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Animals, Volume 11, Issue 7 (July 2021) – 309 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Grazing cattle are exposed to a variety of different parasites on pasture. Among them, gastrointestinal nematodes, liver flukes and lungworms play the most important role, severely affecting cattle health or subclinically leading to production losses, e.g., in terms of milk yield. To provide an up-to-date estimate of the dairy cow exposure to the major pasture-borne parasites in Germany, this study measured antibodies in bulk tank milk samples. The results show a high level of exposure to gastrointestinal worms, while antibodies against liver flukes were less frequent, and those against lungworms rarely detected. Regional and breed differences, as well as associations with various management factors and with a poor body condition, were identified. Parasite-exposed cows of high-performance breeds also produced, on average, less milk per year than dual-purpose breeds. View this paper
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Review
Impact of Estrogens Present in Environment on Health and Welfare of Animals
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2152; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072152 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1350
Abstract
Nowadays, there is a growing interest in environmental pollution; however, knowledge about this aspect is growing at an insufficient pace. There are many potential sources of environmental contamination, including sex hormones—especially estrogens. The analyzed literature shows that estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), [...] Read more.
Nowadays, there is a growing interest in environmental pollution; however, knowledge about this aspect is growing at an insufficient pace. There are many potential sources of environmental contamination, including sex hormones—especially estrogens. The analyzed literature shows that estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), and synthetic ethinyloestradiol (EE2) are the most significant in terms of environmental impact. Potential sources of contamination are, among others, livestock farms, slaughterhouses, and large urban agglomerations. Estrogens occurring in the environment can negatively affect the organisms, such as animals, through phenomena such as feminization, dysregulation of natural processes related to reproduction, lowering the physiological condition of the organisms, disturbances in the regulation of both proapoptotic and anti-apoptotic processes, and even the occurrence of neoplastic processes thus drastically decreasing animal welfare. Unfortunately, the amount of research conducted on the negative consequences of their impact on animal organisms is many times smaller than that of humans, despite the great richness and diversity of the fauna. Therefore, there is a need for further research to help fill the gaps in our knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hormones and the Welfare of Animals)
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Review
Etiology of Colitis-Complex Diarrhea in Growing Pigs: A Review
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2151; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072151 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1267
Abstract
Colitis-complex diarrhea (CCD) in pigs can be defined as a type of diarrhea, which is associated with colonic inflammation and disrupted colonic gut barrier functionality in growing pigs (4–16 weeks post-weaning). It is a challenge for the pig industry as it is associated [...] Read more.
Colitis-complex diarrhea (CCD) in pigs can be defined as a type of diarrhea, which is associated with colonic inflammation and disrupted colonic gut barrier functionality in growing pigs (4–16 weeks post-weaning). It is a challenge for the pig industry as it is associated with the high use of antibiotics, reduced animal welfare, and depressed growth rate. The exact etiology of CCD is still unclear; however, pathogens including Brachyspira (B.) hyodysenteriae, B. pilosicoli, and swine whipworms such as Trichuris (T.) suis have been involved in specific colitis (SC). In the absence of specific pathogens, dietary factors, such as high levels of protein, pelleted feedstuffs, and lack of sufficient antioxidants, can result in non-specific colitis (NSC). On the other hand, supplement of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and polyphenols, sufficient supply of essential amino acids (e.g., threonine, cysteine, and proline), short-chain fatty acids (SCFA; especially butyrate), and resistant starch have shown to confer preventing/ameliorating effects on CCD. Different putative biomarkers associated with CCD have been presented. It is anticipated that a comprehensive picture of the possible causes of CCD and potential dietary interventions could cast light on the direction of future studies aimed at developing preventive and curative strategies against CCD in growing pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
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Review
Isothermal Nucleic Acid Amplification Technologies for the Detection of Equine Viral Pathogens
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2150; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072150 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1254
Abstract
The global equine industry provides significant economic contributions worldwide, producing approximately USD $300 billion annually. However, with the continuous national and international movement and importation of horses, there is an ongoing threat of a viral outbreak causing large epidemics and subsequent significant economic [...] Read more.
The global equine industry provides significant economic contributions worldwide, producing approximately USD $300 billion annually. However, with the continuous national and international movement and importation of horses, there is an ongoing threat of a viral outbreak causing large epidemics and subsequent significant economic losses. Additionally, horses serve as a host for several zoonotic diseases that could cause significant human health problems. The ability to rapidly diagnose equine viral diseases early could lead to better management, treatment, and biosecurity strategies. Current serological and molecular methods cannot be field-deployable and are not suitable for resource-poor laboratories due to the requirement of expensive equipment and trained personnel. Recently, isothermal nucleic acid amplification technologies, such as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and insulated isothermal polymerase chain reaction (iiPCR), have been developed to be utilized in-field, and provide rapid results within an hour. We will review current isothermal diagnostic techniques available to diagnose equine viruses of biosecurity and zoonotic concern and provide insight into their potential for in-field deployment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus Infection in Equine)
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Communication
Sex Hormones in Hemolymph of Red King Crabs from the Barents Sea
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2149; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072149 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1175
Abstract
The presence of vertebrate-related steroid sex hormones has been reported in both freshwater and marine crustaceans. However, despite the commercial importance of king crabs, many aspects of their endocrinology are still unknown. For this reason, we examined hemolymph samples of the red king [...] Read more.
The presence of vertebrate-related steroid sex hormones has been reported in both freshwater and marine crustaceans. However, despite the commercial importance of king crabs, many aspects of their endocrinology are still unknown. For this reason, we examined hemolymph samples of the red king crab Paralithodes camtschaticus from the Barents Sea population for the presence of testosterone and 17β-estradiol using radioimmunoassay. The mean testosterone concentration was 0.46 ± 0.04 (range 0.08–1.39) ng mL–1, whereas the mean 17β-estradiol concentration was 1248.9 ± 91.4 (range 217.7–4100.1) pg mL–1. In general, the levels of 17β-estradiol and testosterone in red king crabs were higher than reported for the hemolymph of amphipods, crabs, and shrimps from warm and temperate waters, probably because the king crabs analyzed were larger and heavier than the other crustaceans. The concentrations of sex steroids did not differ significantly between males and females and between immature and mature red king crabs. Seasonal variations in the level of testosterone with the maximum value in the spawning period (May) indicate a potential role of the sex hormones in the maturation and reproduction processes of red king crab. Taking into account the slow growth rate in P. camtschaticus, our data could be useful not only for further physiological studies but also for the development of reliable techniques for red king crab aquaculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Animals: New Horizons for Blue Growth)
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Article
Effects of Cold Exposure on Performance and Skeletal Muscle Fiber in Weaned Piglets
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2148; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072148 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1113
Abstract
Low-temperature is one of the most significant risks for the animal industry. In light of this, the present study aimed to explore the effects of low-temperature on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, myofiber types and mitochondrial function in weaned piglets. A total of sixteen [...] Read more.
