Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Farm Animal Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 April 2023) | Viewed by 28170

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostics, Nowoursynowska 159c Street, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: horses; exercise; race; reproduction; immunology; sport; welfare
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Large Animals Diseases and Clinic, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: reproduction; cattle; swine; oocytes; ovum pick up; welfare; herd management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Morphological Sciences, Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Nowoursynowska Str. 159c, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: trace elements; heavy metals; ecotoxicology; wildlife; domestic animals; veterinary sciences
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Improving herd economics, progress in animal production and rational herd management is possible, taking into account the welfare and health status of the animals. The interest in improving the efficiency of animal production is determined by biological and technological progress. Research studies concerning farm animals’ welfare, behavior and health embrace different scientific areas. For this Special Issue, original and review manuscripts covering all aspects of the link between physiological and pathological processes and farm animals, such as ruminants, pig, poultry and horses, are welcome. Additional topics may include the new treatment protocols and/or biomarkers to improve welfare and/or disease recognition. Experts in the field of physiology and pathology of animals, animal feeding, nutrigenomics, neonatology, animal welfare and wellbeing and human and animal health protection are invited to submit manuscripts for peer review. Once the manuscript suits the scope of the Special Issue and meets the editorial criteria, it will be initially evaluated by the Guest Editors.

Dr. Olga Witkowska-Piłaszewicz
Dr. Bartosz Pawliński
Dr. Michal Skibniewski
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • horses
  • cattle
  • pig
  • poultry
  • veterinary medicine
  • health
  • disease
  • welfare
  • farm production
  • biomarkers

Published Papers (16 papers)

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16 pages, 3030 KiB  
Article
New Insights into Polymorphisms in Candidate Genes Associated with Incidence of Postparturient Endometritis in Ossimi Sheep (Ovis aries)
by Fatmah A. Safhi and Ahmed Ateya
Agriculture 2023, 13(12), 2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13122273 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 980
Abstract
This study examined the genes related to immunity, metabolism, and antioxidants that may interact with the prevalence of postpartum endometritis in Ossimi sheep. We used fifty endometritis-positive Ossimi sheep and fifty that appeared to be normal. For the purpose of taking blood samples, [...] Read more.
This study examined the genes related to immunity, metabolism, and antioxidants that may interact with the prevalence of postpartum endometritis in Ossimi sheep. We used fifty endometritis-positive Ossimi sheep and fifty that appeared to be normal. For the purpose of taking blood samples, each ewe had its jugular vein pierced. Nucleotide sequence differences for the immunological (alpha-2-macroglobulin, toll-like receptor 2, transforming growth factor beta, interleukin 1 receptor-associated kinase 3, high-mobility group box 1, Fc alpha and Mu receptor, and inducible nitric oxide synthase), metabolic (ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1 motif 20, potassium sodium-activated channel subfamily T member 2, Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 4, FKBP prolyl isomerase 5, and relaxin family peptide receptor 1), and antioxidant (superoxide dismutase, catalase, NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase subunit s5, and Heme oxygenase-1) genes were found among sheep with endometritis and those in good condition utilizing PCR-DNA sequencing. Fisher’s exact test revealed a significant difference in the probability of dispersal of all significant nucleotide changes between ewe groups with and without endometritis (p ˂ 0.01). In endometritis ewes, there was a considerable up-regulation of the expression levels of A2M, TLR2, IRAK3, HMGB1, FCAMR, iNOS, ADAMTS20, KCNT2, MAP3K4, FKBP5, RXFP1, and HMOX1. Conversely, there was a down-regulation of the genes that encode TGF-β, SOD, CAT, and NDUFS5. The kind of marker and its frequency in postparturient endometrtits significantly impacted the transcript levels of the indicators under analysis. The results validate that nucleotide changes and gene manifestation outlines in these candidates are significant predictors of the prevalence of endometritis in sheep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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17 pages, 1895 KiB  
Article
Combining Nucleotide Sequence Variants and Transcript Levels of Immune and Antioxidant Markers for Selection and Improvement of Mastitis Resistance in Dromedary Camels
by Ahmed Ateya, Fatmah A. Safhi, Huda El-Emam, Marawan A. Marawan, Hayat Fayed, Amgad Kadah, Maha Mamdouh, Manar M. Hizam, Muath Q. Al-Ghadi, Mohamed Abdo, Liana Fericean, Rada Olga and Ostan Mihaela
Agriculture 2023, 13(10), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13101909 - 28 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
The immune and antioxidant genetic factors that could converse with mastitis susceptibility in dromedary camels were looked at in this research. Of 120 female dromedary camels (60 healthy, and 60 with mastitis) were utilised. Each camel’s jugular vein was pierced to obtain five [...] Read more.
