Special Issue "Veterinary Clinical Research: Veterinary Microbiology and Companion Animal Health"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Veterinary Clinical Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 36689

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Holly H. Ganz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. AnimalBiome, Oakland, CA, USA
2. University of California, Davis, CA, USA
Interests: animal microbiome analyses – fecal, oral, other; microbiome restoration strategies; microbial ecology
Dr. Dawn D. Kingsbury
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Animalbiome, Oakland, CA, USA
Interests: host-microbe interactions; comparative medicine; precision regenerative medicine; one health
Dr. Samantha Evans
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Biosciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
Interests: digital pathology; infectious disease clinical presentation and population health; comparative virology; retrovirology - eradication strategies and gene therapy vectors; feline infectious peritonitis - novel diagnostics and therapeutics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Veterinary Clinical Research is important because it enables primary care veterinarians to practice evidence-based medicine. Yet many veterinary research articles published each year typically lean towards very targeted academic interests and may be less immediately useful for informing and improving primary care. A paucity of publications of clinical research means that veterinarians often have to use therapies in the absence of data supporting their efficacy, resulting in extensive use of therapies that are eventually found to be ineffective and sometimes even unsafe.

Clinical research advances medical knowledge, improving animal, and potentially human, health using a patient-based approach. Patient-based research involves methods implemented into everyday veterinary practice, generally making them immediately translatable and deliverable to current veterinary healthcare. Such research ranges from cataloguing, tracking, assessing and analysing health concerns, infection patterns and disease mechanisms / progression / outcomes in given animal populations, to validating new approaches to disease detection, to testing the safety and effectiveness of innovative treatments and health management. The ability to study naturally occurring disease cohorts that live closely within our environment, along with the application of novel therapeutics to acute and chronic illnesses, mirroring our own, can lead to advantages for the comparative study as well as One Health.

We invite manuscripts of original clinical research that address veterinary microbiology in companion animals. Topics of special interest are changing veterinary practices to address impending antimicrobial resistance arising from conventional antibiotic use, including new approaches such as phage therapies, as well as the loss of beneficial microbes as unintended side effects of the use of broad spectrum antibiotics or other medications, and applications of fecal microbiota transplantation in clinical practice.

Dr. Holly H. Ganz
Dr. Dawn D. Kingsbury
Dr. Samantha Evans
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobials
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Phage Therapy
  • Fecal Transplantation
  • Bacteria
  • Microbiome
  • Microbiology

