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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 12 (December 2019) – 165 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Equine assisted interventions (EAIs) represent an emerging field of animal assisted interventions [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Sexual Dimorphism for Coping Styles Complements Traditional Methods for Sex Determination in a Multivariety Endangered Hen Breed
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121165 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 3047
Abstract
Sex determination is key to designing endangered poultry population conservation and breeding programs when sex distribution departs from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. A total of 112 Utrerana chickens (28 per variety, partridge, black, white, and franciscan) were selected for hatching day sexing. Sex assignation was [...] Read more.
Sex determination is key to designing endangered poultry population conservation and breeding programs when sex distribution departs from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. A total of 112 Utrerana chickens (28 per variety, partridge, black, white, and franciscan) were selected for hatching day sexing. Sex assignation was performed through 10 methods. Three sex assignment criteria comprised criteria found in literature, opposite criteria to that in the literature, and composite criteria combining methods reporting the highest predictive success from the previous ones. This study aims to determine which method combinations may more successfully determine sex across the four varieties of Utrerana endangered hen breed to tailor noninvasive early specific models to determine sex in local chicken populations. Although the explanatory power of the three assignation criteria is equal (75%), assignation criteria 2 resulted to be the most efficient as it correctly assigns males more frequently. Only methods 3 (English method), 5 (general down feathers coloration), 7 (wing fan), and 10 (behavior/coping styles) reported significant differences regardless of the variety, hence, are appropriate for early sexing. Sex confirmation was performed at 1.5 months old. Identifying sex proportions enhances genetic management tasks in endangered populations, complementing more standardized techniques, which may result inefficient given the implicit diversity found in local populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Morpho-Functional and Genetic Characterization of Local Breeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Nutria (Myocastor coypus) in South Korea
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121164 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 714
Abstract
The nutria (Myocastor coypus) is an invasive alien species that have had major adverse effects on biodiversity and the agricultural economy in wetland habitats. Since 2014, the Ministry of Environment in South Korea has been carrying out the Nutria Eradication Project, [...] Read more.
The nutria (Myocastor coypus) is an invasive alien species that have had major adverse effects on biodiversity and the agricultural economy in wetland habitats. Since 2014, the Ministry of Environment in South Korea has been carrying out the Nutria Eradication Project, and we investigated nutria distribution and genetic diversity of nutria populations in South Korea. We estimated that 99.2% of nutria habitats are in the mid-lower Nakdong River regions. To further analyze the genetic diversity in eight major nutria populations, we performed a genetic analysis using microsatellite markers. Genetic diversity levels of the eight nutria populations in South Korea were relatively lower than those in other countries. The probability of migration direction among nutria populations was predicted from genetic distance analysis. Genetic structure analysis showed little difference among the nutria populations in South Korea. These results suggest that nutrias in South Korea originated from a single population. Our results provide important data for establishing management strategies for the successful eradication of nutria populations in South Korea, as well as in other countries with alien invasive species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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Open AccessReview
How Can Systematic Reviews Teach Us More about the Implementation of the 3Rs and Animal Welfare?
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121163 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1085
Abstract
This paper describes the introduction of the systematic review methodology in animal-based research and the added value of this methodology in relation to the 3Rs and beyond. The 3Rs refer to Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement of animal studies. A systematic review (SR) is [...] Read more.
This paper describes the introduction of the systematic review methodology in animal-based research and the added value of this methodology in relation to the 3Rs and beyond. The 3Rs refer to Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement of animal studies. A systematic review (SR) is defined as a literature review focused on a single question that tries to identify, appraise, select, and synthesise all high-quality research evidence relevant to that question. Examples are given on how SRs lead to the implementation of the 3Rs and better science. Additionally, a broader context is given regarding societal, political, and scientific developments. Various examples of systematic reviews are given to illustrate the current situation regarding reporting, quality, and translatability of animal-based research. Furthermore, initiatives that have emerged to move further towards more responsible and sustainable research is of benefit for both animals and humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 60 Years of the Three Rs and Their Impact on Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle
Expression of Behavioural Traits in Goldendoodles and Labradoodles
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121162 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2438
Abstract
As crossbred dogs gain in popularity, how they express inherited behaviour traits in comparison to their purebred constituent breeds is of interest. We investigated behaviours exhibited by crossbred dogs by focusing on the popular Goldendoodle and Labradoodle crossbreds and comparing them to their [...] Read more.
As crossbred dogs gain in popularity, how they express inherited behaviour traits in comparison to their purebred constituent breeds is of interest. We investigated behaviours exhibited by crossbred dogs by focusing on the popular Goldendoodle and Labradoodle crossbreds and comparing them to their corresponding constituent breeds: Standard and Miniature Poodle, Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever. The data for this study was provided by 5141 volunteer dog owners who filled out the Canine Behavioural Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) online survey. The survey results were used to analyse breed differences in fourteen representative behavioural trait scores: trainability, stranger-directed aggression, owner-directed aggression, dog-directed aggression, dog rivalry, dog-directed fear, stranger-directed fear, non-social fear, touch sensitivity, separation-related problems, excitability, attachment/attention-seeking behaviours, energy and chasing. As expected from a first-generation crossbred (F1), the crossbreds in our study tend to fall between the two constituent parent breeds with some exceptions. Our results suggest that the F1 Labradoodle differed significantly from one of the pure constituent breeds only in dog rivalry, whereas the F1 Goldendoodle behaviour varied from one or more pure constituent breeds in dog rivalry, dog-directed aggression, dog-directed fear, and stranger-directed fear. These results can help advise future dog owners on behavioural trends for particular crossbreds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
New Insights into Chemical and Mineral Composition of Donkey Milk throughout Nine Months of Lactation
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121161 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 581
Abstract
Donkey milk is increasingly being proposed as a natural alternative milk for various categories of consumers, especially infants and the elderly population. However, its potential production, gross, and mineral composition have not been deeply investigated yet. Sixty-two individual milk samples were collected monthly [...] Read more.