Low-temperature is one of the most significant risks for the animal industry. In light of this, the present study aimed to explore the effects of low-temperature on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, myofiber types and mitochondrial function in weaned piglets. A total of sixteen 21-day-old male Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire (DLY) piglets were randomly divided into a control group (CON, 26 ± 1 °C) and a low-temperature group (LT, 15 ± 1 °C), with eight duplicate piglets in each group. The trial period lasted for 21 days. We showed that LT not only increased the ADFI (p < 0.05), as well as increasing the diarrhea incidence and diarrhea index of weaned piglets in the early stage of the experiment (p < 0.01), but it also decreased the apparent digestibility of crude protein (CP), organic matter (OM) and dry matter (DM) (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, in the LT group, the mRNA expression of MyHC IIa (p < 0.05) in longissimus dorsi muscle (LM) and MyHC I (p < 0.01) in psoas muscle (PM) were increased, while the mRNA expression of MyHC IIx in PM was decreased (p < 0.05). In addition, LT increased the mRNA expression of mitochondrial function-related genes citrate synthase (CS) and succinate dehydrogenase-b (SDHB) in LM, as well as increased the mRNA expression of CS (p < 0.05) and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1b (CPT-1b) (p < 0.01) in PM. Furthermore, LT increased the T-AOC activity in serum and LM (p < 0.01), as well as increased the T-SOD activity in PM (p < 0.05). Taken together, these findings showed that low-temperature could negatively affect the growth performance and nutrient digestibility, but resulted in a shift toward oxidative muscle fibers, which may occur through mitochondrial function regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing Environment and Farm Animals' Well-Being)
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Communication
Chemical Compositions of Brown and Green Seaweed, and Effects on Nutrient Digestibility in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2147; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072147 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1299
Abstract
This study aimed to analyse the nutritional properties, apparent ileal digestibility (AID) and apparent metabolisable energy (AME) of broiler chickens fed with brown seaweed (BS) and green seaweed (GS). Proximate analysis was performed to determine the nutrient composition of seaweed. The amino acids [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyse the nutritional properties, apparent ileal digestibility (AID) and apparent metabolisable energy (AME) of broiler chickens fed with brown seaweed (BS) and green seaweed (GS). Proximate analysis was performed to determine the nutrient composition of seaweed. The amino acids were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and atomic absorption spectroscopy was used to determine the minerals content. The gross energy (GE) was determined using a fully automatic bomb calorimeter, and the AME value was calculated. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) was used as an indigestible marker to calculate the AID. A digestibility trial was conducted to investigate the effects of seaweeds on crude protein (CP), crude fibre (CF), ether extract (EE), dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), amino acids (AA) and minerals digestibility, and AME on broiler chickens. Thirty-six broiler chickens were randomly distributed into two dietary treatment groups with six replicates and three birds per replicate. Results showed that brown and green seaweed was a source of macro and micronutrients. For the AME and AID of seaweed-based diets, the results showed that the AME value for BS and GS was 2894.13 and 2780.70 kcal/kg, respectively. The AID of BS and GS was 88.82% and 86.8% for EE, 82.03% and 80.6% for OM, 60.69% and 57.80% for CP, 48.56 and 44.02% for CF, and 17.97 and 19.40% for ash contents, respectively. Meanwhile, the AID of CP and CF was significantly higher for BS compared to the GS. Findings showed that the AID of various AA was 40.96 to 77.54%, and the AID of selected minerals (Ca, Na, K, Mg, Zn, Cu, Fe) for both BS and GS groups were above 90%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
Article
Evaluating Horse Owner Expertise and Professional Use of Auxiliary Reins during Horse Riding
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2146; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072146 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1378
Abstract
Auxiliary reins are commonly used for the training of riders and horses as well as in daily training. They are often criticized when used incorrectly, as they will not help and can harm the horse by causing overwork, accidents, and injuries, which harm [...] Read more.
Auxiliary reins are commonly used for the training of riders and horses as well as in daily training. They are often criticized when used incorrectly, as they will not help and can harm the horse by causing overwork, accidents, and injuries, which harm the horse in the long term. They also often conceal causal rider problems while trying to achieve quick success. The aim of this paper was to investigate, with an online horse-owner questionnaire, which and how often auxiliary reins were used and whether they were used appropriately. Only participants who were currently using auxiliary reins were selected. Consequently, 823 participants were questioned, of which 362 were currently using auxiliary reins at least every two weeks. Auxiliary reins were mainly used according to their discipline: the running side rein was the most popular when working from the ground and the sliding ring martingale was the most popular for ridden equestrian activities. Most of the test subjects only attached the auxiliary reins after the warm-up phase, but half of the participants did not change them during the entire training session. Most participants (75%) could at least identify what the correct head position of the horse should look like. However, there were still too many (50%) who adjusted their horse too tightly and did not change anything at that time despite the related breathing problems. The study found that most participants used the reins responsibly, but there is still a need for clarification and information relating to the functions of the different auxiliary reins among horse owners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Article
The Interactive Stress Assessment in Basic Animal Science Training
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2145; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072145 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1055
Abstract
In order to assess the extent to which the legally prescribed training for the acquisition of animal experimentation expertise provides scientific personnel with the necessary competence and expertise to carry out a correct harm-benefit analysis in the context of animal experimentation applications, we [...] Read more.
