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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 11 (November 2019) – 146 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The British public voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Brexit presents substantial threats and significant opportunities for animal protection in the UK, EU, and internationally. Opportunities include radical reform of agricultural policy outside the Common Agricultural Policy, prohibition of live exports, and banning the import of fur and foie gras. Despite this, the UK Government seems uncommitted to major reform. The Agriculture Bill does not suggest a progressive animal welfare agenda. The government will consult on how to improve welfare of live exports, rather than outright prohibition. Rather than ban the import and sale of fur, the Government aims to improve welfare of fur-farmed animals outside the UK. Dr Steven McCulloch at the University of Winchester concludes, “the UK Conservative Government has not demonstrated the political will to realise animal welfare [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Efficiency of Commercial Egg Yolk-Free and Egg Yolk-Supplemented Tris-Based Extenders for Dromedary Camel Semen Cryopreservation
Animals 2019, 9(11), 999; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110999 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
This study compared the efficiency of commercial egg yolk-free (AndroMed, OPTIXcell) and egg yolk-supplemented (Triladyl, Steridyl) Tris-based extenders for semen cryopreservation in seven adult dromedary camels. The camel-specific extender SHOTOR was used as control. The collected semen samples were evaluated and diluted with [...] Read more.
This study compared the efficiency of commercial egg yolk-free (AndroMed, OPTIXcell) and egg yolk-supplemented (Triladyl, Steridyl) Tris-based extenders for semen cryopreservation in seven adult dromedary camels. The camel-specific extender SHOTOR was used as control. The collected semen samples were evaluated and diluted with SHOTOR, Triladyl, Steridyl, AndroMed, or OPTIXcell. The diluted semen was gradually cooled and equilibrated for two hours before liquid nitrogen freezing. Semen was evaluated prior to freezing and after freeze-thawing cycles for motility, kinetics, vitality, abnormality, plasma membrane integrity, and DNA fragmentation using computer-assisted sperm analysis. In pre-freezing evaluation, progressive sperm motility was higher in SHOTOR-diluted samples (21.54 ± 1.83) than in samples diluted with Steridyl, OPTIXcell, or AndroMed (15.76 ± 1.80, 17.43 ± 1.10, and 13.27 ± 1.07, respectively). Moreover, Triladyl and SHOTOR resulted in significantly (p < 0.05) better sperm vitality and DNA integrity than all other diluents, but Triladyl resulted in a significantly (p < 0.05) better plasma membrane integrity (87.77 ± 0.31) than SHOTOR (85.48 ± 0.58). In the post-thawing evaluation, Triladyl led to significantly (p < 0.05) higher sperm motility (38.63 ± 0.81%; p < 0.05) when compared to SHOTOR, Steridyl or AndroMed (35.09 ± 1.341%, 34.4 ± 0.84%, and 31.99 ± 1.48%, respectively), with OPTIXcell being the least efficient (28.39 ± 0.86%). Progressive sperm motility was the highest when using Triladyl. Post-thawing curvilinear, straight line and average path sperm velocities were highest with Triladyl and lowest with AndroMed. Triladyl led to the highest linearity coefficient and straightness sperm coefficient, while SHOTOR to the highest DNA and plasma membrane integrity. OPTIXcell and AndroMed resulted in poor post-thawing sperm vitality, while Steridyl was less efficient than Triladyl. The highest rate of sperm abnormalities was recorded with OPTIXcell and the lowest with SHOTOR or Triladyl. In conclusion, SHOTOR, Triladyl, Steridyl, AndroMed, and OPTIXcell can all be used for camel semen cryopreservation; however, SHOTOR and Triladyl provided the best post-thawing sperm quality. Based on our findings, Triladyl is the best commercially available extender for dromedary camel semen cryopreservation to date. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technology in Animals Reproduction)
Open AccessArticle
Dietary Cadmium Chloride Supplementation Impairs Renal Function and Bone Metabolism of Laying Hens
Animals 2019, 9(11), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110998 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 648
Abstract
This study was conducted to evaluate the toxic effects of cadmium (Cd) on the kidney function and bone development in laying hens. A total of 480 Hy-line laying hens aged 38 weeks were randomly allocated into five treatments, each of which included six [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to evaluate the toxic effects of cadmium (Cd) on the kidney function and bone development in laying hens. A total of 480 Hy-line laying hens aged 38 weeks were randomly allocated into five treatments, each of which included six replicates of 16 birds. The concentrations of Cd in the diets of the five groups were 0.47, 7.58, 15.56, 30.55, and 60.67 mg/kg. Results showed that serum calcium (Ca) levels decreased significantly in the 60.67 mg Cd/kg diet group (p < 0.05). The activities of serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and bone ALP (BALP) decreased significantly in the 15.56, 30.55 and 60.67 mg Cd/kg diet groups (p < 0.05). The levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) increased significantly in the 30.55 and 60.67 mg Cd/kg diet groups, and the estradiol (E2), 1,25-(OH)2-D3 and calcitonin (CT) decreased significantly with the increase of dietary Cd supplementation (p < 0.05). Histological results presented enlargements of renal tubules and tubular fibrosis in the kidney and decreased trabecular bone in the tibia. Tartrate-resistant acidic phosphatase (TRAP) staining results of tibia showed that osteoclast was significantly increased at the relatively high dose of dietary Cd (p < 0.05). In addition, the renal function indicators of blood urea nitrogen (BUN), urea acid (UA), and creatinine were significantly increased in Cd supplemented groups compared with the control group (p < 0.05). Low dose Cd exposure induced antioxidant defenses accompanying the increase in activities of catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and the levels of glutathione (GSH) in renal tissue. At the same time, with the increased Cd levels, the activities of CAT, GSH-Px decreased significantly, and the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) increased significantly (p < 0.05). The activities of Na+/K+-ATPase and Ca2+/Mg2+-ATPase decreased significantly in the relatively high levels of dietary Cd (p < 0.05). These results suggest that Cd can damage renal function and induce disorders in bone metabolism of laying hens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Association Study for Milk Fatty Acids in Holstein Cattle Accounting for the DGAT1 Gene Effect
Animals 2019, 9(11), 997; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110997 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
The identification of genomic regions and candidate genes associated with milk fatty acids contributes to better understand the underlying biology of these traits and enables breeders to modify milk fat composition through genetic selection. The main objectives of this study were: (1) to [...] Read more.
