Disease and Immunology of Rabbits

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Physiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020) | Viewed by 86661

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Full Professor of Histology and Anatomic Pathology, President of ASESCU (Spanish Rabbit Association) Veterinary School, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera c/ Tirant lo Blanch, 7 – 46115 Alfara del Patriarca (Valencia), Spain
Interests: pathology; immunology; Staphylococcus aureus; rabbit

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Animals journal gives us, as a scientific community, the opportunity to group, in a single number, all of the existing knowledge in the field of rabbit research. For this purpose, this Special Issue will consist of two major sections, immunophysiology and pathology, which affects commercial, wild, experimental, and companion rabbits.

It would be interesting to receive research manuscripts in different areas, such as on the modifications of immunological cell populations in different physiological and pathological situations, experimental rabbit models for different diseases, diseases related to breeding in captivity or traditional, or emerging diseases affecting all type of rabbits, and so on.

An update of knowledge on these topics will allow for us to easily find and concentrate on the most recent information affecting rabbits, and I am convinced that it will constitute a reference number in immunology and rabbit pathology for everybody that works and studies rabbits.

Prof. Juan Manuel Corpa Arenas
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Rabbit
  • Diseases
  • Immunology
  • Pathology

Published Papers (18 papers)

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17 pages, 1125 KiB  
Article
Reproductive Diseases in Farmed Rabbit Does
by Joan Maria Rosell, Luis Fernando de la Fuente, María Teresa Carbajo and Xosé María Fernández
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101873 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3877
Abstract
In this study, we determined the occurrence of reproductive diseases in does on 1373 visited farms in Spain and Portugal, between 1994 and 2019. The retrospective information obtained was entered in a database classified as follows: apparent infertility (≤70% pregnancy rate), abortions (≥2% [...] Read more.
In this study, we determined the occurrence of reproductive diseases in does on 1373 visited farms in Spain and Portugal, between 1994 and 2019. The retrospective information obtained was entered in a database classified as follows: apparent infertility (≤70% pregnancy rate), abortions (≥2% of serviced does), high fetal death risk at parturition (≥10%) or dystocia, amongst others. Infertility was the reason for 181 visits. The median of prevalence of apparent infertility in these cases was 35% (minimum to maximum: 25–90%) and the mean, 37.4%. We performed a prospective study to determine risk factors at the individual and farm level, with a second database corresponding to 2014–2019. We carried out pregnancy checks, assessed sanitary status and body condition, and recorded the age of 17,297 rebred lactating does on 142 farms. The median size of the farms was 800 does, and the examined cohorts, 350 does. Predisposing risk factors for infertility were observed: e.g., mastitis had an effect. During the 5-year study, we made a third database with the results from 190,508 does palpated by producers in a subset of 134 farms. In this case, the median of the prevalence of apparent infertility was 14.5% (minimum to maximum: 4.1–50%), which could be considered baseline occurrence when monitoring the theriogenology of rabbit doe farms. Reproductive rhythm was an enabling risk factor: does serviced ≤25 d postpartum were less fertile than at ≥32 d. We made a database with the body condition score (BCS) on a linear scale from 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese). The pregnancy rate (PR) of underweight and borderline does (4/9) was 73.1%. The PR of overweight and borderline does (6/9) was 82.6% and those classified with a mean BCS (5/9): PR = 79.3%. We may infer that the optimum BCS for reproduction is 6/9, rather than 5/9. Some changes in female rabbit health and husbandry to improve reproductive performance and welfare are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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16 pages, 1043 KiB  
Article
Marked Presence of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Wild Lagomorphs in Valencia, Spain
by Elena Moreno-Grúa, Sara Pérez-Fuentes, David Viana, Jesús Cardells, Víctor Lizana, Jordi Aguiló, Laura Selva and Juan M. Corpa
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071109 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3060
Abstract
The appearance of methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in several animal species (including rabbits) has set off alarms for their capacity to act as reservoirs for this bacterium. This is especially important in wild animals given its epidemiological implications. The objectives of [...] Read more.