The immune and antioxidant genetic factors that could converse with mastitis susceptibility in dromedary camels were looked at in this research. Of 120 female dromedary camels (60 healthy, and 60 with mastitis) were utilised. Each camel’s jugular vein was pierced to obtain five millilitres of blood. The blood was placed within tubes containing sodium fluoride or EDTA anticoagulants to obtain whole blood and extract DNA and RNA. The immunological (OTUD3, TLR2, TLR4, STAB2, MBL2, TRAPPC9, and C4A) and antioxidant (CAT, SOD3, PRDX6, OXSR1, NDUFS6, SERP2, and ST1P1) genes’ nucleotide sequence polymorphisms between healthy and mastitis affected she-camels were discovered using PCR-DNA sequencing. Fisher’s exact test revealed that camel groups with and without mastitis had noticeably different odds of all major nucleotide alterations propagating (p < 0.01). Mastitic camels were significantly more likely to express the OTUD3, TLR2, TLR4, STAB2, MBL2, TRAPPC9, C4A, OXSR1, SERP2, and ST1P1 genes (p < 0.05). However, CAT, SOD3, PRDX6, and NDUFS6 genes elicited a different pattern. The results may be used to develop management strategies and support the significance of nucleotide differences and gene expression patterns in these markers as indicators of the incidence of mastitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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7 pages, 969 KiB  
Communication
Could Fibrinogen Concentration Be a Useful Indicator of Cattle Herd Health Status? Approaches to Setting Reference Values
by Andrzej Milczak, Beata Abramowicz, Marcin Szczepanik, Jacek Madany, Karolina Wrześniewska, Krzysztof Buczek, Marta Staniec, Paweł Żółkiewski and Łukasz Kurek
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061224 - 10 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1426
Abstract
Fibrinogen is used in the diagnosis of inflammation as an acute phase protein. The research objective set by the authors of this study was to assess the applicability of fibrinogen concentration measurement in the blood plasma of the peak of lactating dairy cows [...] Read more.
Fibrinogen is used in the diagnosis of inflammation as an acute phase protein. The research objective set by the authors of this study was to assess the applicability of fibrinogen concentration measurement in the blood plasma of the peak of lactating dairy cows through the evaluation of the reference values by using the functional PT-derived (Prothrombin Time-derived) method. Materials and methods: The study was carried out on 259 HF (Holstein-Friesian) and white-backed cows. The animals were clinically healthy. Fibrinogen concentration was determined by automated PT-derived method. Fibrinogen concentrations were calculated as the mean of duplicate samples. Samples with differences between duplicate results greater than 5% were rejected. Results: In the group of HF cows, the average fibrinogen concentration was 11.75 ± 4.80 g/L. In white-backed cows, it was 9.53 ± 4.79 g/L. At total of 76.01% of the results of the fibrinogen concentration in HF cows and 82.05% of the results obtained in the group of white-backed cows were within the ±1 SD (Standard Deviation) range. Conclusions: Based on our own research, the PT-derived method may be applied in order to determine the concentration of fibrinogen in cattle herds in animal health monitoring studies. An individual laboratory should focus more on verifying reference intervals established elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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12 pages, 1382 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Physiological Values and the Reference Histological Profile Related to Sex Steroids in Veal Calves
by Marzia Pezzolato, Elena Biasibetti, Marilena Gili, Cristiana Maurella, Alessandro Benedetto, Marianna Marturella, Federica Ostorero, Giancarlo Bozzo, Claudio Bellino, Antonio D’angelo, Flaminia Valentini, Francesca Roberti, Maurizio Fiori, Paolo Stacchini and Elena Bozzetta
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061145 - 29 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Among forbidden substances included in the European Union legislation, endogenous steroids constitute a challenge in the framework of veterinary Official Monitoring Plans. They can be naturally present in body fluids at variable levels depending on the species, sex and age of the animals. [...] Read more.
