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Animals, Volume 14, Issue 4 (February-2 2024) – 131 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Wild game has always played a significant role in the diets of many communities worldwide. It is essential to recognize that wild animals can act as carriers of foodborne pathogens, posing a potential risk to human health. Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites can be transmitted through the consumption of contaminated game meat. The interaction between wild animals, domestic animals, and humans creates a complex dynamic that can facilitate the transmission of these pathogens. To mitigate the potential risks posed by wild game as a vector of foodborne pathogens, it is crucial to implement proper hygiene practices. This study provides information about the presence of zoonotic pathogens in game meat in northwest Italy and their virulence and antibiotic resistance characteristics, with the aim of alerting consumers to the risks associated with the consumption of game meat. View this paper
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10 pages, 212 KiB  
Communication
Tiletamine-Zolazepam, Ketamine, and Xylazine Anesthetic Protocol for High-Quality, High-Volume Spay and Neuter of Free-Roaming Cats in Seoul, Korea
by Donghwi Shin, Yoonju Cho and Inhyung Lee
Animals 2024, 14(4), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040656 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 964
Abstract
This study was performed to evaluate the anesthetic protocol used in the high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter (HQHVSN) of free-roaming cats in Seoul, Korea from 2017 to 2022. The evaluation was performed on a total of 1261 free-roaming cats, with an average weight [...] Read more.
This study was performed to evaluate the anesthetic protocol used in the high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter (HQHVSN) of free-roaming cats in Seoul, Korea from 2017 to 2022. The evaluation was performed on a total of 1261 free-roaming cats, with an average weight of 3.48 ± 1.04 kg. The anesthetic combination tiletamine-zolazepam, ketamine, and xylazine (ZKX) was injected intramuscularly. The actual drug doses administered were tiletamine-zolazepam 5.52 ± 1.70 mg/kg, ketamine 8.94 ± 3.60 mg/kg, and xylazine 1.11 ± 0.34 mg/kg. Additional doses were required in 275 cats out of a total of 1261 (21.8%). Following anesthesia and surgery, 1257 cats (99.7%) were returned to their original locations. Four cats (0.3%) died postoperatively. The mean duration of anesthesia (from ZKX combination to yohimbine administration) was 26 ± 22 min for males and 55 ± 36 min for females, while the time from yohimbine administration to the recovery was 31 ± 22 min for males and 20 ± 17 min for females. The use of ZKX for HQHVSN of free-roaming cats is inexpensive, provides predictable results, can be administered quickly and easily in a small volume, and is associated with a low mortality rate during the first 72 h post-surgery. Full article
14 pages, 946 KiB  
Review
Applications and Potentials of a Silk Fibroin Nanoparticle Delivery System in Animal Husbandry
by Yiyao Guo, Mian Muhammad Awais, Shigang Fei, Junming Xia, Jingchen Sun and Min Feng
Animals 2024, 14(4), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040655 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 714
Abstract
Silk fibroin (SF), a unique natural polymeric fibrous protein extracted from Bombyx mori cocoons, accounts for approximately 75% of the total mass of silk. It has great application prospects due to its outstanding biocompatibility, biodegradability, low immunogenicity, and mechanical stability. Additionally, it is [...] Read more.
Silk fibroin (SF), a unique natural polymeric fibrous protein extracted from Bombyx mori cocoons, accounts for approximately 75% of the total mass of silk. It has great application prospects due to its outstanding biocompatibility, biodegradability, low immunogenicity, and mechanical stability. Additionally, it is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Nanoparticle delivery systems constructed with SF can improve the bioavailability of the carriers, increase the loading rates, control the release behavior of the deliverables, and enhance their action efficiencies. Animal husbandry is an integral part of agriculture and plays a vital role in the development of the rural economy. However, the pillar industry experiences a lot of difficulties, like drug abuse while treating major animal diseases, and serious environmental pollution, restricting sustainable development. Interestingly, the limited use cases of silk fibroin nanoparticle (SF NP) delivery systems in animal husbandry, such as veterinary vaccines and feed additives, have shown great promise. This paper first reviews the SF NP delivery system with regard to its advantages, disadvantages, and applications. Moreover, we describe the application status and developmental prospects of SF NP delivery systems to provide theoretical references for further development in livestock production and promote the high-quality and healthy development of animal husbandry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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13 pages, 3909 KiB  
Article
Identification of Selection Signatures and Candidate Genes Related to Environmental Adaptation and Economic Traits in Tibetan Pigs
by Pengliang Liu, Yan Liang, Li Li, Xuebin Lv, Zhiping He and Yiren Gu
Animals 2024, 14(4), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040654 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Tibetan pigs are indigenous to the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau and have been the subject of extensive genomic research primarily focused on their adaptation to high altitudes. However, genetic modifications associated with their response to low-altitude acclimation have not been thoroughly explored. To investigate the [...] Read more.
Tibetan pigs are indigenous to the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau and have been the subject of extensive genomic research primarily focused on their adaptation to high altitudes. However, genetic modifications associated with their response to low-altitude acclimation have not been thoroughly explored. To investigate the genetic basis underlying the low-altitude acclimation of Tibetan pigs, we generated and analyzed genotyping data of Tibetan pigs that inhabit high-altitude regions (average altitude 4000 m) and Tibetan pigs that have inhabited nearby low-altitude regions (average altitude 500 m) for approximately 20 generations. We found that the highland and lowland Tibetan pigs have distinguishable genotype and phenotype variations. We identified 46 and 126 potentially selected SNPs associated with 29 and 56 candidate genes in highland and lowland Tibetan pigs, respectively. Candidate genes in the highland Tibetan pigs were involved in immune response (NFYC and STAT1) and radiation (NABP1), whereas candidate genes in the lowland Tibetan pigs were related to reproduction (ESR2, DMRTA1, and ZNF366), growth and development (NTRK3, FGF18, and MAP1B), and blood pressure regulation (CARTPT). These findings will help to understand the mechanisms of environmental adaptation in Tibetan pigs and offer valuable information into the genetic improvement of Tibetan pigs pertaining to low-altitude acclimation and economic traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms Affecting Important Traits of Pigs)
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16 pages, 5810 KiB  
Article
Population Subdivision and Migration Assessment of Mangalica Pig Breeds Based on Pedigree Analysis
by Anh Thi Nguyen, György Kövér, Péter Tóth, Ino Curik, Árpád Bokor and István Nagy
Animals 2024, 14(4), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040653 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 613
Abstract
In conserving the genetic diversity of domestic animal breeds, strategies that emphasise between-breed diversity may not be optimal, as they neglect within-breed variation. The aim of the present study was to assess the extent of population subdivision in three Mangalica pig breeds and [...] Read more.