The appearance of methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in several animal species (including rabbits) has set off alarms for their capacity to act as reservoirs for this bacterium. This is especially important in wild animals given its epidemiological implications. The objectives of this study were to identify and characterize S. aureus, specifically MRSA, strains in wild lagomorph high-density areas. Ten hares and 353 wild rabbits from 14 towns with a high rabbit density in the Valencian region (eastern Spanish coast) were sampled. Swabs from the nasal cavity, ears, perineum and lesions (when present) were taken for microbiological studies. The detection of different genes and antibiotic susceptibility studies were also carried out. Of all the animals, 41.3% were positive for S. aureus, of which 63.3% were MRSA. Ears were the anatomical location with more S. aureus and MRSA strains. The more frequently identified MLST type was ST1945 (97.1%, 136/140). The mecA gene was found only in one sample. The rest (n = 139) carried the mecC gene and were included in CC130, except one. Penicillin resistance was detected in 28 mec-negative isolates and, in one case, bacitracin resistance. mecA isolate presented resistance to enrofloxacin and tetracycline, and 10 mecC isolates also showed bacitracin resistance. No MRSA isolate was positive for genes chp, sea, tst and PVL. Two ST1945 isolates contained IEC type E (comprising genes scn and sak). mecA-isolate was positive for blaZ. Of the 28 MSSA strains showing resistance to penicillin, 22 carried the blaZ gene. These surprising results highlight the marked presence of MRSA strains in wild rabbits in high-density areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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17 pages, 317 KiB  
Article
Causes of Mortality and Disease in Rabbits and Hares: A Retrospective Study
by José Espinosa, M. Carmen Ferreras, Julio Benavides, Nerea Cuesta, Claudia Pérez, M. José García Iglesias, J. Francisco García Marín and Valentín Pérez
Animals 2020, 10(1), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010158 - 17 Jan 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 8419
Abstract
In this study we determined the causes of mortality and disease in a total of 325 lagomorphs (rabbits and hares) in northern Spain between 2000 and 2018. Risk factors such as the species, age, sex, time of year and origin were also considered. [...] Read more.
In this study we determined the causes of mortality and disease in a total of 325 lagomorphs (rabbits and hares) in northern Spain between 2000 and 2018. Risk factors such as the species, age, sex, time of year and origin were also considered. Clinical signs, gross and histopathological findings and ancillary test results were the basis for the final diagnoses that were reviewed to classify and identify the different disorders. A total of 26 different conditions were identified. A single cause of death or illness was detected in 267 animals. They were grouped into parasitic conditions (n= 65; 24.34%) represented by encephalitozoonosis, hepatic coccidiosis, hepatoperitoneal cysticercosis, intestinal coccidiosis, parasitic gastritis and cutaneous ectoparasitosis; bacterial diseases (n = 56; 20.97%) including pseudotuberculosis, blue breast, skin abscesses, tularemia, pneumonic pasteurellosis and staphylococcal infections; nutritional and metabolic diseases (n = 48; 17.97%) with epizootic rabbit enteropathy, hepatic steatosis and pregnancy toxemia as prominent diseases; viral infections (n= 31; 11.61%) comprising rabbit hemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis and miscellaneous causes (n = 31; 11.61%) where rabbit enteritis complex, renal conditions (nephrosis), heat stroke, and arterial bone metaplasia were included; neoplasms (n = 12; 4.49%) represented by uterine adenocarcinoma, mammary adenocarcinoma, cutaneous fibroma, intestinal lymphoma and hepatic cholangiocarcinoma; toxicoses (n = 11; 4.11%); trauma-related injuries (n = 9; 3.37%) and finally congenital diseases (n = 4; 1.49%). In 58 animals of the study, some of these conditions were presented jointly. We discuss the detection frequency, possible causes or associated factors of the different pathologies as well as the importance of the different variables considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
17 pages, 313 KiB  
Article
Can Enterocin M in Combination with Sage Extract Have Beneficial Effect on Microbiota, Blood Biochemistry, Phagocytic Activity and Jejunal Morphometry in Broiler Rabbits?
