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Animals, Volume 13, Issue 24 (December-2 2023) – 144 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This study aimed to establish a differential somatic cell count (DSCC) threshold for detecting subclinical mastitis in dairy sheep. A total of 5,874 milk samples were collected from 60 Sicilian farms. SCC and DSCC were determined using a Fossomatic 7 DC analyzer. In order to distinguish healthy animals from animals with mastitis, the prevalence of mastitis was estimated using four different SCC cut-off values that were identified in previous studies: 265 × 103, 500 × 103, 645 × 103, and 1000 × 103 cells/mL. The optimal DSCC threshold for differentiating between healthy and infected animals was found to be 79.8%, regardless of the SCC cut-off value used. This threshold showed a sensitivity of 0.84, a specificity of 0.81, a positive predictive value of 0.69, and a negative predictive value of 0.91. The AUC value for the DSCC threshold of 79.8% was 0.88. View this paper
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16 pages, 4413 KiB  
Article
Lingual Ultrastructural and Histochemical Study in the Patagonian Mara (Rodentia: Caviidae, Dolichotis patagonum) in Relation to Other Hystricomorphs
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3889; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243889 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 582
Abstract
The study describes the ultrastructure of the tongue in the Patagonian mara (Dolichotis patagonum) using light and scanning electron microscopy. Histochemical methods were used for evaluation of lingual salivary glands. The tongue is divided into a small and rounded apex, a [...] Read more.
The study describes the ultrastructure of the tongue in the Patagonian mara (Dolichotis patagonum) using light and scanning electron microscopy. Histochemical methods were used for evaluation of lingual salivary glands. The tongue is divided into a small and rounded apex, a narrow corpus, and a significantly wider radix, with a well-developed lingual prominence. The tip of the apex is free of papillae. The caudal part of the apex and the corpus are covered by filiform papillae. Round fungiform papillae are scattered among them. Papillae on the narrow stalk are conical. The radix contains caudally bent papillae forming wide flat prominences, slender, hook shaped filiform papillae, foliate papillae, and two oval vallate papillae. Taste buds were found on the lateral sides of the foliate and vallate papillae. Purely serous salivary glands are beneath the vallate and foliate papillae. Serous acini and mucous tubules are in the lingual radix. The Patagonian mara is the only hystricomorph rodent with described hyaline cartilage strengthening the lingual radix. Some typical signs of adaptation to herbivorous diet were found. The structure of the tongue is adapted to grass-feeding, as grasses form the main component of their diet. Full article
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14 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Fish Oil Supplementation as an Omega-3 Fatty Acid Source during Gestation: Effects on the Performance of Awassi Ewes and Their Offspring
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3888; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243888 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 717
Abstract
The primary aim of this research was to assess the impact of supplementing fish oil into the diet of pregnant Awassi ewes on various aspects of the dam’s productive performance, offspring birth weight, colostrum yield and quality, milk production and composition, postpartum offspring [...] Read more.
The primary aim of this research was to assess the impact of supplementing fish oil into the diet of pregnant Awassi ewes on various aspects of the dam’s productive performance, offspring birth weight, colostrum yield and quality, milk production and composition, postpartum offspring performance, and the composition of fatty acids in milk. In this study, two different fat sources, namely palm oil (PO) and fish oil (FO), were utilized, with both being included at a rate of 2.4% of dietary dry matter (DM) during the initial 65 days of gestation (early gestation stage), and then at 2.1% DM from day 65 of gestation until lambing (late gestation stage). The study subjects were Awassi ewes with a body weight (BW) averaging 57 ± 1.5 kg and an age of 3.5 ± 1.2 years. These ewes were randomly assigned to one of four dietary treatments: (i) a diet containing only palm oil from day 0 to day 150 of pregnancy (PO, n = 15); (ii) a diet containing palm oil from day 0 to day 65 of pregnancy, followed by a diet containing fish oil from day 66 to day 150 of pregnancy (POFO, n = 16); (iii) a diet containing fish oil from day 0 to day 65 of pregnancy, followed by a diet containing palm oil from day 66 to day 150 of pregnancy (FOPO, n = 16); (iv) a diet containing only fish oil from day 0 to day 150 of pregnancy (FO, n = 16). Within each treatment, ewes were housed in three replicates, with each replicate further divided into three subgroups. The first two subgroups each contained eight ewes, while the third subgroup contained nine ewes. In addition, each treatment contained 10 primiparous and 15 multiparous ewes. The results indicated that the POFO treatment led to significant increases (p < 0.05) in birth weight, gestation length, and colostrum IgG concentration. However, it also resulted in a decrease (p < 0.001) in colostrum production and a reduction (p < 0.001) in the percentage of milk fat and milk protein. Furthermore, the milk from the POFO treatment exhibited higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (p < 0.001) compared to the PO and FOPO treatments, while the milk saturated fatty acids (SFA) were lower (p < 0.001). In conclusion, the addition of fish oil at a rate of 2.1% DM during the late pregnancy period showed promise for enhancing birth weight, colostrum IgG concentration, and the PUFA content in the milk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
16 pages, 2622 KiB  
Article
Resveratrol Improves the Frozen-Thawed Ram Sperm Quality
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3887; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243887 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 666
Abstract
Cryopreservation generates a substantial quantity of ROS in semen, leading to a decline in sperm quality and fertilization capacity. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of resveratrol and its optimal concentration on ram sperm quality after cryopreservation. Ram semen [...] Read more.
Cryopreservation generates a substantial quantity of ROS in semen, leading to a decline in sperm quality and fertilization capacity. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of resveratrol and its optimal concentration on ram sperm quality after cryopreservation. Ram semen was diluted with a freezing medium containing different concentrations of resveratrol (0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 μM). After thawing, various sperm parameters such as total motility, progressive motility, acrosome integrity, plasma membrane integrity, mitochondrial membrane potential, glutathione (GSH) content, glutathione synthase (GPx) activity, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, catalase (CAT) activity, lipid peroxidation (LPO) content, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, ROS level, SIRT1 level, DNA oxidative damage, and AMPK phosphorylation level were assessed. In addition, post-thaw sperm apoptosis was evaluated. Comparatively, the addition of resveratrol up to 75 μM significantly improved the sperm motility and sperm parameters of cryopreserved ram sperm. Specifically, 50 μM resveratrol demonstrated a notable enhancement in acrosome and plasma membrane integrity, antioxidant capacity, mitochondrial membrane potential, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content, SIRT1 level, and AMPK phosphorylation levels compared to the control group (p < 0.05). It also significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the oxidative damage to sperm DNA. However, detrimental effects of resveratrol were observed at a concentration of 100 μM resveratrol. In conclusion, the addition of 50 μM resveratrol to the cryopreservation solution is optimal for enhancing the quality of cryopreserved ram sperm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Reproduction: Semen Quality Assessment, Volume II)
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15 pages, 1562 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Protein Levels on Growth, Digestive Enzyme Activity, Antioxidant Capacity, and Gene Expression Related to Muscle Growth and Protein Synthesis of Juvenile Greasyback Shrimp (Metapenaeus ensis)
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3886; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243886 - 18 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 748
Abstract
An 8-week feeding trial was conducted to assess the effects on growth, antioxidant capacity, digestive enzyme activity, and gene expression related to muscle growth and protein synthesis of juvenile greasyback shrimp (Metapenaeus ensis) using five experimental diets containing 29.37%, 34.30%, 39.11%, [...] Read more.