The identification of genomic regions and candidate genes associated with milk fatty acids contributes to better understand the underlying biology of these traits and enables breeders to modify milk fat composition through genetic selection. The main objectives of this study were: (1) to perform genome-wide association analyses for five groups of milk fatty acids in Holstein cattle using a high-density (777K) SNP panel; and (2) to compare the results of GWAS accounting (or not) for the DGAT1 gene effect as a covariate in the statistical model. The five groups of milk fatty acids analyzed were: (1) saturated (SFA); (2) unsaturated (UFA); (3) short-chain (SCFA); (4) medium-chain (MCFA); and (5) long-chain (LCFA) fatty acids. When DGAT1 was not fitted as a covariate in the model, significant SNPs and candidate genes were identified on BTA5, BTA6, BTA14, BTA16, and BTA19. When fitting the DGAT1 gene in the model, only the MGST1 and PLBD1 genes were identified. Thus, this study suggests that the DGAT1 gene accounts for most of the variability in milk fatty acid composition and the PLBD1 and MGST1 genes are important additional candidate genes in Holstein cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle
Pilot-Scale Assessment of a Novel Farrowing Creep Area Supplementary Heat Source
Animals 2019, 9(11), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110996 - 19 Nov 2019
Viewed by 854
Abstract
Pre-weaning morality (PWM) is attributed to a poor creep area microclimate and causes major economic and productivity losses for the US swine industry. Piglets need supplementary heat to overcome a high surface area to body weight ratio and minimal thermoregulation. A pilot-scale study [...] Read more.
Pre-weaning morality (PWM) is attributed to a poor creep area microclimate and causes major economic and productivity losses for the US swine industry. Piglets need supplementary heat to overcome a high surface area to body weight ratio and minimal thermoregulation. A pilot-scale study was conducted to evaluate a semi-enclosed heated microclimate (SEHM) as a supplementary heat source for farrowing creep areas over six farrowing cycles (from January to July 2019) in two rooms with 24 farrowing stalls in each room. Six SEHMs (each SEHM covers two stalls) were randomly distributed to each room and compared to heat lamps (HLs) for productivity and electricity usage. Data from 113 (SEHM) and 101 litters (HL) showed no significant difference between treatments in average daily gain (p = 0.26), 252.4 ± 8.0 g hd−1 d−1 (SEHM) and 260.3 ± 8.1 g hd−1 d−1 (HL) and PWM (p = 0.08), 9.67% ± 0.82% (SEHM) and 12.04% ± 0.87% (HL). However, a significant difference (p = 0.02) was noted in the PWM attributed to over-lay mortalities, 4.05% ± 0.76% (SEHM) compared to 6.04% ± 0.78% (HL). The SEHM electricity averaged 3.25 kWh d−1 (2.91, 3.59 kWh d−1; 95% CI), which was significantly different (p < 0.01) from the HL equivalent (125 W bulb; 6 kWh d−1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Peri-Parturient and Lactating Sows and Piglets)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Different Methionine Sources on Performance and Slaughter Characteristics of Broilers
Animals 2019, 9(11), 984; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110984 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 839
Abstract
Sustainably produced poultry meat with consideration of animal health poses a challenge for broiler production. Low protein diets with high amounts of synthetic amino acids (AAs) like methionine (Met) are the consequence. In a five-week feeding trial, 360 broilers (Ross 308) assigned to [...] Read more.
Sustainably produced poultry meat with consideration of animal health poses a challenge for broiler production. Low protein diets with high amounts of synthetic amino acids (AAs) like methionine (Met) are the consequence. In a five-week feeding trial, 360 broilers (Ross 308) assigned to four feeding groups were offered protein-reduced complete diets (starter: 20% crude protein (CP); grower: 18.5% CP; finisher: 17.5% CP), supplemented with essential AAs. The “MHA” group received DL-2-hydroxy-4-(methylthio) butanoic acid (DL-HMTBA; trade name: MHA®), groups “L” and “DL” the respective Met source in equivalent concentrations each exceeding the nutritional recommendations. “R-MHA” (“R” for “reduced”) received the minimum required level (using MHA as Met source). Performance exceeded performance goals without differences between the groups. The average feed conversion ratio (FCR) amounted to 1.35. The carcass/body weight ratio of R-MHA was significantly lower (0.782) compared to DL (0.808) and L (0.809). Breast meat of R-MHA contained significantly more fat (144 g/kg dry matter (DM)) compared to L (104 g/kg DM) and significantly lower CP content (R-MHA: 838 g/kg DM; L: 875 g/kg DM). The results indicated possible improvement in slaughter yield by protein-reduced diets supplemented with L-Met, thus recommending further research focusing on the Met influence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Behaviour and Diet on the Rumen Temperature of Holstein Bulls
Animals 2019, 9(11), 1000; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9111000 - 19 Nov 2019
Viewed by 739
Abstract
Rumen temperature boluses are becoming increasingly used as a means of monitoring core body temperature for the detection of ill health. However, the effect of behavior on rumen temperature is largely unknown. This research investigates the impact of behaviour and diet on the [...] Read more.
Rumen temperature boluses are becoming increasingly used as a means of monitoring core body temperature for the detection of ill health. However, the effect of behavior on rumen temperature is largely unknown. This research investigates the impact of behaviour and diet on the rumen temperature of Holstein bulls, both at grass, and in a housed environment. Rumen temperature was recorded at five-minute intervals using a bolus. Direct observations were conducted on young bulls in two studies (i) at grass (n = 30) and (ii) while housed (n = 32). In addition, activity monitors were attached to bulls at grass (n = 24). Within each study, diet differed by the level of concentrate supplementation. There was no effect of diet on rumen temperature. Significant differences in rumen temperature were observed between behaviour groups for bulls at grass (p < 0.001) and housed (p < 0.001). Furthermore, drinking resulted in the lowest rumen temperature (grass 35.97 °C; housed 36.70 °C). Therefore, rumen temperature is affected by behavior; however, the temperatures recorded were not outside the normal temperature range for healthy cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle
Age-Dependent Utilization of Shelters and Habitat in Two Reptile Species with Contrasting Intraspecific Interactions
Animals 2019, 9(11), 995; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110995 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Reptiles undergo worldwide decline driven mostly by habitat change. Detailed recognition of factors underlying spatial structure and habitat utilization is therefore a prerequisite of effective conservation of this group. While the body of data on spatial ecology of reptiles is rapidly growing, studies [...] Read more.
