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Animals, Volume 14, Issue 3 (February-1 2024) – 171 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Research into the impact of companion animals on well-being has been both extensive and inconclusive. The present research explored four relationship science concepts that may help clarify whether companion animals provide well-being benefits: self-expansion, perceived pet responsiveness, perceived pet insensitivity, and attachment. We focused on dog and cat owners’ depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect, and loneliness. We found that attachment, self-expansion, and perceived pet insensitivity all significantly predicted at least one mental well-being outcome. Loneliness emerged as a mediator in the relationship between perceived pet insensitivity, attachment, self-expansion, and all mental well-being outcome variables. These findings indicate that perceived pet insensitivity, attachment, and self-expansion may play an important yet neglected role in well-being outcomes. View this paper
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19 pages, 689 KiB  
Article
A Survey of Public Opinion on Community Cats’ General Health and Relationship Quality with Residents in Urban China
by Xuan Gu, Zilin Zhang, Guo Peng, Anru Ni, Bo Wang, Xiufan Xiong, Yujie Liu and Li Wang
Animals 2024, 14(3), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030525 - 5 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1503
Abstract
The management and coexistence of community cats in urban areas is a growing concern amid global urbanization. Through a survey-based investigation, we examine the residents’ perceptions of the general health of community cats and human-cat relationships in urban China. The data from 5382 [...] Read more.
The management and coexistence of community cats in urban areas is a growing concern amid global urbanization. Through a survey-based investigation, we examine the residents’ perceptions of the general health of community cats and human-cat relationships in urban China. The data from 5382 participants revealed that approximately 70% of participants perceived community cats as being in good health, and 60% reported harmonious or non-conflict coexistence between residents and these cats. Around 45% of the participants rescued or helped community cats, 38% expressed their intention to adopt, and 18% complained about the issues of community cats to management staff. Linear, logistic, and multilevel-logistic regressions were employed to examine the associations between the types of cities and communities or the participants’ socio-demographics and the perceived well-being of community cats or human-cat relationships. The results show that the cats in fourth-tier cities (e.g., county-level cities) had poorer living conditions than in first-tier cities (e.g., Beijing), while the cats in urban village communities (e.g., villages in the city) were less likely to exhibit good health than in ordinary commercial housing communities. The results also show that socio-demographic variables, such as educational attainment, marital status, and income level, predicted participants’ relationships with community cats. This study is the first of its kind. It provides valuable insights for stakeholders to develop effective policies and interventions on cat management, emphasizing the need for tailored strategies in diverse urban settings and populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Welfare from a Cross-Cultural Perspective)
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15 pages, 34094 KiB  
Article
An Assessment of the Epidemiology and Herd-Level Impact of the Fractured Humerus Epidemic in New Zealand Dairy Cattle, 2007–2015: Results from Four Studies
by Jaimie C. Hunnam, Kevin Lawrence, Zul Bahar A. Rashid, Ben Hitchcock, Scott McDougall, Alvaro Wehrle-Martinez and Jenny F. Weston
Animals 2024, 14(3), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030524 - 5 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
A multi-method approach integrating data from four independent sources was used to describe some key features of the epidemiology and estimate the herd and within-herd incidence of fractured humeri in New Zealand dairy cattle for the period 2007–2015. The first dataset was from [...] Read more.
A multi-method approach integrating data from four independent sources was used to describe some key features of the epidemiology and estimate the herd and within-herd incidence of fractured humeri in New Zealand dairy cattle for the period 2007–2015. The first dataset was from a national case series where cases of humeral fractures in dairy cattle were identified by veterinarians across New Zealand between the 2007/2008 and 2011/2012 lactation seasons. The second dataset was from a pet food company based in the Waikato region, which collated the number of casualty first- and second-lactation cows found to have a fractured humerus post-slaughter in the 2014/2015 lactation season, and the third dataset was a case series conducted by veterinarians employed in a Waikato veterinary business, also from the 2014/2015 lactation season. For the final dataset, 505 randomly selected New Zealand dairy farmers completed a phone survey on the incidence of non-responsive, non-weight-bearing forelimb lameness in first- and second-lactation cows in the 2014/2015 lactation season. Using the telephone survey results, the within-herd and herd-level incidence of cases for first- and second-lactation dairy animals was calculated. The national case series reported 149 cases of humeral fractures in 22 dairy herds; the pet food case series identified 61 cases from 41 farms; and the practice-based case series found 14 cases from 10 farms. Humeral fractures exclusively affected first- and second-lactation dairy cows and had a peak incidence between calving and early mating. The national telephone survey found that non-weight-bearing forelimb lameness requiring euthanasia of first- or second-lactation cows occurred in 11.7% of herds, with a mean within-herd incidence of 2.6% for first lactation cows and 2.8% for second-lactation cows for affected herds. These combined datasets demonstrate that humeral fractures in young, lactating dairy cattle are more common than previously suspected and that they occur nationally and over multiple years on some farms. Further work on this condition is urgently required in New Zealand to establish cost-effective management practices that will reduce unnecessary animal suffering and waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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12 pages, 978 KiB  
Article
Porous Zinc Oxide and Plant Polyphenols as a Replacement for High-Dose Zinc Oxide on Growth Performance, Diarrhea Incidence, Intestinal Morphology and Microbial Diversity of Weaned Piglets
by Dongxu Ming, Jizhe Wang, Chenggang Yin, Yiqun Chen, Yanpin Li, Wenjuan Sun, Yu Pi, Alessandra Monteiro, Xilong Li and Xianren Jiang
Animals 2024, 14(3), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030523 - 5 Feb 2024
Viewed by 787
Abstract
The aim of this experiment is to evaluate the effects of adding porous zinc oxide, plant polyphenols, and their combination to diets without antibiotics and high-dose zinc oxide on the growth performance, diarrhea incidence, intestinal morphology, and microbial diversity of weaned piglets. A [...] Read more.
The aim of this experiment is to evaluate the effects of adding porous zinc oxide, plant polyphenols, and their combination to diets without antibiotics and high-dose zinc oxide on the growth performance, diarrhea incidence, intestinal morphology, and microbial diversity of weaned piglets. A total of 150 Duroc × Landrace × Large White weaned piglets were allocated to one of five diets in a randomized complete block design with six replicates and five piglets per replicate. The experimental period was 42 d, divided into two feeding stages: pre-starter (0–14 d) and starter (14–42 d). In the pre-starter stage, the negative control group (NC) was fed a basal diet, the positive control group (PC) was fed a basal diet with 2000 mg/kg of zinc oxide, the porous zinc oxide group (PZ) was fed a basal diet with 500 mg/kg of porous zinc oxide, the plant polyphenol group (PP) was fed a basal diet with 1500 mg/kg of plant polyphenols, and the combination group (PZ + PP) was fed a basal diet with 500 mg/kg of porous zinc oxide and 1500 mg/kg of plant polyphenols. In the starter stage, the NC, PC, and PZ groups were fed a basal diet, while the PP and PZ + PP groups were fed a basal diet with 1000 mg/kg of plant polyphenols. The results showed that, (1) compared with the PZ group, adding plant polyphenols to the diet showed a trend of increasing the ADFI of weaned piglets from 14 to 28 d (p = 0.099). From days 28 to 42 and days 0 to 42, porous zinc oxide and the combination of porous zinc oxide and plant polyphenols added to the control diet improved the FCR to the level observed in pigs fed the PC diet. (2) Dietary PZ + PP tended to increase the jejunal villus height (VH) of weaned piglets (p = 0.055), and significantly increased the villus-height-to-crypt-depth ratio compared to the NC group (p < 0.05). (3) Compared with the NC group, PZ supplementation decreased the relative abundance of Firmicutes and increased the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes, and the relative abundance of Lactobacillus in the PZ and PZ + PP groups were both increased. In conclusion, porous zinc oxide and plant polyphenols may have synergistic effects in modulating intestinal health in weaned piglets and be a potential alternative to high-dose zinc oxide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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14 pages, 3146 KiB  
Article
Purine Metabolism and Hexosamine Biosynthetic Pathway Abnormalities in Diarrheal Weaned Piglets Identified Using Metabolomics
by Mingyu Wang, Qin Zhong, Huailu Xin, Bing Yu, Jun He, Jie Yu, Xiangbing Mao, Zhiqing Huang, Yuheng Luo, Junqiu Luo, Hui Yan, Aimin Wu, Junning Pu and Ping Zheng
Animals 2024, 14(3), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030522 - 5 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Post-weaning diarrhea significantly contributes to the high mortality in pig production, but the metabolic changes in weaned piglets with diarrhea remain unclear. This study aimed to identify the differential metabolites in the urine of diarrheal weaned piglets and those of healthy weaned piglets [...] Read more.