In order to assess the extent to which the legally prescribed training for the acquisition of animal experimentation expertise provides scientific personnel with the necessary competence and expertise to carry out a correct harm-benefit analysis in the context of animal experimentation applications, we conducted an interactive stress assessment concerning the basic animal experimentation expertise course. First, before the practical part of the course and then, after the practical part, the participants assessed images and video material of healthy and stressed animals. The results were assessed comparatively and showed a significant increase in performance in all categories (p-value < 0.001). In addition, the results were comparatively assessed against those of scientists already experienced in animal experiments and experienced animal caretakers in research and clinics. In all groups, the vast majority of participants were able to recognise stress in laboratory animals. A significant proportion of the participants were also able to rate the level of stress correctly according to three degrees of severity: mild, moderate and severe. Nevertheless, a small number of participants were unable to distinguish between healthy and stressed animals and thus, the stress in the individual groups was assigned very differently from the different degrees of severity. The results of this study illustrate, on the one hand, the high significance that training must have in order to acquire the expertise, and, on the other hand, how strongly the assessment of stress is influenced by subjectivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Laboratory Animals)
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Article
Personality and Cognitive Profiles of Animal-Assisted Intervention Dogs and Pet Dogs in an Unsolvable Task
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2144; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072144 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2342
Abstract
Dogs are biologically predisposed to communicate with humans in cooperative contexts. They show individual differences in dog–human communication and inhibition, potentially enhanced by life experience, e.g., Animal-Assisted Interventions. This study aimed to investigate whether dogs’ personality, defined by biologically meaningful neural circuits described [...] Read more.
Dogs are biologically predisposed to communicate with humans in cooperative contexts. They show individual differences in dog–human communication and inhibition, potentially enhanced by life experience, e.g., Animal-Assisted Interventions. This study aimed to investigate whether dogs’ personality, defined by biologically meaningful neural circuits described in the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality (RST), predicted dogs’ communication, task orientation, emotional state, and approach of an unsolvable task. We also investigated the differences between dogs experienced in Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) and inexperienced dogs. The results indicated that a high sensitivity to the RST personality trait related to managing uncertainty (Behavioural Inhibition System, BIS) predicted fewer task orientations but increased referential and non-referential looking, which we interpreted as a way to obtain directions from the owner. Conversely, a high sensitivity to the traits reflecting tendencies to approach rewards (Behavioural Approach System, BAS) and avoid punishment (Fight–Flight–Freeze System, FFFS) predicted lower looking. High sensitivity to the FFFS also predicted more frequent task orientations, which we interpreted as frustration. Finally, the dogs in the AAI program looked more at their owner and were less oriented towards the task. These results provide empirical evidence of individual differences tied to the psychobiological personality traits in canine cognitive skills. Understanding such cognitive profiles may have an enormous impact on activities that rely upon dog–human collaborative interaction. Full article
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Article
Effect of Animal Age at Slaughter on the Muscle Fibres of Longissimus thoracis and Meat Quality of Fresh Loin from Iberian × Duroc Crossbred Pig under Two Production Systems
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072143 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Two production systems and several ages at slaughter were used: 12, 14 and 16 months for outdoor rearing (with the final finishing phase in the Montanera system, in which fed was based on natural resources, mainly acorns and grass) and 8, 10 and [...] Read more.
Two production systems and several ages at slaughter were used: 12, 14 and 16 months for outdoor rearing (with the final finishing phase in the Montanera system, in which fed was based on natural resources, mainly acorns and grass) and 8, 10 and 12 months for animals reared indoors (intensive system: with feed based on commercial fodder) to evaluate their effect on the muscle fibre population and size of the Longissimus thoracis, (LT) muscle, as well as fresh loin quality traits. Animals that were older at slaughter revealed increased fibre sizes of the LT muscles in the pigs reared in the Montanera system. The LT muscles of the animals reared in intensive systems had a lower percentage of type I fibres and higher size of type IIB than those reared in the Montanera system. The approximate composition and instrumental colour of Montanera fresh loins were affected by the animal slaughter age. In the case of the intensive system, the effect of animal slaughter age had an impact on the approximate composition, instrumental colour, water loss and textural properties. Therefore, different ages at slaughter of Iberian pigs showed variations in some quality parameters in the fresh loins in both the Montanera and Intensive systems, thus proving to be a factor of variability and homogeneity of the Iberian products. The meat from Iberian pigs reared in an intensive system and slaughtered at a younger age proved to be more tender. The production system affected all the above quality traits, with the exception of water loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
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Article
Fat Deposition in the Muscle of Female and Male Yak and the Correlation of Yak Meat Quality with Fat
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072142 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1182
Abstract
This study aimed to explore the differences in fat deposition between female (FYs) and male yaks (MYs). Compared with MYs, the tenderness, L*, marbling, absolute content of fat, and most fatty acids (FAs) of longissimus dorsi (LD) in FYs were higher or better [...] Read more.
This study aimed to explore the differences in fat deposition between female (FYs) and male yaks (MYs). Compared with MYs, the tenderness, L*, marbling, absolute content of fat, and most fatty acids (FAs) of longissimus dorsi (LD) in FYs were higher or better (p < 0.05), whereas the relative content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and n-3 PUFAs were lower (p < 0.01). The absolute content of fat, C18:0, cis-C18:2, cis-C18:1, and C24:0 were positively correlated with L*45 min, b*24 h, tenderness, and marbling score of LD in FYs and MYs (p < 0.05), respectively. LPL, FATP2, ELOVL6, HADH, HACD, and PLINS genes play a crucial role in improving the marbling score and tenderness of yak meat. The results of gene expression and protein synthesis showed the effect of gender to FA biosynthesis, FA transport, lipolysis, and FA oxidation in the adipose tissue of yak was realized by the expressions of ME1, SCD, ACSL5, LPL, FABP1, PLIN4, and PLIN2 in peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor (PPAR) signaling. This study established a theoretical basis for the improvement of the meat quality of yak and molecular breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Article
Do You Think I Am Living Well? A Four-Season Hair Cortisol Analysis on Leisure Horses in Different Housing and Management Conditions
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072141 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2596
Abstract
The satisfaction of leisure horses’ behavioral needs has begun to be considered a priority, linked to the awareness that horses kept in single boxes may be deprived of social contact and the possibility to perform natural behaviors. Several factors may influence horses’ quality [...] Read more.
