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Animals, Volume 14, Issue 1 (January-1 2024) – 175 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Ketosis is known as a fundamental pathology closely linked to peripartum diseases such as abomasum displacement, milk fever, and retained placenta. It is a so-called old and new disease that has long been considered a key factor in impaired reproduction, decreased milk production, death, and culling from a dairy herd. Since especially subclinical ketosis (SCK) is a state without clinical symptoms, productivity suffers much damage from the onset unknowingly. The early lactation stage, prone to negative energy, is the most dangerous time for the outbreaks and is related to the feeding environment. The paper provides an overview of the prevalence of SCK in Hokkaido, which feeds approximately 60% of Japan's dairy cows, as well as survey data related to the feeding environment. We hope that these data will be somewhat useful for readers. View this paper
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14 pages, 5824 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Distribution of PRRSV-1 Clades in Hungary with a Focus on the Era of Disease Eradication
by Ádám Bálint, Szilvia Jakab, Eszter Kaszab, Szilvia Marton, Krisztián Bányai, Sándor Kecskeméti and István Szabó
Animals 2024, 14(1), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010175 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1236
Abstract
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is the cause of the most severe economic losses in the pig industry worldwide. PRRSV is extremely diverse in Europe, which poses a significant challenge to disease control within a country or any region. With the combination [...] Read more.
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is the cause of the most severe economic losses in the pig industry worldwide. PRRSV is extremely diverse in Europe, which poses a significant challenge to disease control within a country or any region. With the combination of phylogenetic reconstruction and network analysis, we aimed to uncover the major routes of the dispersal of PRRSV clades within Hungary. In brief, by analyzing >2600 ORF5 sequences, we identified at least 12 clades (including 6 clades within lineage 1 and 3 clades within lineage 3) common in parts of Western Europe (including Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands) and identified 2 novel clades (designated X1 and X2). Of interest, some genetic clades unique to other central European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Poland, were not identified. The pattern of PRRSV clade distribution is consistent with the route of the pig trade among countries, showing that most of the identified clades were introduced from Western Europe when fatteners were transported to Hungary. As a result of rigorous implementation of the national eradication program, the swine population was declared officially free from PRRSV. This map of viral diversity and clade distribution will serve as valuable baseline information for the maintenance of PRRSV-free status in the post-eradication era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis, Immunology and Epidemiology of Veterinary Viruses)
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18 pages, 3872 KiB  
Article
The Genetic Selection of HSPD1 and HSPE1 Reduce Inflammation of Liver and Spleen While Restraining the Growth and Development of Skeletal Muscle in Wuzhishan Pigs
by Yuwei Ren, Feng Wang, Ruiping Sun, Xinli Zheng, Yuanyuan Liu, Yanning Lin, Lingling Hong, Xiaoxian Huang and Zhe Chao
Animals 2024, 14(1), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010174 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1179
Abstract
Wuzhishan (WZS) pigs, which are minipigs native to Hainan Province in China, are characterized by strong resistance to extreme hot temperatures and humidity. The relationship between their immune response and growth still needs to be clarified. In this study, we used whole genome [...] Read more.
Wuzhishan (WZS) pigs, which are minipigs native to Hainan Province in China, are characterized by strong resistance to extreme hot temperatures and humidity. The relationship between their immune response and growth still needs to be clarified. In this study, we used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to detect variations within 37 WZS pigs, 32 Large White (LW) pigs, and 22 Xiangxi black (XXB) pigs, and ~2.49 GB of SNPs were obtained. These data were combined with those of two other pig breeds, and it was found that most of the genes detected (354) were located within the distinct genetic regions between WZS pigs and LW pigs. The network that was constructed using these genes represented a center including 12 hub genes, five of which had structural variations (SVs) within their regulatory regions. Furthermore, RNA-seq and RT-qPCR data for 12 genes were primarily consistent in liver, spleen, and LDM tissues. Notably, the expression of HSPs (HSPD1 and HSPE1) was higher while that of most genes involved in the JAK3-STAT pathway were lower in liver tissue of WZS pigs, compared with LW pigs. This likely not only reduced inflammation-related immune response but also impaired their growth. Our findings demonstrated the role of HSPs in the connection between inflammation and growth rate, while also providing the fundamental genetic selection of the adaptability of WZS pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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13 pages, 3483 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome and Weighted Gene Co-Expression Network Analysis for Feather Follicle Density in a Chinese Indigenous Breed
by Jiangxian Wang, Wei Wei, Chaohui Xing, Hao Wang, Meng Liu, Jinmei Xu, Xinxin He, Yanan Liu, Xing Guo and Runshen Jiang
Animals 2024, 14(1), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010173 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1002
Abstract
Feather follicle density plays an important role in appealing to consumers’ first impressions when making purchasing decisions. However, the molecular network that contributes to this trait remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to perform transcriptome and weighted gene co-expression network [...] Read more.
Feather follicle density plays an important role in appealing to consumers’ first impressions when making purchasing decisions. However, the molecular network that contributes to this trait remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to perform transcriptome and weighted gene co-expression network analyses to determine the candidate genes relating to feather follicle density in Wannan male chickens. In total, five hundred one-day-old Wannan male chickens were kept in a conventional cage system. Feather follicle density was recorded for each bird at 12 weeks of age. At 12 weeks, fifteen skin tissue samples were selected for weighted gene co-expression network analysis, of which six skin tissue samples (three birds in the H group and three birds in the L group) were selected for transcriptome analysis. The results showed that, in total, 95 DEGs were identified, and 56 genes were upregulated and 39 genes were downregulated in the high-feather-follicle-density group when compared with the low-feather-follicle-density group. Thirteen co-expression gene modules were identified. The red module was highly significantly negatively correlated with feather follicle density (p < 0.01), with a significant negative correlation coefficient of −0.72. In total, 103 hub genes from the red module were screened. Upon comparing the 103 hub genes with differentially expressed genes (DEGs), it was observed that 13 genes were common to both sets, including MELK, GTSE1, CDK1, HMMR, and CENPE. From the red module, FOXM1, GTSE1, MELK, CDK1, ECT2, and NEK2 were selected as the most important genes. These genes were enriched in the DNA binding pathway, the heterocyclic compound binding pathway, the cell cycle pathway, and the oocyte meiosis pathway. This study suggests that FOXM1, GTSE1, MELK, CDK1, ECT2, and NEK2 may be involved in regulating the development of feather follicle density in Wannan male chickens. The results of this study reveal the genetic structure and molecular regulatory network of feather follicle density in Wannan male chickens, and provide a basis for further elucidating the genetic regulatory mechanism and identifying molecular markers with breeding value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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13 pages, 3240 KiB  
Article
Identification and Analysis of Genes Related to Testicular Size in 14-Day-Old Piglets
by Yunjiao Zhao, Liangzhi Zhang, Lei Wang, Jianbo Zhang, Wenjuan Shen, Yuhong Ma, Chengxiang Ding and Guofang Wu
Animals 2024, 14(1), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010172 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 981
Abstract
The RNA-Seq technology was used to screen the key genes that affect the early development of the testes of Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire piglets, to determine the regulatory pathway and provide reference for subsequent reproductive performance research, breeding, and other production practices. [...] Read more.