Post-weaning diarrhea significantly contributes to the high mortality in pig production, but the metabolic changes in weaned piglets with diarrhea remain unclear. This study aimed to identify the differential metabolites in the urine of diarrheal weaned piglets and those of healthy weaned piglets to reveal the metabolic changes associated with diarrhea in weaned piglets. Nine 25-day-old piglets with diarrhea scores above 16 and an average body weight of 5.41 ± 0.18 kg were selected for the diarrhea group. Corresponding to the body weight and sex of the diarrhea group, nine 25-month-old healthy piglets with similar sex and body weights of 5.49 ± 0.21 kg were selected as the control group. Results showed that the serum C-reactive protein and cortisol of piglets in the diarrhea group were higher than those in the control group (p < 0.05). The mRNA expression of TNF-α, IFN-γ in the jejunum and colon, and IL-1β in the jejunum were increased in diarrhea piglets (p < 0.05), accompanied by a reduction in the mRNA expression of ZO-1, ZO-2, and CLDN1 in the jejunum and colon (p < 0.05); mRNA expression of OCLN in the colon also occurred (p < 0.05). Metabolomic analysis of urine revealed increased levels of inosine, hypoxanthine, guanosine, deoxyinosin, glucosamine, glucosamine-1-p, N-Acetylmannosamine, chitobiose, and uric acid, identified as differential metabolites in diarrhea piglets compared to the controls. In summary, elevated weaning stress and inflammatory disease were associated with the abnormalities of purine metabolism and the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway of weaned piglets. This study additionally indicated the presence of energy metabolism-related diseases in diarrheal weaned piglets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Swine Housing, Health and Welfare)
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11 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Six-Year Prescription Pattern of Antimicrobial Use in Cats at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of the University of Pisa
by Lucia De Marchi, Matilde Vernaccini, Valentina Meucci, Angela Briganti, Ilaria Lippi, Veronica Marchetti and Luigi Intorre
Animals 2024, 14(3), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030521 - 5 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1168
Abstract
The use of antimicrobials has greatly contributed to improving animal health. However, their inappropriate use reduces their effectiveness in treating bacterial infections and contributes to the selection of resistance. This study aimed to retrospectively evaluate the six-year pattern (2017–2022) of antimicrobial use in [...] Read more.
The use of antimicrobials has greatly contributed to improving animal health. However, their inappropriate use reduces their effectiveness in treating bacterial infections and contributes to the selection of resistance. This study aimed to retrospectively evaluate the six-year pattern (2017–2022) of antimicrobial use in cats visiting the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) of the University of Pisa (Italy). The total number of prescribed antimicrobials, the number of animals for which an antimicrobial was prescribed, and the total number of antimicrobial prescriptions showed a significant time trend decrease during the study period, except for the fixed-dose combinations. The most frequently prescribed antimicrobials were amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (Synulox) (39.1%) followed by enrofloxacin (29.8%). These antimicrobials were mostly prescribed to treat infections affecting the genitourinary tract (~30%), followed by the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and respiratory system affections. Antimicrobials in empirical associations represented 13.0% of the total antimicrobial prescriptions, and the combination of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (Synulox) with enrofloxacin accounted for the majority. The oral route represented the main route of administration of prescribed antimicrobials, followed by parenteral and topical ones. Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (Synulox) (37.2%), ceftriaxone (2.7%), and tobramycin (2.8%) were the most prescribed antimicrobials for the oral, parenteral, and topical routes, respectively. Antimicrobial prescriptions complied with prudent use recommendations in terms of availability of diagnosis, respect to the dose range, duration of treatment, and the use of medicinal products approved for the species. On the contrary, antimicrobial susceptibility tests were used infrequently (5.2%), lacking compliance with the existing guidelines observed in companion animal practice. Overall, additional interventions are required not only to improve the responsible use of antimicrobials in our feline practice but also to implement antimicrobial stewardship programs, enhancing diagnostics such as culture and sensitivity testing in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
15 pages, 2427 KiB  
Article
Semiochemicals from Domestic Cat Urine and Feces Reduce Use of Scratching Surfaces
by Lingna Zhang, Edgar O. Aviles-Rosa, Zhaowei Bian, Kaz Surowiec and John J. McGlone
Animals 2024, 14(3), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030520 - 5 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 942
Abstract
Scratching is a natural behavior in cats but can cause damage to household furnishings. In this work, we sought to identify potential semiochemicals in the urine and feces of domestic cats that may modify cat scratching behavior. Sex differences among adult, intact cats [...] Read more.
Scratching is a natural behavior in cats but can cause damage to household furnishings. In this work, we sought to identify potential semiochemicals in the urine and feces of domestic cats that may modify cat scratching behavior. Sex differences among adult, intact cats were examined for volatile molecules in their urine (n = 7 females, 7 males) and feces (n = 8 females, 10 males) using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Males had seven times more 3-Mercapto-3-Methyl Butanol (MMB, p < 0.001) in the urine and 98% more butanoic acid (p = 0.02) in the feces than females. One mL of mineral oil without (i.e., control) or with MMB (0.1 µg/mL) and butanoic acid (100 µg/mL; i.e., treatment), which corresponds to the estimated biological amount in a single elimination from a male cat, were evaluated for their effectiveness in modifying the use of scratching devices by cats. Two identical cardboard standing scratchers, treated with either the control or the solution containing both semiochemicals delivered through a hanging cotton sock were placed side by side in a home/shelter environment. The preference test consisted of exposing individual cats (n = 28) to both scratchers for 20 min and recording the duration and frequency they interacted or scratched each scratcher. The semiochemical solution significantly decreased scratching time (21.19 ± 3.8 vs. 6.08 ± 3.8 s; p < 0.001) and interaction time (31.54 ± 5.9 vs. 12.90 ± 5.9 s; p = 0.0001) and tended to reduce scratching frequency (1.49 ± 0.3 vs. 0.82 ± 0.3 times; p = 0.07) compared with the control solution. The male-representative solution of MMB and butanoic acid was aversive to cats and might have future applications in protecting furniture from the destructive scratching or in modifying behavior of domestic cats. Full article
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14 pages, 3453 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Tumor-Associated Tissue Eosinophilia (TATE) and Tumor-Associated Macrophages (TAMs) in Canine Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Urinary Bladder
by Rita Files, Victor Okwu, Nuno Topa, Marisa Sousa, Filipe Silva, Paula Rodrigues, Leonor Delgado, Justina Prada and Isabel Pires
Animals 2024, 14(3), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030519 - 5 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1273
Abstract
Transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder is a significant neoplasm in dogs, characterized by a poor prognosis and a high metastatic potential. These canine spontaneous tumors share many characteristics with human transitional cell carcinoma, making them an excellent comparative model. The role [...] Read more.
Transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder is a significant neoplasm in dogs, characterized by a poor prognosis and a high metastatic potential. These canine spontaneous tumors share many characteristics with human transitional cell carcinoma, making them an excellent comparative model. The role of inflammatory infiltration in tumor development and progression is frequently contradictory, especially concerning tumor-associated tissue eosinophils (TATE) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). This study aims to analyze TATE and TAMs in canine transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder. Congo Red staining was used to identify TATE, and immunohistochemistry was performed to detect TAMs in 34 cases of canine transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder carcinomas, categorized into low and high grades. Statistically significant differences were observed between the number of eosinophils and macrophages in the two groups of tumors. The number of TATE was higher in low-grade malignant tumors, but the number of TAMs was higher in high-grade tumors. Our findings suggest the importance of TATEs and TAMs in the aggressiveness of canine transitional cell carcinoma and propose their potential use as therapeutic targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Naturally Occurring Canine Lower Urinary Tract Neoplasia)
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14 pages, 839 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Housing on Growth, Immune Function and Antioxidant Status of Young Female Lambs in Cold Conditions
by Jin Xiao, Wenliang Guo, Zhipeng Han, Yuanqing Xu, Yuanyuan Xing, Clive J. C. Phillips and Binlin Shi
Animals 2024, 14(3), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030518 - 5 Feb 2024
Viewed by 915
Abstract
Cold conditions in northern China during winter may reduce sheep growth and affect their health, especially if they are young, unless housing is provided. We allocated 45 two-month-old female lambs to be housed in an enclosed building, a polytunnel, or kept outdoors, for [...] Read more.
Cold conditions in northern China during winter may reduce sheep growth and affect their health, especially if they are young, unless housing is provided. We allocated 45 two-month-old female lambs to be housed in an enclosed building, a polytunnel, or kept outdoors, for 28 days. The daily weight gain and scalp and ear skin temperature of outdoor lambs were less than those of lambs that were housed in either a house or polytunnel; however, rectal temperature was unaffected by treatment. There was a progressive change in blood composition over time, and by the end of the experiment, outdoor lambs had reduced total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) and increased malondialdehyde compared to those in the house or polytunnel. In relation to immune responses in the lambs’ serum, in the polytunnel, immunoglobulin A (IgA), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) were higher and immunoglobulin G (IgG) lower compared with the concentrations in lambs that were outdoors. Over the course of the experiment, genes expressing heat shock proteins and antioxidant enzymes increased in lambs in the outdoor treatment, whereas they decreased in lambs in the indoor treatments. It is concluded that although there were no treatment effects on core body temperature, the trends for progressive changes in blood composition and gene expression indicate that the outdoor lambs were not physiologically stable; hence, they should not be kept outdoors in these environmental conditions for long periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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12 pages, 1472 KiB  
Article
Population Analysis Identifies 15 Multi-Variant Dominant White Haplotypes in Horses
by Aiden McFadden, Micaela Vierra, Holly Robilliard, Katie Martin, Samantha A. Brooks, Robin E. Everts and Christa Lafayette
Animals 2024, 14(3), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030517 - 5 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2104
Abstract
The influence of a horse’s appearance on health, sentimental and monetary value has driven the desire to understand the etiology of coat color. White markings on the coat define inclusion for multiple horse breeds, but they may disqualify a horse from registration in [...] Read more.
The influence of a horse’s appearance on health, sentimental and monetary value has driven the desire to understand the etiology of coat color. White markings on the coat define inclusion for multiple horse breeds, but they may disqualify a horse from registration in other breeds. In domesticated horses (Equus caballus), 35 KIT alleles are associated with or cause depigmentation and white spotting. It is a common misconception among the general public that a horse can possess only two KIT variants. To correct this misconception, we used BEAGLE 5.4-phased NGS data to identify 15 haplotypes possessing two or more KIT variants previously associated with depigmentation phenotypes. We sourced photos for 161 horses comprising 12 compound genotypes with three or more KIT variants and employed a standardized method to grade depigmentation, yielding average white scores for each unique compound genotype. We found that 7 of the 12 multi-variant haplotypes resulted in significantly more depigmentation relative to the single-variant haplotypes (ANOVA). It is clear horses can possess more than two KIT variants, and future work aims to document phenotypic variations for each compound genotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Equine Genetics and Breeding)
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6 pages, 358 KiB  
Communication
Effect of Feeding a Calcium Chloride Supplement on Sow Stillbirth Rate
by Sahara Craig, Si-En Ruth Khaw, Kiro R. Petrovski and Roy N. Kirkwood
Animals 2024, 14(3), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030516 - 4 Feb 2024
Viewed by 796
Abstract
The present study was undertaken to determine the effect of daily calcium chloride (CaCl2) supplementation from day of entry into the farrowing house until day of farrowing (6.4 ± 0.3 d) on stillbirth rates. Landrace × Large White sows (parities 4 [...] Read more.
The present study was undertaken to determine the effect of daily calcium chloride (CaCl2) supplementation from day of entry into the farrowing house until day of farrowing (6.4 ± 0.3 d) on stillbirth rates. Landrace × Large White sows (parities 4 to 6; n = 53) were offered 40 g/d CaCl2 (n = 28) or served as controls (n = 25). The morning before their estimated farrowing date, a blood sample was obtained from 25 sows for calcium measurement and a urine sample from 22 sows for pH measurement. The feeding of CaCl2 decreased urinary pH compared to the control group (p < 0.001), indicative of an induced metabolic acidosis, but there was no effect of feeding CaCl2 on serum calcium concentrations or the incidence of stillbirths. Nonetheless, regardless of treatment, sows with higher serum calcium concentrations (>2.5 vs. <2.5 mmol) or lower urine pH (<7.0 vs. >7.0) had fewer stillborn piglets (p < 0.001 for both). While showing that low serum calcium levels will increase stillbirth rates, our data indicate that the administration of 40 g/d CaCl2 for 6 d prior to farrowing was not sufficient to increase serum calcium or decrease stillbirth incidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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16 pages, 1633 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Supplementation with Caesalpinia sappan Linn. Extract for Promoting Flock Health and Performance in Late-Phase Laying Hens
by Methisa Longchuphon, Peerawit Chongrattanameteekul, Raktham Mektrirat, Korawan Sringarm, Wanaporn Tapingkae, Orranee Srinual, Kiattisak Huanhong, Wipasiri Chaiphun, Chaiwat Arjin, Sanchai Jaturasitha and Chompunut Lumsangkul
Animals 2024, 14(3), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030515 - 4 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1255
Abstract
The present study investigated the effects of dietary supplementation of Caesalpinia sappan Linn Extract (CSE) on the health and productive performance of late-phase laying hens on farms. Proximate composition and antioxidant markers of CSE powder revealed favorable characteristics with high total dry matter; [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the effects of dietary supplementation of Caesalpinia sappan Linn Extract (CSE) on the health and productive performance of late-phase laying hens on farms. Proximate composition and antioxidant markers of CSE powder revealed favorable characteristics with high total dry matter; phenolic content, and antioxidant potency. Three hundred and sixty (64-week-old) Hy-line Brown hens were divided into five groups with 0 (control diet), 250, 500, 1000, and 2000 mg/kg CSE, respectively. The laying performance and egg quality of the CSE supplementation groups demonstrated significant improvements in egg weight and albumin weight (p < 0.05), and a tendency for enhanced egg mass and feed conversion ratio. Additionally, the intestinal morphostructural indices in the 2000 mg CSE/kg diet group showed the greatest statistical significance (p < 0.05), with a detectable trend suggesting an increase in the villus height to crypt depth ratio. In addition, significant downregulation of proinflammatory genes occurred in their liver tissues, coupled with a greater expression of genes linked to antioxidants and anti-inflammatory processes. Furthermore, the blood biochemical parameters and the organ weights may suggest a favorable safety profile of CSE supplementation. These findings highlight the potential of CSE as a dietary supplement to enhance the productive performance and flock health of late-phase laying hens. Further research is warranted to explore the long-term effects and optimal dosage of CSE supplementation for laying hens in farming practices Full article
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13 pages, 1441 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Claw Lesions in Beef Cattle Slaughtered in Northern Portugal: A Preliminary Study
by Mafalda Seixas, Dina Moura, Luca Grispoldi, Beniamino Cenci-Goga, Sónia Saraiva, Filipe Silva, Isabel Pires, Cristina Saraiva and Juan García-Díez
Animals 2024, 14(3), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030514 - 4 Feb 2024
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Claw diseases have a profound impact on cattle welfare, affecting behaviors such as grazing, rumination, rest, decubitus, and water consumption. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of claw lesions and classify them according to the ICAR Claw Health Atlas (International Committee of [...] Read more.
