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Animals, Volume 13, Issue 22 (November-2 2023) – 159 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Weaning is a key phase in a pig's life, marked by early stress and potential immunosuppression. Poor handling compromises the piglet’s health, leading to veterinary medicine usage. This study presents an evaluation model for weaned piglets, assessing ten hygiene and handling indices. These indices, which are individually scored out of 10, encompass the preweaning handling, batch management, biosecurity, water and feed management, health programs, stockmen training, temperature, ventilation, and floor conditions. Tested on 23 farms, the proposed management score significantly correlates with post-weaning piglets’ health and productivity. Enhancing the scoring indices is crucial for improving piglets’ welfare and overall farm performance, ultimately reducing medication use. View this paper
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27 pages, 123425 KiB  
Article
Morphological Ontogeny and Ecology of a Common Peatland Mite, Nanhermannia coronata (Acari, Oribatida, Nanhermanniidae)
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3590; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223590 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 582
Abstract
Nanhermannia coronata Berlese, 1913, is a common and abundant oribatid species in peatlands but can be easily mistaken for N. sellnicki Forsslund, 1958, as an adult. Therefore, the identity of adults of N. coronata from several sites in Norway and Ireland [...] Read more.
Nanhermannia coronata Berlese, 1913, is a common and abundant oribatid species in peatlands but can be easily mistaken for N. sellnicki Forsslund, 1958, as an adult. Therefore, the identity of adults of N. coronata from several sites in Norway and Ireland was supported by the COI sequence data, and based on this material, the morphological ontogeny of this species is described and illustrated to highlight the differences between N. coronata and N. sellnicki. In all juvenile stages of N. coronata, the bothridial seta is absent, but two pairs of exobothridial setae are present, including short exp and exa reduced to its alveolus. In the larva, seta f1 is setiform, but in the nymphs, it is reduced to its alveolus. Most prodorsal and gastronotal setae of larva are short, and of nymphs they are long. In all instars, the leg segments are oval in cross section and relatively thick, and many setae on tarsi are relatively short, thick and conical, except for longer apical setae. Seta d accompanies solenidion σ on all genua, φ1 on tibia I and φ on other tibiae. We found some morphological characters that clearly differentiate N. coronata from N. sellnicki, like the number of setae on femora of adults and tritonymphs, the shape of insertions of prodorsal seta in and all gastronotal and adanal setae of juveniles; in N. sellnicki, these setae are inserted in small individual depressions, whereas in N. coronata, these depressions are absent. Our ecological observations confirm a common occurrence of N. coronata in raised bogs, a high percentage of juvenile stages in its populations and a preference of this species for humid microhabitats, whereas N. sellnicki is less common than N. coronata and occurs in drier habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Behaviour of Mites)
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34 pages, 1768 KiB  
Review
N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids as a Nutritional Support of the Reproductive and Immune System of Cattle—A Review
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223589 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1346
Abstract
This paper focuses on the role of n-3 fatty acids as a nutrient crucial to the proper functioning of reproductive and immune systems in cattle. Emphasis was placed on the connection between maternal and offspring immunity. The summarized results confirm the importance and [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the role of n-3 fatty acids as a nutrient crucial to the proper functioning of reproductive and immune systems in cattle. Emphasis was placed on the connection between maternal and offspring immunity. The summarized results confirm the importance and beneficial effect of n-3 family fatty acids on ruminant organisms. Meanwhile, dietary n-3 fatty acids supplementation, especially during the critical first week for dairy cows experiencing their peripartum period, in general, is expected to enhance reproductive performance, and the impact of its supplementation appears to be dependent on body condition scores of cows during the drying period, the severity of the negative energy balance, and the amount of fat in the basic feed ration. An unbalanced, insufficient, or excessive fatty acid supplementation of cows’ diets in the early stages of pregnancy (during fetus development) may affect both the metabolic and nutritional programming of the offspring. The presence of the polyunsaturated fatty acids of the n-3 family in the calves’ ration affects not only the performance of calves but also the immune response, antioxidant status, and overall metabolism of the future adult cow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Dairy Cow Nutrition)
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20 pages, 5394 KiB  
Article
Improving Known–Unknown Cattle’s Face Recognition for Smart Livestock Farm Management
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3588; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223588 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 915
Abstract
Accurate identification of individual cattle is of paramount importance in precision livestock farming, enabling the monitoring of cattle behavior, disease prevention, and enhanced animal welfare. Unlike human faces, the faces of most Hanwoo cattle, a native breed of Korea, exhibit significant similarities and [...] Read more.
Accurate identification of individual cattle is of paramount importance in precision livestock farming, enabling the monitoring of cattle behavior, disease prevention, and enhanced animal welfare. Unlike human faces, the faces of most Hanwoo cattle, a native breed of Korea, exhibit significant similarities and have the same body color, posing a substantial challenge in accurately distinguishing between individual cattle. In this study, we sought to extend the closed-set scope (only including identifying known individuals) to a more-adaptable open-set recognition scenario (identifying both known and unknown individuals) termed Cattle’s Face Open-Set Recognition (CFOSR). By integrating open-set techniques to enhance the closed-set accuracy, the proposed method simultaneously addresses the open-set scenario. In CFOSR, the objective is to develop a trained model capable of accurately identifying known individuals, while effectively handling unknown or novel individuals, even in cases where the model has been trained solely on known individuals. To address this challenge, we propose a novel approach that integrates Adversarial Reciprocal Points Learning (ARPL), a state-of-the-art open-set recognition method, with the effectiveness of Additive Margin Softmax loss (AM-Softmax). ARPL was leveraged to mitigate the overlap between spaces of known and unknown or unregistered cattle. At the same time, AM-Softmax was chosen over the conventional Cross-Entropy loss (CE) to classify known individuals. The empirical results obtained from a real-world dataset demonstrated the effectiveness of the ARPL and AM-Softmax techniques in achieving both intra-class compactness and inter-class separability. Notably, the results of the open-set recognition and closed-set recognition validated the superior performance of our proposed method compared to existing algorithms. To be more precise, our method achieved an AUROC of 91.84 and an OSCR of 87.85 in the context of open-set recognition on a complex dataset. Simultaneously, it demonstrated an accuracy of 94.46 for closed-set recognition. We believe that our study provides a novel vision to improve the classification accuracy of the closed set. Simultaneously, it holds the potential to significantly contribute to herd monitoring and inventory management, especially in scenarios involving the presence of unknown or novel cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence Tools to Optimize Livestock Production)
