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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 9 (September 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The issues of openness, transparency, and public engagement about animal research have received [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Perceptions of Responsible Cat Ownership Behaviors among a Convenience Sample of Australians
Animals 2019, 9(9), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090703 (registering DOI) - 19 Sep 2019
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Abstract
Responsible cat ownership is important for keeping pet cats and wildlife safe. Much research investigating levels of compliance with and attitudes towards responsible cat ownership practices has focused on cat owners. Non-owner attitudes are relevant because their opinions may encourage cat-owning friends and [...] Read more.
Responsible cat ownership is important for keeping pet cats and wildlife safe. Much research investigating levels of compliance with and attitudes towards responsible cat ownership practices has focused on cat owners. Non-owner attitudes are relevant because their opinions may encourage cat-owning friends and family to engage (or not) in a cat management practice. The aim of this study was to determine levels of compliance with responsible cat ownership practices among cat owners, as well as attitudes towards those behaviors by owners and non-owners alike. An online survey was completed by 6808 people living in Australia who were recruited via companion animal or wildlife interest groups on social media. Frequency data were used to measure owner compliance with responsible cat ownership behaviors and t-tests were used to determine whether owners and non-owners differed in their attitudes towards these behaviors. Owner compliance with responsible practices ranged from 46.5% (complete cat containment all day and night) to 76.9% (cat is de-sexed). Owner attitudes towards these practices were generally more positive than the reported levels of management practices implemented for their own cat. For example, 47.3% of owners agreed or strongly agreed that cats should always be contained and 88.6% agreed that cats should be contained at night. Non-owners were more likely than owners to agree that cats should be contained during the day, but there was no difference for containment at night. Owners were more likely to report that cats should be de-sexed. These results can be used to inform campaigns aimed at increasing compliance with responsible cat ownership behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Free-Roaming Cats and Wildlife)
Open AccessReview
Olfactory Generalization in Detector Dogs
Animals 2019, 9(9), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090702 (registering DOI) - 19 Sep 2019
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Abstract
Generalizing to target odor variations while retaining specificity against non-targets is crucial to the success of detector dogs under working conditions. As such, the importance of generalization should be considered in the formulation of effective training strategies. Research investigating olfactory generalization from pure [...] Read more.
Generalizing to target odor variations while retaining specificity against non-targets is crucial to the success of detector dogs under working conditions. As such, the importance of generalization should be considered in the formulation of effective training strategies. Research investigating olfactory generalization from pure singular compounds to more complex odor mixtures helps to elucidate animals’ olfactory generalization tendencies and inform ways to alter the generalization gradient by broadening or narrowing the range of stimuli to which dogs will respond. Olfactory generalization depends upon both intrinsic factors of the odors, such as concentration, as well as behavioral and cognitive factors related to training and previous experience. Based on the current research, some training factors may influence generalization. For example, using multiple target exemplars appears to be the most effective way to promote elemental processing and broaden the generalization gradient, whereas increasing the number of training instances with fewer exemplars can narrow the gradient, thereby increasing discrimination. Overall, this research area requires further attention and study to increase our understanding of olfactory generalization in dogs, particularly detector dogs, to improve training and detection outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Olfaction of Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Denatonium Benzoate-Induces Oxidative Stress in the Heart and Kidney of Chinese Fast Yellow Chickens by Regulating Apoptosis, Autophagy, Antioxidative Activities and Bitter Taste Receptor Gene Expressions
Animals 2019, 9(9), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090701 (registering DOI) - 19 Sep 2019
Viewed by 118
Abstract
The sense of taste which tells us which prospective foods are nutritious, poisonous and harmful is essential for the life of the organisms. Denatonium benzoate (DB) is a bitter taste agonist known for its activation of bitter taste receptors in different cells. The [...] Read more.
The sense of taste which tells us which prospective foods are nutritious, poisonous and harmful is essential for the life of the organisms. Denatonium benzoate (DB) is a bitter taste agonist known for its activation of bitter taste receptors in different cells. The aim of the current study was to investigate the mRNA expressions of bitter taste, downstream signaling effectors, apoptosis-, autophagy- and antioxidant-related genes and effector signaling pathways in the heart/kidney of chickens after DB dietary exposure. We randomly assigned 240, 1-day-old Chinese Fast Yellow chicks into four groups with five replicates of 12 chicks and studied them for 28 consecutive days. The dietary treatments consisted of basal diet and feed containing DB (5, 20 and 100 mg/kg). The results revealed that dietary DB impaired (p < 0.05) the growth performance of the chickens. Haemotoxylin and eosin staining and TUNEL assays confirmed that medium and high doses of DB damaged the epithelial cells of heart/kidney and induced apoptosis and autophagy. Remarkably, the results of RT-PCR and qRT-PCR indicated that different doses of DB gradually increased (p < 0.05) mRNA expressions of bitter taste, signaling effectors, apoptosis-, autophagy- and antioxidant- related genes on day 7 in a dose-response manner, while, these expressions were decreased (p < 0.05) subsequently by day-28 but exceptional higher (P < 0.05) expressions were observed in the high-dose DB groups of chickens. In conclusion, DB exerts adverse effects on the heart/kidney of chickens in a dose-response manner via damaging the epithelium of the heart/kidney by inducing apoptosis, autophagy associated with bitter taste and effector gene expressions. Correlation analyses for apoptosis/autophagy showed agonistic relationships. Our data provide a novel perspective for understanding the interaction of bitter taste, apoptosis, autophagy and antioxidative genes with bitter taste strong activators in the heart/kidney of chicken. These insights might help the feed industries and pave the way toward innovative directions in chicken husbandry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Sheep Quickstep while the Floor Rock and Rolls: Visuomotor Lateralization during Simulated Sea Travel
Animals 2019, 9(9), 700; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090700 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 195
Abstract
Unpredictable floor motions during transport disturbs animals’ balance, requiring stepping to move the centre of gravity in the direction of body movement. When repeated regularly, this may be stressful, requiring involvement of the right brain hemisphere, hence we investigated the existence of behavioral [...] Read more.