Among forbidden substances included in the European Union legislation, endogenous steroids constitute a challenge in the framework of veterinary Official Monitoring Plans. They can be naturally present in body fluids at variable levels depending on the species, sex and age of the animals. Considering the significant advances achieved in breeding conditions and in the selection of producing traits in meat cattle, the aim of this study was to verify by analytical method, in veal calves housed under controlled conditions, if the level of natural steroids hormones assumed as physiological are still actual. The second aim of the study was to verify if the normal histological pattern of growth promoters in target organs is influenced accordingly. Bovine male sex organs are currently analysed in the frame of the Italian histological plan to monitor illicit treatments trend, highlighting microscopic, induced alterations. The levels of 17β-estradiol and progesterone residues resulted under the Limit of Quantitation of the approved official methods and the level of testosterone resulted below the level stated in the Italian Ministerial Decree in force. Male target organs appeared within the limits of the standard histological features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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11 pages, 1649 KiB  
Article
Helminth Control as a Part of Animal Welfare Measure Protocol in Grazing Cattle in Slovenia
by Ožbalt Podpečan, Melita Hajdinjak and Janez Posedi
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051038 - 10 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1730
Abstract
The national regulation on animal welfare measure under the Rural Development Programme 2014–2022 identified grazing and helminth control as important measures to improve the welfare of cattle in Slovenia. The aim of the study was to evaluate these measures in terms of improving [...] Read more.
The national regulation on animal welfare measure under the Rural Development Programme 2014–2022 identified grazing and helminth control as important measures to improve the welfare of cattle in Slovenia. The aim of the study was to evaluate these measures in terms of improving animal welfare and helminth control. Compositional fecal samples for coprological analysis were collected in the region of central Slovenia. Samples were qualitatively analysed for the presence of endoparasites using the flotation and sedimentation methods. During a seven-year period, 4480 compositional fecal samples were collected from cattle herds in the central Slovenia. In all seven years, the most prevalent helminths at the cattle herd level were Strongylida (ranging from 45.49% to 74.22%) and Paramphistomum sp. (ranging from 21.12% to 28.46%). After the treatments against helminths in grazing cattle, the prevalence of positive herds decreased from 83.63% to 63.64%. The calculated cross-correlation values showed significant positive association of the percentage of helminth-positive cattle herds with the prevalence of Fasciola hepatica (0.975), Nematodirus sp. (0.859), Strongylida (0.986), Strongyloides sp. (0.879) and Trichuris sp. (0.835). Hence, the efficient helminth control and improved animal welfare, as well as financial support of 53.40 EUR per livestock unit, contributed to a positive outcome of the programme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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12 pages, 969 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Differences in the Serum Protein Electrophoretic Pattern in Precolostral Serum of Farm Animal Neonates
by Csilla Tóthová, Róbert Link, Veronika Glembová and Oskar Nagy
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1035; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051035 - 10 May 2023
Viewed by 1488
Abstract
The objective of this study was to compare the electrophoretic pattern of serum proteins in newborn calves, lambs, goat kids and piglets in precolostral blood samples. Blood samples were collected within 30 min of birth, prior to ingestion of first colostrum, and the [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to compare the electrophoretic pattern of serum proteins in newborn calves, lambs, goat kids and piglets in precolostral blood samples. Blood samples were collected within 30 min of birth, prior to ingestion of first colostrum, and the concentrations of total proteins and protein fractions were analyzed using electrophoresis on agarose gel. The size and shape of the protein fractions on the electrophoretograms differed among the investigated animal species. Significant differences were found in the total protein values and all the separated protein fractions, as well as albumin to globulin ratio (p < 0.01 and p < 0.001). The mean total protein concentration in piglets was lower compared to ruminants. Albumin concentrations were markedly higher, and the concentrations of α1-globulins were lower, in neonatal ruminants compared to piglets. The values of α2-globulins were higher in lambs and goat kids, and lower in calves and piglets. An opposite tendency was found in the values of β-globulins: a detectable amount of γ-globulins was recorded in all evaluated animal species. Presented results suggest marked species related differences in the shape and size of protein fraction among neonates of farm animal species, and the importance of the evaluation of electrophoretograms with regard to these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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14 pages, 304 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Wheat Germ Expeller on Performance and Selected Parameters of Carbohydrate, Lipid, and Protein Metabolism in Blood Serum for Broilers
by Zuzanna Goluch, Andrzej Okruszek, Kamil Sierżant and Aldona Wierzbicka-Rucińska
Agriculture 2023, 13(4), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13040753 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1929
Abstract
The effect of replacing (5, 10, and 15%) wheat middlings in the feed of broiler chickens (EX5, EX10, EX15) with wheat germ expeller (WGE) on their parameters of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism was examined. Thirty-two randomly chosen broilers on day 43 were [...] Read more.