In conserving the genetic diversity of domestic animal breeds, strategies that emphasise between-breed diversity may not be optimal, as they neglect within-breed variation. The aim of the present study was to assess the extent of population subdivision in three Mangalica pig breeds and the contribution of migration to their substructure. Wright’s FST coefficient was calculated based on genealogical data with breeding animals born between 1981 and 2023, with three colour variants (Blonde, Swallow-Belly and Red). These Wright’s FST coefficients were analysed using multidimensional scaling to reveal the population substructure. The average FST coefficient was 0.04 for the Blonde breed and 0.047 for the Swallow-Belly and Red Mangalica breeds, while these parameters were lower in the active herds at 0.03 and 0.04, respectively. The migration of individuals between herds was 61.63% for the Blonde breed and 75.53% and 63.64% for the Swallow-Belly and Red Magalica breeds, respectively. No population substructure was observed in any of the Mangalica breeds, which can be explained by the extensive migration between herds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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15 pages, 2428 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Muscle Long Non-Coding RNA Profile during Rearing and Finishing Phase of Bulls Subjected to Different Prenatal Nutritional Strategies
by Roberta Cavalcante Cracco, Pamela Almeida Alexandre, Guilherme Henrique Gebim Polizel, Arícia Christofaro Fernandes and Miguel Henrique de Almeida Santana
Animals 2024, 14(4), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040652 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 744
Abstract
Maternal nutrition has the ability of influence critical processes in fetal life, including muscle development. Also, in this period, epigenetic sensitivity to external stimuli is higher and produces long-lasting effects. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate epigenetic mechanisms, including the [...] Read more.
Maternal nutrition has the ability of influence critical processes in fetal life, including muscle development. Also, in this period, epigenetic sensitivity to external stimuli is higher and produces long-lasting effects. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate epigenetic mechanisms, including the identification and characterization of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) from animals that had undergone different strategies of prenatal supplementation. A group of Nellore cows (n = 126) were separated into three nutritional plans: NP (control)—Not Programmed, without protein–energy supplementation; PP—Partially Programmed, protein–energy supplementation in the final third of pregnancy; and CP—Complete Programming, protein–energy supplementation during the full period of gestation. A total of 63 male offspring were used in this study, of which 15 (5 per treatment) had Longissimus thoracis muscle at 15 (biopsy) and 22 months (slaughter). Biopsy samples were subjected to RNA extraction and sequencing. Differential expression (DE) of remodeling factors and chromatin-modifying enzyme genes were performed. For the identification and characterization of lncRNA, a series of size filters and protein coding potential tests were performed. The lncRNAs identified had their differential expression and regulatory potential tested. Regarding DE of epigenetic mechanisms, no differentially expressed gene was found (p > 0.1). Identification of potential lncRNA was successful, identifying 1823 transcripts at 15 months and 1533 at 22 months. Among these, four were considered differentially expressed between treatments at 15 months and 6 were differentially expressed at 22 months. Yet, when testing regulatory potential, 13 lncRNAs were considered key regulators in the PP group, and 17 in the CP group. PP group lncRNAs possibly regulate fat-cell differentiation, in utero embryonic development, and transforming growth factor beta receptor, whereas lncRNA in the CP group regulates in utero embryonic development, fat-cell differentiation and vasculogenesis. Maternal nutrition had no effect on differential expression of epigenetic mechanisms; however, it seems to impair lncRNA regulation of epigenetics. Full article
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20 pages, 271 KiB  
Article
Why Do I Choose an Animal Model or an Alternative Method in Basic and Preclinical Biomedical Research? A Spectrum of Ethically Relevant Reasons and Their Evaluation
by Hannes Kahrass, Ines Pietschmann and Marcel Mertz
Animals 2024, 14(4), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040651 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1162
Abstract
Background: Research model selection decisions in basic and preclinical biomedical research have not yet been the subject of an ethical investigation. Therefore, this paper aims, (1) to identify a spectrum of reasons for choosing between animal and alternative research models (e.g., based on [...] Read more.
Background: Research model selection decisions in basic and preclinical biomedical research have not yet been the subject of an ethical investigation. Therefore, this paper aims, (1) to identify a spectrum of reasons for choosing between animal and alternative research models (e.g., based on in vitro or in silico models) and (2) provides an ethical analysis of the selected reasons. Methods: In total, 13 researchers were interviewed; the interviews were analyzed qualitatively. The ethical analysis was based on the principlism approach and a value judgement model. Results: This paper presents 66 reasons underlying the choice of researchers using animal (27 reasons) or alternative models (39). Most of the reasons were assigned to the work environment (29) and scientific standards (22). Other reasons were assigned to personal attitudes (11) and animal welfare (4). Qualitative relevant normative differences are presented in the ethical analysis. Even if few reasons can be rejected outright from an ethical point of view, there are good reasons to give some more weight than others. Conclusions: The spectrum of reasons and their ethical assessment provide a framework for reflection for researchers who may have to choose between animal models and (investing in) alternatives. This can help to reflect on and ethically justify decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Ethics)
12 pages, 2655 KiB  
Article
CRISPR Ribonucleoprotein-Mediated Precise Editing of Multiple Genes in Porcine Fibroblasts
by Xiaochen Guo, Chang Liu, Yunjing Zhao, Chaoqian Jiang, Junxue Jin, Zhonghua Liu and Yanshuang Mu
Animals 2024, 14(4), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040650 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 708
Abstract
The multi-gene editing porcine cell model can analyze the genetic mechanisms of multiple genes, which is beneficial for accelerating genetic breeding. However, there has been a lack of an effective strategy to simultaneously perform precise multi-gene editing in porcine cells. In this study, [...] Read more.