The satisfaction of leisure horses’ behavioral needs has begun to be considered a priority, linked to the awareness that horses kept in single boxes may be deprived of social contact and the possibility to perform natural behaviors. Several factors may influence horses’ quality of life also in the paddock, and there are very few data on the effects of those variables on leisure horses’ chronic stress, measurable in terms of activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis. Therefore, managerial choices faced by owners and stables managers are only based on experience, common sense, and anecdotal beliefs. This study assessed and compared the chronic stress levels in leisure horses hosted in structures in the same geographic and climatic area with different daily routines to verify which management strategy could be the one that better contributes to achieving the welfare of horses. Forty-seven horses were divided into three groups homogeneous in terms of sex and age: Mixed management group (n = 12), Paddock group (n = 19), and Natural management group (n = 16). The hair cortisol concentration, a reliable marker of long-term stress, was analyzed in all the horses the same day at four time points of the year. In addition to management strategies, the influences of other variables (sex, age, coat color, and season) were evaluated. Independently from the management strategies, significantly higher hair cortisol values were detected in the autumn and summer, as well as in individuals older than 15 years. No significant differences were highlighted between the sexes or the coat colors. The comparison of the different management strategies showed that, in the summer, autumn, and winter, the hair cortisol levels were significantly lower in the Mixed management group horses than the Paddock group, highlighting that those subjects had better homeostasis. The Natural management group horses’ hair cortisol levels were intermediate between the other two groups of horses in all the seasons. Spending the night in the stables would seem to positively impact the well-being of the horses. These findings, if confirmed by further studies, may be helpful in enhancing horse welfare and assisting in managerial choice decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Husbandry-Nutrition, Management and Welfare)
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Article
The Effect of Demonstrator Social Rank on the Attentiveness and Motivation of Pigs to Positively Interact with Their Human Caretakers
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2140; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072140 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1092
Abstract
In this study, we addressed the social attentiveness, as well as the phenomenon of social facilitation and inhibition in the context of a positive human–pig relationship. Specifically, we investigated whether the social rank of an experienced pig (termed “demonstrator”) has an effect on [...] Read more.
In this study, we addressed the social attentiveness, as well as the phenomenon of social facilitation and inhibition in the context of a positive human–pig relationship. Specifically, we investigated whether the social rank of an experienced pig (termed “demonstrator”) has an effect on the attentiveness of the remaining pen mates (N = 40) when they observe the demonstrator being gently handled by a stockperson from behind an acrylic panel. We found that pigs preferentially attended to dominant demonstrators rather than subordinate demonstrators during their gentle handling sessions with the stockperson. Additionally, we also examined whether the presence of a demonstrator pig of different social rank, who previously established a positive relationship with the stockperson in presence of conspecifics, affects the behavior and motivation of their pen mates to positively interact with the stockperson. To test for the effect of the presence and demonstrator’s social rank on pen mate interactions with the stockperson, we evaluated the behavior of domestic pigs (N = 65) toward the stockperson using a human-approach test in their home-pen. Pigs showed a decrease in their motivation to positively interact with the stockperson when a socially dominant demonstrator was present, behaving similarly to animals receiving minimal human contact (control group). Overall, they exhibited a greater latency to physical contact, a lower acceptance of stroking, and spent more time looking at the stockperson compared to pigs exposed to subordinate demonstrators. Taken together, these findings expand our current understanding of pigs’ cognition and social behavior, and the nature of social attention bias in farm animals. Our findings indicate that positive handling of previously selected subordinate demonstrators seems to be the best strategy to reduce the level of fear in large groups of pigs. Full article
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Article
The Diversity, Composition, and Metabolic Pathways of Archaea in Pigs
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072139 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1161
Abstract
Archaea are an essential class of gut microorganisms in humans and animals. Despite the substantial progress in gut microbiome research in the last decade, most studies have focused on bacteria, and little is known about archaea in mammals. In this study, we investigated [...] Read more.
Archaea are an essential class of gut microorganisms in humans and animals. Despite the substantial progress in gut microbiome research in the last decade, most studies have focused on bacteria, and little is known about archaea in mammals. In this study, we investigated the composition, diversity, and functional potential of gut archaeal communities in pigs by re-analyzing a published metagenomic dataset including a total of 276 fecal samples from three countries: China (n = 76), Denmark (n = 100), and France (n = 100). For alpha diversity (Shannon Index) of the archaeal communities, Chinese pigs were less diverse than Danish and French pigs (p < 0.001). Consistently, Chinese pigs also possessed different archaeal community structures from the other two groups based on the Bray–Curtis distance matrix. Methanobrevibacter was the most dominant archaeal genus in Chinese pigs (44.94%) and French pigs (15.41%), while Candidatus methanomethylophilus was the most predominant in Danish pigs (15.71%). At the species level, the relative abundance of Candidatus methanomethylophilus alvus, Natrialbaceae archaeon XQ INN 246, and Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii were greatest in Danish, French, and Chinese pigs with a relative abundance of 14.32, 11.67, and 16.28%, respectively. In terms of metabolic potential, the top three pathways in the archaeal communities included the MetaCyc pathway related to the biosynthesis of L-valine, L-isoleucine, and isobutanol. Interestingly, the pathway related to hydrogen consumption (METHANOGENESIS-PWY) was only observed in archaeal reads, while the pathways participating in hydrogen production (FERMENTATION-PWY and PWY4LZ-257) were only detected in bacterial reads. Archaeal communities also possessed CAZyme gene families, with the top five being AA3, GH43, GT2, AA6, and CE9. In terms of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), the class of multidrug resistance was the most abundant ARG, accounting for 87.41% of archaeal ARG hits. Our study reveals the diverse composition and metabolic functions of archaea in pigs, suggesting that archaea might play important roles in swine nutrition and metabolism. Full article
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Article
Life Cycle of Edible Jellyfish Acromitus hardenbergi Stiasny, 1934 (Scyphozoa: Rhizostomeae) Inhabiting a Brackish-Water Environment
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2138; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072138 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1368
Abstract
The edible jellyfish Acromitus hardenbergi Stiasny, 1934 is harvested throughout the year at the mouth of the Perak River, Malaysia. Although this species is an important fishery resource in the local area, limited biological studies have been carried out on it. The aim [...] Read more.
The edible jellyfish Acromitus hardenbergi Stiasny, 1934 is harvested throughout the year at the mouth of the Perak River, Malaysia. Although this species is an important fishery resource in the local area, limited biological studies have been carried out on it. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the life cycle of this unique brackish-water jellyfish in order to conserve the species and develop sustainable jellyfish fisheries. Mature medusae were collected at the mouth of the Perak River. Embryonic and larval development after fertilization was completed within 24 h until the planula stage and within 48 h until the polyp stage. Primary polyps had a long stalk with a small stolon at the base of the calyx. Fully developed polyps were bowl-or goblet-shaped but became an elongated stalk under starved conditions. Asexual reproduction was accomplished only by means of budding, and no podocysts were produced. Strobilation was mono-disc type. These characteristics may be adaptations to the dynamic environmental conditions in the estuary of the Perak River, where salinity fluctuates widely due to strong inflows of highly turbid freshwater coupled with tidal changes. This study suggests that polyps of A. hardenbergi expand their population not by podocysts, but by budding as quickly as possible and forming one large ephyra by mono-disc strobilation without the residuum, because the polyp cannot remain for a long time at its settlement place in the sediment-rich environment with drastic salinity change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics of Medusozoa (Aka Jellyfish))
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Article
Effects of Dietary Supplementation with Protected Sodium Butyrate on Gut Microbiota in Growing-Finishing Pigs
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072137 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1229
Abstract
The study assessed changes in the gut microbiota of pigs after dietary supplementation with protected sodium butyrate (PSB) during the growing-fattening period (≈90 days). One gram of colon content from 18 pigs (9 from the treatment group -TG- and 9 from the control [...] Read more.
