Editor’s Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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16 pages, 866 KiB  
Article
Effects of Garlic Oil and Cinnamaldehyde on Sheep Rumen Fermentation and Microbial Populations in Rusitec Fermenters in Two Different Sampling Periods
by Jairo García-Rodríguez, Cristina Saro, Iván Mateos, María Dolores Carro and María José Ranilla
Animals 2024, 14(7), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14071067 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Garlic oil (GO) and cinnamaldehyde (CIN) have shown potential to modify rumen fermentation. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of GO and CIN on rumen fermentation, microbial protein synthesis (MPS), and microbial populations in Rusitec fermenters fed a mixed [...] Read more.
Garlic oil (GO) and cinnamaldehyde (CIN) have shown potential to modify rumen fermentation. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of GO and CIN on rumen fermentation, microbial protein synthesis (MPS), and microbial populations in Rusitec fermenters fed a mixed diet (50:50 forage/concentrate), as well as whether these effects were maintained over time. Six fermenters were used in two 15-day incubation runs. Within each run, two fermenters received no additive, 180 mg/L of GO, or 180 mg/L of CIN. Rumen fermentation parameters were assessed in two periods (P1 and P2), and microbial populations were studied after each of these periods. Garlic oil reduced the acetate/propionate ratio and methane production (p < 0.001) in P1 and P2 and decreased protozoal DNA concentration and the relative abundance of fungi and archaea after P1 (p < 0.05). Cinnamaldehyde increased bacterial diversity (p < 0.01) and modified the structure of bacterial communities after P1, decreased bacterial DNA concentration after P2 (p < 0.05), and increased MPS (p < 0.001). The results of this study indicate that 180 mg/L of GO and CIN promoted a more efficient rumen fermentation and increased the protein supply to the animal, respectively, although an apparent adaptive response of microbial populations to GO was observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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19 pages, 3141 KiB  
Systematic Review
Can the Inclusion of Forage Chicory in the Diet of Lactating Dairy Cattle Alter Milk Production and Milk Fatty Acid Composition? Findings of a Multilevel Meta-Analysis
by Mancoba C. Mangwe, Racheal H. Bryant, Antonia Olszewski, Hitihamy Mudiyanselage Gayani P. Herath and Omar Al-Marashdeh
Animals 2024, 14(7), 1002; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14071002 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 568
Abstract
In traditional ryegrass/white clover (Lolium perenne L./Trifolium repens L.) pastoral systems, forage herbs such as chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) present an opportunity to fill feed deficits during late spring and summer. Although multiple research publications have evaluated the efficacy of [...] Read more.
In traditional ryegrass/white clover (Lolium perenne L./Trifolium repens L.) pastoral systems, forage herbs such as chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) present an opportunity to fill feed deficits during late spring and summer. Although multiple research publications have evaluated the efficacy of chicory for enhancing milk production and milk fatty acid (FA) profile, no publication has quantitatively synthesised the body of research. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the effect of chicory on milk production and composition, as well as on the milk fatty acid composition of dairy cattle. A total of 29 comparisons from 15 unique research publications involving 597 dairy cattle were used to develop a dataset for analysis. Three-level random-effect and robust variance estimator models were used to account for the hierarchical structure of the data and the dependency of effect sizes within publications. Chicory inclusion increased milk yield when compared to grass-based diets {weighted mean difference (WMD) = 1.07 (95% CI 0.54–1.60) kg/cow/d, p < 0.001}, but it provided a similar milk yield when compared to other forages such as legumes and herbs {dicots; WMD = −0.30, (95% CI −89–0.29) kg/cow/day, p = 0.312}. Increases in milk yield were congruent with differences in DM intake (p = 0.09) and ME intakes (p = 0.003), being similar in chicory-fed and dicot-fed cows but higher than grass-fed cows. Chicory feeding’s effect on milk solids was twice as high during mid lactation {154 days in milk; WMD = 0.13, (95% 0.081–0.175) kg/cow/day, p < 0.001} as during late lactation {219 days in milk; WMD = 0.06, (95% 0.003–0.13) kg/cow/day, p = 0.041}. In line with milk yield, greater and more significant effect sizes were found for alpha linolenic acid {ALA; WMD = 0.20 (95% CI 0.06–0.35) g/100 g FA, p = 0.011} when chicory was compared to grass species only. Comparing chicory with dicots suggests that chicory inclusion did not impact ALA concentrations {WMD = 0.001 (95% CI −0.02–0.2) g/100 g FA, p = 0.99}. There were no differences in conjugated linoleic acid concentration in the milk of cows fed chicory or control diets. The study provides empirical evidence of chicory’s efficacy for improved milk production and milk fatty acid composition. Full article
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10 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Two Species of Macroalgae from Azores Sea as Potential Reducers of Ruminal Methane Production: In Vitro Ruminal Assay
by Helder P. B. Nunes, Cristiana S. A. M. Maduro Dias, Nuno V. Álvaro and Alfredo E. S. Borba
Animals 2024, 14(6), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060967 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 604
Abstract
The utilisation of seaweeds as feed supplements has been investigated for their potential to mitigate enteric methane emissions from ruminants. Enteric methane emissions are the primary source of direct greenhouse gas emissions in livestock and significantly contribute to anthropogenic methane emissions worldwide. The [...] Read more.
The utilisation of seaweeds as feed supplements has been investigated for their potential to mitigate enteric methane emissions from ruminants. Enteric methane emissions are the primary source of direct greenhouse gas emissions in livestock and significantly contribute to anthropogenic methane emissions worldwide. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the nutritional role and the in vitro effect on cumulative gas and methane production of Asparagopsis taxiformis (native species) and Asparagopsis armata (invasive species), two species of red algae from the Azorean Sea, as well as the ability to reduce biogas production when incubated with single pasture (Lolium perenne and Trifollium repens) as substrate. Four levels of concentrations marine algae were used (1.25%, 2.25%, 5%, and 10% DM) and added to the substrate to evaluate ruminal fermentation using the in vitro gas production technique. The total amount of gas and methane produced by the treatment incubation was recorded during 72 h of incubation. The results indicate that both algae species under investigation contain relatively high levels of protein (22.69% and 24.23%, respectively, for Asparagopsis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata) and significant amounts of minerals, namely magnesium (1.15% DM), sodium (8.6% DM), and iron (2851 ppm). Concerning in vitro ruminal fermentation, it was observed that A. taxiformis can reduce enteric methane production by approximately 86%, during the first 24 h when 5% is added. In the same period and at the same concentration, A. armata reduced methane production by 34%. Thus, it can be concluded that Asparagopsis species from the Azorean Sea have high potential as a protein and mineral supplement, in addition to enabling a reduction in methane production from rumen fermentation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Algae in Animal Nutrition)
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10 pages, 947 KiB  
Article
Effects of Sugarcane-Derived Polyphenol Supplementation on Methane Production and Rumen Microbial Diversity of Second-Cross Lambs
by Pragna Prathap, Surinder S. Chauhan, Matthew Flavel, Shane Mitchell, Jeremy J. Cottrell, Brian J. Leury and Frank R. Dunshea
Animals 2024, 14(6), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060905 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 727
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of feeding sugarcane-derived polyphenolic supplement (Polygain, The Product Makers Australia, Keysborough, VIC, Australia) on enteric methane (CH4) emission, rumen microbiota, and performance of second-cross lambs. For this purpose, 24 Poll Dorset [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of feeding sugarcane-derived polyphenolic supplement (Polygain, The Product Makers Australia, Keysborough, VIC, Australia) on enteric methane (CH4) emission, rumen microbiota, and performance of second-cross lambs. For this purpose, 24 Poll Dorset × (Border Leicester × Merino) lambs were allocated to 3 different treatments: Control (C), 0.25% Polygain (0.25 PG), and 1% Polygain (1 PG) diets with a uniform basal feed (25% cracked wheat grain, 25% cracked barley grain, 25% oaten chaff, 25% lucerne chaff). Both doses of Polygain reduced the total CH4 production (g/day; p = 0.006), CH4 yield (CH4, g/kg of dry matter intake; p = 0.003) and CH4 intensity (CH4, g/kg of BW; p = 0.003). Dry matter intake tended to be greater (p = 0.08) in sheep fed 1 PG compared to the C group, with the 0.25 PG group being intermediate. The average daily gain of the lambs was improved (p = 0.03) with 1% Polygain supplementation. The relative abundance of genera Methanobrevibacter_unidentified, Methanomethylophilaceae_uncultured, Methanogenic archaeon mixed culture ISO4-G1, Methanosphaera uncultured rumen methanogen, Methanogenic archaeon ISO4-H5, and Methanobrevibacter boviskoreani JH1 were reduced with Polygain supplementation. In conclusion, feeding Polygain reduced lambs’ enteric CH4 emissions, altered the rumen microbiome, and improved the growth performance of lambs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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14 pages, 2035 KiB  
Article
Influence of Different Plant Extracts on CYP-Mediated Skatole and Indole Degradation in Pigs
by Philipp Marro, Raffael Wesoly and Volker Stefanski
Animals 2024, 14(6), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060888 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 509
Abstract
One of the primary substances responsible for the unpleasant odor in boar meat is skatole. Enzymes belonging to the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family play a pivotal role in the hepatic clearance of skatole. This study aimed to investigate the impact of oregano essential [...] Read more.
One of the primary substances responsible for the unpleasant odor in boar meat is skatole. Enzymes belonging to the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family play a pivotal role in the hepatic clearance of skatole. This study aimed to investigate the impact of oregano essential oil (OEO), Schisandra chinensis extract (SC), and garlic essential oil (GEO) on hepatic CYP2E1 and CYP2A activity in pigs. In three consecutive trials, cannulated castrated male pigs were provided with a diet containing 0.2–0.3% of one of these plant extracts. Following a 14-day feeding period, the animals were slaughtered, and liver and fat samples were collected. The findings indicate that the activities of CYP2E1 were unaffected by any treatment. However, GEO treatment demonstrated a significant reduction in CYP2A activity (p < 0.05). Pigs treated with GEO also exhibited a notable increase in skatole concentrations in both plasma and adipose tissue. In contrast, animals fed SC displayed elevated skatole concentrations in plasma but not in fat tissue. OEO did not influence skatole concentrations in either blood or fat. Furthermore, the study revealed that a supplementation of 6 g GEO per animal per day induced a significant increase in skatole concentrations in blood plasma within 24 h. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Extracts as Feed Additives in Animal Nutrition and Health)
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13 pages, 233 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Layer Chicks Depending on Dynamic Model
by Miao Liu, Zhi-Yuan Xia, Hong-Lin Li, Yu-Xuan Huang, Alainaa Refaie, Zhang-Chao Deng and Lv-Hui Sun
Animals 2024, 14(5), 764; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14050764 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Four trials were conducted to establish a protein and amino acid requirement model for layer chicks over 0–6 weeks by using the analytical factorization method. In trial 1, a total of 90 one-day-old Jing Tint 6 chicks with similar body weight were selected [...] Read more.