Claw diseases have a profound impact on cattle welfare, affecting behaviors such as grazing, rumination, rest, decubitus, and water consumption. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of claw lesions and classify them according to the ICAR Claw Health Atlas (International Committee of Animal Recording) in two slaughterhouses. The influence of claw lesions on carcass weight, classification, and fat deposition was also examined. Involving 343 crossbreed cattle from 103 different extensive or semi-intensive farms, this study found an animal prevalence of claw disorders at 65.8%, with a higher incidence in females (n = 207, 60.35%) compared to males (n = 136, 39.65%). Despite the observed prevalence, claw lesions were not influenced by age or sex (p > 0.05). The main claw lesions identified, including heel horn erosion, double sole, and asymmetric claw, were consistent with the cattle management practices in the study area. These cattle were raised in small, rustic premises with uneven floors, utilizing a mix of manure and plant material as bedding and lacking access to pasture. Also, no negative economic impact was detected concerning carcass weight, classification, or fat deposition. Consequently, it was concluded that the presence of claw lesions in beef cattle raised under the characteristic management of this geographical area does not adversely affect animal health or farm economics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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21 pages, 6519 KiB  
Review
Hypothalamic Neuromodulation of Hypothermia in Domestic Animals
by Daniel Mota-Rojas, Marcelo Daniel Ghezzi, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado, Pamela Anahí Lendez, María Carolina Ceriani and Dehua Wang
Animals 2024, 14(3), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030513 - 4 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1259
Abstract
When an organism detects decreases in their core body temperature, the hypothalamus, the main thermoregulatory center, triggers compensatory responses. These responses include vasomotor changes to prevent heat loss and physiological mechanisms (e.g., shivering and non-shivering thermogenesis) for heat production. Both types of changes [...] Read more.
When an organism detects decreases in their core body temperature, the hypothalamus, the main thermoregulatory center, triggers compensatory responses. These responses include vasomotor changes to prevent heat loss and physiological mechanisms (e.g., shivering and non-shivering thermogenesis) for heat production. Both types of changes require the participation of peripheral thermoreceptors, afferent signaling to the spinal cord and hypothalamus, and efferent pathways to motor and/or sympathetic neurons. The present review aims to analyze the scientific evidence of the hypothalamic control of hypothermia and the central and peripheral changes that are triggered in domestic animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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19 pages, 3744 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Changes in Hemolymph Protein Level and Hypopharyngeal Gland Size Depending on Age and In-Nest Location of Honeybee Workers
by Jan Musila and Antonín Přidal
Animals 2024, 14(3), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030512 - 4 Feb 2024
Viewed by 755
Abstract
A honeybee colony, as a super-organism, is regulated through age-polyethism. A honeybee worker’s age is considered by means of a chronological and biological approach. The biological age is estimated with physiologically related biological markers, e.g., total hemolymph protein content (THP) and hypopharyngeal gland [...] Read more.
A honeybee colony, as a super-organism, is regulated through age-polyethism. A honeybee worker’s age is considered by means of a chronological and biological approach. The biological age is estimated with physiologically related biological markers, e.g., total hemolymph protein content (THP) and hypopharyngeal gland size (HGs), which also vary seasonally. Contemporary insights into the age-related spatial workers’ distribution within the hive nest space regarding biological age are insufficiently clarified. This study aimed to monitor changes in selected physiological markers during the entire season in relation to worker age and their spatial position in the hive nest. THP content and HG size analysis was performed in nine colonies for the entire season to compare the physiological markers within and among the groups of the workers whose ages were known and sampled in different hive parts. Seasonal impact on the biomarkers’ development was confirmed in known-age workers. In the case of HGs, this impact was the most apparent in 4- and 5-week-old workers. For THP, the seasonal impact was the most obvious in 2-week-old workers. The highest THP was found in 1- and 2-week-old workers during the entire season. Biologically younger workers of the same age were located predominantly in upper hive parts consistently throughout the year and vice versa. These workers showed significantly higher THP in comparison with those sampled below. Regarding the chronological age, the downwards, spatially shifting mechanism of workers within the hive nest while they aged was characterized. We recommend storage of diluted hemolymph samples up to one month before performing an assay if necessary. The physiological context, relation to division of labor and benefits for beekeeping practices are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current State of Knowledge on the Physiology and Reproduction of Bees)
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15 pages, 670 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Systemic Hypertension and Control of Systolic Blood Pressure in a Cohort of 14 Dogs with Adrenal-Dependent Hypercortisolism during the First Year of Trilostane Treatment or after Adrenalectomy
by Paula García San José, María Dolores Pérez-Alenza, Daniel Alonso-Miguel, Sandra González Sanz and Carolina Arenas Bermejo
Animals 2024, 14(3), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030511 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1105
Abstract
Hypercortisolism in dogs is frequently associated with systemic hypertension (SH). However, there are no studies evaluating the changes in systolic blood pressure (SBP) in dogs with adrenal-dependent hypercortisolism (ADH) during trilostane treatment or after adrenalectomy and their response to antihypertensive treatments. For this [...] Read more.
Hypercortisolism in dogs is frequently associated with systemic hypertension (SH). However, there are no studies evaluating the changes in systolic blood pressure (SBP) in dogs with adrenal-dependent hypercortisolism (ADH) during trilostane treatment or after adrenalectomy and their response to antihypertensive treatments. For this reason, the objectives of this study were to evaluate the changes in SBP in dogs with ADH during the first year of trilostane treatment or after adrenalectomy, the relation with clinical control of hypercortisolism and certain laboratory parameters, and the response to antihypertensive drugs. Fourteen dogs newly diagnosed with ADH were prospectively included and evaluated at diagnosis (T0) and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after (T1, T3, T6, and T12, respectively). Dogs were classified as hypertensive (HT; SBP ≥ 160 mmHg) and non-hypertensive. In HT dogs, benazepril was considered as the first-line drug, and, if necessary, amlodipine was prescribed. The prevalence of SH at T0 was 79%, and it was reduced to 25% at T12. Blood pressure (BP) was not associated with disease control or selected laboratory parameters at any endpoint. Only 22% of dogs with SH needed more than one drug to normalize their SBP. In all dogs surgically treated that were HT at T0, BP normalized at T3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine and Feline Endocrinology: Research Progress and Challenges)
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27 pages, 1429 KiB  
Review
Flight toward Sustainability in Poultry Nutrition with Black Soldier Fly Larvae
by Md Salahuddin, Ahmed A. A. Abdel-Wareth, Kohzy Hiramatsu, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, Daylan Luza and Jayant Lohakare
Animals 2024, 14(3), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030510 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2732
Abstract
Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae), have emerged as a promising feed ingredient in broiler chicken diets, known for their high protein content, nutritional richness, and environmental sustainability. This review examines the effects of integrating BSFL into broiler feeds, [...] Read more.
Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae), have emerged as a promising feed ingredient in broiler chicken diets, known for their high protein content, nutritional richness, and environmental sustainability. This review examines the effects of integrating BSFL into broiler feeds, focusing on aspects such as growth performance, nutrient digestibility, physiological responses, and immune health. The ability of BSFL to transform waste into valuable biomass rich in proteins and lipids underscores their efficiency and ecological benefits. Protein levels in BSFL can range from 32% to 53%, varying with growth stage and diet, offering a robust source of amino acids essential for muscle development and growth in broilers. While the chitin in BSFL poses questions regarding digestibility, the overall impact on nutrient utilization is generally favorable. The inclusion of BSFL in diets has been shown to enhance growth rates, feed efficiency, and carcass quality in broilers, with the larvae’s balanced amino acid profile being particularly advantageous for muscle development. BSFL may also support gut health and immunity in broilers due to its bioactive components, potentially influencing the gut’s microbial composition and enhancing nutrient absorption and overall health. Moreover, the capacity of BSFL to efficiently convert organic waste into protein highlights their role as an environmentally sustainable protein source for broiler nutrition. Nonetheless, further research is necessary to fully understand the long-term effects of BSFL, ideal inclusion rates, and the impact of varying larval diets and rearing conditions. It is crucial for poultry producers to consult nutritionists and comply with local regulations when incorporating new feed ingredients like BSFL into poultry diets. Full article
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20 pages, 3004 KiB  
Article
High-Frequency Local Field Potential Oscillations for Pigeons in Effective Turning
by Ke Fang, Xiaofei Guo, Yezhong Tang, Wenbo Wang, Zhouyi Wang and Zhendong Dai
Animals 2024, 14(3), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030509 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 834
Abstract
Flexible turning behavior endows Homing Pigeons (Columba livia domestica) with high adaptability and intelligence in long-distance flight, foraging, hazard avoidance, and social interactions. The present study recorded the activity pattern of their local field potential (LFP) oscillations and explored the relationship [...] Read more.
Flexible turning behavior endows Homing Pigeons (Columba livia domestica) with high adaptability and intelligence in long-distance flight, foraging, hazard avoidance, and social interactions. The present study recorded the activity pattern of their local field potential (LFP) oscillations and explored the relationship between different bands of oscillations and turning behaviors in the formatio reticularis medialis mesencephali (FRM). The results showed that the C (13–60 Hz) and D (61–130 Hz) bands derived from FRM nuclei oscillated significantly in active turning, while the D and E (131–200 Hz) bands oscillated significantly in passive turning. Additionally, compared with lower-frequency stimulation (40 Hz and 60 Hz), 80 Hz stimulation can effectively activate the turning function of FRM nuclei. Electrical stimulation elicited stronger oscillations of neural activity, which strengthened the pigeons’ turning locomotion willingness, showing an enhanced neural activation effect. These findings suggest that different band oscillations play different roles in the turning behavior; in particular, higher-frequency oscillations (D and E bands) enhance the turning behavior. These findings will help us decode the complex relationship between bird brains and behaviors and are expected to facilitate the development of neuromodulation techniques for animal robotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Birds)
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15 pages, 7842 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Two Gonadal Genes, zar1 and wt1b, in Hermaphroditic Fish Asian Seabass (Lates calcarifer)
by Han Cui, Haoyu Zhu, Wenzhuo Ban, Yulin Li, Ruyi Chen, Lingli Li, Xiaoling Zhang, Kaili Chen and Hongyan Xu
Animals 2024, 14(3), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030508 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 768
Abstract
Zygote arrest-1 (Zar1) and Wilms’ tumor 1 (Wt1) play an important role in oogenesis, with the latter also involved in testicular development and gender differentiation. Here, Lczar1 and Lcwt1b were identified in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer), a hermaphrodite fish, as the [...] Read more.
Zygote arrest-1 (Zar1) and Wilms’ tumor 1 (Wt1) play an important role in oogenesis, with the latter also involved in testicular development and gender differentiation. Here, Lczar1 and Lcwt1b were identified in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer), a hermaphrodite fish, as the valuable model for studying sex differentiation. The cloned cDNA fragments of Lczar1 were 1192 bp, encoding 336 amino acids, and contained a zinc-binding domain, while those of Lcwt1b cDNA were 1521 bp, encoding a peptide of 423 amino acids with a Zn finger domain belonging to Wt1b family. RT-qPCR analysis showed that Lczar1 mRNA was exclusively expressed in the ovary, while Lcwt1b mRNA was majorly expressed in the gonads in a higher amount in the testis than in the ovary. In situ hybridization results showed that Lczar1 mRNA was mainly concentrated in oogonia and oocytes at early stages in the ovary, but were undetectable in the testis. Lcwt1b mRNA was localized not only in gonadal somatic cells (the testis and ovary), but also in female and male germ cells in the early developmental stages, such as those of previtellogenic oocytes, spermatogonia, spermatocytes and spermatids. These results indicated that Lczar1 and Lcwt1b possibly play roles in gonadal development. Therefore, the findings of this study will provide a basis for clarifying the mechanism of Lczar1 and Lcwt1b in regulating germ cell development and the sex reversal of Asian seabass and even other hermaphroditic species. Full article
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8 pages, 191 KiB  
Article
Slaying the Swiss Unicorn of Animal Dignity
by David Shaw, Christian Rodriguez Perez and Kirsten Persson
Animals 2024, 14(3), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030507 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1151
Abstract
In this article, we describe and analyse the Swiss legislation relating to animal dignity. We conclude that previous criticisms of the law do not go far enough: far from protecting animal dignity, the Swiss law not only undermines such dignity but itself serves [...] Read more.
In this article, we describe and analyse the Swiss legislation relating to animal dignity. We conclude that previous criticisms of the law do not go far enough: far from protecting animal dignity, the Swiss law not only undermines such dignity but itself serves as a means to ensure that animals can be used merely as a means, and not treated with respect. As such, the Swiss Animal Welfare Act is deeply unethical and undermines the constitutional requirement to treat animals with dignity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Ethics)
16 pages, 3540 KiB  
Article
The Detection of Circulating Antigen Glutathione S-Transferase in Sheep Infected with Fasciola hepatica with Double-Antibody Sandwich Signal Amplification Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
by Jiahui Duan, Nan Zhang, Shaoxiong Liu, Jianhua Li, Pengtao Gong, Xiaocen Wang, Xin Li, Xu Zhang, Bo Tang and Xichen Zhang
Animals 2024, 14(3), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030506 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 938
Abstract
Fasciolosis is a global zoonotic parasitic disease caused by F. hepatica infection that is particularly harmful to cattle and sheep. A biotin–streptavidin signal amplification ELISA (streptavidin-ELISA/SA-ELISA) based on circulating antigens can allow for the early detection of F. hepatica-infected animals and is [...] Read more.