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Occurrence of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in the Oral Cavity of Cats with Chronic Gingivostomatitis
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123589 - 18 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1963
Abstract
Feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS) is a severe immune-mediated inflammatory disease with concurrent oral dysbiosis (bacterial and fungal). Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used empirically in FCGS. Still, neither the occurrence of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria nor potential patterns of co-occurrence between AMR genes and fungi have [...] Read more.
Feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS) is a severe immune-mediated inflammatory disease with concurrent oral dysbiosis (bacterial and fungal). Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used empirically in FCGS. Still, neither the occurrence of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria nor potential patterns of co-occurrence between AMR genes and fungi have been documented in FCGS. This study explored the differential occurrence of AMR genes and the co-occurrence of AMR genes with oral fungal species. Briefly, 14 clinically healthy (CH) cats and 14 cats with FCGS were included. Using a sterile swab, oral tissue surfaces were sampled and submitted for 16S rRNA and ITS-2 next-generation DNA sequencing. Microbial DNA was analyzed using a proprietary curated database targeting AMR genes found in bacterial pathogens. The co-occurrence of AMR genes and fungi was tested using point biserial correlation. A total of 21 and 23 different AMR genes were detected in CH and FCGS cats, respectively. A comparison of AMR-gene frequencies between groups revealed statistically significant differences in the occurrence of genes conferring resistance to aminoglycosides (ant4Ib), beta-lactam (mecA), and macrolides (mphD and mphC). Two AMR genes (mecA and mphD) showed statistically significant co-occurrence with Malassezia restricta. In conclusion, resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics, such as beta-lactams and macrolides, is a significant cause for concern in the context of both feline and human medicine. Full article
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Article
Gut Microbiota in Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy: Effects of Disease and Treatment
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113121 - 31 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2182
Abstract
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in humans and dogs. The structure and composition of gut microbiome associated to this disorder has not yet been analyzed in depth but there is evidence that suggests a possible influence of gut bacteria [...] Read more.
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in humans and dogs. The structure and composition of gut microbiome associated to this disorder has not yet been analyzed in depth but there is evidence that suggests a possible influence of gut bacteria in controlling seizures. The aim of this study was to investigate the changes in gut microbiota associated to canine idiopathic epilepsy (IE) and the possible influence of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) on the modulation of this microbiota. Faecal microbiota composition was analyzed using sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA gene in a group of healthy controls (n = 12) and a group of epileptic dogs both before (n = 10) and after a 30-day single treatment with phenobarbital or imepitoin (n = 9). Epileptic dogs showed significantly reduced abundance of GABA (Pseudomonadales, Pseudomonadaceae, Pseudomonas and Pseudomona_graminis) and SCFAs-producing bacteria (Peptococcaceae, Ruminococcaceae and Anaerotruncus) as well as bacteria associated with reduced risk for brain disease (Prevotellaceae) than control dogs. The administration of AEDs during 30 days did not modify the gut microbiota composition. These results are expected to contribute to the understanding of canine idiopathic epilepsy and open up the possibility of studying new therapeutic approaches for this disorder, including probiotic intervention to restore gut microbiota in epileptic individuals. Full article
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Article
Unlicensed GS-441524-Like Antiviral Therapy Can Be Effective for at-Home Treatment of Feline Infectious Peritonitis
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2257; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082257 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 23035
Abstract
The goal of this study was to formally evaluate the administration of unlicensed, crowd-sourced antiviral GS-441524-like therapy for cats suspected to have feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a previously fatal disease. Members of a large social media support and GS-441524-like drug distribution group were [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to formally evaluate the administration of unlicensed, crowd-sourced antiviral GS-441524-like therapy for cats suspected to have feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a previously fatal disease. Members of a large social media support and GS-441524-like drug distribution group were surveyed via the Internet. The survey was targeted toward owners who had treated their cats for at least 12 weeks with unlicensed GS-441524-like drugs. Of the 393 analyzed surveys which met inclusion criteria, 73.7% of owners utilizing this therapy were from the United States. Only 8.7% of owners reported receiving help from their veterinarian in administering the treatment to their cat. The mean cost of treatment was USD 4920. A majority of owners (88.2%) reported noticeable improvement in clinical signs within one week of initiating therapy. At the time of the survey, 96.7% (380 cats) were alive, with 54.0% of them considered cured and another 43.3% being monitored in the 12-week observation period. A total of 12.7% of the cats suffered a relapse of clinical signs of FIP, and 3.3% of the cats died despite GS-441524-like therapy. Reported complications were mostly related to owner administration of subcutaneous injections of the acidic GS-441525-like therapy, such as vocalization, pain, struggling, and injection-site wounds. Limitations of this study include a retrospective design, bias in case selection, reliance on owner-reported data, and inability to confirm the contents of unlicensed pharmaceuticals; however, important lessons can be learned from the experiences of these owners. While unconventional, and certainly not free from medical and legal risks, unlicensed, at-home GS-441524-like therapy, according to owner reports, can apparently offer benefits in the treatment of cats suspected of FIP. Full article
Article
A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Famciclovir in Shelter Cats with Naturally Occurring Upper Respiratory Tract Disease
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091448 - 19 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2990