Reptiles undergo worldwide decline driven mostly by habitat change. Detailed recognition of factors underlying spatial structure and habitat utilization is therefore a prerequisite of effective conservation of this group. While the body of data on spatial ecology of reptiles is rapidly growing, studies on social factors remain still underrepresented. We studied age-specific patterns of shelter use, range size, and habitat preferences in the context of intraspecific interactions in the smooth snake Coronella austriaca—known to exhibit intraspecific predation—and the limbless lizard slow worm Anguis fragilis—with no such behavior observed. Despite smaller availability of preferred microhabitats, juveniles of smooth snakes occupied habitat and shelters located at the edge of the population range that did not overlap with adults. No such pattern was observed in the slow worm. Our study indicates that intraspecific interactions affect the spatial ecology of squamates. Passive and active protection of habitat must include wide buffers to preserve the poorly detectable young fraction of the population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Decision Trees for Predicting the Physiological Responses of Rabbits
Animals 2019, 9(11), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110994 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 643
Abstract
The thermal environment inside a rabbit house affects the physiological responses and consequently the production of the animals. Thus, models are needed to assist rabbit producers in decision-making to maintain the production environment within the zone of thermoneutrality for the animals. The aim [...] Read more.
The thermal environment inside a rabbit house affects the physiological responses and consequently the production of the animals. Thus, models are needed to assist rabbit producers in decision-making to maintain the production environment within the zone of thermoneutrality for the animals. The aim of this paper is to develop decision trees to predict the physiological responses of rabbits based on environmental variables. The experiment was performed in a rabbit house with 26 rabbits at eight weeks of age. The experimental database is composed of 546 observed data points. Sixty decision tree models for the prediction of respiratory rate (RR, mov.min−1) and ear temperature (ET, °C) of rabbits exposed to different combinations of dry bulb temperature (tdb, °C) and relative humidity (RH, %) were developed. The ET model exhibited better statistical indices than the RR model. The developed decision trees can be used in practical situations to provide a rapid evaluation of rabbit welfare conditions based on environmental variables and physiological responses. This information can be obtained in real time and may help rabbit breeders in decision-making to provide satisfactory environmental conditions for rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Saliva Analytes Correlate with Horses’ Behavioural Reactions to An Acute Stressor: A Pilot Study
Animals 2019, 9(11), 993; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110993 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
Acute stress induces an array of behavioural reactions in horses that vary between individuals. Attempts to relate behavioural patterns and physiological responses have not always given clear-cut results. Here, we measured the changes in a panel of salivary components: salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), lipase, [...] Read more.
Acute stress induces an array of behavioural reactions in horses that vary between individuals. Attempts to relate behavioural patterns and physiological responses have not always given clear-cut results. Here, we measured the changes in a panel of salivary components: salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), lipase, total esterase (TEA), butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), adenosine deaminase (ADA), and cortisol, and their potential link with horses’ behaviours after acute stress. Saliva samples were collected in nine riding horses subjected to a test consisting of opening an umbrella. Saliva sampling was obtained at a basal time point in the stall (T1), in the test indoor arena (T2), at a time of stress (T3), and 30 min (T4) and 60 min (T5) later. The horses’ behaviour was recorded at T3 for 1 min. sAA, lipase, TEA, and BChE showed significant changes along time, increasing at T3 for BChE, and decreasing at T4 for sAA and BChE. Butyrylcholinesterase appeared to be the most reliable predictor of behavioural responses, as it correlated with the index of emotionality, of laterality, and the occurrence of alarm signals, while sAA decreased when horses expressed quieter behaviours. These first results bring promising lines for novel, more precise physiological markers of acute stress in horses that can bridge the gap between behaviour and physiology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Bovine Lipocalin-2 Gene on the Antioxidant Activity of Milk from Polish Holstein-Friesian Cows
Animals 2019, 9(11), 992; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110992 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 609
Abstract
In the recent years, antioxidant properties of food products have become an important aspect for consumers. Milk is a very good source of easily absorbable proteins and minerals, as well as a valuable source of antioxidants. Lipocalin-2 (LCN2), given that, inter alia, it [...] Read more.
In the recent years, antioxidant properties of food products have become an important aspect for consumers. Milk is a very good source of easily absorbable proteins and minerals, as well as a valuable source of antioxidants. Lipocalin-2 (LCN2), given that, inter alia, it is produced in large quantities by various types of cells in response to oxidative stress caused by physical or chemical factors, it can be considered a protein that determines the total antioxidant capacity of milk. The main objective of this study was to analyze polymorphisms within the lipocalin-2 gene and to determine their impact on antioxidant activity of milk from Holstein-Friesian cows. The genotyping was carried out by sequencing of PCR products. To determine the antioxidant activity of milk, the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) method was used. A total of four polymorphic sites were identified in the examined segment of the bovine lipocalin-2 gene. It was shown that cows of the CC genotype at the locus g.98793763G>C produced milk of significantly higher antioxidant capacity. The antioxidant capacity of milk also varied according to the age of cows, their daily milk yield, and SCC in milk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessReview
Back to the Future: A Glance Over Wolf Social Behavior to Understand Dog–Human Relationship
Animals 2019, 9(11), 991; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110991 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1256
Abstract
This review focuses on wolf sociobiology to delineate the traits of cooperative baggage driven by natural selection (wolf-wolf cooperation) and better understand the changes obtained by artificial selection (dog-human cooperation). We selected some behaviors of the dog’s ancestors that provide the basis for [...] Read more.
This review focuses on wolf sociobiology to delineate the traits of cooperative baggage driven by natural selection (wolf-wolf cooperation) and better understand the changes obtained by artificial selection (dog-human cooperation). We selected some behaviors of the dog’s ancestors that provide the basis for the expression of a cooperative society, such as dominance relationships, leverage power, post-aggressive strategies, and playful dynamics between pack members. When possible, we tried to compare the data on wolves with those coming from the dog literature. Wolves can negotiate commodities when the interacting subjects occupy different ranking positions by bargaining social tolerance with helping and support. They are able to manage group disruption by engaging in sophisticated post-conflict maneuvers, thus restoring the relationship between the opponents and reducing the spreading of aggression in the group. Wolves engage in social play also as adults to manipulate social relationships. They are able to flexibly adjust their playful interactions to minimize the risk of escalation. Complex cognitive abilities and communicative skills are probably the main proximate causes for the evolution of inter-specific cooperation in wolves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog Behaviour, Physiology and Welfare) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Rumen Fermentation Characteristics in Pre- and Post-Weaning Calves upon Feeding with Mulberry Leaf Flavonoids and Candida tropicalis Individually or in Combination as a Supplement
Animals 2019, 9(11), 990; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110990 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
Although flavonoids or yeast have been used as feed additives to improve the production efficiency and health of adult cattle, little information is available on their effects on rumen fermentation in calves. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of [...] Read more.