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14 pages, 1853 KiB  
Article
Effects of Perilla Seed Meal on Productive Performance, Egg Quality, Antioxidant Capacity and Hepatic Lipid Metabolism of Wenchang Breeder Hens
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3587; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223587 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 805
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of adding perilla seed meal (PSM) to the diet on reproductive performance, egg quality, yolk fatty acids, antioxidant capacity and liver lipid metabolism in breeding hens. A total of 192 31-week-old yellow-feathered hens [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of adding perilla seed meal (PSM) to the diet on reproductive performance, egg quality, yolk fatty acids, antioxidant capacity and liver lipid metabolism in breeding hens. A total of 192 31-week-old yellow-feathered hens were randomly divided into 4 treatments with 6 replicates of 8 birds for 8 weeks. The chickens were fed a typical corn–soybean meal diet containing 0% (control), 0.3%, 0.6%, and 1% PSM. The results showed that PSM can change the productivity of laying hens. Adding 0.6% PSM to the feed reduced the mortality rate of chickens. Adding 1% PSM improved the fertilization rate and hatching rate of chickens. Regarding egg quality, the albumen height and Haugh unit were improved in the 0.6% PSM group. The content of MUFAs and PUFAs in the egg yolk was increased in all the PSM groups, while SFAs were only increased in the 0.6% PSM group. Among the indicators related to lipid metabolism, serum GLU decreased in all the PSM groups. The 0.6% PSM group had a reduction in serum and liver TG, as well as reductions in serum LDL-C and ALT. The same results were observed for the abdominal fat percentage in the 0.6% PSM group. Liver lipid metabolism-associated gene expression of FAS and LXRα was decreased in all the PSM groups, and the mRNA expression of ACC and SREBP-1c was significantly reduced in the 0.6% PSM group. HE staining showed that the vacuoles in the liver tissue gradually decreased with increasing PSM doses, especially the 1% PSM dose. Lipid droplets with a similar trend were observed using Oil Red O staining. In the results of the antioxidant capacity test, the serum T-AOC was increased in the 0.6% and 1% PSM groups, and the SOD in both the serum and liver was significantly increased in all the PSM groups. The expression of antioxidant-related genes such as Nrf2, NQO-1, HO-1, CAT and GSH-Px was significantly upregulated in the 1% PSM group. In conclusion, the PSM diet improved the lipid metabolism and antioxidant capacity of breeding hens. PSM reduces mortality and improves fertilization and hatchability in the late laying period of chickens, resulting in greater benefits. We recommend adding 0.6% PSM to layer feed, which improves the physical condition of the hens and brings higher economic benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
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16 pages, 589 KiB  
Article
Substitution Impact of Tuna By-Product Meal for Fish Meal in the Diets of Rockfish (Sebastes schlegeli) on Growth and Feed Availability
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3586; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223586 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1151
Abstract
This experiment was performed to assess the substitution impact of fish meal (FM) with tuna by-product meal (TBM) in feeds on growth and feed availability of the early stage of juvenile rockfish (S. schlegeli). Six experimental feeds were prepared to be [...] Read more.
This experiment was performed to assess the substitution impact of fish meal (FM) with tuna by-product meal (TBM) in feeds on growth and feed availability of the early stage of juvenile rockfish (S. schlegeli). Six experimental feeds were prepared to be isonitrogenous and isolipidic. Fifty-five percent of FM was contained in the control (Con) diet. In the Con diet, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% FM were replaced by TBM, named the TBM20, TBM40, TBM60, TBM80, and TBM100 diets, respectively. A total of 540 early-stage juvenile rockfish averaging 2.4 g was divided into 18 tanks and hand-fed to satiation for 56 days. Weight gain and feed consumption of rockfish fed the TBM20 and TBM40 diets were comparable to rockfish fed the Con diet. The specific growth rate (SGR) of rockfish fed the Con diet was comparable to rockfish fed the TBM20, TBM40, and TBM60 diets. Feed efficiency, biometric indices, hematological parameters, proximate composition, and amino acid profiles of rockfish were not impacted by dietary treatments. The economic profit index (EPI) of the Con, TBM20, and TBM40 diets were higher than that of all other diets. FM up to 40% could be substitutable with TBM in the diets of rockfish without deteriorating weight gain and feed consumption, but producing the highest EPI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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16 pages, 681 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Feeding of Dairy Goats with 40% Artichoke by-Product Silage Preserves Milk Yield, Nutritional Composition and Animal Health Status
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3585; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223585 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 641
Abstract
The aim of this work is to study the effect of 40% inclusion of artichoke by-product silage (AB) in dairy goat diets on milk yield, composition and animal health status during a full lactation period compared to an isoenergetic and isoproteic mixed ration [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to study the effect of 40% inclusion of artichoke by-product silage (AB) in dairy goat diets on milk yield, composition and animal health status during a full lactation period compared to an isoenergetic and isoproteic mixed ration based on alfalfa hay and a cereal and legume mixture. Milk yield was not affected by the dietary treatments, and neither was body weight. AB treatment reduced whey protein (0.38 vs. 0.42%, p < 0.05) and milk urea concentrations (687 vs. 773 mg/L, respectively, p < 0.001), and did not affect total true protein (3.22 vs. 3.24% p > 0.05) or other macro-composition variables. AB treatment showed higher milk concentrations of Ca (p < 0.05), Mn (p < 0.01), Cu (p < 0.01) and Zn (p < 0.001) compared to the control group (C). Slight differences were observed in milk fatty acid profile without any negative effects (p > 0.05) on the blood cholesterol and glucose of goats. The AB group reduced blood urea due to its high dietary total phenol content. However, it had a positive effect on β-hydroxybutyrate (p < 0.05) and nonesterified fatty acids (p > 0.05). It was concluded that 40% artichoke by-product inclusion in dairy goat feed for the whole lactation period (23 weeks) is a sustainable solution, reducing feeding cost by 12.5% per kg of dry matter, contributing to a better circular economy without any negative repercussions on the productivity and health of Murciano–Granadina dairy goats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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16 pages, 2380 KiB  
Article
Exploring Compassion towards Laboratory Animals in UK- and China-Based Undergraduate Biomedical Sciences Students
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3584; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223584 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 655
Abstract
Taking a compassionate approach to the non-human animals used in biomedical research is in line with emerging ideas around a “culture of care”. It is important to expose biomedical sciences students to the concept of a culture of care at an early stage [...] Read more.