The RNA-Seq technology was used to screen the key genes that affect the early development of the testes of Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire piglets, to determine the regulatory pathway and provide reference for subsequent reproductive performance research, breeding, and other production practices. This study selected 14-day-old Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire piglets as the trial animals. Testes from piglets with similar weights and no pathological changes were divided into small testis (ST) and large testis (LT) groups, and the RNA-Seq screening of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) was performed to find candidate genes and regulatory pathways related to early testicular development. The results show that 570 DEGs were found in the ST and LT groups, with 281 upregulated and 289 downregulated. The DEGs were mainly enriched on 47 gene ontology (GO) functional items. The Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genotypes (KEGG) enrichment analysis found that there were 44 significantly enriched KEGG signal pathways, and the regulation of testicular development mainly focused on the arachidonic acid metabolism, Wnt signaling pathway and GnRH secretion pathways. The PTGES, SFRP1, SPP1, PLA2G4E, KCNJ5, PTGS2, and HCN1 genes were found to be as closely related to the testicular development of these Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire piglets, and the differential gene expression was consistent with the real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (real-time qRT-PCR) validation results. This study was validated by high-throughput sequencing analysis and real-time qRT-PCR, and showed that the PTGES, SFRP1, SPP1, PLA2G4E, KCNJ5, PTGS2, and HCN1 genes may be involved in the regulation of germ cell development, spermatogenesis and semen traits. These should be further studied as candidate genes for early testicular development and reproductive trait regulation in boars. Full article
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26 pages, 87965 KiB  
Commentary
Wicked Problems, Novel Solutions: Nepalese Elephant Tourism and Conservation
by Michelle Szydlowski
Animals 2024, 14(1), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010171 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2174
Abstract
Endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) find themselves at the center of debates involving politics, land use, human–wildlife conflict, and environmental justice. The intensity of such debates has led scholars to label conservation challenges as wicked problems with profound implications on local [...] Read more.
Endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) find themselves at the center of debates involving politics, land use, human–wildlife conflict, and environmental justice. The intensity of such debates has led scholars to label conservation challenges as wicked problems with profound implications on local and global practice. In elephant range states such as Nepal, these debates are made more complex through human ‘ownership’ of endangered individuals for use in tourism, worship, or co-work. Human perspectives on the ethics of using animals for tourism are changing, even in areas heavily reliant on the tourism industry for survival. These debates become inflamed when non-residents take on adversarial positions despite an acceptance of the ‘ownership’ or ‘use’ of endangered individuals among local communities. Novel approaches are needed if there is any hope of establishing a common ground upon which to build relationships which may benefit community members, international interests, and endangered individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Welfare from a Cross-Cultural Perspective)
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8 pages, 10224 KiB  
Communication
Over 300 km Dispersion of Wild Boar during Hot Summer, from Central Poland to Ukraine
by Bartłomiej Popczyk, Daniel Klich, Paweł Nasiadka, Angelika Nieszała, Krzysztof Gadkowski, Maria Sobczuk, Marek Balcerak, Piotr Kociuba, Wanda Olech and Ludwik Purski
Animals 2024, 14(1), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010170 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1248
Abstract
The movement of wild boars is a complex process influenced by both internal conditions and external factors. Despite their typically sedentary lifestyle, dispersion constitutes an integral element of the wild boar’s behavior. This report documents the longest observed wild boar dispersal, involving a [...] Read more.
The movement of wild boars is a complex process influenced by both internal conditions and external factors. Despite their typically sedentary lifestyle, dispersion constitutes an integral element of the wild boar’s behavior. This report documents the longest observed wild boar dispersal, involving a collared two-year-old male near Warsaw, Poland. The aim of this study was to present the characteristics of movement during the “nomadic phase”, drawing comparisons with the “sedentary phase”. The other aim was to evaluate the influence of meteorological factors on the minimum daily travel distance of the wild boar. We collected data from two-year-old males. The first exhibited long-distance dispersal and the second only demonstrated local movements. We calculated the minimum daily distance of both wild boars based on collar locations and calculated basic statistics of movement. We used a generalized linear model with a gamma distribution and log link function to assess the potential impact of weather conditions on the minimum daily distance of wild boars. We tested maximum daily temperature, average daily temperature, and the sum of daily precipitation. The wild boar during a “nomadic phase” covered a total of 922 km with a mean minimum daily movement of 6 km. The dispersion distance was 307 km. The highest value of the minimum daily distance reached 31.8 km/day. The second wild boar (near Warsaw) covered a mean minimum daily distance of 1.4 km; the highest value of the minimum daily distance was 3.9 km. Both wild boars exhibited no dependence of minimum daily distance on weather conditions. However, when intensive and non-intensive dispersion were analyzed separately, it was demonstrated that the maximum daily temperature positively influenced the minimum daily distance. We speculate that the wild boar was forced to search for water sources after dark on hot days, which induced a longer traveling distance in an unfamiliar environment. This study highlights the significant spatial capabilities of wild boar in the transmission of genes or pathogens. We speculate that extended daily distances during the initial “nomadic phase” might suggest a panicked escape from a perceived threat. It is plausible that the wild boar found improved shelter within tall cereal crops in July and August, which resulted in lower daily distances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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18 pages, 3631 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Rumen Degradation Characteristics, Attached Microbial Community, and Cellulase Activity Changes of Garlic Skin and Artemisia argyi Stalk
by Mingming Gu, Haoyu Liu, Xinghui Jiang, Shuiling Qiu, Keyao Li, Jianing Lu, Mingrui Zhang, Yujun Qiu, Benzhi Wang, Zhiyi Ma and Qianfu Gan
Animals 2024, 14(1), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010169 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1077
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to study the chemical composition, rumen degradation characteristics, surface attached microbial community and cellulase activity of garlic skin (GS) and Artemisia argyi stalk (AS), in order to explain their feeding value. Four 14-month-old healthy Min Dong male [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to study the chemical composition, rumen degradation characteristics, surface attached microbial community and cellulase activity of garlic skin (GS) and Artemisia argyi stalk (AS), in order to explain their feeding value. Four 14-month-old healthy Min Dong male goats with permanent rumen fistula were selected as experimental animals. The rumen degradation characteristics of GS and AS were determined by using the nylon bag method, and the bacterial composition, cellulase activity and their relationship on the surface of the two groups were analyzed with high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene. The results showed that in GS and AS, the effective degradation rate (ED) values of dry matter (DM) were 42.53% and 37.12%, the ED values of crude protein (CP) were 37.19% and 43.38%, the ED values of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) were 36.83% and 36.23%, and the ED values of acid detergent fiber (ADF) were 33.81% and 34.77%. During rumen degradation, the richness and evenness of bacteria attached to the AS surface were higher. At the phylum level, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes were always the main rumen bacteria in the two groups. At the genus level, fiber-degrading bacteria such as Prevotella, Treponema, and Ruminococcus showed higher levels in GS (p < 0.05). Compared with GS, the activity of β-glucosidase (BG enzyme), endo-β-1,4-glucanase (C1 enzyme), exo-β-1,4-glucanase (Cx enzyme) and neutral xylanase (NEX enzyme) attached to AS surface showed a higher trend. Correlation analysis showed that the relative abundance of Succinivibrio and Rikenellaceae_RC9_gut_group was positively correlated with the rumen degradability of nutrients in GS, and the relative abundance of Christensenellaceae R-7_group, Succinivibrio and Ruminococcus was positively correlated with the rumen degradability of nutrients in AS. The conclusion of this study shows that AS has more potential to become ruminant roughage than GS. In addition, this study also revealed the relationship between cellulase activity and bacteria, which provided new information for us to better analyze the effects of GS and AS on the rumen of ruminants and provided an important theoretical basis for the development and utilization of agricultural by-products. Full article
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13 pages, 1369 KiB  
Article
Egg Quality, Yolk Fatty Acid Profiles from Laying Hens Housed in Conventional Cage and Cage-Free Production Systems in the Andean Tropics
by Roy Rodríguez-Hernández, Iang Schroniltgen Rondón-Barragán and Edgar O. Oviedo-Rondón
Animals 2024, 14(1), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010168 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1065
Abstract
Egg consumers worldwide have increased their concerns about laying hens’ welfare and its impact on final egg product quality. This study compared the egg quality parameters under the conventional cage (CC) and cage-free (CF) egg production systems in the tropics. The study was [...] Read more.