Although flavonoids or yeast have been used as feed additives to improve the production efficiency and health of adult cattle, little information is available on their effects on rumen fermentation in calves. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of feed supplementation with mulberry leaf flavonoids and Candida tropicalis on performance, blood parameters, and rumen fermentation characteristics during pre-weaning and post-weaning periods. Forty-eight Holstein calves were used in a four-groups trial and were supplemented with (1) no yeast or flavonoids (CON), (2) active dry yeast (ADY; C. tropicalis, 5.0 × 109 CFU/d), (3) flavonoids (FLA; 3 g/d), or (4) yeast and flavonoids (YF; C. tropicalis, 5.0 × 109 CFU/d; flavonoids, 3 g/d). The feeding strategy was as follows: milk replacer was offered at 12% of body weight in two meals per calf each day at age 21 d, and a gradual weaning process was adopted at age 50 to 56 days. Data of daily feed intake, body weight, and serum and rumen fermentation parameters were obtained at 28, 42, 56, and 80 d ages, respectively. A significant time effect and interaction between treatment and time was found for average daily gain, feed efficiency, total volatile fatty acid concentration, and proportion of propionate in calves (p < 0.05). Average daily gain and feed efficiency increased during post-weaning and overall periods for calves in FLA and YF groups compared with CON and ADY groups (p < 0.05). A reduction of fecal scores with supplementation was found in FLA and YF groups (p < 0.05). Rumen fluid pH and ammonia nitrogen concentration remained constant across the groups, whereas total volatile fatty acid concentration and molar proportion of propionate significantly increased during the pre-weaning and overall periods in FLA and YF groups (p < 0.05). Calves in YF group had the highest serum concentrations of IgG and IgA during the overall period (p < 0.05). Additionally, serum β-hydroxybutyric acid concentration was higher in ADY and FLA groups during the post-weaning period (p < 0.05). Supplementation with C. tropicalis showed little effect on increasing growth performance and health compared with flavonoids alone. Meanwhile, the combination of C. tropicalis and flavonoids was not synergistic with respect to improving health and rumen fermentation compared with use of flavonoids alone in pre- and post-weaning calves (p > 0.05). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Animal Welfare Training on the Knowledge and Attitudes of Abattoir Stakeholders in China
Animals 2019, 9(11), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110989 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Globally, China is one of the largest producers and exporters of meat, and animal welfare is an emerging focal issue for Chinese society and for primary producers. We assessed the effectiveness of a “train the trainer” program to increase awareness of animal welfare [...] Read more.
Globally, China is one of the largest producers and exporters of meat, and animal welfare is an emerging focal issue for Chinese society and for primary producers. We assessed the effectiveness of a “train the trainer” program to increase awareness of animal welfare issues in stakeholders in the livestock industries of China. Chinese abattoir employees were trained in slaughter and transportation standards in either a classroom setting or using posted materials. They subsequently held training sessions within their own workplace and the participants were surveyed either before (n = 161) or after (n = 147) their training. The post-training group had more confidence to improve the welfare of animals in their care than the pre-training group (p = 0.03), and also scored better on the knowledge section of the survey (p = 0.006) only when the facilitator was trained in the classroom setting. The participants’ knowledge of animal welfare was also affected by living area (p = 0.005) and education (p = 0.005). Participants with the least formal education (to middle school only) scored lower than all other participants. Female respondents reported more positive attitudes towards animal welfare than males (p = 0.009). These results indicate that training can effectively improve stakeholder knowledge on animal welfare during slaughter and transport, however, the mode of delivery has an important influence on learning success, and participant demographics, such as gender and education level, need to be considered when preparing training material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Immunohistochemical Detection of Encephalitozoon cuniculi in Ocular Structures of Immunocompetent Rabbits
Animals 2019, 9(11), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110988 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 583
Abstract
Encephalitozoonosis is a common infectious disease widely spread among rabbits. Its causative agent, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, is considered as a zoonotic and emerging pathogen capable of infecting both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, including humans. In rabbits, clinical signs include neurological, kidney and ocular [...] Read more.
Encephalitozoonosis is a common infectious disease widely spread among rabbits. Its causative agent, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, is considered as a zoonotic and emerging pathogen capable of infecting both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, including humans. In rabbits, clinical signs include neurological, kidney and ocular disease. The aim of this study was to detect E. cuniculi in ocular structures in immunocompetent rabbits after experimental oral infection using immunohistochemistry. In infected animals, E. cuniculi spores were present in periocular connective tissue, sclera, cornea, choroidea, iris, retina and lens, as a round to ovoid organism reacting with a specific anti-E. cuniculi monoclonal antibody as early as 2 weeks after infection. There were no signs of inflammatory lesions in any of the ocular tissues examined at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks after infection. In the present study, E. cuniculi was also detected in the lenses of adult rabbits, which indicates that ways of lens infection other than intrauterine and haematogenic are possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Faecal Glucocorticoid Metabolites to Assess Adrenocortical Activity in Reindeer
Animals 2019, 9(11), 987; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110987 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 840
Abstract
Several non-invasive methods for assessing stress responses have been developed and validated for many animal species. Due to species-specific differences in metabolism and excretion of stress hormones, methods should be validated for each species. The aim of this study was to conduct a [...] Read more.
Several non-invasive methods for assessing stress responses have been developed and validated for many animal species. Due to species-specific differences in metabolism and excretion of stress hormones, methods should be validated for each species. The aim of this study was to conduct a physiological validation of an 11-oxoaetiocholanolone enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for measuring faecal cortisol metabolites (FCMs) in male reindeer by administration of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH; intramuscular, 0.25 mg per animal). A total of 317 samples were collected from eight male reindeer over a 44 h period at Tverrvatnet in Norway in mid-winter. In addition, 114 samples were collected from a group of reindeer during normal handling and calf marking at Stjernevatn in Norway. Following ACTH injection, FCM levels (median and range) were 568 (268–2415) ng/g after two hours, 2718 (414–8550) ng/g after seven hours and 918 (500–6931) ng/g after 24 h. Levels were significantly higher from seven hours onwards compared to earlier hours (p < 0.001). The FCM levels at Stjernevatn were significantly (p < 0.001) different before (samples collected zero to two hours; median: 479 ng/g) and after calf marking (eight to ten hours; median: 1469 ng/g). Identification of the faecal samples belonging to individual animals was conducted using DNA analysis across time. This study reports a successful validation of a non-invasive technique for measuring stress in reindeer, which can be applied in future studies in the fields of biology, ethology, ecology, animal conservation and welfare. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Facilitating Effect of Tartary Buckwheat Flavonoids and Lactobacillus plantarum on the Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Antioxidant Capacity, and Fecal Microbiota of Weaned Piglets
Animals 2019, 9(11), 986; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110986 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
Natural plant extracts and probiotics has been proved as the most preferred and effective alternatives for antibiotics in animal feeding. The current study aimed to investigate the facilitating effect of tartary buckwheat flavonoids and Lactobacillus plantarum on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, antioxidant [...] Read more.