Taking a compassionate approach to the non-human animals used in biomedical research is in line with emerging ideas around a “culture of care”. It is important to expose biomedical sciences students to the concept of a culture of care at an early stage and give them opportunities to explore related practices and ideas. However, there is no simple tool to explore biomedical sciences students’ attitudes towards laboratory animals. Accordingly, there is little understanding of students’ feelings towards these animals, or a means of quantifying potential changes to these feelings. We developed a 12-item questionnaire designed to explore compassion (the Laboratory Animal Compassion Scale; LACS) and used it with UK-based and China-based samples of undergraduate biomedical sciences students. In the same samples, we also explored a harm–benefit analysis task and students’ beliefs regarding some mental characteristics of laboratory animals, then drew correlations with the quantitative measure of compassion. Compassion levels were stable across years of study and were not related to students’ level of experience of working with laboratory animals. We observed a higher level of compassion in females versus males overall, and a higher level overall in the UK-based versus China-based sample. In a task pitting animal suffering against human wellbeing, students’ compassion levels correlated negatively with their acceptance of animal suffering. Compassion levels correlated positively with a belief in animals being conscious and possessing emotions. These data are in line with studies that show compassion is gender- and nationality/culture-dependent, and points to links between compassion, beliefs, and choices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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29 pages, 3557 KiB  
Article
Gut Microbiome Profiling of the Endangered Southern Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) after the 2019–2020 Australian Megafire
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3583; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223583 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1178
Abstract
Studying the gut microbiome can provide valuable insights into animal health and inform the conservation management of threatened wildlife. Gut microbiota play important roles in regulating mammalian host physiology, including digestion, energy metabolism and immunity. Dysbiosis can impair such physiological processes and compromise [...] Read more.
Studying the gut microbiome can provide valuable insights into animal health and inform the conservation management of threatened wildlife. Gut microbiota play important roles in regulating mammalian host physiology, including digestion, energy metabolism and immunity. Dysbiosis can impair such physiological processes and compromise host health, so it is essential that the gut microbiome be considered in conservation planning. The southern greater glider (Petauroides volans) is an endangered arboreal marsupial that faced widespread habitat fragmentation and population declines following the 2019–2020 Australian bushfire season. This study details baseline data on the gut microbiome of this species. The V3–V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was amplified from scats collected from individuals inhabiting burnt and unburnt sites across southeastern Australia and sequenced to determine bacterial community composition. Southern greater glider gut microbiomes were characterised by high relative abundances of Firmicutes and Bacteroidota, which is consistent with that reported for other marsupial herbivores. Significant differences in gut microbial diversity and community structure were detected among individuals from different geographic locations. Certain microbiota and functional orthologues were also found to be significantly differentially abundant between locations. The role of wildfire in shaping southern greater glider gut microbiomes was shown, with some significant differences in the diversity and abundance of microbiota detected between burnt and unburnt sites. Overall, this study details the first data on greater glider (Petauroides) gut microbiomes, laying the foundation for future studies to further explore relationships between microbial community structure, environmental stressors and host health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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9 pages, 2412 KiB  
Communication
Comparison of the Ventral Approach to the Canine Hip Joint Using Gelpi Retractors and an Elastic O-Ring Wound Retractor
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3582; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223582 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
This study included 10 fresh adult cadavers of large breed dogs (6 males and 4 females). Their weight ranged from 25 to 45 kg (mean ± SD: 33.9 ± 6.2 kg). The breeds represented were crossbreed dogs (n = 5), German shepherds [...] Read more.
This study included 10 fresh adult cadavers of large breed dogs (6 males and 4 females). Their weight ranged from 25 to 45 kg (mean ± SD: 33.9 ± 6.2 kg). The breeds represented were crossbreed dogs (n = 5), German shepherds (n = 2), Bernese mountain dogs (n = 1), American Staffordshire terriers (n = 1), and Gordon setters (n = 1). Access to the target area and identification of the femoral head and neck was achieved with two Gelpi retractors inserted orthogonally and with the O-WR in all procedures. In each dog, the approach to the hip joint was made on the left and right sides. There was no significant difference in the area of the surgical wound bed between the two sides using either the Gelpi retractors (−0.52 ± 1.87 cm2; CI 95%: −1.86, 0.81 cm2; p = 0.398) or the O-WR (−0.27 ± 2.34 cm2; CI 95%: −1.94, 1.41 cm2; p = 0.729). The area of the surgical wound bed was 6.28 ± 1.72 cm2 (2.72–9.70 cm2) for the Gelpi retractors and 6.34 ± 1.81 cm2 (4.13–10.77 cm2) for the O-WR, and the difference between the Gelpi retractors and the O-WR was not significant (−0.06 ± 1.72 cm2; CI 95%: −0.86, 0.74 cm2; p = 0.879) Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Animal Veterinary Surgery)
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16 pages, 3740 KiB  
Article
An Analysis of a Transposable Element Expression Atlas during 27 Developmental Stages in Porcine Skeletal Muscle: Unveiling Molecular Insights into Pork Production Traits
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3581; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223581 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 722
Abstract
The development and growth of porcine skeletal muscle determine pork quality and yield. While genetic regulation of porcine skeletal muscle development has been extensively studied using various omics data, the role of transposable elements (TEs) in this context has been less explored. To [...] Read more.
The development and growth of porcine skeletal muscle determine pork quality and yield. While genetic regulation of porcine skeletal muscle development has been extensively studied using various omics data, the role of transposable elements (TEs) in this context has been less explored. To bridge this gap, we constructed a comprehensive atlas of TE expression throughout the developmental stages of porcine skeletal muscle. This was achieved by integrating porcine TE genomic coordinates with whole-transcriptome RNA-Seq data from 27 developmental stages. We discovered that in pig skeletal muscle, active Tes are closely associated with active epigenomic marks, including low levels of DNA methylation, high levels of chromatin accessibility, and active histone modifications. Moreover, these TEs include 6074 self-expressed TEs that are significantly enriched in terms of muscle cell development and myofibril assembly. Using the TE expression data, we conducted a weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and identified a module that is significantly associated with muscle tissue development as well as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of the signals of pig meat and carcass traits. Within this module, we constructed a TE-mediated gene regulatory network by adopting a unique multi-omics integration approach. This network highlighted several established candidate genes associated with muscle-relevant traits, including HES6, CHRNG, ACTC1, CHRND, MAMSTR, and PER2, as well as novel genes like ENSSSCG00000005518, ENSSSCG00000033601, and PIEZO2. These novel genes hold promise for regulating muscle-related traits in pigs. In summary, our research not only enhances the TE-centered dissection of the genetic basis underlying pork production traits, but also offers a general approach for constructing TE-mediated regulatory networks to study complex traits or diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms Affecting Important Traits of Pigs)
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16 pages, 2092 KiB  
Article
Isolation, Identification, and Pathogenicity of Vibrio gigantis Retrieved from European Seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) Farmed in Türkiye
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3580; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223580 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 827
Abstract
In this study, V. gigantis strain C24 was isolated from cases of winter mortalities of hatchery-reared European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) broodstock in Türkiye. The first mortalities were reported in September 2016 and occurred annually in early autumn/late winter until the end [...] Read more.