Donkey milk is increasingly being proposed as a natural alternative milk for various categories of consumers, especially infants and the elderly population. However, its potential production, gross, and mineral composition have not been deeply investigated yet. Sixty-two individual milk samples were collected monthly from nine Ragusano donkeys reared in a specialized dairy farm. Milk yield as well as chemical and mineral composition, including macro and micro elements, were investigated over an entire lactation, from the second to the ninth month of milking. Milk yield averaged 1.64 kg/day, which highlights good aptitude of the Ragusano breed for the production of milk. Gross composition was characterized by low content of dry matter (8.19%), a high amount of lactose (6.07%), low protein (1.34%), and very low-fat content (0.16%). Whey proteins represented 58% of the total protein, and proteose-peptones accounted for 0.35 ± 0.07 g per 100 g. Total ash content was 0.36 g per 100 g and represented 4.40% of the dry matter. The most abundant element was K, which was followed by Ca, Na, and P. As expected, the micro elements Fe, Zn, and Cu were found in low amounts or in traces. Dry matter, fat, whey proteins. The total ash, Ca, P, Mg, and mineral ratios were significantly affected by the lactation stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Equids)
Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Alternatives to Zinc-Bacitracin Antibiotic Growth Promoter in Broilers: Physiological and Meat Quality Responses
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121160 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 659
Abstract
This study evaluated different combinations of a probiotic (Bacillus licheniformis), an organic acid mixture (benzoic and fumaric acids), a protease enzyme, and chelated minerals (Cu, Zn, and Mn) as alternatives to zinc-bacitracin antibiotic. Eight hundred Cobb 500 chicks (42.02 ± 2.207 [...] Read more.
This study evaluated different combinations of a probiotic (Bacillus licheniformis), an organic acid mixture (benzoic and fumaric acids), a protease enzyme, and chelated minerals (Cu, Zn, and Mn) as alternatives to zinc-bacitracin antibiotic. Eight hundred Cobb 500 chicks (42.02 ± 2.207 g liveweight) were distributed into 40 pens to which five diets: 1. Commercial broiler diet with no antibiotics (CON); 2. CON + zinc-bacitracin antibiotic (ZnB); 3. CON + chelated minerals + protease enzyme (MinEnz); 4. CON + chelated minerals + protease + organic acids (MinEnzOrg); and 5. CON + chelated minerals + protease + probiotic (MinEnzPro) were allocated. Probiotic, minerals, protease enzyme, and organic acids were included in diets at 0.2 g/kg, 0.3 g/kg, 0.5 g/kg, and 5 g/kg, respectively. Diets promoted a similar feed intake, weight gain, and feed conversion ratio. Birds on MinEnz had the highest basophil content (2.04 × 109/L), while those on ZnB had the highest alanine aminotransferase (8.50 IU/L). Chickens on MinEnz had the heaviest spleens and the largest proventriculi. Meat from CON birds had the highest water holding capacity (22.32%) and cooking losses (27.15%). We concluded that the investigated combinations of feed additives could replace ZnB in broiler diets as they promoted similar growth performance and carcass characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Body Condition Score Changes During Peripartum on the Postpartum Health and Production Performance of Primiparous Dairy Cows
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121159 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1019
Abstract
This is a prospective observational study that evaluates the effects of body condition score (BCS) changes in primiparous Holstein cows during peripartum on their NEFA and BHBA concentrations, hormone levels, postpartum health, and production performance. The cows under study (n = 213) [...] Read more.
This is a prospective observational study that evaluates the effects of body condition score (BCS) changes in primiparous Holstein cows during peripartum on their NEFA and BHBA concentrations, hormone levels, postpartum health, and production performance. The cows under study (n = 213) were assessed to determine their BCS (5-point scale; 0.25-point increment) once a week during the whole peripartum by the same researchers; backfat was used for corrections. Blood samples were collected 21 and 7 days before calving and 7, 21, and 35 days after calving, and were assayed for NEFA, BHBA, growth hormone (GH), insulin, leptin, and adiponectin concentrations. The incidence of disease and milk yield were recorded until 84 days after calving. Cows were classified according to their BCS changes during peripartum as follows: Those that gained BCS (G; ΔBCS ≥ 0.25), maintained BCS (M; ΔBCS = 0–0.25), or lost BCS (L; ΔBCS ≥ 0.5). The BCS at −21 days and at 7, 14, and 21 days were different (p < 0.01), but trended toward uniformity in all groups at calving. The L group had higher NEFA and BHBA concentrations and hormone levels (p < 0.01) than the M and G groups at 21 and 35 days after calving, and had a higher incidence of uterine and metabolic diseases; however, there were no differences in production performance between the various groups. In conclusion, a lower BCS in primiparous cows during peripartum influences the NEFA and BHBA concentrations, hormone levels, and occurrence of health problems postpartum. The postpartum effects of BCS changes appear prior to calving. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calf and Heifer Feeding and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Benefits and Trade-Offs of Dairy System Changes Aimed at Reducing Nitrate Leaching
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121158 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 601
Abstract
Between 2011 and 2016, small-scale farm trials were run across three dairy regions of New Zealand (Waikato, Canterbury, Otago) to compare the performance of typical regional farm systems with farm systems implementing a combination of mitigation options most suitable to the region. The [...] Read more.