Natural plant extracts and probiotics has been proved as the most preferred and effective alternatives for antibiotics in animal feeding. The current study aimed to investigate the facilitating effect of tartary buckwheat flavonoids and Lactobacillus plantarum on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, antioxidant capacity, and microbiota of weaned piglets. Fifty 35-day-old weaned piglets (7.85 ± 0.67 kg) were randomly divided into five treatments with 10 piglets per treatment. Piglets in the negative control (NC) group were fed a basal diet, and others were fed basal diets supplemented with 40 mg/kg of colistin sulfate (positive control, PC), 109 CFU/kg Lactobacillus plantarum (LP), 40 mg/kg of tartary buckwheat flavonoids (BF), and a combination of 109 CFU/kg Lactobacillus plantarum and 40 mg/kg of tartary buckwheat flavonoids (LB). Supplementation of BF increased the average daily gain of piglets in the BF group (p < 0.05). The nutrient digestibility of piglets in the NC group was lower than that in other groups, while the digestibility of gross energy, dry matter, organic matter, and phosphorus of piglets in the LB group was higher than the other four groups (p < 0.05). Compared with the NC and pC group, supplementation of Lp increased the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-px), and catalase (CAT), while the BF increased the content of IgA and IgM (p < 0.05). Supplementation of colistin sulfate decreased the alpha diversity index, including chao and observed species, while the addition of Lp or combination of Lp and BF increased the abundance of Selenomonas or Mitsuokella in fecal samples, respectively. The results indicated that supplementation of Lactobacillus plantarum can improve the antioxidant capacity, while tartary buckwheat flavones can increase the growth performance and immune ability of weaned piglets. Moreover, in combination, they promote nutrient digestibility. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Probiotics as Antibiotics Substitutes on Growth Performance, Serum Biochemical Parameters, Intestinal Morphology, and Barrier Function of Broilers
Animals 2019, 9(11), 985; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110985 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the combination of probiotics replacing antibiotics on growth performance, serum biochemical parameters, intestinal morphology, and expression of tight junction proteins in intestinal mucosa of broilers. A total of 168 Arbor Acres broilers [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the combination of probiotics replacing antibiotics on growth performance, serum biochemical parameters, intestinal morphology, and expression of tight junction proteins in intestinal mucosa of broilers. A total of 168 Arbor Acres broilers (45.04 ± 0.92 g) were randomly divided into three treatments, with seven replicates per treatment, and eight broilers per replicate. The experiment included phases 1 (d 0 to 21) and 2 (d 21 to 42). The dietary treatments contained a corn soybean meal-based diet (control group; CON); an antibiotic group (basal diet + 75 mg/kg chlortetracycline; CTC), and a probiotics group (basal diet + probiotics (500 mg/kg in phase 1 and 300 mg/kg in phase 2; Bacillus subtilis 5 × 109 CFU/g, Bacillus licheniformis 2.5 × 1010 CFU/g and Saccharomyces cerevisiae 1 × 109 CFU/g; PB). The results showed broilers fed PB had improved (p < 0.05) feed conversion ratio (FCR) in phase 1 and increased (p < 0.05) average daily gain (ADG) in phase 2, as well as improved (p < 0.05) ADG and FCR overall (d 0 to 42). The apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of dry matter, organic matter, gross energy, and crude protein was increased (p < 0.05) in broilers fed PB, while the ATTD of dry matter and organic matter was enhanced in broilers fed CTC compared with CON. Broilers fed PB showed increased (p < 0.05) serum total antioxidant capacity concentrations and tended to have higher (p = 0.06) level of serum immunoglobulin M in phase 1 compared with CON. These broilers also had increased (p < 0.05) level of serum immunoglobulin A in phase 2 in comparison with CON and CTC. Moreover, broilers fed CTC and PB showed increased (p = 0.05) villus height to crypt depth ratio in duodenum, as well as higher (p < 0.05) mRNA expression of zonula occludens-1 in jejunum compared with CON. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with PB as chlortetracycline substitute could improve the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, serum antioxidant capacity, jejunal mucosal barrier function, and intestinal morphology of broilers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Nutrition)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of the Diet Inclusion of Common Vetch Hay Versus Alfalfa Hay on the Body Weight Gain, Nitrogen Utilization Efficiency, Energy Balance, and Enteric Methane Emissions of Crossbred Simmental Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(11), 983; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110983 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 807
Abstract
A low nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUE, the ratio of retained N to N intake) and high methane (CH4) emissions of ruminants can lead to potentially high diet protein wastage and directly contribute to global warming. Diet manipulation is the most effective [...] Read more.
A low nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUE, the ratio of retained N to N intake) and high methane (CH4) emissions of ruminants can lead to potentially high diet protein wastage and directly contribute to global warming. Diet manipulation is the most effective way to improve NUE or reduce CH4 emissions. This study investigated how replacing oat hay with alfalfa hay (AH) or common vetch hay (CVH) with different proportions (20% (20) and 40% (40) of the total dry matter (DM) allowance) affects the body weight gain (BWG), NUE, and CH4 emissions of crossbred Simmental cattle. The forage dry matter intake (DMI) and the total DMI of cattle fed on a CVH40 diet were significantly higher than the values for those fed on AH20 or AH40 diets (p < 0.05). There were no differences in the BWG for the four treatments observed, however, nutrient digestibility significantly decreased in the AH40 diet as compared with the AH20 diet (p < 0.05). The NUE was significantly lower in AH40 than in CVH20. The CH4 emissions were significantly lower for the CVH40 diet than with the AH20 diet (p < 0.05). Our findings suggest that a 20% AH and 40% CVH substitution for oat hay are the optimal proportions to maintain the BWG, NUE, nutrient digestibility, and reduce the CH4 emissions of crossbred Simmental cattle. Overall, CVH has a greater potential to reduce CH4 emissions than AH. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics and Adoption Success of Shelter Dogs Assessed as Resource Guarders
Animals 2019, 9(11), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110982 - 17 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1163
Abstract
Some domestic dogs aggressively guard resources. Canine resource guarding impacts public health through dog bites and affects dog welfare through adoption and euthanasia policies at animal shelters. However, little is known about the demographic characteristics and adoption success of dogs assessed as resource [...] Read more.