The multi-gene editing porcine cell model can analyze the genetic mechanisms of multiple genes, which is beneficial for accelerating genetic breeding. However, there has been a lack of an effective strategy to simultaneously perform precise multi-gene editing in porcine cells. In this study, we aimed to improve the efficiency of CRISPR RNP-mediated precise gene editing in porcine cells. CRISPR RNP, including Cas9 protein, sgRNA, and ssODN, was used to generate precise nucleotide substitutions by homology-directed repair (HDR) in porcine fetal fibroblasts (PFFs). These components were introduced into PFFs via electroporation, followed by PCR for each target site. To enhance HDR efficacy, small-molecule M3814 and phosphorothioate-modified ssODN were employed. All target DNA samples were sequenced and analyzed, and the efficiencies of different combinations of the CRISPR RNP system in target sites were compared. The results showed that when 2 μM M3814, a small molecule which inhibits NHEJ-mediated repair by blocking DNA-PKs activity, was used, there was no toxicity to PFFs. The CRISPR RNP-mediated HDR efficiency increased 3.62-fold. The combination of CRISPR RNP with 2 μM M3814 and PS-ssODNs achieved an HDR-mediated precision gene modification efficiency of approximately 42.81% in mutated cells, a 6.38-fold increase compared to the control group. Then, we used the optimized CRISPR RNP system to perform simultaneous editing of two and three loci at the INS and RLN3 genes. The results showed that the CRISPR RNP system could simultaneously edit two and three loci. The efficiency of simultaneous editing of two loci was not significantly different from that of single-gene editing compared to the efficiency of single-locus editing. The efficiency of simultaneous precise editing of INS, RLN3 exon 1, and RLN3 exon 2 was 0.29%, 0.24%, and 1.05%, respectively. This study demonstrated that a 2 μM M3814 combination with PS-ssODNs improves the efficacy of CRISPR RNP-mediated precise gene editing and allows for precise editing of up to three genes simultaneously in porcine cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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20 pages, 314 KiB  
Article
Effects of Combinations of Dietary Vitamin C and Acetylsalicylic Acid on Growth Performance, Carcass Traits and, Serum and Immune Response Parameters in Broilers
by Giulia Ferronato, Masoomeh Tavakoli, Mehrdad Bouyeh, Alireza Seidavi, Lourdes Suárez Ramírez and Aldo Prandini
Animals 2024, 14(4), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040649 - 18 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the combined effects of ascorbic acid (VC) and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) on broiler health and performance. A total of 200 Ross 308 male broilers were divided into five groups, each receiving different dietary combinations of ASA and VC [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the combined effects of ascorbic acid (VC) and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) on broiler health and performance. A total of 200 Ross 308 male broilers were divided into five groups, each receiving different dietary combinations of ASA and VC (ASA: 50 or 100 mg/kg; VC: 200 or 400 mg/kg). The 42-day trial assessed parameters such as feed intake, average daily gain (ADG), feed conversion ratio (FCR), carcass characteristics, serum parameters, immune response and cecal microbial flora. The results indicate significant treatment effects on feed intake and growth performance, with a higher feed intake of ADG and FCR in treatment groups (p < 0.05). Serum lipid parameters were unaffected, but creatine kinase increased with ASA and VC intake (p < 0.05). Changes in sheep red blood cell titers and influenza antibodies were noted (p < 0.05). The combination of ASA and VC positively influenced carcass traits, reducing abdominal fat and altering the ratio of immune response organs to body weight (p < 0.05). Additionally, the cecal E. coli count decreased with treatment (p < 0.05). This study underscores the intricate interactions between ASA and VC supplementation, growth performance and carcass composition and immune response in broilers. Further research is warranted to explore dosage nuances and variations under specific stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
11 pages, 993 KiB  
Article
The Genetic Basis of Melanism in Abert’s Squirrel (Sciurus aberti)
by Lake H. Barrett, Dean Fraga and Richard M. Lehtinen
Animals 2024, 14(4), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040648 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1281
Abstract
Melanism is widespread in different taxa and has been hypothesized to provide adaptive benefits in certain environments. Melanism is typically caused by mutations in one of two regulatory genes: the Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R) or the Agouti Signaling Protein (ASIP [...] Read more.
Melanism is widespread in different taxa and has been hypothesized to provide adaptive benefits in certain environments. Melanism is typically caused by mutations in one of two regulatory genes: the Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R) or the Agouti Signaling Protein (ASIP). Melanism has repeatedly evolved among tree squirrels and their relatives (tribe Sciurini) in at least 12 different species based on our review of the literature. The causal mutations for melanism have been characterized in two species so far. This study examines Abert’s Squirrel (Sciurus aberti), which has a melanistic morph whose genetic basis has not yet been established. We sequenced the MC1R and ASIP genes for five wild-type and seven melanistic S. aberti individuals to search for melanism-associated mutations. A novel single base pair mutation in the ASIP gene, unique to S. aberti, was found to be associated with melanism in the species, indicating that melanism in S. aberti evolved independently from other tree squirrels and thus represents an example of convergent evolution. The independent evolution of melanism in this species suggests that there is an adaptive advantage to the melanistic phenotype. The geographic range and habitat of S. aberti suggest possible benefits associated with thermoregulation, post-forest-fire camouflage, or other untested hypotheses. Full article
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17 pages, 5582 KiB  
Article
Effects of Probiotic-Fermented Feed on the Growth Profile, Immune Functions, and Intestinal Microbiota of Bamei Piglets
by Miao Zhang, Zhenyu Yang, Guofang Wu, Fafang Xu, Jianbo Zhang, Xuan Luo, Yuhong Ma, Huili Pang, Yaoke Duan, Jun Chen, Yimin Cai, Lei Wang and Zhongfang Tan
Animals 2024, 14(4), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040647 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 793
Abstract
Purebred Bamei piglets present problems, including slow growth, respiratory disease, and post-weaning stress. This study investigated the effects of Lactobacillus plantarum QP28-1- and Bacillus subtilis QB8-fermented feed supplementation on the growth performance, immunity, and intestinal microflora of Bamei piglets from Qinghai, China. A [...] Read more.
Purebred Bamei piglets present problems, including slow growth, respiratory disease, and post-weaning stress. This study investigated the effects of Lactobacillus plantarum QP28-1- and Bacillus subtilis QB8-fermented feed supplementation on the growth performance, immunity, and intestinal microflora of Bamei piglets from Qinghai, China. A total of 48 purebred Bamei piglets (25 days; 6.8 ± 0.97 kg) were divided into the following four groups for a 28-day diet experiment: basal feed (CK); diet containing 10% Lactobacillus plantarum-fermented feed (L); diet containing 10% Bacillus subtilis-fermented feed (B); and diet containing a mixture of 5% Lactobacillus plantarum + 5% Bacillus subtilis-fermented feed (H). The daily weight gain and daily food intake of group H increased (p < 0.05), and the feed/weight gain ratios of the groups fed with fermented feed decreased more than that of the CK group. The levels of three immune factors, namely immunoglobulin (Ig)M, IgG, and interferon-γ, were higher (p < 0.05), whereas those of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6 were lower (p < 0.05) in the fermented feed groups than in the CK group. Total protein was higher (p < 0.05), while urea nitrogen, total cholesterol and triglycerides were lower (p < 0.05) in the mixed-fermented feed group than in the CK group. Analysis of the gut microbiota showed that the addition of fermented feed increased the α-diversity of the gut microbiota, increasing the abundances of probiotics including Lactobacillus, Muribaculaceae, Ruminococcaceae, Prevotellaceae, and Rikenellaceae. Additionally, correlation analysis demonstrated that several of these probiotic bacteria were closely related to serum immunity. In conclusion, fermented feed supplementation rebuilt the intestinal microbiota of Bamei piglets, thereby reducing the feed/weight ratio, improving feed intake, and enhancing immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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16 pages, 10935 KiB  
Article
Natural Patterns in the Dawn and Dusk Choruses of a Neotropical Songbird in Relation to an Urban Sound Environment
by Noelia Bustamante and Álvaro Garitano-Zavala
Animals 2024, 14(4), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040646 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 729
Abstract
Urbanization is one of the more important phenomena affecting biodiversity in the Anthropocene. Some organisms can cope with urban challenges, and changes in birds’ acoustic communication have been widely studied. Although changes in the timing of the daily organization of acoustic communication have [...] Read more.