The effect of replacing (5, 10, and 15%) wheat middlings in the feed of broiler chickens (EX5, EX10, EX15) with wheat germ expeller (WGE) on their parameters of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism was examined. Thirty-two randomly chosen broilers on day 43 were slaughtered, and their blood and liver were sampled. The concentration of glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and protein and their fractions were tested in the blood serum. In livers, total protein and fat contents were analyzed. It has been found that replacing wheat middlings with 10% and 15% of expeller results in (p ≤ 0.05) a lower final body weight than CT. A higher feed, fat, protein, and methionine intake was noted in groups EX5-EX15 compared to CT. No alterations were found in the protein and fat content in the livers and the blood lipid profile of chickens. Changes in the protein metabolism of broilers indicate the need to research. WGE does not interfere with the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. However, WGE did not contribute to obtaining production benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
17 pages, 4746 KiB  
Article
The Initial Horse’s Postural Response to the First Session of the Dorsal, Ventral, and Dorso–Ventral Massage Techniques
by Monika Balcer, Aleksandra Śnieg, Urszula Sikorska, Małgorzata Maśko and Małgorzata Domino
Agriculture 2023, 13(3), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13030529 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2167
Abstract
Since interest in equine manual therapy and rehabilitation is constantly growing, the need for quantification of the horse’s postural response to used alternative therapy has increased. This study implemented geometric morphometrics (GM) for a dorsal profile comparison between the horse groups. The dorsal [...] Read more.
Since interest in equine manual therapy and rehabilitation is constantly growing, the need for quantification of the horse’s postural response to used alternative therapy has increased. This study implemented geometric morphometrics (GM) for a dorsal profile comparison between the horse groups. The dorsal profile was represented by the centroid size and the centroid shape. The horse groups were defined using four classifiers: horse’s age, height at the withers, time lap in the massage session, and technique of the massage (dorsal, ventral, and dorso–ventral). Out of a total of 900 photographs of 20 horses, 180 photos were analyzed using GM, including thirty landmarks. Variation of the principal components (PCs) representing consecutive dorsal profiles were reported for the first three PSs as 59.50% for PC1, 14.36% for PC2, and 9.01% for PC3. The dorsal profiles differed depending on the classifier ‘height’ in terms of centroid size (p < 0.0001) as well as classifier ‘time’ (p < 0.0001) and classifier ‘technique’ (p < 0.0001) in terms of centroid shape, but not depending on the classifier ‘age’ (p > 0.05). GM allows visualizing the differences in the horses’ posture resulting from the selected manual rehabilitation techniques. The quantification of the horse’s body posture in the studied protocol indicates horses’ body posture after being warmed-up and massaged using the dorso–ventral technique is the most desirable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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10 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
Changes in Protein Metabolism Indicators in Dairy Cows with Naturally Occurring Mycotoxicosis before and after Administration of a Mycotoxin Deactivator
by Jan Marczuk, Piotr Brodzki, Adam Brodzki, Katarzyna Głodkowska, Karolina Wrześniewska and Nikodem Brodzki
Agriculture 2023, 13(2), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13020410 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1372
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate selected indicators of protein metabolism in cows fed with fodder contaminated with mycotoxins after application of a mycotoxin deactivator product (MDP). Experimental group (Exp.)—10 cows, fed total mixed ration (TMR) containing: 0.769 mg/kg-deoxynivalenol and 0.032 [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate selected indicators of protein metabolism in cows fed with fodder contaminated with mycotoxins after application of a mycotoxin deactivator product (MDP). Experimental group (Exp.)—10 cows, fed total mixed ration (TMR) containing: 0.769 mg/kg-deoxynivalenol and 0.032 mg/kg-zearalenone TMR DM. Control group (Con.)—10 cows fed TMR without mycotoxins. In the exp. cows, the mycotoxin deactivator product (MDP) Mycofix Plus was used in the form of an additive to TMR in the amount of 10 g/head/day for 90 days. Blood was taken in Exp. group three times, before MDP administration, and on days 30 and 90 of its use. In the con. group, blood was collected once. All cows were assessed for free amino acids, total protein, albumin, globulin, and urea. Cows with mycotoxicosis (before MDP administration) showed low total protein, albumin, total-essential (TEAA) and total-non-essential amino acids (TNEAA) compared to after MDP administration (p < 0.01). Compared to the control group, TNEAA values were lower and TEAA higher on all study dates (p < 0.001). The results of our research showed the negative impact of mycotoxins on the parameters of protein metabolism in cows, and the use of MDP improved the processes of protein metabolism and improved the overall health of cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
9 pages, 1231 KiB  
Article
Serum Cytokine Reactions during Pregnancy in Healthy Mares
by Aleksandra Figarska, Małgorzata Domino, Małgorzata Maśko and Olga Witkowska-Piłaszewicz
Agriculture 2023, 13(2), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13020331 - 29 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1359
Abstract
The aim of the research was to determine the differences in IL-1ß, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-17, INF-γ, TNF-α and IL-1ra blood concentrations in pregnant and non-pregnant healthy mares. The mares were divided into two groups: pregnant mares (n = 18; age 6.11 [...] Read more.