by Monika Pogány Simonová, Ľubica Chrastinová, Anna Kandričáková, Soňa Gancarčíková, Eva Bino, Iveta Plachá, Jana Ščerbová, Viola Strompfová, Rudolf Žitňan and Andrea Lauková
Animals 2020, 10(1), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010115 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3130
Abstract
The present study investigated the effects of enterocin (Ent) M and sage extract alone and also in combination on the gut microflora, phagocytic activity, blood biochemistry, and morphometry of rabbits. Sixty-four rabbits (aged five weeks, M91 meatline, both sexes) were divided into three [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the effects of enterocin (Ent) M and sage extract alone and also in combination on the gut microflora, phagocytic activity, blood biochemistry, and morphometry of rabbits. Sixty-four rabbits (aged five weeks, M91 meatline, both sexes) were divided into three experimental groups: E (EntM; 50 µL/animal/day), S (sage; 10 µL/animal/day), and E + S (EntM + sage) groups and control group (C). The additives were administered in drinking water for a period of 21 days. Dietary supplementation of EntM and sage significantly reduced the coliforms (E: p < 0.001; S: p < 0.001; E + S: p < 0.001) in feces, while simultaneous addition of EntM and sage decreased enterococci (E + S: p < 0.0001), lactic acid bacteria (E + S: p < 0.01), and coagulase-positive staphylococci (E + S: p < 0.0001) in the appendix. Sage addition reduced HDL (S: p < 0.001) and LDL cholesterol (S: p < 0.001; E + S: p < 0.001), LDL/HDL ratio (S: p < 0.001; E + S: p < 0.01), and increased urea (S: p < 0.01; E + S: p < 0.001) and creatinine (S: p < 0.001; E + S: p < 0.001) in serum. EntM and sage application, alone or in combination, improve the jejunal morphometry (p < 0.0001) in rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
11 pages, 1103 KiB  
Article
Rabbit Enteropathies on Commercial Farms in the Iberian Peninsula: Etiological Agents Identified in 2018–2019
by Luis Solans, Jose L. Arnal, Celia Sanz, Alfredo Benito, Gema Chacón, Oihane Alzuguren and Ana B. Fernández
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121142 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4115
Abstract
Digestive disorders are the main cause of economic damage to rabbit farms. This article provides a global and updated overview of the diverse etiological agents causing them, since 757 clinical cases were analyzed during 2018 and 2019—Ninety-five from young rabbits (<15 days old), [...] Read more.
Digestive disorders are the main cause of economic damage to rabbit farms. This article provides a global and updated overview of the diverse etiological agents causing them, since 757 clinical cases were analyzed during 2018 and 2019—Ninety-five from young rabbits (<15 days old), 117 from preweaning rabbits (15–35 days old), and 545 from growing rabbits. Etiological diagnosis was carried out by bacteriological culture and a set of real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) tests for the detection of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), Clostridium spiroforme, C. perfringens, rotavirus A, Bacteroides fragilis, and Eimeria spp. Also, 40 EPEC and 38 non EPEC isolates were investigated for the presence of other colonization factors (afr2, ral, liftA, and paa) by qPCR. EPEC is the most prevalent agent in young rabbits, and although different virulence profiles have been found among EPEC isolates, the liftA+, ral+, and paa+ profile is the most prevalent. C. spiroforme and EPEC are the more frequently detected pathogens in preweaning rabbits, but B. fragilis appears to be a new possible emergent pathogen. In growing rabbits, diverse co-infections between C. spiroforme, Eimeria spp., EPEC, and rotavirus are much more frequent than infections due to only one of them. Other pathogens detected in very few cases are Salmonella spp. and Enterococcus hirae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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11 pages, 1072 KiB  
Article
Liver Transcriptome Changes of Hyla Rabbit in Response to Chronic Heat Stress
by Zhou-Lin Wu, Xue Yang, Shi-Yi Chen, Fei-Long Deng, Xian-Bo Jia, Shen-Qiang Hu, Jie Wang and Song-Jia Lai
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121141 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3800
Abstract
Rabbit is an economically important farm animal in China and also is a widely used animal model in biological researches. Rabbits are very sensitive to the environmental conditions, therefore we investigated the liver transcriptome changes in response to chronic heat stress in the [...] Read more.