Abstract
Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) is a clinically relevant infectious disease in shelter cats, with individual and population-level welfare implications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of famciclovir in reducing clinical signs of URTD in shelter cats during a [...] Read more.
Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) is a clinically relevant infectious disease in shelter cats, with individual and population-level welfare implications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of famciclovir in reducing clinical signs of URTD in shelter cats during a therapeutic period of up to 21 days. Cats at two Northeastern United States animal shelters with URTD clinical signs were enrolled in a pragmatic, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Cats received either famciclovir (n = 11, target dose range 40–90 mg/kg) or placebo (n = 11), administered orally twice daily for up to 21 days with once-daily clinical scoring. At enrollment, conjunctival and oropharyngeal samples were collected for respiratory pathogen identification by RT-PCR. Zero-inflated Poisson regression was used to evaluate the treatment group effects and changes in clinical scoring over time. With each day of treatment, cats in both groups were less likely to experience worsening clinical scores; however, the risk of worsening scores with each day of treatment was significantly less in the famciclovir group compared to placebo (p = 0.006). Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) DNA was detected in 11/21 cats. The findings justify further pragmatic studies to determine whether famciclovir treatment can contribute to a clinically relevant reduction in URTD morbidity in shelter cats. Full article
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Case Report
Faecal Microbiome Transplantation as a Solution to Chronic Enteropathies in Dogs: A Case Study of Beneficial Microbial Evolution
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051433 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3089
Abstract
Chronic enteropathies (CE) are gastrointestinal diseases that afflict about one in five dogs in Europe. Conventional therapeutic approaches include dietary intervention, pharmacological treatment and probiotic supplements. The patient response can be highly variable and the interventions are often not resolutive. Moreover, the therapeutic [...] Read more.
Chronic enteropathies (CE) are gastrointestinal diseases that afflict about one in five dogs in Europe. Conventional therapeutic approaches include dietary intervention, pharmacological treatment and probiotic supplements. The patient response can be highly variable and the interventions are often not resolutive. Moreover, the therapeutic strategy is usually planned (and gradually corrected) based on the patient’s response to empirical treatment, with few indirect gut health indicators useful to drive clinicians’ decisions. The ever-diminishing cost of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) allows clinicians to directly follow and characterise the evolution of the whole gut microbial community in order to highlight possible weaknesses. In this framework, faecal microbiome transplantation (FMT) is emerging as a feasible solution to CE, based on the implant of a balanced, eubiotic microbial community from a healthy donor to a dysbiotic patient. In this study, we report the promising results of FMT carried out in a 9-year-old dog suffering from CE for the last 3 years. The patient underwent a two-cycle oral treatment of FMT and the microbiota evolution was monitored by 16S rRNA gene sequencing both prior to FMT and after the two administrations. We evaluated the variation of microbial composition by calculating three different alpha diversity indices and compared the patient and donor data to a healthy control population of 94 dogs. After FMT, the patient’s microbiome and clinical parameters gradually shifted to values similar to those observed in healthy dogs. Symptoms disappeared during a follow-up period of six months after the second FMT. We believe that this study opens the door for potential applications of FMT in clinical veterinary practice and highlights the need to improve our knowledge on this relevant topic. Full article
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Brief Report
A Potential Atypical Case of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease in a Dwarf Rabbit
Animals 2021, 11(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010040 - 28 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2049
Abstract
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a highly contagious infectious disease of European wild and domestic rabbits. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV, GI.1) emerged in 1986 in Europe, rapidly spreading all over the world. Several genotypes of RHDV have been recognised over time, but [...] Read more.
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a highly contagious infectious disease of European wild and domestic rabbits. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV, GI.1) emerged in 1986 in Europe, rapidly spreading all over the world. Several genotypes of RHDV have been recognised over time, but in 2010, a new virus (RHDV2/RHDVb, GI.2) emerged and progressively replaced the previous RHDV strains, due to the lack of cross-immunity conferred between RHDV and RHDV2. RHDV2 has a high mutation rate, similarly to the other calivirus and recombines with strains of RHDV and non-pathogenic calicivirus (GI.4), ensuring the continuous emergence of new field strains. Although this poses a threat to the already endangered European rabbit species, the available vaccines against RHDV2 and the compliance of biosafety measures seem to be controlling the infection in the rabbit industry Pet rabbits, especially when kept indoor, are considered at lower risk of infections, although RHDV2 and myxoma virus (MYXV) constitute a permanent threat due to transmission via insects. Vaccination against these viruses is therefore recommended every 6 months (myxomatosis) or annually (rabbit haemorrhagic disease). The combined immunization for myxomatosis and RHDV through a commercially available bivalent vaccine with RHDV antigen has been extensively used (Nobivac® Myxo-RHD, MSD, Kenilworth, NJ, USA). This vaccine however does not confer proper protection against the RHDV2, thus the need for a rabbit clinical vaccination protocol update. Here we report a clinical case of hepatitis and alteration of coagulation in a pet rabbit that had been vaccinated with the commercially available bivalent vaccine against RHDV and tested positive to RHDV2 after death. The animal developed a prolonged and atypical disease, compatible with RHD. The virus was identified to be an RHDV2 recombinant strain, with the structural backbone of RHDV2 (GI.2) and the non-structural genes of non-pathogenic-A1 strains (RCV-A1, GI.4). Although confirmation of the etiological agent was only made after death, the clinical signs and analytic data were very suggestive of RHD. Full article
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