Egg consumers worldwide have increased their concerns about laying hens’ welfare and its impact on final egg product quality. This study compared the egg quality parameters under the conventional cage (CC) and cage-free (CF) egg production systems in the tropics. The study was conducted on a commercial farm in Colombia using Hy-Line Brown pullets, reared under the same conditions for the first 15 wks. At 16 wks, the hens were distributed into two housing systems, CC and CF, on the same farm. The hens were fed the same diet for each phase in both systems and feed intake varied slightly. Egg samples were collected every six wks, from 22 to 82 wks of age. A total of 3960 eggs were analyzed at 11 sampling times. Parameters such as albumen height, egg weight, yolk color, eggshell thickness, eggshell strength, and Haugh units were determined using a DET-6000 machine. At 22 and 82 wks, screening for Salmonella spp. status was conducted using environmental and egg samples. Additionally, at 34, 64, and 82 wks, yolk samples were obtained for fatty acid profiles and crude protein (CP) analysis. The data were analyzed in a completely randomized block design with repeated measures (11 times): mean separation by Student’s t-test yolk pigmentation, Haugh Units, and albumen height (p < 0.001) were higher in the CF compared with the CC between 38 and 69 wks of age, and eggs at 63 and 82 wks (p < 0.05) were heavier in the CF compared to the CC. Likewise, eggs from the CC had better eggshell strength from 57 to 82 wks. In the egg yolk fatty acid profile at the 34th wk, the pentadecanoic, palmitic, and heptadecanoic acids had higher concentrations in the CF systems than the CC. At the 64th wk, the egg yolk fatty acids—lauric, myristic, and heptadecanoic—had higher concentrations in the CF; likewise, at the 82nd wk, egg yolks from the CC had higher concentrations of lauric, heptadecanoic, and nervonic fatty acids than the CF. The eggs and environmental samples were negative for Salmonella spp. throughout the whole production phase. These results indicated that the production system might impact internal and external egg quality measures, potentially due to various stressors, including environmental factors or behavior restrictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Intensification: Focusing on Animal Welfare Improvements)
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14 pages, 11984 KiB  
Article
Integrated 4D Analysis of Intramuscular Fat Deposition: Quantitative Proteomic and Transcriptomic Studies in Wannanhua Pig Longissimus Dorsi Muscle
by Xiaojin Li, Fei Xie, Ruidong Li, Lei Li, Man Ren, Mengmeng Jin, Ju Zhou, Chonglong Wang and Shenghe Li
Animals 2024, 14(1), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010167 - 4 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 898
Abstract
Wannanhua (WH) is a pig breed indigenous to Anhui Province, China. This breed has a high intramuscular fat (IMF) content, making it an ideal model for investigating lipid deposition mechanisms in pigs. IMF content is one of the main indicators of meat quality [...] Read more.
Wannanhua (WH) is a pig breed indigenous to Anhui Province, China. This breed has a high intramuscular fat (IMF) content, making it an ideal model for investigating lipid deposition mechanisms in pigs. IMF content is one of the main indicators of meat quality in pigs and is regulated by multiple genes and metabolic pathways. Building upon our prior transcriptomic investigation, the present study focused on the longissimus dorsi muscle tissue of Wannanhua (WH) pigs in the rapid fat-deposition stages (120 and 240 days of age). Employing 4D label-free quantitative proteomic analysis, we identified 106 differentially expressed proteins (DEPs). Parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) technology was used to verify the DEPs, and the results showed that the 4D label-free results were reliable and valid. Functional enrichment and protein–protein interaction analyses showed that the DEPs were mainly involved in the skeletal-muscle-associated structural proteins, mitochondria, energy metabolism, and fatty acid metabolism. By integrating transcriptomic data, we identified seven candidate genes including ACADL, ACADM, ANKRD2, MYOZ2, TNNI1, UCHL1, and ART3 that play a regulatory role in fat deposition and muscle development. These findings establish a theoretical foundation for future analyses of lipid deposition traits, contributing to potential enhancements in pig meat quality during breeding and advancing the selection process for Chinese indigenous breeds. Full article
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20 pages, 4768 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Composite Alkali-Stored Spent Hypsizygus marmoreus Substrate on Carcass Quality, Rumen Fermentation, and Rumen Microbial Diversity in Goats
by Shuiling Qiu, Keyao Li, Xiangbo He, Mingming Gu, Xinghui Jiang, Jianing Lu, Zhiyi Ma, Xuewu Liang and Qianfu Gan
Animals 2024, 14(1), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010166 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 972
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of composite alkali-stored spent Hypsizygus marmoreus substrate (SHMS) on carcass quality, rumen fermentation, and rumen microbial diversity in goats. Twenty-four 6-month-old Chuanzhong black goats with similar body weights (20 ± 5 kg) were [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of composite alkali-stored spent Hypsizygus marmoreus substrate (SHMS) on carcass quality, rumen fermentation, and rumen microbial diversity in goats. Twenty-four 6-month-old Chuanzhong black goats with similar body weights (20 ± 5 kg) were selected and randomly divided into four groups (n = 6 per group) and received four treatments: 0% (control group, CG); 20% (low-addition group, LG); 30% (moderate-addition group, MG); and 40% (high-addition group, HG) of SHMS-replaced silage corn and oat hay. The experiment lasted for 74 days (including a 14 d adaptation period and a 60 d treatment period). The results of this study showed that MG and HG significantly improved the marble score of goat meat (p < 0.05). The flesh color score significantly increased in each group (p < 0.05). The fat color scores significantly increased in LG and MG (p < 0.05). There were no significant effects on the pH value or shear force of the longissimus dorsi in each group (p > 0.05). The cooking loss in MG was higher than that in CG (p < 0.05). The histidine and tyrosine contents in each group of muscles significantly increased (p < 0.05), with no significant effect on fatty acids (p > 0.05). The rumen pH of MG significantly decreased (p < 0.05), while the total volatile fatty acids (TVFAs) and ammoniacal nitrogen (NH3-N) increased by 44.63% and 54.50%, respectively. The addition of the SHMS altered both the alpha and beta diversities of the rumen microbiota and significant differences in the composition and structure of the four microbial communities. The dominant bacterial phylum in each group were Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, with Prevotella 1 as the dominant bacterial genus. Correlation analysis revealed that rumen bacteria are closely related to the animal carcass quality and rumen fermentation. In the PICRUSt prediction, 21 significantly different pathways were found, and the correlation network showed a positive correlation between the Prevotella 1 and 7 metabolic pathways, while the C5-branched dibasic acid metabolism was positively correlated with nine bacteria. In summary, feeding goats with an SHMS diet can improve the carcass quality, promote rumen fermentation, and alter the microbial structure. The research results can provide a scientific reference for the utilization of SHMS as feed in the goat industry. Full article
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14 pages, 1328 KiB  
Article
Effect of a Garlic and Citrus Extract Supplement on the Lactation Performance and Carbon Footprint of Dairy Cows under Grazing Conditions in Chile
by Ruchita Khurana, Saheed A. Salami, Roberto Bergmann Poblete, Angela Fischer, Lisseth Aravena Cofré, Viviana Bustos and Bart M. Tas
Animals 2024, 14(1), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010165 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1260
Abstract
Two trials were conducted to evaluate the effect of a garlic and citrus extract supplement (GCE) on the milk production performance and carbon footprint of grazing dairy cows in a Chilean commercial farm. A total of 36 early- to mid-lactation and 54 late-lactation [...] Read more.
Two trials were conducted to evaluate the effect of a garlic and citrus extract supplement (GCE) on the milk production performance and carbon footprint of grazing dairy cows in a Chilean commercial farm. A total of 36 early- to mid-lactation and 54 late-lactation Irish Holstein-Friesian cows were used in Trial 1 and Trial 2, respectively. In both trials, the cows were reared under grazing conditions and offered a supplementary concentrate without or with GCE (33 g/cow/d) for 12 weeks. The concentrate was fed in the afternoon when the cows visited the milking parlour. Consequently, the results of milk production performance in these trials were used to determine the effect of feeding with GCE on the carbon footprint (CFP) of milk using a life cycle assessment (LCA) model. In Trial 1 and Trial 2, feeding with GCE increased estimated dry matter intake (DMI, kg/d) by 8.15% (18.4 vs. 19.9) and 15.3% (15.0 vs. 17.3), energy-corrected milk (ECM, kg/d) by 11.4% (24.5 vs. 27.3) and 33.5% (15.5 vs. 20.7), and feed efficiency (ECM/DMI) by 3.03% (1.32 vs. 1.36) and 17.8% (1.01 vs. 1.19), respectively. The LCA revealed that feeding with GCE reduced the emission intensity of milk by 8.39% (1.55 vs. 1.42 kg CO2-eq/kg ECM). Overall, these results indicate that feeding with GCE improved the production performance and CFP of grazing cows under the conditions of the current trials. Full article
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11 pages, 994 KiB  
Article
Association between Eosinophil Count and Cortisol Concentrations in Equids Admitted in the Emergency Unit with Abdominal Pain
by María Villalba-Orero, María Dolores Contreras-Aguilar, Jose Joaquín Cerón, Beatriz Fuentes-Romero, Marta Valero-González and María Martín-Cuervo
Animals 2024, 14(1), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010164 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 964
Abstract
Stress leukogram includes eosinopenia as one of its main markers (neutrophilia, eosinopenia, lymphopenia, and mild monocytosis). Cortisol is the main stress biomarker, which is also strongly correlated with the severity of gastrointestinal diseases. This study aimed to determine the relationship between salivary cortisol [...] Read more.