An 8-week feeding trial was conducted to assess the effects on growth, antioxidant capacity, digestive enzyme activity, and gene expression related to muscle growth and protein synthesis of juvenile greasyback shrimp (Metapenaeus ensis) using five experimental diets containing 29.37%, 34.30%, 39.11%, 44.05%, and 49.32% of protein. The results demonstrated that juvenile greasyback shrimp consuming 39.11%, 44.05%, and 49.32% dietary protein had a significantly higher final body weight (FBW), weight gain (WG), feed conversion ratio (FCR), and specific growth rate (SGR) than other groups (p < 0.05). The protein efficiency ratio (PER) showed a significantly quadratic pattern with increasing dietary protein levels (p < 0.05). The highest trypsin and pepsin activities were observed in the group with a protein level of 44.05% (p < 0.05). Relatively higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was found in groups with protein levels of 39.11% (p < 0.05). Alkaline phosphatase (AKP) and catalase (CAT) activity showed a significantly linear increasing pattern with increasing protein intake up to 44.05%, and then decreased gradually (p < 0.05). Compared to the dietary 29.37% protein level, the expression levels of myogenic regulatory factors (mef2α, mlc, and myf5) and mTOR pathway (mtor, s6k, akt, and pi3k)-related genes were significantly up-regulated in muscle with 39.11%, 44.05%, and 49.32% dietary protein levels (p < 0.05). The AAR pathway (gcn2, eif2α, and atf4)-related gene expression levels were significantly lower in muscles with 39.11%, 44.05%, and 49.32% protein levels than in other groups (p < 0.05). Based on the broken-line regression analysis of SGR, the estimated appropriate dietary protein requirement for juvenile greasyback shrimp is 38.59%. Full article
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16 pages, 635 KiB  
Article
Total Selenium Level and Its Distribution between Organs in Beef Cattle in Different Selenium Status
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3885; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243885 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the Se concentration in the main tissues of beef cattle and to evaluate the differences in tissue distribution between animals with different selenium status. Selenium concentration was determined in the serum, longissimus dorsi muscle, semitendinosus [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the Se concentration in the main tissues of beef cattle and to evaluate the differences in tissue distribution between animals with different selenium status. Selenium concentration was determined in the serum, longissimus dorsi muscle, semitendinosus muscle, kidney, heart, liver, spleen and lungs of cows, heifers and beef bulls, using spectrofluorimetric method. Despite receiving supplementation, 55.6% animals demonstrated an optimal Se level, while 44.4% were deficient. The mean serum Se concentration was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in animals with a normal Se status than in Se-deficient animals. Differences in Se tissue distribution were observed between Se-deficient animals and those with normal Se status. The organs most susceptible to Se deficiency are the semitendinosus muscle, lungs, heart and liver. In both normal and Se-deficient animals, significantly higher Se concentrations were observed in the kidney than other organs (p < 0.05), and the lowest in the muscles. As Se deficiencies can be found among supplemented animals, the level of Se should be monitored in beef cattle in order to detect possible Se deficiencies, which may have negative health effects for animals and reduce the value of animal products as a source of Se in the human diet. Full article
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19 pages, 2717 KiB  
Article
Effect of an Alliaceae Encapsulated Extract on Growth Performance, Gut Health, and Intestinal Microbiota in Broiler Chickens Challenged with Eimeria spp.
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243884 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 778
Abstract
This study analyzed the effects of an Alliaceae encapsulated extract (AE-e) on daily gain (ADG), feed intake (ADFI), feed conversion ratio (FCR), oocysts per gram of feces (OPG), intestinal lesion (LS), and microbiota composition in broilers challenged with Eimeria spp. A total of [...] Read more.
This study analyzed the effects of an Alliaceae encapsulated extract (AE-e) on daily gain (ADG), feed intake (ADFI), feed conversion ratio (FCR), oocysts per gram of feces (OPG), intestinal lesion (LS), and microbiota composition in broilers challenged with Eimeria spp. A total of 4800 one day Cobb-500 were allotted into 10 treatment groups with 12 replicates of 40 birds in a 2 × 4 + 2 factorial arrangement. The first factor was non-challenged (NC) or challenged (C), the second was four levels of AE-e added in the basal diet, 0 (AE0), 250 (AE250), 500 (AE500), and 750 mg·kg−1 (AE750), plus two ionophore controls, non-challenged (NC-Ion) and challenged (C-Ion). No interactions were observed between factors (NC0, NC250, NC500, NC750, C0, C250, C500, and C750), while C-Ion improved FCR at 21 d. The challenge affected negatively ADG and FCR and promoted enteropathogens in cecum. AE750 improved FCR in the finisher and cumulative phases, while C-Ion had fewer total OPG than C0 and C250. Likewise, at 21d, C250, C500, and C-Ion had fewer LS than C0, while at 28 d, C750 showed lower than C-Ion. In the cecum microbiota, C500 had more Ruminococcus, Firmicutes b, and Intestinimonas than C-Ion. In summary, AE-e showed beneficial results in broilers infected with Eimeria spp. Full article
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14 pages, 1171 KiB  
Article
Effects of the Addition of Crude Fibre Concentrate on Performance, Welfare and Selected Caecal Bacteria of Broilers
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3883; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243883 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 917
Abstract
The study evaluated the effects of crude fibre concentrate supplementation on final body weight, mortality, feed conversion ratio, European Production Efficiency Factor, European Broiler Index, welfare parameters, colony-forming units of selected caecal bacteria (Enterobacteriaceae and lactic acid bacteria) and pH of broiler [...] Read more.
The study evaluated the effects of crude fibre concentrate supplementation on final body weight, mortality, feed conversion ratio, European Production Efficiency Factor, European Broiler Index, welfare parameters, colony-forming units of selected caecal bacteria (Enterobacteriaceae and lactic acid bacteria) and pH of broiler faeces and litter. The study comprised 990 Ross 308 male chicks divided into three groups, a control and two experimental groups, which were given crude fibre concentrate as a feed supplement. On the thirty-fifth day of rearing, the birds’ welfare scores were evaluated, and 2 g of cecum was collected post-mortem from six chickens in each group. Subsequently, a series of ten-fold dilutions of the material was prepared, followed by cultures and measurement of pH in the faeces and litter. The inclusion of crude fibre concentrate resulted in a beneficial impact on the ultimate body mass (p ≤ 0.001), welfare standard (p ≤ 0.001), and quantity of colony-forming units of lactic acid bacteria (p ≤ 0.05) within the cecum. Furthermore, it had a positive influence on lowering the pH levels of both faeces and litter (p ≤ 0.05). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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15 pages, 11201 KiB  
Article
Exencephaly–Anencephaly Sequence Associated with Maxillary Brachygnathia, Spinal Defects, and Palatoschisis in a Male Domestic Cat
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3882; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243882 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1137
Abstract
Anencephaly, a severe neural tube defect characterized by the absence of major parts of the brain and skull, is a rare congenital disorder that has been observed in various species, including cats. Considering the uncommon appearance of anencephaly, this paper aims to present [...] Read more.