In this study, V. gigantis strain C24 was isolated from cases of winter mortalities of hatchery-reared European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) broodstock in Türkiye. The first mortalities were reported in September 2016 and occurred annually in early autumn/late winter until the end of February 2019, when 15% of accumulated mortality was recorded. Diseased moribund fish exhibited general septicemic signs, including dermal ulcerations with hemorrhagic margins, distended abdomens, and hemorrhages below the pectorals, pelvic fins, and at the operculum. Postmortem findings showed congestion in several internal organs, hemorrhagic ascitic fluid, and congested prolapsed anal openings. The representative bacterial isolate V. gigantis strain C24 was characterized as Gram-negative, motile, nitrite-producing, and as vibrio static agent O/129-sensitive. The full-length 16S rRNA sequence (Accession No. ON778781) and gyrB gene sequence (Accession No. ON792326) of the C24 strain showed high similarity to V. gigantis strains. Moreover, the whole-genome average nucleotide identity (ANI) values (ANI > 97.7%) against four V. gigantis strains above the species demarcation limit unambiguously identified the C24 isolate as a member of this species. A preliminary virulence-gene analysis showed that the V. gigantis isolate C24 encoded at least three exotoxins, including two aerolysins and a thermolabile hemolysin. The experimental infection showed that the C24 isolate exhibited low to moderate virulence in experimentally infected European seabass juveniles. Interestingly, antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed that the C24 isolate was susceptible to nalidixic acid, ciprofloxacin, and several other antibiotics but resistant to tilmicosin, kanamycin, streptomycin, and ampicillin. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report that V. gigantis could be considered an emerging bacterial pathogen in Türkiye, and it may threaten the international European seabass production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial and Viral Diseases in Aquatic Animals)
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8 pages, 1114 KiB  
Article
The Use of Isoflurane and Adjunctive Magnesium Chloride Provides Fast, Effective Anaesthetization of Octopus vulgaris
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3579; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223579 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 849
Abstract
A wide variety of substances have been used to anaesthetise invertebrates, but many are not anaesthetics and merely incapacitate animals rather than preventing pain. In essence, the role of an ideal general anaesthetic is to act as a muscle relaxant, an analgesic, an [...] Read more.
A wide variety of substances have been used to anaesthetise invertebrates, but many are not anaesthetics and merely incapacitate animals rather than preventing pain. In essence, the role of an ideal general anaesthetic is to act as a muscle relaxant, an analgesic, an anaesthetic, and an amnesic. To achieve all these properties with a single substance is difficult, and various adjuvants usually need to be administered, resulting in a cocktail of drugs. In a clinical setting, the vast majority of patients are unaware of surgery being carried out and have no memory of it, so they can claim to have felt no pain, but this is much more difficult to demonstrate in invertebrates. Here, we show that 1% MgCl2, a muscle relaxant, is a useful adjuvant for the clinical anaesthetic isoflurane on Octopus vulgaris when applied alone in seawater for 10 min before the clinical anaesthetic. After this, full anaesthesia can be achieved in 5 min using 1% isoflurane insufflated into the saline still containing MgCl2. Full recovery takes place rapidly in about 10 to 15 min. The depth of anaesthesia was monitored using changes in respiratory rate, chromatophore pattern, and withdrawal movements of the arms and siphon. This methodology reduces stress on the animal and minimises the quantity of anaesthetic used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invertebrate Welfare)
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12 pages, 623 KiB  
Article
Environmental Impacts of High-Quality Brazilian Beef Production: A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Premium and Super-Premium Beef
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3578; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223578 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1136
Abstract
When individual purchasing power increases in society, there is a trend toward a quantitative and qualitative increase in the consumption of products. Considering the magnitude of beef production in Brazil, environmental impacts are important factors for the domestic and international markets. This study [...] Read more.
When individual purchasing power increases in society, there is a trend toward a quantitative and qualitative increase in the consumption of products. Considering the magnitude of beef production in Brazil, environmental impacts are important factors for the domestic and international markets. This study assessed a Brazilian feedlot system characterized by high animal welfare standards that produces high-quality beef that is more marbled than that produced in grass-fed systems. We assessed the environmental impacts and compared premium and super-premium beef produced in a feedlot system using a partial Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Data were collected directly on the property analyzed, considering environmental inputs and outputs and economic factors associated with the production stages of each line (premium versus super-premium). The results show that high-quality beef has, beyond a greater financial cost, an environmental cost, with the super-premium line producing a 286% higher carbon footprint, 297% more eutrophication, and three times higher acidification potential and land use than the premium line. The results of the environmental impacts agree with the results of production costs, reflecting a 282.82% higher production cost in super-premium than in premium animals. Footprints of 5.0323 kg, 4.7746 kg, and 8.8858 kg CO2 eq./kg live weight gain at the feedlot were found in the three lines. Full article
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18 pages, 4978 KiB  
Article
Mild Intermittent Cold Stimulation Affects Cardiac Substance Metabolism via the Neuroendocrine Pathway in Broilers
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3577; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223577 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 752
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the impact of cold adaptation on the neuroendocrine and cardiac substance metabolism pathways in broilers. The broilers were divided into the control group (CC), cold adaptation group (C3), and cold-stressed group (C9), and experimental period was divided into [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the impact of cold adaptation on the neuroendocrine and cardiac substance metabolism pathways in broilers. The broilers were divided into the control group (CC), cold adaptation group (C3), and cold-stressed group (C9), and experimental period was divided into the training period (d 1–35), recovery period (d 36–43), and cold stress period (d 43–44). During the training period, the CC group was reared at ambient temperature, while C3 and C9 groups were reared at 3 °C and 9 °C lower than the ambient temperature, respectively, for 5 h/d at 1 d intervals. During the recovery period, all the groups were maintained at 20 °C. Lastly, during the cold stress period, the groups were divided into two sub-groups, and each sub-group was placed at 10 °C for 12 h (Y12) or 24 h (Y24) for acute cold stimulation. The blood, hypothalamic, and cardiac tissues samples were obtained from all the groups during the training, recovery, and acute stress periods. The results revealed that the transcription of calcium voltage-gated channel subunit alpha 1 C (CACNAIC) was increased in the hypothalamic tissues of the C3 group (p < 0.05). Moreover, compared to the CC group, the serum norepinephrine (NE) was increased in the C9 group (p < 0.05), but insulin (INS) was decreased in the C9 group (p < 0.05). In addition, the transcription of the phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), SREBP1c, FASN, ACC1, and SCD genes was down-regulated in the C3 and C9 groups (p < 0.05); however, their expression increased in the C3 and C9 groups after acute cold stimulation (p < 0.05). Compared to the CC group, the transcription of forkhead box O1 (FoxO1), PEPCK, G6Pase, GLUT1, HK1, PFK, and LDHB genes was up-regulated in the C3 and C9 groups (p < 0.05. Furthermore, compared to the CC and C9 groups, the protein and mRNA expressions of heat shock protein (HSP) 70 and HSP90 were significantly increased in the C3 group (p < 0.05). These results indicate that intermittent cold training can enhance cold stress tolerance in broilers by regulating their neuroendocrine and cardiac substance metabolism pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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16 pages, 6436 KiB  
Article
Phylogenetic Analyses of Lizards from the Chilean Humboldt Archipelago Reveal a New Species for the Chañaral Island (Squamata: Liolaemidae)
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3576; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223576 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2664
Abstract
The Humboldt Archipelago, situated on Chile’s north-central coast, is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity. However, lizards of the Liolaemus genus are a particularly understudied group in this archipelago. Liolaemus genus is divided into two clades: chiliensis and nigromaculatus. Within the nigromaculatus clade [...] Read more.