Stress leukogram includes eosinopenia as one of its main markers (neutrophilia, eosinopenia, lymphopenia, and mild monocytosis). Cortisol is the main stress biomarker, which is also strongly correlated with the severity of gastrointestinal diseases. This study aimed to determine the relationship between salivary cortisol and the eosinophil cell count (EC) in equids with abdominal pain. To do this, 39 horses with abdominal pain referred to an emergency service were included. All samples were taken on admission, and several parameters and clinical data were included. Equids were classified according to the outcome as survivors and non-survivors. Non-surviving equids presented higher salivary cortisol concentrations (Non-Survivors: 1.580 ± 0.816 µg/dL; Survivors 0.988 ± 0.653 µg/dL; p < 0.05) and lower EC (Non-Survivors: 0.0000 × 103/µL (0.000/0.0075); Survivors: 0.0450 × 103/µL (0.010/0.1825); p < 0.01). In addition, the relationship between salivary cortisol concentration, EC, and the WBC was determined. Only a strong correlation (negative) was observed between cortisol and EC (r = −0.523, p < 0.01). Since cortisol is not an analyte that can be measured routinely in clinical settings such as emergencies, the EC could be a good alternative. While the results are promising, further studies are needed before EC can be used confidently in routine practice to predict survival in cases of abdominal pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Saliva and Blood Markers in Animal Welfare and Health Monitoring)
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15 pages, 485 KiB  
Article
Effect of Different Herbage Allowances from Mid to Late Gestation on Nellore Cow Performance and Female Offspring Growth until Weaning
by Luciana Melo Sousa, William Luiz de Souza, Karla Alves Oliveira, Iorrano Andrade Cidrini, Philipe Moriel, Henrique César Rodrigues Nogueira, Igor Machado Ferreira, Germán Dario Ramirez-Zamudio, Ivanna Moraes de Oliveira, Laura Franco Prados, Flávio Dutra de Resende and Gustavo Rezende Siqueira
Animals 2024, 14(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010163 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 997
Abstract
This study evaluated different herbage allowances from mid to late pregnancy on pre- and postpartum physiological responses, milk production, and the performance of Nellore cows and the preweaning growth of their female offspring. Sixty multiparous Nellore cows were blocked by their body weight [...] Read more.
This study evaluated different herbage allowances from mid to late pregnancy on pre- and postpartum physiological responses, milk production, and the performance of Nellore cows and the preweaning growth of their female offspring. Sixty multiparous Nellore cows were blocked by their body weight (BW; 425 ± 36 kg) and body condition score (BCS; 3.67 ± 0.23, scale 1–5) and randomly allocated to twelve pastures. Treatments consisted of two different herbage allowances (HA) during pregnancy: low HA (LHA; 2.80 kg DM/kg of BW) and high HA (HHA; 7.60 kg DM/kg of BW). Both treatment groups were fed 1 g/kg BW of a protein supplement. After calving, all cow–calf pairs were combined in a single group. The effects of maternal treatment × day of the study were detected for herbage mass and allowance, the stocking rate and forage crude protein, and for cow BW, BCS, and carcass measures (p < 0.01). Milk yield corrected to 4% fat, while the levels of fat total solids and cow plasma IGF-1 and urea were different (p ≤ 0.04) between treatments. HHA offspring was heavier (p ≤ 0.05) at 120 days and at weaning. A high herbage allowance can be implemented from mid-gestation until calving to increase cow prepartum performance, post-partum milk yield and composition, and positively modulate female offspring preweaning growth. Full article
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15 pages, 7081 KiB  
Article
Microbial Mechanistic Insight into the Role of Yeast−Derived Postbiotics in Improving Sow Reproductive Performance in Late Gestation and Lactation Sows
by Junlei Chang, Xinlin Jia, Yalei Liu, Xuemei Jiang, Lianqiang Che, Yan Lin, Yong Zhuo, Bin Feng, Zhengfeng Fang, Jian Li, Lun Hua, Jianping Wang, Zhihua Ren, De Wu and Shengyu Xu
Animals 2024, 14(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010162 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1137
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of supplementing Yeast−derived postbiotics (Y−dP) to the diet of sows during late pregnancy and lactation on fecal microbiota and short−chain fatty acids (SCFA) in sows and their offspring weaned piglets, as well as [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of supplementing Yeast−derived postbiotics (Y−dP) to the diet of sows during late pregnancy and lactation on fecal microbiota and short−chain fatty acids (SCFA) in sows and their offspring weaned piglets, as well as the relationship between gut microbiota and SCFA, serum cytokines, and sow reproductive performance. A total of 150 sows were divided into three groups: control diet (CON), CON + Y−dP 1.25 g/kg, and CON + Y−dP 2 g/kg. The results showed that supplementing 0.125% Y−dP to the diet of sows can increase the content of isobutyric acid (IBA) in the feces of pregnant sows and reduce the content of butyric acid (BA) in the feces of weaned piglets (p < 0.05). The fecal microbiota of pregnant sows β diversity reduced and piglet fecal microbiota β diversity increased (p < 0.05). Y−dP significantly increased the abundance of Actinobacteria and Limosilactobacilli in the feces of pregnant sows (p < 0.05), as well as the abundance of Verrucomicrobiota, Bacteroidota, and Fusobacteriota in the feces of piglets (p < 0.05). The abundance of Bacteroidota in the feces of pregnant sows is positively correlated with propionic acid (PA) (r > 0.5, p < 0.05). The abundance of Prevotellaceae_NK3B31_group was positively correlated with Acetic acid (AA), PA, Valerate acid (VA), and total volatile fatty acid (TVFA) in the feces of pregnant sows (r > 0.5, p < 0.05), and Bacteroidota and Prevotellaceae_NK3B31_group were negatively correlated with the number of stillbirths (r < −0.5, p < 0.05). The abundance of Lactobacillus and Holdemanella in piglet feces was positively correlated with TVFA in feces and negatively correlated with IgA in serum (r > 0.5, p < 0.05). In conclusion, supplementing Y−dP to the diet of sows from late gestation to lactation can increase the chao1 index and α diversity of fecal microorganisms in sows during lactation, increase the abundance of Actinobacteria and Limosilactobacilli in the feces of sows during pregnancy, and increase the abundance of beneficial bacteria such as Bacteroidetes in piglet feces, thereby improving intestinal health. These findings provide a reference for the application of Y−dP in sow production and a theoretical basis for Y−dP to improve sow production performance. Full article
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12 pages, 2628 KiB  
Article
A Study of the Resistance of Hu Sheep Lambs to Escherichia coli F17 Based on Whole Genome Sequencing
by Yanjun Duan, Pengwei Su, Yifei Gu, Xiaoyang Lv, Xiukai Cao, Shanhe Wang, Zehu Yuan and Wei Sun
Animals 2024, 14(1), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010161 - 3 Jan 2024
Viewed by 996
Abstract
This study aims to analyze the whole genome sequencing of E. coli F17 in antagonistic and susceptible Hu sheep lambs. The objective is to investigate the critical mutation loci in sheep and understand the genetic mechanism of sheep resistance to E. coli F17 [...] Read more.
