Identifying and Monitoring Health-Based Threats to Animals: Contaminants and Pathogen Exposures

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecology and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 18 November 2024 | Viewed by 11977

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biology of Animal Environment, Institute of Animal Science, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Ciszewskiego Street 8, 02-786 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: environmental health hazard; toxicology; environmental pollution; trace elements and heavy metals in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems

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Guest Editor
Department of Morphological Sciences, Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Nowoursynowska Str. 159c, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: trace elements; heavy metals; ecotoxicology; wildlife; domestic animals; veterinary sciences
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In today's highly industrialized world undergoing climate change, the issue of the impact of pollutants and pathogens on animal health plays an important role. The health of animals factors not only into the protection of species diversity, but also into maintaining human health by monitoring and continuously influencing the maintenance of adequate animal health. The topic of environmental pollution includes a wide spectrum of substances that, when entering the food chain, significantly affect the health and welfare of free-living and domesticated animals. We believe that the scientific community should have a leading role in limiting the effects of the changes taking place, providing opinions that arise on the basis of well-documented scientific research. The impact of various types of pollutants and pathogens on animal organisms is a wide topic that is a part of the broad field of life sciences. As analytical technologies and diagnostic methods have progressed in recent decades, significant advances have been made in this field; however, research on this topic should continue its important contributions to the body of knowledge on the effects of various contaminants and pathogens on animal health and productivity. Therefore, we are of the opinion that a Special Issue, collating research on the aforementioned topics, will be an excellent platform for the exchange of scientific ideas in the sense of publishing research results. We encourage the submission of all papers related to this topic, including studies on monitoring the presence of contaminants and pathogens in the animal environment and their influence on animal welfare and health, results of laboratory tests, as well as papers on research methodology in this area and broad population studies.

Prof. Dr. Ewa M. Skibniewska
Dr. Michal Skibniewski
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • pollutants
  • pathogens
  • environment
  • animal health
  • adverse effects
  • biomonitoring
  • bioindicators
  • threats

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 680 KiB  
Article
Risk Factors Associated with Soil-Transmitted Helminths in Dog Feces That Contaminate Public Areas of Warsaw, Poland
by Agnieszka Tylkowska, Natalia Mocha, Marta Małgorzata Kołnierzak and Magdalena Szenejko
Animals 2024, 14(3), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030450 - 30 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1728
Abstract
A constant increase in dog numbers, especially in large towns, has been observed recently. The presence of dogs in urban spaces increases the risk of pollution by dogs’ feces, which may contain growth forms of parasites including canine, soil-transmitted helminths (cSTHs), most of [...] Read more.
A constant increase in dog numbers, especially in large towns, has been observed recently. The presence of dogs in urban spaces increases the risk of pollution by dogs’ feces, which may contain growth forms of parasites including canine, soil-transmitted helminths (cSTHs), most of which have a proven zoonotic potential. This study assessed the frequency of occurrence and estimated the potential risk associated with the presence of cSTHs in dogs’ feces left uncollected in urban areas. The study material consisted of 200 fecal samples obtained from city and dog parks situated in selected Warsaw districts. Each fecal sample was processed using the flotation technique. Eggs of cSTHs, including Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina, Trichuris vulpis, and hookworms from the Ancylostomatidae family were found in 23 (11.5%) of the examined fecal samples. The most prevalent species were hookworms from the family Ancylostomatidae (8%). The presence of parasites was confirmed in 14 out of 20 studied locations (70%), including eight city parks (72.7%) and six dog parks (66.7%). City and dog parks did not differ significantly in the frequency of parasite occurrence. This study indicated that dogs’ feces, left uncollected, may cause environmental contamination with cSTHs. It also indicated that the presence of dogs’ feces in public areas and the associated presence of parasites is still a problem. Full article
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13 pages, 1059 KiB  
Article
Selenium Content in the Gonads of Healthy Cats (Felis catus) and Cats with Impaired Homeostasis from the Warsaw Area (Poland)
by Ewa M. Skibniewska and Michał Skibniewski