Four trials were conducted to establish a protein and amino acid requirement model for layer chicks over 0–6 weeks by using the analytical factorization method. In trial 1, a total of 90 one-day-old Jing Tint 6 chicks with similar body weight were selected to determine the growth curve, carcass and feather protein deposition, and amino acid patterns of carcass and feather proteins. In trials 2 and 3, 24 seven-day-old and 24 thirty-five-day-old Jing Tint 6 chicks were selected to determine the protein maintenance requirements, amino acid pattern, and net protein utilization rate. In trial 4, 24 ten-day-old and 24 thirty-eight-day-old Jing Tint 6 chicks were selected to determine the standard terminal ileal digestibility of amino acids. The chicks were fed either a corn–soybean basal diet, a low nitrogen diet, or a nitrogen-free diet throughout the different trials. The Gompertz equation showed that there is a functional relationship between body weight and age, described as BWt(g) = 2669.317 × exp(−4.337 × exp(−0.019t)). Integration of the test results gave a comprehensive dynamic model equation that could accurately calculate the weekly protein and amino acid requirements of the layer chicks. By applying the model, it was found that the protein requirements for Jing Tint 6 chicks during the 6-week period were 21.15, 20.54, 18.26, 18.77, 17.79, and 16.51, respectively. The model-predicted amino acid requirements for Jing Tint 6 chicks during the 6-week period were as follows: Aspartic acid (0.992–1.284), Threonine (0.601–0.750), Serine (0.984–1.542), Glutamic acid (1.661–1.925), Glycine (0.992–1.227), Alanine (0.909–0.961), Valine (0.773–1.121), Cystine (0.843–1.347), Methionine (0.210–0.267), Isoleucine (0.590–0.715), Leucine (0.977–1.208), Tyrosine (0.362–0.504), Phenylalanine (0.584–0.786), Histidine (0.169–0.250), Lysine (0.3999–0.500), Arginine (0.824–1.147), Proline (1.114–1.684), and Tryptophan (0.063–0.098). In conclusion, this study constructed a dynamic model for the protein and amino acid requirements of Jing Tint 6 chicks during the brooding period, providing an important insight to improve precise feeding for layer chicks through this dynamic model calculation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino Acid Nutrition in Poultry)
24 pages, 319 KiB  
Article
A Reexamination of the Relationship between Training Practices and Welfare in the Management of Ambassador Animals
by Steve Martin, Grey Stafford and David S. Miller
Animals 2024, 14(5), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14050736 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 3235
Abstract
There is an ethical need to document and develop best practices for meeting ambassador animals’ welfare needs within the context of meeting zoo and aquarium program objectives. This is because ambassador animals experience direct and frequent contact with humans. This paper rigorously synthesizes [...] Read more.
There is an ethical need to document and develop best practices for meeting ambassador animals’ welfare needs within the context of meeting zoo and aquarium program objectives. This is because ambassador animals experience direct and frequent contact with humans. This paper rigorously synthesizes behavioral research and theory, contemporary practices, and personal experiences to offer key concepts that can be applied to meet ambassador animal welfare needs. These key concepts include addressing an animal’s recognition of choice and control, the use of the most positive and least intrusive effective interventions when training animals to participate in programming, and an overall reduction in aversive strategy use. Our model for increasing ambassador animal welfare focuses on seven main areas of concern, including the following: choosing the most suitable animal for the program; choosing the human with the right skills and knowledge for the program; using the most positive, least intrusive, effective training methods; developing a strong trusting relationship between trainer and animal; developing a comprehensive enrichment program; the need for institutional support; and creating opportunities for animals to practice species-appropriate behaviors. Our model will provide guidelines for improved ambassador animal welfare that can be refined with future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
32 pages, 1417 KiB  
Article
Dolphin-WET—Development of a Welfare Evaluation Tool for Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) under Human Care
by Katrin Baumgartner, Tim Hüttner, Isabella L. K. Clegg, Manuel Garcia Hartmann, Daniel Garcia-Párraga, Xavier Manteca, Birgitta Mercera, Tania Monreal-Pawlowsky, Cristina Pilenga, Kerstin Ternes, Oriol Tallo-Parra, Ruta Vaicekauskaite, Lorenzo von Fersen, Lisa Yon and Fabienne Delfour
Animals 2024, 14(5), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14050701 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1682
Abstract
Ensuring high standards of animal welfare is not only an ethical duty for zoos and aquariums, but it is also essential to achieve their conservation, education, and research goals. While for some species, animal welfare assessment frameworks are already in place, little has [...] Read more.
Ensuring high standards of animal welfare is not only an ethical duty for zoos and aquariums, but it is also essential to achieve their conservation, education, and research goals. While for some species, animal welfare assessment frameworks are already in place, little has been done for marine animals under human care. Responding to this demand, the welfare committee of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) set up a group of experts on welfare science, cetacean biology, and zoo animal medicine across Europe. Their objective was to develop a comprehensive tool to evaluate the welfare of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), named Dolphin-WET. The tool encompasses 49 indicators that were either validated through peer review or management-based expertise. The first of its kind, the Dolphin-WET is a species-specific welfare assessment tool that provides a holistic approach to evaluating dolphin welfare. Inspired by Mellor’s Five Domains Model and the Welfare Quality®, its hierarchical structure allows for detailed assessments from overall welfare down to specific indicators. Through combining 37 animal-based and 12 resource-based indicators that are evaluated based on a two- or three-level scoring, the protocol offers a detailed evaluation of individual dolphins. This approach allows for regular internal monitoring and targeted welfare management, enabling caretakers to address specific welfare concerns effectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Marine Mammal Cognition and Cognitive Welfare)
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29 pages, 7110 KiB  
Systematic Review
A Review of Potential Feed Additives Intended for Carbon Footprint Reduction through Methane Abatement in Dairy Cattle
by Ian Hodge, Patrick Quille and Shane O’Connell
Animals 2024, 14(4), 568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040568 - 08 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1569
Abstract
Eight rumen additives were chosen for an enteric methane-mitigating comparison study including garlic oil (GO), nitrate, Ascophyllum nodosum (AN), Asparagopsis (ASP), Lactobacillus plantarum (LAB), chitosan (CHI), essential oils (EOs) and 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP). Dose-dependent analysis was carried out on selected feed additives using a [...] Read more.
Eight rumen additives were chosen for an enteric methane-mitigating comparison study including garlic oil (GO), nitrate, Ascophyllum nodosum (AN), Asparagopsis (ASP), Lactobacillus plantarum (LAB), chitosan (CHI), essential oils (EOs) and 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP). Dose-dependent analysis was carried out on selected feed additives using a meta-analysis approach to determine effectiveness in live subjects or potential efficacy in live animal trials with particular attention given to enteric gas, volatile fatty acid concentrations, and rumen microbial counts. All meta-analysis involving additives GO, nitrates, LAB, CHI, EOs, and 3-NOP revealed a reduction in methane production, while individual studies for AN and ASP displayed ruminal bacterial community improvement and a reduction in enteric CH4. Rumen protozoal depression was observed with GO and AN supplementation as well as an increase in propionate production with GO, LAB, ASP, CHI, and 3-NOP rumen fluid inoculation. GO, AN, ASP, and LAB demonstrated mechanisms in vitro as feed additives to improve rumen function and act as enteric methane mitigators. Enzyme inhibitor 3-NOP displays the greatest in vivo CH4 mitigating capabilities compared to essential oil commercial products. Furthermore, this meta-analysis study revealed that in vitro studies in general displayed a greater level of methane mitigation with these compounds than was seen in vivo, emphasising the importance of in vivo trials for final verification of use. While in vitro gas production systems predict in vivo methane production and fermentation trends with reasonable accuracy, it is necessary to confirm feed additive rumen influence in vivo before practical application. Full article
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23 pages, 2057 KiB  
Article
Alternatives to Carbon Dioxide in Two Phases for the Improvement of Broiler Chickens’ Welfare during Stunning
by Daniel Santiago Rucinque, Antonio Velarde, Aida Xercavins, Aranzazu Varvaró-Porter, Troy John Gibson, Virginie Michel and Alexandra Contreras-Jodar
Animals 2024, 14(3), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030486 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1106
Abstract
This study evaluated the exposure to gas mixtures of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with nitrogen (N2) as alternatives to CO2 in two phases to improve the welfare of broiler chickens at slaughter. Broilers were exposed to one of [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the exposure to gas mixtures of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with nitrogen (N2) as alternatives to CO2 in two phases to improve the welfare of broiler chickens at slaughter. Broilers were exposed to one of three treatments: 40C90C (1st phase: <40% CO2 for 2 min; 2nd phase: >90% CO2 and <2% O2 for 2 min, n = 92), 40C60N (40% CO2, 60% N2, and <2% O2 for 4 min, n = 79), or 20C80N (20% CO2, 80% N2, and <2% O2 for 4 min, n = 72). Brain activity (EEG) was assessed to determine the onset of loss of consciousness (LOC) and death. Behavioural assessment allowed for characterisation of an aversive response to the treatments and confirmed loss of posture (LOP) and motionlessness as behavioural proxies of LOC and brain death in 40C60N and 20N80C. However, the lack of quality of the EEG traces obtained in 40C90C did not allow us to determine the onset of LOC and brain death for this treatment. The onset of LOC in 40C60N was found at 19 s [14–30 s] and in 20C80N at 21 s [16–37 s], whereas a LOP was seen at 53 s [26–156 s] in 40C90C. Birds showed brain death in 40C60N at 64 s [43–108 s] and in 20C80N at 70 s [45–88 s]), while they became motionless in 40C90C at 177 s [89–212 s]. The 40C90C birds not only experienced more events of aversive behaviours related to mucosal irritation, dyspnoea, and breathlessness during induction to unconsciousness but were at risk of remaining conscious when the CO2 concentration was increased in the 2nd phase (known to cause severe pain). From an animal welfare point of view, 40C60N proved to be the least aversive of the three treatments tested, followed by 20C80N and 40C90C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
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12 pages, 250 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Crude Protein Level of Concentrate Mix on Growth Performance, Rumen Characteristics, Blood Metabolites, and Methane Emissions in Fattening Hanwoo Steers
by Joonpyo Oh, Hyunjin Cho, Sinyong Jeong, Kyewon Kang, Mingyung Lee, Seoyoung Jeon, Hamin Kang and Seongwon Seo
Animals 2024, 14(3), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030469 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 565
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effect of varying levels of dietary crude protein (CP) on growth performance, rumen characteristics, blood metabolites, and methane emissions in fattening Hanwoo steers. Twenty-four steers, weighing 504 ± 33.0 kg (16 months old), were assigned to four [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of varying levels of dietary crude protein (CP) on growth performance, rumen characteristics, blood metabolites, and methane emissions in fattening Hanwoo steers. Twenty-four steers, weighing 504 ± 33.0 kg (16 months old), were assigned to four dietary treatments with different CP concentrations (15, 18, 19, and 21% of CP on a dry matter (DM) basis). A linear increasing trend in the average daily gain (ADG) was observed (p = 0.066). With increased dietary CP levels, the rumen ammonia concentration significantly increased (p < 0.001), while the propionate proportion linearly decreased (p = 0.004) and the proportions of butyrate and valerate linearly increased (p ≤ 0.003). The blood urea exhibited a linear increase (p < 0.001), whereas the blood non-esterified fatty acids and cholesterol showed a linear decrease (p ≤ 0.003) with increasing dietary CP. The methane concentration from eructation per intake (ppm/kg), forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF) intake, total NDF intake, and ADG exhibited linear decreases (p ≤ 0.014) across the treatments. In conclusion, increasing the dietary CP up to 21% in concentrates demonstrated a tendency to linearly increase the ADG and significantly decrease the propionate while increasing the butyrate. The methane concentration from eructation exhibited a tendency to linearly decrease with increasing dietary CP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
13 pages, 2622 KiB  
Technical Note
Computed Tomography Evaluation of Frozen or Glycerinated Bradypus variegatus Cadavers: A Comprehensive View with Emphasis on Anatomical Aspects
by Michel Santos e Cunha, Rodrigo dos Santos Albuquerque, José Gonçalo Monteiro Campos, Francisco Décio de Oliveira Monteiro, Kayan da Cunha Rossy, Thiago da Silva Cardoso, Lucas Santos Carvalho, Luisa Pucci Bueno Borges, Sheyla Farhayldes Souza Domingues, Roberto Thiesen, Roberta Martins Crivelaro Thiesen and Pedro Paulo Maia Teixeira
Animals 2024, 14(3), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030355 - 23 Jan 2024
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Bradypus variegatus has unique anatomical characteristics, and many of its vascular and digestive tract aspects have yet to be clearly understood. This lack of information makes clinical diagnoses and surgical procedures difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluate the anatomical aspects [...] Read more.