Rabbit is an economically important farm animal in China and also is a widely used animal model in biological researches. Rabbits are very sensitive to the environmental conditions, therefore we investigated the liver transcriptome changes in response to chronic heat stress in the present study. Six Hyla rabbits were randomly divided into two groups: chronic heat stress (HS) and controls without heat stress (CN). Six RNA-Seq libraries totally yielded 380 million clean reads after the quality filtering. Approximately 85.07% of reads were mapped to the reference genome. After assembling transcripts and quantifying gene expression levels, we detected 51 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between HS and CN groups with thresholds of the adjusted p-value < 0.05 and |log2(FoldChange)| > 1. Among them, 33 and 18 genes were upregulated and downregulated, respectively. Gene ontology analyses further revealed that these DEGs were mainly associated with metabolism of lipids, thyroid hormone metabolic process, and cellular modified amino acid catabolic process. The upregulated ACACB, ACLY, LSS, and CYP7A1 genes were found to be inter-related through biological processes of thioester biosynthetic process, acyl-CoA biosynthetic process, acetyl-CoA metabolic process, and others. Six DEGs were further validated by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. The results revealed the candidate genes and biological processes that will potentially be considered as important regulatory factors involved in the heat stress response in rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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19 pages, 3588 KiB  
Article
Ventilation Modulation and Nanoparticle Deposition in Respiratory and Olfactory Regions of Rabbit Nose
by Jinxiang Xi, Mohamed Talaat, Xiuhua Si, Haibo Dong, Ramesh Donepudi, Senthil Kabilan and Richard Corley
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121107 - 9 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 8302
Abstract
The rabbit nose’s ability to filter out inhaled agents is directly related to its defense to infectious diseases. The knowledge of the rabbit nose anatomy is essential to appreciate its functions in ventilation regulation, aerosol filtration and olfaction. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
The rabbit nose’s ability to filter out inhaled agents is directly related to its defense to infectious diseases. The knowledge of the rabbit nose anatomy is essential to appreciate its functions in ventilation regulation, aerosol filtration and olfaction. The objective of this study is to numerically simulate the inhalation and deposition of nanoparticles in a New Zealand white (NZW) rabbit nose model with an emphasis on the structure–function relation under normal and sniffing conditions. To simulate the sniffing scenario, the original nose model was modified to generate new models with enlarged nostrils or vestibules based on video images of a rabbit sniffing. Ventilations into the maxilloturbinate and olfactory region were quantified with varying nostril openings, and deposition rates of inhaled aerosols ranging from 0.5 nm to 1000 nm were characterized on the total, sub-regional and local basis. Results showed that particles which deposited in the olfactory region came from a specific area in the nostril. The spiral vestibule played an essential role in regulating flow resistance and flow partition into different parts of the nose. Increased olfactory doses were persistently predicted in models with expanded nostrils or vestibule. Particles in the range of 5–50 nm are more sensitive to the geometry variation than other nanoparticles. It was also observed that exhaled aerosols occupy only the central region of the nostril, which minimized the mixing with the aerosols close to the nostril wall, and potentially allowed the undisruptive sampling of odorants. The results of this study shed new light on the ventilation regulation and inhalation dosimetry in the rabbit nose, which can be further implemented to studies of infectious diseases and immunology in rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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7 pages, 841 KiB  
Article
Immunohistochemical Detection of Encephalitozoon cuniculi in Ocular Structures of Immunocompetent Rabbits
by Edita Jeklová, Lenka Levá, Vladimír Kummer, Vladimír Jekl and Martin Faldyna
Animals 2019, 9(11), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110988 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3448
Abstract
Encephalitozoonosis is a common infectious disease widely spread among rabbits. Its causative agent, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, is considered as a zoonotic and emerging pathogen capable of infecting both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, including humans. In rabbits, clinical signs include neurological, kidney and ocular [...] Read more.
Encephalitozoonosis is a common infectious disease widely spread among rabbits. Its causative agent, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, is considered as a zoonotic and emerging pathogen capable of infecting both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, including humans. In rabbits, clinical signs include neurological, kidney and ocular disease. The aim of this study was to detect E. cuniculi in ocular structures in immunocompetent rabbits after experimental oral infection using immunohistochemistry. In infected animals, E. cuniculi spores were present in periocular connective tissue, sclera, cornea, choroidea, iris, retina and lens, as a round to ovoid organism reacting with a specific anti-E. cuniculi monoclonal antibody as early as 2 weeks after infection. There were no signs of inflammatory lesions in any of the ocular tissues examined at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks after infection. In the present study, E. cuniculi was also detected in the lenses of adult rabbits, which indicates that ways of lens infection other than intrauterine and haematogenic are possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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15 pages, 7500 KiB  