Animals 2024, 14(3), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030440 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 778
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to evaluate selenium content in the gonads of healthy cats and those with impaired homeostasis with the use of fluorescence spectroscopy. Higher concentrations of selenium were found in the gonads of the male domestic cats studied. [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate selenium content in the gonads of healthy cats and those with impaired homeostasis with the use of fluorescence spectroscopy. Higher concentrations of selenium were found in the gonads of the male domestic cats studied. The average content of this element in the testes of healthy males was: 0.59 mg·kg−1 while 0.47 mg·kg−1 wet weight was recorded in the ovaries of females. In the case of individuals with impaired homeostasis, higher values of selenium were found in the ovaries of obese females (0.40 mg·kg−1), while in the case of females with diagnosed malignancy of the mammary gland, the average values were lower and amounted to 0.31 mg·kg−1 wet weight of tissue. On the basis of statistical analysis, significant differences were found according to sex, age, and disturbed homeostasis of the individuals studied. An association was found between low Se in the gonads and obesity, as well as the presence of mammary gland neoplastic lesions. In addition, Se content was found to decrease with age in females, which can reduce resistance to oxidative stress. Full article
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12 pages, 757 KiB  
Article
A Comparison of the Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites in Wild Boar (Sus scrofa L.) Foraging in Urban and Suburban Areas
by Bogumiła Pilarczyk, Agnieszka Tomza-Marciniak, Renata Pilarczyk, Lidia Felska-Błaszczyk, Małgorzata Bąkowska, Jan Udała and Marta Juszczak-Czasnojć
Animals 2024, 14(3), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030408 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 672
Abstract
The aim of this study was to compare the species composition of gastrointestinal parasites in wild boar feeding in the city of Szczecin with those in its suburban area, as well as to determine the prevalence and intensity of this parasite infection. The [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to compare the species composition of gastrointestinal parasites in wild boar feeding in the city of Szczecin with those in its suburban area, as well as to determine the prevalence and intensity of this parasite infection. The intestines and stomachs of 57 wild boars were supplied by a municipal hunter from the city of Szczecin. Both analysed groups of animals were infected with the following parasites: Eimeria debliecki, E. suis, E. polita, E. scabra, Isospora suis, Ascaris suum and Oesophagostomum dentatum. Wild boar from the city were characterised as having a significantly higher prevalence of total Eimeria (p = 0.04) and a lower prevalence of noted species of nematodes (p = 0.15) compared to those from the suburban area. Since the wild boars were mainly infected with Eimeria, it should be assumed that they may pose a real health threat to farm pigs and other farm animals for which Eimeria is a pathogenic parasite. The occurrence of coccidiosis leads to serious health problems and economic losses for breeders. Although the prevalence of A. suum was low, it should be taken into account that this nematode is able to both infect and complete their life cycle in humans. Full article
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15 pages, 2269 KiB  
Article
Cadmium in Selected Organs of Game Animals from Areas with Different Degrees of Industrialisation and Its Intake by Human Consumers
by Małgorzata Bąkowska, Bogumiła Pilarczyk, Agnieszka Tomza-Marciniak, Renata Pilarczyk and Jan Udała
Animals 2024, 14(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020305 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 814
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the concentration of cadmium (Cd) in the organs of game animals from areas with different degrees of industrialisation and to assess its intake following the consumption of the livers of these animals. The material for [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the concentration of cadmium (Cd) in the organs of game animals from areas with different degrees of industrialisation and to assess its intake following the consumption of the livers of these animals. The material for this study consisted of liver and kidney samples taken from roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), and wild boar (Sus scrofa) from five regions differing in land use and industrialisation. Compared to the kidneys, the liver was an indicator of the current state of the environment and Cd intake, while the kidney was used to assess the long-term accumulation of Cd in the body. The cadmium concentration in the samples was determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry. The cadmium concentrations of the organs were found to vary according to geographical location, with the highest levels being observed in Southern Poland, i.e., areas characterised by the highest degree of industrialisation and the presence of heavy industry. However, high Cd concentrations were also reported in the northeastern region. Examples of excessive cadmium levels in the kidneys were noted in all tested regions. Cd intake by humans was evaluated by calculating the estimated daily cadmium intake, and this was compared with the tolerable weekly intake (TWI). The TWI was only exceeded by children frequently consuming wild boar liver from the southwest region. Full article