Bradypus variegatus has unique anatomical characteristics, and many of its vascular and digestive tract aspects have yet to be clearly understood. This lack of information makes clinical diagnoses and surgical procedures difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluate the anatomical aspects of frozen and glycerinated corpses of B. variegatus using computed tomography (CT), emphasizing vascular and digestive contrast studies. Nine corpses that died during routine hospital were examined via CT in the supine position with scanning in the craniocaudal direction. In frozen cadavers, the contrast was injected into a cephalic vein after thawing and, subsequently, was administered orally. In addition to bone structures, CT allowed the identification of organs, soft tissues, and vascular structures in specimens. Visualization of soft tissues was better after contrast been administered intravenously and orally, even without active vascularization. Furthermore, the surfaces of the organs were highlighted by the glycerination method. With this technique, it was possible to describe part of the vascularization of the brachial, cervical, thoracic, and abdominal regions, in addition to highlighting the esophagus and part of the stomach. CT can be another tool for the evaluation of B. variegatus cadavers by anatomists or pathologists, contributing to the identification of anatomical structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mammals)
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12 pages, 3766 KiB  
Article
Cultivable Gut Microbiota in Synanthropic Bats: Shifts of Its Composition and Diversity Associated with Hibernation
by Igor V. Popov, Iraida S. Berezinskaia, Ilia V. Popov, Irina B. Martiusheva, Elizaveta V. Tkacheva, Vladislav E. Gorobets, Iuliia A. Tikhmeneva, Anna V. Aleshukina, Tatiana I. Tverdokhlebova, Michael L. Chikindas, Koen Venema and Alexey M. Ermakov
Animals 2023, 13(23), 3658; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13233658 - 26 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1228
Abstract
The role of bats in the global microbial ecology no doubt is significant due to their unique immune responses, ability to fly, and long lifespan, all contributing to pathogen spread. Some of these animals hibernate during winter, which results in the altering of [...] Read more.
The role of bats in the global microbial ecology no doubt is significant due to their unique immune responses, ability to fly, and long lifespan, all contributing to pathogen spread. Some of these animals hibernate during winter, which results in the altering of their physiology. However, gut microbiota shifts during hibernation is little studied. In this research, we studied cultivable gut microbiota composition and diversity of Nyctalus noctula before, during, and after hibernation in a bat rehabilitation center. Gut microorganisms were isolated on a broad spectrum of culture media, counted, and identified with mass spectrometry. Linear modeling was used to investigate associations between microorganism abundance and N. noctula physiological status, and alpha- and beta-diversity indexes were used to explore diversity changes. As a result, most notable changes were observed in Serratia liquefaciens, Hafnia alvei, Staphylococcus sciuri, and Staphylococcus xylosus, which were significantly more highly abundant in hibernating bats, while Citrobacter freundii, Klebsiella oxytoca, Providencia rettgeri, Citrobacter braakii, and Pedicoccus pentosaceus were more abundant in active bats before hibernation. The alpha-diversity was the lowest in hibernating bats, while the beta-diversity differed significantly among all studied periods. Overall, this study shows that hibernation contributes to changes in bat cultivable gut microbiota composition and diversity. Full article
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18 pages, 2195 KiB  
Article
Understanding the Factors Influencing Cat Containment: Identifying Opportunities for Behaviour Change
by Gemma C. Ma and Lynette J. McLeod
Animals 2023, 13(10), 1630; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13101630 - 12 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1816
Abstract
There are over 5 million pet cats in Australia managed on a spectrum from fully indoors to completely outdoor free roaming. Roaming cats threaten biodiversity, can create a nuisance and are at risk of accidents and injury. Hence, there is substantial interest in [...] Read more.
There are over 5 million pet cats in Australia managed on a spectrum from fully indoors to completely outdoor free roaming. Roaming cats threaten biodiversity, can create a nuisance and are at risk of accidents and injury. Hence, there is substantial interest in behaviour change interventions to increase cat containment. An online questionnaire collected information on cat owner demographics, the number of cats owned, current containment behaviours and an agreement with 15 capability, opportunity and motivation (COM) items. Responses were received from 4482 cat owners. More than half (65%) indicated that they currently keep their cat(s) fully contained. Another 24% practiced a night curfew. Owners’ psychological capability had the greatest influence on containment behaviour. Motivation (community- and cat welfare-framed), living in an apartment and renting were also associated with a greater likelihood of containment. Cat owners not currently containing their cats could be divided into six profiles who differed on agreement with COM themes, age, future intentions, current behaviour, location and gender. Understanding differences between cat owner segments can assist with designing behaviour change interventions. Increasing cat owners’ psychological capability to contain their cats and encouraging the adoption of a night curfew as a first step towards 24 h containment are recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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23 pages, 5672 KiB  
Article
Taurine Supplementation to Plant-Based Diets Improves Lipid Metabolism in Senegalese Sole
by Cláudia Aragão, Rita Teodósio, Rita Colen, Nadège Richard, Ivar Rønnestad, Jorge Dias, Luís E. C. Conceição and Laura Ribeiro
Animals 2023, 13(9), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13091501 - 28 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2944
Abstract
Taurine is a sulphur-containing amino acid with important physiological roles and a key compound for the synthesis of bile salts, which are essential for the emulsion and absorption of dietary lipids. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of taurine supplementation to low-fishmeal [...] Read more.
Taurine is a sulphur-containing amino acid with important physiological roles and a key compound for the synthesis of bile salts, which are essential for the emulsion and absorption of dietary lipids. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of taurine supplementation to low-fishmeal diets on the metabolism of taurine, bile acids, and lipids of Senegalese sole. A fishmeal (FM) and a plant-protein-based (PP0) diet were formulated, and the latter was supplemented with taurine at 0.5 and 1.5% (diets PP0.5 and PP1.5). Diets were assigned to triplicate tanks containing 35 fish (initial weight ~14 g) for 6 weeks. Fish from the PP0 treatment presented lower taurine and bile-acid concentrations compared with the FM treatment, and a downregulation of cyp7a1 and abcb11 was observed. Triolein catabolism decreased in PP0-fed fish, resulting in increased hepatic fat content and plasma triglycerides, while no effects on plasma cholesterol were observed. Taurine supplementation to plant-based diets resulted in a higher taurine accumulation in fish tissues, increased bile-acid concentration, and upregulation of cyp7a1 and abcb11. Hepatic fat content and plasma triglycerides decreased with increasing dietary taurine supplementation. Taurine supplementation mitigated part of the negative effects of plant-based diets, leading to better lipid utilisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino Acid Supplementation in Fish Nutrition and Welfare)
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0 pages, 2294 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Effect of Functional Diets Containing Phytobiotic Compounds in Whiteleg Shrimp Health: Resistance to Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrotic Disease Caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus
by Carla Hernández-Cabanyero, Esther Carrascosa, Silvia Jiménez and Belén Fouz
Animals 2023, 13(8), 1354; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13081354 - 15 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2946
Abstract
Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis (AHPND) is an emerging severe disease caused by strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VpAHPND) in whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Mitigating its negative impact, and at the same time minimizing antibiotics treatments, is the major challenge in [...] Read more.
Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis (AHPND) is an emerging severe disease caused by strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VpAHPND) in whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Mitigating its negative impact, and at the same time minimizing antibiotics treatments, is the major challenge in shrimp aquaculture. A sustainable strategy could be to include immunostimulants in diet. Phytobiotics, harmless plant extracts with immunostimulatory and biocidal activities, are promising candidates. In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of two diets (E and F) supplemented with phytobiotics (functional diets) in terms of protecting shrimp against AHPND. For this purpose, groups of animals were fed functional or control diets for 4 and 5 weeks and, subsequently, they were challenged with VpAHPND by immersion. We compared the mortality in infected groups and estimated the percentage of carriers by using a specific qPCR in hepatopancreas tissue. The results showed that mortality was significantly lower in the group fed functional diet E and, after a 5-week feeding schedule. This group also showed the lowest percentage of carriers. The pathological effects were also reduced with diet F. Thus, feeding shrimp with phytobiotic-enriched diets in critical periods will be highly beneficial because it increases the host’s resistance to AHPND pathology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Feeds to Improve Shrimp and Fish Aquaculture)
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16 pages, 4922 KiB  
Article
Red Sea Bream Iridovirus Kinetics, Tissue Tropism, and Interspecies Horizontal Transmission in Flathead Grey Mullets (Mugil cephalus)
by Kyung-Ho Kim, Gyoungsik Kang, Won-Sik Woo, Min-Young Sohn, Ha-Jeong Son, Mun-Gyeong Kwon, Jae-Ok Kim and Chan-Il Park
Animals 2023, 13(8), 1341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13081341 - 13 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1581
Abstract
Red sea bream iridovirus (RSIV) causes significant economic losses in the aquaculture industry. We analyzed the pathogenicity of RSIV in flathead grey mullets (Mugil cephalus), the correlation of histopathological lesions, and interspecies horizontal transmission, through immersion infection and cohabitation challenges. Flathead [...] Read more.
Red sea bream iridovirus (RSIV) causes significant economic losses in the aquaculture industry. We analyzed the pathogenicity of RSIV in flathead grey mullets (Mugil cephalus), the correlation of histopathological lesions, and interspecies horizontal transmission, through immersion infection and cohabitation challenges. Flathead grey mullets, which were challenged by immersion infection, exhibited mortality at 14 and 24 days after RSIV exposure. Viral shedding in seawater peaked 2–3 days before or after the observed mortality. Specific lesions of RSIV were observed in the spleen and kidney, and the correlation between histopathological grade and viral load was the highest in the spleen. In a cohabitation challenge, flathead grey mullets were the donors, and healthy rock bream, red sea bream, and flathead grey mullets were the recipients. Viral shedding in seawater was the highest in flathead grey mullet and rock bream at 25 °C, with 106.0 RSIV copies L/g at 14 dpi. No mortality was observed in any group challenged at 15 °C, and no RSIV was detected in seawater after 30 dpi. The virus shed from RSIV-infected flathead grey mullets caused horizontal transmission through seawater. These findings suggest that rapid decision-making is warranted when managing disease in fish farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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35 pages, 3599 KiB  
Review
Past, Present, and Future of Naturally Occurring Antimicrobials Related to Snake Venoms
by Nancy Oguiura, Leonardo Sanches, Priscila V. Duarte, Marcos A. Sulca-López and Maria Terêsa Machini
Animals 2023, 13(4), 744; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13040744 - 19 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2774
Abstract
This review focuses on proteins and peptides with antimicrobial activity because these biopolymers can be useful in the fight against infectious diseases and to overcome the critical problem of microbial resistance to antibiotics. In fact, snakes show the highest diversification among reptiles, surviving [...] Read more.