Article
Prophylactic and Therapeutic Efficacy of Prebiotic Supplementation against Intestinal Coccidiosis in Rabbits
by Saeed A. El-Ashram, Shawky M. Aboelhadid, El-Sayed M. Abdel-Kafy, Shymaa A. Hashem, Lilian N. Mahrous, Eman M. Farghly, Usama K. Moawad and Asmaa A. Kamel
Animals 2019, 9(11), 965; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110965 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4251
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of prebiotic supplementation against intestinal coccidiosis in rabbits. Fifty male rabbits aged 35–60 days (1–1.5 kg) were divided into prophylactic and therapeutic experiments (five groups, 10 rabbits per group). Prophylactic experiment had prebiotic supplemented (PS-P), [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of prebiotic supplementation against intestinal coccidiosis in rabbits. Fifty male rabbits aged 35–60 days (1–1.5 kg) were divided into prophylactic and therapeutic experiments (five groups, 10 rabbits per group). Prophylactic experiment had prebiotic supplemented (PS-P), non-supplemented infected control (NI-P), and non-supplemented non-infected control (NN-P) groups. Ten days post-prebiotic supplementation (PPS), rabbits in groups PS-P and NI-P were infected orally with 5.0 × 104 sporulated oocysts of mixed Eimeria species. However, therapeutic experiment had prebiotic supplemented (PS-T) and untreated infected (UI-T) groups of naturally infected rabbits with Eimeria species. A significant reduction in oocyst count per gram feces (OPG) (p ≤ 0.05) was reported in the PS-P (57.33 × 103 ± 2.84) and NI-P (130.83 × 103 ± 43.38) groups during the experiment. Additionally, rabbits in groups (PS-P, 970.33 ± 31.79 g and NI-P, 870.66 ± 6.66 g) showed weight loss after infection. However, a significant (p ≤ 0.05) decrease in OPG was observed at day seven PPS in the PS-T group (4 × 103 ± 0.00) when compared with the UI-T group (32 × 103 ± 7.54). Furthermore, the PS-T group had a higher body weight than rabbits in the UI-T group. Histopathological findings of the intestinal tissues (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) showed that the counts of the endogenous stages were significantly higher in the NI-P and UI-T groups than in the prebiotic-supplemented groups (PS-P and PS-T). Supplementation of the prebiotic did not have any adverse effects on biochemical parameters, such as AST, ALT, creatinine, total protein, and total cholesterol. In conclusion, prebiotic supplementation can be used to minimize the adverse effects of intestinal coccidiosis in rabbits, which in turn limits body weight loss, especially for the prophylaxis of coccidial infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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15 pages, 2098 KiB  
Article
Genetic Diversity of IGHM and IGHE in the Leporids Revealed Different Patterns of Diversity in the Two European Rabbit Subspecies (O. cuniculus algirus and O. c. cuniculus)
by Ana Pinheiro, Tereza Almeida and Pedro J. Esteves
Animals 2019, 9(11), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110955 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2858
Abstract
The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has been an important model for immunological studies but the study of its immunoglobulins (Ig) has been restricted to its unique IgA and IgG. Here, we studied the genetic diversity of IgM and IgE in several [...] Read more.
The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has been an important model for immunological studies but the study of its immunoglobulins (Ig) has been restricted to its unique IgA and IgG. Here, we studied the genetic diversity of IgM and IgE in several species of leporids and performed population genetics studies on European rabbit wild populations and domestic breeds. The leporids sequencing showed that these Ig are well conserved (98% sequence similarity among leporids), For IgM the Cµ1 and Cµ4 were the most diverse and most conserved domains, respectively, while for IgE the Cε1 was the most diverse domain and Cε2 and Cε3 the most conserved domains. The differences in the pattern of most conserved and most diverse domain between the Ig isotypes are most likely related to each isotype function. The genetic population data showed contrasting results for IgM and IgE. For both Ig, as expected, a greater diversity was observed in the original species range, the Iberian Peninsula. However, unexpectedly the genetic diversity found for IgE in the domestic animals is higher than that for the French wild populations. These results will increase knowledge of the genetic diversity of leporids and wild and domestic rabbit populations and are important tools for the management of wild populations and rabbitries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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14 pages, 243 KiB  
Article
Effect of Silver Nanoparticle Administration on Productive Performance, Blood Parameters, Antioxidative Status, and Silver Residues in Growing Rabbits under Hot Climate
by Magdy Abdelsalam, Ibrahim Al-Homidan, Tarek Ebeid, Osama Abou-Emera, Mohamed Mostafa, Mohamed Abd El-Razik, Mohamed Shehab-El-Deen, Sherif Abdel Ghani and Moataz Fathi
Animals 2019, 9(10), 845; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100845 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3608
Abstract
The influence of subcutaneous injections of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on rabbit performance, hematological and biochemical parameters of blood, antioxidant status, and the residues of silver in meat and blood in two breeds (New Zealand White (NZW) and Jabali) of rabbits growing under high [...] Read more.