Between 2011 and 2016, small-scale farm trials were run across three dairy regions of New Zealand (Waikato, Canterbury, Otago) to compare the performance of typical regional farm systems with farm systems implementing a combination of mitigation options most suitable to the region. The trials ran for at least three consecutive years with detailed recording of milk production and input costs. Nitrate leaching per hectare of the milking platform (where lactating cows are kept) was estimated using either measurements (suction cups), models, or soil mineral nitrogen measurements. Post-trial, detailed farm information was used in the New Zealand greenhouse gas inventory methodology to calculate the emissions from all sources; dairy platform, dairy support land used for wintering non-lactating cows (where applicable) and replacement stock, and imported supplements. Nitrate leaching was also estimated for the support land and growing of supplements imported from off-farm using the same methods as for the platform. Operating profit (NZ$/ha/year), nitrate leaching (kg N/ha/year), and greenhouse gas emissions (t CO2-equivalent/ha/year) were all expressed per hectare of milking platform to enable comparisons across regions. Nitrate leaching mitigations adopted in lower-input (less purchased feed and nitrogen fertiliser) farm systems reduced leaching by 22 to 30 per cent, and greenhouse gas emissions by between nine and 24 per cent. The exception was the wintering barn system in Otago, where nitrate leaching was reduced by 45 per cent, but greenhouse gas emissions were unchanged due to greater manure storage and handling. Important drivers of a lower environmental footprint are reducing nitrogen fertiliser and purchased feed. Their effect is to reduce feed flow through the herd and drive down both greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching. Emission reductions in the lower-input systems of Waikato and Canterbury came at an average loss of profit of approximately NZ$100/t CO2-equivalent (three to five per cent of industry-average profit per hectare). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
Open AccessArticle
Reported Acquisition Practices of Australian Dog Owners
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121157 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1211
Abstract
In Australia, the UK and the US dog ownership is prevalent with an estimated 40% of Australian households, 25% of UK households, and 50% of US households owning a dog. Once acquired, a dog usually becomes a family companion so, unlike a faulty [...] Read more.
In Australia, the UK and the US dog ownership is prevalent with an estimated 40% of Australian households, 25% of UK households, and 50% of US households owning a dog. Once acquired, a dog usually becomes a family companion so, unlike a faulty product, it can rarely be returned or resold without some emotional impact on both the acquirer and the dog. Regarding the reality of dog relinquishment, there is a growing need for cross-disciplinary research that considers how dog owners are making their acquisition choices and, if prioritising different attributes, leads to more optimal acquisition choices. This research collected data from 2840 dog owners via an online survey and examines how owners prioritised various attributes when acquiring their latest dog. The Pearson-Blotchky analysis of survey results show owners are split into two groups, with each group prioritising different attributes or characteristics in their search for a new dog. The first group are those dog owners who prioritised: the ability to rescue a dog, how compatible the dog was on the first meeting, and how compatible they believed the dog would be with their household. The second group are those owners who prioritised: a dog’s morphology, temperament predictability, and breeding practices. While each group prioritised different attributes, neither group made substantially more optimal acquisition choices in terms of overall satisfaction with the dog that they ultimately selected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Parasites in Horses Kept in A 2.5 Year-Round Grazing System in Nordic Conditions without Supplementary Feeding
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121156 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1456
Abstract
Horse grazing can be favorable from a biological diversity perspective. This study documented the occurrence of endo- and ectoparasites and sought to reduce parasite egg excretion with the anthelmintic drug pyrantel in 12 Gotlandsruss stallions maintained in a year-round grazing system for 2.5 [...] Read more.
Horse grazing can be favorable from a biological diversity perspective. This study documented the occurrence of endo- and ectoparasites and sought to reduce parasite egg excretion with the anthelmintic drug pyrantel in 12 Gotlandsruss stallions maintained in a year-round grazing system for 2.5 years. Feces samples were collected monthly and all horses were treated with pyrantel, the anthelmintic drug of choice in biological diversity preservation, at study population mean cyathostomin eggs per gram (EPG) of >200. The relationship between cyathostomin EPG and body condition was studied, as was horse behavioral response to Bovicola equi (chewing louse) infestation. Eggs of cyathostomins (small strongyles), Parascaris spp. (roundworm), Oxyuris equi (pinworm), Anoplocephala perfoliata (tapeworm), and Gasterophilus spp. (botfly) were detected at least once during the trial. Excretion of cyathostomin eggs was highest during summer–autumn and increased year-on-year. No relationship was found between cyathostomin EPG and body condition. Infestation with B. equi did not affect the number of scratching sessions compared with unaffected horses. Therefore, in this year-round grazing system, pyrantel treatment had to be complemented with moxidectin to reduce excretion of cyathostomin eggs, thus compromising biological diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equine Parasitology)
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Open AccessArticle
In Vivo Performances, Carcass Traits, and Meat Quality of Pigs Fed Olive Cake Processing Waste
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121155 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 662
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess the inclusion of different levels of olive cake in pigs’ diet as a strategy to replace conventional ingredients and to improve meat quality traits. Seventy-two Pietrain pigs, during the growing–finishing period (50–120 kg BW), were [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to assess the inclusion of different levels of olive cake in pigs’ diet as a strategy to replace conventional ingredients and to improve meat quality traits. Seventy-two Pietrain pigs, during the growing–finishing period (50–120 kg BW), were fed with three dietary treatments that contained or did not contain olive cake: 0% (Ctrl), 5% (Low), and 10% (High). The trial lasted 90 days. Weekly, individual body weight (BW) and feed intake (FI) were recorded to calculate average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR). At slaughter, the dressing percentage was calculated and carcass weight and backfat thickness were measured. On a section of Longissimus thoracis muscle (LT), pH, color, chemical, and fatty acid composition were determined. Fatty acid profile was also determined in backfat. The statistical model included the effects of diet (Ctrl, Low, and High). The inclusion of 5% of olive cake in the diet improved significantly (p < 0.05) BW and FCR. Both levels of inclusion (5% and 10%) significantly reduced (p < 0.05) backfat thickness and intramuscular fat and modified their fatty acid composition, increasing (p < 0.05) the concentration of MUFA and PUFA and improving (p < 0.05) quality indices. Results suggest that olive cake did not negatively affect the productive performances. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Choline Chloride, Copper Sulfate and Zinc Oxide on Long-Term Stabilization of Microencapsulated Vitamins in Premixes for Weanling Piglets
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121154 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Two in vitro experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of choline chloride, copper sulfate (CuSO4) and zinc oxide (ZnO) on the stability of vitamin A (VA), vitamin D3 (VD3), vitamin E (VE), vitamin K3 (VK3 [...] Read more.
