that people with low socio-economic status (SES) may face barriers to attending classes such as affordability, variable working hours, and limited access to transport and childcare. The current study piloted free-to-use dog training and owner education classes in areas with high levels of economic deprivation, both in the traditional face-to-face format and online. It was hypothesised that providing an online dog training course may help people overcome practical barriers by allowing them to complete training modules in their own time. High dropout rates were observed in both formats (online: 100%, face-to-face: 43% dropout). A course of paid dog training classes running in the same area saw a comparatively low dropout rate (24%). Participants who completed the face-to-face classes had significantly higher household incomes and were less likely to receive means-tested benefits than participants who dropped out (household income p = 0.049; benefits status p = 0.017). This evidence suggests that people with low SES may face non-course fee-related barriers to attending dog training classes. Future research should include a qualitative investigation of people’s reasons for not continuing with dog training courses. Study findings can support the development of training and behaviour advice delivery that is accessible to people with varied socio-economic backgrounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamentals of Clinical Animal Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle
Induction of Chemerin on Autophagy and Apoptosis in Dairy Cow Mammary Epithelial Cells
Animals 2019, 9(10), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100848 - 21 Oct 2019
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Abstract
Involution of the mammary gland is a complex process controlled by various endocrine hormones and cytokine. As a novel adipocytokine, Chemerin not only plays a pivotal role in physiological and pathological processes such as immune response and lipid metabolism, but is also involved [...] Read more.
Involution of the mammary gland is a complex process controlled by various endocrine hormones and cytokine. As a novel adipocytokine, Chemerin not only plays a pivotal role in physiological and pathological processes such as immune response and lipid metabolism, but is also involved in the regulation of programmed cell death, including autophagy and apoptosis. The purpose of the present study was to elucidate whether autophagy and apoptosis of bovine mammary epithelial cells (BMECs) was triggered by Chemerin. BMECs were cultured and treated with Chemerin in vitro. The expression of autophagosome-forming marker, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 II (LC3-II) and sequestosome-1 (SQSTM 1, best known as p62), a substrate of autophagosome degradation were detected. The result showed that Chemerin significantly decreased the expression of p62 and markedly induced the conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II. The ratio of Bcl2-associated X and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bax/Bcl-2) and the activity of caspase-3 were up-regulated after being treated by Chemerin, and the apoptotic rate was also significantly increased. These results suggested that Chemerin promoted the occurrence of autophagy and apoptosis in BMECs. Chloroquine (CQ), which is an inhibitor of autophagy. To explore effects of Chemerin on apoptosis, we prevented Chemerin-induced autophagy by pre-adding CQ in BMECs. Interestingly, this part of the experiment helped us find that all effects of Chemerin on apoptosis of BMECs could be enhanced with the inhibition of autophagy. Our study demonstrates that Chemerin-induced autophagy and apoptosis are mutually regulated in BMECs, but the specific mechanism remains to be further researched. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutraceuticals and Animal Physiology: Performance and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Essential Oil Blend Could Decrease Diarrhea Prevalence by Improving Antioxidative Capability for Weaned Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(10), 847; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100847 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 106
Abstract
Finding an alternative to in-feed antibiotics is important because of increasing contemporary concern regarding drug residues and the development of drug-resistant bacteria. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that essential oils added to the feed would decrease diarrhea prevalence [...] Read more.
Finding an alternative to in-feed antibiotics is important because of increasing contemporary concern regarding drug residues and the development of drug-resistant bacteria. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that essential oils added to the feed would decrease diarrhea prevalence in post-weaned pigs. Ninety weaned piglets (initial body weight (BW): 8.1 ± 1.4 kg) were randomly assigned to one of three dietary diets: (1) a control diet (CON, the basal diet without antibiotics), (2) an antibiotic diet (AB, CON supplemented with colistin sulfate, 20 mg/kg and bacitracin zinc, 40 mg/kg), or (3) an essential oil diet (EO, CON supplemented with an essential oil blend 100 mg/kg) in a completely randomized block design for a 28-day period. The results revealed that AB and EO improved the average daily gain of the piglets from day (d) 15 to 28 (p < 0.05). The diarrhea prevalence in piglets fed AB and EO was lower than that of piglets fed CON (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the growth performance or diarrhea prevalence between the AB and EO treatments. Nutrient digestibility was measured at d 28. Compared with CON, EO increased the apparent total tract digestibility of gross energy and crude protein (p < 0.05). Villus height in the duodenum and the ratio of villus height to crypt depth in the jejunum for piglets fed AB and EO was greater than those for piglets fed CON (p < 0.05). The essential oil blend improved the superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), but decreased the 8-hydroxy deoxyguanosine content in serum on d 14 (p < 0.05). Decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl content were observed on d 28 in comparison with CON (p < 0.05). The mucosa in the jejunum of pigs fed EO had greater T-AOC, SOD levels, and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities than that of pigs fed CON (p < 0.05). Pigs fed EO and AB had greater GSH-Px activity in the liver tissue than pigs fed CON (p < 0.05). Not only did jejunal and ileal mucosa have EO upregulated SOD1 mRNA expression (p < 0.05), this was also the case in liver tissue. GPx1 expression in the ileal mucosa and GPx4 expression in the liver tissue were higher for pigs fed EO when compared to those fed CON (p < 0.05). Collectively, a dietary essential oil blend supplementation, which has natural antimicrobial properties, could enhance growth performance and decrease diarrhea prevalence in weaned pigs through increases in antioxidative capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutraceuticals and Animal Physiology: Performance and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Paws for Thought: A Controlled Study Investigating the Benefits of Interacting with a House-Trained Dog on University Students Mood and Anxiety
Animals 2019, 9(10), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100846 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 132
Abstract
University students have been found to have higher rates of psychological distress than that of the general population, which reportedly rises significantly upon starting university and does not return to pre-university levels throughout their time in university. It is therefore highly important to [...] Read more.