The influence of subcutaneous injections of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on rabbit performance, hematological and biochemical parameters of blood, antioxidant status, and the residues of silver in meat and blood in two breeds (New Zealand White (NZW) and Jabali) of rabbits growing under high ambient temperature was evaluated. A total of 90 six-week-old rabbits (45 NZW and 45 Jabali) were randomly distributed into three equal treatment groups (control, 0.5 mg, and 1.0 mg AgNPs/kg body weight). The treated rabbits were injected twice a week for four consecutive weeks. The results revealed that AgNPs administration had no significant effect on average daily gain (ADG), feed intake, and feed conversion ratio (FCR). The NZW breed surpassed the Jabali breed in growth performance traits, carcass weight, dressing percentage, and cuts of mid parts and hind cuts. Administration of AgNPs had a significant effect on hematocrit (HCT) and platelet (PLT) values. Rabbits injected with AgNPs at a dose of 0.5 mg showed a lower plasma concentration of total cholesterol and triglycerides than that of control rabbits. The NZW breed had significantly low platelet, total cholesterol, and triglyceride values. Rabbits injected with 0.5 mg/kg BW had the lowest total antioxidant capacity and highest malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione peroxidase. The Ag residues were higher in blood than those in meat in treated rabbits. The local breed (Jabali) had significantly lower residues than the imported one (NZW) either in meat or in blood. However, the amount of accumulated silver in blood plasma and meat increased with increasing dose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
12 pages, 946 KiB  
Article
Acetate Affects the Process of Lipid Metabolism in Rabbit Liver, Skeletal Muscle and Adipose Tissue
by Lei Liu, Chunyan Fu and Fuchang Li
Animals 2019, 9(10), 799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100799 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 4403
Abstract
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) (a microbial fermentation production in the rabbit gut) have an important role in many physiological processes, which may be related to the reduced body fat of rabbits. In the present experiment, we study the function of acetate (a major [...] Read more.
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) (a microbial fermentation production in the rabbit gut) have an important role in many physiological processes, which may be related to the reduced body fat of rabbits. In the present experiment, we study the function of acetate (a major SCFA in the rabbit gut) on fat metabolism. Ninety rabbits (40 days of age) were randomly divided into three groups: a sham control group (injection of saline for four days); a group experiencing subcutaneous injection of acetate for four days (2 g/kg BM per day, one injection each day, acetate); and a pair-fed sham treatment group. The results show that acetate-inhibited lipid accumulation by promoting lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation and inhibiting fatty acid synthesis. Activated G protein-coupled receptor 41/43, adenosine monophosphate activated protein kinase (AMPK) and extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 signal pathways were likely to participate in the regulation in lipid accumulation of acetate. Acetate reduced hepatic triglyceride content by inhibiting fatty acid synthesis, enhancing fatty acid oxidation and lipid output. Inhibited peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) and activated AMPK and ERK1/2 signal pathways were related to the process in liver. Acetate reduced intramuscular triglyceride level via increasing fatty acid uptake and fatty acid oxidation. PPARα was associated with the acetate-reduced intracellular fat content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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16 pages, 1947 KiB  
Article
Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease: A 30-Year Study of the Occurrence on Commercial Farms in Spain
by Joan M. Rosell, L. Fernando de la Fuente, Francisco Parra, Kevin P. Dalton, J. Ignacio Badiola Sáiz, Ana Pérez de Rozas, Juan J. Badiola Díez, Daniel Fernández de Luco, Jordi Casal, Natàlia Majó, Jordina Casas, Ricard Garriga and Xosé M. Fernández Magariños
Animals 2019, 9(10), 780; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100780 - 10 Oct 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 6841
Abstract
In this retrospective study, we describe the relative occurrence of clinical myxomatosis, and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), on 1714 commercial farms visited in Spain, between 1988 and 2018. We determined the annual prevalence based on 817 visits to 394 farms affected by myxomatosis. [...] Read more.
In this retrospective study, we describe the relative occurrence of clinical myxomatosis, and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), on 1714 commercial farms visited in Spain, between 1988 and 2018. We determined the annual prevalence based on 817 visits to 394 farms affected by myxomatosis. Myxomatosis was more prevalent from August to March, being lowest in June (3%) and highest in September (8.9%). With regard to RHD, we assessed 253 visits to 156 affected farms. We analyzed mean annual and monthly incidence. Two important RHD epidemics occurred; the first in 1988–1989 due to RHDV GI.1 (also known as RHDV), and the second from 2011 to 2013 due to RHDV GI.2 (RHDV2 or RHDVb). These epidemics occurred at times when effective vaccination had not been carried out. Relative monthly incidence in 2011–2018 was higher from April to August (p < 0.001). The results we obtained from 1404 necropsies on 102 farms did not clearly relate serosanguinous nasal discharge in rabbits with disease caused by GI.2 infection. We also assessed vaccination schedules used on 200 doe farms visited from the end of 2014 to 2018; 95.5% vaccinated against myxomatosis and 97.5% against RHD. Both diseases remain prevalent; however, effective vaccination has produced a steady decline in myxomatosis and RHDV GI.1 and GI.2 on-farm detection. The maintenance of high hygienic standards will be needed to continue and improve this control. However, further studies are required to investigate the causes of sustained virus presence and vaccine breaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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14 pages, 2651 KiB  
Article
Expression of Myoepithelial Markers in Mammary Carcinomas of 119 Pet Rabbits
by Sophie Degner, Heinz-Adolf Schoon, Sebastian Degner, Mathias Baudis, Claudia Schandelmaier, Heike Aupperle-Lellbach and Sandra Schöniger
Animals 2019, 9(10), 740; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100740 - 28 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3557
Abstract
Most mammary tumors in pet rabbits are carcinomas; prognostic factors are unknown. The aim of this study on rabbit mammary carcinomas was to determine the expression of myoepithelial markers that have a prognostic relevance in human cancers. Mammary carcinomas (n = 119) [...] Read more.