Two in vitro experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of choline chloride, copper sulfate (CuSO4) and zinc oxide (ZnO) on the stability of vitamin A (VA), vitamin D3 (VD3), vitamin E (VE), vitamin K3 (VK3), vitamin B1 (VB1), vitamin B2 (VB2), vitamin B6 (VB6), niacin, and pantothenic acid in vitamin and vitamin/trace mineral (VTM) premixes for weanling piglets after 0, 1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 months of premix storage. We developed predicted equations to estimate vitamin retention during storage. Two vitamin premixes (with or without choline) were formulated and stored at 25 °C and 60% humidity to establish the storage stability of vitamin premixes. Additionally, four VTM premixes were used to evaluate the effect of choline chloride (0 vs. 40,000 mg/kg) and trace minerals (Low CuSO4 + ZnO vs. High CuSO4 + ZnO) on vitamin stability in VTM premixes stored at room temperature (22 °C). In general, as storage time increased, residual vitamin activity decreased (p < 0.05). The results confirmed that VD3, VE, VB2, VB6, niacin and pantothenic acid were highly stable during storage, while the retention of VA, VK3 and VB1 was significantly affected by storage time and the presence of choline and high concentrations of Cu and Zn in the premix. After one year of storage, the retention of VE, VB2, VB6 niacin, and pantothenic acid was more than 90% in vitamin and VTM premixes. The retention of VD3 was more than 90% in vitamin premixes and more than 80% in VTM premixes after one year of storage. We conclude that current microencapsulation techniques for vitamin premixes appear to be inadequate to guarantee VA, VK3, and VB1 concentrations in VTM premixes. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Influence of Licorice Root Feeding on Chemical-Nutritional Quality of Cow Milk and Stracciata Cheese, an Italian Traditional Fresh Dairy Product
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121153 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary licorice root supplementation on chemical and nutritional characteristics of cow milk and Stracciata cheese. Licorice did not influence milk and Stracciata fat content but induced modifications in fatty acid profile. Both [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary licorice root supplementation on chemical and nutritional characteristics of cow milk and Stracciata cheese. Licorice did not influence milk and Stracciata fat content but induced modifications in fatty acid profile. Both in milk and Stracciata, a decrease in saturated fatty acids was detected and in cheeses an increase of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids was observed. Stracciata obtained from the experimental group showed an improved oxidative stability after six days of ripening, a finding partly justifiable by the well-known richness of antioxidant compounds in the licorice root. The volatile profile of Stracciata was also affected by dietary licorice intake, with an increase in esters and a reduction of aldehydes and ketones. These results suggest a positive role of licorice in modifying chemical and physical properties of cow cheeses, reducing lipid oxidation and inducing changes in color and flavor with a presumable improvement in consumer acceptability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Products Quality and Characterization)
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Open AccessAddendum
Addendum: Exadactylos, A., et al. High Connectivity of the White Seabream (Diplodus sargus, L. 1758) in the Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean Basin. Animals 2019, 11, 979
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121152 - 16 Dec 2019
Viewed by 469
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Activated Charcoal-Herb Extractum Complex on Antioxidant Status, Lipid Metabolites and Safety of Excess Supplementation in Weaned Piglets
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121151 - 15 Dec 2019
Viewed by 628
Abstract
This study was aimed at evaluating the effects of activated charcoal-herb extractum complex (CHC) on antioxidant status, serum lipid metabolites and its safety supplement in weaning piglets. In experiment 1, a total of 216 piglets (Duroc × Landrace × Large White) weaned at [...] Read more.
This study was aimed at evaluating the effects of activated charcoal-herb extractum complex (CHC) on antioxidant status, serum lipid metabolites and its safety supplement in weaning piglets. In experiment 1, a total of 216 piglets (Duroc × Landrace × Large White) weaned at 28 days of age with initial body weight of 8.55 ± 1.18 kg were assigned randomly to six treatment groups. each treatment group had six pens, with six pigs per pen. Pigs were fed a corn-soybean meal-based diet supplemented with 500, 1000, 1500 or 2000 mg kg−1 of CHC over two 14-d periods. Diets supplemented with 0 and 1000 mg kg−1 of montmorillonite (MMT) were set as the negative and positive controls, respectively. In experiment 2, pigs (n = 108) weaned at 28 days of age with initial body weight of 8.58 ± 0.04 kg were randomly assigned to three treatment groups. Each treatment group had six pens, with six pigs per pen. Pigs were fed a corn-soybean meal-based diet supplemented with 0, 1000 or 10,000 mg kg−1 of CHC over two 14-d periods. In experiment 1, on day 14, supplementation with CHC significantly decreased very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) concentration while they decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) concentration on d 28, CHC at 500, 1000 or 1500 mg kg−1 significantly increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentration. Supplementation with 500 or 1000 mg kg−1 CHC reduced serum malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration during the entire experimental period and increased the concentration of serum total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) on d 14. CHC at 500 or 1000 mg kg−1 significantly reduced the liver MDA concentration and increased liver T-SOD concentration. In experiment 2, increased ADG was obvious during the first 14 days and the whole period in 1000 mg kg−1 supplemented pigs, similarly F: G was lowest in the first 14 days. There was no difference in growth performance, visceral index, haematological and serum biochemical parameters and visceral organs morphology between pigs fed 10,000 mg kg−1 of CHC and control. Together, 500 to 1000 mg kg−1 CHC was confirmed to improve antioxidant status, and serum lipid metabolites in this study and excess supplementation of CHC is safe in weaning piglets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pig Nutrition)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Clay, L.; Paterson, M.; Bennett, P.; Perry, G.; Phillips, C. Early Recognition of Behaviour Problems in Shelter Dogs by Monitoring Them in Their Kennels after Admission to a Shelter. Animals 2019, 9, 875
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121150 - 15 Dec 2019
Viewed by 551
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to their paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog Behaviour, Physiology and Welfare) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Young Broiler Feeding Kinematic Analysis as A Function of the Feed Type
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121149 - 15 Dec 2019
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Past publications describe the various impact of feeding behavior of broilers on productivity and physiology. However, very few publications have considered the impact of biomechanics associated with the feeding process in birds. The present study aims at comparing the kinematic variables of young [...] Read more.