Some domestic dogs aggressively guard resources. Canine resource guarding impacts public health through dog bites and affects dog welfare through adoption and euthanasia policies at animal shelters. However, little is known about the demographic characteristics and adoption success of dogs assessed as resource guarders during shelter behavioral evaluations. I reviewed nearly five years of records from a New York (NY) SPCA and categorized 1016 dogs by sex; age; size; reproductive status; and resource guarding. I then examined how these characteristics influenced the returns of dogs by adopters. The prevalence of resource guarding in this shelter dog population was 15%. Resource guarding was more common in adult and senior dogs than in juvenile dogs; and it was more common in small and large dogs than medium-sized dogs. Spayed females were more likely than intact females to guard food; neutered males and intact males did not differ in their likelihood of food guarding. Most dogs identified as resource guarders showed mild to moderate guarding. Severe guarders were more likely to be returned by adopters; although almost all were eventually re-adopted and not returned to the shelter. Data presented here provide the most comprehensive description of resource guarders in a shelter dog population and show the successful re-homing of most. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavior of Shelter Animals)
Open AccessArticle
The Relationship between S. aureus and Branched-Chain Amino Acids Content in Composite Cow Milk
Animals 2019, 9(11), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110981 - 16 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 702
Abstract
The early diagnosis of mastitis is an essential factor for the prompt detection of the animal for further actions. In fact, if not culled, infected cows must be segregated from the milking herd and milked last, or milked with separate milking units. Besides [...] Read more.
The early diagnosis of mastitis is an essential factor for the prompt detection of the animal for further actions. In fact, if not culled, infected cows must be segregated from the milking herd and milked last, or milked with separate milking units. Besides microbiological analysis, the somatic cell count (SCC) commonly used as predictor of intramammary infection, frequently lead to a misclassification of milk samples. To overcome these limitations, more specific biomarkers are continuously evaluated. The total amino acid content increases significantly in mastitic milk compared to normal milk. S. aureus requires branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs—isoleucine, leucine, and valine) for protein synthesis, branched-chain fatty acids synthesis, and environmental adaptation by responding to their availability via transcriptional regulators. The increase of BCAAs in composite milk has been postulated to be linked to mammary infection by S. aureus. The aim of this work is to demonstrate, by a direct ion-pairing reversed-phase method, based on the use of the evaporative light-scattering detector (IP-RP-HPLC-ELSD), applied to 65 composite cow milk samples, a correlation between the concentration of isoleucine and leucine, and S. aureus load. The correlation coefficient, r, was found to be 0.102 for SCC (p = 0.096), 0.622 for isoleucine (p < 0.0001), 0.586 for leucine (p < 0.0001), 0.013 for valine (p = 0.381), and 0.07 for tyrosine (p = 0.034), standing for a positive correlation between S. aureus and isoleucine and leucine concentration. The link between the content of BCAAs, isoleucine and leucine, and udder infection by S. aureus demonstrated with our study has an important clinical value for the rapid diagnosis of S. aureus mastitis in cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Veterinary Microbiology in Farm Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Pet Food Quality Assurance and Safety and Quality Assurance Survey within the Costa Rican Pet Food Industry
Animals 2019, 9(11), 980; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110980 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 873
Abstract
Costa Rican animal feed production is continually growing, with approximately 1,238,243 metric tons produced in 2018. Production-wise, pet cat and dog food are in fifth place (about 41,635 metric tons per year) amongst animal feeds, and it supplies up to 90% of the [...] Read more.
Costa Rican animal feed production is continually growing, with approximately 1,238,243 metric tons produced in 2018. Production-wise, pet cat and dog food are in fifth place (about 41,635 metric tons per year) amongst animal feeds, and it supplies up to 90% of the national market. Pet food production has increased as a response to the increase in the population of dogs and cats in Costa Rica, where 50.5% of households own at least one dog and indicates more responsible ownership in terms of feeding pets. Part of the process of making dry pet food involves a thermal process called extrusion, which is capable of eliminating the microbial load. However, extrusion can compromise nutritional quality to some extent by denaturing proteins, oxidizing lipids, and reducing digestibility. The objective of this study was to evaluate the quality and safety of dry pet food and to assess the effect of the extrusion process on digestibility and the quality of proteins, amino acids, and fatty acids. Pet food samples were collected before and after extrusion and were used to evaluate Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), based on Central American Technical Regulation (RTCA 65.05.63:11). In general terms, weaknesses in infrastructure, documentary evidence, and post-process practices were observed in two Costa Rican feed manufactories. Feed safety was surveyed through the analysis of Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, Listeria spp., Staphylococcus aureus, aerobic mesophilic microorganisms, fungi, and yeasts counts. The extrusion process effectively reduced pathogenic microorganisms, and showed no effect on the digestibility of dog food (p = 0.347), however, it could reduce the availability of some nutrients (e.g., amino acids, fatty acids). Furthermore, a retrospective diagnosis was made for puppy food (n = 68), dog food (n = 158), and cat food (n = 25), to evaluate the history of nutritional quality and safety. Finally, it can be confirmed that the correct implementation of GMP allows feed manufacturers to deliver a product of optimum texture, smell, nutritional composition, and safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessCommunication
High Connectivity of the White Seabream (Diplodus sargus, L. 1758) in the Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean Basin
Animals 2019, 9(11), 979; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110979 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 536
Abstract
Population dynamics in the marine realm can shape species’ spatial structure and genetic variability between given geographical areas. Connectivity is an important factor of species’ population structure. In this study, we examined the genetic diversity and structure of white seabream (Diplodus sargus [...] Read more.
Population dynamics in the marine realm can shape species’ spatial structure and genetic variability between given geographical areas. Connectivity is an important factor of species’ population structure. In this study, we examined the genetic diversity and structure of white seabream (Diplodus sargus, L. 1758) in the eastern Mediterranean basin, using a panel of four microsatellite markers. Recorded low FST values within the study area indicate little evidence of genetic differentiation among populations. Results suggest high gene flow which may imply near-panmixia between populations, indicating the possibility of a probable movement of adult migrants, or strong passive drift at sea in early life stages of the species. To this extent, bibliographically speaking, different species within the Sparidae family favor altered population dynamics patterns with respect to local populations and genetic divergence, in the context of the molecular marker used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
Owners’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Care Practices: Exploring the Implications for Domestic Cat Behavior and Welfare in the Home
Animals 2019, 9(11), 978; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110978 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1860
Abstract
Available research on the link between domestic cats’ environment and welfare has primarily been conducted in animal shelters or research facilities; a better understanding of the welfare of cats living in homes is needed. This study measured the attitudes of current U.S.-based cat [...] Read more.