Urbanization is one of the more important phenomena affecting biodiversity in the Anthropocene. Some organisms can cope with urban challenges, and changes in birds’ acoustic communication have been widely studied. Although changes in the timing of the daily organization of acoustic communication have been previously reported, there is a significant gap regarding possible variations in song structure between dawn and dusk choruses. Considering that urbanization imposes different soundscapes for dawn and dusk choruses, we postulate two hypotheses: (i) there are variations in song parameters between dawn and dusk choruses, and (ii) such parameters within the city will vary in response to urban noise. We studied urban and extra-urban populations of Chiguanco Thrush in La Paz, Bolivia, measuring in dawn and dusk choruses: song length; song sound pressure level; minimum, maximum, range and dominant frequency; and the number of songs per individual. The results support our two hypotheses: there were more songs, and songs were louder and had larger band widths at dawn than at dusk in urban and extra-urban populations. Urban Chiguanco Thrushes sing less, the frequency of the entire song rises, and the amplitude increases as compared with extra-urban Chiguanco Thrushes. Understanding variations between dawn and dusk choruses could allow for a better interpretation of how some bird species cope with urban challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bird Behavior and Diversity in the Anthropocene)
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16 pages, 2035 KiB  
Review
Late History of Cattle Breeds in Central Europe in Light of Genetic and Archaeogenetic Sources—Overview, Thoughts, and Perspectives
by Vojtěch Janák, Karel Novák and René Kyselý
Animals 2024, 14(4), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040645 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 864
Abstract
Although Europe was not a primary centre of cattle domestication, its expansion from the Middle East and subsequent development created a complex pattern of cattle breed diversity. Many isolated populations of local historical breeds still carry the message about the physical and genetic [...] Read more.
Although Europe was not a primary centre of cattle domestication, its expansion from the Middle East and subsequent development created a complex pattern of cattle breed diversity. Many isolated populations of local historical breeds still carry the message about the physical and genetic traits of ancient populations. Since the way of life of human communities starting from the eleventh millennium BP was strongly determined by livestock husbandry, the knowledge of cattle diversity through the ages is helpful in the interpretation of many archaeological findings. Historical cattle diversity is currently at the intersection of two leading directions of genetic research. Firstly, it is archaeogenetics attempting to recover and interpret the preserved genetic information directly from archaeological finds. The advanced archaeogenetic approaches meet with the population genomics of extant cattle populations. The immense amount of genetic information collected from living cattle, due to its key economic role, allows for reconstructing the genetic profiles of the ancient populations backwards. The present paper aims to place selected archaeogenetic, genetic, and genomic findings in the picture of cattle history in Central Europe, as suggested by archaeozoological and historical records. Perspectives of the methodical connection between the genetic approaches and the approaches of traditional archaeozoology, such as osteomorphology and osteometry, are discussed. The importance, actuality, and effectiveness of combining different approaches to each archaeological find, such as morphological characterization, interpretation of the historical context, and molecular data, are stressed. Full article
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12 pages, 2473 KiB  
Review
Role of Melatonin in Ovarian Function
by Giuseppina Basini and Francesca Grasselli
Animals 2024, 14(4), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040644 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 875
Abstract
Melatonin is a hormone mainly produced by the pineal gland in the absence of light stimuli. The light, in fact, hits the retina, which sends a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which inhibits the synthesis of the hormone by the epiphysis. Mostly by [...] Read more.
Melatonin is a hormone mainly produced by the pineal gland in the absence of light stimuli. The light, in fact, hits the retina, which sends a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which inhibits the synthesis of the hormone by the epiphysis. Mostly by interacting with MT1/MT2 membrane receptors, melatonin performs various physiological actions, among which are its regulation of the sleep–wake cycle and its control of the immune system. One of its best known functions is its non-enzymatic antioxidant action, which is independent from binding with receptors and occurs by electron donation. The hormone is also an indicator of the photoperiod in seasonally reproducing mammals, which are divided into long-day and short-day breeders according to the time of year in which they are sexually active and fertile. It is known that melatonin acts at the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis level in many species. In particular, it inhibits the hypothalamic release of GnRH, with a consequent alteration of FSH and LH levels. The present paper mainly aims to review the ovarian effect of melatonin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrinology of the Female Reproductive System)
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11 pages, 645 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of Preemptive Analgesia with Amantadine for Controlling Postoperative Pain in Cats Undergoing Ovariohysterectomy
by Paula Elisa Brandão Guedes, Taísa Miranda Pinto, Janaína Maria Xavier Corrêa, Raquel Vieira Niella, Carolina Moreira dos Anjos, Jéssica Natália Silva de Oliveira, Claire Souza da Costa Marques, Sophia Saraiva de Souza, Elisângela Barboza da Silva and Mário Sérgio Lima de Lavor
Animals 2024, 14(4), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040643 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 570
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the preemptive administration of amantadine on postoperative analgesia in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy and its influence on the physiological parameters. Twenty healthy domestic cats scheduled to undergo ovariohysterectomy at the Santa Cruz State University, Ilhéus, were [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the preemptive administration of amantadine on postoperative analgesia in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy and its influence on the physiological parameters. Twenty healthy domestic cats scheduled to undergo ovariohysterectomy at the Santa Cruz State University, Ilhéus, were divided into two groups: the control group (Group C; n = 10) and the amantadine group (Group A; n = 10). The cats in Group C received placebo capsules 30 min prior to the standard anesthetic protocol, whereas those in Group A received 5 mg/kg of amantadine orally 30 min prior to the standard anesthetic protocol. Postoperative pain was assessed using the visual analog scale and the UNESP-Botucatu multidimensional scale for the evaluation of postoperative pain in cats. The administration of amantadine had no effect on the physiological parameters evaluated. The pain scores in Group A were lower than those in Group C, indicating that the frequency of rescue analgesic administration cats in Group A was lower. That way, preemptive oral administration of amantadine at a dose of 5 mg/kg was effective at controlling postoperative pain in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy. Moreover, no adverse effects or alterations in the physiological patterns were observed in the treated animals. Full article
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14 pages, 5654 KiB  
Article
The Role of Progesterone in Elf5 Activation and Milk Component Synthesis for Cell-Cultured Milk Production in MAC-T Cells
by Hyuk Cheol Kwon, Hyun Su Jung, Do Hyun Kim, Jong Hyeon Han and Sung Gu Han
Animals 2024, 14(4), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040642 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 610
Abstract
Prolactin is essential for mammary gland development and lactation. Progesterone also induces ductal branching and alveolar formation via initial secretory differentiation within the mammary gland. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the role of progesterone as a prolactin substitute for the production of cell-cultured [...] Read more.