Past publications describe the various impact of feeding behavior of broilers on productivity and physiology. However, very few publications have considered the impact of biomechanics associated with the feeding process in birds. The present study aims at comparing the kinematic variables of young broiler chicks (3–4 days old; 19 specimens) while feeding them with three different feed types, such as fine mash (F1), coarse mash (F2), and crumbled feed (F3). The feeding behavior of the birds was recorded using a high-speed camera. Frames sequences of each mandibulation were selected manually and classified according to the temporal order that occurred (first, second, third, or fourth, and further). The head displacement and the maximum beak gape were automatically calculated by image analysis. The results did not indicate strong correlations between birds’ weight, beak size (length and width), and the kinematic variables of feeding. The differences between the tested feed were found mostly in the first and second mandibulations, probably explained by the higher incidence of “catch-and-throw” movements in F3 (33%) and F1 (26%) than F2 (20%). The “catch-and-throw” movements in F1 (the smallest feed particle) mostly occurred in the first mandibulation, as in F3 (the largest feed particle) also occurred in the latest mandibulations. It might be suggested that the adoption of “catch-and-throw” in the latest mandibulations increases with larger particles. The kinematic variables in the latest mandibulations (from the third one on) seem to be similar for all feed types, which represent the swallowing phase. It might be inferred that the temporal sequence of the mandibulations should be essential to describe the kinematics of a feeding scene of broiler chickens, and the first and second mandibulations are potentially the key factors for the differences accounted by the diverse feed particle sizes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology Applied to Animal Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Digestibility and Retention Time of Coastal Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) Hay by Horses
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121148 - 14 Dec 2019
Viewed by 651
Abstract
Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and other warm-season grasses are known for their increased fiber concentrations and reduced digestibility relative to cool-season grasses and legumes. This study investigated the digestive characteristics and passage kinetics of three maturities of Coastal bermudagrass hay. A 5 [...] Read more.
Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and other warm-season grasses are known for their increased fiber concentrations and reduced digestibility relative to cool-season grasses and legumes. This study investigated the digestive characteristics and passage kinetics of three maturities of Coastal bermudagrass hay. A 5 × 5 Latin square design experiment was used to compare the digestion of five hays: alfalfa (Medicago sativa, ALF), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata, ORCH), and Coastal bermudagrass harvested at 4 (CB 4), 6 (CB 6), and 8 weeks of regrowth (CB 8). Horses were fed cobalt-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (Co-EDTA) and ytterbium (Yb) labeled neutral detergent fiber (NDF) before an 84-h total fecal collection to determine digesta retention time. Dry matter digestibility was greatest for ALF (62.1%) and least for CB 6 (36.0%) and CB 8 diets (36.8%, SEM = 2.1; p < 0.05). Mean retention time was longer (p < 0.05) for Coastal bermudagrass (particulate 31.3 h, liquid 25.3 h) compared with ORCH and ALF (28.0 h, SEM = 0.88 h; 20.7 h, SEM = 0.70 h). Further evaluation of digesta passage kinetics through mathematical modeling indicated ALF had distinct parameters compared to the other diets. Differences in digestive variables between forage types are likely a consequence of fiber physiochemical properties, warranting further investigation on forage fiber and digestive health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Feeding and Management) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of the Genetic Parameters for Semen Traits in Spanish Dairy Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121147 - 13 Dec 2019
Viewed by 640
Abstract
This work aimed to estimate genetic parameters for traits related to semen production and quality in Spanish dairy sheep breeds. For that, ejaculates of rams from Assaf, Churra, Latxa Cara Negra, Latxa Cara Rubia, and Manchega breeds were analyzed to measure volume, semen [...] Read more.
This work aimed to estimate genetic parameters for traits related to semen production and quality in Spanish dairy sheep breeds. For that, ejaculates of rams from Assaf, Churra, Latxa Cara Negra, Latxa Cara Rubia, and Manchega breeds were analyzed to measure volume, semen concentration, and motility. Estimates of variance components were obtained with multiple-trait animal models using the average information REML method in the BLUPF90 family of programs. Repeatability estimates for all the traits were also calculated, with values ranging from 0.077 to 0.304 for the motility and the semen concentration traits, respectively. Heritability estimates were of low to moderate magnitude, ranging from 0.014 (motility in Latxa Cara Rubia) to 0.198 (volume in Churra), although the estimates differed among the breeds. The estimated genetic correlations among the three semen traits showed adequate precision only in the MAN breed. The heritability estimates for the semen traits reported in the present paper suggest an adequate response to selection. The practical extension of these results to the other breeds studied here will be secondary to the estimation of more reliable genetic correlations in these breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Applications of Quantitative Genetics in Livestock Production)
Open AccessBrief Report
Toxoplasma gondii Tetravalent Chimeric Proteins as Novel Antigens for Detection of Specific Immunoglobulin G in Sera of Small Ruminants
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121146 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 651
Abstract
The detection of Toxoplasma gondii infection in small ruminants has important significance for public health and veterinary medicine. This study, for the first time, describes the reactivity of four tetravalent chimeric proteins (AMA1N-SAG2-GRA1-ROP1, AMA1C-SAG2-GRA1-ROP1, AMA1-SAG2-GRA1-ROP1, and SAG2-GRA1-ROP1-GRA2) containing immunodominant [...] Read more.