University students have been found to have higher rates of psychological distress than that of the general population, which reportedly rises significantly upon starting university and does not return to pre-university levels throughout their time in university. It is therefore highly important to find ways to improve student health and well-being. One way that may help is by interacting with animals. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether interacting with a dog would have a positive effect on university students’ mood and anxiety. This study assigned 82 university students to either the experimental condition (dog interaction, n = 41) or to the control condition (dog video, n = 41). The students completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Expanded Form (PANAS-X), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Pet Attitude Scale before their assigned conditions, to evaluate their mood and anxiety levels and attitudes to animals. The participants again completed the STAI and PANAS-X Form after their condition, to assess for possible changes in anxiety and mood. The findings of the study indicated that all participants, regardless of condition, experienced a reduction in their anxiety and an improvement in their mood across time. However, directly interacting with a dog resulted in greater declines in anxiety and improved mood scores, more so than watching a video. Consequently, it appears there are psychological benefits to be gained by students from interacting with dogs and it is hoped this study will help to inform future best practices in designing student dog interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Assisted Therapies and Interventions 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Silver Nanoparticle Administration on Productive Performance, Blood Parameters, Antioxidative Status, and Silver Residues in Growing Rabbits under Hot Climate
Animals 2019, 9(10), 845; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100845 - 21 Oct 2019
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Abstract
The influence of subcutaneous injections of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on rabbit performance, hematological and biochemical parameters of blood, antioxidant status, and the residues of silver in meat and blood in two breeds (New Zealand White (NZW) and Jabali) of rabbits growing under high [...] Read more.
The influence of subcutaneous injections of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on rabbit performance, hematological and biochemical parameters of blood, antioxidant status, and the residues of silver in meat and blood in two breeds (New Zealand White (NZW) and Jabali) of rabbits growing under high ambient temperature was evaluated. A total of 90 six-week-old rabbits (45 NZW and 45 Jabali) were randomly distributed into three equal treatment groups (control, 0.5 mg, and 1.0 mg AgNPs/kg body weight). The treated rabbits were injected twice a week for four consecutive weeks. The results revealed that AgNPs administration had no significant effect on average daily gain (ADG), feed intake, and feed conversion ratio (FCR). The NZW breed surpassed the Jabali breed in growth performance traits, carcass weight, dressing percentage, and cuts of mid parts and hind cuts. Administration of AgNPs had a significant effect on hematocrit (HCT) and platelet (PLT) values. Rabbits injected with AgNPs at a dose of 0.5 mg showed a lower plasma concentration of total cholesterol and triglycerides than that of control rabbits. The NZW breed had significantly low platelet, total cholesterol, and triglyceride values. Rabbits injected with 0.5 mg/kg BW had the lowest total antioxidant capacity and highest malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione peroxidase. The Ag residues were higher in blood than those in meat in treated rabbits. The local breed (Jabali) had significantly lower residues than the imported one (NZW) either in meat or in blood. However, the amount of accumulated silver in blood plasma and meat increased with increasing dose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
Open AccessArticle
Allele Frequency of the C.5G>A Mutation in the PRCD Gene Responsible for Progressive Retinal Atrophy in English Cocker Spaniel Dogs
Animals 2019, 9(10), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100844 - 21 Oct 2019
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Abstract
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) due to the c.5G>A mutation in the progressive rod–cone degeneration (PRCD) gene is an important genetic disease in English cocker spaniel (ECS) dogs. Because the prevalence of this disease has not been verified in Brazil, this study [...] Read more.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) due to the c.5G>A mutation in the progressive rod–cone degeneration (PRCD) gene is an important genetic disease in English cocker spaniel (ECS) dogs. Because the prevalence of this disease has not been verified in Brazil, this study aimed to evaluate the allele frequency of the c.5G>A mutation in the PRCD gene. Purified DNA from 220 ECS dogs was used for genotyping, of which 131 were registered from 18 different kennels and 89 were unregistered. A clinical eye examination was performed in 28 of the genotyped animals; 10 were homozygous mutants. DNA fragments containing the mutation region were amplified by PCR and subjected to direct genomic sequencing. The prcd-PRA allele frequency was 25.5%. Among the registered dogs, the allele frequency was 14.9%; among the dogs with no history of registration, the allele frequency was 41%. Visual impairment was observed in 80% (8/10) of the homozygous mutant animals that underwent clinical eye examination. The high mutation frequency found in this study emphasizes the importance of genotyping ECSs as an early diagnostic test, especially as part of an informed breeding program, to avoid clinical cases of PRA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Topics of Current Concern for Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling the Spatial Distribution of Plateau Pika (Ochotona curzoniae) in the Qinghai Lake Basin, China
Animals 2019, 9(10), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100843 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 107
Abstract
The plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) is a keystone species in the alpine rangeland ecosystem of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. Most previous studies of habitat selection by plateau pika have been conducted at a local microhabitat scale; however, little is known about the [...] Read more.
The plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) is a keystone species in the alpine rangeland ecosystem of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. Most previous studies of habitat selection by plateau pika have been conducted at a local microhabitat scale; however, little is known about the relationship between the distribution of plateau pika and macrohabitat factors at broad spatial scales. Using a presence-only ecological niche model (maximum entropy, Maxent), we predicted the distribution of plateau pika in the Qinghai Lake basin based on a set of environmental and anthropogenic variables at 1-km spatial resolution, and identified key macrohabitat factors that contribute to the predictive performance. Our results showed suitable area for plateau pika in the Qinghai Lake basin being approximately 3982 km2, which is 15.8% of the land area in the whole watershed. The distance to road emerged as the most important predictor of the distribution patterns of plateau pika, while the soil type was of ancillary importance. Mean air temperature of wettest quarter, distance to resident site and altitude also produced high gains in defining plateau pika’s distribution. A higher predictive accuracy was achieved by the model that combined environmental and anthropogenic variables. With the constraint of human factors, the presence probability of plateau pika in about 1661 km2 will increase. These findings demonstrate the impact of human activities on the distribution of plateau pika, and the importance of vegetation reservation for plateau pika control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Tree Width on Thoracolumbar and Limb Kinematics, Saddle Pressure Distribution, and Thoracolumbar Dimensions in Sports Horses in Trot and Canter
Animals 2019, 9(10), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100842 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 109
Abstract
This study evaluated the effect of saddle tree width on thoracolumbar and limb kinematics, saddle pressure distribution, and thoracolumbar epaxial musculature dimensions. Correctly fitted saddles were fitted by a Society of Master Saddler Qualified Saddle Fitter in fourteen sports horses (mean ± SD [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the effect of saddle tree width on thoracolumbar and limb kinematics, saddle pressure distribution, and thoracolumbar epaxial musculature dimensions. Correctly fitted saddles were fitted by a Society of Master Saddler Qualified Saddle Fitter in fourteen sports horses (mean ± SD age 12 ± 8.77 years, height 1.65 ± 0.94 m), and were altered to one width fitting wider and narrower. Horses were equipped with skin markers, inertial measurement units, and a pressure mat beneath the saddle. Differences in saddle pressure distribution, as well as limb and thoracolumbosacral kinematics between saddle widths were investigated using a general linear model with Bonferroni adjusted alpha (p ≤ 0.05). Compared with the correct saddle width, in trot, in the wide saddle, an 8.5% increase in peak pressures was found in the cranial region of the saddle (p = 0.003), a 14% reduction in thoracolumbar dimensions at T13 (p = 0.02), and a 6% decrease in the T13 range of motion in the mediolateral direction (p = 0.02). In the narrow saddle, a 14% increase in peak pressures was found in the caudal region of the saddle (p = 0.01), an 8% decrease in the range of motion of T13 in the mediolateral direction (p = 0.004), and a 6% decrease in the vertical direction (p = 0.004) of T13. Compared with the correct saddle width, in canter, in the wide saddle, axial rotation decreased by 1% at T5 (p = 0.03) with an 5% increase at T13 (p = 0.04) and a 5% increase at L3 (p = 0.03). Peak pressures increased by 4% (p = 0.002) in the cranial region of the wide saddle. Altering the saddle fit had an effect on thoracolumbar kinematics and saddle pressure distribution; hence, correct saddle fit is essential to provide unhindered locomotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Horse as an Athlete: Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation and Wellness)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Pegbovigrastim on Hematological Profile of Simmental Dairy Cows during the Transition Period
Animals 2019, 9(10), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100841 - 21 Oct 2019
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Abstract
Pegbovigrastim is a long-acting analog of recombinant bovine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, that promotes and increases the count and functionality of polymorphonuclear cells in dairy cows. The present study aimed to explore, for the first time in Simmental cows, the clinical and hematological effect [...] Read more.
Pegbovigrastim is a long-acting analog of recombinant bovine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, that promotes and increases the count and functionality of polymorphonuclear cells in dairy cows. The present study aimed to explore, for the first time in Simmental cows, the clinical and hematological effect of pegbovigrastim during the transition period (TP). Cows were randomly assigned into two groups: treated group (PEG; n = 16) received pegbovigrastim at approximately 7 days before expected parturition and within 6 h after calving, and control group (CTR; n = 16) received saline solution. Blood samples were obtained at −7, 0, 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 30 days relative to calving. PEG group showed white blood cells (WBC) count consistently higher compared with CTR group (p < 0.001) until to 3 weeks after calving. Neutrophils remained higher in PEG group (p < 0.001) up to three weeks after calving, compared with CTR group, with slight increment of band cells. Moreover, PEG group displayed a lower index of myeloperoxidase at 1, 3, and 7 days after calving (p < 0.01) compared with CTR. Basophils and lymphocytes showed a similar trend to those observed for neutrophils at 1 day after calving in PEG group. Finally, monocytes remained markedly elevated until 3 days after calving in PEG compared to CTR group (p < 0.001), whereas in PEG group, eosinophils population showed lower percentage values at 1 and 3 days after calving but higher values at 30 days compared with CTR group. PEG group was characterized by lower red blood cells (RBCs) count compared with CTR group (p < 0.05) and higher % of red cell volume distribution width (RDW) from week 2 and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) at 30 days after calving. In addition, the mean platelet volume (MPV) was significantly higher in PEG group at calving, 1, 3, and 7 days after calving compared with CTR group (p < 0.05). For the first time, we described the effect of pegbovigrastim in a breed not specialized exclusively in milk production as Holstein, but with dual purpose (meat and milk), evaluating the complete hematological profile in cows during the transition period. These results provide evidence on the proliferative effect of pegbovigrastim on WBC in Simmental breed highlighting its possible side effect on RBCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Dietary Inulin Supplementation on Growth Performance, Carcass Traits, and Meat Quality in Growing–Finishing Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(10), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100840 - 21 Oct 2019
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Abstract
Inulin is one of the commercially feasible dietary fibers that has been implicated in regulating the gut health and metabolism of animals. This experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of dietary inulin supplementation on growth performance and meat quality in growing–finishing pigs. [...] Read more.