Fasciolosis is a global zoonotic parasitic disease caused by F. hepatica infection that is particularly harmful to cattle and sheep. A biotin–streptavidin signal amplification ELISA (streptavidin-ELISA/SA-ELISA) based on circulating antigens can allow for the early detection of F. hepatica-infected animals and is suitable for batch detection. It is considered to be a better means of detecting F. hepatica infection than traditional detection methods. In this study, using the serum of sheep artificially infected with F. hepatica, the cDNA expression library of F. hepatica was screened, 17 immunodominant antigen genes of F. hepatica were obtained, and glutathione s-transferase (GST) was selected as the candidate detection antigen. Firstly, the GST cDNA sequence was amplified from F. hepatica, followed by the preparation of recombinant protein GST (rFhGST). Then, monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against rFhGST were prepared using the GST protein. Afterward, the immunolocalization of the target protein in the worm was observed via confocal microscopy, and it was found that the GST protein was localized in the uterus, intestinal tract, and body surface of F. hepatica. Finally, a double-antibody sandwich SA-ELISA based on the detection of circulating antigens was established. There was no cross-reaction with positive sera infected with Dicrocoelium lanceatum (D. lanceatum), Haemonchus contortus (H. contortus), Neospora caninum (N. caninum), or Schistosoma japonicum (S. japonicum). Forty serum and fecal samples from the same batch of sheep in Nong’an County, Changchun City, Jilin Province, China were analyzed using the established detection method and fecal detection method. The positive rate of the SA-ELISA was 17.5%, and the positive rate of the fecal detection method was 15%. The detection results of this method were 100% consistent with commercial ELISA kits. A total of 152 sheep serum samples were tested in Nong’an County, Changchun City, Jilin Province, and the positive rate was 5.92%. This study laid the foundation for the development of serological detection preparations for F. hepatica infection based on the detection of circulating antigens. Full article
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7 pages, 11947 KiB  
Communication
Bacterial Meningitis in Buffaloes in Brazil
by José Diomedes Barbosa, Henrique dos Anjos Bomjardim, Camila Cordeiro Barbosa, Carlos Magno Chaves Oliveira, Paulo Sérgio Chagas da Costa, Carlos Eduardo da Silva Ferreira Filho, Natália da Silva e Silva Silveira, Marcos Dutra Duarte, Luís Antônio Scalabrin Tondo and Marilene de Farias Brito
Animals 2024, 14(3), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030505 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 815
Abstract
Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the central nervous system and is poorly described in water buffaloes. Five cases of meningitis in adults buffaloes of the Murrah and Mediterranean breads were studied. All buffaloes came from a farm located in the [...] Read more.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the central nervous system and is poorly described in water buffaloes. Five cases of meningitis in adults buffaloes of the Murrah and Mediterranean breads were studied. All buffaloes came from a farm located in the municipality of Castanhal, Pará, Brazil at different times. Clinical examination showed neurological clinical signs, such as apathy, reluctance to move, spastic paresis especially of the pelvic limbs, hypermetria, difficulty getting up, pressing of the head into obstacles and convulsion. In three buffaloes, a large part of the horn had been lost, exposing the corresponding frontal sinus, through which a bloody to purulent exudate flowed. The hemogram revealed neutrophilic leukocytosis. At necropsy, adherence of the dura mater to the periosteum and a purulent to fibrinopurulent exudate were observed in the sulci of the cerebral cortex and on the pia mater over almost the entire surface of the brain and throughout the spinal cord. The cerebrospinal fluid had a cloudy aspect with fibrin filaments. The histopathology of buffaloes confirmed the diagnosis of bacterial fibrinopurulent meningitis. Buffaloes are susceptible to bacterial inflammation of the meninges due to fractures of the base of the horn and mostly present with neurological manifestations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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12 pages, 899 KiB  
Article
Population and Conservation Status of Bighorn Sheep in the State of Baja California, Mexico
by Guillermo Romero-Figueroa, Enrique de Jesús Ruiz-Mondragón, Eahsan Shahriary, Carlos Yee-Romero, Aldo Antonio Guevara-Carrizales, Rafael Paredes-Montesinos, Jesús Miguel Corrales-Sauceda, Israel Guerrero-Cárdenas and Raul Valdez
Animals 2024, 14(3), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030504 - 3 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1115
Abstract
The bighorn sheep in Mexico is classified as at-risk by the Mexican federal government. In the state of Baja California, wild sheep can be observed throughout the length of the state from the USA–Mexico border south to the Agua de Soda mountain range. [...] Read more.
The bighorn sheep in Mexico is classified as at-risk by the Mexican federal government. In the state of Baja California, wild sheep can be observed throughout the length of the state from the USA–Mexico border south to the Agua de Soda mountain range. This research aimed to document the historical trend of the bighorn population based on aerial surveys conducted in 1992, 1995, 1999, 2010, and 2021, and the abundance, distribution, and structure of bighorn sheep populations in Baja California, based on an aerial survey conducted from 8–14 November 2021, covering thirteen mountain ranges. The estimated sheep population in 2021 was based on the number of individuals observed; the sightability of the animals; the area sampled; and the total area of habitat available. In 30.5 flight hours, 456 bighorn sheep were observed, with an estimated population of 1697 ± 80 individuals. The observation rate was 16 sheep sighted per hour of flight, and the ram:ewe:lamb ratio was 62:100:19. When the results of the 2021 flight were compared to the results of the previous aerial surveys, there was a large variation between the data, which was related to the lack of consistency between the sampling designs used in each study. Nevertheless, a statistical test of the results of aerial surveys conducted in the state suggest that the Baja California bighorn sheep population remained stable between 1992 and 2021. This study highlights the need to standardize wild sheep aerial surveys by defining flight paths and establishing a consistent duration of flights. On the other hand, Baja California authorities should consider modifying the current conservation strategy for bighorn sheep to increase the species’ population in the state by initiating community-based wildlife conservation programs in rural communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ungulate Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Conservation)
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16 pages, 935 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Tuber Ethanolic Extract of Nut Grass (Cyperus rotundus Linn.) on Growth, Immune Response, and Disease Resistance in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
by Supranee Wigraiboon, Ruamruedee Panchan, Vijitra Luang-In, Wilailak Ounjit, Paiboon Panase, Sontaya Sookying and Nantaporn Sutthi
Animals 2024, 14(3), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030503 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 905
Abstract
Nut grass (Cyperus rotundus Linn.) is a weed that grows in all tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world, including areas where it grows on saline soil. This research was conducted to evaluate the effect of C. rotundus tuber extract in [...] Read more.
Nut grass (Cyperus rotundus Linn.) is a weed that grows in all tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world, including areas where it grows on saline soil. This research was conducted to evaluate the effect of C. rotundus tuber extract in the diet on the growth performance and disease resistance of Nile tilapia. Various components of phytochemical importance of nut grass, including sugars/carbohydrates, terpenoids, tannins, and flavonoids were found in C. rotundus. Tilapia (n = 25 fish/group in triplicate) were fed with different levels of nut grass extract including 0 (control; T1), 0.4 (T2), 0.8 (T3), and 1.6 (T4) g/kg for 60 days in a completely randomized design (CRD) experiment. After the feeding trial, the highest weight gain and average daily gain (ADG) were observed in the T4 group, but it was not significantly different from T3 (Nile tilapia fed with a 0.8 g/kg) (p > 0.05). The lowest feed conversion ratio (FCR) was observed in the T3 group. Moreover, the fillet, crud lipid content, and blood chemical profiles (aspartate aminotransferase (AST), cholesterol, and malondialdehyde (MDA)) in fish fed with 1.6 g/kg were highest when compared in all groups. In addition, the T3 group presented with the immune response parameter found in red blood cells (RBC), lysozyme activity, and antioxidant (superoxide dismutase activity (SOD)) being higher than those of the control group (p < 0.05). The highest survival (93.33%) was observed in fish fed with 0.8 g/kg (T3) after a 14 day challenge with Streptococcus agalactiae. Thus, it was concluded that nut grass extract at 0.8 g/kg can be used to improve the growth performance and the tendency for resistance to S. agalactiae in Nile tilapia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Feeds to Improve Shrimp and Fish Aquaculture)
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12 pages, 3416 KiB  
Article
Renal Endocytic Regulation of Vitamin D Metabolism during Maturation and Aging in Laying Hens
by Nami Kuwata, Hatsune Mukohda, Hiroto Uchida, Ryo Takamatsu, Muhammet Mustafa Binici, Takahisa Yamada and Toshie Sugiyama
Animals 2024, 14(3), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030502 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1077
Abstract
Egg-laying hens undergo a specific and dramatic calcium metabolism to lay eggs with eggshells composed of calcium carbonate. Calcium metabolism is mainly regulated by vitamin D3. Although vitamin D3 metabolism is closely related to the deterioration of eggshell quality associated [...] Read more.