The detection of Toxoplasma gondii infection in small ruminants has important significance for public health and veterinary medicine. This study, for the first time, describes the reactivity of four tetravalent chimeric proteins (AMA1N-SAG2-GRA1-ROP1, AMA1C-SAG2-GRA1-ROP1, AMA1-SAG2-GRA1-ROP1, and SAG2-GRA1-ROP1-GRA2) containing immunodominant regions from the AMA1 (apical membrane antigen 1), SAG2 (surface antigen 2), GRA1 (dense granule antigen 1), GRA2 (dense granule antigen 2), and ROP1 (rhoptry antigen 1) with specific IgG antibodies from the sera of small ruminants with the use of an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The reactivity of individual chimeric antigens was analyzed in relation to the results obtained in IgG ELISA based on a Toxoplasma lysate antigen (TLA). All chimeric proteins were characterized by high specificity (between 96.39% to 100%), whereas the sensitivity of the IgG ELISAs was variable (between 78.49% and 96.77%). The highest sensitivity was observed in the IgG ELISA test based on the AMA1-SAG2-GRA1-ROP1. These data demonstrate that this chimeric protein can be a promising serodiagnostic tool for T. gondii infection in small ruminants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Bacillus licheniformis-Fermented Products Reduce Diarrhea Incidence and Alter the Fecal Microbiota Community in Weaning Piglets
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121145 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 917
Abstract
Prophylactic use of antibiotics in-feed has been effective in decreasing the incidence of diarrhea in weaning piglets. However, the overuse of antibiotics as prophylactic or therapeutic agents in animal feed leads to the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria and antibiotic residues in pigs. This [...] Read more.
Prophylactic use of antibiotics in-feed has been effective in decreasing the incidence of diarrhea in weaning piglets. However, the overuse of antibiotics as prophylactic or therapeutic agents in animal feed leads to the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria and antibiotic residues in pigs. This study investigated the effects of Bacillus licheniformis-fermented products on diarrhea incidence and the fecal microbial community in weaning piglets. A total of 120 crossbred piglets with an average initial body weight of 9.87 ± 1.43 kg were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments consisting of three replicate stalls with 10 piglets in each. The dietary treatments comprised a basal diet as control, control plus 1 g/kg or 4.5 g/kg of B. licheniformis-fermented products, and control plus 30 mg/kg antibiotics (bacitracin methylene disalicylate). Results showed that 4.5 g/kg of B. licheniformis-fermented product supplementation significantly reduced diarrhea incidence in weaning piglets. Principal coordinate analysis and a heatmap of species abundance indicated distinct clusters between the groups treated with antibiotics and B. licheniformis-fermented products. The bacterial richness and evenness in the feces decreased in weaning piglets fed 1 g/kg of B. licheniformis-fermented products and antibiotics. The abundance of the genera [Ruminococcus] gauvreauii group, Ruminococcaceae UCG-005, and Ruminococcaceae UCG-008 in the feces decreased in weaning piglets fed B. licheniformis-fermented products or antibiotics. The average abundance of the genus Prevotella 9 in the feces was positively correlated with the concentration of B. licheniformis-fermented products and negatively correlated with the diarrhea incidence in weaning piglets. Furthermore, the average abundance of the genus Prevotella 9 in the feces was positively correlated with the growth performance of weaning piglets. These results demonstrate that B. licheniformis-fermented products can improve diarrhea incidence and fecal microflora composition in weaning piglets. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Gut Microbiota and Growth and Health of Monogastric Farm Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Dihydroartemisinin Supplementation Attenuates Hepatic Oxidative Damage of Weaned Piglets with Intrauterine Growth Retardation through the Nrf2/ARE Signaling Pathway
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121144 - 13 Dec 2019
Viewed by 552
Abstract
The object of present study was to evaluate the effects of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) supplementation on the hepatic antioxidant capacity in IUGR-affected weaned piglets. Eight piglets with normal birth weight (NBW) and sixteen IUGR-affected piglets were selected. Piglets were weaned at 21 days. NBW [...] Read more.
The object of present study was to evaluate the effects of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) supplementation on the hepatic antioxidant capacity in IUGR-affected weaned piglets. Eight piglets with normal birth weight (NBW) and sixteen IUGR-affected piglets were selected. Piglets were weaned at 21 days. NBW and IUGR groups were fed a basal diet and the ID group was fed the basal diet supplemented with 80 mg/kg DHA for 28 days. The result indicated that compared with NBW piglets, IUGR-affected piglets increased (p < 0.05) the concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA) and decreased (p < 0.05) the serum activities of total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px). In addition, IUGR-affected piglets showed increased (p < 0.05) hepatic concentrations of protein carbonyl (PC), 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), and oxidized glutathione (GSSG), and an increased GSSG:GSH value. IUGR-affected piglets exhibited lower (p < 0.05) activities of GSH-Px, T-SOD, total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), and the concentration of glutathione (GSH). DHA supplementation decreased (p < 0.05) the serum concentration of MDA and increased the serum activities of T-AOC, T-SOD, GSH-Px, and CAT. The ID group showed decreased (p < 0.05) concentrations of MDA, PC, 8-OHdG, and GSSG, and a decreased GSSG:GSH value in the liver. The hepatic activity of T-SOD and the concentration of GSH were increased (p < 0.05) in the liver of ID group. IUGR-affected piglets downregulated (p < 0.05) mRNA expression of nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1), and CAT. DHA supplementation increased (p < 0.05) mRNA expression of Nrf2, HO-1, GPx1, and CAT in the ID group. In addition, the protein expression of Nrf2 was downregulated (p < 0.05) in the liver of IUGR-affected piglets and DHA supplementation increased (p < 0.05) the protein content of Nrf2 and HO-1. In conclusion, DHA may be beneficial in alleviating oxidative damage induced by IUGR through the Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway in the liver. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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Open AccessArticle
The Morphology of Cross-Beaks and BMP4 Gene Expression in Huiyang Bearded Chickens
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121143 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 589
Abstract
Bird beaks are important for biological purposes such as food intake, removing parasites, and defining phenotypic attributes. Cross-beaks are a threat to poultry health and are harmful to productivity, wasting some units in the poultry industry. However, there is still limited research on [...] Read more.