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16 pages, 635 KiB  
Article
Total Selenium Level and Its Distribution between Organs in Beef Cattle in Different Selenium Status
by Marta Juszczak-Czasnojć, Agnieszka Tomza-Marciniak, Bogumiła Pilarczyk and Dariusz Gączarzewicz
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3885; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243885 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 869
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the Se concentration in the main tissues of beef cattle and to evaluate the differences in tissue distribution between animals with different selenium status. Selenium concentration was determined in the serum, longissimus dorsi muscle, semitendinosus [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the Se concentration in the main tissues of beef cattle and to evaluate the differences in tissue distribution between animals with different selenium status. Selenium concentration was determined in the serum, longissimus dorsi muscle, semitendinosus muscle, kidney, heart, liver, spleen and lungs of cows, heifers and beef bulls, using spectrofluorimetric method. Despite receiving supplementation, 55.6% animals demonstrated an optimal Se level, while 44.4% were deficient. The mean serum Se concentration was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in animals with a normal Se status than in Se-deficient animals. Differences in Se tissue distribution were observed between Se-deficient animals and those with normal Se status. The organs most susceptible to Se deficiency are the semitendinosus muscle, lungs, heart and liver. In both normal and Se-deficient animals, significantly higher Se concentrations were observed in the kidney than other organs (p < 0.05), and the lowest in the muscles. As Se deficiencies can be found among supplemented animals, the level of Se should be monitored in beef cattle in order to detect possible Se deficiencies, which may have negative health effects for animals and reduce the value of animal products as a source of Se in the human diet. Full article
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13 pages, 1804 KiB  
Article
Effect of Selected Entomopathogenic Fungal Species on Embryonic Development of Ascaris suum (Nematoda)
by Kinga Mazurkiewicz-Zapałowicz, Bogumiła Pilarczyk, Lidia Kołodziejczyk, Cezary Tkaczuk, Magdalena Twarużek, Łukasz Łopusiewicz, Jan Grajewski, Ewa Dzika and Elżbieta Kalisińska
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3782; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243782 - 8 Dec 2023
Viewed by 4292
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate the potential of using five selected species of entomopathogenic fungi (Beauveria bassiana, B. brongniartii, Conidiobolus coronatus, Isaria fumosorosea, and Metarhizium robertsii) in the bioregulation of the dispersive stages of [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the potential of using five selected species of entomopathogenic fungi (Beauveria bassiana, B. brongniartii, Conidiobolus coronatus, Isaria fumosorosea, and Metarhizium robertsii) in the bioregulation of the dispersive stages of the parasitic nematode—Ascaris suum. Experimental cultures of each of the selected entomopathogenic fungi, as well as a control culture without fungi, were incubated with A. suum eggs at 26 °C for 28 days. Development of the A. suum eggs was observed using a light microscope on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days of incubation. The API-ZYM® test was used to determine, semiquantitatively, the activity of 19 hydrolytic enzymes from the entomopathogenic fungi. The cytotoxicity of the fungi was determined using tetrazole salt MTT. It was found that none of the five tested strains of entomopathogenic fungi showed an ovicidal effect, and none of them colonized the A. suum egg shells. However, ovistatic activity was observed mainly until the 14th day of incubation by I. fumosorosea, M. robertsii, and B. bassiana. In the MTT test, M. robertsii showed moderate cytotoxicity, while the other species showed low cytotoxicity. Among the strains tested, I. fumosorosea showed the highest spectrum of hydrolase production (13 out of 19 enzymes gave a positive reaction from 3 to 5; 20–40 nM or more). The absence of morphological changes in the A. suum egg shells suggests that the antagonistic effect of the studied entomopathogenic fungi may be due to their cytotoxicity, associated with the production of secondary metabolites—toxins (M. robertsii) and enzymatic activity (I. fumosorosea). Full article
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12 pages, 780 KiB  
Article
Concentration of Potentially Toxic Elements in Farmed Fallow Deer Antlers Depending on Diet and Age
by Katarzyna Tajchman, Aleksandra Ukalska-Jaruga, Fracisco Ceacero, Pawel Janiszewski and Monika Pecio
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223468 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1183
Abstract
Deer antlers, usually harvested annually on a farm, are an accessible material used to determine the exposition to potentially toxic elements, PTEs, during growth. Moreover, the study of antlers from animals of different ages allows the assessment of long-term exposition to these elements. [...] Read more.