Unpredictable floor motions during transport disturbs animals’ balance, requiring stepping to move the centre of gravity in the direction of body movement. When repeated regularly, this may be stressful, requiring involvement of the right brain hemisphere, hence we investigated the existence of behavioral laterality in sheep during prolonged floor motions. Six sheep were restrained in pairs on a programmable rocking platform, in which they were unable to turn around. They were exposed to three continuous rocking motion treatments (roll, pitch or both) in a regular or irregular pattern for 1 h periods in a changeover design. Right forelimb and left hindlimb diagonal stepping was more frequent in response to the motion treatment of irregular roll and pitch, which previous research has suggested to be the most stressful from heart rate measurements. An overall strategy to maintain balance appeared to be the use of the right hindlimb as a stabilizer, which was repositioned least often of all limbs until towards the end of the hour of experimental treatment. Of each tested pair, sheep restrained on the left side of the rocking floor stepped significantly often than its partner restrained on the right side, and we postulate the existence of visuomotor lateralization as left restrained sheep were unable to view their partner within the field of view of their left eye. We also investigated which side sheep lie down on, which if left lateralized could explain our observed bipedal diagonal control of sheep balance under stress. From the observation of 412 web-based images of sheep, there was an overall left-sided laterality to their lying, as has been observed in cattle. We conclude that stepping activity in sheep in response to a motion stressor is lateralized, providing evidence that floor motion experienced in transport may induce stress responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics of the Exercising Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Bamboo Leaf Extract on Antioxidant Status and Cholesterol Metabolism in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2019, 9(9), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090699 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 126
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary bamboo leaf extract (BLE) on antioxidant status and cholesterol metabolism in broilers. One-day-old male Arbor Acres (576) broilers were randomly divided into six groups. A control group was fed a basal [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary bamboo leaf extract (BLE) on antioxidant status and cholesterol metabolism in broilers. One-day-old male Arbor Acres (576) broilers were randomly divided into six groups. A control group was fed a basal diet, while five experimental groups were supplemented with 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0g BLE per kg feed in their basal diets. The result indicated that BLE supplementation linearly improved eviscerated yield and decreased abdominal fat (p < 0.05). A significant decrease of serum triglyceride (TG) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) content was observed with BLE supplementation (p < 0.05). BLE supplementation linearly improved the total antioxidant capacity and catalase activity in both serum and liver (p < 0.05). Glutathione peroxidase was quadratically increased in serum and linearly increased in the liver with BLE supplementation (p < 0.05). The malonaldehyde content in liver showed a linear and quadratic decrease with BLE supplementation (p < 0.05). BLE supplementation up-regulated the mRNA expression of cholesterol 7- alpha hydroxylase and low-density lipoprotein receptor and downregulated 3-hydroxy3-methyl glutamates coenzyme A reductase mRNA expression in the liver. The antioxidant enzyme mRNA expressions were all up-regulated by BLE supplementation in the liver. In conclusion, supplemental BLE improved antioxidant status and cholesterol metabolism in broilers, which eventually led to a decrease of serum TG, LDL-c content, and abdominal fat deposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Oxidative Status, Milk and Cheese Production, and Food Sustainability Indexes by Addition of Durum Wheat Bran to Dairy Cows’ Diet
Animals 2019, 9(9), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090698 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 163
Abstract
Durum wheat bran (DWB) is a by-product mostly used in feeding ruminants, contributing to decrease in the utilization of feeds suitable as foods for human consumption, thus improving the sustainability of livestock production. However, the potential benefits of DWB, due to its content [...] Read more.
Durum wheat bran (DWB) is a by-product mostly used in feeding ruminants, contributing to decrease in the utilization of feeds suitable as foods for human consumption, thus improving the sustainability of livestock production. However, the potential benefits of DWB, due to its content in phenolic acids, mainly consisting of ferulic acid with antioxidant properties, have not been well clarified yet. Accordingly, in this experiment, 36 lactating cows divided into three groups received, over a period of 100 days, one of three concentrates including DWB at 0% (DWB0), 10% (DWB10), or 20% (DWB20). The concentrates were formulated to be isoproteic and isoenergetic and, to balance the higher fiber content of the concentrates with DWB, the hay in the diets was slightly reduced. During the trial, the group feed intake and the individual milk production were monitored, and cheese was made with bulk milk from each group. Milk yield and microbiological characteristics of milk and cheese were similar among groups, indicating no DWB effect on cows performance and fermentation process. Milk from DWB20 group resulted slightly higher in casein and curd firmness (a2r). In cows fed DWB, the higher polyphenol intake was responsible for higher blood contents of these bioactive compounds, that seemed to have contributed in reducing the level of reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs), which were higher in DWB0 cows. DWB20 cheeses showed a higher polyphenol content, lower number of peroxides, and higher antioxidant capacity than DWB0 cheeses. DWB20 and DWB10 diets resulted less expensive. In addition, the DWB20 group showed the best indexes heFCE (human edible feed conversion efficiency = milk/human edible feed) and NFP (net food production = milk − human edible food), expressed as crude protein or gross energy. In conclusion, the DWB fed to dairy cows at 12% of diet dry matter (DM) can lead to benefits, such as the improvement of oxidative status of cows, milk quality, shelf-life, and functional properties of cheese, and might contribute to reduce the feeding cost and limit the human-animal competition for feeding sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Feeding, Sport Management, and Routine Care of the Chilean Corralero Horse during Rodeo Season
Animals 2019, 9(9), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090697 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 189
Abstract
The aim of this study was to characterize the routine care, training, feeding, and nutritional management of Chilean corralero horses that participated in the rodeos of the Chilean Rodeo Federation. Forty-nine horse farms between the Metropolitan (33°26′16″ south (S) 70°39′01″ west (W)) and [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to characterize the routine care, training, feeding, and nutritional management of Chilean corralero horses that participated in the rodeos of the Chilean Rodeo Federation. Forty-nine horse farms between the Metropolitan (33°26′16″ south (S) 70°39′01″ west (W)) and Los Lagos Regions (41°28′18″ S 72°56′12″ W), were visited and a survey was conducted on the management and feeding of the Chilean horse. Of the horses which participated in at least one official rodeo in the 2014–2015 season, 275 horses were included in the study. The survey consisted of five questions about general data on the property and the respondent, four questions on the animal characteristics, five questions about where the horses were kept during the day, seven questions to characterize the amount of exercise done by the horse, and 18 questions about feeding practices; additionally, the amount of feed offered was weighed. All horses in this study were in training and kept in their stall for at least 12 h and remained tied or loose for the rest of the day. The intensity of daily exercise of the rodeo Chilean horse could be classified as moderate to heavy and consisted of being worked six days/week and participating in two rodeos/month. Ninety-eight percent of respondents had watering devices in the stables. The diet of the Chilean corralero horse during the training season is based on forages, mainly alfalfa hay, plus oats as an additional energy source. Protein supplements such as oil seed by-products are used less frequently. A wide variation was observed in the diets and quantities of feed offered, which suggests that the feeding management of these individuals is not formulated according to their requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Feeding and Management)
Open AccessArticle
Isolation and Identification of Lactic Acid Bacteria Probiotic Culture Candidates for the Treatment of Salmonella enterica Serovar Enteritidis in Neonatal Turkey Poults
Animals 2019, 9(9), 696; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090696 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 192
Abstract
The effect of Lactobacillus spp.-based probiotic candidates on Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE) colonization was evaluated in two separate experiments. In each experiment, sixty-one day-of-hatch female turkey poults were obtained from a local hatchery. In both experiments, poults were challenged via oral gavage [...] Read more.