This study aims to analyze the whole genome sequencing of E. coli F17 in antagonistic and susceptible Hu sheep lambs. The objective is to investigate the critical mutation loci in sheep and understand the genetic mechanism of sheep resistance to E. coli F17 at the genome level. Antagonist and susceptible venous blood samples were collected from Hu sheep lambs for whole genome sequencing and whole genome association analysis. A total of 466 genes with significant SNPs (p < 1.0 × 10−3) were found. GO and KEGG enrichment analysis and protein interaction network analysis were performed on these genes, and preliminary investigations showed that SNPs on CTNNB1, CDH8, APOD, HCLS1, Tet2, MTSS1 and YAP1 genes may be associated with the antagonism and susceptibility of Hu sheep lambs to E. coli F17. There are still some shortcomings that have not been explored via in vivo and in vitro functional experiments of the candidate genes, which will be our next research work. This study provides genetic loci and candidate genes for resistance of Hu sheep lambs to E. coli F17 infection, and provides a genetic basis for breeding disease-resistant sheep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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10 pages, 1854 KiB  
Article
Research on Bacterial Diversity and Antibiotic Resistance in the Dairy Farm Environment in a Part of Shandong Province
by Yuehui Cui, Kaimin Song, Xiaoting Liu, Huiling Xu, Xiaozhou Wang, Guodong Cheng, Pimiao Zheng and Jianzhu Liu
Animals 2024, 14(1), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010160 - 3 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1047
Abstract
Antimicrobials are extensively utilized in dairy farms to prevent and control diseases in cattle. However, their use contributes to the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial-resistant genes (ARG), and these can be transmitted to the environment. Regular monitoring of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) [...] Read more.
Antimicrobials are extensively utilized in dairy farms to prevent and control diseases in cattle. However, their use contributes to the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial-resistant genes (ARG), and these can be transmitted to the environment. Regular monitoring of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is crucial for implementing effective mitigation strategies. This research aimed to assess the environmental microbial species present on dairy farms in Shandong Province and characterize the antimicrobial resistance profiles of the isolates. Five dairy farms located in Shandong Province were selected, representing the prevalent large-scale farming patterns in the area. Sampling took place from April to June 2022, with a total of 223 isolates collected from various environmental locations within each farm (bedding, sports field, and milking parlor). Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization—time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) was employed to identify the species of the clinical isolates. The main pathogens isolated were Aerococcus viridans (5.38%, n = 12), Corynebacterium xerosis (4.93%, n = 11), and Acinetobacter lwoffii (4.03%, n = 9). Among the bacterial isolates, resistance to lincomycin was highest at 91%, and 88% were resistant to sulfadiazine. Antimicrobial resistance genes were detected in only a small proportion of the isolates, the most common of which was sul1. These findings highlight the necessity for careful evaluation of antimicrobial usage in maintaining their effectiveness in human medicine. Understanding the microbial species present and their antimicrobial resistance profiles aids in focusing efforts toward sustainable antimicrobial use and safeguarding human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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20 pages, 6428 KiB  
Article
Automatic Detection of Feral Pigeons in Urban Environments Using Deep Learning
by Zhaojin Guo, Zheng He, Li Lyu, Axiu Mao, Endai Huang and Kai Liu
Animals 2024, 14(1), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010159 - 3 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1049
Abstract
The overpopulation of feral pigeons in Hong Kong has significantly disrupted the urban ecosystem, highlighting the urgent need for effective strategies to control their population. In general, control measures should be implemented and re-evaluated periodically following accurate estimations of the feral pigeon population [...] Read more.
The overpopulation of feral pigeons in Hong Kong has significantly disrupted the urban ecosystem, highlighting the urgent need for effective strategies to control their population. In general, control measures should be implemented and re-evaluated periodically following accurate estimations of the feral pigeon population in the concerned regions, which, however, is very difficult in urban environments due to the concealment and mobility of pigeons within complex building structures. With the advances in deep learning, computer vision can be a promising tool for pigeon monitoring and population estimation but has not been well investigated so far. Therefore, we propose an improved deep learning model (Swin-Mask R-CNN with SAHI) for feral pigeon detection. Our model consists of three parts. Firstly, the Swin Transformer network (STN) extracts deep feature information. Secondly, the Feature Pyramid Network (FPN) fuses multi-scale features to learn at different scales. Lastly, the model’s three head branches are responsible for classification, best bounding box prediction, and segmentation. During the prediction phase, we utilize a Slicing-Aided Hyper Inference (SAHI) tool to focus on the feature information of small feral pigeon targets. Experiments were conducted on a feral pigeon dataset to evaluate model performance. The results reveal that our model achieves excellent recognition performance for feral pigeons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors-Assisted Observation of Wildlife)
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17 pages, 9920 KiB  
Article
High Prevalence of Bovine Cardiac Cysticercosis in Upper Egypt: An Epidemiological and Histopathological Study
by Fatma A. S. Anwar, Eman A. Negm, Maha Abdelhaseib, Fatma M. Abdel-maksoud, Ahmed A. Mohammed, Sara Abdel-Aal Mohamed, Ahmed Gareh, Nady Khairy Elbarbary, Manal F. El-khadragy, Ehssan Ahmed Hassan and Ehab Kotb Elmahallawy
Animals 2024, 14(1), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010158 - 3 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1078
Abstract
Bovine cysticercosis is categorized as a serious parasitic zoonotic infestation. The infection is mainly caused by the tapeworm Taenia saginata, which infects cattle and humans. The larval stage, Cysticercus bovis (C. bovis), is found in the skeletal and cardiac muscles of [...] Read more.
Bovine cysticercosis is categorized as a serious parasitic zoonotic infestation. The infection is mainly caused by the tapeworm Taenia saginata, which infects cattle and humans. The larval stage, Cysticercus bovis (C. bovis), is found in the skeletal and cardiac muscles of infected cattle. Despite its potential public health concern, few studies have been conducted on cardiac cysticercosis in Upper Egypt. This study investigates the prevalence, epidemiology, and impact of cardiac cysticercosis in Upper Egypt, emphasizing how histopathological changes in cardiac muscle and physiological parameters might be associated with the infection. From December 2022 to October 2023, a total of 941 animals from Assiut province, Upper Egypt, were slaughtered and their cardiac muscles were examined for the presence of C. bovis. Cysts were classified as viable or degenerated through macroscopic inspection. The overall prevalence of C. bovis infected hearts made up 10.8% of the total examined. The highest prevalence rate was in the summer season followed by spring; winter had the lowest infections. The histopathological examination of infected tissues revealed immune cell infiltration around Cysticercus-infected areas. Additionally, Bax immunostaining demonstrated the apoptotic effect of cysticercosis. Regarding the measured physiological parameters, there were non-significant changes in plasma levels of total protein and albumin in cattle infected with cysticercosis compared with control animals. Moreover, there was a significant decrease in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) combined with a significant increase in lipid peroxide (Malondialdehyde) (MDA), troponin T, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in infected animals. The present work documented a set of epidemiological and pathological findings, revealing that C. bovis is a potentially harmful parasite and can cause significant health problems in both cattle and humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasitic Zoonoses: From a Public Health Perspective)
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14 pages, 1171 KiB  
Article
Does Keeping Cows for More Lactations Affect the Composition and Technological Properties of the Milk?
by Monika Johansson, Mikaela Lindberg and Åse Lundh
Animals 2024, 14(1), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010157 - 3 Jan 2024
Viewed by 881
Abstract
This study investigated differences in the raw milk composition and technological properties between cows with different numbers of lactations. In total, 12 commercial herds were visited within a period of 12 weeks. On each farm, milk samples from five young cows (lactations 1–2) [...] Read more.