The Humboldt Archipelago, situated on Chile’s north-central coast, is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity. However, lizards of the Liolaemus genus are a particularly understudied group in this archipelago. Liolaemus genus is divided into two clades: chiliensis and nigromaculatus. Within the nigromaculatus clade the zapallarensis group is restricted to the semi-arid and arid coastal habitats of the Atacama Desert in north-central Chile. While it has been reported that lizards from the zapallarensis group inhabit various islands within the Humboldt Archipelago, there has been limited knowledge regarding their specific species identification. To identify the lizard species inhabiting these islands, we conducted phylogenetic analyses using a mitochondrial gene and examined morphological characteristics. Our findings reveal that lizards from the Damas, Choros, and Gaviota islands belong to Liolaemus silvai. In contrast, the lizards on Chañaral Island form a distinct and previously unrecognised group, clearly distinguishable from Liolaemus silvai. In conclusion, our study not only confirms the presence of L. silvai on the Damas, Choros, and Gaviota islands but also describes a new lizard species on Chañaral Island named Liolaemus carezzae sp. nov. These findings contribute valuable insights into the biodiversity of these islands and introduce a newly discovered endemic taxon to the region, enriching our understanding of Chile’s unique island ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lizard Evolutionary Ecology in Islands)
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21 pages, 2003 KiB  
Article
Effects of Artemisia ordosica Crude Polysaccharide on Antioxidant and Immunity Response, Nutrient Digestibility, Rumen Fermentation, and Microbiota in Cashmere Goats
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3575; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223575 - 19 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 901
Abstract
The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with Artemisia ordosica crude polysaccharide (AOCP) on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, antioxidant and immunity capacity, rumen fermentation parameters, and the microbiota of cashmere goats. A total of 12 cashmere goats [...] Read more.
The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with Artemisia ordosica crude polysaccharide (AOCP) on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, antioxidant and immunity capacity, rumen fermentation parameters, and the microbiota of cashmere goats. A total of 12 cashmere goats (2 years old) with similar weight (38.03 ± 2.42 kg of BW ± SD) were randomly divided into two dietary treatments with six replicates. The treatments were as follows: (1) control (CON, basal diet); and (2) AOCP treatment (AOCP, basal diet with 0.3% AOCP). Pre-feeding was conducted for 7 days, followed by an experimental period of 21 days. The results showed that the ADG; feed/gain (F/G); and the digestibility of DM, CP, and ADF of cashmere goats in the AOCP group were greater than in the CON group (p < 0.05). Still, there was no significant effect on the digestibility of EE, NDF, Ca, and P (p > 0.05). Compared to the CON group, AOCP increased BCP, propionate, butyrate, isobutyrate, valerate, isovalerate, and TVFA concentrations (p < 0.05), but it reduced the protozoa numbers of acetate and A/P (p < 0.05). The serum CAT, GSH-Px, T-SOD, 1L-6, and NO levels were higher in AOCP than in the CON group (p < 0.05). The addition of AOCP increased the Sobs and Ace estimators (p < 0.05) and reduced the Simpson estimator in the ruminal fluid compared to the CON group (p < 0.05). Additionally, the AOCP group increased the colonization of beneficial bacteria by positively influencing GSH-Px and IL-6 (norank_f__F082, unclassified_p__Firmicutes), as well as bacteria negatively associated with F/G (norank_f__norank_o__Bacteroidales, unclassified_p__Firmicutes, and norank_f__F082). It decreased the colonization of potential pathogenic bacteria (Aeromonas and Escherichia-Shigella) (p < 0.05) compared to the CON group. In conclusion, 0.3% AOCP improves the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, antioxidant status, immune function, rumen fermentation, and microflora of cashmere goats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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17 pages, 22222 KiB  
Article
Artificial Pasture Grazing System Attenuates Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Gut Barrier Dysfunction, Liver Inflammation, and Metabolic Syndrome by Activating ALP-Dependent Keap1-Nrf2 Pathway
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3574; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223574 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Introduction. Geese can naturally obtain dietary fiber from pasture, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This study aimed to investigate the inhibitory impacts of pasture on ameliorating LPS-ROS-induced gut barrier dysfunction and liver inflammation in geese. Materials and methods. The lipopolysaccharides (LPS), alkaline [...] Read more.
Introduction. Geese can naturally obtain dietary fiber from pasture, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This study aimed to investigate the inhibitory impacts of pasture on ameliorating LPS-ROS-induced gut barrier dysfunction and liver inflammation in geese. Materials and methods. The lipopolysaccharides (LPS), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), reactive oxygen species (ROS), tight junction proteins, antioxidant enzymes, immunoglobulins, and metabolic syndrome were determined using ELISA kits. The Kelch-like-ECH-associated protein 1-Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Keap1-Nrf2) and inflammatory cytokines were determined using the quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) method. The intestinal morphology was examined using the Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) staining method in ileal tissues. Results. Pasture significantly influences nutrient absorption (p < 0.001) by ameliorating LPS and ROS-facilitated ileal permeability (p < 0.05) and systemic inflammation (p < 0.01). Herein, the gut permeability was paralleled by liver inflammation, which was significantly mimicked by ALP-dependent Nrf2 (p < 0.0001) and antioxidant enzyme activation (p < 0.05). Indeed, the correlation analysis of host markers signifies the importance of pasture in augmenting geese’s health and production by averting gut and liver inflammation. Conclusions. Our results provide new insight into the mechanism of the pasture-induced ALP-dependent Nrf2 signaling pathway in limiting systemic inflammation in geese. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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13 pages, 954 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Antimicrobial Protocols and Other Perioperative Factors on Postoperative Complications in Horses Undergoing Celiotomy: A Retrospective Analysis, 2008–2021
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3573; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223573 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 822
Abstract
Recognition of antimicrobial resistance in equine practice has increased over the past decade. The objective of this study was to provide an updated retrospective review of antimicrobial regimens in one tertiary referral hospital and to evaluate the association with postoperative complications. A secondary [...] Read more.