Prolactin is essential for mammary gland development and lactation. Progesterone also induces ductal branching and alveolar formation via initial secretory differentiation within the mammary gland. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the role of progesterone as a prolactin substitute for the production of cell-cultured milk components in MAC-T cells. Cells were treated with various hormones such as prolactin (PRL), progesterone (P4), 17β-estradiol (E2), cortisol (COR), and insulin (INS) for 5 d. MAC-T cells cultured in a P4 differentiation media (2500 ng/mL of P4, 25 ng/mL of E2, 25 ng/mL of COR, and 25 ng/mL of INS) showed similar levels of E74-like factor 5 (Elf5) and milk component synthesis (α-casein, β-casein, α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, and triglycerides) compared to those cultured in a PRL differentiation media (5000 ng/mL of PRL, 500 ng/mL of CORT, and 50 ng/mL of INS). The levels of α-casein and triglycerides in the optimal P4 differentiation media were present at comparable levels to those in the PRL differentiation media. Our results demonstrated that P4 induces the activation of Elf5 and the synthesis of milk components in MAC-T cells, similar to PRL. Therefore, P4 may be used as an effective substitute of PRL for cell-cultured milk production in in vitro frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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14 pages, 2999 KiB  
Article
Microplastics Prevalence in Different Cetaceans Stranded along the Western Taiwan Strait
by Reyilamu Aierken, Yuke Zhang, Qianhui Zeng, Liming Yong, Jincheng Qu, Haoran Tong, Xianyan Wang and Liyuan Zhao
Animals 2024, 14(4), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040641 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) pollution is of global concern, which poses serious threats to various marine organisms, including many threatened apex predators. In this study, MPs were investigated from nine cetaceans of four different species, comprising one common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), two pygmy [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) pollution is of global concern, which poses serious threats to various marine organisms, including many threatened apex predators. In this study, MPs were investigated from nine cetaceans of four different species, comprising one common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), two pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps), one ginkgo-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens), and five Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) stranded along the western coast of the Taiwan Strait from the East China Sea based on Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analysis. Mean abundances of 778 identified MPs items were 86.44 ± 12.22 items individual−1 and 0.43 ± 0.19 items g−1 wet weight of intestine contents, which were found predominantly to be transparent, fiber-shaped polyethylene terephthalate (PET) items usually between 0.5 and 5 mm. The abundance of MPs was found at a slightly higher level and significantly correlated with intestine contents mass (p = 0.0004*). The MPs source was mainly likely from synthetic fibers-laden sewage discharged from intense textile industries. Our report represents the first study of MPs in pelagic and deep-diving cetaceans in China, which not only adds baseline data on MPs for cetaceans in Asian waters but also highlights the further risk assessment of MPs consumption in these threatened species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Livestock and Microplastics)
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8 pages, 4326 KiB  
Communication
Smart Dairy Farming—The Potential of the Automatic Monitoring of Dairy Cows’ Behaviour Using a 360-Degree Camera
by Friederike Kurras and Martina Jakob
Animals 2024, 14(4), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040640 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 940
Abstract
The aim of this study is to show the potential of a vision-based system using a single 360° camera to describe the dairy cows’ behaviour in a free-stall barn with an automatic milking system. A total of 2299 snapshots were manually evaluated, counting [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to show the potential of a vision-based system using a single 360° camera to describe the dairy cows’ behaviour in a free-stall barn with an automatic milking system. A total of 2299 snapshots were manually evaluated, counting the number of animals that were lying, standing and eating. The average capture rate of animals in the picture is 93.1% (counted animals/actual numbers of animals). In addition to determining the daily lying, standing and eating times, it is also possible to allocate animals to the individual functional areas so that anomalies such as prolonged standing in the cubicle or lying in the walkway can be detected at an early stage. When establishing a camera monitoring system in the future, attention should be paid to sufficient resolution of the camera during the night as well as the reduction of the concealment problem by animals and barn equipment. The automatic monitoring of animal behaviour with the help of 360° cameras can be a promising innovation in the dairy barn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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15 pages, 1098 KiB  
Article
The Crucial Role of Breeder and Dog Owners Associations in Safeguarding Genetic Heritage of Endangered Balearic Dog Breeds: Gender Preference and Registry Adscription
by José Manuel Alanzor Puente, Águeda Laura Pons Barro, Antonio González Ariza, Carmen Marín Navas, Juan Vicente Delgado Bermejo and Francisco Javier Navas González
Animals 2024, 14(4), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040639 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 603
Abstract
This study delves into the complex relationships between indigenous dog breeds in the Balearic Isles and their human counterparts, specifically breeders and owners. Using Canonical Correlation Analysis, the research examines variables such as breed registries and the number of breeders/owners, uncovering significant correlations [...] Read more.
This study delves into the complex relationships between indigenous dog breeds in the Balearic Isles and their human counterparts, specifically breeders and owners. Using Canonical Correlation Analysis, the research examines variables such as breed registries and the number of breeders/owners, uncovering significant correlations within registries. For example, an increase in female auxiliary registrations corresponds to a decline in foundational registrations, indicating shifts in breed documentation dynamics. Similarly, a rise in definitive female registrations coincides with a decrease in foundational female registrations, suggesting increased pedigree awareness across generations. Beyond registries, the study explores the correlation between breeders/owners and various initial records, highlighting that a notable increase in breeders positively influences initial registrations, definitive totals, and overall counts, underscoring their crucial role in early breed stages. Gender preferences in registrations are noted, with a historical bias towards female entries during foundational stages gradually shifting in favor of males in definitive registrations. In conclusion, the research underscores the interconnected roles of breeders, owners, and comprehensive registries in preserving genetic diversity among Balearic dog breeds, emphasizing the need for ongoing efforts to address gaps in genealogical data for a more accurate understanding of breed dynamics. Full article
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13 pages, 572 KiB  
Review
Blackleg: A Review of the Agent and Management of the Disease in Brazil
by Ananda Iara de Jesus Sousa, Cleideanny Cancela Galvão, Prhiscylla Sadanã Pires and Felipe Masiero Salvarani
Animals 2024, 14(4), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040638 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1010
Abstract
The genus Clostridium is an important group of pathogenic and nonpathogenic Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria with a sporulation capacity and wide distribution in different environments, including the gastrointestinal tracts of healthy and diseased animals and humans. Among the pathogenic species of the genus, Clostridium [...] Read more.
The genus Clostridium is an important group of pathogenic and nonpathogenic Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria with a sporulation capacity and wide distribution in different environments, including the gastrointestinal tracts of healthy and diseased animals and humans. Among the pathogenic species of the genus, Clostridium chauvoei stands out as a histotoxic agent. It causes significant myonecrosis such as blackleg, a disease with high lethality, especially in young cattle, and is responsible for significant livestock losses worldwide. The pathogenicity of the disease is complex and has not yet been fully elucidated. Current hypotheses cover processes from the initial absorption to the transport and deposition of the agent in the affected tissues. The virulence factors of C. chauvoei have been divided into somatic and flagellar antigens and soluble antigens/toxins, which are the main antigens used in vaccines against blackleg in Brazil and worldwide. This review provides important information on the first and current approaches to the agent C. chauvoei and its virulence factors as well as a compilation of data on Brazilian studies related to blackleg. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnosis and Pathogenesis of Animal Pathogenic Microorganisms)
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13 pages, 896 KiB  
Article
Diversity of Anaplasma phagocytophilum Strains from Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) and Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in Poland
by Anna W. Myczka, Żaneta Steiner-Bogdaszewska, Grzegorz Oloś, Anna Bajer and Zdzisław Laskowski
Animals 2024, 14(4), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040637 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 749
Abstract
Background: The Gram-negative bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an intracellular pathogen and an etiological agent of human and animal anaplasmosis. Its natural reservoir comprises free-ranging ungulates, including roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus). These two species of [...] Read more.