Bird beaks are important for biological purposes such as food intake, removing parasites, and defining phenotypic attributes. Cross-beaks are a threat to poultry health and are harmful to productivity, wasting some units in the poultry industry. However, there is still limited research on subtypes of cross-beaks and the genetic basis of cross-beaks as well. Here, we described the subtypes of cross-beaks in terms of left or right and upper or lower jaw bones. We evaluated the impact of cross-beaks on craniofacial bones and figured out the relationship between bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) and the development of craniofacial bones in Huiyang bearded chickens. We identified five typical subtypes of cross-beaks by morphological assessment and X-ray scanning. We found that cross-beaks caused certain changes in the facial bone morphology, including changes to the length and width of the bone around the ocular area (p < 0.05). The relative expressions of BMP4 in lacrimal, mandible, premaxilla, frontal, and parietal bones were significantly higher in the severe cross-beak group, followed by that of the medium cross-beak group, weak cross-beak group, and control group (p < 0.05). Overall, we constructed a generally applicable method to classify cross-beaks in term of the angle. The skeleton around the ocular area was affected by the cross-beak. The expression levels of BMP4 in craniofacial bones may provide insight to potential role of BMP4 in the development of cross-beaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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Open AccessArticle
Rabbit Enteropathies on Commercial Farms in the Iberian Peninsula: Etiological Agents Identified in 2018–2019
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121142 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 571
Abstract
Digestive disorders are the main cause of economic damage to rabbit farms. This article provides a global and updated overview of the diverse etiological agents causing them, since 757 clinical cases were analyzed during 2018 and 2019—Ninety-five from young rabbits (<15 days old), [...] Read more.
Digestive disorders are the main cause of economic damage to rabbit farms. This article provides a global and updated overview of the diverse etiological agents causing them, since 757 clinical cases were analyzed during 2018 and 2019—Ninety-five from young rabbits (<15 days old), 117 from preweaning rabbits (15–35 days old), and 545 from growing rabbits. Etiological diagnosis was carried out by bacteriological culture and a set of real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) tests for the detection of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), Clostridium spiroforme, C. perfringens, rotavirus A, Bacteroides fragilis, and Eimeria spp. Also, 40 EPEC and 38 non EPEC isolates were investigated for the presence of other colonization factors (afr2, ral, liftA, and paa) by qPCR. EPEC is the most prevalent agent in young rabbits, and although different virulence profiles have been found among EPEC isolates, the liftA+, ral+, and paa+ profile is the most prevalent. C. spiroforme and EPEC are the more frequently detected pathogens in preweaning rabbits, but B. fragilis appears to be a new possible emergent pathogen. In growing rabbits, diverse co-infections between C. spiroforme, Eimeria spp., EPEC, and rotavirus are much more frequent than infections due to only one of them. Other pathogens detected in very few cases are Salmonella spp. and Enterococcus hirae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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Open AccessArticle
Liver Transcriptome Changes of Hyla Rabbit in Response to Chronic Heat Stress
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121141 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 689
Abstract
Rabbit is an economically important farm animal in China and also is a widely used animal model in biological researches. Rabbits are very sensitive to the environmental conditions, therefore we investigated the liver transcriptome changes in response to chronic heat stress in the [...] Read more.
Rabbit is an economically important farm animal in China and also is a widely used animal model in biological researches. Rabbits are very sensitive to the environmental conditions, therefore we investigated the liver transcriptome changes in response to chronic heat stress in the present study. Six Hyla rabbits were randomly divided into two groups: chronic heat stress (HS) and controls without heat stress (CN). Six RNA-Seq libraries totally yielded 380 million clean reads after the quality filtering. Approximately 85.07% of reads were mapped to the reference genome. After assembling transcripts and quantifying gene expression levels, we detected 51 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between HS and CN groups with thresholds of the adjusted p-value < 0.05 and |log2(FoldChange)| > 1. Among them, 33 and 18 genes were upregulated and downregulated, respectively. Gene ontology analyses further revealed that these DEGs were mainly associated with metabolism of lipids, thyroid hormone metabolic process, and cellular modified amino acid catabolic process. The upregulated ACACB, ACLY, LSS, and CYP7A1 genes were found to be inter-related through biological processes of thioester biosynthetic process, acyl-CoA biosynthetic process, acetyl-CoA metabolic process, and others. Six DEGs were further validated by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. The results revealed the candidate genes and biological processes that will potentially be considered as important regulatory factors involved in the heat stress response in rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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Open AccessArticle
Computational Analysis of Movement Patterns of Dogs with ADHD-Like Behavior
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121140 - 13 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1384
Abstract
Computational approaches were called for to address the challenges of more objective behavior assessment which would be less reliant on owner reports. This study aims to use computational analysis for investigating a hypothesis that dogs with ADHD-like (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) behavior exhibit [...] Read more.
Computational approaches were called for to address the challenges of more objective behavior assessment which would be less reliant on owner reports. This study aims to use computational analysis for investigating a hypothesis that dogs with ADHD-like (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) behavior exhibit characteristic movement patterns directly observable during veterinary consultation. Behavioral consultations of 12 dogs medically treated due to ADHD-like behavior were recorded, as well as of a control group of 12 dogs with no reported behavioral problems. Computational analysis with a self-developed tool based on computer vision and machine learning was performed, analyzing 12 movement parameters that can be extracted from automatic dog tracking data. Significant differences in seven movement parameters were found, which led to the identification of three dimensions of movement patterns which may be instrumental for more objective assessment of ADHD-like behavior by clinicians, while being directly observable during consultation. These include (i) high speed, (ii) large coverage of space, and (iii) constant re-orientation in space. Computational tools used on video data collected during consultation have the potential to support quantifiable assessment of ADHD-like behavior informed by the identified dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamentals of Clinical Animal Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle
A Study of the Head during Prenatal and Perinatal Development of Two Fetuses and One Newborn Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba, Meyen 1833) Using Dissections, Sectional Anatomy, CT, and MRI: Anatomical and Functional Implications in Cetaceans and Terrestrial Mammals
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121139 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 835
Abstract
Our objective was to analyze the main anatomical structures of the dolphin head during its developmental stages. Most dolphin studies use only one fetal specimen due to the difficulty in obtaining these materials. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) of two [...] Read more.