The study assessed changes in the gut microbiota of pigs after dietary supplementation with protected sodium butyrate (PSB) during the growing-fattening period (≈90 days). One gram of colon content from 18 pigs (9 from the treatment group -TG- and 9 from the control group -CG-) was collected. Bacterial DNA was extracted and 16S rRNA high-throughput amplicon sequencing used to assess microbiota changes between groups. The groups shared 75.4% of the 4697 operational taxonomic units identified. No differences in alpha diversity were found, but significant differences for some specific taxa were detected between groups. The low-represented phylum Deinococcus-Thermus, which is associated with the production of carotenoids with antioxidant, anti-apoptotic, and anti-inflammatory properties, was increased in the TG (p = 0.032). Prevotellaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Peptostreptococcaceae, Peptococcaceae, and Terrisporobacter were increased in the TG. Members of these families have the ability to ferment complex dietary polysaccharides and produce larger amounts of short chain fatty acids. Regarding species, only Clostridium butyricum was increased in the TG (p = 0.048). Clostridium butyricum is well-known as probiotic in humans, but it has also been associated with overall positive gut effects (increased villus height, improved body weight, reduction of diarrhea, etc.) in weanling pigs. Although the use of PSB did not modify the overall richness of microbiota composition of these slaughter pigs, it may have increased specific taxa associated with better gut health parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Physiology and Gut Microbiota Interaction in Pigs)
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Article
Annual Nitrogen Balance from Dairy Barns, Comparison between Cubicle and Compost-Bedded Pack Housing Systems in the Northeast of Spain
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072136 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1160
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine N recovery and irreversible losses (i.e., through NH3-N volatilization) from manure in two different housing systems throughout a year using an N mass balance approach. Dietary, milk, and manure N were monitored together [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine N recovery and irreversible losses (i.e., through NH3-N volatilization) from manure in two different housing systems throughout a year using an N mass balance approach. Dietary, milk, and manure N were monitored together with outside temperatures in six dairy barns during six months, comprising two different seasons. Three barns were designed as conventional free stalls (cubicle, CUB) and the other three barns as compost-bedded packs (CB). All the barns were located in the Ebro’s valley, in the northeast of Spain. Mass N balance was performed simultaneously in the six barns, during two three-month periods (Season I and II) and sampling at a 15-day interval. Results of ANOVA analysis showed that annual N retained in manure (kg/head per year) from cows housed in CUB barns was significantly higher than in manure from cows housed in CB (133.5 vs. 70.9, p < 0.001), while the opposite was observed for N losses (26.9 vs. 84.8, for CUB and CB barn, respectively; p < 0.005). The annual mean proportion of irreversible N loss from manure in relation to N intake was much lower in barns using conventional free-stall cubicles than the mean ratio registered in bedded pack systems barns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing Systems in Dairy Production)
Review
Fighting Like Cats and Dogs: Challenges in Domestic Carnivore Oocyte Development and Promises of Innovative Culture Systems
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2135; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072135 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1123
Abstract
In vitro embryo production in cats and dogs still presents some challenges, and it needs to be optimized to transfer efficient protocols to related wild, endangered species. While the chemical composition of culture media has been the focus of several studies, the importance [...] Read more.
In vitro embryo production in cats and dogs still presents some challenges, and it needs to be optimized to transfer efficient protocols to related wild, endangered species. While the chemical composition of culture media has been the focus of several studies, the importance of culture substrates for oocyte and embryo culture has often been neglected. Traditional in vitro systems, i.e., two-dimensional cultures, do not resemble the physiological environments where cells develop, and they may cause morphological and functional alterations to oocytes and embryos. More modern three-dimensional and microfluidic culture system better mimic the structure and the stimuli found in in vivo conditions, and they could better support the development of oocytes and embryos in vitro, as well as the maintenance of more physiological behaviors. This review describes the different culture systems tested for domestic carnivore reproductive cells along the years, and it summarizes their effects on cultured cells with the purpose of analyzing innovative options to improve in vitro embryo production outcomes. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Hybrid Barley in the Diets of Fattening Pigs on Pork Oxidative Stability Related to the Fatty Acid Profile
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072134 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1123
Abstract
Feed determines the quality of pork meat, in which the composition of the fatty acid (FA) profile is one of the easiest to modify by the application of selected feed components. Barley grains are considered to have an impact on meat quality, including [...] Read more.
Feed determines the quality of pork meat, in which the composition of the fatty acid (FA) profile is one of the easiest to modify by the application of selected feed components. Barley grains are considered to have an impact on meat quality, including pork; however, there are still limited data on the use of hybrid barley in fattening pigs’ nutrition in relation to meat quality. The aim of this study was to determine the relation between meat quality, i.e., its oxidative stability, especially the FA profile, and fattening pigs’ diets with hybrid barley and/or wheat. In group I, hybrid barley (HB) composed 80% of the feed; in group II, a mixture of (40% each) wheat and barley was used; and in group III, wheat (W) composed 80% of the feed. Meat samples were taken from twelve randomly selected carcasses chosen from each group. The meat analyses covered the physicochemical and sensory traits. The results showed that the pork meat of fattening pigs fed fodder with 80% HB had decreased palmitic acid concentrations and increased oleic acid concentrations. The meat of these pigs was characterised by the best marbling, which was closely related to its juiciness after thermal processing and determined its final culinary quality. Moreover, the meat from these pigs exhibited a reddish colour, before and after thermal processing. In summary, the application of hybrid barley into pig nutrition improved the quality of the culinary meat. Full article
Article
Effects of Multivalent BRD Vaccine Treatment and Temperament on Performance and Feeding Behavior Responses to a BVDV1b Challenge in Beef Steers
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072133 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
This study examined the effects of multivalent respiratory vaccine treatment (VT) and animal temperament classification on feeding behavior traits, feed intake and animal performance in response to a bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) challenge. Nellore–Angus crossbred steers (n = 360; initial body [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of multivalent respiratory vaccine treatment (VT) and animal temperament classification on feeding behavior traits, feed intake and animal performance in response to a bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) challenge. Nellore–Angus crossbred steers (n = 360; initial body weight (BW) 330 ± 48 kg) were assigned to one of three vaccine treatments: non-vaccinated (NON), modified live (MLV) and killed (KV) regarding respiratory viral pathogens, and inoculated intranasally with the same BVDV1b strain. Cattle temperament categories were based on exit velocity. Overt clinical signs of respiratory disease were not observed, yet the frequency and duration of bunk visit events as well as traditional performance traits decreased (p < 0.01) following BVDV challenge and then rebounded in compensatory fashion. The reduction in dry matter intake (DMI) was less (p < 0.05) for MLV-vaccinated steers, and MLV-vaccinated steers had longer (p < 0.01) durations of bunk visit and meal events and slower (p < 0.01) eating rates compared with KV- and non-vaccinated steers following BVDV challenge. Greater differences in most feeding behavior traits due to VT existed within calm vs. excitable steers. Respiratory vaccination can reduce the sub-clinical feeding behavior and performance effects of BVDV in cattle, and the same impacts may not occur across all temperament categories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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Article
Screening Candidate Genes Regulating Placental Development from Trophoblast Transcriptome at Early Pregnancy in Dazu Black Goats (Capra hircus)
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072132 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1256
Abstract
This study explored the trophoblast transcriptome to understand potential functional genes involved in early placental development in goats and their enriched signaling pathways. Trophoblast samples were collected from nine Dazu Black goats on days 20, 25, and 30 of pregnancy (D20, D25, and [...] Read more.