This review focuses on proteins and peptides with antimicrobial activity because these biopolymers can be useful in the fight against infectious diseases and to overcome the critical problem of microbial resistance to antibiotics. In fact, snakes show the highest diversification among reptiles, surviving in various environments; their innate immunity is similar to mammals and the response of their plasma to bacteria and fungi has been explored mainly in ecological studies. Snake venoms are a rich source of components that have a variety of biological functions. Among them are proteins like lectins, metalloproteinases, serine proteinases, L-amino acid oxidases, phospholipases type A2, cysteine-rich secretory proteins, as well as many oligopeptides, such as waprins, cardiotoxins, cathelicidins, and β-defensins. In vitro, these biomolecules were shown to be active against bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that are pathogenic to humans. Not only cathelicidins, but all other proteins and oligopeptides from snake venom have been proteolyzed to provide short antimicrobial peptides, or for use as templates for developing a variety of short unnatural sequences based on their structures. In addition to organizing and discussing an expressive amount of information, this review also describes new β-defensin sequences of Sistrurus miliarius that can lead to novel peptide-based antimicrobial agents, using a multidisciplinary approach that includes sequence phylogeny. Full article
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14 pages, 1240 KiB  
Article
Acoustic Monitoring Confirms Significant Poaching Pressure of European Turtle Doves (Streptopelia turtur) during Spring Migration across the Ionian Islands, Greece
by Christos Astaras, Zoi-Antigoni Sideri-Manoka, Manolia Vougioukalou, Despina Migli, Ioakim Vasiliadis, Sotirios Sidiropoulos, Christos Barboutis, Aris Manolopoulos, Michalis Vafeiadis and Savas Kazantzidis
Animals 2023, 13(4), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13040687 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2911
Abstract
The European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) is an Afro-Palearctic migrant whose populations have declined by 79% from 1980 to 2014. In 2018, the International Single Species Action Plan for the Turtle Dove (ISSAP) was developed with the goal of enabling, by [...] Read more.
The European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) is an Afro-Palearctic migrant whose populations have declined by 79% from 1980 to 2014. In 2018, the International Single Species Action Plan for the Turtle Dove (ISSAP) was developed with the goal of enabling, by 2028, an increase in turtle dove numbers along each of the three migration flyways (western, central, eastern). To achieve this, the illegal killing of turtle doves, a critical threat to the species, has to be eradicated. The Ionian Islands off the west coast of Greece lie on the eastern flyway and are considered a major turtle dove poaching hot-spot during spring migration. Quantifying wildlife crime, however, is challenging. In the absence of a reliable protocol for monitoring spring poaching levels, the agencies tasked with tackling the problem have no means of assessing the effectiveness of the anti-poaching measures and adapting them if required. Using passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) methods, we recorded gun hunting intensity at known turtle dove poaching sites during the 2019–2022 spring migrations (2–10 sites/season) with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. Based on published gunshot to killed/injured bird ratio for similar species (corroborated with discussions with local hunters) and an estimate of the proportion of hunting sites monitored by our PAM grid (using gunshot detection range estimates from control gunshots), we estimated that in 2021, up to 57,095 turtle doves were killed or injured across five Ionian Islands (Zakynthos, Paxi, Antipaxi, Othoni, and Mathraki). The 2022 estimate was almost half, but it is unclear as to whether the change is due to a decline in poachers or turtle doves. We propose ways of improving confidence in future estimates, and call for a temporary moratorium of autumn turtle dove hunting in Greece—as per ISSAP recommendation—until spring poaching is eradicated and the eastern flyway population shows signs of a full recovery. Finally, we hope our findings will pave the way for the development of PAM grids at turtle dove poaching hot-spots across all migration flyways, contributing to the global conservation of the species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Birds)
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10 pages, 291 KiB  
Article
Dental Disease in Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Its Risk Factors—A Private Practice Study in the Metropolitan Region of Chile
by Tamara Palma-Medel, Daniela Marcone and Raúl Alegría-Morán
Animals 2023, 13(4), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13040676 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2255
Abstract
Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) have elodont dentition, a characteristic that predisposes them to the development of Acquired Dental Disease (ADD), which is a multifactorial disease. The aim of this study was to assess the risk factors for ADD in domestic pet rabbits. [...] Read more.
Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) have elodont dentition, a characteristic that predisposes them to the development of Acquired Dental Disease (ADD), which is a multifactorial disease. The aim of this study was to assess the risk factors for ADD in domestic pet rabbits. To do this, a retrospective analysis of 1420 rabbits treated at a private practice during 2018–2021 was performed. For this, several variables were retrieved from clinical records, in addition to signology at the time of diagnosis. ADD was found on 25.4% of rabbits, mostly on their cheek teeth. In addition, age (OR = 1.029; 95% CI = 1.023–1.035; p < 0.001) and sex (male) (OR = 1.591; 95% CI = 1.226–2.064; p < 0.001) were found to be significant risk factors for ADD. In contrast, a free lifestyle (OR = 0.565; 95% CI = 0.362–0.882; p = 0.012) and consuming hay in the diet (OR = 0.323; 95% CI = 0.220–0.473; p < 0.001) were protective factors. In conclusion, ADD has a high prevalence and is usually underdiagnosed, highlighting the need for an exhaustive evaluation of patients during the clinical examination. This study improves our knowledge of ADD and its prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
17 pages, 569 KiB  
Systematic Review
A Systematic Literature Review of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine: Laser Therapy
by Darryl L. Millis and Anna Bergh
Animals 2023, 13(4), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13040667 - 14 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4854
Abstract
Light therapy, or photobiomodulation, is a collective name for methods where tissue is irradiated with different types of light, with the aim of stimulating healing. Despite being frequently used, there is no consensus regarding the optimal treatment protocols for light therapy, nor its [...] Read more.
Light therapy, or photobiomodulation, is a collective name for methods where tissue is irradiated with different types of light, with the aim of stimulating healing. Despite being frequently used, there is no consensus regarding the optimal treatment protocols for light therapy, nor its clinical efficacy. A systematic literature review was conducted, searching the relevant literature regarding light therapy in three databases, published between 1980–2020. The risk of bias in each article was evaluated. Forty-five articles met the inclusion criteria; 24 articles were regarding dogs, 1 was regarding cats, and the rest were regarding horses. The indications for treatment were musculoskeletal and neurologic conditions, skin disease and wounds, and pain. The literature review showed conflicting study results and unclear application for clinical use. This can be explained by the wide variety of treatment parameters used in the searched studies, such as wavelength, laser class, dose, and effect, as well as the frequency and duration of treatment. Although some beneficial effects were reported for light therapy, the studies also had limited scientific quality regarding these therapies, with a high or moderate risk of bias. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Veterinary Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine)
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9 pages, 3139 KiB  
Communication
Assessment of Ventral Tail Base Surface Temperature for the Early Detection of Japanese Black Calves with Fever
by Yosuke Sasaki, Yoshihiro Iki, Tomoaki Anan, Jun Hayashi and Mizuho Uematsu
Animals 2023, 13(3), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13030469 - 29 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1424
Abstract
The objective in the present study was to assess the ventral tail base surface temperature (ST) for the early detection of Japanese Black calves with fever. This study collected data from a backgrounding operation in Miyazaki, Japan, that included 153 calves aged 3–4 [...] Read more.
The objective in the present study was to assess the ventral tail base surface temperature (ST) for the early detection of Japanese Black calves with fever. This study collected data from a backgrounding operation in Miyazaki, Japan, that included 153 calves aged 3–4 months. A wearable wireless ST sensor was attached to the surface of the ventral tail base of each calf at its introduction to the farm. The ventral tail base ST was measured every 10 min for one month. The present study conducted an experiment to detect calves with fever using the estimated residual ST (rST), calculated as the estimated rST minus the mean estimated rST for the same time on the previous 3 days, which was obtained using machine learning algorithms. Fever was defined as an increase of ≥1.0 °C for the estimated rST of a calf for 4 consecutive hours. The machine learning algorithm that applied was a random forest, and 15 features were included. The variable importance scores that represented the most important predictors for the detection of calves with fever were the minimum and maximum values during the last 3 h and the difference between the current value and 24- and 48-h minimum. For this prediction model, accuracy, precision, and sensitivity were 98.8%, 72.1%, and 88.1%, respectively. The present study indicated that the early detection of calves with fever can be predicted by monitoring the ventral tail base ST using a wearable wireless sensor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence (AI) Applied to Animal Health and Welfare)
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33 pages, 2738 KiB  
Review
Genome Evolution and the Future of Phylogenomics of Non-Avian Reptiles
by Daren C. Card, W. Bryan Jennings and Scott V. Edwards
Animals 2023, 13(3), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13030471 - 29 Jan 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 7526
Abstract
Non-avian reptiles comprise a large proportion of amniote vertebrate diversity, with squamate reptiles—lizards and snakes—recently overtaking birds as the most species-rich tetrapod radiation. Despite displaying an extraordinary diversity of phenotypic and genomic traits, genomic resources in non-avian reptiles have accumulated more slowly than [...] Read more.
Non-avian reptiles comprise a large proportion of amniote vertebrate diversity, with squamate reptiles—lizards and snakes—recently overtaking birds as the most species-rich tetrapod radiation. Despite displaying an extraordinary diversity of phenotypic and genomic traits, genomic resources in non-avian reptiles have accumulated more slowly than they have in mammals and birds, the remaining amniotes. Here we review the remarkable natural history of non-avian reptiles, with a focus on the physical traits, genomic characteristics, and sequence compositional patterns that comprise key axes of variation across amniotes. We argue that the high evolutionary diversity of non-avian reptiles can fuel a new generation of whole-genome phylogenomic analyses. A survey of phylogenetic investigations in non-avian reptiles shows that sequence capture-based approaches are the most commonly used, with studies of markers known as ultraconserved elements (UCEs) especially well represented. However, many other types of markers exist and are increasingly being mined from genome assemblies in silico, including some with greater information potential than UCEs for certain investigations. We discuss the importance of high-quality genomic resources and methods for bioinformatically extracting a range of marker sets from genome assemblies. Finally, we encourage herpetologists working in genomics, genetics, evolutionary biology, and other fields to work collectively towards building genomic resources for non-avian reptiles, especially squamates, that rival those already in place for mammals and birds. Overall, the development of this cross-amniote phylogenomic tree of life will contribute to illuminate interesting dimensions of biodiversity across non-avian reptiles and broader amniotes. Full article
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12 pages, 2371 KiB  
Article
Comparative Metabolome Analyses of Ivermectin-Resistant and -Susceptible Strains of Haemonchus contortus
by Waresi Tuersong, Xin Liu, Yifan Wang, Simin Wu, Peixi Qin, Shengnang Zhu, Feng Liu, Chunqun Wang and Min Hu
Animals 2023, 13(3), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13030456 - 28 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1497
Abstract
Resistance to anthelmintics such as ivermectin (IVM) is currently a major problem in the treatment of Haemonchus contortus, an important parasitic nematode of small ruminants. Although many advances have been made in understanding the IVM resistance mechanism, its exact mechanism remains unclear [...] Read more.
Resistance to anthelmintics such as ivermectin (IVM) is currently a major problem in the treatment of Haemonchus contortus, an important parasitic nematode of small ruminants. Although many advances have been made in understanding the IVM resistance mechanism, its exact mechanism remains unclear for H. contortus. Therefore, understanding the resistance mechanism becomes increasingly important for controlling haemonchosis. Recent research showed that the metabolic state of bacteria influences their susceptibility to antibiotics. However, little information is available on the roles of metabolites and metabolic pathways in IVM resistance of H. contortus. In this study, comparative analyses of the metabolomics of IVM-susceptible and -resistant adult H. contortus worms were carried out to explore the role of H. contortus metabolism in IVM resistance. In total, 705 metabolites belonging to 42 categories were detected, and 86 differential metabolites (17 upregulated and 69 downregulated) were identified in the IVM-resistant strain compared to the susceptible one. A KEGG pathway analysis showed that these 86 differential metabolites were enriched in 42 pathways that mainly included purine metabolism; the biosynthesis of amino acids; glycine, serine, and threonine metabolism; and cysteine and methionine metabolism. These results showed that amino acid metabolism may be mediated by the uptake of IVM and related with IVM resistance in H. contortus. This study contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms of IVM resistance and may provide effective approaches to manage infection by resistant strains of H. contortus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Diagnosis of Parasitic Infections in Animals)
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11 pages, 1952 KiB  
Article
Conservation of Major Satellite DNAs in Snake Heterochromatin
by Artem Lisachov, Alexander Rumyantsev, Dmitry Prokopov, Malcolm Ferguson-Smith and Vladimir Trifonov
Animals 2023, 13(3), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13030334 - 17 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1708
Abstract
Repetitive DNA sequences constitute a sizeable portion of animal genomes, and tandemly organized satellite DNAs are a major part of them. They are usually located in constitutive heterochromatin clusters in or near the centromeres or telomeres, and less frequently in the interstitial parts [...] Read more.