Anencephaly, a severe neural tube defect characterized by the absence of major parts of the brain and skull, is a rare congenital disorder that has been observed in various species, including cats. Considering the uncommon appearance of anencephaly, this paper aims to present anencephaly in a stillborn male kitten from an accidental inbreeding using various paraclinical methods. Histological examination of tissue samples from the cranial region, where parts of the skull were absent, revealed the presence of atypical nerve tissue with neurons and glial cells organized in clusters, surrounded by an extracellular matrix and with an abundance of blood vessels, which are large, dilated, and filled with blood, not characteristic of nerve tissue structure. In CT scans, the caudal part of the frontal bone, the fronto-temporal limits, and the parietal bone were observed to be missing. CT also revealed that the dorsal tubercle of the atlas, the dorsal neural arch, and the spinal process of the C2–C7 bones were missing. In conclusion, the kitten was affected by multiple congenital malformations, a combination of exencephaly–anencephaly, maxillary brachygnathism, closed cranial spina bifida at the level of cervical vertebrae, kyphoscoliosis, palatoschisis, and partial intestinal atresia. The importance of employing imaging techniques cannot be overstated when it comes to the accurate diagnosis of neural tube defects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Complex Congenital Defects in Animals)
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11 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Fresh Hemp Leaf Supplementation (Cannabis sativa) on the Physiological and Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality in Transported Goats
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3881; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243881 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Transportation stress adversely affects animal health, productivity, and meat quality. Bioactive plant compounds may alleviate transit stress in livestock. This study evaluated the effects of fresh hemp leaf supplementation on blood metabolites, performance, carcass traits, and meat quality in transported goats. Twenty male [...] Read more.
Transportation stress adversely affects animal health, productivity, and meat quality. Bioactive plant compounds may alleviate transit stress in livestock. This study evaluated the effects of fresh hemp leaf supplementation on blood metabolites, performance, carcass traits, and meat quality in transported goats. Twenty male goats (15 ± 2.76 kgBW) were investigated, some were given a hemp supplement (n = 10) and the remaining goats were used as a control group (n = 10). The hemp group received 10 g/30 kg body weight of fresh leaves prior to transportation. Blood samples were analyzed before and after the 200 km journey. The goats were slaughtered after transit and the quality of the meat examined. In the controlled group, transportation increased neutrophils and electrolytes, but decreased lymphocytes and hemoglobin. In contrast in the hemp-supplemented group, the hemp maintained this animal blood parameters. Body weight and carcass yield, however, did not differ between the two groups. Hemp reduced meat redness at 1 h postmortem but had minimal effects on its pH, color, water holding capacity, tenderness, and texture after 24 h. However, hemp supplementation did alter the odor profiles between the two groups detected by electronic nose sensors. In conclusion, fresh hemp leaf supplementation maintained blood metabolites and had minor advantageous effects on meat quality in response to transportation stress in goats. Further investigation using hemp supplements shows potential to alleviate transit stress, although higher doses may be required in order to further enhance its benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Nutraceuticals and Animal Physiology: Performance and Welfare)
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15 pages, 4447 KiB  
Article
C-Type Natriuretic Peptide Pre-Treatment Improves Maturation Rate of Goat Oocytes by Maintaining Transzonal Projections, Spindle Morphology, and Mitochondrial Function
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243880 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 698
Abstract
C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) is a peptide molecule naturally found in follicles and can be used to extend meiotic resumption and enhance the potential for oocytes to develop. However, the mechanism by which CNP improves goat oocyte quality remains unclear. In this study, [...] Read more.
C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) is a peptide molecule naturally found in follicles and can be used to extend meiotic resumption and enhance the potential for oocytes to develop. However, the mechanism by which CNP improves goat oocyte quality remains unclear. In this study, cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) from goats were pre-treated with CNP prior to IVM, and the results showed that pre-treatment with CNP enhanced goat oocyte maturation. First, we discovered that CNP maintained communication between cumulus cells and oocytes by regulating the transzonal projections (TZPs). We then found that CNP treatment reduced abnormal spindle formation and increased the expression of genes associated with spindle assembly and the spindle assembly checkpoint. Moreover, further analysis showed that oocytes exhibited better antioxidant ability in the CNP treatment group, which mainly manifested in higher glutathione (GSH) and lower reactive oxygen species (ROS) concentrations. Enhanced mitochondrial activity was signified via the augmented expression of mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and fusion and fission-related genes, thus diminishing the apoptosis of the oocytes. Overall, these results provide novel insights into the potential mechanism by which CNP treatment before IVM can improve oocyte quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in In Vitro Oocyte Development in Domestic Animals)
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19 pages, 5559 KiB  
Article
Impact of Season on Intestinal Bacterial Communities and Pathogenic Diversity in Two Captive Duck Species
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3879; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243879 - 16 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 578
Abstract
Vertebrates and their gut bacteria interact in complex and mutually beneficial ways. The intestinal microbial composition is influenced by several external influences. In addition to food, the abiotic elements of the environment, such as temperature, humidity, and seasonal fluctuation are also important determinants. [...] Read more.
Vertebrates and their gut bacteria interact in complex and mutually beneficial ways. The intestinal microbial composition is influenced by several external influences. In addition to food, the abiotic elements of the environment, such as temperature, humidity, and seasonal fluctuation are also important determinants. Fecal samples were collected from two captive duck species, Baikal teal (Sibirionetta formosa) and common teal (Anas crecca) across four seasons (summer, autumn, winter, and spring). These ducks were consistently fed the same diet throughout the entire experiment. High throughput sequencing (Illumina Mi-seq) was employed to analyze the V4–V5 region of the 16sRNA gene. The dominant phyla in all seasons were Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. Interestingly, the alpha diversity was higher in winter for both species. The NMDS, PCoA, and ANOSIM analysis showed the distinct clustering of bacterial composition between different seasons, while no significant differences were discovered between duck species within the same season. In addition, LefSe analysis demonstrated specific biomarkers in different seasons, with the highest number revealed in winter. The co-occurrence network analysis also showed that during winter, the network illustrated a more intricate structure with the greatest number of nodes and edges. However, this study identified ten potentially pathogenic bacterial species, which showed significantly enhanced diversity and abundance throughout the summer. Overall, our results revealed that season mainly regulated the intestinal bacterial community composition and pathogenic bacteria of captive ducks under the instant diet. This study provides an important new understanding of the seasonal variations in captive wild ducks’ intestinal bacterial community structure. The information available here may be essential data for preventing and controlling infections caused by pathogenic bacteria in captive waterbirds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Birds)
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9 pages, 1104 KiB  
Article
Comparative Assessment of Oxidative and Antioxidant Parameters in Mule and Horse Neonates during Their First Month of Extrauterine Adaptation
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3878; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243878 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 573
Abstract
After parturition, a rapid transition occurs from the intrauterine to the extrauterine milieu, exposing neonates to physiological circumstances characterized by oxidative conditions that instigate the generation of reactive oxygen species. These free radicals play pivotal roles in physiological processes; however, an imbalance between [...] Read more.