Recognition of antimicrobial resistance in equine practice has increased over the past decade. The objective of this study was to provide an updated retrospective review of antimicrobial regimens in one tertiary referral hospital and to evaluate the association with postoperative complications. A secondary objective was to evaluate other perioperative factors including surgical procedure, anesthetic and recovery parameters, and the effect of perioperative medications on complications and outcomes. A computerized search of medical records was performed to identify horses undergoing exploratory celiotomy from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2021. A total of 742 celiotomies were performed (608 completed, 134 terminated intraoperatively). Factors recorded were evaluated using logistic regression for the presence of either incisional infection, postoperative ileus, or other complications postoperatively. Antimicrobial type or timing (pre-, intra-, or postoperative) were not associated with decreased risk of incisional infection or postoperative ileus; however, the duration of NSAID use was positively associated with incisional infection (OR 1.14 per day). Lidocaine and alpha-2-agonist administration postoperatively were also associated with increased incidence of postoperative ileus (OR 21.5 and 1.56, respectively). Poor recovery quality (OR 4.69), the addition of other antimicrobials besides penicillin/gentamicin postoperatively (OR 3.63), and an increased number of different NSAID classes used (OR 1.46 per additional) were associated with other complications. Implementation of enterotomy was associated with decreased risk of other complications (OR 0.64). These findings provide an updated summary of factors associated with postoperative complications in horses undergoing celiotomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Equine Surgery and Sports Medicine)
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13 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
Effects of an Hourly Bolus Postruminal Infusion of Flaxseed Oil or Palm Oil on Circulating Fatty Acid Concentrations and Hepatic Expression of Pyruvate Carboxylase and Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase in Dairy Cattle
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3572; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223572 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 550
Abstract
Palmitic (C16:0), α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3 cis), and propionate regulate bovine pyruvate carboxylase (PC) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1) expression in vitro. The objective of this experiment was to determine the impact of C16:0, C18:3n-3 cis, propionate, and acetate [...] Read more.
Palmitic (C16:0), α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3 cis), and propionate regulate bovine pyruvate carboxylase (PC) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1) expression in vitro. The objective of this experiment was to determine the impact of C16:0, C18:3n-3 cis, propionate, and acetate postruminal infusions on hepatic PC and PCK1 expression. We hypothesized that circulating fatty acids alter hepatic PC and PCK1 in lactating dairy cows. Acetate, propionate, palm oil, and flaxseed oil were supplied postruminally to lactating cows (n = 4) using two 4 × 4 Latin square studies. For Experiment 1, cows were infused on an hourly basis with either a bolus of propionate, acetate, or the combination of propionate and palm oil, or acetate and palm oil, and Experiment 2 was similar, but flaxseed oil replaced palm oil. Flaxseed infusions increased plasma concentration and the molar percent of C18:3n-3 cis and decreased C16:0 but did not affect PC or PCK1 expression. Palm infusions did not affect blood metabolites or the hepatic expression of PC or PCK1. The lack of responses to short-chain fatty acid infusions and changes in circulating long-chain fatty acids in mature cattle are not suitable models to study the effects of α-linolenic acid and propionate on bovine PC and PCK1 expression previously observed in vitro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
22 pages, 1241 KiB  
Review
Beyond Canine Adipose Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells Transplantation: An Update on Their Secretome Characterization and Applications
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3571; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223571 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 808
Abstract
A dog is a valuable animal model and concomitantly a pet for which advanced therapies are increasingly in demand. The characteristics of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) have made cell therapy more clinically attractive. During the last decade, research on the MSC therapeutic effectiveness [...] Read more.
A dog is a valuable animal model and concomitantly a pet for which advanced therapies are increasingly in demand. The characteristics of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) have made cell therapy more clinically attractive. During the last decade, research on the MSC therapeutic effectiveness has demonstrated that tissue regeneration is primarily mediated by paracrine factors, which are included under the name of secretome. Secretome is a mixture of soluble factors and a variety of extracellular vesicles. The use of secretome for therapeutic purposes could have some advantages compared to cell-based therapies, such as lower immunogenicity and easy manufacturing, manipulation, and storage. The conditioned medium and extracellular vesicles derived from MSCs have the potential to be employed as new treatments in veterinary medicine. This review provides an update on the state-of-the-art characterization and applications of canine adipose tissue-derived MSC secretome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine and Feline Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in Veterinary Medicine)
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10 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
Clinical Chemistry and Haematology Values of a Captive Population of Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti)
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3570; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223570 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 655
Abstract
Reference intervals for clinical chemistry and haematology analytes are essential for the interpretation of blood results, but limited data are available for Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) in zoological collections as well as in the wild. The aim of the present study [...] Read more.
Reference intervals for clinical chemistry and haematology analytes are essential for the interpretation of blood results, but limited data are available for Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) in zoological collections as well as in the wild. The aim of the present study was therefore to establish reference intervals for a series of clinical chemistry and haematology analytes in a single zoological population of Humboldt penguins. Furthermore, possible variations of the analytes influenced by the age and sex of the individuals were investigated. Lithium heparinized plasma and whole blood samples from 39 animals were analysed and statistically evaluated. The following clinical chemistry analytes were significantly higher in females: glutamate dehydrogenase (p = 0.0003), alanine transaminase (p = 0.0005), alkaline phosphatase (p = 0.0245), aspartate aminotransferase (p = 0.0043), creatine kinase (p = 0.0016), lactate dehydrogenase (p < 0.0001), inorganic phosphorus (p = 0.0223), and sodium (p = 0.0415). No significant differences between males and females were found for any haematology analyte. Cholesterol (p = 0.0233; −0.39), white blood cell count (p = 0.0208; −0.40), and absolute heterophiles (p = 0.0148; −0.42) had significant negative correlations with the age of the penguins. The results indicate that the factors of sex and age should be considered when interpreting the results of haematological and clinical biochemistry assays, and further studies are needed to determine whether there are more differences in other age groups or seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Birds)
14 pages, 6430 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Variation of Gut Microbial Composition and Metabolism in Tibetan antelopes in Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3569; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223569 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 757
Abstract
The Tibetan antelope is an endangered species suffering from poaching and habitat fragmentation. The intestinal flora and metabolites play a crucial role in the physiological homeostasis of hosts, which are influenced by various environmental factors like seasonal variation. In this particular research, our [...] Read more.