Repetitive DNA sequences constitute a sizeable portion of animal genomes, and tandemly organized satellite DNAs are a major part of them. They are usually located in constitutive heterochromatin clusters in or near the centromeres or telomeres, and less frequently in the interstitial parts of chromosome arms. They are also frequently accumulated in sex chromosomes. The function of these clusters is to sustain the architecture of the chromosomes and the nucleus, and to regulate chromosome behavior during mitosis and meiosis. The study of satellite DNA diversity is important for understanding sex chromosome evolution, interspecific hybridization, and speciation. In this work, we identified four satellite DNA families in the genomes of two snakes from different families: Daboia russelii (Viperidae) and Pantherophis guttatus (Colubridae) and determine their chromosomal localization. We found that one family is localized in the centromeres of both species, whereas the others form clusters in certain chromosomes or subsets of chromosomes. BLAST with snake genome assemblies showed the conservation of such clusters, as well as a subtle presence of the satellites in the interspersed manner outside the clusters. Overall, our results show high conservation of satellite DNA in snakes and confirm the “library” model of satellite DNA evolution. Full article
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13 pages, 684 KiB  
Article
When and Why Cats Are Returned to Shelters
by Vivian Mundschau and Malini Suchak
Animals 2023, 13(2), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13020243 - 09 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3034
Abstract
There is considerable research on why cats are initially relinquished to shelters, but much less attention has been given to returns, despite the significant implications for shelter capacity and cat welfare. Furthermore, the structure of many databases fails to account for cats who [...] Read more.
There is considerable research on why cats are initially relinquished to shelters, but much less attention has been given to returns, despite the significant implications for shelter capacity and cat welfare. Furthermore, the structure of many databases fails to account for cats who are returned beyond 30 days, despite this making up a substantial portion of returns. In the current study, we examined common risk factors and reasons for return in a population of 2642 shelter cats. We found that cats who were older at the time of adoption or had a bite history had an increased risk of return, whereas cats that were in foster care prior to adoption had a decreased risk of return. We divided the returns by the time to return (<30 days: short term, >30 days: long term) to examine whether time to return had an impact. Approximately half the cats were returned in the short term. Cats were more likely to be returned for reasons, such as behavior, unwanted, and other pet in the short term and personal reasons, cost, euthanasia, and stray in the long-term return. Strategies to reduce returns should consider different solutions for short and long returns to maximize effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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17 pages, 554 KiB  
Article
Radiographic Diagnosis of Hip Laxity in Rottweilers: Interobserver Agreement at Eight- and Twelve-Months of Age
by Masoud Aghapour, Barbara Bockstahler, Sibylle Kneissl, Aldo Vezzoni, Michaela Gumpenberger, Harald Hechinger, Alexander Tichy and Britta Vidoni
Animals 2023, 13(2), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13020231 - 08 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1657
Abstract
Hip laxity is one of the predisposing factors of canine hip dysplasia. The early diagnosis of hip laxity allows veterinarians to prevent the participation of dysplastic dogs in breeding programs, which could lower the disease’s prevalence due to its genetic background. Furthermore, it [...] Read more.
Hip laxity is one of the predisposing factors of canine hip dysplasia. The early diagnosis of hip laxity allows veterinarians to prevent the participation of dysplastic dogs in breeding programs, which could lower the disease’s prevalence due to its genetic background. Furthermore, it allows them to plan preventive/therapeutic procedures for mild/near-normal hips to reduce the symptoms of the disease at older ages. A reliable screening program must be repeatable and reproducible, and intra- and inter-observer studies can help us to determine the best methods. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the radiographic parameters used for the early diagnosis of hip dysplasia in Rottweilers at 8 and 12 months of age with five observers to assess the interobserver agreements. According to our findings, there were high interobserver agreements at both ages for the quantitative values, such as the center edge angle (CEA), dorsal acetabular rim slope (DARS), distraction index (DI), and Norberg angle (NA), whereas we recorded from poor to moderate agreements for the qualitative values, such as the grading of the dorsal acetabular rim (GDAR), grading of the degenerative joint disease (GDJD), location of the center of the femoral head (LCFH), and sclerosis of the cranial acetabular rim (SCAR). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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17 pages, 2070 KiB  
Article
Population Genetic Structure of Anisakis simplex Infecting the European Hake from North East Atlantic Fishing Grounds
by Andrea Ramilo, Helena Rodríguez, Santiago Pascual, Ángel F. González and Elvira Abollo
Animals 2023, 13(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13020197 - 04 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1944
Abstract
The European hake, one of the most commercially valuable species in ICES fishing areas, is considered an important neglected source of zoonotic risk by nematode parasites belonging to the genus Anisakis. Merluccius merluccius is, by far, the most important host of Anisakis [...] Read more.
The European hake, one of the most commercially valuable species in ICES fishing areas, is considered an important neglected source of zoonotic risk by nematode parasites belonging to the genus Anisakis. Merluccius merluccius is, by far, the most important host of Anisakis spp. at the European fishing grounds, in terms of demographic infection values, and carries the highest parasite burden. These high parasite population densities within an individual fish host offer a chance to explore new sources of variations for the genetic structure of Anisakis spp. populations. A total of 873 Anisakis spp. third-stage larvae, originally sampled from viscera and muscular sections of hake collected at ten fishing grounds, were primarily identified using ITS rDNA region as molecular marker. After that, we used mtDNA cox2 gene to reveal the high haplotype diversity and the lack of genetic structure for A. simplex. Dominant haplotypes were shared among the different fishing areas and fish sections analyzed. Results indicate a clear connection of A. simplex from European hake along the Northern North Sea to the Portuguese coast, constituting a single genetic population but revealing a certain level of genetic sub-structuring on the Northwest coast of Scotland. This study also provides useful information to advance the understanding of parasite speciation to different fish host tissues or microenvironments. Full article
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10 pages, 1750 KiB  
Case Report
Investigation and Management of an Outbreak of Lead Intoxication in an Extensively Managed Beef Herd
by Meghan M. Scrivens, David Frith, Ben Wood, Brian Burren, Andrew J. Doust and Michael R. McGowan
Animals 2023, 13(1), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13010174 - 02 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1341
Abstract
Fifteen hundred 12–15-month-old tropically adapted heifers inadvertently grazed a paddock which had a refuse dump in it containing burnt out vehicle batteries. The cattle grazed this paddock for approximately seven days. Subsequently these cattle were managed as two cohorts (cull and potential replacement [...] Read more.
Fifteen hundred 12–15-month-old tropically adapted heifers inadvertently grazed a paddock which had a refuse dump in it containing burnt out vehicle batteries. The cattle grazed this paddock for approximately seven days. Subsequently these cattle were managed as two cohorts (cull and potential replacement breeding animals). Deaths commenced in the cull heifer group approximately 18 days after initial exposure to the refuse dump during relocation to a feedlot. Mortalities continued for 12 days, with other heifers showing clinical signs of marked central nervous system dysfunction requiring euthanasia. Necropsy of several clinically affected cattle plus blood sampling for lead analysis confirmed a diagnosis of lead intoxication. The crude mortality rate in the cull heifers was 6.6% (n = 685). Following confirmation of the diagnosis most of the potential replacement heifers (second cohort) were also relocated to the feedlot. The estimated crude mortality rate in this cohort was 5.8% (n = 815). All possible lead intoxication deaths occurred within 34 days of initial exposure, and apparently after day 16 at the feedlot no further heifers showed any clinical signs which could be attributed to lead intoxication. Longitudinal monitoring of blood lead concentrations was used to identify cattle suitable for slaughter. Overall, 70% of heifers initially blood sampled (n = 1408) had no detectable lead in their blood, however 16% had markedly elevated blood lead concentrations (> 0.7µmol/L) which persisted, and 2% had above the maximum normal threshold 1.5 years later. These latter cattle were subsequently euthanized, and necropsy revealed that visible pieces of lead were still present in the reticulum of several animals. At no time did any of these heifers with persistently high blood lead concentrations show clinical signs of lead intoxication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Ruminants Disease Prevention and Control)
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9 pages, 845 KiB  
Article
Investigation of the Efficacy of Pyrantel Pamoate, Mebendazole, Albendazole, and Ivermectin against Baylisascaris schroederi in Captive Giant Pandas
by Yaxian Lu, Linhua Deng, Zhiwei Peng, Mengchao Zhou, Chengdong Wang, Lei Han, Shan Huang, Ming Wei, Rongping Wei, Lihong Tian, Desheng Li and Zhijun Hou
Animals 2023, 13(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13010142 - 29 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1852
Abstract
Baylisascaris schroederi is one of the main health risks threatening both wild and captive giant pandas. The administration of anthelmintics is a common method to effectively control B. schroederi infection, but there is a notable risk of anthelmintic resistance (AR) after long-term, constant [...] Read more.
Baylisascaris schroederi is one of the main health risks threatening both wild and captive giant pandas. The administration of anthelmintics is a common method to effectively control B. schroederi infection, but there is a notable risk of anthelmintic resistance (AR) after long-term, constant use of anthelmintics. Four anthelmintics—pyrantel pamoate (PYR), mebendazole (MBZ), albendazole (ABZ), and ivermectin (IVM)—were each administered separately at intervals of 2 months to 22 enrolled giant pandas. The fecal egg count reduction (FECR) proportions were calculated by both the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) Bayesian mathematical model and the arithmetic mean. AR was assessed based on the criteria recommended by the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP). The estimated prevalence of B. schroederi infection was 34.1%. After treatment with PYR, MBZ, ABZ, and IVM, it was determined that MBZ, ABZ, and IVM were efficacious against B. schroederi, while nematodes were suspected to be resistant to PYR according to the fecal egg count reduction (FECR) proportions. Full article
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14 pages, 680 KiB  
Review
One Health: Animal Models of Heritable Human Bleeding Diseases
by W. Jean Dodds
Animals 2023, 13(1), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13010087 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2039
Abstract
Animal models of human and animal diseases have long been used as the lynchpin of experimental and clinical research. With the discovery and implementation of novel molecular and nano-technologies, cellular research now has advanced to assessing signal transduction pathways, gene editing, and gene [...] Read more.
Animal models of human and animal diseases have long been used as the lynchpin of experimental and clinical research. With the discovery and implementation of novel molecular and nano-technologies, cellular research now has advanced to assessing signal transduction pathways, gene editing, and gene therapies. The contribution of heritable animal models to human and animal health as related to hemostasis is reviewed and updated with the advent of gene editing, recombinant and gene therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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12 pages, 1354 KiB  
Article
Role of Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus) Raised as Livestock in Ecuadorian Andes as Reservoirs of Zoonotic Yeasts
by Lenys Buela, Mercy Cuenca, Jéssica Sarmiento, Diana Peláez, Ana Yolanda Mendoza, Erika Judith Cabrera and Luis Andrés Yarzábal
Animals 2022, 12(24), 3449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12243449 - 07 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2852
Abstract
Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) have been reared for centuries in the Andean region for ceremonial purposes or as the main ingredient of traditional foods. The animals are kept in close proximity of households and interact closely with humans; this also occurs in [...] Read more.
Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) have been reared for centuries in the Andean region for ceremonial purposes or as the main ingredient of traditional foods. The animals are kept in close proximity of households and interact closely with humans; this also occurs in western countries, where guinea pigs are considered pets. Even though it is acknowledged that domestic animals carry pathogenic yeasts in their tissues and organs that can cause human diseases, almost nothing is known in the case of guinea pigs. In this work we used traditional microbiological approaches and molecular biology techniques to isolate, identify, and characterize potentially zoonotic yeasts colonizing the nasal duct of guinea pigs raised as livestock in Southern Ecuador (Cañar Province). Our results show that 44% of the 100 animals studied were colonized in their nasal mucosa by at least eleven yeast species, belonging to eight genera: Wickerhamomyces, Diutina, Meyerozyma, Candida, Pichia, Rhodotorula, Galactomyces, and Cryptococcus. Noticeably, several isolates were insensitive toward several antifungal drugs of therapeutic use, including fluconazole, voriconazole, itraconazole, and caspofungin. Together, our results emphasize the threat posed by these potentially zoonotic yeasts to the farmers, their families, the final consumers, and, in general, to public and animal health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Veterinary Microbiology in Farm Animals)
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11 pages, 1038 KiB  
Case Report
Bayesian Decision Analysis: An Underutilized Tool in Veterinary Medicine
by Charles O. Cummings, Mark A. Mitchell, Sean M. Perry, Nicholas Fleissner, Jörg Mayer, Angela M. Lennox and Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney
Animals 2022, 12(23), 3414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12233414 - 04 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2095
Abstract
Bayesian inference and decision analysis can be used to identify the most probable differential diagnosis and use those probabilities to identify the best choice of diagnostic or treatment among several alternatives. In this retrospective case analysis, we surveyed three experts on the prior [...] Read more.
Bayesian inference and decision analysis can be used to identify the most probable differential diagnosis and use those probabilities to identify the best choice of diagnostic or treatment among several alternatives. In this retrospective case analysis, we surveyed three experts on the prior probability of several differential diagnoses, given the signalment and history of a ferret presenting for lethargy and anorexia, and the conditional probability of different clinical findings (physical, bloodwork, imaging, etc.), given a diagnosis. Using these data and utility estimates provided by other clinicians, we constructed a decision tree to retrospectively identify the optimal treatment choice between exploratory laparotomy and medical management. We identified medical management as the optimal choice, in contrast to the original clinical team which performed an exploratory laparotomy. We discuss the potential cognitive biases of the original clinical team. We also discuss the strengths, e.g., shared decision making, and limitations of a Bayesian decision analysis in the veterinary clinic. Bayesian decision analysis can be a useful tool for retrospective case analysis and prospective decision making, especially for deciding on invasive interventions or end-of-life care. The dissimilarity of expert-derived probability estimates makes Bayesian decision analysis somewhat challenging to apply, particularly in wide-ranging specialties like zoological medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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11 pages, 1434 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of a Novel Infrared Thermography Projection to Assess Udder Health in Primigravid Dairy Heifers
by Patrícia B. A. Simões, Lorenzo Viora, Pieter T. Pepler, Timothy Geraghty, Dominic J. McCafferty and Ruth N. Zadoks
Animals 2022, 12(23), 3410; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12233410 - 03 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1469
Abstract
Heifer mastitis in early lactation impacts negatively on animal welfare, milk production and longevity. A major challenge for the prevention and control of mastitis in dairy heifers is to establish when intramammary infection occurs because pre-partum secretum sampling is risky. We evaluated a [...] Read more.
Heifer mastitis in early lactation impacts negatively on animal welfare, milk production and longevity. A major challenge for the prevention and control of mastitis in dairy heifers is to establish when intramammary infection occurs because pre-partum secretum sampling is risky. We evaluated a ventrodorsal projection to capture thermal images of the entire udder of primigravid and compared results against caudocranial projection, which is used in lactating cattle. Based on the analysis of 119 heifers and images taken at 2 months and 2 weeks pre-partum, a very strong positive correlation (r = 0.91 and r = 0.96, respectively) was shown between caudocranial and ventrodorsal projections of hind quarters. Quarter maximum gradient temperatures were consistently greater on ventrodorsal projection than on caudocranial projection, and less variable than minimum gradient temperatures. The collection of ventrodorsal images is a simple one-step method involving the imaging of the entire udder in a manner safe for both the cattle and handlers. Together, these results demonstrate that a single projection can be used to scan the entire udder of primigravid dairy heifers in commercial farm conditions, with the potential to implement this as a routine method for the early detection of intramammary infection based on udder surface temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnostic Imaging Applied to the Internal Medicine of Ruminants)
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13 pages, 2054 KiB  
Article
Effects of Paratuberculosis Vaccination at Different Ages in a Dairy Goat Herd: A 2-Year Follow-Up
by Miguel Fernández, Marcos Royo, Miguel Fuertes, Noive Arteche-Villasol, M. Carmen Ferreras, Julio Benavides and Valentín Pérez
Animals 2022, 12(22), 3135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12223135 - 14 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1512
Abstract
Vaccination could be considered as an effective method for paratuberculosis control, although controversial, with a need for investigation in some aspects. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of vaccination, depending on the age of the animals, on their immune [...] Read more.
Vaccination could be considered as an effective method for paratuberculosis control, although controversial, with a need for investigation in some aspects. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of vaccination, depending on the age of the animals, on their immune response, the reduction of paratuberculosis cases, mortality and culled animals in a commercial dairy herd. Goats from three different ages were immunized with the inactivated Gudair® vaccine. Peripheral antibody and IFN-γ output were evaluated for 21 months post-vaccination (mpv) and intradermal skin tests (IDSTs) for tuberculosis, with avian- and bovine-purified protein derivatives (PPD), were carried out at 6 and at 18 mpv to evaluate the humoral and cellular immune peripheral responses, respectively. The number of dead or culled animals, regardless of the reason, was also monitored and the causes of death determined by pathological examination. A significant increase in the production of IFN-γ was observed in all the vaccinated groups when the blood samples were stimulated with avian PPD, from 3 mpv to 18 mpv, and with bovine PPD, between 3 and 21 mpv. Moreover, serum antibody levels increased between 3 and 21 mpv in all vaccinated groups. The highest levels were found in animals vaccinated at 5 months, and the lowest in adult individuals. No positive reactants to tuberculosis were found by intradermal skin test. No animal losses associated with clinical paratuberculosis were detected in any of the groups. The number of total culled animals was significantly lower in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated groups, especially on 1.5-month-old vaccinated kids. These results suggest that vaccination of paratuberculosis, especially in young animals, could induce heterologous protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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17 pages, 2235 KiB  
Article
Protective Effect of Litchi chinensis Peel Extract-Prepared Nanoparticles on Rabbits Experimentally Infected with Eimeria stiedae
by Dina M. Metwally, Afrah F. Alkhuriji, Ibrahim A. H. Barakat, Hanadi B. Baghdadi, Manal F. El-Khadragy, Wafa Abdullah I. Al-Megrin, Abdullah D. Alanazi and Fatemah E. Alajmi
Animals 2022, 12(22), 3098; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12223098 - 10 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1838
Abstract
The present study used Litchi chinensis peel extract to synthesize silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). This technique is eco-friendly and can be performed in a single step; thus, it has attracted great attention for NPs biosynthesis. Herein, we biosynthesized AgNPs with L. chinensis peel extract [...] Read more.
The present study used Litchi chinensis peel extract to synthesize silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). This technique is eco-friendly and can be performed in a single step; thus, it has attracted great attention for NPs biosynthesis. Herein, we biosynthesized AgNPs with L. chinensis peel extract and examined their anticoccidial activity in rabbit hepatic coccidiosis induced by E. stiedae infection. Thirty-five rabbits were allocated into seven groups: a healthy group (G1), an infected control group (G2), four groups infected before treatment with 10 mg/kg L. chinensis peel extract-biosynthesized AgNPs (G3, G5) or 50 mg/kg amprolium (G4, G6), and rabbits infected after two weeks of pretreatment with 10 mg/kg L. chinensis eel extract-biosynthesized AgNPs (G7). In this study, both pre-and post-treatment with AgNPs produced a substantial reduction in fecal oocyst output, liver enzyme levels, and histopathological hepatic lesions relative to the infected group. In conclusion, L. chinensis peel extract-prepared AgNPs should be considered harmless and efficient in the cure of hepatic coccidiosis in rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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16 pages, 662 KiB  
Article
Air Quality, Management Practices and Calf Health in Italian Dairy Cattle Farms
by Serena Bonizzi, Giulia Gislon, Milena Brasca, Stefano Morandi, Anna Sandrucci and Maddalena Zucali
Animals 2022, 12(17), 2286; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12172286 - 03 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2822
Abstract
Among factors that can affect calf health, microbial quality of the pen air is poorly studied. In 25 Italian dairy farms, data concerning air quality in the calf pens, hygiene of pens and equipment, microclimatic conditions, calf health and management were collected during [...] Read more.
Among factors that can affect calf health, microbial quality of the pen air is poorly studied. In 25 Italian dairy farms, data concerning air quality in the calf pens, hygiene of pens and equipment, microclimatic conditions, calf health and management were collected during the winter season (January-March 2020 and December-March 2021). The average air Standard Plate Count (SPC) of 85 pens was 4.51 (SD = 0.52) log10 cfu/m3 whereas the average air ammonia concentration was 0.66 (SD = 0.53) ppm. Positive correlations were found between average Temperature Humidity Index (THI) in the pen and air SPC, night maximum THI and air SPC and between SPC and yeast, mould and ammonia concentration in the pen air. The concentrations of E. coli, Enterobacteriaceae and yeasts in the pen air were higher and calf cough increased as the renewal interval of bedding material became longer. High bedding dry matter and low THI were associated with low air SPC, good calf health scores and low mortality. Maintaining low bedding humidity and controlling microclimatic conditions can contribute to enhancing air microbiological quality in the pen and reduce calf diseases and mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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14 pages, 1070 KiB  
Article
Can Insect Meal Replace Fishmeal? A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Black Soldier Fly on Fish Growth Performances and Nutritional Values
by Armel Gougbedji, Johann Detilleux, Philippe A. Lalèyè, Frédéric Francis and Rudy Caparros Megido
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1700; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131700 - 30 Jun 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3031
Abstract
The search for quality alternatives to fishmeal and fish oil in the fish feed industry has occupied many researchers worldwide. The use of black soldier fly meal (BSFM) as a substitute has increased. This study evaluated the effect of this substitution on fish [...] Read more.
The search for quality alternatives to fishmeal and fish oil in the fish feed industry has occupied many researchers worldwide. The use of black soldier fly meal (BSFM) as a substitute has increased. This study evaluated the effect of this substitution on fish growth and nutritional quality through a meta-analysis of the literature. A list of studies was selected after an exhaustive literature search followed by the extraction of growth and nutritional parameters. Two random-effects models were used to estimate the differences between the experimental parameters and the controls. The results showed significant heterogeneity between studies for all parameters. The sources of heterogeneity between studies were mainly fish species and protein substitution rate. High substitutions can be considered without necessarily worrying about an adverse effect. Financial profitability studies of the fish production chain from BSFM should be carried out to validate or invalidate the economic viability of this substitution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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8 pages, 224 KiB  
Article
Influence of Heifer Post-Weaning Voluntary Feed Intake Classification on Lifetime Productivity in Black Angus Beef Females
by Krista R. Wellnitz, Cory T. Parsons, Julia M. Dafoe, Darrin L. Boss, Samuel A. Wyffels, Timothy DelCurto and Megan L. Van Emon
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131687 - 30 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1389
Abstract
This study evaluated heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) classification on performance and reproductive measures, as well as impacts on lifetime productivity of 519 commercial Angus beef females. Heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) was calculated over 80 test days following [...] Read more.