After parturition, a rapid transition occurs from the intrauterine to the extrauterine milieu, exposing neonates to physiological circumstances characterized by oxidative conditions that instigate the generation of reactive oxygen species. These free radicals play pivotal roles in physiological processes; however, an imbalance between their production and the removal of antioxidants can result in severe cellular damage. The main objective of this study was to compare the oxidative and antioxidant profiles in mule and horse neonates immediately post-parturition, as well as at subsequent time points (1, 6, 12, and 24 h, 7 and 30 days) during their extrauterine existence. The parameters assessed included the systemic concentrations of Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances (TBARS) and carbonyl groups; the activities of the antioxidants superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx); and the levels of the total, indirect, and direct bilirubin. Our results showed no interaction effect between the neonatal groups and the assessed time points for the variables under investigation. Notably, the concentrations of TBARS, as a marker of lipid peroxidation, and bilirubin were consistently lower in the mules, whereas the glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity exhibited higher levels in this group. The bilirubin levels were notably reduced in the mule neonates. The TBARS demonstrated a progressive decrease over the observation period in both groups, while the GPx activity remained relatively stable from birth to 7 days, with a substantial increase evident at the 30-day mark. Protein oxidation was not affected by the group and time, while for the SOD values, all times were statistically similar, except for the lower activity at T1h. Consequently, our findings lead us to the conclusion that neonatal mules and horses manifest distinct patterns of oxidative activity and antioxidant capacity during the initial month of their extrauterine existence, potentially indicative of different adaptation mechanisms to the extrauterine environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Research Advances in Donkey and Mule Science and Medicine)
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25 pages, 2070 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Genetic Diversity in Quill Mites of the Genus Syringophiloidus Kethley, 1970 (Prostigmata: Syringophilidae) with Six New-to-Science Species
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243877 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 555
Abstract
Quill mites (Acariformes: Syringophilidae) are poorly explored bird parasites. Syringophiloidus Kethley, 1970, is the most specious and widespread genus in this family. It is believed to contain mono-, steno- and poly-xenous parasites and thus seems to be an exemplary for studies on biodiversity [...] Read more.
Quill mites (Acariformes: Syringophilidae) are poorly explored bird parasites. Syringophiloidus Kethley, 1970, is the most specious and widespread genus in this family. It is believed to contain mono-, steno- and poly-xenous parasites and thus seems to be an exemplary for studies on biodiversity and host associations. In this work, we applied the DNA barcode marker (mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene fragment, COI) to analyze the species composition and host specificity of representatives of fifteen Syringophiloidus populations parasitizing fifteen bird species. The neighbor joining analyses distinguished thirteen monophyletic lineages, almost completely corresponding to seven previously known species recognized based on morphological features, and six new-to-science species. The only exception is S. amazilia Skoracki, 2017, which is most likely conspecific with Syringophiloidus stawarczyki Skoracki, 2004. The intraspecific distances of all species were not higher than 0.9%, whilst the interspecific diversity ranged from 5.9% to 19.2% and 6.3–22.4%, inferred as the distances p and K2P, respectively. Although all putative species (except S. amazilia) are highly supported, the relationships between them have not been fully resolved and only faintly indicate that both host phylogeny and distributions influence the phylogenetic structure of quill mite taxa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Behaviour of Mites)
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24 pages, 3318 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Seasonal and Spatial Dynamics of Zooplankton through DNA Metabarcoding in a Temperate Estuary
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3876; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243876 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 854
Abstract
Zooplankton are key components of estuarine trophic networks. However, routine monitoring is hindered by the difficulty of morphology-based identification. DNA-based methods allow us to circumvent some of these hurdles, providing precise species identifications regardless of the taxonomic expertise of the investigator or the [...] Read more.
Zooplankton are key components of estuarine trophic networks. However, routine monitoring is hindered by the difficulty of morphology-based identification. DNA-based methods allow us to circumvent some of these hurdles, providing precise species identifications regardless of the taxonomic expertise of the investigator or the developmental stage of the specimens. However, the process is dependent on the completeness of the reference libraries. In this study, we sought to evaluate the potential of DNA metabarcoding to assess the seasonal (summer, autumn, and early spring) and spatial dynamics of zooplankton (four locations spanning ca. 6 km) in the Lima estuary (NW Portugal). Two genetic markers were used: the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and the V4 hypervariable region of the ribosomal 18S rRNA genes. Overall, 327 species were recovered, and both markers displayed minute overlap (7% were detected with both markers). Species richness, composition, and taxonomic distinctness were majorly influenced by the season, with a declining tendency from summer (highest number of exclusive species, n = 74) to spring. Second to season, the taxa composition was influenced by spatial variation where the most downstream site displayed the highest number of exclusive species, n = 53. A total of 16 non-indigenous species were detected using metabarcoding, but only one (Austrominus modestus) has been documented out in the estuary. In conclusion, both the seasonal and spatial gradients influenced the recovered richness, composition, and taxonomic distinctness, confirming the great aptitude of DNA metabarcoding for providing higher density monitoring and shedding new light on the composition and dynamics of complex zooplankton communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Tools for Monitoring Genetic Diversity in Animals)
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11 pages, 2263 KiB  
Article
Remote Monitoring of Canine Patients Treated for Pruritus during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Florida Using a 3-D Accelerometer
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243875 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 594
Abstract
The medical management of chronic canine pruritic dermatologic conditions is challenging and often frustrating. This is a report that shows one way of aiding the management of pruritic dogs using a remote monitoring device. It is often difficult for veterinarians to get dog [...] Read more.