Inulin is one of the commercially feasible dietary fibers that has been implicated in regulating the gut health and metabolism of animals. This experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of dietary inulin supplementation on growth performance and meat quality in growing–finishing pigs. Thirty-six Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire White growing barrows (22.0 ± 1.0 kg) were randomly allocated to two dietary treatments consisting of a basal control diet (CON) or basal diet supplemented with 0.5% inulin (INU). Results showed that inulin supplementation tended to increase the average daily gain (ADG) at the fattening stage (0.05 < p < 0.10). Inulin significantly increased the dressing percentage (p < 0.05) and tended to increase the loin-eye area. The serum concentrations of insulin and IGF-I were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the INU group than in the CON group. Moreover, inulin supplementation significantly elevated the expression level of myosin heavy chain II b (MyHC IIb) in the longissimus dorsi (p < 0.05). Inulin significantly upregulated the expression of mammalian rapamycin target protein (mTOR) but decreased (p < 0.05) the expression level of muscle-specific ubiquitin ligase MuRF-1. These results show the beneficial effect of inulin supplementation on the growth performance and carcass traits in growing–finishing pigs, and will also facilitate the application of inulin in swine production. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
Open AccessArticle
Sperm Morphology in Neotropical Primates
Animals 2019, 9(10), 839; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100839 - 21 Oct 2019
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Abstract
The morphological and morphometric characterization of spermatozoa has been used as a taxonomic and phylogenetic tool for different species of mammals. We evaluated and compared the sperm morphometry of five neotropical primate species: Alouatta caraya, Ateles belzebuth and Ateles chamek of family [...] Read more.
The morphological and morphometric characterization of spermatozoa has been used as a taxonomic and phylogenetic tool for different species of mammals. We evaluated and compared the sperm morphometry of five neotropical primate species: Alouatta caraya, Ateles belzebuth and Ateles chamek of family Atelidae; and Cebus cay (=Sapajus cay) and Cebus nigritus (=Sapajus nigritus) of family Cebidae. After the collection of semen samples, the following parameters were measured on 100 spermatozoa from each specimen: Head Length, Head Width, Acrosome Length, Midpiece Length, Midpiece Width and Tail Length. Considering the available literature on sperm morphometry, we gathered data of 75 individuals, from 20 species, 8 genera and 2 families. These data were superimposed on a phylogeny to infer the possible direction of evolutionary changes. Narrower and shorter spermatozoa seem to be the ancestral form for Cebidae, with a trend toward wider and larger heads in derived groups. The spermatozoa of Atelidae may show an increase in total length and midpiece length. Sperm heads would have become narrower in the more derived groups of Ateles. Sperm length may increase in the more derived species in both families. Our results are discussed in the context of sperm competition and sexual selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Dietary Supplementation of Alpha-Ketoglutarate in a Low-Protein Diet on Fatty Acid Composition and Lipid Metabolism Related Gene Expression in Muscles of Growing Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(10), 838; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100838 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 98
Abstract
The aim of the current study was to investigate whether dietary supplementation with alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) in a reduced crude protein (CP) diet would affect fatty acid composition and lipid metabolism related gene expression in the muscles of growing pigs. A total of 27 [...] Read more.
The aim of the current study was to investigate whether dietary supplementation with alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) in a reduced crude protein (CP) diet would affect fatty acid composition and lipid metabolism related gene expression in the muscles of growing pigs. A total of 27 Large White × Landrace growing pigs at 44 ± 1 d of age (11.96 ± 0.18 kg) were randomly allocated to three treatments (n = 9). Dietary treatments included: (1) normal protein diet with 20% crude protein (CP) (NP); (2) a low crude protein diet formulated to contain approximately 17% CP (LP); and (3) a low crude protein diet with 17% CP supplemented with 1% AKG at the expense of regular corn components (ALP). The experimental trial lasted 35 d. The results showed that compared with the NP and LP diets, supplementation with AKG in a low-protein diet increased the intramuscular fat (IMF), oleic acid (C18:1n-9), and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) contents (p < 0.05), and tended to increase the percentage of palmitoleic acid (C16:1) and stearic acid (C18:0) (p < 0.10) in the biceps femoris and longissimus dorsi muscles of growing pigs. These effects may be associated with increased relative mRNA expression levels of fatty acid synthase (FAS), acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), adipocyte determination and differentiation factor 1 (ADD1), fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), and stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) in skeletal muscle, indicating that AKG might be involved in the differential regulation of some key lipogenic genes in skeletal muscles of pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pig Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Methods to Measure Methane for Use in Genetic Evaluation of Dairy Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(10), 837; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100837 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 101
Abstract
Partners in Expert Working Group WG2 of the COST Action METHAGENE have used several methods for measuring methane output by individual dairy cattle under various environmental conditions. Methods included respiration chambers, the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique, breath sampling during milking [...] Read more.