Most mammary tumors in pet rabbits are carcinomas; prognostic factors are unknown. The aim of this study on rabbit mammary carcinomas was to determine the expression of myoepithelial markers that have a prognostic relevance in human cancers. Mammary carcinomas (n = 119) of female or female-spayed pet rabbits were immunostained for cytokeratin AE1/AE3, vimentin, smooth muscle actin (SMA), and calponin; and percentages of non-neoplastic myoepithelial cells (ME cells) and calponin-positive neoplastic cells were determined. Using statistical analysis, data were correlated with the age of the rabbits and histological tumor characteristics. All carcinomas contained retained spindle-shaped ME, while 115 also contained hypertrophic ME (HME). A statistically significant relationship existed between a higher age and an increase in HME. In 111 carcinomas (93%), tumor cells expressed calponin. There was a significant correlation between higher percentages of calponin-positive tumor cells and a lower mitotic count, an increased percentage of tubular growth, and a lower grading score, respectively. Data suggest that pet rabbit mammary carcinomas develop from progression of in situ cancer and that the extent of calponin expression in tumor cells influences their biological behavior. These results provide the basis for a long-term follow-up on the prognostic significance of calponin expression in mammary cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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16 pages, 4732 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Analysis of the Effects of Fasting Caecotrophy on Hepatic Lipid Metabolism in New Zealand Rabbits
by Yadong Wang, Huifen Xu, Guirong Sun, Mingming Xue, Shuaijie Sun, Tao Huang, Jianshe Zhou, Juan J. Loor and Ming Li
Animals 2019, 9(9), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090648 - 3 Sep 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4583
Abstract
In order to investigate the effects of fasting caecotrophy on hepatic lipid metabolism in rabbits, 12 weaned female New Zealand white rabbits were randomly divided into (n = 6/group) a control and fasting caecotrophy group. Rabbits in the experimental group were treated with [...] Read more.
In order to investigate the effects of fasting caecotrophy on hepatic lipid metabolism in rabbits, 12 weaned female New Zealand white rabbits were randomly divided into (n = 6/group) a control and fasting caecotrophy group. Rabbits in the experimental group were treated with an Elizabeth circle to prevent them from eating their own soft feces for a 60-day period. Growth and blood biochemical indices, transcriptome sequencing and histology analysis of the liver were performed. Compared with the control group, final weight, weight gain, liver weight, growth rate and feed conversion ratio, all decreased in the experimental group (p < 0.05). RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis revealed a total of 301.2 million raw reads (approximately 45.06 Gb of high-quality clean data) that were mapped to the rabbit genome. After a five-step filtering process, 14,964 genes were identified, including 444 differentially expressed genes (p < 0.05, foldchange ≥ 1). A number of differently expressed genes linked to lipid metabolism were further analyzed including CYP7A1, SREBP, ABCA1, GPAM, CYP3A1, RBP4 and RDH5. The KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) annotation of the differentially expressed genes indicated that main pathways affected were pentose and glucuronide interactions, starch and sucrose metabolism, retinol metabolism and PPAR signaling. Overall, the present study revealed that preventing caecotrophy reduced growth and altered lipid metabolism, both of which will help guide the development of new approaches for rabbits’ feeding and production. These data also provide a reference for studying the effects of soft feces in other small herbivores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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10 pages, 1346 KiB  
Article
Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome Reduced Heart Rate Variability and Increased Irregularity and Complexity of Short-Term RR Time Series in Rabbits
by Wilson M. Lozano, Conrado J. Calvo, Oscar J. Arias-Mutis, Ana Díaz, Luis Such-Miquel, Jichao Zhao, Antonio Alberola, Francisco J. Chorro and Manuel Zarzoso
Animals 2019, 9(8), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080572 - 18 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3641
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has been linked to a higher prevalence of sudden cardiac death (SCD), but the mechanisms are not well understood. One possible underlying mechanism may be an abnormal modulation of autonomic activity, which can be quantified by analyzing heart rate variability [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has been linked to a higher prevalence of sudden cardiac death (SCD), but the mechanisms are not well understood. One possible underlying mechanism may be an abnormal modulation of autonomic activity, which can be quantified by analyzing heart rate variability (HRV). Our aim was to investigate the modifications of short-term HRV in an experimental rabbit model during the time-course of MetS development. NZW rabbits were randomly assigned to a control (n = 10) or a MetS group (n = 13), fed 28 weeks with control