The medical management of chronic canine pruritic dermatologic conditions is challenging and often frustrating. This is a report that shows one way of aiding the management of pruritic dogs using a remote monitoring device. It is often difficult for veterinarians to get dog owners to return to the clinic once a dog is treated. It is possible that a 3-D accelerometer device could provide information to the clinic staff on the success or failure of a pruritus treatment plan while the dog was cared for at home. Eighty-seven dogs and their owners came to a Florida dermatology specialty clinic or its general practice hospital to be evaluated and treated for pruritus. An ANIMO® 3-D accelerometer was placed on the collar of dogs diagnosed and treated for pruritus. Dogs that completed this study were monitored for 120 days (4 months). The ANIMO smart phone application monitored a dog’s daily scratching, shaking, sleeping, activity, and resting and summarized this information in a daily report visible on the pet owner’s smart phone. An additional variable (grooming minutes per day) could be seen by the study team that was not yet available in the app. The use of a 3-D accelerometer enabled veterinarians to continuously monitor dogs at home when they were being treated for itching. Clinic staff kept in touch with the owners by phone and could change therapy or bring the dog back for a recheck if problems were seen. Daily reports were combined into line charts that showed plots of scratching, shaking, grooming, and sleeping over four months. Veterinarians were able to remotely monitor dogs that had been treated for pruritus for up to four months through use of a collar-borne monitoring device. Dog owners and clinic staff used the daily summaries accessible through a smart phone application. Dogs seemed to tolerate the device well because of its small size, light weight, long battery life, and unobtrusive nature. Full article
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11 pages, 1090 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Automated OvaCyte Telenostic Faecal Analyser versus the McMaster and Mini-FLOTAC Techniques in the Estimation of Helminth Faecal Egg Counts in Equine
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3874; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243874 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 844
Abstract
Gastrointestinal helminth parasites continue to be a significant threat to the health of equine. OvaCyte Telenostic (OCT) (Telenostic Ltd., Kilkenny, Ireland) has developed an automated digital microscope utilising Artificial Intelligence to identify and count the clinically important helminth species in equine, bovine, and [...] Read more.
Gastrointestinal helminth parasites continue to be a significant threat to the health of equine. OvaCyte Telenostic (OCT) (Telenostic Ltd., Kilkenny, Ireland) has developed an automated digital microscope utilising Artificial Intelligence to identify and count the clinically important helminth species in equine, bovine, and ovine host species. In this paper, the performance of the OCT analyser was evaluated for the detection and counting of equine helminth species parasites and its performance compared to the currently accepted benchmark methods of faecal egg counts being the McMaster and the Mini-FLOTAC techniques. A pairwise comparison of tests was assessed based on the correlation of egg counts and Cohen’s kappa agreement statistics for dichotomized outcomes. Bayesian latent class analysis was used to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of all three techniques in the absence of a gold standard for four helminth parasites (strongyles, Anoplocephala spp., Parascaris spp. and Strongyloides westeri). Based on the analysis of 783 equine faecal samples, we found a high level (ρ ≥ 0.94) of correlation between each pairwise comparison of techniques for strongyle egg counts. Cohen’s kappa agreement between techniques was high for strongyles and S. westeri, moderate for Parascaris spp., and low for Anoplocephala spp. All three techniques had a high sensitivity and specificity (>0.90) for strongyles. Across helminth parasites, the sensitivity of the OCT was the highest of the three techniques evaluated for strongyles (0.98 v 0.96 and 0.94), Anoplocephala spp. (0.86 v 0.44 and 0.46) and Parascaris spp. (0.96 v 0.83 and 0.96); but lowest for S. westeri (0.74 v 0.88 and 0.88), compared to McMaster and Mini-FLOTAC, respectively. In terms of specificity, OCT was the lowest in two species (Parascaris spp. 0.96, Anoplocephala spp. 0.95). In conclusion, OCT has a sensitivity and specificity statistically similar to both McMaster and Mini-FLOTAC, and had a higher correlation with Mini-FLOTAC. The OCT point of care faecal analyser offers improved workflow, test turn-around time and does not require trained laboratory personnel to operate or interpret the results Full article
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12 pages, 1869 KiB  
Communication
Consumption of Rodenticide Baits by Invertebrates as a Potential Route into the Diet of Insectivores
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243873 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 699
Abstract
Non-target species are commonly exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides worldwide, which may pose a key threat to declining species. However, the main pathway of exposure is usually unknown, potentially hindering conservation efforts. This study aimed to examine whether baits mixed with the biomarker rhodamine [...] Read more.
Non-target species are commonly exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides worldwide, which may pose a key threat to declining species. However, the main pathway of exposure is usually unknown, potentially hindering conservation efforts. This study aimed to examine whether baits mixed with the biomarker rhodamine B can be used to track invertebrate consumption of rodenticides in a field environment, using this to observe whether invertebrate prey are a potential vector for anticoagulant rodenticides in the diet of insectivores such as the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). Rhodamine B baits were found to create an observable response. Uptake was negligible in captured insects; however, 20.7% of slugs and 18.4% of snails captured showed uptake of bait. Maximum temperature, distance from bait, proximity to buildings, and the addition of copper tape to bait boxes all influenced the rate of bait uptake in molluscs. Based on these data, it seems likely that molluscs could be a source of rodenticide poisoning in insectivores. This research demonstrates which prey may pose exposure risks to insectivores and likely environmental factors, knowledge of which can guide effective mitigation measures. We suggest that further investigation into using mollusc repellents around bait boxes should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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17 pages, 1275 KiB  
Review
Decision Making in Severe Equine Asthma—Diagnosis and Monitoring
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3872; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243872 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 952
Abstract
Decision making consists of gathering quality data in order to correctly assess a situation and determine the best course of action. This process is a fundamental part of medicine and is what enables practitioners to accurately diagnose diseases and select appropriate treatment protocols. [...] Read more.
Decision making consists of gathering quality data in order to correctly assess a situation and determine the best course of action. This process is a fundamental part of medicine and is what enables practitioners to accurately diagnose diseases and select appropriate treatment protocols. Despite severe equine asthma (SEA) being a highly prevalent lower respiratory disease amongst equids, clinicians still struggle with the optimization of routine diagnostic procedures. The use of several ancillary diagnostic tests has been reported for disease identification and monitoring, but many are only suitable for research purposes or lack practicality for everyday use. The aim of this paper is to assist the equine veterinarian in the process of decision making associated with managing SEA-affected patients. This review will focus on disease diagnosis and monitoring, while also presenting a flow-chart which includes the basic data that the clinician must obtain in order to accurately identify severely asthmatic horses in their everyday routine practice. It is important to note that European and American board-certified specialists on equine internal medicine can provide assistance in the diagnosis and treatment plan of SEA-affected horses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Equine Respiratory Disease: Severe Equine Asthma Syndrome)
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12 pages, 577 KiB  
Article
Increased Accuracy of Genomic Prediction Using Preselected SNPs from GWAS with Imputed Whole-Genome Sequence Data in Pigs
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3871; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243871 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Enhancing the accuracy of genomic prediction is a key goal in genomic selection (GS) research. Integrating prior biological information into GS methods using appropriate models can improve prediction accuracy for complex traits. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) is widely utilized to identify potential candidate [...] Read more.