Available research on the link between domestic cats’ environment and welfare has primarily been conducted in animal shelters or research facilities; a better understanding of the welfare of cats living in homes is needed. This study measured the attitudes of current U.S.-based cat owners towards cats as pets; owner knowledge about normal cat behavior and environmental needs; current trends in cat care; cats’ behavior in the home; and the human-animal bond. The primary hypothesis was that owners with a more accurate understanding of cat behavior and a stronger reported bond with their cats would report fewer behavior problems. Data from an online, anonymous, cross-sectional survey of 547 cat owners supported the primary hypothesis: owner knowledge, along with two measures of the human-animal bond (owner-pet interactions, and perceptions of affordability of cat ownership), were significant predictors of the number of reported behavior problems. In addition to fewer reported behavior problems, greater owner knowledge about cats was correlated with less use of positive-punishment-based responses to misbehavior, and increased tolerance of potential behavior problems when present. Owners’ agreement with certain misconceptions about cats and perception of high costs of care were correlated with the use of positive punishment in response to misbehavior. Based on the survey results, many cats living in private homes may be receiving only minimal environmental enrichment. Collectively, these results suggest the need for better education of cat owners. Topics could include: understanding normal cat behavior and correcting misconceptions; enrichment needs (particularly of indoor-only cats) and the risk of behavior problems when cats’ needs are not met; welfare risks associated with declawing; and the importance of sufficient resources to minimize social and territorial conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Freeze-Dried Royal Jelly Proteins Enhanced the Testicular Development and Spermatogenesis in Pubescent Male Mice
Animals 2019, 9(11), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110977 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 591
Abstract
Spermatogenesis and hormones secretions are crucial endocrine and physiological process for maintaining the life. Royal Jelly (RJ) bioactive components are Major Royal Jelly Proteins (MRJPs), owing exceptional biological properties. However, the effects of RJ on pup’s testicular development during neonatal and pubertal period [...] Read more.
Spermatogenesis and hormones secretions are crucial endocrine and physiological process for maintaining the life. Royal Jelly (RJ) bioactive components are Major Royal Jelly Proteins (MRJPs), owing exceptional biological properties. However, the effects of RJ on pup’s testicular development during neonatal and pubertal period exposure hasn’t been adequately studied. The aim of the study was to detect neonatal sexual hormones concentration and histopathological changes on testicular development of the male progeny after oral exposure to freeze-dried RJ for 35 consecutive days. After mice give birth, male pups were collected together, separated by sex, and randomly standardized to seven (7) male pups per dam. Male pups were assigned to control diet (CON group), low dose RJ (L-RJ group) diet (control diet + 125 mg/kg/day RJ), moderate dose RJ (M-RJ group) diet (control diet + 250 mg/kg/day RJ) and high dose of RJ (H-RJ group) diet (control diet + 500 mg/kg/day RJ). After weaning, male pups were continuously fed with freeze-dried RJ until the age of PNDs 35. The results revealed that, oral M-RJ (250 mg/kg/day) administration significantly (p < 0.05) increased the testis weight, the diameter of seminiferous tubule and the height of seminiferous epithelium of offspring mice at PNDs 14. However, high-dose RJ (500 mg/kg/day) decreased the diameter of seminiferous tubule but increased the height of seminiferous epithelium of male offspring (p < 0.05) at the same time point. Furthermore, oral M-RJ treatment significantly (p < 0.05) increased the testis weight and spermatogenesis at PNDs 21. Whereas, oral H-RJ treatment significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the diameter of seminiferous tubule and the height of seminiferous epithelium at PNDs 21. At PNDs 35, oral M-RJ treatment increased the testis weight, the diameter of seminiferous tubule and the level of FSH. While, high-dose of RJ reduced testis weight and size (diameter of seminiferous tubule and height of seminiferous epithelium), ratio of apoptotic germ cells and incomplete spermatogenesis collectively. In addition, sexual hormone secretions (FSH, LH, E2) were decreased after RJs treatment (L-RJ, M-RJ, H-RJ) at PNDs 21 respectively. In conclusion, the results concluded that oral administration of low and moderate doses of RJ could enhance the development of testis at neonate period until pubescent, whereas unfavorable adverse effects induced by high dose of RJ might remain. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Effects of Horse Housing System on Energy Balance during Post-Exercise Recovery
Animals 2019, 9(11), 976; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110976 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1573
Abstract
This study examined the effects of two housing systems (free-range and box stalls) on recovery of energy balance after competition-like exercise in Standardbred horses. Eight adult geldings (mean age 11 years) were used. The study had a change-over design, with the box stall [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of two housing systems (free-range and box stalls) on recovery of energy balance after competition-like exercise in Standardbred horses. Eight adult geldings (mean age 11 years) were used. The study had a change-over design, with the box stall (BOX) and free-range group housing (FreeR) treatments each run for 21 days. The horses were fed forage ad libitum and performed two similar race-like exercise tests (ET), on day 7 and day 14 in each treatment. Forage intake was recorded during the last 6–7 days in each period. Blood samples were collected before, during, and until 44 h after ET. Voluntary forage intake (measured in groups with four horses in each group) was higher in FreeR horses than BOX horses (FreeR: 48, BOX: 39, standard error of the mean (SEM) 1.7 kg (p = 0.003)). Plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) was lower at 20–44 h of recovery than before in FreeR horses (p = 0.022), but not in BOX horses. Housing did not affect exercise heart rate, plasma lactate, plasma urea, or total plasma protein concentration. Thus the free-range housing system hastened recovery in Standardbred trotters, contradicting anecdotal claims that it delays recovery. The free-range housing also had positive effects on appetite and recovery of energy balance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Feeding and Management) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessConcept Paper
The Role of the Three Rs in Improving the Planning and Reproducibility of Animal Experiments
Animals 2019, 9(11), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110975 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1420
Abstract
Training in the design of animal experiments focuses all too often on those aspects which can be approached mathematically, such as the number of animals needed to deliver a robust result, allocation of group size, and techniques such as randomization, blocking and statistical [...] Read more.
Training in the design of animal experiments focuses all too often on those aspects which can be approached mathematically, such as the number of animals needed to deliver a robust result, allocation of group size, and techniques such as randomization, blocking and statistical analysis. Important as they are, these are only a small part of the process of planning animal experiments. Additional key elements include refinements of housing, husbandry and procedures, health and safety, and attention at all stages to animal welfare. Advances in technology and laboratory animal science have led to improvements in care and husbandry, better provision of anesthetics and analgesics, refined methods of drug administration, greater competence in welfare assessment and application of humane endpoints. These improvements require continual dialogue between scientists, facility managers and technical staff, a practice that is a key feature of what has become known as the culture of care. This embodies a commitment to improving animal welfare, scientific quality, staff care and transparency for all stakeholders. Attention to both the physical and mental health of all those directly or indirectly involved in animal research is now an important part of the process of planning and conducting animal experiments. Efforts during the last 30 years to increase the internal and external validity of animal experiments have tended to concentrate on the production of guidelines to improve the quality of reporting animal experiments, rather than for planning them. Recently, comprehensive guidelines for planning animal studies have been published, to redress this imbalance. These will be described in this paper. Endorsement of this overarching influence of the Three R concept, by all the stakeholders, will not only reduce animal numbers and improve animal welfare, but also lead to more reliable and reproducible research which should improve translation of pre-clinical studies into tangible clinical benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 60 Years of the Three Rs and Their Impact on Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle
Replacing Soybean Meal with Urea in Diets for Heavy Fattening Lambs: Effects on Growth, Metabolic Profile and Meat Quality
Animals 2019, 9(11), 974; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110974 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Thirty-six Assaf male lambs (29.4 ± 3.10 kg body weight (BW)) were used to study the feasibility of including urea (at 0, 0.6 or 0.95% of dry matter for Control, Urea1, and Urea2 diets, respectively) in substitution of soybean meal in fattening diets. [...] Read more.