Background: The Gram-negative bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an intracellular pathogen and an etiological agent of human and animal anaplasmosis. Its natural reservoir comprises free-ranging ungulates, including roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus). These two species of deer also constitute the largest group of game animals in Poland. The aim of the study was to genotype and perform a phylogenetic analysis of A. phagocytophilum strains from roe deer and red deer. Methods: Samples were subjected to PCR amplification, sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis of strain-specific genetic markers (groEL, ankA). Results: Five haplotypes of the groEL gene from A. phagocytophilum and seven haplotypes of ankA were obtained. The phylogenetic analysis classified the groEL into ecotypes I and II. Sequences of the ankA gene were classified into clusters I, II, and III. Conclusions: Strains of A. phagocytophilum from red deer were in the same ecotype and cluster as strains isolated from humans. Strains of A. phagocytophilum from roe deer represented ecotypes (I, II) and clusters (II, III) that were different from those isolated from red deer, and these strains did not show similarity to bacteria from humans. However, roe deer can harbor nonspecific strains of A. phagocytophilum more characteristic to red deer. It appears that the genetic variants from red deer can be pathogenic to humans, but the significance of the variants from roe deer requires more study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases in Wild Ungulates)
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12 pages, 2395 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rbST) on the Metabolic Profile and Milk Composition of Lactating Murrah Buffalo
by Marcelo Arne Feckinghaus, Mariana Guimarães de Oliveira Diogo, Vanessa Martins Storillo, Fabio Celidonio Pogliani, Bruno Moura Monteiro, Paulo Fantinato Neto, Melina Marie Yasuoka, Daniela Becker Birgel and Eduardo Harry Birgel Junior
Animals 2024, 14(4), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040636 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 613
Abstract
The use of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) leads to an increase in variable amounts of milk production in buffalo, but there is a lack of information on the influence of rbST on their metabolism. This study looked at the effects of a single [...] Read more.
The use of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) leads to an increase in variable amounts of milk production in buffalo, but there is a lack of information on the influence of rbST on their metabolism. This study looked at the effects of a single 500 mg dose of rbST on the lipid profile, liver and kidney function, and physical, chemical, and cellular constitution of milk in 14 buffalo over 14 days, from the 100th day of lactation, compared with 14 animals in a control group. From the first day after rbST, there was a rise in beta-hydroxybutyrate (β-HBO), possibly due to higher dry matter intake or the biotransformation of NEFA into β-HBO. The treatment did not influence blood glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), triglycerides, cholesterol, total protein, albumin, AST, GGT, bilirubin, urea, or creatinine levels. In 71.3% of the buffalo, there was a gradual increase in milk production, with the maximal response occurring in the first week followed by a gradual decrease, whilst in 21.4%, the increase in production occurred between 7 and 10 days. Only 7.1% of the animals did not respond. On the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th days after treatment, an increase was found in daily milk production between the two groups equal to 1.04, 1.52, 1.42, and 1.06 L, respectively. In relative terms, this means an increase in milk production, respectively, of 15.1%, 21.0%, 19.8%, and 15.1%. The constitution of the milk showed no difference in the amounts of fat, lactose, total solids, or somatic cell count; however, on the third day after rbST administration, there was a decrease in protein. Notably, from the fifth day, the protein values showed no statistical difference. It can be concluded that the use of rbST in buffalo from the 100th day of lactation is metabolically safe since the treatment neither caused imbalances in fat metabolism nor overloaded the liver or renal function, and the changes in milk composition were transient and limited to a decrease in milk protein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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19 pages, 9714 KiB  
Article
Exploration of Toxins from a Marine Annelid: An Analysis of Phyllotoxins and Accompanying Bioactives
by Ana P. Rodrigo, Inês Moutinho Cabral, António Alexandre and Pedro M. Costa
Animals 2024, 14(4), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040635 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 656
Abstract
Proteinaceous toxins are peptides or proteins that hold great biotechnological value, evidenced by their ecological role, whether as defense or predation mechanisms. Bioprospecting using bioinformatics and omics may render screening for novel bioactives more expeditious, especially considering the immense diversity of toxin-secreting marine [...] Read more.
Proteinaceous toxins are peptides or proteins that hold great biotechnological value, evidenced by their ecological role, whether as defense or predation mechanisms. Bioprospecting using bioinformatics and omics may render screening for novel bioactives more expeditious, especially considering the immense diversity of toxin-secreting marine organisms. Eulalia sp. (Annelida: Phyllodocidae), a toxin bearing marine annelid, was recently shown to secrete cysteine-rich protein (Crisp) toxins (hitherto referred to as ‘phyllotoxins’) that can immobilize its prey. By analyzing and validating transcriptomic data, we narrowed the list of isolated full coding sequences of transcripts of the most abundant toxins or accompanying bioactives secreted by the species (the phyllotoxin Crisp, hyaluronidase, serine protease, and peptidases M12A, M13, and M12B). Through homology matching with human proteins, the biotechnological potential of the marine annelid’s toxins and related proteins was tentatively associated with coagulative and anti-inflammatory responses for the peptidases PepM12A, SePr, PepM12B, and PepM13, and with the neurotoxic activity of Crisp, and finally, hyaluronidase was inferred to bear properties of an permeabilizing agent. The in silico analysis succeeded by validation by PCR and Sanger sequencing enabled us to retrieve cDNAs can may be used for the heterologous expression of these toxins. Full article
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13 pages, 1965 KiB  
Article
Development of a Parturition Detection System for Korean Native Black Goats
by Heungsu Kim, Hyunse Kim, Woo H. Kim, Wongi Min, Geonwoo Kim and Honghee Chang
Animals 2024, 14(4), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040634 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Korean Native Black Goats deliver mainly during the cold season. However, in winter, there is a high risk of stunted growth and mortality for their newborns. Therefore, we conducted this study to develop a KNBG parturition detection system that detects and provides managers [...] Read more.