Enhancing the accuracy of genomic prediction is a key goal in genomic selection (GS) research. Integrating prior biological information into GS methods using appropriate models can improve prediction accuracy for complex traits. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) is widely utilized to identify potential candidate loci associated with complex traits in livestock and poultry, offering essential genomic insights. In this study, a GWAS was conducted on 685 Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire (DLY) pigs to extract significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as genomic features. We compared two GS models, genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) and genomic feature BLUP (GFBLUP), by using imputed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data on 651 Yorkshire pigs. The results revealed that the GBLUP model achieved prediction accuracies of 0.499 for backfat thickness (BFT) and 0.423 for loin muscle area (LMA). By applying the GFBLUP model with GWAS-based SNP preselection, the average prediction accuracies for BFT and LMA traits reached 0.491 and 0.440, respectively. Specifically, the GFBLUP model displayed a 4.8% enhancement in predicting LMA compared to the GBLUP model. These findings suggest that, in certain scenarios, the GFBLUP model may offer superior genomic prediction accuracy when compared to the GBLUP model, underscoring the potential value of incorporating genomic features to refine GS models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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15 pages, 333 KiB  
Article
Impacts of Temperature on the Growth, Feed Utilization, Stress, and Hemato-Immune Responses of Cherry Salmon (Oncorhynchus masou)
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3870; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243870 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 526
Abstract
Cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) hold commercial value in aquaculture, and there is a need for controlled laboratory studies to isolate the specific effects of temperature on their growth, feeding, and well-being. We examined the effects of different temperatures (10 °C, 14 [...] Read more.
Cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) hold commercial value in aquaculture, and there is a need for controlled laboratory studies to isolate the specific effects of temperature on their growth, feeding, and well-being. We examined the effects of different temperatures (10 °C, 14 °C, 18 °C, and 22 °C) on juvenile cherry salmon (average mass 29.1 g) in triplicate tanks per treatment over eight weeks. The key parameters assessed included growth rate, feed efficiency, stress response, and hemato-immune responses. Our objectives were to determine the most and less favorable temperatures among the four designated temperatures and to assess the adverse effects associated with these less favorable temperatures. The results showed that body weight, growth rates, feed intake, and feed efficiency were significantly higher at 10 °C and 14 °C compared to 18 °C and 22 °C. Reduced appetite and feeding response were observed at 22 °C. Red blood cell parameters were significantly lower at 22 °C. At 10 °C, the results showed significantly increased plasma cortisol levels, gill Na+/K+-ATPase activity, body silvering, and decreased condition factors, suggesting potential smoltification. The potential smoltification decreased with increasing temperatures and disappeared at 22 °C. Furthermore, the plasma lysozyme concentrations significantly increased at 18 °C and 22 °C. In conclusion, our study identifies 10 °C and 14 °C as the temperatures most conducive to growth and feed performance in juvenile cherry salmon under these experimental conditions. However, temperatures of 22 °C or higher should be avoided to prevent compromised feeding, reduced health, disturbed immune responses, impaired growth, and feed performance. Full article
17 pages, 5791 KiB  
Article
Identification of Potential miRNA–mRNA Regulatory Network Associated with Growth and Development of Hair Follicles in Forest Musk Deer
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3869; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243869 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 730
Abstract
In this study, sRNA libraries and mRNA libraries of HFs of FMD were constructed and sequenced using an Illumina HiSeq 2500, and the expression profiles of miRNAs and genes in the HFs of FMD were obtained at the anagen and catagen stages. In [...] Read more.
In this study, sRNA libraries and mRNA libraries of HFs of FMD were constructed and sequenced using an Illumina HiSeq 2500, and the expression profiles of miRNAs and genes in the HFs of FMD were obtained at the anagen and catagen stages. In total, 565 differentially expressed unigenes (DEGs) were identified, 90 of which were upregulated and 475 of which were downregulated. In the BP category of GO enrichment, the DEGs were enriched in the processes related to HF development and differentiation, including the hair cycle regulation and processes, HF development, skin epidermis development, regulation of HF development, skin development, the Wnt signaling pathway, and the BMP signaling pathway. Through KEGG analysis it was found that DEGs were significantly enriched in pathways associated with HF development and growth. A total of 186 differentially expressed miRNAs (DEmiRNAs) were screened (p < 0.05) in the HFs of FMD at the anagen stage vs. the catagen stage, 33 of which were upregulated and 153 of which were downregulated. Through DEmiRNA–mRNA association analysis, we found DEmiRNAs and target genes that mainly play regulatory roles in HF development and growth. The enrichment analysis of DEmiRNA target genes revealed similarities with the enrichment results of DEGs associated with HF development. Notably, both sets of genes were enriched in key pathways such as the Notch signaling pathway, melanogenesis, the cAMP signaling pathway, and cGMP-PKG. To validate our findings, we selected 11 DEGs and 11 DEmiRNAs for experimental verification using RT-qPCR. The results of the experimental validation were consistent with the RNA-Seq results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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13 pages, 4798 KiB  
Article
Finless Porpoise Bycatch and Stranding along the Shandong Peninsula, China, Based on Public Reports from 2000 to 2018
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3868; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243868 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 677
Abstract
The Shandong Peninsula is located on the western coast of the Pacific and is adjacent to the Bohai Sea (BS) and the Yellow Sea (YS) to the east. The East Asian finless porpoise Neophocaena asiaeorientalis sunameri, a subspecies of the narrow-ridged finless [...] Read more.
The Shandong Peninsula is located on the western coast of the Pacific and is adjacent to the Bohai Sea (BS) and the Yellow Sea (YS) to the east. The East Asian finless porpoise Neophocaena asiaeorientalis sunameri, a subspecies of the narrow-ridged finless porpoise N. asiaeorientalis, is the dominant cetacean resident along the Shandong Peninsula. However, there is insufficient monitoring data to determine the status of the cetacean species in this region. Based on the publicly available literature, media, and internet social website, this study investigated the spatial–temporal distribution of porpoise stranding and bycatch along the coast of the Shandong Peninsula. Data on over five hundred porpoises from two hundred reports between 2000 and 2018 were compiled and analyzed. Results showed that the bycatch and stranding of porpoises occurred widely across the peninsula throughout all months and increased rapidly between 2010 and 2017. The incidents were more frequent in the area where the BS and YS converged during the spring and early summer than in other seasons. The mean body length of bycaught porpoises was smaller than that of those found stranded. Fishing activities could be the principal cause of local finless porpoise incidents. However, limited data hindered a quantitative evaluation of the living conditions of finless porpoises in this area. Establishing a comprehensive monitoring system, which includes standardized reporting, rescue operations, and scientific research, is essential to finless porpoise protection along the Shandong Peninsula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protecting Endangered Species)
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18 pages, 4747 KiB  
Article
Fermented Chinese Herbs Improve the Growth and Immunity of Growing Pigs through Regulating Colon Microbiota and Metabolites
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3867; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243867 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 627
Abstract
(1) Background: the development of new antibiotic substitutes to promote pig growth and health has become an important way to solve the current dilemma and promote the pig industry. (2) Methods: to assess the effects of a fermented Chinese herbal (FCH) formula on [...] Read more.