The effect of Lactobacillus spp.-based probiotic candidates on Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE) colonization was evaluated in two separate experiments. In each experiment, sixty-one day-of-hatch female turkey poults were obtained from a local hatchery. In both experiments, poults were challenged via oral gavage with 104 cfu/poult of SE and randomly allocated to one of two groups (n = 30 poults): (1) the positive control group and (2) the probiotic treated group. Heated brooder batteries were used for housing each group separately and poults were allowed ad libitum access to water and unmedicated turkey starter feed. 1 h following the SE challenge, poults were treated with 106 cfu/poult of probiotic culture via oral gavage or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)to control groups. A total of 24 h post-treatment, poults were euthanized and the ceca and cecal tonsils from twenty poults were collected aseptically for SE recovery. In both trials, a significant reduction in the incidence and log10 cfu/g of SE were observed in poults treated with the probiotic when compared with control poults (p ≤ 0.05). The results of the present study suggest that the administration of this lactic acid-producing bacteria (LAB)-based probiotic 1 h after an SE challenge can be useful in reducing the cecal colonization of this pathogen in neonatal poults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Adding Various Silage Additives to Whole Corn Crops at Ensiling on Performance, Rumen Fermentation, and Serum Physiological Characteristics of Growing-Finishing Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(9), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090695 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 152
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effect of applying various silage additives to whole corn crops at ensiling on growth performance, rumen fermentation, and blood physiology in growing–finishing bulls. Sixty Simmental × Yellow Cattle crossbred bulls were blocked by initial body weight (BW; [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of applying various silage additives to whole corn crops at ensiling on growth performance, rumen fermentation, and blood physiology in growing–finishing bulls. Sixty Simmental × Yellow Cattle crossbred bulls were blocked by initial body weight (BW; 324.0 ± 5.4 kg) into 15 blocks. Animals in each block were randomly assigned to one of four diets formulated based on the following corn silage: control (CON), inoculated with complex lactic acid bacteria (CLB), ensilaged with mixed organic acid salts (MS), and ensilaged with CLB and MS (CLBMS). The feeding experiment lasted over 155 days, with an additional 7 days for adaptation. The results showed that bulls fed CLB-inoculated silage had greater (p < 0.05) daily dry matter intake than the other groups. The experimental treatment had no significant effect on average daily gain (p = 0.33) and feed-to-gain ratio (p = 0.13), although bulls fed CLB-inoculated silage had a larger numeric average daily gain. All additive-treated silage increased ruminal NH3–N content (p < 0.05) and reduced the acetate-to-propionate ratio (p < 0.05) of bulls compared with the control group. Bulls fed CLB-inoculated silage had a lower ruminal pH value (p < 0.05) than that of the other groups. Compared with the control group, bulls fed CLB-inoculated silage had greater blood cholesterol, albumin, and urea nitrogen (p < 0.05). Blood physiological responses were similar in bulls fed MS-treated and control silage, whereas those in cattle fed CLBMS-treated silage were between bulls fed CLB- and MS-treated silages and more similar to the former. Taking animal performance and cost effectiveness into consideration, the application of CLB alone to whole corn crops at ensiling appears to be a better choice compared with the application of either MS alone or both of them together. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feeding Cattle for Health Improvement)
Open AccessArticle
What Are the Positives? Exploring Positive Welfare Indicators in a Qualitative Interview Study with Livestock Farmers
Animals 2019, 9(9), 694; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090694 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 137
Abstract
To support the furtherance of positive animal welfare, there is a need to develop meaningful and practical positive welfare indicators for on-farm welfare assessment. Considering the perspectives of farmers is arguably critical in this regard. Doing so helps ensure positive welfare indicators reflect [...] Read more.
To support the furtherance of positive animal welfare, there is a need to develop meaningful and practical positive welfare indicators for on-farm welfare assessment. Considering the perspectives of farmers is arguably critical in this regard. Doing so helps ensure positive welfare indicators reflect farmers’ existing welfare norms and attitudes and, are thus, of practical relevance to them. However, a key issue for such development is the dearth of knowledge on farmers’ perspectives of positive welfare. To address this, this study uses qualitative interviews to directly examine livestock farmers’ perspectives of positive welfare. Findings reveal that farmers describe elements of positive welfare which are broadly in line with indicators suggested in the positive welfare literature. These elements include animal autonomy, play, positive affect, positive human-animal relationships, social interaction, and appropriate genetic selection. Additionally, this study finds that farmers construct the reduction of negative aspects of welfare as their primary management concern and mostly construct positive welfare as arising indirectly from this. Insights into the importance that farmers of different sectors and systems give to different aspects of positive welfare indicators are also explored. The implications of these findings and the similitudes between farmers’ perspectives and the positive welfare literature are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Positive Aspects of Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle
Spinal Reactive Oxygen Species and Oxidative Damage Mediate Chronic Pain in Lame Dairy Cows
Animals 2019, 9(9), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090693 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 129
Abstract
Lameness in dairy cows is a worldwide prevalent disease with a negative impact on animal welfare and herd economy. Oxidative damage and antioxidant system dysfunction are common features of many CNS diseases, including chronic pain. The aim of this study was to evaluate [...] Read more.