Egg-laying hens undergo a specific and dramatic calcium metabolism to lay eggs with eggshells composed of calcium carbonate. Calcium metabolism is mainly regulated by vitamin D3. Although vitamin D3 metabolism is closely related to the deterioration of eggshell quality associated with aging and heat stress, the details of the mechanisms regulating vitamin D3 metabolism are not clear. In mammals, the vitamin D3 metabolite (25(OH)D3) produced in the liver binds to the vitamin binding protein (DBP), is subsequently taken up by renal proximal tubular cells via the endocytic receptors megalin (Meg) and cubilin (CUB), and is metabolized to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3). Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the expression and localization of Meg and CUB in the kidneys of immature chicks and mature and aged laying hens to prevent eggshell quality deterioration. As a result, we showed that as circulating 1,25(OH)2D3 concentrations increased from 156.0 ± 13.5 pg/mL to 815.5 ± 61.4 pg/mL with maturation in immature chicks, relative expression levels (arbitrary units; AU) of Meg and CUB mRNA in the kidneys of mature hens significantly increased 1.92- and 2.75-fold, respectively, compared to those in immature chicks. On the other hand, the Meg mRNA expression levels of mature hens did not change with age, while CUB mRNA expression levels (1.03 ± 0.11 AU) were significantly decreased compared to mature hens (2.75 ± 0.24 AU). Immunohistochemical observations showed that Meg and CUB proteins were localized to the apical membrane of renal proximal tubular epithelial cells in immature chicks, mature hens, and aged hens, and that DBP protein was observed as granular endosomes in the cytoplasm of proximal tubular cells from the apical membrane to the cell nucleus. Especially in mature hens, the endosomes were larger and more numerous than those in immature chicks. In contrast, in aged hens, DBP-containing endosomes were smaller and limited to the apical cytoplasm. These results indicate that with maturation, the expression of Meg and CUB is promoted in the renal proximal tubules of laying hens, facilitating the uptake of the 25(OH)D3-DBP complex and its conversion to 1,25(OH)2D3, and regulating calcium metabolism in eggshell formation. On the other hand, it is suggested that the age-related decrease in CUB expression suppresses the uptake of the 25(OH)D3-DBP complex in the kidney, resulting in a deterioration of eggshell quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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21 pages, 1943 KiB  
Review
Modeling Environmental Conditions in Poultry Production: Computational Fluid Dynamics Approach
by Erdem Küçüktopçu, Bilal Cemek and Halis Simsek
Animals 2024, 14(3), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030501 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1018
Abstract
In recent years, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has become increasingly important and has proven to be an effective method for assessing environmental conditions in poultry houses. CFD offers simplicity, efficiency, and rapidity in assessing and optimizing poultry house environments, thereby fueling greater interest [...] Read more.
In recent years, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has become increasingly important and has proven to be an effective method for assessing environmental conditions in poultry houses. CFD offers simplicity, efficiency, and rapidity in assessing and optimizing poultry house environments, thereby fueling greater interest in its application. This article aims to facilitate researchers in their search for relevant CFD studies in poultry housing environmental conditions by providing an in-depth review of the latest advancements in this field. It has been found that CFD has been widely employed to study and analyze various aspects of poultry house ventilation and air quality under the following five main headings: inlet and fan configuration, ventilation system design, air temperature–humidity distribution, airflow distribution, and particle matter and gas emission. The most commonly used turbulence models in poultry buildings are the standard k-ε, renormalization group (RNG) k-ε, and realizable k-ε models. Additionally, this article presents key solutions with a summary and visualization of fundamental approaches employed in addressing path planning problems within the CFD process. Furthermore, potential challenges, such as data acquisition, validation, computational resource requirements, meshing, and the selection of a proper turbulence model, are discussed, and avenues for future research (the integration of machine learning, building information modeling, and feedback control systems with CFD) are explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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13 pages, 889 KiB  
Article
An Evaluation of Hemostatic Dysregulation in Canine Multicentric Lymphoma
by Maria Ludovica Messina, Fausto Quintavalla, Angelo Pasquale Giannuzzi, Tommaso Furlanello and Marco Caldin
Animals 2024, 14(3), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030500 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1150
Abstract
Multiple hemostatic abnormalities are associated with paraneoplastic syndrome and some malignant tumors. Lymphoma is the most common hematopoietic neoplasm in dogs, sometimes associated with hemostatic changes. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the behavior of coagulation parameters in dogs with multicentric [...] Read more.
Multiple hemostatic abnormalities are associated with paraneoplastic syndrome and some malignant tumors. Lymphoma is the most common hematopoietic neoplasm in dogs, sometimes associated with hemostatic changes. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the behavior of coagulation parameters in dogs with multicentric lymphoma compared with diseased dogs without lymphoma, to separately evaluate the effect of immunophenotype (B lymphoma versus T lymphoma) on the variables of interest as well as the effect of disease stage (stage II to IV versus stage V). Specifically, a cross-sectional study was performed with a matched comparison group considering 170 dogs with B or T lymphoma (group 1) and 170 dogs with no lymphoma or other neoplastic processes but other diseases (group 0). Eight coagulation parameters were evaluated: platelet count (Plt), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), prothrombin time (PT), thrombin time (TT), fibrinogen, fibrin/products of fibrinogen degradation (FDPs), fibrin D-dimers, and antithrombin (AT). Dogs with lymphoma showed prolonged PT and TT, decreased fibrinogen, increased FDP, and decreased Plt compared with group 0. The effect of disease stage was evaluated separately for dogs with stage II to IV lymphoma and dogs with stage V lymphoma; patients with stage II–IV lymphoma showed no significant differences, while in dogs with stage V lymphoma, a prolongation of PT and TT, a decrease in fibrinogen, an increase in FDPs and a decrease in Plt were found compared with the group 0. Finally, the comparison between B lymphoma and T lymphoma showed no significant differences in coagulation parameters between the two groups. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that low fibrinogen and platelet levels were the most significant predictors of lymphoma in a cohort of canine patients. These hemostatic abnormalities in lymphoma appeared to be associated with the stage of the disease rather than the lymphoma immunophenotype. These findings pave the way for the possible scenario of lymphoma-associated fibrinolysis and the so far undescribed pattern of hyperfibrinolysis associated with the most severe stage of lymphoma. Full article
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22 pages, 4950 KiB  
Article
DiffusionFR: Species Recognition of Fish in Blurry Scenarios via Diffusion and Attention
by Guoying Wang, Bing Shi, Xiaomei Yi, Peng Wu, Linjun Kong and Lufeng Mo
Animals 2024, 14(3), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030499 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 720
Abstract
Blurry scenarios, such as light reflections and water ripples, often affect the clarity and signal-to-noise ratio of fish images, posing significant challenges for traditional deep learning models in accurately recognizing fish species. Firstly, deep learning models rely on a large amount of labeled [...] Read more.