(1) Background: the development of new antibiotic substitutes to promote pig growth and health has become an important way to solve the current dilemma and promote the pig industry. (2) Methods: to assess the effects of a fermented Chinese herbal (FCH) formula on the growth and immunity of growing pigs, 100 Duroc × Landrace × Yorshire three-way crossed growing pigs were randomly divided into control and treatment groups that were fed a basal diet, and a basal diet with 1% (group A), 2% (group B), and 3% (group C) FCH formulas, respectively. A sixty-day formal experiment was conducted, and their growth and serum indices, colonic microbiota, and metabolites were analyzed. (3) Results: the daily gain of growing pigs in groups A, B, and C increased by 7.93%, 17.68%, and 19.61%, respectively, and the feed-to-gain ratios decreased by 8.33%, 15.00%, and 14.58%, respectively. Serum immunity and antioxidant activities were significantly increased in all treatment groups. Particularly, adding a 2% FCH formula significantly changed the colon’s microbial structure; the Proteobacteria significantly increased and Firmicutes significantly decreased, and the metabolite composition in the colon’s contents significantly changed. (4) Conclusions: these results indicate that the FCH formula is a good feed additive for growing pigs, and the recommended addition ratio was 3%. Full article
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13 pages, 607 KiB  
Article
Dietary Effects of Some Plant Extracts on Laying Performance, Egg Quality, and Some Blood Parameters in Laying Hens at Different Cage Densities
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3866; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243866 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 644
Abstract
This study was carried out to determine the effects of cage density and anise extract (AE), thyme extract (TE), and black cumin extract (BCE) supplementation in the diet of laying hens on laying performance, egg quality, and some blood parameters. A total of [...] Read more.
This study was carried out to determine the effects of cage density and anise extract (AE), thyme extract (TE), and black cumin extract (BCE) supplementation in the diet of laying hens on laying performance, egg quality, and some blood parameters. A total of 288 Lohman White commercial hens were blocked according to the location of their cages. The four dietary treatments included a control, basal diet + 250 mg/kg of AE, basal diet + 250 mg/kg of BCE, and basal diet + 250 mg/kg of TE for 12 weeks. The cage density affected egg production (p < 0.05), feed consumption (p < 0.01), and cracked eggs (p < 0.05). Increasing the cage density caused a linear decrease in egg production and feed consumption. Compared to the control, there was a decrease in feed consumption (p < 0.01) in the plant extract groups, and in parallel, egg production decreased. An increased cage density did not affect the egg quality traits except the shell strength. The shell strength, yolk color, yolk index, albumen index, and Haught unit were significantly affected by the plant extracts. The cage density and plant extracts had a significant effect on the serum corticosterone and glucose (p < 0.01). The highest values of corticosterone and glucose were recorded for dietary TE with a cage density of 4 birds/cm2. On the other hand, the lowest values of these parameters were recorded for AE addition with a cage density of 3 birds/cm2. As a result, an increased cage density was associated with stress and depression in the feed consumption and metabolic profiles. Supplemental AE, BCE, and TE improved the laying performance and metabolic profiles. Full article
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29 pages, 2370 KiB  
Review
The Socioeconomic Impact of Diseases of Working Equids in Low and Middle-Income Countries: A Critical Review
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3865; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243865 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 692
Abstract
Working equids provide a crucial contribution to the livelihoods and food security of communities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Nevertheless, they are a neglected category within animal health policies and interventions of governmental and non-governmental institutions. This critical review aims to assess [...] Read more.
Working equids provide a crucial contribution to the livelihoods and food security of communities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Nevertheless, they are a neglected category within animal health policies and interventions of governmental and non-governmental institutions. This critical review aims to assess the socioeconomic impact of diseases of working equids in LMICs. By highlighting the implications of diseases on working equid welfare, human wellbeing and livelihoods, this review seeks to sensitise policymakers within governments and international organisations to develop policies and interventions aimed at protecting the health of working equids and, consequently, the health and livelihoods of their dependent communities. Twenty relevant publications were identified through the search of five databases (CAB Abstracts, Web of Science Core Collection, BIOSIS, EMBASE and Scopus), backward citation searching and screening of indexes of proceedings and Special Issues retrieved from the database search. The review findings show that diseases of working equids have detrimental socioeconomic effects. However, this subject is under-researched and restricted to few diseases and geographical settings. Considering the complexity of the issue, this review demonstrates that the ‘One Health’ approach represents an opportunity to clarify the link between equid health, human wellbeing and livelihoods, facilitating the translation of research into policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Equids)
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19 pages, 4346 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Limosilactobacillus fermentum and Lacticaseibacillus paracasei Supplementation on the Intestinal Stem Cell Proliferation, Immunity, and Ileal Microbiota of Broiler Chickens Challenged by Coccidia and Clostridium perfringens
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3864; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243864 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 686
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate effects of dietary Limosilactobacillus fermentum and Lacticaseibacillus paracasei supplementation on the intestinal stem cell proliferation, immunity, and ileal microbiota of broiler chickens challenged by coccidia and Clostridium perfringens. A total of 336 one-day-old Ross 308 chickens [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate effects of dietary Limosilactobacillus fermentum and Lacticaseibacillus paracasei supplementation on the intestinal stem cell proliferation, immunity, and ileal microbiota of broiler chickens challenged by coccidia and Clostridium perfringens. A total of 336 one-day-old Ross 308 chickens were randomly assigned into four groups. Chickens in the control (CTR) group were fed basal diet, and chickens in the three challenged groups were fed basal diets supplemented with nothing (CCP group), 1.0 × 109 CFU/kg L. fermentum (LF_CCP group), and 1.0 × 109 CFU/kg L. paracasei (LP_CCP group), respectively. All challenged birds were infected with coccildia on day 9 and Clostridium perfringens during days 13–18. The serum and intestinal samples were collected on days 13 and 19. The results showed that L. fermentum significantly increased jejunal gene expression of cdxB (one of the intestinal stem cell marker genes) on day 13. Additionally, L. fermentum significantly up-regulated mRNA levels of JAK3 and TYK2 and tended to increase STAT6 mRNA expression in jejunum on day 19. In the cecal tonsil, both L. fermentum and L. paracasei decreased mRNA expression of JAK2 on day 13, and L. fermentum down-regulated JAK1-2, STAT1, and STAT5-6 gene expressions on day 19. Ileal microbiological analysis showed that coccidial infection increased the EscherichiaShigella, Lactobacillus, and Romboutsia abundance and decreased Candidatus_Arthromitus richness on day 13, which were reversed by Lactobacillus intervention. Moreover, Lactobacilli increased ileal Lactobacillus richness on day 19. In conclusion, Lactobacilli alleviated the impairment of intestinal stem cell proliferation and immunity in coccidia- and C. perfringens-challenged birds via modulating JAK/STAT signaling and reshaping intestinal microflora. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Probiotics Application on Animal Health)
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11 pages, 1395 KiB  
Commentary
Fostering Animal Welfare and Advancing 3Rs Principles through the Establishment of a 3Rs Advisory Group
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3863; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243863 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 751
Abstract
Based on the current state of science, the use of animals remains essential in bringing safe and effective medicines to patients. Respect for laboratory animal welfare and the application of 3Rs principles (the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal use in research) are [...] Read more.