The aim of the research was to determine the differences in IL-1ß, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-17, INF-γ, TNF-α and IL-1ra blood concentrations in pregnant and non-pregnant healthy mares. The mares were divided into two groups: pregnant mares (n = 18; age 6.11 ± 2.25 years); non-pregnant mares (n = 6; age 5.67 ± 1.75 years). Blood samples were collected from all mares (n = 24) three times every month, and then the pregnant group was divided into three subgroups based on the age of the pregnancy (1st group (n = 6)—6th, 7th, 8th; 2nd (n = 6)—7th, 8th, and 9th; 3rd (n = 6)—8th, 9th, 10th month of pregnancy). The concentrations of IL-1ß, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-17, INF-γ, and TNF-α were higher in the pregnant than in non-pregnant group, whereas only the concentration of IL-1ra was lower in the pregnant than in the non-pregnant groups. Serum concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 β, IL-2, and IFN-γ in pregnant mares were greater than in non-pregnant mares at the start of the trimester, whereas, IL-4, IL-17 and TNF-α started to rise in the latter months of the third trimester. IL-10 and IL-1ra concentrations started to decrease after the 6th month of pregnancy. In non-pregnant mares cytokine levels were stable during the whole study. In mares, the change in the ratio between Th1 (IL-1, IL-2, INF-γ, TNF-α) and Th2 (e.g., IL-4, IL-10, IL-13) cytokines occurs during pregnancy. The cytokine profile may be useful in the future for monitoring healthy pregnancies; however, more research is needed especially for miscarriage in mares. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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15 pages, 692 KiB  
Article
New Insights on Coding Mutations and mRNA Levels of Candidate Genes Associated with Diarrhea Susceptibility in Baladi Goat
by Mona Al-Sharif and Ahmed Ateya
Agriculture 2023, 13(1), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13010143 - 5 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1694
Abstract
The purpose of this investigation was to examine mutations and mRNA levels of potential genes linked to diarrhea susceptibility in order to assess the health status of diarrheic kids of Baladi goats. One hundred female Baladi kids (35 diarrheic and 65 apparently healthy) [...] Read more.
The purpose of this investigation was to examine mutations and mRNA levels of potential genes linked to diarrhea susceptibility in order to assess the health status of diarrheic kids of Baladi goats. One hundred female Baladi kids (35 diarrheic and 65 apparently healthy) were used. PCR-DNA sequencing was conducted for TMED1, CALR, FBXW9, HS6ST3, SMURF1, KPNA7, FBXL2, PIN1, S1PR5, ICAM1, EDN1, MAPK11, CSF1R, LRRK1, and CFH markers revealed nucleotide sequence variants in the frequency of distribution of all detected SNPs (p ˂ 0.05) between healthy and affected kids. Chi-square analysis showed a significant difference between resistant and affected animals. Gene expression profile revealed that TMED1, CALR, FBXW9, HS6ST3, SMURF1, KPNA7, FBXL2, PIN1, S1PR5, ICAM1, EDN1, MAPK11, CSF1R and LRRK1 were significantly up-regulated in diarrheic kids than resistant ones. Meanwhile, CFH gene elicited an opposite trend. On the mRNA levels of the examined indicators, there was a substantial interaction between the type of gene and diarrhea resistance/susceptibility. The findings could support the importance of nucleotide variations and the expression pattern of the examined genes as biomarkers for diarrhea resistance/susceptibility and offer a useful management strategy for Baladi goats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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9 pages, 921 KiB  
Article
Intense Leisure Exploitation Influences on Horses Hormonal Reaction—Preliminary Study
by Izabela Dąbrowska, Jowita Grzędzicka, Katarzyna Malin, Bartosz Pawliński, Julia Mickiewicz and Olga Witkowska-Piłaszewicz
Agriculture 2022, 12(11), 1777; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12111777 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2308
Abstract
Horses working with humans for recreational purposes are subjected to a variety of external factors that can have a negative impact on their well-being. There is an urgent need for unequivocal evidence from scientific studies to unify methods of welfare verification of working [...] Read more.