Lameness in dairy cows is a worldwide prevalent disease with a negative impact on animal welfare and herd economy. Oxidative damage and antioxidant system dysfunction are common features of many CNS diseases, including chronic pain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative damage markers in the spinal cord of dairy cows with chronic inflammatory lameness. Locomotion score was performed in order to select cows with chronic lameness. Dorsal horn spinal cord samples were obtained post mortem from lumbar segments (L2–L5), and ROS, malondialdehyde (MDA), and carbonyl groups were measured along with the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and total antioxidant response (TAR). Lame cows had increased levels of ROS, MDA, and carbonyl groups, while no differences were observed between lame and non-lame cows in SOD, GPx, CAT, and TAR activity. We conclude that painful chronic inflammatory lameness in dairy cows is associated with an increase in ROS, MDA, and carbonyl groups. Nonetheless, an association between ROS generation and dysfunction of the antioxidant system, as previously proposed, could not be established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Inclusion of Mushroom (Flammulina velutipes) Stem Waste on Growth Performance, Antibody Response, Immune Status, and Serum Cholesterol in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2019, 9(9), 692; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090692 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 206
Abstract
This study was carried out to investigate the effects of mushroom (Flammulina velutipes) stem waste (MW) on growth performance, antibody response, immune status, and serum cholesterol in broiler chickens. A total of 252 1 day old Arbor Acres (AA) male broiler [...] Read more.
This study was carried out to investigate the effects of mushroom (Flammulina velutipes) stem waste (MW) on growth performance, antibody response, immune status, and serum cholesterol in broiler chickens. A total of 252 1 day old Arbor Acres (AA) male broiler chicks were randomly assigned into four treatments with seven replications of nine chicks each. The duration of experimental period was total 42 days. Dietary treatments includes a standard basal diet as negative control (NC) group; control diet with antibiotics (Chlortetracycline) considered as positive control (PC) group; 1% mushroom stem waste (MW) fed group; and 2% MW fed group. No significant differences (p > 0.05) was observed on average daily feed intake, body weight gain, and feed conversion ratio among experimental groups. Antibody titers against Newcastle disease (ND) and infectious bursal disease (IBD) were higher (p < 0.05) in 2% MW fed group than NC and PC fed groups. Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) was higher (p < 0.05) in both levels of MW fed groups than in the NC and PC. Serum interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-4 (IL-4), interleukin-6 (IL-6), were higher (p < 0.05) in 2% MW fed groups than in the NC and PC fed groups. Total cholesterol concentration was lower (p < 0.05) in both levels MW fed groups than in the NC. High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) was lower (p < 0.05) in both levels of MW fed groups than that of NC and PC fed groups. MW at 2% level can be used as potential phytogenic feed supplement in broilers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
Open AccessArticle
Validation Study of SNPs in CAPN1-CAST Genes on the Tenderness of Muscles (Longissimus thoracis and Semimembranosus) in Hanwoo (Korean Cattle)
Animals 2019, 9(9), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090691 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 135
Abstract
Previous studies demonstrated that polymorphisms in the μ-calpain (CAPN1) and calpastatin (CAST) genes had significant effects on meat tenderness in different cattle populations. The aim of this study was to validate the potential association of seven single nucleotide polymorphisms [...] Read more.
Previous studies demonstrated that polymorphisms in the μ-calpain (CAPN1) and calpastatin (CAST) genes had significant effects on meat tenderness in different cattle populations. The aim of this study was to validate the potential association of seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) harbored in these two candidate genes with meat tenderness in the Longissimus thoracis (LT) and Semimembranosus (SM) muscles. A total of 1000 animals were genotyped using TaqMan SNP genotyping arrays, and the meat tenderness of two muscle (LT and SM at 7 days post-slaughter) was assessed based on Warner-Bratzler WBSF (WBSF) testing. We observed significant associations of the CAPN1:c.580T>C, CAPN1:c.658T>C and CAST:c.1985G>C polymorphisms (p < 0.05) with the WBSF values in the LT and SM muscles. Additive effects of the C allele in CAPN1:c.580T>C and CAST:c.1985G>C were associated with an increase of 0.16 and 0.15 kg, and 0.08 and 0.26 kg WBSF in the LT and SM, respectively; CAPN1:c.658T>C had negative effects on the WBSFs. Furthermore, six reconstructed haplotypes demonstrated significant associations with WBSF values (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the significant associations identified between the SNPs in CAPN1, CAST and WBSF values could be utilized in marker-assisted selection programs in order to improve the beef tenderness of Hanwoo cattle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Fermented Medicinal Plants as Dietary Additives on Food Preference and Fecal Microbial Quality in Dogs
Animals 2019, 9(9), 690; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090690 - 16 Sep 2019
Viewed by 241
Abstract
This research determined the antioxidant activities of medicinal plants fermented by Enterococcus faecium and their subsequent applications as dog food additives. Turmeric (5%, w/v), glasswort (2.5%, w/v), Ganghwa mugwort (2.5%, w/v), and their mixture (5%, w/v) were fermented by autochthonous [...] Read more.
This research determined the antioxidant activities of medicinal plants fermented by Enterococcus faecium and their subsequent applications as dog food additives. Turmeric (5%, w/v), glasswort (2.5%, w/v), Ganghwa mugwort (2.5%, w/v), and their mixture (5%, w/v) were fermented by autochthonous E. faecium (1%, v/v) for 72 h. Bacterial cell counts and pH were monitored during fermentation. Total polyphenol content (TPC), total flavonoid content (TFC), 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity, and intracellular superoxide scavenging activity in bovine mammary alveolar epithelial (MAC-T) cells were measured with the fermented and non-fermented samples. Only the antioxidant capacity of the mixture was increased after fermentation. However, intracellular superoxide level in MAC-T cells was significantly reduced after treatment with fermented plant samples (p < 0.001) as compared with that in non-fermented plants. Fermented plants were then sprayed at 1% (v/w) onto dog foods. TPC, TFC, ABTS radical scavenging activity, and DPPH radical scavenging activity of dog foods were significantly enhanced after the addition of fermented plants. Food preference testing was conducted using a two-pan method—control diet vs. four treatment diets—for 4 days for each additive diet, a total 16 days in 9 beagles. Feces were collected to enumerate bacterial counts. Preferences for glasswort and Ganghwa mugwort were higher than those of the control (p < 0.05). Furthermore, fecal microbiota enumeration displayed a higher number of beneficial microorganisms in treated groups. These results suggest that fermented plants with enhanced antioxidant abilities might be useful as potential additives for dog foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
Open AccessCommentary
Reply to Crawford et al.: Why Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Is an Ethical Solution for Stray Cat Management
Animals 2019, 9(9), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090689 - 16 Sep 2019
Viewed by 243
Abstract
The recently published article, ‘A Case of Letting the Cat out of the Bag—Why Trap-Neuter-Return Is Not an Ethical Solution for Stray Cat (Felis catus) Management,’ by Crawford et al. warrants rebuttal. The case presented in the paper, opposing the initiation [...] Read more.