This study explored the trophoblast transcriptome to understand potential functional genes involved in early placental development in goats and their enriched signaling pathways. Trophoblast samples were collected from nine Dazu Black goats on days 20, 25, and 30 of pregnancy (D20, D25, and D30). As the pregnancy progressed, the morphology and histological structures showed significant growth, adhesion, and angiogenesis. A total of 23,253 commonly expressed genes (CEGs) and 4439 differently expressed genes (DEGs) were detected by RNA sequencing. The common highly expressed genes (ChEGs) (the top 100 CEGs) with the highest FPKM percentage (29.9%) of all CEGs were annotated to the ribosome pathway and maintain pregnancy. DEGs were abundant in D30 vs. D20 (3715 DEGs). Besides, the DEGs were associated with the inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation and activation of PI3K-Akt, focal adhesion, ECM–receptor interaction, Rap1, and CAM signaling pathways. The RAP1 may be a central pathway since it coordinates with others to regulate the cell proliferation, invasion, migration, and fusion of trophoblasts. qRT-PCR and Western blot analysis confirmed the transcriptional expression in IGF1, VEGFC, RAPGEF3, PIK3CA, AKT3, ITGB3, ITGA11, SPP1, NOS1, and ATP6V0B genes and protein levels in VEGF, RAPGEF3, and Akt. This is the first study of transcriptome profiling in goat placenta and provides diverse genetic resources for further research on placenta development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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Article
Predicting Subclinical Ketosis in Dairy Cows Using Machine Learning Techniques
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2131; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072131 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1263
Abstract
The diagnosis of subclinical ketosis in dairy cows based on blood ketone bodies is a challenging and costly procedure. Scientists are searching for tools based on results of milk performance assessment that would allow monitoring the risk of subclinical ketosis. The objective of [...] Read more.
The diagnosis of subclinical ketosis in dairy cows based on blood ketone bodies is a challenging and costly procedure. Scientists are searching for tools based on results of milk performance assessment that would allow monitoring the risk of subclinical ketosis. The objective of the study was (1) to design a scoring system that would allow choosing the best machine learning models for the identification of cows-at-risk of subclinical ketosis, (2) to select the best performing models, and (3) to validate them using a testing dataset containing unseen data. The scoring system was developed using two machine learning modeling pipelines, one for regression and one for classification. As part of the system, different feature selections, outlier detection, data scaling and oversampling methods were used. Various linear and non-linear models were fit using training datasets and evaluated on holdout, testing the datasets. For the assessment of suitability of individual models for predicting subclinical ketosis, three β-hydroxybutyrate concentration in blood (bBHB) thresholds were defined: 1.0, 1.2 and 1.4 mmol/L. Considering the thresholds of 1.2 and 1.4, the logistic regression model was found to be the best fitted model, which included independent variables such as fat-to-protein ratio, acetone and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in milk, lactose percentage, lactation number and days in milk. In the cross-validation, this model showed an average sensitivity of 0.74 or 0.75 and specificity of 0.76 or 0.78, at the pre-defined bBHB threshold 1.2 or 1.4 mmol/L, respectively. The values of these metrics were also similar in the external validation on the testing dataset (0.72 or 0.74 for sensitivity and 0.80 or 0.81 for specificity). For the bBHB threshold at 1.0 mmol/L, the best classification model was the model based on the SVC (Support Vector Classification) machine learning method, for which the sensitivity in the cross-validation was 0.74 and the specificity was 0.73. These metrics had lower values for the testing dataset (0.57 and 0.72 respectively). Regression models were characterized by poor fitness to data (R2 < 0.4). The study results suggest that the prediction of subclinical ketosis based on data from test-day records using classification methods and machine learning algorithms can be a useful tool for monitoring the incidence of this metabolic disorder in dairy cattle herds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Article
Evaluation of the Conservation Status of the Croatian Posavina Horse Breed Based on Pedigree and Microsatellite Data
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2130; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072130 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1163
Abstract
The Croatian Posavina horse (CPH) is native Croatian breed under a conservation program and under various programs of economic use (ecosystem services, agrotourism, and meat production). The aim of this study was to analyze the status of the CPH population through an analysis [...] Read more.