Horses working with humans for recreational purposes are subjected to a variety of external factors that can have a negative impact on their well-being. There is an urgent need for unequivocal evidence from scientific studies to unify methods of welfare verification of working animals. The testosterone/cortisol ratio has recently been proposed as a marker of the propensity for social aggression as one of the stress reactions. In this study, we analyzed testosterone and cortisol blood concentration and ratio to evaluate the stress susceptibility of horses used for recreational purposes. The blood samples were collected from eleven (n = 11) standardbred horses (age 6–10; geldings–mares = 6:5) during the intense leisure exploitation and after the rest season. The cortisol concentration remained unchanged, whereas, despite the small study population, we observed higher testosterone levels during the horses’ intensive exploitation compared to the resting season (p > 0.09). Thus, the testosterone/cortisol ratio was increased during intensive exploitation. We conclude that recreational horseback riding is not an overly stressful activity for horses; however, it may lead to some behavioral abnormalities connected with high testosterone levels. However, more research is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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10 pages, 2239 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Evidence Regarding the Detection of Cortisol and IL-6 to Assess Animal Welfare in Various Rabbit Housing Systems
by Giancarlo Bozzo, Michela Maria Dimuccio, Gaia Casalino, Edmondo Ceci, Francesco D’Amico, Alessandro Petrontino, Elisabetta Bonerba, Antonio Camarda and Elena Circella
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1622; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101622 - 6 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1829
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of three different rabbit rearing systems using animal-based measures. Therefore, in 2021, cortisol and IL-6 were assessed during a Biosecurity System pilot program to evaluate rabbit welfare, based on EU Regulation 2016/429 [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of three different rabbit rearing systems using animal-based measures. Therefore, in 2021, cortisol and IL-6 were assessed during a Biosecurity System pilot program to evaluate rabbit welfare, based on EU Regulation 2016/429 in the Apulia region of Southern Italy. The study was carried out on a total of 45 meat-type rabbits, divided into 3 groups of 15 subjects, aged approximately 60–65 days. Groups came from either: (i) a niche open-air system; (ii) a niche system in a shed with conventional cages, or (iii) an industrial system. Based on our findings, the rearing system had a significant effect (p < 0.0001) on the animal-based measures. Cortisol levels were higher in rabbits raised in the niche open-air system compared to those raised in both the niche system located in a shed with conventional cages and the industrial system (11.91 vs. 2.86 and 2.72 ng/mL, respectively). Likewise, IL-6 values were higher in rabbits from the niche open-air system (45.80 ng/mL) and lower in rabbits from the niche system in a shed with conventional cages and those from the industrial system (23.30 and 16.80 ng/mL, respectively). According to the results of the stress indicators measured, cortisol and IL-6, rabbit welfare and meat quality may be affected by rabbit rearing systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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13 pages, 4138 KiB  
Article
Recognising Cattle Behaviour with Deep Residual Bidirectional LSTM Model Using a Wearable Movement Monitoring Collar
by Yiqi Wu, Mei Liu, Zhaoyuan Peng, Meiqi Liu, Miao Wang and Yingqi Peng
Agriculture 2022, 12(8), 1237; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12081237 - 17 Aug 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2042
Abstract
Cattle behaviour is a significant indicator of cattle welfare. With the advancements in electronic equipment, monitoring and classifying multiple cattle behaviour patterns is becoming increasingly important in precision livestock management. The aim of this study was to detect important cattle physiological states using [...] Read more.