This study investigated differences in the raw milk composition and technological properties between cows with different numbers of lactations. In total, 12 commercial herds were visited within a period of 12 weeks. On each farm, milk samples from five young cows (lactations 1–2) and five older cows (lactation ≥ 3) were collected. For each farm, milk samples from the young cows and the older cows, respectively, were pooled. The pooled milk samples were analyzed for gross composition and technological properties. Using principal component analysis (PCA) to assess the overall variation in milk quality attributes and the potential clustering of milk from young cows and older cows, respectively, an effect of breed, but no clear effect of lactation number, was observed. In contrast, one-way ANOVA showed higher plasmin activity (p = 0.002) in pooled milk from the older cows, whereas plasminogen-derived activity (p = 0.001) and total proteolysis (p = 0.029) were higher in milk from the young cows. Likewise, orthogonal projections to latent structure discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) showed higher plasmin activity in milk from older cows, whereas younger cows had higher plasminogen-related activity and higher total proteolysis. To conclude, except for plasmin and plasminogen-related activities, there were no major differences in the composition and technological properties between milk from older cows and young cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic New Insights into the Milk 2.0)
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18 pages, 409 KiB  
Review
Assessment of Connective Tissue in the Equine Uterus and Cervix: Review of Clinical Impact and Staining Options
by Łukasz Zdrojkowski, Bartosz Pawliński, Katarzyna Skierbiszewska, Tomasz Jasiński and Małgorzata Domino
Animals 2024, 14(1), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010156 - 3 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 944
Abstract
Uterine diseases stand as the primary cause of infertility in mares; however, the diagnostic process often relies on obtaining endometrial biopsies and their hematoxylin–eosin staining. This review seeks to present the variability of uterine changes and their impact on fertility and underscore the [...] Read more.
Uterine diseases stand as the primary cause of infertility in mares; however, the diagnostic process often relies on obtaining endometrial biopsies and their hematoxylin–eosin staining. This review seeks to present the variability of uterine changes and their impact on fertility and underscore the utility of special stains, such as Masson trichrome, picrosirius red, elastica van Gieson, or periodic acid–Schiff, in enhancing diagnostic breadth. Connective tissue evaluation in the cervix is discussed, as it is subjected to cyclic changes and the impact on overall fertility. Vascular changes, particularly prevalent in multiparous mares, play a crucial role in adapting to physiological and pathological alterations, affecting early gestation and impeding placental development. Given that uterine vascular pathologies often involve fibrotic changes, connective tissue stains emerge as a valuable tool in this context. Moreover, equine endometriosis, predominantly associated with endometrial fibrosis, further highlights the relevance of special stains, suggesting their underutilization in the diagnostic process. Recognizing the subjective nature of diagnosing uterine pathologies and the need for additional diagnostic tools, we advocate for using dedicated stains in the histopathological evaluation of uterine samples. In conclusion, we encourage scientists and diagnosticians to embrace additional tools that enhance pathology visualization, enabling more reliable diagnoses concerning expected fertility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Equine Reproduction)
17 pages, 1487 KiB  
Article
Temperament Behaviours in Individually Tested Sheep Are Not Related to Behaviours Expressed in the Presence of Conspecifics
by Leigh Atkinson, Rebecca E. Doyle and Ellen C. Jongman
Animals 2024, 14(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010155 - 2 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1028
Abstract
Individual behavioural testing in sheep is common; however, outcomes may be misleading as they are a highly gregarious species that is usually managed in groups. We investigated whether behaviour expressed by 3–4-month-old Merino lambs (n = 220) in social isolation was related [...] Read more.
Individual behavioural testing in sheep is common; however, outcomes may be misleading as they are a highly gregarious species that is usually managed in groups. We investigated whether behaviour expressed by 3–4-month-old Merino lambs (n = 220) in social isolation was related to their behaviour towards the same stimuli when three other conspecifics were present, and if measures of temperament (vocalisations and locomotory behaviours) were repeatable across both social situations. Expression of all behaviours were reduced when conspecifics were present, and vocalisations were rarely performed in social groups, suggesting that this behaviour is a response to social isolation. Similarities across the two social situations, in ranked order of how individual lambs expressed each behaviour, indicate that vigilance and attentional orienting towards a human were repeatable (p < 0.001), as was vigilance in a startle test (p < 0.05). However, no clear relationship between behaviours expressed across the two social situations was found. The results of this study suggest that testing sheep individually should be conducted with caution where the outcome is applied to animals managed in groups. Vigilance shows promise as a measure of an underlying trait that is stable across social contexts. Full article
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15 pages, 3077 KiB  
Article
Detection of Staphylococcus Isolates and Their Antimicrobial Resistance Profiles and Virulence Genes from Subclinical Mastitis Cattle Milk Using MALDI-TOF MS, PCR and Sequencing in Free State Province, South Africa
by Ntelekwane G. Khasapane, Myburgh Koos, Sebolelo J. Nkhebenyane, Zamantungwa T. H. Khumalo, Tsepo Ramatla and Oriel Thekisoe
Animals 2024, 14(1), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010154 - 2 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Staphylococcus species are amongst the bacteria that cause bovine mastitis worldwide, whereby they produce a wide range of protein toxins, virulence factors, and antimicrobial-resistant properties which are enhancing the pathogenicity of these organisms. This study aimed to detect Staphylococcus spp. from the milk [...] Read more.
Staphylococcus species are amongst the bacteria that cause bovine mastitis worldwide, whereby they produce a wide range of protein toxins, virulence factors, and antimicrobial-resistant properties which are enhancing the pathogenicity of these organisms. This study aimed to detect Staphylococcus spp. from the milk of cattle with subclinical mastitis using MALDI-TOF MS and 16S rRNA PCR as well as screening for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and virulence genes. Our results uncovered that from 166 sampled cows, only 33.13% had subclinical mastitis after initial screening, while the quarter-level prevalence was 54%. Of the 50 cultured bacterial isolates, MALDI-TOF MS and 16S rRNA PCR assay and sequencing identified S. aureus as the dominant bacteria by 76%. Furthermore, an AMR susceptibility test showed that 86% of the isolates were resistant to penicillin, followed by ciprofloxacin (80%) and cefoxitin (52%). Antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes showed that 16% of the isolates carried the mecA gene, while 52% of the isolates carried the Lg G-binding region gene, followed by coa (42%), spa (40%), hla (38%), and hlb (38%), whereas sea and bap genes were detected in 10% and 2% of the isolates, respectively. The occurrence of virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance profiles highlights the need for appropriate strategies to control the spread of these pathogens. Full article
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20 pages, 2717 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Painful Lesions of the Digits and Risk Factors Associated with Digital Dermatitis, Ulcers and White Line Disease on Swiss Cattle Farms
by Andreas Fürmann, Claudia Syring, Jens Becker, Analena Sarbach, Jim Weber, Maria Welham Ruiters and Adrian Steiner
Animals 2024, 14(1), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010153 - 2 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
The first aim of this study was to calculate the prevalence of painful lesions of the digits (“alarm” lesions; ALs) in Swiss dairy herds and cow–calf operations over a three-year study period. The following ALs were included in the calculation: the M2 stage [...] Read more.
The first aim of this study was to calculate the prevalence of painful lesions of the digits (“alarm” lesions; ALs) in Swiss dairy herds and cow–calf operations over a three-year study period. The following ALs were included in the calculation: the M2 stage of digital dermatitis (DD M2), ulcers (U), white line fissures (WLF) of moderate and high severity, white line abscesses (WLA), interdigital phlegmon (IP) and swelling of the coronet and/or bulb (SW). Between February 2020 and February 2023, digit disorders were electronically recorded during routine trimmings by 40 specially trained hoof trimmers on Swiss cattle farms participating in the national claw health programme. The data set used consisted of over 35,000 observations from almost 25,000 cows from 702 herds. While at the herd-level, the predominant AL documented in 2022 was U with 50.3% followed by WLF with 38.1%, at the cow-level, in 2022, it was DD M2 with 5.4% followed by U with 3.7%. During the study period, within-herd prevalences of ALs ranged from 0.0% to a maximum of 66.1% in 2020. The second aim of this study was to determine herd- and cow-level risk factors associated with digital dermatitis (DD), U and white line disease (WL) in dairy cows using data from 2022. While for DD, analysed herd-level factors appeared to have a greater effect on the probability of its occurrence, the presence of U and WL was mainly associated with the analysed cow-level factors. The risk for DD increased with a higher herd trimming frequency. Herds kept in tie stalls had a lower risk for DD and WL and a higher risk for U compared to herds kept in loose housing systems. Herds with predominantly Holstein Friesian cows as well as Holstein Friesian cows had a higher risk for the occurrence of DD compared to herds and cows of other breeds. With increasing parity, cows had a higher risk of developing U and WL, whereas for DD, parity was negatively associated with prevalence. Cows trimmed during the grazing period had a higher risk of U and WL than cows trimmed during the housing period. These findings may contribute to improve management measures affecting the health of the digits in farms with structures similar to those evaluated in the current study, such as small herds with frequent access to pasture. Further research is warranted to demonstrate how measures addressing the current results combined with those of individual herd risk assessments might contribute to an improvement in the health of the digits in the respective dairy herds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Foot and Claw Health in Dairy Cow)
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18 pages, 3970 KiB  
Article
Mito-TEMPO Improves the Meiosis Resumption and Mitochondrial Function of Vitrified Sheep Oocytes via the Recovery of Respiratory Chain Activity
by Xi Zhao, Airixiati Dilixiati, Luyao Zhang, Aikebaier Aihemaiti, Yukun Song, Guodong Zhao, Xiangwei Fu, Xuguang Wang and Abulizi Wusiman
Animals 2024, 14(1), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010152 - 2 Jan 2024
Viewed by 888
Abstract
Vitrification is a crucial method for preserving animal germ cells. Considering the increased oxidative stress and organelle damage incurred, it is still necessary to make the process more efficient for oocytes. As the energy source of oocytes, mitochondria are the most abundant organelle [...] Read more.