The Tibetan antelope is an endangered species suffering from poaching and habitat fragmentation. The intestinal flora and metabolites play a crucial role in the physiological homeostasis of hosts, which are influenced by various environmental factors like seasonal variation. In this particular research, our main goal was to explore the alterations in the metabolism and gut microbiota of Tibetan antelopes between the cold season (XB) and warm season (DA), using untargeted metabolomics and 16S rRNA gene-sequencing analyses. The findings indicated that Tibetan antelopes had a higher alpha-diversity of intestinal microbes during the cold season than during the warm season. Principal co-ordinate analysis revealed notable seasonal discrepancies in the function and structure of intestinal microbes in Tibetan antelopes. The relative abundance of Firmicutes was significantly increased during the cold season compared to during the warm season. Furthermore, the Tibetan antelope’s primary metabolic functions of the intestinal micro-organisms were significantly higher during the cold season. The untargeted metabolomics analysis results showed a total of 532 metabolites that were significantly different between the cold season and warm season groups. These metabolites were found to be enriched in a total of 62 metabolic pathways. Among the most significant pathways of enrichment were the purine metabolism and pyrimidine metabolism. The levels of related metabolites in those pathways were remarkably higher in the warm season compared to the cold season. The comprehensive analysis of 16S rRNA and the metabolome reveals there is a significant correlation between differential microbiota and differential metabolites. Therefore, the gut microbiota changes caused by seasonal changes influenced the metabolites as well. This research reveals the function of seasonal changes in the intestinal flora and metabolites in the adaptation of Tibetan antelopes to environmental fluctuations and supplies a theoretical basis for instructing the protection management of Tibetan antelopes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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31 pages, 1081 KiB  
Review
An Overview of Canine Inherited Neurological Disorders with Known Causal Variants
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223568 - 18 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1756
Abstract
Hereditary neurological conditions documented in dogs encompass congenital, neonatal, and late-onset disorders, along with both progressive and non-progressive forms. In order to identify the causal variant of a disease, the main two approaches are genome-wide investigations and candidate gene investigation. Online Mendelian Inheritance [...] Read more.
Hereditary neurological conditions documented in dogs encompass congenital, neonatal, and late-onset disorders, along with both progressive and non-progressive forms. In order to identify the causal variant of a disease, the main two approaches are genome-wide investigations and candidate gene investigation. Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals currently lists 418 Mendelian disorders specific to dogs, of which 355 have their likely causal genetic variant identified. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge on the canine nervous system phenes and their genetic causal variant. It has been noted that the majority of these diseases have an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Additionally, the dog breeds that are more prone to develop such diseases are the Golden Retriever, in which six inherited neurological disorders with a known causal variant have been documented, and the Belgian Shepherd, in which five such disorders have been documented. DNA tests can play a vital role in effectively managing and ultimately eradicating inherited diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Companion Animal Genetic Diseases)
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11 pages, 3696 KiB  
Article
Communities of Uropodina (Acari: Mesostigmata) in Nest Boxes Inhabited by Dormice (Glis glis and Muscardinus avellanarius) and Differences in Percentages of Nidicoles in Nests of Various Hosts
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3567; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223567 - 18 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 594
Abstract
Bird and mammal nests and nest boxes constitute microenvironments in which various groups of invertebrates can live, including mites from the suborder Uropodina (Acari: Mesostigmata). The main aim of the current study was to ascertain the characteristics of mite communities from the suborder [...] Read more.
Bird and mammal nests and nest boxes constitute microenvironments in which various groups of invertebrates can live, including mites from the suborder Uropodina (Acari: Mesostigmata). The main aim of the current study was to ascertain the characteristics of mite communities from the suborder Uropodina, which inhabit the nests of dormice (Gliridae) built in nest boxes. The second aim of the study was to compare the habitat preferences of Leiodinychus orbicularis (C. L. Koch) and Apionoseius infirmus (Berlese), i.e., two typically nest-dwelling species of Uropodina. The material for the study was collected from nest boxes in six forest complexes in southwestern Poland. The conducted research revealed the presence of five species of Uropodina, with a total number of 559 specimens, in the examined boxes. Leiodinychus orbicularis was found in almost half of all of the examined boxes and was a superdominant species in the communities. The analysis of the habitat preferences of the two nest species of Uropodina showed that A. infirmus preferred old natural nests, in which the communities were formed from a larger number of species, without a significant statistical prevalence of one species. On the other hand, L. orbicularis occurred sporadically in open bird nests, but was very numerous and frequent in nest boxes. The significant dominance of L. orbicularis in nest boxes can probably be explained by the specific conditions prevailing in this type of microhabitat, including the very low humidity and food resources that this mite species prefers compared to other species of Uropodina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Behaviour of Mites)
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12 pages, 4700 KiB  
Article
Hemoparasites Do Not Affect Life-History Traits and Cellular Immune Response in Treefrog Hosts Boana cordobae
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3566; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223566 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 635
Abstract
We provide the first evidence for hemoparasites in the endemic Cordoba treefrog Boana cordobae. We collected 37 adult frogs at 1200 m a.s.l. in the Comechingones Mountains in the Córdoba province (Argentina). Each individual was sexed, then snout–vent length and body mass [...] Read more.
We provide the first evidence for hemoparasites in the endemic Cordoba treefrog Boana cordobae. We collected 37 adult frogs at 1200 m a.s.l. in the Comechingones Mountains in the Córdoba province (Argentina). Each individual was sexed, then snout–vent length and body mass were recorded, a toe was collected for skeletochronological age determination, and a slide with a blood smear was prepared for hemoparasite screening, before releasing the frogs in situ. A total of 81% (n = 30) of the frogs were infected by hemogregarines and trypanosomes with a high intensity of infections. Dactylosoma was found for the first time in Argentina. Hemoparasites had no significant effect on the leukocyte profile, which we assessed from the May–Grünwald–Giemsa-stained blood smears. The neutrophils/lymphocytes ratio, indicative of stress, was insignificantly higher (0.06) in parasitized frogs than in parasite-free individuals (0.04). Infected frogs were larger than the controls, but this effect vanished when correcting size data for age. Young frogs (first-breeders) dominated the age distribution of parasite-free individuals, suggesting that infection of frogs takes usually place after sexual maturation. Vectors transmitting hemoparasites to B. cordobae remain to be identified. We demonstrate that moderate to high intensities of hemoparasites do not significantly affect the cellular immune response of B. cordobae, or any of the life-history traits studied, nor did they show any external sign of disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Herpetology)
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21 pages, 9802 KiB  
Article
Antibacterial Activity of Rainbow Trout Plasma: In Vitro Assays and Proteomic Analysis
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3565; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223565 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 789
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the bactericidal activity of blood plasma from cultured rainbow trout obtained from two different fish farms. Plasma from trout naturally infected with the bacterial pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum was found to inhibit the growth of Aeromonas [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the bactericidal activity of blood plasma from cultured rainbow trout obtained from two different fish farms. Plasma from trout naturally infected with the bacterial pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum was found to inhibit the growth of Aeromonas hydrophila in vitro. Incubation of A. hydrophila in bacteriostatic trout plasma resulted in agglutination and growth retardation, without causing massive damage to the cell membrane. The proteome of the plasma with high antimicrobial activity revealed an abundance of high-density apolipoproteins, some isoforms of immunoglobulins, complement components C1q and C4, coagulation factors, lectins, periostin, and hemoglobin. Analysis of trout proteins retained on A. hydrophila cells revealed the presence of fish immunoglobulins, lectins, and complement components on bacteria whose growth was inhibited, although the native membrane attack complex of immunised trout plasma did not assemble effectively, resulting in a weak bactericidal effect. Furthermore, this study examined the bacterial response to trout plasma and suggested that the protein synthesis pathway was the target of antimicrobial proteins from fish blood. Taken together, these findings illustrate the advantages of the affinity approach for understanding the role of plasma proteins in host defence against pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Innate Immune Responses of Fish to Infectious Diseases)
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17 pages, 1425 KiB  
Review
Importance of Genetic–Fitness Correlations for the Conservation of Amphibians
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3564; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223564 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 735
Abstract
Endangered animals suffer from isolation of their habitats. Isolation leads to a reduction in population size as well as a decrease in genetic diversity and a concomitant increase in the risk of extinction. Amphibians are the most endangered vertebrate class. Besides habitat loss, [...] Read more.