The recently published article, ‘A Case of Letting the Cat out of the Bag—Why Trap-Neuter-Return Is Not an Ethical Solution for Stray Cat (Felis catus) Management,’ by Crawford et al. warrants rebuttal. The case presented in the paper, opposing the initiation of TNR trials in Australia, ignores peer-reviewed evidence which substantiates the effectiveness of TNR at reducing unowned urban cat numbers. In addition, the paper’s authors offer a number of unrealistic recommendations, which are little more than a rebranding of the failed status quo. Urban stray cats have long been considered a problem across Australia. Current practice calls for the trapping and killing of thousands of healthy urban stray cats and kittens each year with no apparent effect on the total population. In contrast, the literature offers numerous examples, including two recent studies in Australia, of reductions in urban stray cat numbers where TNR has been implemented. TNR has also been associated with reduced feline intake and euthanasia at shelters, which improves both animal welfare and the well-being of shelter staff. A large-scale trial of TNR in an urban Australian context is scientifically justified and long overdue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle
Steam Explosion Treatment of Byproduct Feedstuffs for Potential Use as Ruminant Feed
Animals 2019, 9(9), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090688 - 16 Sep 2019
Viewed by 168
Abstract
Although many byproducts of milling industries have potential as a ruminant feed, they have not been widely used due to their low nutritive value, especially high-fiber content and difficult processing techniques. Steam explosion can increase the degradation of hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin and [...] Read more.
Although many byproducts of milling industries have potential as a ruminant feed, they have not been widely used due to their low nutritive value, especially high-fiber content and difficult processing techniques. Steam explosion can increase the degradation of hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin and make byproduct feedstuffs more suitable as ruminant feed. Five byproduct feedstuffs: cassava alcohol residue (CAR), distillers’ grains (DG), cottonseed meal (CM), rapeseed meal (RM) and potato starchy residues (PSR), were steam-exploded using five different processing parameters and the effects on the chemical composition, in vitro digestibility, energy value, and Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System composition were assessed in order to provide a theoretical basis for the technique’s development and utilization for ruminant feed production. In this study, after steam-explosion treatment, the nutritive value and in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) of CAR, DG, RM and PSR were improved (p < 0.05), while there was no effect on nutritive value of CM (p > 0.05). Specifically, steam explosion treatment decreased the contents of neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, available cell wall, and slowly degraded protein, and increased the total digestible nutrients, digestible energy, metabolic energy, net energy for maintenance, and net energy for gain, sugar, non-structural carbohydrate and IVDMD. Therefore, steam-explosion treatment offers the potential to improve the suitability of byproduct feedstuffs as ruminant feed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
Open AccessArticle
An Evaluation of Systematic Versus Strategically-Placed Camera Traps for Monitoring Feral Cats in New Zealand
Animals 2019, 9(9), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090687 - 16 Sep 2019
Viewed by 320
Abstract
We deploy camera traps to monitor feral cat (Felis catus) populations at two pastoral sites in Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand. At Site 1, cameras are deployed at pre-determined GPS points on a 500-m grid, and at Site 2, cameras [...] Read more.
We deploy camera traps to monitor feral cat (Felis catus) populations at two pastoral sites in Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand. At Site 1, cameras are deployed at pre-determined GPS points on a 500-m grid, and at Site 2, cameras are strategically deployed with a bias towards forest and forest margin habitat where possible. A portion of cameras are also deployed in open farmland habitat and mixed scrub. We then use the abundance-induced heterogeneity Royle–Nichols model to estimate mean animal abundance and detection probabilities for cameras in each habitat type. Model selection suggests that only cat abundance varies by habitat type. Mean cat abundance is highest at forest margin cameras for both deployment methods (3 cats [95% CI 1.9–4.5] Site 1, and 1.7 cats [95% CI 1.2–2.4] Site 2) but not substantially higher than in forest habitats (1.7 cats [95% CI 0.8–3.6] Site 1, and 1.5 cats [95% CI 1.1–2.0] Site 2). Model selection shows detection probabilities do not vary substantially by habitat (although they are also higher for cameras in forest margins and forest habitats) and are similar between sites (8.6% [95% CI 5.4–13.4] Site 1, and 8.3% [5.8–11.9] Site 2). Cat detections by camera traps are higher when placed in forests and forest margins; thus, strategic placement may be preferable when monitoring feral cats in a pastoral landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Application of Camera Trap Technology in Field Research)
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Open AccessReview
The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
Animals 2019, 9(9), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686 - 16 Sep 2019
Viewed by 237
Abstract
The endocannabinoid system has been found to be pervasive in mammalian species. It has also been described in invertebrate species as primitive as the Hydra. Insects, apparently, are devoid of this, otherwise, ubiquitous system that provides homeostatic balance to the nervous and immune [...] Read more.
The endocannabinoid system has been found to be pervasive in mammalian species. It has also been described in invertebrate species as primitive as the Hydra. Insects, apparently, are devoid of this, otherwise, ubiquitous system that provides homeostatic balance to the nervous and immune systems, as well as many other organ systems. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been defined to consist of three parts, which include (1) endogenous ligands, (2) G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and (3) enzymes to degrade and recycle the ligands. Two endogenous molecules have been identified as ligands in the ECS to date. The endocannabinoids are anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol). Two G-coupled protein receptors (GPCR) have been described as part of this system, with other putative GPC being considered. Coincidentally, the phytochemicals produced in large quantities by the Cannabis sativa L plant, and in lesser amounts by other plants, can interact with this system as ligands. These plant-based cannabinoids are termed phytocannabinoids. The precise determination of the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in animal species is an ongoing project, with the canine cannabinoid receptor distribution currently receiving the most interest in non-human animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Topics of Current Concern for Companion Animals)
Open AccessArticle
Lentivirus Susceptibility in Iranian and German Sheep Assessed by Determination of TMEM154 E35K
Animals 2019, 9(9), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090685 - 15 Sep 2019
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLVs) cause maedi-visna disease in sheep and are prevalent in Iran and Germany. The association of the transmembrane protein 154 (TMEM154) variants with SRLV infection has been previously identified by a genome-wide association (GWAS) approach and subsequent analyses, and validated [...] Read more.
Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLVs) cause maedi-visna disease in sheep and are prevalent in Iran and Germany. The association of the transmembrane protein 154 (TMEM154) variants with SRLV infection has been previously identified by a genome-wide association (GWAS) approach and subsequent analyses, and validated in some US, German, and Turkish sheep flocks. We aimed at evaluating these findings for the first time in Iranian, and in some more German sheep flocks/breeds. Also, we aimed at comparing the SRLV susceptibility in Iranian and German sheep based on the frequency of the TMEM154 E35 allele. About 800 blood samples were collected from 21 Iranian and German sheep flocks/breeds for different purposes: (1) The association of TMEM154 E35K with SRLV infection status was tested in four sheep breeds and found to be significant in Kermani, Merinoland, and Brown Hair. (2) The usefulness of the TMEM154 E35 frequency for predicting SRLV susceptibility was evaluated by regression analysis, combining data from this study and some already published data. Results showed a significant association between E35 frequency and SRLV prevalence. (3) SRLV susceptibility was compared based on E35 frequency in Iranian and German sheep. Altogether, findings of this study provide valuable information on SRLV susceptibility, using TMEM154 E35, in Iranian and German sheep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious Diseases in Domestic and Wild Ruminants)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Partial Replacement of Conventional with Alternative Feeds on Nutrient Intake, Digestibility, Milk Yield and Composition of Awassi Ewes and Lambs
Animals 2019, 9(9), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090684 - 15 Sep 2019
Viewed by 211
Abstract
Two experiments were done to assess the effects of alternative feeds (AF; dried distillers grains with solubles, carob pods, olive cake, and bread by-product) on lactating performance of ewes and digestibility and nitrogen (N) retention of lambs. Diets were: no AF (CON); 200 [...] Read more.
Two experiments were done to assess the effects of alternative feeds (AF; dried distillers grains with solubles, carob pods, olive cake, and bread by-product) on lactating performance of ewes and digestibility and nitrogen (N) retention of lambs. Diets were: no AF (CON); 200 g/kg AF (AF200); and 400 g/kg AF (AF400). In Experiment 1, 27 Awassi ewes were randomly distributed into three groups, and each was fed one of the diets described before (9 ewes/diet). Evaluation of milk composition and yield was performed at the beginning of the experiment and on days 18, 36, and 54. In Experiment 2, 18 Awassi lambs were allocated to the same diets (6 ewe lambs/diet) during a 21-day trial (14 days housed individually in shaded pens and 7 days in metabolic cages). In Experiment 1, no differences in body weight (BW) of the ewes and their lambs were detected. With the exception of neutral detergent fiber intake, which was lower in the AF-containing diets compared with CON, dry matter, crude protein, and acid detergent fiber intake were not affected by dietary treatment. Milk yield and composition was comparable among diets, and the cost of milk production was lower in AF compared to CON diet. In Experiment 2, nutrient digestibility and N retention were not affected by the diet. Results showed the possibility of including different AF in ewe and lamb diets to mitigate production cost without negatively affecting intake, milk yield, and composition, digestibility, and animal welfare and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
Open AccessArticle
The Behavioural Effects of Innovative Litter Developed to Attract Cats
Animals 2019, 9(9), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090683 - 14 Sep 2019
Viewed by 302
Abstract
Urination and/or defecation outside a designated location has been reported as the most common behavioural reason for surrendering a cat and comprises approximately 30% of cat intakes to shelters. The objective of this study was to determine whether cats would increase in-box elimination [...] Read more.
Urination and/or defecation outside a designated location has been reported as the most common behavioural reason for surrendering a cat and comprises approximately 30% of cat intakes to shelters. The objective of this study was to determine whether cats would increase in-box elimination when provided a plant-based litter product with attractant (ATTRACT) compared to the same plant-based litter product without attractant (PLANT). Sixteen cats were split into two equal cohorts based on availability from the shelter and group-housed in an enriched room with eight identical litter boxes arranged in a circular pattern equidistant from each other. Following a two-week room acclimation and transition period from clay litter to PLANT litter, boxes were designated either PLANT or ATTRACT litter, balancing for cats’ prior box location preferences. For 14 days following litter allocation, cat behaviours such as sniffing, digging, covering, urinating, and defecating were video recorded for 12 h daily. The cats urinated more often in the ATTRACT litter, suggesting that they preferred the ATTRACT litter for urination more than the PLANT litter (p < 0.05). The most significant differences observed were between genders, with males spending significantly more time sniffing and performing urination behaviours (p < 0.05). These results suggest that litter with an attractant may be more effective in eliciting usage for urination, as compared to a litter without the additive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Corticosterone Excess-Mediated Mitochondrial Damage Induces Hippocampal Neuronal Autophagy in Mice Following Cold Exposure
Animals 2019, 9(9), 682; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090682 - 14 Sep 2019
Viewed by 175
Abstract
Cold stress can induce autophagy mediated by excess corticosterone (CORT) in the hippocampus, but the internal mechanism induced by cold stress is not clear. In vivo, male and female C57BL/6 mice were stimulated in 4 °C, 3 h per day for 1 week [...] Read more.
Cold stress can induce autophagy mediated by excess corticosterone (CORT) in the hippocampus, but the internal mechanism induced by cold stress is not clear. In vivo, male and female C57BL/6 mice were stimulated in 4 °C, 3 h per day for 1 week to build the model of cold sress. In vitro, hippocampal neuronal cell line (HT22) cells were incubated with or without mifepristone (RU486) for 1 h, then treated with 400 μM cortisol (CORT) for 3 h. In vivo, autophagy was measured by western blotting. In vitro, monodansylcadaverine staining, western blotting, flow cytometry, transmission electron microscopy, and immunofluorescence were used to characterize the mechanism of autophagy induced by excess CORT. Autophagy was shown in mouse hippocampus tissues following cold exposure, including mitochondrial damage, autophagy, and 5’ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway activation after CORT treatment. Autophagy did not rely on the glucocorticoid receptor. In addition, autophagy in male mice was more severe. The study would provide new insight into the mechanisms and the negative effect of the cold stress response, which can inform the development of new strategies to combat the effects of hypothermia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel 13 bp Deletion within the NR6A1 Gene Is Significantly Associated with Growth Traits in Donkeys
Animals 2019, 9(9), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090681 - 14 Sep 2019
Viewed by 170
Abstract
Nuclear receptor subfamily 6, group A, member 1 (NR6A1), as an important member of the nuclear receptor family, plays an important role in regulating growth, metabolism, and differentiation of embryonic stem cells. For this reason, the NR6A1 gene is considered to be a [...] Read more.