or high-fat, high-sucrose diets. After anesthesia, a 15-min ECG recording was acquired before diet administration and at weeks 14 and 28. We analyzed short RR time series using time-domain, frequency-domain and nonlinear analyses. A mixed-model factorial ANOVA was used for statistical analysis. Time-domain analysis showed a 52.4% decrease in the standard deviation of heart rate in animals from the MetS group at week 28, but no changes in the rest of parameters. In the frequency domain, we found a 9.7% decrease in the very low frequency and a 380.0% increase of the low frequency bands in MetS animals at week 28, whereas high frequency remained unchanged. Nonlinear analyses showed increased complexity and irregularity of the RR time series in MetS animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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Review

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12 pages, 1201 KiB  
Review
A Review on Mammary Tumors in Rabbits: Translation of Pathology into Medical Care
by Sandra Schöniger, Sophie Degner, Bharat Jasani and Heinz-Adolf Schoon
Animals 2019, 9(10), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100762 - 2 Oct 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5806
Abstract
The aim of this review is to raise awareness for mammary tumors in rabbits and to report progress in related research. Currently, a standardized tumor classification for rabbits is not available, prognostic factors are unknown and the only treatment option is surgical excision. [...] Read more.
The aim of this review is to raise awareness for mammary tumors in rabbits and to report progress in related research. Currently, a standardized tumor classification for rabbits is not available, prognostic factors are unknown and the only treatment option is surgical excision. Studies showed that affected rabbits have a wide age range and are nearly exclusively female or female spayed. Most mammary tumors are carcinomas. These may occur together with non-neoplastic or benign mammary lesions. Frequent microscopic findings are lipid droplets in tumor cells, secretory activity and microscopic heterogeneity. Since carcinomas are often negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER-α/PR), modulation of receptor function will unlikely be beneficial for most rabbits. ER-α and PR status may have prognostic significance, since ER-α- or PR-negative tumors have significantly higher mitotic rates than ER-α- or PR-positive tumors. The frequent secretory activity of rabbit mammary tumors may suggest an influence of prolactin on tumorigenesis. Available data contribute to comparative pathology and are the basis for future molecular studies into the identification of additional prognostic factors and novel therapeutic options. They will also reveal the suitability of the rabbit as a model for certain types of breast cancer in women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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12 pages, 614 KiB  
Review
Diet-Induced Rabbit Models for the Study of Metabolic Syndrome
by Wilson M. Lozano, Oscar J. Arias-Mutis, Conrado J. Calvo, Francisco J. Chorro and Manuel Zarzoso
Animals 2019, 9(7), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070463 (registering DOI) - 20 Jul 2019
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 7036
Abstract
Obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) have become a growing problem for public health and clinical practice, given their increased prevalence due to the rise of sedentary lifestyles and excessive caloric intake from processed food rich in fat and sugar. There are several definitions [...] Read more.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) have become a growing problem for public health and clinical practice, given their increased prevalence due to the rise of sedentary lifestyles and excessive caloric intake from processed food rich in fat and sugar. There are several definitions of MetS, but most of them describe it as a cluster of cardiovascular and metabolic alterations such as abdominal obesity, reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, glucose intolerance, and hypertension. Diagnosis requires three out of these five criteria to be present. Despite the increasing prevalence of MetS, the understanding of its pathophysiology and relationship with disease is still limited. Indeed, the pathological consequences of MetS components have been reported individually, but investigations that have studied the effect of the combination of MeS components on organ pathological remodeling are almost nonexistent. On the other hand, animal models are a powerful tool in understanding the mechanisms that underlie pathological processes such as MetS. In the first part of the review, we will briefly overview the advantages, disadvantages and pathological manifestations of MetS in porcine, canine, rodent, and rabbit diet-induced experimental models. Then, we will focus on the different dietary regimes that have been used in rabbits to induce MetS by means of high-fat, cholesterol, sucrose or fructose-enriched diets and their effects on physiological systems and organ remodeling. Finally, we will discuss the use of dietary regimes in different transgenic strains and special rabbit breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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