The Croatian Posavina horse (CPH) is native Croatian breed under a conservation program and under various programs of economic use (ecosystem services, agrotourism, and meat production). The aim of this study was to analyze the status of the CPH population through an analysis of their pedigree (28,483 records), phenotype (292 licensed stallions, 255 mares), and genetic structure (292 licensed stallions). The average generation interval was 8.20 years, and the number of complete generations was 1.66. The effective number of founders and ancestors was 138 and 107, respectively, with a ratio of 1.29, and the genetic conservation index was 4.46. As for the morphometric characteristics, the average withers height of the stallions was 142.79 cm, the chest circumference was 194.28 cm, and the cannon bone circumference was 22.34. In mares, the withers height, chest, and cannon bone circumference were lower (139.71 cm, 190.30 cm, and 20.94 cm, respectively). Genetic microsatellite analysis of the 29 sire-lines showed high genetic diversity, expressed as the mean allele number (7.7), allele richness (4.0), and expected heterozygosity (0.740). There was no evidence of high inbreeding or a genetic bottleneck. The genetic and phenotypic data indicate that the CPH is an important and diverse reservoir of genetic diversity and can be conserved because of its special characteristics (adaptability). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endangered Rare Livestock Breeds)
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Article
Effect of Nanosilica and Bentonite as Mycotoxins Adsorbent Agent in Broiler Chickens’ Diet on Growth Performance and Hepatic Histopathology
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072129 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1232
Abstract
Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by different strains of fungi, such as aspergillus, fusarium, and penicillium that can contaminate feed ingredients or the entire feed of poultry and animals. Mycotoxins can cause many serious complications to both humans and animals due to [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by different strains of fungi, such as aspergillus, fusarium, and penicillium that can contaminate feed ingredients or the entire feed of poultry and animals. Mycotoxins can cause many serious complications to both humans and animals due to carcinogenic, mutagenic, and immunosuppressive disorders. Therefore, the present experiment aims to investigate the effect of broiler chickens’ diets supplemented with different levels of nanosilica (NS) as an adsorbent agent of mycotoxins on their growth performance and hepatic histopathology. Detectable levels of toxins were present in the feed before feeding, and all levels of mycotoxins were above the normal limit. A total of 180 one-day-old male Arbor Acres broiler chickens were allocated randomly to six treatment groups with three replicates per group, including ten chickens per replicate. The experiment lasted for five weeks, and dietary treatments included control diet and diets with four levels of nanosilica as 0.05%, 0.10%, 0.15%, and 0.20% as well as 0.50% bentonite (fixfin® Dry) diet. Bodyweight, body weight gain, average daily feed intake, and feed conversion ratio were measured weekly. At the end of the fifth week, six chickens per treatment were sacrificed to investigate the effects of NS and bentonite on carcass characteristics and hepatic histopathology. The results showed that providing broiler chickens’ diets with an adsorbent agent, such as NS or bentonite, can reduce the side effects of mycotoxins and enhance their growth performance. The best record was achieved with NS at 0.20%, compared with the control group and other dietary treatment groups. Accordingly, 0.20% of NS could be used in broiler chickens’ diets to minimize the harmful effects of mycotoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Feeding and Gut Health)
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Article
Dietary Cinnamon Successfully Enhanced the Growth Performance, Growth Hormone, Antibacterial Capacity, and Immunity of European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072128 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1301
Abstract
Dietary cinnamon has several bioactive compounds with growth-promoting and immunomodulation potential and is suggested for finfish species. This study evaluated the inclusion of cinnamon at 0, 10, 15, and 20 g/kg in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) diets. After 90 days, [...] Read more.
Dietary cinnamon has several bioactive compounds with growth-promoting and immunomodulation potential and is suggested for finfish species. This study evaluated the inclusion of cinnamon at 0, 10, 15, and 20 g/kg in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) diets. After 90 days, the highest final weight, weight gain, specific growth rate, protein efficiency ratio, and the lowest feed conversion ratio were seen in fish treated with 10 g/kg (p < 0.05). Further, the measured growth hormone in the blood indicated that fish treated with 10 g/kg had a higher level than fish 0 and 20 g/kg. After the feeding trial, fish treated with cinnamon at varying levels had higher lipid content than fish before the feeding trial (p < 0.05). Lower Vibrio spp. and Faecal Coliform counts were observed in fish treated with cinnamon than fish fed a cinnamon-free diet (p < 0.05). The hematocrit level was markedly (p < 0.05) increased in fish fed cinnamon at 10 g/kg compared to the control without significant differences with fish fed 15 and 20 g/kg. Hemoglobin was significantly increased in fish treated with cinnamon at 10, 15, and 20 g/kg compared to fish fed a cinnamon-free diet (p < 0.05). Red and white blood cells (RBCs and WBCs) were meaningfully (p < 0.05) increased in fish treated with cinnamon compared with the control. Markedly, fish treated with cinnamon had higher serum total lipids than the control with the highest value in fish treated with 15 g/kg (p < 0.05). The lysozyme activity was markedly higher in fish treated with 15 g cinnamon/kg than fish fed 0, 10, and 20 g/kg (p < 0.05). Moreover, phagocytic activity was significantly higher in fish treated with cinnamon at 10, and 15 g/kg than fish fed 0 and 20 g/kg (p < 0.05). In conclusion, dietary cinnamon is suggested at 10–15 g/kg for achieving the high production and wellbeing of European sea bass. Full article
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Article
Healthy Ageing Is Associated with Preserved or Enhanced Nutrient and Mineral Apparent Digestibility in Dogs and Cats Fed Commercially Relevant Extruded Diets
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2127; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072127 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Age-related changes in gastrointestinal function have been reported in companion animals, but the impact on digestive efficiency remains uncertain. Healthy dogs (n = 37; 2.6–14.2 years) received four diets varying in total dietary fibre (TDF; 6–29%, as fed). Healthy cats (n [...] Read more.
Age-related changes in gastrointestinal function have been reported in companion animals, but the impact on digestive efficiency remains uncertain. Healthy dogs (n = 37; 2.6–14.2 years) received four diets varying in total dietary fibre (TDF; 6–29%, as fed). Healthy cats (n = 28; 1–13 years) received four diets with two fat (10–12%; 17–18%) and TDF (9 and 12%) levels. In a crossover design, diets were provided over four consecutive 10-day cycles, including a 4-day faecal collection. Apparent crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), TDF, calcium (Ca), and phosphorus (P) digestibilities were determined. The effect of age was analysed as a continuous variable in dogs and as differences between adult (1–5 years) and senior (7–13 years) cats. In dogs, EE digestibility was unaffected by age (p > 0.10). Dogs of 6–12 years had higher digestibility of CP (p = 0.032), TDF (p = 0.019), Ca (p = 0.019), and P (p = 0.024) when fed the 6% TDF diet. Senior cats had greater digestibility of TDF (p < 0.01) and Ca (p = 0.024) but had lower EE and CP digestibility with one diet (17% fat; 9%TDF) (age, p > 0.10; diet × age, p < 0.001). Healthy ageing was associated with preserved nutrient digestibility in dogs and cats within the age ranges studied. The effect of ingredient sources in senior cats warrants further investigation. Full article
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Article
Effects of Pre-Anesthesia Anxiety on Propofol Induction Dose in Cats
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072126 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1154
Abstract
In humans, peri-anesthesia anxiety reportedly increases the anesthetic requirements for anesthesia induction. However, no studies have been conducted on cats regarding the effects of anxiety on anesthesia induction or anesthetic-mediated physiological changes. Therefore, we intended to investigate the effect of pre-anesthesia anxiety in [...] Read more.