Cattle behaviour is a significant indicator of cattle welfare. With the advancements in electronic equipment, monitoring and classifying multiple cattle behaviour patterns is becoming increasingly important in precision livestock management. The aim of this study was to detect important cattle physiological states using a neural network model and wearable electronic sensors. A novel long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network model that uses two-way information was developed to accurately classify cattle behaviour and compared with baseline LSTM. Deep residual bidirectional LSTM and baseline LSTM were used to classify six behavioural patterns of cows with window sizes of 64, 128 and 256 (6.4 s, 12.8 s and 25.6 s, respectively). The results showed that when using deep residual bidirectional LSTM with window size 128, four classification performance indicators, namely, accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score, achieved the best results of 94.9%, 95.1%, 94.9%, and 94.9%, respectively. The results showed that the deep residual bidirectional LSTM model can be used to classify time-series data collected from twelve cows using inertial measurement unit collars. Six aim cattle behaviour patterns can be classified with high accuracy. This method can be used to quickly detect whether a cow is suffering from bovine dermatomycosis. Furthermore, this method can be used to implement automated and precise cattle behaviour classification techniques for precision livestock farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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11 pages, 230 KiB  
Brief Report
The Combination of Serum and Oral Fluid Cortisol Levels and Welfare Quality Protocol® for Assessment of Pig Welfare on Intensive Farms
by Jan Plut, Tomaž Snoj, Irena Golinar Oven and Marina Štukelj
Agriculture 2023, 13(2), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13020351 - 31 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1578
Abstract
Animal welfare is important; therefore, veterinarians and other animal welfare experts try to use different tools for pig welfare assessment. Several welfare protocols are available for pig welfare assessment, and one of the most used is Welfare Quality (WQ) protocol®. Elevated [...] Read more.
Animal welfare is important; therefore, veterinarians and other animal welfare experts try to use different tools for pig welfare assessment. Several welfare protocols are available for pig welfare assessment, and one of the most used is Welfare Quality (WQ) protocol®. Elevated values of cortisol can be indicative of stress and, therefore, poor welfare. Our aim was to assess the correlation between serum cortisol levels from individual samples and oral fluid cortisol levels in group samples with the grades received for pig welfare using the WQ protocol®. Samples were taken at six different commercial pig farms. Animals were divided into age-dependent categories: 5 weeks old (w/o); 7 w/o; 9 w/o; 11 w/o weaners; fatteners; and breeding sows (10 pigs/category). Cortisol was determined in individual sera and group samples of oral fluid (OF), and was compared to values considered to be physiological. Based on WQ protocol® answers, five farms’ welfare level was deemed acceptable, and one was enhanced. Four out of 29 sera and 5 out of 30 OF samples were considered physiological, while in most other samples it was elevated. The correlation between cortisol levels in sera, OF, and WQ protocol® scores was not statistically significant. The cortisol level in OF should be just one of the welfare indicators, i.e., alongside the WQ protocol® filled out by a welfare expert. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
12 pages, 6761 KiB  
Case Report
Ochratoxin A and Aflatoxin B1 Detection in Laying Hens for Omega 3-Enriched Eggs Production
by Giancarlo Bozzo, Nicola Pugliese, Rossella Samarelli, Antonella Schiavone, Michela Maria Dimuccio, Elena Circella, Elisabetta Bonerba, Edmondo Ceci and Antonio Camarda
Agriculture 2023, 13(1), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13010138 - 5 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2590
Abstract
Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungal species that usually contaminate foods and feeds. Their lipophilic properties allow them to persist in the fat tissues of animals that ingest them, representing a risk for the consumers because of their toxicity and carcinogenicity. [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungal species that usually contaminate foods and feeds. Their lipophilic properties allow them to persist in the fat tissues of animals that ingest them, representing a risk for the consumers because of their toxicity and carcinogenicity. Apart from their toxicity to humans, there are species more susceptible to the mycotoxin actions, such as the avian ones. This report describes a case in a laying hen farm certified as antibiotic-free, where animals were fed with foodstuff with linseed added to obtain eggs enriched in omega-3 fat acids. In this case, the concurrent action of aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A caused a significant decrease in production and an increase in mortality. At pathologic examinations, the animals showed severe kidney degeneration along with liver lesions. The ovary and oviduct were hypoplastic, and evident signs of anemia were observed. Aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A were detected by HPLC in foodstuff with the addition of linseed and in organs. This case wants to drive attention to the importance of a careful check of the feedstuff to be used in poultry farms with a quality-oriented production, in order to avoid contaminations that can harm both animal welfare and public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare, Behavior and Health of Farm Animals)
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