Vitrification is a crucial method for preserving animal germ cells. Considering the increased oxidative stress and organelle damage incurred, it is still necessary to make the process more efficient for oocytes. As the energy source of oocytes, mitochondria are the most abundant organelle in oocytes and play a crucial role in their maturation. Here, we found that Mito-TEMPO, a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, could efficaciously improve the oxidative stress injury of vitrified oocytes by recovering mitochondrial function via the mitochondrial respiratory chain. It was observed that Mito-TEMPO not only improves oocyte viability and meiosis but also maintains spindle structure. A subsequent study indicated that Mito-TEMPO effectively rescued mitochondrial dysfunction and attenuated vitrification-induced oxidative stress. Further investigation revealed that Mito-TEMPO regulates vitrified oocytes’ intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and ATP content and provides strong antioxidant properties. Additionally, an analysis of the transcriptome at the single-cell level revealed that the respiratory chain mediates the beneficial effect of Mito-TEMPO on vitrified oocytes. Overall, our findings indicate that supplementing oocytes with Mito-TEMPO is an effective method to shield them from the damage caused by vitrification. In addition, the beneficial effects of Mito-TEMPO on vitrified sheep oocytes could inspire further investigations of the principles underlying oocyte cryobiology in other animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in In Vitro Oocyte Development in Domestic Animals)
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11 pages, 454 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Prevalence of Paratuberculosis in Hungarian Large-Scale Dairy Herds and the Success of Control Measures over Four Years
by Barbara Vass-Bognár, Johannes Lorenz Khol, Walter Baumgartner, Kinga Fornyos, Melitta Papp, Zsolt Abonyi-Tóth, Mikolt Bakony and Viktor Jurkovich
Animals 2024, 14(1), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010151 - 2 Jan 2024
Viewed by 937
Abstract
Paratuberculosis (PTB) is a severe, slow-developing, untreatable disease of ruminants. Worldwide, the disease affects more than 50% of herds in the dairy industry, and causes substantial economic losses for dairy producers. Diagnostic tests show limited sensitivity, especially in the early stages of the [...] Read more.
Paratuberculosis (PTB) is a severe, slow-developing, untreatable disease of ruminants. Worldwide, the disease affects more than 50% of herds in the dairy industry, and causes substantial economic losses for dairy producers. Diagnostic tests show limited sensitivity, especially in the early stages of the disease. Our study aimed to investigate the seroprevalence of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in large-scale dairy herds in Hungary, in association with the self-reported presence or absence of screening and intervention measures against MAP transmission. We processed data from 42 large-scale Holstein Friesian farms in Hungary between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2021. An average of 32,009 (min.: 31,702; max.: 32,207) animals were blood sampled yearly (127,372 in total during the four years), corresponding to 15% of the Hungarian dairy cattle population. All female cattle older than 2 years were blood sampled on the farms enroled in the study. The samples were tested using a commercial ELISA (IDEXX paratuberculosis screening Ab test). Farm managers were interviewed about their on-farm diagnostic and intervention approaches using a uniform questionnaire, including questions on the level of awareness, frequency of ELISA and PCR testing, and their strategies for culling adult animals and reducing transmission to newborn calves. By comparing the annual rate of change in seroprevalence and the amount of change observed during the four-year period, we concluded that test-and-cull strategies implemented in parallel with newborn calf management that aimed at preventing MAP transmission were superior to test-and-cull strategies alone; moreover, fortifying culling decision making via additional ELISA and PCR tests is superior to using a single ELISA result. For farms that carried out a complex program with both “test-and-cull” and proper newborn calf management, there was a proportional reduction in apparent seroprevalence at an average of 22.8% per year. Fifteen of the sampled farms had no measures in place to control paratuberculosis. On these farms, the seroprevalence increased by 12.1% per year on average. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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14 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Effect of a Dietary Essential Oil Blend in Dairy Cows during the Dry and Transition Period on Blood and Metabolic Parameters of Dams and Their Calves
by Cangir Uyarlar, Abdur Rahman, Eyup Eren Gultepe, Ibrahim Sadi Cetingul and Ismail Bayram
Animals 2024, 14(1), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010150 - 2 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1364
Abstract
Cows face severe challenges of immunosuppression and negative energy balance during transition periods. The current study was designed to investigate the effects of essential oil blend supplementation in dairy cow’s ration during dry periods on the health of the cow and calf. In [...] Read more.
Cows face severe challenges of immunosuppression and negative energy balance during transition periods. The current study was designed to investigate the effects of essential oil blend supplementation in dairy cow’s ration during dry periods on the health of the cow and calf. In the current study, 45 dry Holstein dairy cows were divided into three groups, each consisting of 15 animals. The control group was without any supplementation; the positive control group was only injected with 0.2 mg/kg levamisole (intramuscular) at 2 months before parturition and 1 month before parturition; and the treatment group was supplemented with 3 g/day for each cow essential oil blend mixed in total mixed ration (TMR). A mixed vaccine against E. coli, Rotavirus, and Coronavirus was administered to all cows before 42 days and after 21 days of calving. The day of the calving of the animal was accepted as day 0. Blood samples were collected from the coccygeal vein of all cows at −60, −45, −30, −15, −7, 0, 1 and 2 days, and the colostrum samples were taken on days 0, 1, and 2. Blood samples were also collected from the jugular vein (V. Jugularis) of the newborn calves on days 0, 1, and 2. The results of the hematological parameters revealed no difference in the total red blood cell count, hemoglobin amount, hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, PLT, MPV, and PCT values in both prenatal and postnatal blood of the cows (p > 0.05). In terms of immunological parameters, the total IgG level was significantly higher in the experimental group on the 7th day before birth compared to the other two groups, while the total leukocyte count, lymphocyte count, monocyte count and granulocyte counts were found to be lower after birth (p < 0005). Blood NEFA and BHBA levels were also lower in the experimental group compared to the other two groups (p < 0.005), and the blood glucose level was not different (p > 0.05). In calves, no difference was found between the groups in any of the parameters examined (p > 0.05). It is concluded that the dietary addition of an essential oil blend during the transition period enhanced the immune status and energy metabolism of cows without any effect on the health status of newborn calves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
14 pages, 5812 KiB  
Article
Habitat Suitability, Distribution Modelling and GAP Analysis of Przewalski’s Gazelle Conservation
by Dongni Liang and Chunwang Li
Animals 2024, 14(1), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010149 - 2 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Although the population of Przewalski’s gazelle (Procapra przewalskii) has increased, this species is still threatened by a variety of risk factors, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, grassland fencing, grazing conflict, the segmentation of different populations, and declines in population genetic [...] Read more.