Partners in Expert Working Group WG2 of the COST Action METHAGENE have used several methods for measuring methane output by individual dairy cattle under various environmental conditions. Methods included respiration chambers, the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique, breath sampling during milking or feeding, the GreenFeed system, and the laser methane detector. The aim of the current study was to review and compare the suitability of methods for large-scale measurements of methane output by individual animals, which may be combined with other databases for genetic evaluations. Accuracy, precision and correlation between methods were assessed. Accuracy and precision are important, but data from different sources can be weighted or adjusted when combined if they are suitably correlated with the ‘true’ value. All methods showed high correlations with respiration chambers. Comparisons among alternative methods generally had lower correlations than comparisons with respiration chambers, despite higher numbers of animals and in most cases simultaneous repeated measures per cow per method. Lower correlations could be due to increased variability and imprecision of alternative methods, or maybe different aspects of methane emission are captured using different methods. Results confirm that there is sufficient correlation between methods for measurements from all methods to be combined for international genetic studies and provide a much-needed framework for comparing genetic correlations between methods should these become available. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Two Novel SNPs in RET Gene Are Associated with Cattle Body Measurement Traits
Animals 2019, 9(10), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100836 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 86
Abstract
The rearrangement of the transfection (RET) gene, which mediates the functions of the ganglion in the gastrointestinal tract, plays an important role in the development of the gastrointestinal nervous system. Therefore, the RET gene is a potential factor influencing animal body [...] Read more.
The rearrangement of the transfection (RET) gene, which mediates the functions of the ganglion in the gastrointestinal tract, plays an important role in the development of the gastrointestinal nervous system. Therefore, the RET gene is a potential factor influencing animal body measurement. The aim of this study was to reveal the significant genetic variations in the bovine RET gene and investigate the relationship between genotypes and body measurement in two Chinese cattle breeds (Qinchuan and Nanyang cattle). In this study, two SNPs (c.1407A>G and c.1425C>G) were detected in the exon 7 of RET gene by sequencing. For the SNP1 and SNP2, the GG genotype was significantly associated with body height, hip height, and chest circumference in Qinchuan cattle (p < 0.05). Individuals with an AG-CC genotype showed the lowest value of all body measurement in both breeds. Our results demonstrate that the polymorphisms in the bovine RET gene were significantly associated with body measurement, which could be used as DNA marker on the marker-assisted selection (MAS) and improve the performance of beef cattle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Revisiting a Previously Validated Temperament Test in Shelter Dogs, Including an Examination of the Use of Fake Model Dogs to Assess Conspecific Sociability
Animals 2019, 9(10), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100835 - 20 Oct 2019
Viewed by 210
Abstract
This study assessed the feasibility and reproducibility of a previously validated temperament test (TT) for shelter dogs. The test was developed to measure dog behaviour in the kennel, and traits of sociability towards people and other dogs, docility to leash, playfulness, cognitive skills, [...] Read more.
This study assessed the feasibility and reproducibility of a previously validated temperament test (TT) for shelter dogs. The test was developed to measure dog behaviour in the kennel, and traits of sociability towards people and other dogs, docility to leash, playfulness, cognitive skills, and reactivity. We introduced the use of differently sized fake dogs to check their appropriateness in correctly assessing sociability to dogs to broaden its applicability (as the original study used real stimulus dogs). We hypothesised that dogs’ responses may be modulated by the body size of the stimulus dog presented. The reduction analysis of the TT scores extracted five main dimensions (explaining 70.8% of variance), with high internal consistency (alpha > 0.65) and being broadly consistent with existing research. Behavioural components that were extracted from the fake dog experiment showed that dogs are likely to show signs of anxiety and fear toward both the real and fake dog. Dogs’ responses towards a real vs. fake stimulus were significantly correlated (p < 0.05) and they were not affected by the size of the stimulus (p > 0.05). We discuss the importance of interpreting these data with caution and use behavioural tests as a partial screening tool to be used in conjunction with more extensive behavioural and welfare monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Composition and Quality Characteristics of Meat in Three One-Humped Camel (Camelus dromedarius) Breeds as Affected by Muscle Type and Post-Mortem Storage Period
Animals 2019, 9(10), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100834 - 20 Oct 2019
Viewed by 186
Abstract
The influence of muscle type and postmortem storage period on meat chemical composition and quality attributes of three breeds of camels (Baladi Saudi, Pakistani, and Somali) were investigated in this study. Crude fat and ash content were significantly higher in the Pakistani than [...] Read more.
The influence of muscle type and postmortem storage period on meat chemical composition and quality attributes of three breeds of camels (Baladi Saudi, Pakistani, and Somali) were investigated in this study. Crude fat and ash content were significantly higher in the Pakistani than in the Baladi Saudi and Somali breeds, except for higher moisture content observed in the Somali breed. The longissimus lumborum (LL) and semimembranosus (SM) muscles had a greater crude protein than the biceps femoris (BF) muscle. Storage period exhibited a significant reduction in pH values and improvement in color components of meat. The Somali breed produced higher cooking loss % and shear force, with a lower water holding capacity than the Baladi Saudi and Pakistani breeds. The LL muscle had better cooking loss %, water holding capacity, and shear force, whereas storage period (7 days) exhibited a significant reduction in the myofibrillar fragmentation index. Baladi Saudi and Pakistani breeds and LL muscle samples presented better meat sensory attributes, while storage period had no significant influence on the overall sensory characters of meat. In conclusion, there were significant differences between the chemical and structural characteristics of the LL, BF, and SM muscle samples among the three breeds of camel. Baladi Saudi and Pakistani had better meat quality traits than the Somali breed. In addition, LL muscles had better nutritional values and meat quality parameters than BF and SM muscles. Improvement in meat quality attributes were achieved with the storage process of 7 days. It is observed that, the Saudi Baladi camels have a merit of low fat content over both Somali and Pakistani camel breeds. It is also concluded that no significant effects were observed between the treatments as a result of storage when sensory attributes were considered. Moreover, breed, muscle and storage period were interacted significantly only with regard to lightness color space and shear force. This is useful knowledge for the meat industry for optimizing processing and storage procedures for various camel muscles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Stress in Dogs Involved in Animal-Assisted Interventions
Animals 2019, 9(10), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100833 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 186
Abstract
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are co-therapies in which the animal is an integral and active part of the treatment process. Dogs are widely involved in AAI projects, but little data are available to determine if AAI sessions are a source of stress for the [...] Read more.