This study evaluated heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) classification on performance and reproductive measures, as well as impacts on lifetime productivity of 519 commercial Angus beef females. Heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) was calculated over 80 test days following weaning using GrowSafe units. Heifers were categorized based on voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) as either low (<−0.50 SD from the mean), average (±0.50 SD from the mean), or high (>0.50 SD from the mean) within year. Cow body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) at breeding displayed an age effect (p < 0.001), with 2- and 3-year-old cows having lighter BW and lower BCS than 4-yr-old and older cows. Cow BW at weaning showed significance for age and intake (p < 0.001) with younger cows being lighter than older cows, while low intake classified females had greater BW at weaning compared to average and high intake females. Additionally, calf 205-d weights and calf weaning weights (p < 0.01) were significant for age with calves born from older cows weighing more than younger cows. Weaning weight ratio displayed a linear increase with increasing intake classification (p < 0.01). Heifer yearling BW was significant for intake (p < 0.01) with low and average intake heifer classifications having greater heifer yearling BW than cows that had high intake classification as a heifer. Age and intake classification did not impact (p ≥ 0.22) pregnancy status or AI conception. In summary, heifer post-weaning feed intake classification had only minor impacts compared to age effects on lifetime productivity of Angus beef females. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
12 pages, 672 KiB  
Article
Partial Substitution of Corn Grain in the Diet with Beet Pulp Reveals Increased Ruminal Acetate Proportion and Circulating Insulin Levels in Korean Cattle Steers
by Inhyuk Jeong, Sang Weon Na, Hyeok Joong Kang, Seung Ju Park, Da Jin Sol Jung, Seok Hyeon Beak, Jaesung Lee, Do-Hyun Kim, Hyun Jin Kim, Mohammad Malekkhahi, Kamburawala Kankanamge Tharindu Namal Ranaweera and Myunggi Baik
Animals 2022, 12(11), 1419; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12111419 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2162
Abstract
We investigated the effects of the partial substitution of corn grain in the diet with beet pulp on growth performance, ruminal fermentation characteristics, microbial profiles, and blood lipogenic parameters in fattening steers. Twelve Korean cattle steers (body weight, 485 ± 19.32 kg; age, [...] Read more.
We investigated the effects of the partial substitution of corn grain in the diet with beet pulp on growth performance, ruminal fermentation characteristics, microbial profiles, and blood lipogenic parameters in fattening steers. Twelve Korean cattle steers (body weight, 485 ± 19.32 kg; age, 18.0 ± 0.17 months) were equally divided into corn grain (CG) and beet pulp (BP) groups. Approximately 75% of dry matter of the requirement was offered as a concentrate portion, and the remaining 25% was offered as oat straw. Eighty percent of the concentrate portion was provided by a pelleted basal concentrate, and the remaining 20% with corn grain for the CG group, or 18% beet pulp plus 2.0% rumen-protected fat for the BP group, respectively, by top dressing. The experiment was conducted for 14 weeks, including a 2-week acclimation period. Growth rate was not affected by beet pulp feeding (p = 0.55). The molar proportions of ruminal acetate (p < 0.05) on wk 4, the relative abundances of ruminal cellulolytic bacteria, including Fibrobacter succinogenes (p = 0.01) and Ruminococcus albus (p = 0.04) on wk 12, and serum insulin concentrations (p < 0.05) on wk 12 were higher in the BP group than in the CG group, whereas the molar proportions of propionate (p < 0.05) on wks 8 and 12 and serum nonesterified fatty acids (p < 0.05) on wk 12 were lower in the BP group. Beet pulp could be used as a lipogenic energy source without affecting growth performance during the fattening period of cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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12 pages, 297 KiB  
Article
Hempseed By-Product in Diets of Italian Simmental Cull Dairy Cows and Its Effects on Animal Performance and Meat Quality
by Castro Ndong Ncogo Nchama, Carla Fabro, Mario Baldini, Elena Saccà, Vinicius Foletto, Edi Piasentier, Angela Sepulcri and Mirco Corazzin
Animals 2022, 12(8), 1014; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12081014 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2387
Abstract
Cull dairy cows are important contributors to total beef production in the USA and in Europe. Hempseed cake is a by-product of oil production and it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids (FA). This study aimed to investigate the effect of adding hempseed [...] Read more.
Cull dairy cows are important contributors to total beef production in the USA and in Europe. Hempseed cake is a by-product of oil production and it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids (FA). This study aimed to investigate the effect of adding hempseed cake to the diet of Italian Simmental (IS) cull dairy cows on performances and meat quality. Twenty-six cull dairy cows were divided into three dietary groups: hay-based, corn silage-based and pasture-based diets. Within each group, the animals were equally divided into two treatments according to the protein source of the concentrate: hempseed cake (HEMP) or soybeans meal (SB). The trial lasted four months. HEMP showed similar in vivo performance and carcass characteristics, such as average daily gain (p > 0.05) and dressing percentage (p > 0.05), compared with SB. Meat characteristics, such as ether extract content and Warner–Bratzler shear force, were also similar between experimental groups (p > 0.05). Considering FA composition, HEMP showed similar saturated FA and polyunsaturated FA content (p > 0.05) but lower desirable fatty acids (p < 0.05) content and a tendentially lower hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic ratio (p < 0.10) than SFA. Hempseed cake can substitute soybean in the diet of cull dairy cows without effects on performance or meat quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
9 pages, 963 KiB  
Article
Serum Cortisol and Its Correlation with Leucocyte Profile and Circulating Lipids in Donkeys (Equus asinus)
by Daniela Alberghina, Alessandra Statelli, Vincenzo Monteverde, Irene Vazzana, Giuseppe Cascone and Michele Panzera
Animals 2022, 12(7), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12070841 - 26 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2283
Abstract
The values for basal serum cortisol concentrations of horses are available in many studies. However, there are limited data about serum cortisol in donkeys. The present study aimed to determine the baseline values for serum cortisol, to evaluate the influence of age and [...] Read more.
The values for basal serum cortisol concentrations of horses are available in many studies. However, there are limited data about serum cortisol in donkeys. The present study aimed to determine the baseline values for serum cortisol, to evaluate the influence of age and pregnancy on its levels, and to correlate its values with leucocyte profile, serum cholesterol, and triglycerides. Serum samples were collected from 97 healthy donkeys. Cortisol was analyzed by chemo-luminescent assay. The median and the 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles of serum cortisol measured and calculated in all donkeys were 5.64, 3.40, and 10.54 µg/dL, respectively. Females (n.91) were divided into three groups: Group A (young), Group B (adult), and Group C (pregnant at the 9th–11th months). The effect of age and physiological status was investigated by the Mann–Whitney test. Group C showed significantly higher levels than Group B (p < 0.05). Significant correlations were found in Group B with monocytes (r = 0.37, p < 0.01) and triglycerides (r = 0.30, p < 0.05), and in Group C with monocytes (r = 0.79, p < 0.01), basophils (r = 0.6, p < 0.05), and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (r = −0.63, p < 0.05). Higher cortisol values related to late pregnancy are also found in this species. These preliminary results provide evidence for a relationship between cortisol and the immune system as well as cortisol and lipid metabolism modulated by age and pregnancy when parameters are within normal values. Full article
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23 pages, 539 KiB  
Article
Exploring and Developing the Questions Used to Measure the Human–Dog Bond: New and Existing Themes
by Lauren E. Samet, Helen Vaterlaws-Whiteside, Naomi D. Harvey, Melissa M. Upjohn and Rachel A. Casey
Animals 2022, 12(7), 805; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12070805 - 22 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5061
Abstract
Dogs play an important role in many western societies, providing companionship, emotional support, and assistance, as well as other more specialist roles. The literature reveals that many human–animal interaction (HAI) questionnaires exist to measure the human–dog bond (HDB). The first part of this [...] Read more.
Dogs play an important role in many western societies, providing companionship, emotional support, and assistance, as well as other more specialist roles. The literature reveals that many human–animal interaction (HAI) questionnaires exist to measure the human–dog bond (HDB). The first part of this study assessed how far existing questionnaires went in measuring HDB (defined as the unique, dynamic and reciprocated relationship between a person and dog, one in which each member can influence the other’s psychological and physiological state). A systematic literature review revealed that a common limitation in HDB questionnaires was a lack of questions based on the dog’s investment in the bond and, therefore, a failure to measure the two-way characteristic of the HDB. This led to the second part of the study: to identify novel themes relating to dog investment in the HDB from which new tool questions could be developed. This was investigated qualitatively using twelve semi-structured interviews on HDB, undertaken with participants from a variety of dog–guardian relationship types. HDB themes that emerged included ‘adaptation’, ‘understanding of a dog’s preferences, likes, and dislikes’, and ‘affirmation’. Subthemes included ‘boundaries’ and ‘expectations’ (within adaptation), ‘excitement’, ‘proximity’, ‘affection’, and ‘recall’ (within affirmation). The themes that arose provide a foundation from which to build new lines of questioning within HDB tools. Such questioning can better represent a dog’s investment in the HDB and, therefore, help create tools that reflect the reciprocal nature of a bond more accurately. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion)
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20 pages, 2804 KiB  
Article
Effects of Environmental Heat Load on Endocannabinoid System Components in Adipose Tissue of High Yielding Dairy Cows
by Gitit Kra, Jayasimha Rayalu Daddam, Uzi Moallem, Hadar Kamer, Majdoleen Ahmad, Alina Nemirovski, G. Andres Contreras, Joseph Tam and Maya Zachut
Animals 2022, 12(6), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12060795 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3314
Abstract
Environmental heat load (HL) adversely affects the performance of dairy cows. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates metabolism and the stress response, thus we hypothesized that HL may affect the ECS of dairy cows. Our objective was to determine the levels of endocannabinoids (eCBs) [...] Read more.
Environmental heat load (HL) adversely affects the performance of dairy cows. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates metabolism and the stress response, thus we hypothesized that HL may affect the ECS of dairy cows. Our objective was to determine the levels of endocannabinoids (eCBs) and gene and protein expressions of the ECS components in adipose tissue (AT) and plasma of early postpartum (PP) and late-lactation cows. In addition, we examined eCBs in milk, and studied the interaction of eCBs with bovine cannabinoids receptors CB1 and CB2. In the first experiment, plasma and AT were sampled from cows calving during summer (S, n = 9) or winter (W, n = 9). Dry matter intake (DMI) and energy balance (EB) were lower in S vs. W, and relative gene expressions of transient-receptor-potential-cation-channel-subfamily-V-member-1 (TRPV1), the cannabinoid receptors CNR1 (CB1) and CNR2 (CB2), and monoglyceride lipase (MGLL) were decreased in AT of S compared to W. Protein abundance of peroxisome proliferator-activated-receptor-alpha (PPAR-α) was decreased, while tumor-necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) was increased in AT of S vs. W. Other components of the ECS were not different between S and W calving cows. To study whether the degree of HL may affect the ECS, we performed a second experiment with 24 late-lactation cows that were either cooled (CL) or not cooled (heat-stressed; HS) during summer. DMI was lower in HS vs. CL, AT protein abundance of PPAR-α was lower, and TRPV1 tended to be lower in HS vs. CL, but other components of the ECS were not different between groups. Milk levels of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) tended to increase in HS vs. CL. Additionally, modeling of the bovine cannabinoid receptors demonstrated their binding to anandamide and 2-AG. Environmental HL, possibly via lower intake, is associated with limited alterations in ECS components in AT of dairy cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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33 pages, 857 KiB  
Review
Humans and Goats: Improving Knowledge for a Better Relationship
by Stefania Celozzi, Monica Battini, Emanuela Prato-Previde and Silvana Mattiello
Animals 2022, 12(6), 774; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12060774 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5467
Abstract
There is consensus that the quality of the human–animal relationship (HAR) is relevant to guarantee appropriate levels of animal welfare. Given the impact that HAR may have on both goats and human beings, the aim of the present review is to elucidate: (1) [...] Read more.