Although the population of Przewalski’s gazelle (Procapra przewalskii) has increased, this species is still threatened by a variety of risk factors, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, grassland fencing, grazing conflict, the segmentation of different populations, and declines in population genetic diversity. In order to determine the potential suitable habitat of Przewalski’s gazelle and find a new suitable location for its conservation translocation, we used the MaxEnt model to predict the suitable habitats in Qinghai Province, Gansu Province, and the Ordos Plateau in Inner Mongolia and other regions with historical distribution records. On the basis of the MaxEnt model’s prediction of the potential suitable habitat of Przewalski’s gazelle, we used GAP analysis to determine the existing protection gaps and provide a new reference for the future protection of Przewalski’s gazelle. We found that altitude, temperature, vegetation type, and distance from roads were the main environmental factors affecting the geographical distribution of Przewalski’s gazelle. Most of the suitable habitat of Przewalski’s gazelle is confined around Qinghai Lake. GAP analysis revealed that most of the suitable habitats of Przewalski’s gazelle are not included in the established reserves, and Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve only covers a small area around Qinghai Lake. The whole reserve only accounts for 7.11% of the area of the suitable habitat for Przewalski’s gazelle and 15.79% of the area of the highly suitable habitat for Przewalski’s gazelle. We suggest that conservation translocation for Przewalski’s gazelle should be put on the agenda. It is necessary to consider reintroducing these gazelles into their potential suitable habitats as a feasible way of establishing new populations and saving this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protecting Endangered Species)
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13 pages, 995 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Metal and Heavy Metal Concentrations on Vancomycin Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus within Milk Produced by Cattle Farms and the Health Risk Assessment in Kurdistan Province, Iran
by Yeganeh Sadeghian, Mahdieh Raeeszadeh and Hiva Karimi Darehabi
Animals 2024, 14(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010148 - 2 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
In today’s food landscape, the paramount focus is on ensuring food safety and hygiene. Recognizing the pivotal role of the environment and its management in safeguarding animal products, this study explores vancomycin resistance in raw milk from livestock farms in the Kurdistan province [...] Read more.
In today’s food landscape, the paramount focus is on ensuring food safety and hygiene. Recognizing the pivotal role of the environment and its management in safeguarding animal products, this study explores vancomycin resistance in raw milk from livestock farms in the Kurdistan province and its correlation with metal and heavy metal. One hundred and sixty raw milk samples were collected from various locations, with heavy metal concentrations analyzed using ICP-MS. Identification of Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin resistance testing were conducted through culture and the Kirby–Bauer method. This study investigates the relationship between resistance and heavy metal levels, revealing that 8.75% of milk samples contained Staphylococcus aureus, with 28.58% exhibiting vancomycin resistance. Significant variations in arsenic, iron, zinc, sodium, and aluminum concentrations were observed between resistant and sensitive samples (p < 0.01). The increase in arsenic, iron, and aluminum, along with the decrease in zinc, demonstrated a significant association with vancomycin resistance (p < 0.001). Levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, zinc, and iron exceeded permissible limits (p < 0.05). The Target Hazard Quotient (THQ) for cadmium indicated a high non-carcinogenic risk, while the Target Risk (TR) for arsenic fell within the carcinogenic range. Accumulation of heavy metals has the potential to impact antibiotic resistance in milk, underscoring the imperative to control arsenic residues for national safety. Full article
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12 pages, 3775 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Plastic and Hardware Foreign Bodies among Goats at Malawi Markets
by Paul M. Airs, Jonathan H. I. Tinsley, Winchester Mvula, Javier Ventura-Cordero, Taro Takahashi, Patson Nalivata, Jan A. van Wyk, Eric R. Morgan and Andrews C. L. Safalaoh
Animals 2024, 14(1), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010147 - 1 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1203
Abstract
Smallholder goat production plays a major role in rural livelihoods and food security in Malawi, but suffers from drastic and unpredictable production losses. While goat production is closely linked to small-scale local markets for slaughter and butchering, the perspectives of butchers and their [...] Read more.
Smallholder goat production plays a major role in rural livelihoods and food security in Malawi, but suffers from drastic and unpredictable production losses. While goat production is closely linked to small-scale local markets for slaughter and butchering, the perspectives of butchers and their potential as a source of animal health information are largely untapped. Butchers can provide insights into goat health status at slaughter as well as issues that go unseen before slaughter, such as the presence of indigestible foreign bodies (IFBs). IFBs include solid materials such as plastics and hardware (metals, stones, and other hard objects) that cause foreign body syndrome and can lead to impaction, oedema, malnutrition, and death. To estimate the presence of IFBs, 150 market stand butchers were surveyed across five districts in Malawi, focusing on a distinction between hardware and single-use plastics, which are still widely present in Malawi despite bans on production. Most butchers found plastic IFBs (80.7%), with over half (56.7%) reporting plastic IFBs recently among the past five slaughters. Hardware IFBs were less common, reported by 45.3% of butchers. While some butchers commented on the impact of IFBs on meat quality metrics ex-post, the majority observed no differences. While butchers unanimously considered health to be an important characteristic when sourcing goats, 70.7% consider injury status to be less important or not important. Overall, this study highlights the issue of anthropogenic waste pollution on goat production in Malawi and demonstrates the potential for the surveillance of goat health at market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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16 pages, 1020 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Sodium Alginate-Coated Nano-Zinc Oxide on the Growth Performance, Serum Indexes and Fecal Microbial Structure of Weaned Piglets
by Xiao Xiao, Kai Guo, Jinsong Liu, Yulan Liu, Caimei Yang, Yinglei Xu and Bo Deng
Animals 2024, 14(1), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010146 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1213
Abstract
High dose of zinc oxide (ZnO) could improve growth performance and alleviate disease status, whereas it caused serious environmental pollution and bacterial resistance. This study was to investigate whether low doses of sodium alginate-coated nano zinc oxide (saZnO), a new type of zinc [...] Read more.
High dose of zinc oxide (ZnO) could improve growth performance and alleviate disease status, whereas it caused serious environmental pollution and bacterial resistance. This study was to investigate whether low doses of sodium alginate-coated nano zinc oxide (saZnO), a new type of zinc resource, could serve as a potential alternative to pharmacological doses of traditional ZnO in weaned piglets. A total of 144 crossbred piglets were randomly allocated into three groups, including a basal diet without the addition of Zn (CON), a basal diet with 1600 mg Zn/kg from traditional ZnO (ZnO), and a basal diet with 500 mg Zn/kg from saZnO (saZnO). The experiment lasted for 28 days. The results showed that supplementing with ZnO and saZnO for 14 and 28 days significantly improved body weight (BW) and average daily gain (ADG) (p < 0.01) and markedly reduced the feed intake-to-gain ratio (F/G) (p < 0.05) and diarrhea rate. In addition, dietary ZnO and saZnO significantly increased the activities of the total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (p < 0.01). Supplementing with saZnO also promoted the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), IgM and copper- and zinc-containing superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD) in serum (p < 0.05), whereas a ZnO addition decreased the concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA) (p < 0.05), indicating the beneficial effect of Zn on antioxidant and immune functions. Piglets fed the ZnO diet showed higher serum Zn accumulations than those fed the CON and saZnO diets at d 28 (p < 0.01), and supplementing with ZnO and saZnO markedly contributed to Zn excretion in feces, especially in the ZnO diet (p < 0.01). Additionally, piglets fed the saZnO diet had greater valeric acid concentrations (p < 0.05) in their feces, while other short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were not affected by different treatments (p > 0.05). Microbial alpha diversity was reduced in the saZnO group compared with the CON group (p < 0.05), while an obvious separation of microbial composition, the marker of beta diversity, was shown among the three groups (p < 0.05). At the genus level, six genera, including Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1, Terrisporobacter, f_Muribaculaceae, Subdoligranulum and Intestinibacter, were pronouncedly increased in the ZnO and saZnO groups (p < 0.05); another nine species were dramatically downregulated, such as f_Lachnospiraceae, f_Prevotellaceae, f_Butyricicoccaceae and f_Ruminococcaceae (p < 0.05). Finally, a functional analysis indicated that altered microbes significantly changed the “Metabolism” pathway (p < 0.05). These findings suggested that saZnO could act as a feasible substitute for ZnO to reduce Zn emission and enhance growth performance, antioxidant and immune functions, and to adjust the structure of gut microbiota in piglets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piglets Nutrition and Management)
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