Endangered animals suffer from isolation of their habitats. Isolation leads to a reduction in population size as well as a decrease in genetic diversity and a concomitant increase in the risk of extinction. Amphibians are the most endangered vertebrate class. Besides habitat loss, fragmentation and isolation, amphibians are threatened by emerging diseases e.g., chytrid fungus or Ranavirus. By employing experiments, researchers investigate whether changes in genetic diversity within or among isolated populations affect amphibian fitness. While genetic diversity estimates are based on molecular markers, typically microsatellites, fitness is mostly measured as tadpole performance in rearing experiments often under varying environmental conditions. Tadpole performances (e.g., body mass, growth rate and survival) have been found to be negatively affected by low genetic diversity, as several studies have found a positive association between genetic diversity and these fitness traits. Moreover, infection with pathogens also seems to be more likely in individuals or populations with lower genetic diversity. Overall, these genetic–fitness correlations seem to be more pronounced or detectable in smaller, declining populations but not in larger populations. Genomic studies, which sample a larger fraction of the genome, are still scarce in the conservation genetic literature on amphibians. These are likely to increase in upcoming years and may reveal adaptive variants that protect against dangerous pathogens or environmental changes. Altogether, genetic–fitness correlation studies should be a priority in order to develop effective management plans for the genetic rescue of isolated, imperilled amphibian populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution, Diversity, and Conservation of Herpetofauna)
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17 pages, 1569 KiB  
Article
Alterations in Gene Expression and the Fatty Acid Profile Impact but Do Not Compromise the In Vitro Maturation of Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Stage III Ovarian Follicles after Cryopreservation
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3563; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223563 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 700
Abstract
The vitrification of ovarian follicles is a strategic tool that may contribute to advances in aquaculture and the conservation of many important species. Despite the difficulties inherent to the cryopreservation of oocytes, some successful protocols have been developed for different species, but little [...] Read more.
The vitrification of ovarian follicles is a strategic tool that may contribute to advances in aquaculture and the conservation of many important species. Despite the difficulties inherent to the cryopreservation of oocytes, some successful protocols have been developed for different species, but little is known about the capacity of oocytes to develop after thawing. Therefore, the profiles of the reproductive pathway genes and fatty acid membrane composition during the initial stages of development were analyzed in fresh ovarian follicles and follicles after the vitrification process. There were differences in the expression of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonad axis genes during the follicular development in the control group as well as in the vitrified group. Similarly, alterations in the composition of fatty acids were observed after vitrification. Despite this, many alterations were observed in the vitrified group; more than half of the stage III ovarian follicles were able to grow and mature in vitro. Therefore, the vitrification of ovarian follicles may impact them at molecular and membrane levels, but it does not compromise their capability for in vitro maturation, which indicates that the technique can be a strategic tool for aquaculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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13 pages, 2703 KiB  
Article
Tryptophan and Cortisol Modulate the Kynurenine and Serotonin Transcriptional Pathway in the Kidney of Oncorhynchus kisutch
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223562 - 18 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 580
Abstract
Aquaculture fish are kept for long periods in sea cages or tanks. Consequently, accumulated stress causes the fish to present serious problems with critical economic losses. Fish food has been supplemented to reduce this stress, using many components as amino acids such as [...] Read more.
Aquaculture fish are kept for long periods in sea cages or tanks. Consequently, accumulated stress causes the fish to present serious problems with critical economic losses. Fish food has been supplemented to reduce this stress, using many components as amino acids such as tryptophan. This study aims to determine the transcriptional effect of tryptophan and cortisol on primary cell cultures of salmon head and posterior kidney. Our results indicate activation of the kynurenine pathway and serotonin activity when stimulated with tryptophan and cortisol. An amount of 95% of tryptophan is degraded by the kynurenine pathway, indicating the relevance of knowing how this pathway is activated and if stress levels associated with fish culture trigger its activation. Additionally, it is essential to know the consequence of increasing kynurenic acid “KYNA” levels in the short and long term, and even during the fish ontogeny. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino Acid Supplementation in Fish Nutrition and Welfare)
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13 pages, 976 KiB  
Article
Reproduction and Productivity in Dairy Cattle after Abortions Both Related and Unrelated to Coxiella burnetii
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3561; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223561 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 856
Abstract
C. burnetii is a widespread pathogen, causing abortions and reproductive disorders in ruminants. The study aimed to evaluate animal reproductive capacity and productivity after abortion, related and unrelated to C. burnetii. We compared data about the abortion time, the outcome of the [...] Read more.
C. burnetii is a widespread pathogen, causing abortions and reproductive disorders in ruminants. The study aimed to evaluate animal reproductive capacity and productivity after abortion, related and unrelated to C. burnetii. We compared data about the abortion time, the outcome of the animals after an abortion, further reproduction, and productivity for C. burnetii-positive (n = 148) and C. burnetii-negative (n = 149) aborted dairy cows and heifers. C. burnetii-positive animals had a positive serological response or presence of C. burnetii DNA at the time of abortion. C. burnetii-positive animals had a significantly higher number of lactations at the time of abortion. However, in the other indicators, we observed no significant differences between the groups. Comparing indicators of all the aborted animals, we found that if animals started a new lactation after abortion, they had a significantly lower milk yield, lower fat, protein, and somatic cell counts (SCCs) in milk during the standard lactation for both primiparous and multiparous cows compared to herd averages in each group. Lower SCCs can be due to animals with a high SCC being culled earlier. We found an economic disadvantage to aborting, not only because of the loss of offspring, but also because of the high culling rate and lower productivity in both primiparous and multiparous cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coxiella burnetii and Its Impact on Cattle Reproductive System)
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