Nuclear receptor subfamily 6, group A, member 1 (NR6A1), as an important member of the nuclear receptor family, plays an important role in regulating growth, metabolism, and differentiation of embryonic stem cells. For this reason, the NR6A1 gene is considered to be a promising candidate for economic traits and was found to be associated with body size traits in many livestock. However, no studies have been conducted on NR6A1 in donkeys so far. Thus, in this research, we focused on donkeys and identified a 13 bp deletion in intron-1 of the NR6A1 gene among 408 individuals from Guanzhong and Dezhou donkeys using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Three genotypes were identified, namely II, ID, and DD. The association analysis indicated that the body lengths and body heights5f genotype II individuals were significantly different to those of genotype ID in Dezhou donkeys. Conclusively, the 13 bp deletion was associated with growth traits in both Guanzhong donkeys and Dezhou donkeys, indicating that the NR6A1 gene could be a possible candidate gene in marker-assisted selection for donkey breeding programs. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary
Assessing and Enhancing the Welfare of Animals with Equivocal and Reliable Cues
Animals 2019, 9(9), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090680 - 13 Sep 2019
Viewed by 225
Abstract
The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals’ well-being as well as help to support it. Our aim is to assist in [...] Read more.
The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals’ well-being as well as help to support it. Our aim is to assist in further developing techniques to learn animals’ affective state from their behavior and to provide simple suggestions for how animal caretakers’ behavior can support animal welfare. We suggest that anticipatory behavior towards expected rewards is related to decision-making behavior as viewed through the cognitive bias lens. By considering the predictions of the theories associated with anticipatory behavior and cognitive bias, we propose to use specific cues to probe the cumulative affective state of animals. Additionally, our commentary draws on the logic of reward sensitivity and judgement bias theories to develop a framework that suggests how reliable and equivocal signals may influence animals’ affective states. Application of this framework may be useful in supporting the welfare of animals in human care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Influences on the Behaviour and Welfare of Zoo Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Does the Acknowledgement of αS1-Casein Genotype Affect the Estimation of Genetic Parameters and Prediction of Breeding Values for Milk Yield and Composition Quality-Related Traits in Murciano-Granadina?
Animals 2019, 9(9), 679; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090679 - 13 Sep 2019
Viewed by 162
Abstract
A total of 2090 lactation records for 710 Murciano-Granadina goats were collected during the years 2005–2016 and analyzed to investigate the influence of the αS1-CN genotype on milk yield and components (protein, fat, and dry matter). Goats were genetically evaluated, including and excluding [...] Read more.
A total of 2090 lactation records for 710 Murciano-Granadina goats were collected during the years 2005–2016 and analyzed to investigate the influence of the αS1-CN genotype on milk yield and components (protein, fat, and dry matter). Goats were genetically evaluated, including and excluding the αS1-CN genotype, in order to assess its repercussion on the efficiency of breeding models. Despite no significant differences being found for milk yield, fat and dry matter heritabilities, protein production heritability considerably increased after aS1-CN genotype was included in the breeding model (+0.23). Standard errors suggest that the consideration of genotype may improve the model’s efficiency, translating into more accurate genetic parameters and breeding values (PBV). Genetic correlations ranged from −0.15 to −0.01 between protein/dry matter and milk yield/protein and fat content, while phenotypic correlations were −0.02 for milk/protein and −0.01 for milk/fat or protein content. For males, the broadest range for reliability (RAP) (0.45–0.71) was similar to that of females (0.37–0.86) when the genotype was included. PBV ranges broadened while the maximum remained similar (0.61–0.77) for males and females (0.62–0.81) when the genotype was excluded, respectively. Including the αS1-CN genotype can increase production efficiency, milk profitability, milk yield, fat, protein and dry matter contents in Murciano-Granadina dairy breeding programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of the Rat Grimace Scale to Evaluate Visceral Pain in a Model of Chemotherapy-Induced Mucositis
Animals 2019, 9(9), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090678 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 232
Abstract
The rat grimace scale (RGS) is a measure of spontaneous pain that evaluates pain response. The ability to characterize pain through a non-invasive method has considerable utility for numerous animal models of disease, including mucositis, a painful, self-limiting side-effect of chemotherapy treatment. Preclinical [...] Read more.
The rat grimace scale (RGS) is a measure of spontaneous pain that evaluates pain response. The ability to characterize pain through a non-invasive method has considerable utility for numerous animal models of disease, including mucositis, a painful, self-limiting side-effect of chemotherapy treatment. Preclinical studies investigating novel therapeutics for mucositis often focus on pathological outcomes and disease severity. These investigations fail to measure pain, in spite of reduction of pain being a key clinical therapeutic goal. This study assessed the utility of the RGS for pain assessment in a rat model of mucositis, and whether changes in disease activity index (DAI) and open field test (OFT) reflected the grimace responses recorded. Sixty tumor-bearing female Dark Agouti rats were injected with either saline or 5-Fluourouracil alone, or with co-administration of opioid analgesics. Whilst differences in DAI were observed between treatment groups, no difference in RGS scores or OFT were demonstrated. Significant increases in grimace scores were observed across time. However, whilst a statistically significant change may have been noted, the biological relevance is questionable in terms of practical usage, since an observer is only able to score whole numbers. Development of effective pain assessment methods in animal models is required to improve welfare, satisfy regulatory requirements, and increase translational validity of the model to human patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pain Management in Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Damaging Behaviour and Associated Lesions in Relation to Types of Enrichment for Finisher Pigs on Commercial Farms
Animals 2019, 9(9), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090677 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 146
Abstract
EU legislation states that all pigs must have access to material that allows them to perform investigation and manipulation activities, thereby reducing the risk of pigs performing damaging behaviours (e.g., tail, ear and flank biting). We aimed to determine associations between damaging behaviours [...] Read more.