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are co-therapies in which the animal is an integral and active part of the treatment process. Dogs are widely involved in AAI projects, but little data are available to determine if AAI sessions are a source of stress for the dogs. Understanding the emotional state of animals and highlighting any signal of stress is crucial maintaining the wellness of the animals and in enhancing the probability of success of the AAI. The purpose of this study is to assess if dogs present signs of stress during animal assisted therapies sessions. The sample consisted of nine dogs, belonging to the members of the A.N.U.C.S.S. (the National Association for the Use of Dogs for Social Aims) association. Dogs lived with their owners and their health was checked by a vet once a week. Patients involved in the AAI project had disabilities due to mental disorder and/or psychomotor problems. During the therapeutic sessions, patients had to guide the dog along facilitated agility routes and/or perform the activities of cuddling and brushing the dog. When a dog accomplished a task, the patient gave him/her a reward (throwing a ball or a biscuit). Dogs were observed for a total of 174 h, 47 h before, 81 h during, and 46 h after AAI sessions. Each session of observation lasted 10–30 min. The differences of behavioural patterns in the three contexts were analysed by mean of the non-parametric Friedman test. Dogs never showed aggressive and stereotyped behaviour; the level of anxious behaviour was low and similar in all three kinds of sessions. During therapeutic sessions, attention, affiliative behavioural patterns, and sniffing behaviour increased. The highest level of attention of dogs was directed toward their conductor, rather than to the patient and to the other operator present. The results suggest that the amount of work dogs went through was adequate and that dogs did not show behavioural signs of stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats
Animals 2019, 9(10), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100832 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 277
Abstract
The use of CBD-rich hemp products is becoming popular among pet owners with no long-term safety data related to consumption in adult dogs and cats. The purpose of this study was to determine the single-dose oral pharmacokinetics of CBD, and to provide a [...] Read more.
The use of CBD-rich hemp products is becoming popular among pet owners with no long-term safety data related to consumption in adult dogs and cats. The purpose of this study was to determine the single-dose oral pharmacokinetics of CBD, and to provide a preliminary assessment of safety and adverse effects during 12-week administration using a hemp-based product in healthy dogs and cats. Eight of each species were provided a 2 mg/kg total CBD concentration orally twice daily for 12 weeks with screening of single-dose pharmacokinetics in six of each species. Pharmacokinetics revealed a mean maximum concentration (Cmax) of 301 ng/mL and 43 ng/mL, area under the curve (AUC) of 1297 ng-h/mL and 164 ng-h/mL, and time to maximal concentration (Tmax) of 1.4 h and 2 h, for dogs and cats, respectively. Serum chemistry and CBC results showed no clinically significant alterations, however one cat showed a persistent rise in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) above the reference range for the duration of the trial. In healthy dogs and cats, an oral CBD-rich hemp supplement administered every 12 h was not detrimental based on CBC or biochemistry values. Cats do appear to absorb or eliminate CBD differently than dogs, showing lower serum concentrations and adverse effects of excessive licking and head-shaking during oil administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutraceuticals and Animal Physiology: Performance and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Scientific and Ethical Issues in Exporting Welfare Findings to Different Animal Subpopulations: The Case of Semi-Captive Elephants Involved in Animal-Visitor Interactions (AVI) in South Africa
Animals 2019, 9(10), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100831 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 104
Abstract
Elephants are charismatic, cognitively highly-developed animals, whose management conditions can vary along a “wild–captive continuum.” Several protocols have been proposed for the assessment of zoo elephants’ welfare. It is important to investigate the possible limitations, if any, of extending findings from zoo elephants [...] Read more.
Elephants are charismatic, cognitively highly-developed animals, whose management conditions can vary along a “wild–captive continuum.” Several protocols have been proposed for the assessment of zoo elephants’ welfare. It is important to investigate the possible limitations, if any, of extending findings from zoo elephants to conspecifics in a different dynamic in said “wild–captive continuum.” In this paper, findings regarding two issues will be discussed: those regarding the external validity and those regarding the acceptability of management procedures as applied to semi-captive (i.e., able to roam freely for part of the day) elephants involved in visitor-interaction programs in South Africa. In a questionnaire-based survey, half of the responding experts stated that at least some of the welfare issues they ranked as the five most important in captive elephants’ management had a different relevance for semi-captive individuals, resulting in 23.6% of the issues being rated differently. Moreover, there was no agreement among the experts on the ethical acceptability of any of the investigated procedures used in the management of semi-captive elephants involved in visitor-interaction programs. Caution is thus needed when exporting findings from one subpopulation of animals to another kept in different conditions and more scientific and ethical research is needed on the topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Captive Elephant Welfare and Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Substitution of Palm Fat with Linseed Oil on the Lipid Peroxidation, Antioxidative Capacity and Intestinal Morphology in Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Animals 2019, 9(10), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100830 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 105
Abstract
This experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of different dietary fatty acids (saturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids) supplementation on the oxidative status and intestinal morphology of adult rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Twenty-four “slovenska kunka” rabbits were randomly assigned to two different [...] Read more.
This experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of different dietary fatty acids (saturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids) supplementation on the oxidative status and intestinal morphology of adult rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Twenty-four “slovenska kunka” rabbits were randomly assigned to two different dietary treatments (12 rabbits per treatment) and fed the experimental diets between 80 and 102 days of age. The palm fat (PALM) diet with 6% palm fat and linseed (LINSEED) diets with 6% linseed oil were used. To evaluate the oxidative status of rabbits, the malondialdehyde concentration in urine and plasma and concentration of water and lipid soluble antioxidants in plasma were measured. The antioxidative capacity of the gastrointestinal tract was evaluated by measuring concentration of water and lipid soluble antioxidants in tissues and contents of the intestine. The histological structure of the small intestine and caecum was analyzed via histomorphometric analysis. No significant differences were found in either of those parameters. In summary, rabbits were exposed to high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids with a high predisposition to oxidation, but their health and welfare were not endangered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Lameness on the Lying Behaviour of Zero-Grazed Lactating Jersey Dairy Cattle Housed in Straw Yards
Animals 2019, 9(10), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100829 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 189
Abstract
Thirty-five lactating Jersey cows were recruited to the study. They were grouped according to locomotion score (LS), where low scores indicate normal gait. LS-1 (n = 12), LS-2 (n = 12) and LS-3 (n = 11) were used. Locomotion scores [...] Read more.
Thirty-five lactating Jersey cows were recruited to the study. They were grouped according to locomotion score (LS), where low scores indicate normal gait. LS-1 (n = 12), LS-2 (n = 12) and LS-3 (n = 11) were used. Locomotion scores were balanced for parity and stage of lactation. Lying behaviour was recorded using IceTag™ data loggers attached to the cows for four consecutive days. The study animals remained in the straw based yards with grooved concrete flooring throughout the duration of the study. All data were normally distributed and assessed using a one-way ANOVA with a post hoc Tukey test. There were no statistically significant differences between locomotion score and the time spent lying, active and standing of zero-grazed lactating Jersey dairy cattle housed on straw yards. Lame cows (LS-3) had significantly shorter lying bouts than sound cows (LS-1) (34 min vs. 42 min, respectively). There has been limited research to date measuring the lying behaviour of cattle on straw and into the Jersey breed. The cows had longer than expected standing times and an increased frequency of lying bouts. This may have been attributed to the stocking density in which the cows were kept. We also reported a prevalence of lameness within the herd of 38%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Environment and Individual Differences in Feeding Behavior Are Associated with Risk of Endometritis in Dairy Cows
Animals 2019, 9(10), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100828 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 127
Abstract
Our aim was to determine whether individual differences in feeding and social behavior in different social environments affect health outcomes in dairy cows. We used eight groups of four animals per treatment assigned to either a ‘predictable’ or an ‘unpredictable’ and competitive social [...] Read more.
Our aim was to determine whether individual differences in feeding and social behavior in different social environments affect health outcomes in dairy cows. We used eight groups of four animals per treatment assigned to either a ‘predictable’ or an ‘unpredictable’ and competitive social environment. Predictable cows were given free access to six feed bins with no change in feed delivery times; whereas, the unpredictable cows were required to share one feed bin with one resident cow and morning feed was delayed 0, 1, 2, or 3 h every other day. On alternate days, the unpredictable cows were also re-assigned to a new bin and a new resident partner. Low daily dry matter intake (DMI) was a risk factor for cytological endometritis in predictable cows (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval): 0.17 (0.02, 0.53)), but low daily DMI was protective for unpredictable cows (OR: 1.93 (1.09, 4.14)). Although low rate of DMI (kg/min) was a risk factor for cytological endometritis for predictable cows (OR: 4.2 × 10−101 (8.6 × 10−206, 4.8 × 10−30)) it was unrelated to disease for unpredictable cows. There were no associations between feed bin visits or percentage of non-nutritive visits with the likelihood of cytological endometritis. This is the first evidence that individual differences in feeding behavior influence cytological endometritis risk in dairy cows, but the direction and magnitude of these effects is dependent on the social environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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Open AccessReview
The Presence of Toxocara Eggs on Dog’s Fur as Potential Zoonotic Risk in Animal-Assisted Interventions: A Systematic Review
Animals 2019, 9(10), 827; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100827 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 180
Abstract
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) usually contribute to the well-being and health of users/patients, but it is essential that the animals involved in these activities do not represent a source of zoonoses. This systematic review focused on the evaluation of the potential risk of the [...] Read more.