In humans, peri-anesthesia anxiety reportedly increases the anesthetic requirements for anesthesia induction. However, no studies have been conducted on cats regarding the effects of anxiety on anesthesia induction or anesthetic-mediated physiological changes. Therefore, we intended to investigate the effect of pre-anesthesia anxiety in healthy cats on the propofol dose required for anesthesia induction, and its impact on behavioral and physiological evaluations. The cats were placed in either a calm (CAL) or tense (ANX) environment. We performed physiological and behavioral evaluations before and after each environmental acclimatization period. Anesthesia was induced using propofol. We recorded the total dose of propofol administered for each clinical sign observed during anesthesia induction. The post-acclimatization behavioral evaluation score was significantly higher in the ANX group than the pre-acclimatization score. However, there was no significant difference in the propofol dose required for each clinical sign in the ANX or CAL groups. There were also no significant differences in the physiological evaluations between the ANX and CAL groups. Therefore, pre-anesthesia anxiety felt by cats did not affect propofol-mediated anesthesia induction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Veterinary Nursing)
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Article
Blood Parameters and Feline Tooth Resorption: A Retrospective Case Control Study from a Spanish University Hospital
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2125; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072125 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1079
Abstract
Tooth resorption (TR; progressive destruction of hard dental tissues) varies in prevalence according to population, age, and country (29–66.1%). Our objective was twofold: describing the TR clinical presentation in Northeastern Spain, and studying 34 blood parameters to ascertain potential systemic effects associated with [...] Read more.
Tooth resorption (TR; progressive destruction of hard dental tissues) varies in prevalence according to population, age, and country (29–66.1%). Our objective was twofold: describing the TR clinical presentation in Northeastern Spain, and studying 34 blood parameters to ascertain potential systemic effects associated with TR. Cases (29; presented from September 2018 to May 2019) and controls (58) were considered. Non-parametric tests were carried out to compare cases and controls for each blood parameter; those showing significant differences were chosen for multiple regression analysis (binomial logistic and hierarchical multiple regressions). In case TR was detected in 130/870 teeth (14.9%), TR stage and type were correlated (p < 0.001). Increasing CREA values (p = 0.034) and decreasing BUN/CREA and ALB/GLOB values were associated with TR presence (p = 0.029 and p = 0.03, respectively). Increasing GLOB was associated with increasing severity of TR (p < 0.01). Type 1 TR (highly related to inflammation and periodontal disease PD) was the most frequently observed type; the association of TR and inflammation biomarkers (ALB/GLOB, GLOB) are explained by this fact. The concomitant presence of PD and TR in old cats would cause TR association with kidney damage biomarkers (CREA, BUN/CREA). When affected by TR, special care in these aspects must be provided to cats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Article
Investigation of the Morphology of Adrenal Glands in Hens Kept in Two Different Housing Systems—A Pilot Study
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2124; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072124 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1070
Abstract
It is difficult to objectively assess the chronic effects of housing systems on livestock and particularly on laying hens. However, this seems to be important in the context of animal welfare. Therefore, we conducted the present study in order to compare the effect [...] Read more.
It is difficult to objectively assess the chronic effects of housing systems on livestock and particularly on laying hens. However, this seems to be important in the context of animal welfare. Therefore, we conducted the present study in order to compare the effect of two different housing conditions, single cage (SC) and floor pen (FP), on the morphology of the adrenal gland. A higher amount of interrenal cells, which secrete stress hormones, can lead to a difference in the relation of adrenal and interrenal cells, which could be interpreted as an indication of chronic stress. For this purpose, adrenal glands were extracted, prepared, stained and examined by microscopy, and total area of the cut, total area of interrenal cells and total area of adrenal cells were measured. As a result, all laying hens had a higher percentage of interrenal cells than adrenal cells (FP: interrenal cells/adrenal cells = 78.37%/21.63%; SC: 80.00%/20.00%). The median of adrenal–interrenal ratio did not differ significantly (FP = 0.2503, SC = 0.2499), while the variation of the ratio between laying hens in FP and SC showed a slight tendency of a higher ratio in adrenal glands of FP (p < 0.0870). Body weight and adrenal–interrenal ratio were significantly negatively correlated in laying hens in FP (rS = −0.943, p < 0.0048) but not in SC (rS = −0.162, p = 0.7283). There was no significant correlation between body weight and total cell area for interrenal cells or adrenal cells. Body weight was significantly lower for laying hens kept in SC than for laying hens kept in FP (p < 0.0001). Due to the present results, it can be concluded that keeping laying hens in single cages can have a negative effect on body weight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Welfare of Laying Hens)
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Brief Report
Differentiating Pigs from Wild Boars Based on NR6A1 and MC1R Gene Polymorphisms
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2123; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11072123 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1131
Abstract
This preliminary study aimed to differentiate domestic pigs from wild boars based on MC1R and NR6A1 polymorphisms and to identify admixture between these genomes. We studied samples obtained from wild boars from two regions of Poland and five pig breeds: Polish Landrace, Polish [...] Read more.
This preliminary study aimed to differentiate domestic pigs from wild boars based on MC1R and NR6A1 polymorphisms and to identify admixture between these genomes. We studied samples obtained from wild boars from two regions of Poland and five pig breeds: Polish Landrace, Polish Large White, Złotnicka White, Pulawska and Duroc. Along the MC1R gene sequence, we identified four polymorphic loci comprising three codons. The “wild type” allele was primarily found in wild boar but also in the Duroc and Złotnicka White breeds. Non-wild type alleles were identified in the vast majority of domestic pig samples and in two wild boar samples. Based on MC1R profiles, we conducted a population study, and revealed admixture between both genomes using STRUCTURE and NETWORK Software. Interestingly, an allelic discrimination assay with NR6A1 g.748C > T TaqMan probes revealed a clear separation of samples into two groups: wild boar samples representing the C allele and domestic breeds representing the T allele. Based on the obtained results, we conclude that NR6A1 g.748C > T is an effective marker for differentiating between wild boars and domestic pigs, where this is supported by MC1R data, to identify admixed profiles. We recommend that a larger sample of genomes is studied to verify this method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity of Wild Boar and Deer)
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