Deer antlers, usually harvested annually on a farm, are an accessible material used to determine the exposition to potentially toxic elements, PTEs, during growth. Moreover, the study of antlers from animals of different ages allows the assessment of long-term exposition to these elements. The aim of the study was to analyze the concentration of eight potentially toxic elements (Cd, Pb, As, Ba, Ni, Sr, La, Ce) in individual positions of the antlers (first, second, and third position, corresponding to the stages of development and life of these animals) and in the food that the animals consumed during the growth of individual antler fragments, depending on the age of the farmed fallow deer (Dama dama). The mineral composition of samples was analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The analysis included 31 male deer aged 2–8 years old. The average concentration of Pb, Ba, and Ni was higher in the second position of the antler, and As, La, and Ce in the third position. In addition, the oldest individuals showed a higher Cd, Pb, and As concentration in the third position. A significant positive relationship was found between the age of animals and accumulation of As (r = 0.582, p < 0.05), as well as Ba and Sr (r = −0.534, r = −0.644 at p < 0.05, respectively). The average content of Ba and Sr also significantly negatively depended on body mass and antler mass stags (r = −0.436, r = −0.515 at p < 0.05, respectively). Cd concentration in feed was significantly higher in June compared to winter, spring, and later summer (p < 0.05). On the other hand, the concentration of Ba in food was significantly higher in spring and winter than in early and later summer (p < 0.05). An increase in the PTEs in the pasture determined the concentration of these components in fallow deer antlers. Full article
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15 pages, 316 KiB  
Article
Content of Lead and Cadmium in the Tissues and Organs of the Wild Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos L.) Depending on the Region of Poland Where It Is Harvested
by Elżbieta Bombik, Antoni Bombik and Katarzyna Pietrzkiewicz
Animals 2023, 13(21), 3327; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13213327 - 26 Oct 2023
Viewed by 996
Abstract
A property common to heavy metals is that even in small concentrations they can exert toxic effects on living organisms, including humans. The aim of this study was to analyze the quality of the tissues and organs of wild mallard ducks (Anas [...] Read more.
A property common to heavy metals is that even in small concentrations they can exert toxic effects on living organisms, including humans. The aim of this study was to analyze the quality of the tissues and organs of wild mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos L.) by estimating the potential hygiene and toxicological hazard associated with the concentrations of lead and cadmium in these tissues and organs, as well as the influence of the birds’ sex and place of origin on these parameters. A significantly higher average lead content was noted in the breast muscles and the livers of the mallards harvested in the Leszno hunting district compared to the birds from the Siedlce hunting district. A higher average cadmium concentration was recorded in the breast and leg muscles of the mallards harvested in the Leszno hunting district than the Siedlce hunting district. The concentration of cadmium in the tissues and organs of the mallards harvested in the Siedlce or the Leszno hunting district did not exceed the acceptable limits for the muscles and livers of slaughtered animals. This study found no significant effect of the sex of the wild crossbreeds on the content of lead and cadmium in tissues and organs. This study showed that the mallard has a measurable response to environmental pollution with lead and cadmium, and therefore it is a species that could to some extent be used as a bioindicator of the level of contamination of the environment with these xenobiotics. The ban on the use of lead pellets as ammunition in Poland may largely limit the degree of lead contamination of the tissues and organs of mallards. Full article
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