Blurry scenarios, such as light reflections and water ripples, often affect the clarity and signal-to-noise ratio of fish images, posing significant challenges for traditional deep learning models in accurately recognizing fish species. Firstly, deep learning models rely on a large amount of labeled data. However, it is often difficult to label data in blurry scenarios. Secondly, existing deep learning models need to be more effective for the processing of bad, blurry, and otherwise inadequate images, which is an essential reason for their low recognition rate. A method based on the diffusion model and attention mechanism for fish image recognition in blurry scenarios, DiffusionFR, is proposed to solve these problems and improve the performance of species recognition of fish images in blurry scenarios. This paper presents the selection and application of this correcting technique. In the method, DiffusionFR, a two-stage diffusion network model, TSD, is designed to deblur bad, blurry, and otherwise inadequate fish scene pictures to restore clarity, and a learnable attention module, LAM, is intended to improve the accuracy of fish recognition. In addition, a new dataset of fish images in blurry scenarios, BlurryFish, was constructed and used to validate the effectiveness of DiffusionFR, combining bad, blurry, and otherwise inadequate images from the publicly available dataset Fish4Knowledge. The experimental results demonstrate that DiffusionFR achieves outstanding performance on various datasets. On the original dataset, DiffusionFR achieved the highest training accuracy of 97.55%, as well as a Top-1 accuracy test score of 92.02% and a Top-5 accuracy test score of 95.17%. Furthermore, on nine datasets with light reflection noise, the mean values of training accuracy reached a peak at 96.50%, while the mean values of the Top-1 accuracy test and Top-5 accuracy test were at their highest at 90.96% and 94.12%, respectively. Similarly, on three datasets with water ripple noise, the mean values of training accuracy reached a peak at 95.00%, while the mean values of the Top-1 accuracy test and Top-5 accuracy test were at their highest at 89.54% and 92.73%, respectively. These results demonstrate that the method showcases superior accuracy and enhanced robustness in handling original datasets and datasets with light reflection and water ripple noise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal–Computer Interaction: Advances and Opportunities)
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17 pages, 674 KiB  
Review
Potential Effects of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) on the Performance, Immunity, Gut Health, Anti-Oxidant Status, Blood Parameters, and Intestinal Microbiota of Poultry: An Updated Comprehensive Review
by Wafaa A. Abd El-Ghany
Animals 2024, 14(3), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030498 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1522
Abstract
The use of antibiotics as growth promoters or for the prevention of some poultry diseases has faced global concern and serious criticism. Their addition to poultry feed has shown hazardous effects, including the development of antimicrobial resistance and a potentially harmful effect on [...] Read more.
The use of antibiotics as growth promoters or for the prevention of some poultry diseases has faced global concern and serious criticism. Their addition to poultry feed has shown hazardous effects, including the development of antimicrobial resistance and a potentially harmful effect on human health. To eliminate these threats, there is increasing interest in natural alternatives. Plant derivatives such as garlic (Allium sativum L.) and its derivatives are presently extensively used in the poultry production system. The dietary supplementation of broilers and layers with garlic induced improvement in the production parameters, carcass quality, and intestinal integrity. The modulation of the immune response against some important viral diseases has resulted from the supplementation of poultry with garlic. Moreover, garlic has been shown to modulate gut health through antibacterial and antiparasitic activities. Treatment with garlic can also mitigate oxidative stress and reduce free-radical production. The reduction of cholesterol levels and improvement of some liver and blood parameters were also reported following the dietary inoculation of garlic. This review was designed to investigate the influence of garlic as a dietary additive on the performance, immunity, gut health, anti-oxidant status, blood parameters, and intestinal microbiota of poultry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Poultry Feeding and Gut Health)
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16 pages, 4807 KiB  
Article
The Role of the TLR4-MyD88 Signaling Pathway in the Immune Response of the Selected Scallop Strain “Hongmo No. 1” to Heat Stress
by Chenyang Yue, Kexin Zhang, Zhigang Liu, Wengang Lü, Hui Guo, Liqiang Zhao, Xinyu Song and James Kar-Hei Fang
Animals 2024, 14(3), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030497 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 960
Abstract
The innate immunity of marine bivalves is challenged upon exposure to heat stress, especially with increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves. TLR4 serves a classical pattern recognition receptor in recognizing pathogenic microorganisms and activating immune responses. In this study, three [...] Read more.
The innate immunity of marine bivalves is challenged upon exposure to heat stress, especially with increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves. TLR4 serves a classical pattern recognition receptor in recognizing pathogenic microorganisms and activating immune responses. In this study, three genes, HMTLR4, HMMyD88 and HMTRAF6, were characterized as homologs of genes in the TLR4-MyD88 signaling pathway in the selected scallop strain “Hongmo No. 1”. According to RT-PCR, acute heat stress (32 °C) inhibited genes in the TLR4-MyD88 signaling pathway, and LPS stimulation-induced activation of TLR4-MyD88 signal transduction was also negatively affected at 32 °C. ELISA showed LPS-induced tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) or lysozyme (LZM) activity, but this was independent of temperature. RNA interference (RNAi) confirmed that HMTLR4 silencing suppressed the expression of its downstream gene, whether at 24 °C or at 32 °C. The level of TNF-α and the activity of LZM also decreased after injection with dsRNA, indicating a negative effect on the innate immunity of scallops. Additionally, acute heat stress affected the suppression of downstream gene expression when compared with that at 24 °C, which led us to the hypothesis that heat stress directly influences the downstream targets of HMTLR4. These results enrich the knowledge of scallop immunity under heat stress and can be beneficial for the genetic improvement of new scallop strains with higher thermotolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Second Edition of Aquatic Animal Disease and Immunity)
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Article
Effect of Post-Weaning Concentrate Feeding Prior to Forage Finishing on Intramuscular Fat Deposition
by Susan K. Duckett and Enrique Pavan
Animals 2024, 14(3), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030496 - 2 Feb 2024
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Abstract
The objectives of this study were to examine the effects of feeding high-concentrate diets post-weaning (PW) prior to forage finishing on (1) changes in ultrasound intramuscular fat deposition and lipogenic/lipolytic gene expression during the post-weaning phase and (2) carcass characteristics and fatty acid [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to examine the effects of feeding high-concentrate diets post-weaning (PW) prior to forage finishing on (1) changes in ultrasound intramuscular fat deposition and lipogenic/lipolytic gene expression during the post-weaning phase and (2) carcass characteristics and fatty acid composition after forage finishing to 487 kg. Steers were randomly assigned to one of four treatments (PW0, PW40, PW80, and PW120) at weaning to examine the time of high-concentrate feeding prior to forage finishing. The ultrasound intramuscular fat content was greater (p < 0.05) for PW120 compared to those for PW0, PW40, or PW80 at the end of the post-weaning phase. Feeding high concentrates (PW120) up-regulated (p < 0.01) the mRNA expression of fatty acid transporters and lipogenic genes and down-regulated lipolytic genes in the LM compared to PW0. Carcasses from PW120 were graded 83% Choice (p = 0.025), whereas carcasses from other post-weaning treatments (PW0, 40, or 80) were graded 25, 36, and 54% Choice, respectively, at the final harvest. The total fatty acid content of the muscle at slaughter was greater (p = 0.0004) for PW120 than PW0, PW40, and PW80. Feeding high-concentrate diets to steers post-weaning for 120 day enhanced early intramuscular fat deposition without causing major changes to the fatty acid composition of the longissimus muscle after forage finishing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marbling Fat in Livestock)
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