There is consensus that the quality of the human–animal relationship (HAR) is relevant to guarantee appropriate levels of animal welfare. Given the impact that HAR may have on both goats and human beings, the aim of the present review is to elucidate: (1) how humans and goats communicate; (2) which are the factors affecting human–goat interactions; (3) how we can measure the quality of this relationship. The systematic review led to the selection of 58 relevant articles. Effective human–goat communication takes place by means of visual, tactile and auditory stimuli and, to a less extent, via olfactory and gustative stimuli. Goats have well-developed socio-cognitive abilities and rely on humans to get relevant information. A deep knowledge of goats’ communication means and socio-cognitive abilities may greatly help improving the human–goat relationship. Management practices (e.g., rearing methods, amount and quality of interactions), as well as genetic selection for suitable individual traits, may contribute to improving HAR. Several measures to assess the quality of HAR have been validated, including avoidance in the pen and at the feeding rack and latency to first contact. Finally, farmers’ attitudes and empathy with goats, as well as their motivation to work with animals, should be improved through appropriate training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal Communication)
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13 pages, 280 KiB  
Article
Dietary Betaine and Fatty Acids Change Circulating Single-Carbon Metabolites and Fatty Acids in the Dog
by Dennis E. Jewell and Matthew I. Jackson
Animals 2022, 12(6), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12060768 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3091
Abstract
In order to evaluate the interaction of betaine and n-3 PUFA in foods consumed by the dog, six extruded dry foods were formulated. The control food had no specific source of added betaine or n-3 fatty acids, while the test foods were supplemented [...] Read more.
In order to evaluate the interaction of betaine and n-3 PUFA in foods consumed by the dog, six extruded dry foods were formulated. The control food had no specific source of added betaine or n-3 fatty acids, while the test foods were supplemented with betaine, flax or fish oil in a 2 × 3 factorial design (no added n-3 source, added flax, added menhaden fish oil, and all with or without added betaine). Forty eight adult dogs were used in this study. All dogs were assigned to one of the six dietary treatments and consumed that food for the length of the 60-day study. Blood was analyzed for metabolomics (plasma), fatty acids and selected health-related analytes (serum) at the beginning and the end of the study. Added dietary betaine increased single-carbon metabolites (betaine, dimethyl glycine, methionine and N-methylalanine), decreased xenobiotics (stachydrine, N-acetyl-S-allyl-L-cysteine, 4-vinylguaiacol sulfate, pyrraline, 3-indoleglyoxylic acid, N-methylpipecolate and ectoine) and enhanced the production of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Dietary betaine also decreased the concentration of circulating carnitine and a number of carnitine-containing moieties. The addition of the n-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic, EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) increased their respective circulating concentrations as well as those of many subsequent moieties containing these fatty acids. The addition of alpha-linolenic acid increased the concentration of EPA when expressed as a ratio of EPA consumed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
13 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
Ruminal Microbial Degradation of Individual Amino Acids from Heat-Treated Soyabean Meal and Corn Gluten Meal in Continuous Culture
by Silvia Gargallo, Alfred Ferret and Sergio Calsamiglia
Animals 2022, 12(6), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12060688 - 09 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2381
Abstract
Eight dual-flow continuous culture fermenters were used in three periods to study the effects of diets containing heat-treated soyabean meal (HSBM) or corn gluten meal (CGM) on ruminal microbial fermentation and the degradation of individual amino acids (AA). Treatments were a mix of [...] Read more.
Eight dual-flow continuous culture fermenters were used in three periods to study the effects of diets containing heat-treated soyabean meal (HSBM) or corn gluten meal (CGM) on ruminal microbial fermentation and the degradation of individual amino acids (AA). Treatments were a mix of non-protein nitrogen (N; urea and tryptone) that were progressively substituted (0, 33, 67 and 100%) for HSBM or CGM. Ruminal escape of AA was calculated with the slope ratio technique. Total volatile fatty acids (95.0 mM) and molar proportions (mol/100 mol) of acetate (59.3), propionate (21.8) and butyrate (10.5) were not affected by the treatments. As the level of HSBM or CGM increased, the concentration of ammonia-N and the degradation of protein decreased (p < 0.01), and the flows of nonammonia and dietary N increased (p < 0.01) quadratically. Compared with HSBM, CGM provided the highest flow (g/d) of total (20.6 vs. 18.3, p < 0.01), essential (9.04 vs. 8.25, p < 0.04) and nonessential (11.5 vs. 10.0, p < 0.01) AA, and increased linearly (p < 0.01) as the level of supplemental protein increased. Ruminal degradation of essential AA was higher (p < 0.04) than nonessential AA in CGM, but not in HSBM. Degradation of lysine was higher (p < 0.01) in both proteins, and degradation of methionine was higher in CGM. Ruminal degradation of individual AAs differ within and between protein sources and needs to be considered in precision feeding models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
17 pages, 472 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Supplementation with Honeybee Pollen and Its Supercritical Fluid Extract on Immune Response and Fillet’s Quality of Farmed Gilthead Seabream (Sparus aurata)
by Rosaria Arena, Adja Cristina Lira de Medeiros, Giulia Secci, Simone Mancini, Simona Manuguerra, Fulvia Bovera, Andrea Santulli, Giuliana Parisi, Concetta Maria Messina and Giovanni Piccolo
Animals 2022, 12(6), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12060675 - 08 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2828
Abstract
The awareness of the correlation between administered diet, fish health and products’ quality has led to the increase in the research for innovative and functional feed ingredients. Herein, a plant-derived product rich in bioactive compounds, such as honeybee pollen (HBP), was included as [...] Read more.
The awareness of the correlation between administered diet, fish health and products’ quality has led to the increase in the research for innovative and functional feed ingredients. Herein, a plant-derived product rich in bioactive compounds, such as honeybee pollen (HBP), was included as raw (HBP) and as Supercritical Fluid Extracted (SFE) pollen (HBP_SFE) in the diet for gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata). The experiment was carried out on 90 fish with an average body weight of 294.7 ± 12.8 g, divided into five groups, according to the administration of five diets for 30 days: control diet (CTR); two diets containing HBP at 5% (P5) and at 10% (P10) level of inclusion; two diets containing HBP_SFE, at 0.5% (E0.5) and at 1% (E1) level of inclusion. Their effects were evaluated on 60 specimens (336.2 ± 11.4 g average final body weight) considering the fish growth, the expression of some hepatic genes involved in the inflammatory response (il-1β, il-6 and il-8) through quantitative real-time PCR, and physico-chemical characterization (namely color, texture, water holding capacity, fatty acid profile and lipid peroxidation) of the fish fillets monitored at the beginning (day 0) and after 110 days of storage at −20 °C. The results obtained showed that the treatment with diet E1 determined the up-regulation of il-1β, il-6, and il-8 (p < 0.05); however, this supplementation did not significantly contribute to limiting the oxidative stress. Nevertheless, no detrimental effect on color and the other physical characteristics was observed. These results suggest that a low level of HBP_SFE could be potentially utilized in aquaculture as an immunostimulant more than an antioxidant, but further investigation is necessary. Full article
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16 pages, 2654 KiB  
Article
A Friend in Prison: Human-Animal Bond, Stress and Self-Esteem of Detained Juveniles in Dutch Cell Dogs
by Esther M. Karkdijk, Hanne M. Duindam, Maja Deković, Hanneke E. Creemers and Jessica J. Asscher
Animals 2022, 12(5), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050646 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3013
Abstract
This study examined to what extent the human–animal bond (HAB) had a positive impact on stress and self-esteem among detained juveniles participating in the prison-based dog training program Dutch Cell Dogs (DCD). Participants were 75 detained juveniles (mean age = 19.5, 86.7% male). [...] Read more.
This study examined to what extent the human–animal bond (HAB) had a positive impact on stress and self-esteem among detained juveniles participating in the prison-based dog training program Dutch Cell Dogs (DCD). Participants were 75 detained juveniles (mean age = 19.5, 86.7% male). Self-reported stress and self-esteem were assessed before the start of DCD (T1), after four weeks (halfway training/T2) and after eight weeks (end training/T3). Structured interviews and questionnaire items were used to measure the HAB quality and perceived reciprocity in the HAB at T2 and T3. Data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. In the variable-centered approach analyses, only the cross-sectional positive association between HAB quality and self-esteem at T2 was significant in the cross-lagged panel models. None of the cross-lagged paths between the HAB and stress or self-esteem were significant. In the person-centered approach analyses, growth mixture modeling identified two patterns of self-esteem (“high stable” and “high decreasing”); however, these patterns were not predicted by HAB. Thus, in contrast to our hypotheses, the HAB did not predict improvements in detained juveniles’ stress and self-esteem. These findings underline the need for more research into the often-presumed role of HAB within prison-based dog training programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Mental Health: Human–Animal Interaction)
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26 pages, 563 KiB  
Article
Pandemic Puppies: Demographic Characteristics, Health and Early Life Experiences of Puppies Acquired during the 2020 Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the UK
by Claire L. Brand, Dan G. O’Neill, Zoe Belshaw, Camilla L. Pegram, Kim B. Stevens and Rowena M. A. Packer
Animals 2022, 12(5), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050629 - 02 Mar 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 10808
Abstract
The UK recorded sharp rises in puppy purchasing during the 2020 phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many first-time dog owners purchasing puppies to improve their mental health during this challenging period. Government restrictions on movement and social interaction during the pandemic led [...] Read more.
The UK recorded sharp rises in puppy purchasing during the 2020 phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many first-time dog owners purchasing puppies to improve their mental health during this challenging period. Government restrictions on movement and social interaction during the pandemic led to animal welfare concerns over puppies’ reduced time-sensitive exposures to key environmental and social stimuli during their critical developmental period. This study aimed to compare demographics, health and early-life experiences of puppies purchased and brought home < 16 weeks of age between 23 March–31 December 2020 (“Pandemic Puppies”), with dogs purchased and brought home < 16 weeks during the same date period in 2019 (“2019 puppies”). An online survey of UK-based puppy owners was conducted between 10 November and 31 December 2020 with valid responses representing 5517 puppies (Pandemic Puppies: n = 4369; 2019 puppies: n = 1148). Multivariable logistic regression modelling revealed that Pandemic Puppies were less likely to have attended puppy training classes (67.9% 2019 vs. 28.9% 2020; p < 0.001) or had visitors to their home (94.5% 2019 vs. 81.8% 2020; p < 0.001) aged < 16 weeks compared with 2019 puppies. Fewer Pandemic Puppies underwent veterinary checks prior to purchase than 2019 puppies (2019: 91.3% vs. 2020: 87.4%; p < 0.001), but more were sold with a passport (2019: 4.1% vs. 2020: 7.1%; p < 0.001). Pandemic Puppies were significantly more likely to be ‘Designer Crossbreeds’ (2019: 18.8% vs. 2020: 26.1%; p < 0.001) and less likely to be Kennel Club registered than 2019 puppies (2019: 58.2% vs. 2020: 46.2%; p < 0.001). Greater support from veterinary and animal behavioural professionals is likely needed to ameliorate the health and behavioural impacts of growing up in a pandemic upon this vulnerable population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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