EU legislation states that all pigs must have access to material that allows them to perform investigation and manipulation activities, thereby reducing the risk of pigs performing damaging behaviours (e.g., tail, ear and flank biting). We aimed to determine associations between damaging behaviours performed by finisher pigs, the related lesions and the use of different types of enrichment. Six randomly selected pens of finisher pigs were observed for 10 min each on 31 commercial pig farms in Ireland. All pigs were counted and the number of pigs affected by tail, ear and flank lesions was recorded. During the last 5 min, all occurrences of damaging behaviour (tail-, ear- and flank-directed behaviour) were recorded. The type (chain, plastic or wood) and number of accessible enrichment objects/pen was recorded. Chains were the most common (41.4% of farms), followed by plastic (37.9%) and wood (20.7%). Damaging behaviour was more frequent on farms that provided chains compared to plastic or wood. Farms with chains were associated with a higher frequency of flank-directed behaviour and tended to be associated with a higher frequency of tail-directed behaviour compared to farms that provided plastic devices. The prevalence of lesions tended to be higher on farms where chains were provided compared to wooden enrichment devices, mostly driven by a difference in the prevalence of mild tail lesions. Results support expert opinions that despite being commonly used, chains did not fulfill a role in reducing damaging behaviours and associated lesions in finisher pigs compared to other forms of enrichment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tail Biting in Pigs―Aetiology, Risk Factors and Solutions)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Role of Prolactin as a Potential Biomarker of Stress in Castrated Male Domestic Dogs
Animals 2019, 9(9), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090676 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Prolactin has been recently regarded as a potential biomarker of both acute and chronic stress in several species. Since only few studies until now have focussed on domestic dogs, this study was aimed at evaluating whether prolactin, cortisol and stress behaviour correlated with [...] Read more.
Prolactin has been recently regarded as a potential biomarker of both acute and chronic stress in several species. Since only few studies until now have focussed on domestic dogs, this study was aimed at evaluating whether prolactin, cortisol and stress behaviour correlated with each other in sheltered dogs. Both cortisol and prolactin analysis were performed in serum samples through a hormone-specific ELISA kit. For each dog, a stress score was calculated by summing the number of occurrences of stress-related behaviours. The presence/absence of fear during the time spent in the collection room was also scored for each individual. Results revealed a weak negative correlation between cortisol and prolactin levels. Neither of the hormones was correlated with the stress score, nor did their values seem to be influenced by showing fear in the collection room. The weak negative correlation found between cortisol and prolactin values agrees with results obtained in other studies, indicating that prolactin response might be an alternative to cortisol response. This, together with the high serum prolactin levels compared to those reported by other authors for healthy domestic dogs, may indicate that prolactin might be a good biomarker of chronic stress, and although further studies are needed to better understand the potential role of prolactin in the evaluation of canine welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog Behaviour, Physiology and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptomic Responses in the Livers and Jejunal Mucosa of Pigs under Different Feeding Frequencies
Animals 2019, 9(9), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090675 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 196
Abstract
Feeding frequency in one day is thought to be associated with nutrient metabolism and the physical development of the body in both experimental animals and humans. The present study was conducted to investigate transcriptomic responses in the liver and jejunal mucosa of pigs [...] Read more.
Feeding frequency in one day is thought to be associated with nutrient metabolism and the physical development of the body in both experimental animals and humans. The present study was conducted to investigate transcriptomic responses in the liver and jejunal mucosa of pigs to evaluate the effects of different feeding frequencies on the body’s metabolism. Twelve Duroc × Landrance × Yorkshire growing pigs with an average initial weight (IW) of 14.86 ± 0.20 kg were randomly assigned to two groups: feeding one time per day (M1) and feeding two times per day (M2); each group consisted of six replicates (pens), with one pig per pen. During the one-month experimental period, pigs in the M1 group were fed on an ad libitum basis at 8:00 am; and the M2 group was fed half of the standard feeding requirement at 8:00 am and adequate feed at 16:00 pm. The results showed that average daily feed intake, average daily gain, feed:gain, and the organ indices were not significantly different between the two groups (p > 0.05). The total cholesterol (T-CHO), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations in the serum, and the TG concentration in the liver in the M2 groups were significant lower than those in the M1 group, while the T-CHO concentration in the liver were significant higher in the M2 group (p < 0.05). Jejunal mucosa transcriptomic analysis showed the gene of Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1), Solute carrier family 27 member 4 (SLC27A4), Retinol binding protein 2 (RBP2), Lecithin retinol acyltransferase (LRAT), Apolipoprotein A (APOA 1, APOA 4, APOB, and APOC 3) were upregulated in the M2 group, indicating that fat digestion was enhanced in the small intestine, whereas Perilipin (PLIN1 and PLIN2) were downregulated, indicating that body fat was not deposited. Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) and Acetyl-CoA acyltransferase 1 (ACAA1) were upregulated in the M2 group, indicating that two times feeding daily could promote the oxidative decomposition of fatty acids. In conclusion, under the conditions in this study, the feeding frequency had no significant effect on the growth performance of pigs, but affected the body’s lipid metabolism, and the increase of feeding frequency promoted the fat digestion in the small intestine and the oxidative decomposition of fatty acids in the liver. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Compatibility between Humans and Their Dogs: Benefits for Both
Animals 2019, 9(9), 674; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090674 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 169
Abstract
Compatibility in activity preferences refers to the shared enjoyment of daily activities, such as walking and interacting with others, and it is an indicator of the behavioral dimension of compatibility, which mainly refers to exercise and play. It has been found that individuals [...] Read more.
Compatibility in activity preferences refers to the shared enjoyment of daily activities, such as walking and interacting with others, and it is an indicator of the behavioral dimension of compatibility, which mainly refers to exercise and play. It has been found that individuals who are more compatible with their dogs have a better relationship with them, which can explain some of the benefits of human-dog interaction. However, research to explain how and why human-animal relationships are potentially therapeutic is still needed. The objective of this quantitative study was to compare the benefits of human-dog interaction for both humans and dogs between people who were and were not compatible with their dogs. Ninety people with scores of 50% or less on the compatibility index and 110 people with 100% compatibility participated in the study. The groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. The people in the group with greater compatibility reported more subjective happiness and less perceived stress, a stable dog-feeding routine, and more frequent daily walks and playing sessions; additionally, for their dogs, they reported a lower frequency of aggressive and fearful behaviors and higher trainability scores. In conclusion, compatibility in activity preferences helps explain the benefits of human–animal interaction. Full article
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