Thirty-six Assaf male lambs (29.4 ± 3.10 kg body weight (BW)) were used to study the feasibility of including urea (at 0, 0.6 or 0.95% of dry matter for Control, Urea1, and Urea2 diets, respectively) in substitution of soybean meal in fattening diets. Animals were individually penned and feed intake was recorded daily. Blood samples were taken at days 35 and 63 of the experimental period to determine the acid-base status and the biochemical profile. At the end of the experiment (nine weeks), lambs were slaughtered, ruminal contents were collected and carcass and meat quality were evaluated. There were not differences (p > 0.05) among treatments in dry matter intake, animal performance, ruminal fermentation pattern, and carcass and meat parameters. Serum albumin concentration was higher and concentration of HCO3 and total CO2 in blood were lower in Urea2 compared to Urea1 and Control lambs. These results, together with the tendency to lower (p = 0.065) blood pH in this group might suggest a moderate metabolic acidosis. Partial replacement of soybean meal with urea did not impair growth rate in heavy fattening Assaf lambs (from 29 to 50 kg body weight), reduced feeding costs and had no adverse effects on feed efficiency, rumen fermentation and carcass and meat quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
Open AccessArticle
The Development of a Hoof Conformation Assessment for Use in Dairy Goats
Animals 2019, 9(11), 973; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110973 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 573
Abstract
The assessment of hoof conformation is important due to its recognized relationship with the biomechanical functionality of the hoof. Hoof conformation can be assessed using objective measures or subjective scores. However, to date, there are limited data using either method in dairy goats. [...] Read more.
The assessment of hoof conformation is important due to its recognized relationship with the biomechanical functionality of the hoof. Hoof conformation can be assessed using objective measures or subjective scores. However, to date, there are limited data using either method in dairy goats. Therefore, the aims were to (1) develop a reliable method of assessing hoof conformation in dairy goats, and (2) compare two aspects of a subjective assessment against corresponding objective measures as a means of validation. A total of 1035 goats contributed photographs across 16 commercial dairy goat farms. Photographs were taken of the left front and left hind hoof in the lateral and dorsal aspect at five assessments across the goats′ first two lactations. Hoof conformation was assessed using five subjective scores (toe length, heel shape, fetlock shape, claw splay, and claw shape) and two objective measures (toe length ratio and claw splay distance). Following the training of two observers, high levels of inter and intra-reliability were achieved for both the subjective scores (>0.8 weighted kappa) and objective measures (>0.8 Lin′s concordance correlation coefficient). Two aspects of the subjectively assessed ordinal scores were compared with the objective measures with high levels of accuracy (>0.8). This suggests that the subjective scores may be a suitable alternative to more time-consuming objective measures when assessment is completed using photographs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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Open AccessArticle
Public Attitudes towards Cow Welfare and Cow Shelters (Gaushalas) in India
Animals 2019, 9(11), 972; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110972 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 620
Abstract
Public attitudes towards cows and cow shelters in India need to be assessed in the contemporary context, as India is facing an overpopulation of street cows, leading to traffic hazards, public health issues, and pollution. We investigated the attitudes of the general public [...] Read more.
Public attitudes towards cows and cow shelters in India need to be assessed in the contemporary context, as India is facing an overpopulation of street cows, leading to traffic hazards, public health issues, and pollution. We investigated the attitudes of the general public in India towards cow welfare in general and cow shelters (gaushalas) in particular. Eight hundred and twenty-five members of the public, residing in the vicinity of 54 cow shelters, were interviewed for this purpose. Their perception of animal welfare centred on animal care, cows as goddesses and mothers, and doing things properly. More than half visited a shelter daily for religious reasons. Most believed that cow shelters were the best way to manage the stray cow population and felt a community responsibility towards all breeds of cows for animal welfare reasons. Space availability for the cows was the key welfare issue voiced. Older people were more likely to identify animal welfare and culture as the main reason for sheltering cows. Better educated, wealthier, and more religious people visited the shelters most, rating religion and breeding higher as the shelter’s main purpose. Males favoured indigenous cow breeds more than females. Village respondents were more likely to consider the facilities adequate compared with country town and urban respondents. In contrast to married respondents, single people were more likely to say that they visited for leisure rather than for religious purposes. The survey indicated that the Indian community was generally supportive of cow sheltering and that visits to the shelters helped them to know that unwanted cattle were being well cared for. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Policy, Politics and Law)
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Open AccessArticle
Early Diagnostics of Freemartinism in Polish Holstein-Friesian Female Calves
Animals 2019, 9(11), 971; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110971 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 625
Abstract
Freemartinism in females born from heterosexual multiple pregnancies is characterized by the presence of XX/XY cell lines due to the formation of a shared blood system by anastomoses between fetal membranes of co–twins and leads to disturbed development of the reproductive system, including [...] Read more.
Freemartinism in females born from heterosexual multiple pregnancies is characterized by the presence of XX/XY cell lines due to the formation of a shared blood system by anastomoses between fetal membranes of co–twins and leads to disturbed development of the reproductive system, including infertility. The aim of this study was to estimate the most precise and effective diagnostic method, especially useful for early identification of freemartinism in young female calves. The cytomolecular evaluation results of 24 Holstein-Friesian heifers from heterosexual twins was verified by molecular techniques: PCR, short tandem repeats (STRs), and relative quantitative PCR. The molecular analyses have been found to be a more efficient testing strategy, with a higher diagnostic success rate than karyotype evaluation. In 21 heifers, leucocyte chimerism determined by the 60, XX/60, XY karyotype was revealed—the proportion of the 60, XY male cell line in individual animals was in the range of 4–66%. In three cases, a normal karyotype 60, XX was identified, which indicates that anastomoses did not occur in 12.5% of studied twins and suggests that these potentially fertile heifers can be qualified for further breeding. The precise and early identification of freemartinism can be the basis for guidelines and selection recommendations concerning the reproductive performance of heifers born from heterosexual multiple pregnancies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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