Our objective was to analyze the main anatomical structures of the dolphin head during its developmental stages. Most dolphin studies use only one fetal specimen due to the difficulty in obtaining these materials. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) of two fetuses (younger and older) and a perinatal specimen cadaver of striped dolphins were scanned. Only the older fetus was frozen and then was transversely cross-sectioned. In addition, gross dissections of the head were made on a perinatal and an adult specimen. In the oral cavity, only the mandible and maxilla teeth have started to erupt, while the most rostral teeth have not yet erupted. No salivary glands and masseter muscle were observed. The melon was well identified in CT/MRI images at early stages of development. CT and MRI images allowed observation of the maxillary sinus. The orbit and eyeball were analyzed and the absence of infraorbital rim together with the temporal process of the zygomatic bone holding periorbit were described. An enlarged auditory tube was identified using anatomical sections, CT, and MRI. We also compare the dolphin head anatomy with some mammals, trying to underline the anatomical and physiological changes and explain them from an ontogenic point of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Anatomy)
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Leucine Supplementation Restores Serum Glucose Levels, and Modifying Hepatic Gene Expression Related to the Insulin Signal Pathway in IUGR Piglets
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121138 - 13 Dec 2019
Viewed by 497
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effects of leucine with different levels on the insulin resistance in intrauterine growth restriction/retardation (IUGR) piglets. Thirty-two weaned piglets were arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial design and four treatments (n = 8) were as follow: [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of leucine with different levels on the insulin resistance in intrauterine growth restriction/retardation (IUGR) piglets. Thirty-two weaned piglets were arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial design and four treatments (n = 8) were as follow: (1) normal weaned piglets fed a basal diet (CONT), (2) IUGR weaned piglets fed a basal diet (IUGR), (3) normal weaned piglets fed a basal diet with the addition of 0.35% l-leucine (C-LEU), and (4) IUGR fed a basal diet with the addition of 0.35% l-leucine (I-LEU) for a 21-days trial. The results showed that compared to the IUGR group, the I-LEU group had higher final body weight and body weight gain, higher serum glucose concentrations, and higher serum insulin concentrations (p < 0.05). The gene expression of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase p110 gamma, protein kinase adenosine monophosphate-activated γ 3-subunit, glycogen synthase kinase-3 alpha, and glucose transporter type 2 were increased in the I-LEU group as compared to the IUGR group (p < 0.05). It was concluded that dietary leucine supplementation restored serum glucose concentrations, increased insulin and creatinine concentrations, and enhanced protein kinase adenosine monophosphate-activated γ 3-subunit and glucose transporter type 2 expression, suggesting that leucine might play a positive role in hepatic lipid metabolism and glucose metabolism in IUGR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Diets Change the Expression of Bovine Serum Extracellular Vesicle-miRNAs
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121137 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 619
Abstract
Cells can communicate with neighboring or distant cells using extracellular vesicles (EVs), mainly attributed to their containing miRNAs. Given that diets can change host circulatory miRNA profiling, and EVs are the major miRNA carriers in serum, we hypothesized that different diets could change [...] Read more.
Cells can communicate with neighboring or distant cells using extracellular vesicles (EVs), mainly attributed to their containing miRNAs. Given that diets can change host circulatory miRNA profiling, and EVs are the major miRNA carriers in serum, we hypothesized that different diets could change bovine circulating EV-miRNA expression. We partly replaced alfalfa hay with whole cotton seed and soybean hull in the feed formula of the tested cows. Blood EVs were isolated using a polyethylene glycol precipitation kit. Particle size analysis revealed exosomes were dominant in bovine serum EVs. Small RNAs were enriched in bovine serum EVs, including miRNAs, snRNAs, tiRNAs, Cis-regulatory elements, piRNAs, etc. In total, 359 types of Bos taurus miRNAs were identified by Solexa sequencing. Each cow in the control group contained about 244 types of serum EV-miRNAs, compared to 246 types in the tested group. There were 15 immune-related miRNAs in the top 20 serum EV-miRNAs, accounting for about 80% of the total. Seven differently expressed known miRNAs were detected in responding to different diets. An analysis of the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) showed differently expressed miRNAs were related to hormone signal pathways and protein metabolism. Bovine serum EVs are abundant with miRNAs, most of which are immune-related. Different diets eventually change the miRNA profiling of bovine serum EVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emission of Beef Heifers in Relation with Growth and Feed Efficiency
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121136 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
Reducing enteric methane production and improving the feed efficiency of heifers on roughage diets are important selection objectives for sustainable beef production. The objective of the current study was to assess the relationship between different methane production and feed efficiency criteria of beef [...] Read more.
Reducing enteric methane production and improving the feed efficiency of heifers on roughage diets are important selection objectives for sustainable beef production. The objective of the current study was to assess the relationship between different methane production and feed efficiency criteria of beef heifers fed ad libitum roughage diets. A total of 326 Charolais heifers aged 22 months were controlled in two farms and fed either a grass silage (n = 252) or a natural meadow hay (n = 74) diet. Methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates (g/day) were measured with GreenFeed systems. The dry matter intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG), CH4 and CO2 were measured over 8 to 12 weeks. Positive correlations were observed among body weight, DMI, ADG, CH4 and CO2. The residual feed intake (rwgDMI) was not related to CH4 or residual methane (rwiCH4). It was negatively correlated with methane yield (CH4/DMI): Rp = −0.87 and −0.83. Residual gain (rwiADG) and ADG/DMI were weakly and positively related to residual methane (rwiCH4): Rp = 0.21 on average. The ratio ADG/CO2 appeared to be a useful proxy of ADG/DMI (Rp = 0.64 and 0.97) and CH4/CO2 a proxy of methane yield (Rp = 0.24 and 0.33) for selecting low-emitting and efficient heifers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions from Ruminants)
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