Korean Native Black Goats deliver mainly during the cold season. However, in winter, there is a high risk of stunted growth and mortality for their newborns. Therefore, we conducted this study to develop a KNBG parturition detection system that detects and provides managers with early notification of the signs of parturition. The KNBG parturition detection system consists of triaxial accelerometers, gateways, a server, and parturition detection alarm terminals. Then, two different data, the labor and non-labor data, were acquired and a Decision Tree algorithm was used to classify them. After classifying the labor and non-labor states, the sum of the labor status data was multiplied by the activity count value to enhance the classification accuracy. Finally, the Labor Pain Index (LPI) was derived. Based on the LPI, the optimal processing time window was determined to be 10 min, and the threshold value for labor classification was determined to be 14 240.92. The parturition detection rate was 82.4%, with 14 out of 17 parturitions successfully detected, and the average parturition detection time was 90.6 min before the actual parturition time of the first kid. The KNBG parturition detection system is expected to reduce the risk of stunted growth and mortality due to hypothermia in KNBG kids by detecting parturition 90.6 min before the parturition of the first kid, with a success rate of 82.4%, enabling parturition nursing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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9 pages, 2688 KiB  
Case Report
Evidence of Pneumopericardium after Elective Ovariectomy in a Peritoneopericardial Diaphragmatic Hernia-Affected Dog: A Case Report
by Debora Campanile, Mariateresa Cafaro, Serena Paci, Michele Panarese, Giammarino Sparapano, Marina Masi and Antonio De Simone
Animals 2024, 14(4), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040633 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1021
Abstract
Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia (PPDH) is an opening between the pericardial sac and the pleuroperitoneal membrane. Pneumopericardium is an infrequent complication of PPDH. This condition is a serious circumstance in which free gas accumulates in the pericardial sac. The present report describes the occurrence [...] Read more.
Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia (PPDH) is an opening between the pericardial sac and the pleuroperitoneal membrane. Pneumopericardium is an infrequent complication of PPDH. This condition is a serious circumstance in which free gas accumulates in the pericardial sac. The present report describes the occurrence of pneumopericardium and pericardial effusion after elective ovariectomy in a dog affected by PPDH. The presence of an umbilical and diaphragmatic hernia was highlighted during ovariectomy, and a pneumopericardium was seen during an X-ray exam. At the time of admission to the hospital, the dog was asymptomatic. The diagnosis was performed by X-ray and ultrasonographic exams. Computed tomography examination confirmed the diagnosis and directed for a surgical approach of the congenital defect. Surgery resulted in resolution of PPDH and of pneumopericardium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heart Diseases in Small Animals)
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15 pages, 971 KiB  
Article
The Relation between Plasma Nesfatin-1 Levels and Aggressive Behavior in Pit Bull Dogs
by Gokcen Guvenc-Bayram, Zeynep Semen, Pelin Fatos Polat-Dincer, Zeynep Tugce Sertkaya, Yasemin Ustundag, Can Ates, Bugra Aktas and Murat Yalcin
Animals 2024, 14(4), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040632 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Aggression is a prevalent and concerning behavioral issue in dogs. Pit Bull dogs, known for their high levels of aggression, are recognized as a focus of concern in society. In our study, we aimed to investigate the behavioral characteristics of Pit Bull dogs [...] Read more.
Aggression is a prevalent and concerning behavioral issue in dogs. Pit Bull dogs, known for their high levels of aggression, are recognized as a focus of concern in society. In our study, we aimed to investigate the behavioral characteristics of Pit Bull dogs and explore the potential roles of peptides involved in the neurobiology of aggression. Initially, female, and male dogs underwent aggression tests, and their aggression levels were categorized. Plasma nesfatin-1, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine levels were quantified using ELISA, with blood samples collected after a 24 h fasting period and 2 h post-refeeding. Our findings indicate that aggression in Pit Bull dogs correlates with decreased plasma nesfatin-1, serotonin, and oxytocin levels, while dopamine levels increase. The study’s findings indicate that fasted dogs exhibited lower plasma levels of nesfatin-1, serotonin, and dopamine, while plasma oxytocin levels were higher. Furthermore, while the research findings do not suggest a significant relationship between the severity of aggression and the gender of the dog, male Pit Bull breeds appear to have higher plasma nesfatin-1 and serotonin levels compared to their female counterparts. The study’s findings demonstrate that nesfatin-1, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine play pivotal roles in Pit Bull dogs’ aggression, indicating potential interactions among these neuropeptides at the central nervous system level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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26 pages, 2108 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Weaned Piglet Health and Performance: The Role of Autolyzed Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and β-Glucans as a Blood Plasma Alternative in Diets
by Robson Sfaciotti Barducci, Anderson Aparecido Dias Santos, Leticia Graziele Pacheco, Thaila Cristina Putarov, João Fernando Albers Koch, Marco Aurélio Callegari, Cleandro Pazinato Dias, Rafael Humberto de Carvalho and Caio Abércio da Silva
Animals 2024, 14(4), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040631 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 741
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the inclusion of the autolyzed yeast (AY) Saccharomyces cerevisiae with or without an immunomodulator (1,3/1,6 β-glucans) as a total/partial substitute for blood plasma (BP) in the diet of post-weaning piglets; zootechnical performance, intestinal health and [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the inclusion of the autolyzed yeast (AY) Saccharomyces cerevisiae with or without an immunomodulator (1,3/1,6 β-glucans) as a total/partial substitute for blood plasma (BP) in the diet of post-weaning piglets; zootechnical performance, intestinal health and microbiota, immune responses and energy metabolism were assessed. A total of 240 castrated male and female piglets, with a mean age of 22 days and mean initial weight of 5.24 ± 0.82 kg, were randomly divided into blocks of four treatments with 12 replicates. The dietary inclusions were blood plasma (BP), autolyzed yeast (AY), autolyzed yeast + immunomodulator (AYI) and 50% BP and 50% AY (BPAY). In pre-initial phase II (29–35 days), piglets fed AY showed better feed conversion (FCR = 1.358) than the piglets in the BP (1.484), AYI (1.379) and BPAY (1.442) groups, i.e., 8.49% (0.126), 1.52% (0.021) and 4.50% (0.084), respectively (p = 0.0293). In the total period (21–42 days), better FCR was observed in the AYI (1.458) group, i.e., 4.64% (0.071), 1.15% (0.017) and 4.58% (0.070), than in the BP (1.529), AY (1.475) and BPAY (1.528) groups, respectively (p = 0.0150). In piglets fed AY (n = 3) and BPAY (n = 2), there was a reduction in the number of medications, i.e., 82.35% (−14n) and 88.23% (−15n), respectively (p = 0.0001), compared with that in the BP group (n = 17). In the AY group (73.83 mg/dL), AYI group (69.92 mg/dL), and BPAY group (69.58 mg/dL), piglets exhibited increases in triglyceride levels of 79.32%, 69.83%, and 69.00%, respectively, in comparison to those in the BP group, which had triglyceride levels of 41.17 mg/dL (p = 0.0400). The beta-hydroxybutyrate concentration in the AY group (79.96 ng/μL) was lower by 31.95%, 22.64%, and 5.89% compared to the BP group (117.50 ng/μL), AYI group (103.36 ng/μL), and BPAY group (84.67 ng/μL), respectively (p = 0.0072). In the AYI group, there was modulation of the microbiota, with an increase in the relative abundance of bacteria of the genera Lactobacillus, Collinsella and Bulleidia. AY, associated or not associated with an immunomodulator, is a potential substitute for BP in diets for piglets in the nursery phase, with positive effects on immune, metabolic, and intestinal microbial performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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16 pages, 3733 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Efficacy of Kidney-Protective Lactobacillus Mixture-Containing Pet Treats in Feline Chronic Kidney Disease and Its Possible Mechanism
by Ching-Wen Tsai, Hsiao-Wen Huang, Ya-Jane Lee and Ming-Ju Chen
Animals 2024, 14(4), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040630 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 948
Abstract
Microbiota-based strategies are a novel auxiliary therapeutic and preventative way of moderating chronic kidney disease (CKD). Lactobacillus mixture (Lm) was previously demonstrated to exert a renal-protective function in the CKD mice model. The efficacy of probiotics in pet foods is a relatively new [...] Read more.