Based on the current state of science, the use of animals remains essential in bringing safe and effective medicines to patients. Respect for laboratory animal welfare and the application of 3Rs principles (the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal use in research) are a priority throughout the pharmaceutical industry. Given the rapid pace of development, technological progress, and the emergence of new-approach methodologies (NAMs) in the field of biomedical research, maintaining a leading position in scientific advancements with a focus on the principles of replace, reduce, and refine (3Rs) can be quite challenging. To effectively address these challenges and sustain a prominent position in the scientific community, organizations can derive significant advantages from establishing an internal 3Rs advisory group (3Rs AG). The primary objective of a 3Rs AG is to stay at the forefront of the knowledge of best practices related to the 3Rs principles in the industry. This group plays a crucial role in fostering innovation and facilitating the seamless integration and implementation of 3Rs principles into a company’s policies and procedures. The thoughtful reduction in and replacement of animal studies and the refinement of study designs and practices, enabled by a 3Rs AG, can minimize animal use as well as guide resources and positively impact study and data quality. This article provides guidance on how to establish a successful and impactful 3Rs AG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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13 pages, 10027 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Microbial Muramidase on the Growth, Liver Histoarchitecture, Antioxidant Status, and Immunoexpression of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3862; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243862 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 678
Abstract
The impact of microbial muramidase (MMUR) addition to broiler chicken rations was evaluated through growth parameters, liver histoarchitecture, antioxidant status, biochemical analysis, and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines for 35 days. Four hundred three-day-old chicks (97.68 ± 0.59 g) were distributed to four distinct [...] Read more.
The impact of microbial muramidase (MMUR) addition to broiler chicken rations was evaluated through growth parameters, liver histoarchitecture, antioxidant status, biochemical analysis, and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines for 35 days. Four hundred three-day-old chicks (97.68 ± 0.59 g) were distributed to four distinct groups with ten duplicates each (100 chicks/group) consisting of: group 1 (G1): a basal diet without MMUR (control group); G2: a basal diet + 200 mg MMUR kg−1 G3: a basal diet + 400 mg MMUR kg−1; and G4: a basal diet + 600 mg MMUR kg−1. The results showed that the final body weight and total weight gain were increased (p = 0.015) in birds fed with diets supplemented with MMUR at 600 mg kg−1. The feed conversion ratio (FCR) was improved in all treatment groups compared with the control group. Birds fed with a diet supplemented with 600 mg MMUR kg−1 showed the highest body weight gain and improved FCR. The values of thyroxin hormones and growth hormones were increased in all MMUR-supplemented groups. Dietary MMUR increased the activities of antioxidant enzymes (total antioxidant activity, catalase, and superoxide dismutase) and decreased the activity of malondialdehyde (p < 0.05). In addition, it increased the values of interleukin 1 beta and interferon-gamma compared with the control group. Furthermore, dietary MMUR increased the expression of transforming growth factor-beta immunostaining in the liver and spleen tissues. Our results show that supplementing broilers’ diets with 600 mg MMUR kg−1 could enhance the chicken growth rate and improve their antioxidant, inflammatory, and anti-inflammatory responses. Full article
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13 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Feeding Pellets Containing Agro-Industrial Waste Enhances Feed Utilization and Rumen Functions in Thai Beef Cattle
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3861; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243861 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 841
Abstract
The objective of this research was to investigate the effects of citric waste fermented with yeast waste pellet (CWYWP) supplementation on feed intake, rumen characteristics, and blood metabolites in native Thai beef cattle that are fed a rice-straw-based diet. Four native male Thai [...] Read more.
The objective of this research was to investigate the effects of citric waste fermented with yeast waste pellet (CWYWP) supplementation on feed intake, rumen characteristics, and blood metabolites in native Thai beef cattle that are fed a rice-straw-based diet. Four native male Thai beef cattle (1.0–1.5 years old) with an initial body weight (BW) of 116 ± 16 kg were held in a 4 × 4 Latin square design within 21-day periods. The animals were assigned to receive CWYWP supplementation at 0%, 2%, 4%, and 6% of the total dry matter (DM) intake per day. The results indicate that feeding beef cattle with CWYWP leads to a linear increase in the total intake as well was the intake of crude protein (CP) and the digestibility of CP, with the maximum levels observed at 6% CWYWP supplementation (p < 0.05). Rumen characteristics, including pH, blood urea-nitrogen concentration, and protozoal population, showed no significant alterations in response to the varying CWYWP dosages (p > 0.05). In addition, the CWYWP supplementation resulted in no significant changes in the concentration of ammonia-nitrogen, remaining within an average normal range of 10.19–10.38 mg/dL (p > 0.05). The inclusion of 6% CWYWP resulted in the highest population of ruminal bacteria (p < 0.05). Additionally, the CWYWP supplementation led to a statistically significant increase in the mean propionic acid concentration as compared to the group that did not receive the CWYWP supplementation (p < 0.05). In conclusion, this experiment demonstrates that supplementing Thai native beef cattle with CWYWP at either 4% or 6% DM per day can enhance their total CP intake as well as the CP digestibility and rumen bacterial population, and can increase propionate concentration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
13 pages, 3784 KiB  
Article
Age-Related Changes in Hepatic Lipid Metabolism and Abdominal Adipose Deposition in Yellow-Feathered Broilers Aged from 1 to 56 Days
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3860; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243860 - 15 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 549
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the age-related changes in hepatic lipid metabolism, adipocyte hyperplasia, hypertrophy, and lipid metabolism in the abdominal adipose tissue of yellow-feathered broilers. Blood, liver, and abdominal adipose samples were collected on days 1, 7, 14, 21, [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the age-related changes in hepatic lipid metabolism, adipocyte hyperplasia, hypertrophy, and lipid metabolism in the abdominal adipose tissue of yellow-feathered broilers. Blood, liver, and abdominal adipose samples were collected on days 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, and 56. Body, liver, and abdominal weight increased (p < 0.05) with age-related changes. The triacylglycerol content peaked on day 14, and total cholesterol content peaked on day 56. The adipocyte diameter and area peaked on day 56, and total DNA content peaked on day 7. The age-related changes in hepatic lipogenesis-related gene (ChREBP, SREBP-1c, ACC, FAS, SCD1) expression mainly occurred during days 1 to 21, hepatic lipolysis-related gene (CPT1, LPL, ApoB) expression mainly occurred during days 1 to 14, and abdominal adipose-deposition-related gene (PPARα, CPT1, LPL, PPARγ, C/EBPβ) expression occurred during days 1 to 14. These results demonstrated a dynamic pattern of hepatic lipid metabolism and abdominal adipose deposition in yellow-feathered broilers, which provides practical strategies to regulate hepatic lipid metabolism and reduce abdominal adipose deposition in yellow-feathered broilers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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