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) usually contribute to the well-being and health of users/patients, but it is essential that the animals involved in these activities do not represent a source of zoonoses. This systematic review focused on the evaluation of the potential risk of the transmission of Toxocara by dogs’ fur, considering their involvement as the main animal species in AAIs. Three databases were considered: MEDLINE/PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science, and the PRISMA guidelines were used. Out of 162 articles found, 14 papers were identified as eligible for inclusion in the review. Although the findings were very heterogeneous, they showed that regular parasitological surveillance to plan effective control programs is strongly needed to guarantee the health of pets and consequently the public health, according to the concept of One Health. Since AAIs involve patients and/or users potentially susceptible, it is very important to appropriately treat dogs enrolled in these interventions after an accurate diagnosis of parasitic zoonoses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human–Animal Relationships and Reservoir Host Status for Zoonoses)
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Open AccessReview
Preparing for Life After Birth: Introducing the Concepts of Intrauterine and Extrauterine Sensory Entrainment in Mammalian Young
Animals 2019, 9(10), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100826 - 18 Oct 2019
Viewed by 245
Abstract
Presented is an updated understanding of the development of sensory systems in the offspring of a wide range of terrestrial mammals, the prenatal exposure of those systems to salient stimuli, and the mechanisms by which that exposure can embed particular sensory capabilities that [...] Read more.
Presented is an updated understanding of the development of sensory systems in the offspring of a wide range of terrestrial mammals, the prenatal exposure of those systems to salient stimuli, and the mechanisms by which that exposure can embed particular sensory capabilities that prepare newborns to respond appropriately to similar stimuli they may encounter after birth. Taken together, these are the constituents of the phenomenon of “trans-natal sensory continuity” where the embedded sensory capabilities are considered to have been “learnt” and, when accessed subsequently, they are said to have been “remembered”. An alternative explanation of trans-natal sensory continuity is provided here in order to focus on the mechanisms of “embedding” and “accessing” instead of the potentially more subjectively conceived outcomes of “learning” and “memory”. Thus, the mechanistic concept of “intrauterine sensory entrainment” has been introduced, its foundation being the well-established neuroplastic capability of nervous systems to respond to sensory inputs by reorganising their neural structures, functions, and connections. Five conditions need to be met before “trans-natal sensory continuity” can occur. They are (1) sufficient neurological maturity to support minimal functional activity in specific sensory receptor systems in utero; (2) the presence of sensory stimuli that activate their aligned receptors before birth; (3) the neurological capability for entrained functions within specific sensory modalities to be retained beyond birth; (4) specific sensory stimuli that are effective both before and after birth; and (5) a capability to detect those stimuli when or if they are presented after birth in ways that differ (e.g., in air) from their presentation via fluid media before birth. Numerous beneficial outcomes of this process have been reported for mammalian newborns, but the range of benefits depends on how many of the full set of sensory modalities are functional at the time of birth. Thus, the breadth of sensory capabilities may be extensive, somewhat restricted, or minimal in offspring that are, respectively, neurologically mature, moderately immature, or exceptionally immature at birth. It is noted that birth marks a transition from intrauterine sensory entrainment to extrauterine sensory entrainment in all mammalian young. Depending on their neurological maturity, extrauterine entrainment contributes to the continuing maturation of the different sensory systems that are operational at birth, the later development and maturation of the systems that are absent at birth, and the combined impact of those factors on the behaviour of newborn and young mammals. Intrauterine sensory entrainment helps to prepare mammalian young for life immediately after birth, and extrauterine sensory entrainment continues this process until all sensory modalities develop full functionality. It is apparent that, overall, extrauterine sensory entrainment and its aligned neuroplastic responses underlie numerous postnatal learning and memory events which contribute to the maturation of all sensory capabilities that eventually enable mammalian young to live autonomously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Age and Weaning on Growth Performance, Rumen Fermentation, and Serum Parameters in Lambs Fed Starter with Limited Ewe–Lamb Interaction
Animals 2019, 9(10), 825; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100825 - 18 Oct 2019
Viewed by 139
Abstract
Sixty neonatal Hu lambs were weaned at either 21 (n = 30) (early weaning, EW) or 49 days (n = 30) of age (control, CON). The starter intake and body weight (BW) of lambs was recorded weekly from birth to 63 days of [...] Read more.
Sixty neonatal Hu lambs were weaned at either 21 (n = 30) (early weaning, EW) or 49 days (n = 30) of age (control, CON). The starter intake and body weight (BW) of lambs was recorded weekly from birth to 63 days of age. Diarrhea rate of lambs was measured from birth to 35 days. Six randomly selected lambs from each treatment were slaughtered at 26, 35, and 63 days of age, respectively. Ruminal pH, NH3-N, and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration, as well as serum parameters including immunity, antioxidant status, and inflammatory parameters from randomly selected lambs from each treatment were measured. There was no difference in BW at birth and day 21 between the two groups of lambs (p > 0.05). However, BW of the lambs in the EW group was significantly lower than those in the CON group (p < 0.01) from 28 to 49 days of age. Average daily gain (ADG) of the lambs in the EW group was significantly lower than those in the CON group (p < 0.01) at three weeks after early weaning. Starter intake of the lambs in the EW group was obviously higher than that in the CON group (p < 0.01) from day 28 to 49. In addition, the diarrhea rate was significantly higher than that in the CON group from day 5 to 14 after weaning (p < 0.01). The EW group had heavier carcasses (p < 0.01) and rumen relative to whole stomach weights (p < 0.01). Rumen pH was increased by age (p < 0.01) and was not affected by early weaning (p > 0.05). Early weaning decreased abomasum relative to whole stomach weight (p < 0.01) and increased total VFA concentrations (p < 0.01) at day 26. There was no difference in lambs’ immunity and stress indicators (p > 0.05). The results indicated that lambs weaned at 21 days of age had decreased ADG and higher diarrhea rate, although the overall immunity was not compromised. Long-term study is needed to further validate the feasibility of early weaning strategy in lambs. Full article
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