Microbiota-based strategies are a novel auxiliary therapeutic and preventative way of moderating chronic kidney disease (CKD). Lactobacillus mixture (Lm) was previously demonstrated to exert a renal-protective function in the CKD mice model. The efficacy of probiotics in pet foods is a relatively new area of study, and thus verifying the potential health benefits is necessary. This study evaluated the efficacy of Lm treats in feline CKD and elucidated the mechanisms underlying host-microbe interactions. CKD cats (2 and 3 stages) were administrated probiotic pet treats daily (10 g) for 8 weeks. The results demonstrated that during the eight weeks of Lm administration, creatinine was reduced or maintained in all cats with CKD. Similarly, gut-derived uremic toxin (GDUT), indoxyl sulfate (IS), were potential clinical significance in IS after Lm treatment (confidence intervals = 90%). The life quality of the cats also improved. Feline gut microbiome data, metabolic functional pathway, and renal function indicator analyses revealed the possible mechanisms involved in modulating CKD feline microbial composition. Further regulation of the microbial functions in amino acid metabolism after Lm administration contributed to downregulating deleterious GDUTs. The current study provides potential adjuvant therapeutic insights into probiotic pet foods or treats for pets with CKD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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14 pages, 1386 KiB  
Article
Reported Agonistic Behaviours in Domestic Horses Cluster According to Context
by Kate Fenner, Bethany Jessica Wilson, Colette Ermers and Paul Damien McGreevy
Animals 2024, 14(4), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040629 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Agonistic behaviours are often directed at other animals for self-defence or to increase distance from valued resources, such as food. Examples include aggression and counter-predator behaviours. Contemporary diets may boost the value of food as a resource and create unanticipated associations with the [...] Read more.
Agonistic behaviours are often directed at other animals for self-defence or to increase distance from valued resources, such as food. Examples include aggression and counter-predator behaviours. Contemporary diets may boost the value of food as a resource and create unanticipated associations with the humans who deliver it. At the same time the domestic horse is asked to carry the weight of riders and perform manoeuvres that, ethologically, are out-of-context and may be associated with instances of pain, confusion, or fear. Agonistic responses can endanger personnel and conspecifics. They are traditionally grouped along with so-called vices as being undesirable and worthy of punishment; a response that can often make horses more dangerous. The current study used data from the validated online Equine Behavioural and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ) to explore the agonistic behaviours (as reported by the owners) of 2734 horses. With a focus on ridden horses, the behaviours of interest in the current study ranged from biting and bite threats and kicking and kick threats to tail swishing as an accompaniment to signs of escalating irritation when horses are approached, prepared for ridden work, ridden, and hosed down (e.g., after work). Analysis of the responses according to the context in which they arise included a dendrographic analysis that identified five clusters of agonistic behaviours among certain groups of horses and a principal component analysis that revealed six components, strongly related to the five clusters. Taken together, these results highlight the prospect that the motivation to show these responses differs with context. The clusters with common characteristics were those observed in the context of: locomotion under saddle; saddling; reactions in a familiar environment, inter-specific threats, and intra-specific threats. These findings highlight the potential roles of fear and pain in such unwelcome responses and challenge the simplistic view that the problems lie with the nature of the horses themselves rather than historic or current management practices. Improved understanding of agonistic responses in horses will reduce the inclination of owners to label horses that show such context-specific responses as being generally aggressive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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21 pages, 6076 KiB  
Article
In Vivo Prediction of Breast Muscle Weight in Broiler Chickens Using X-ray Images Based on Deep Learning and Machine Learning
by Rui Zhu, Jiayao Li, Junyan Yang, Ruizhi Sun and Kun Yu
Animals 2024, 14(4), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040628 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Accurately estimating the breast muscle weight of broilers is important for poultry production. However, existing related methods are plagued by cumbersome processes and limited automation. To address these issues, this study proposed an efficient method for predicting the breast muscle weight of broilers. [...] Read more.
Accurately estimating the breast muscle weight of broilers is important for poultry production. However, existing related methods are plagued by cumbersome processes and limited automation. To address these issues, this study proposed an efficient method for predicting the breast muscle weight of broilers. First, because existing deep learning models struggle to strike a balance between accuracy and memory consumption, this study designed a multistage attention enhancement fusion segmentation network (MAEFNet) to automatically acquire pectoral muscle mask images from X-ray images. MAEFNet employs the pruned MobileNetV3 as the encoder to efficiently capture features and adopts a novel decoder to enhance and fuse the effective features at various stages. Next, the selected shape features were automatically extracted from the mask images. Finally, these features, including live weight, were input to the SVR (Support Vector Regression) model to predict breast muscle weight. MAEFNet achieved the highest intersection over union (96.35%) with the lowest parameter count (1.51 M) compared to the other segmentation models. The SVR model performed best (R2 = 0.8810) compared to the other prediction models in the five-fold cross-validation. The research findings can be applied to broiler production and breeding, reducing measurement costs, and enhancing breeding efficiency. Full article
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40 pages, 1376 KiB  
Review
Strategies for Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) Diagnosis and Prognosis: A Comprehensive Overview
by Mohamed S. Kamel, Josiah Levi Davidson and Mohit S. Verma
Animals 2024, 14(4), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040627 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1581
Abstract
Despite significant advances in vaccination strategies and antibiotic therapy, bovine respiratory disease (BRD) continues to be the leading disease affecting the global cattle industry. The etiology of BRD is complex, often involving multiple microbial agents, which lead to intricate interactions between the host [...] Read more.
Despite significant advances in vaccination strategies and antibiotic therapy, bovine respiratory disease (BRD) continues to be the leading disease affecting the global cattle industry. The etiology of BRD is complex, often involving multiple microbial agents, which lead to intricate interactions between the host immune system and pathogens during various beef production stages. These interactions present environmental, social, and geographical challenges. Accurate diagnosis is essential for effective disease management. Nevertheless, correct identification of BRD cases remains a daunting challenge for animal health technicians in feedlots. In response to current regulations, there is a growing interest in refining clinical diagnoses of BRD to curb the overuse of antimicrobials. This shift marks a pivotal first step toward establishing a structured diagnostic framework for this disease. This review article provides an update on recent developments and future perspectives in clinical diagnostics and prognostic techniques for BRD, assessing their benefits and limitations. The methods discussed include the evaluation of clinical signs and animal behavior, biomarker analysis, molecular diagnostics, ultrasound imaging, and prognostic modeling. While some techniques show promise as standalone diagnostics, it is likely that a multifaceted approach—leveraging a combination of these methods—will yield the most accurate diagnosis of BRD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnostic Strategies in Bovine Respiratory Disease)
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