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1.  Is the presence of abnormal prion protein in the renal glomeruli of feline species presenting with FSE authentic? 
In a recent paper written by Hilbe et al (BMC vet res, 2009), the nature and specificity of the prion protein deposition in the kidney of feline species affected with feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) were clearly considered doubtful. This article was brought to our attention because we published several years ago an immunodetection of abnormal prion protein in the kidney of a cheetah affected with FSE. At this time we were convinced of its specificity but without having all the possibilities to demonstrate it. As previously published by another group, the presence of abnormal prion protein in some renal glomeruli in domestic cats affected with FSE is indeed generally considered as doubtful mainly because of low intensity detected in this organ and because control kidneys from safe animals present also a weak prion immunolabelling. Here we come back on these studies and thought it would be helpful to relay our last data to the readers of BMC Vet res for future reference on this subject.
Here we come back on our material as it is possible to study and demonstrate the specificity of prion immunodetection using the PET-Blot method (Paraffin Embedded Tissue - Blot). It is admitted that this method allows detecting the Proteinase K (PK) resistant form of the abnormal prion protein (PrPres) without any confusion with unspecific immunoreaction. We re-analysed the kidney tissue versus adrenal gland and brain samples from the same cheetah affected with TSE using this PET-Blot method. The PET-Blot analysis revealed specific PrPres detection within the brain, adrenal gland and some glomeruli of the kidney, with a complete identicalness compared to our previous detection using immunohistochemistry. In conclusion, these new data enable us to confirm with assurance the presence of specific abnormal prion protein in the adrenal gland and in the kidney of the cheetah affected with FSE. It also emphasizes the usefulness for the re-examination of any available tissue blocks with the PET-Blot method as a sensitive complementary tool in case of doubtful PrP IHC results.
PMCID: PMC2923130  PMID: 20684771
2.  Molecular evidence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Belgium 
Anaplasma phagocytophilum is a tick-borne pathogen of veterinary and human importance. Both ticks as vectors and vertebrates as reservoir hosts are essential for the cycle maintenance of this bacterium. Currently, the whole range of animal species reservoirs for A. phagocytophilum in natural environment is still unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of infection with A. phagocytophilum in the wild boar population in southern Belgium.
In the frame of a targeted surveillance program, 513 wild boars were sampled during the hunting season 2011. A nested 16S rRNA PCR was used to screen the presence of A. phagocytophilum DNA in spleen of boars. Within 513 samples, 5 (0,97%) were tested PCR positive and identification was confirmed by sequencing.
This study gives the first insight of presence of A. phagocytophilum in wild boars in southern Belgium.
PMCID: PMC3976503  PMID: 24694049
Wild boars; Ixodes; Anaplasma phagocytophilum; Belgium
3.  Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) – findings on cross reactivity and longevity of TBEV antibodies in animal sera 
By using animal sera as sentinels, natural TBEV foci could be identified and further analyses including investigations of ticks could be initiated. However, antibody response against TBEV-related flaviviruses might adversely affect the readout of such a monitoring. Therefore, the cross-reactivity of the applied TBEV serology test systems – enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and virus neutralization test (VNT) – as well as the longevity of TBEV antibody titres in sheep and goats were investigated in this study.
Cross-reactivity of the TBEV antibody test systems with defined antibody-positive samples against selected members of the Flaviviridae family (e.g. Louping ill virus, West Nile virus) was observed for Louping-ill-positive sera only. In contrast, the commercial West Nile virus (WNV) competitive ELISA showed a high level of cross-reactivity with TBEV-specific positive sera.
To assess the longevity of TBEV antibody titres, sera from two sheep and two goats, which had been immunized four times with a commercially available TBEV vaccine, were tested routinely over 28 months. In three of the four animals, TBEV-specific antibody titres could be detected over the whole test period.
In addition, sera from the years 2010 and 2011 were collected in flocks in different villages of Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia to allow re-examination two to four years after the initial analysis. Interestingly, in most cases the results of the former investigations were confirmed, which may be caused by steadily existing natural TBEV foci.
Cross-reactivity must be taken into consideration, particularly for TBEV serology in regions with a prevalence of Louping ill virus and for serological testing of WNV by cross-reactive ELISAs. Furthermore, over-interpretation of single TBEV-positive serological results should be avoided, especially in areas without a TBEV history.
PMCID: PMC3978054  PMID: 24690234
Tick borne encephalitis; Animal sera; Virus neutralization test; ELISA; Cross-reactivity; Flaviviridae
4.  Bluetongue, Schmallenberg - what is next? Culicoides-borne viral diseases in the 21st Century 
In the past decade, two pathogens transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), bluetongue virus and Schmallenberg virus, have caused serious economic losses to the European livestock industry, most notably affecting sheep and cattle. These outbreaks of arboviral disease have highlighted large knowledge gaps on the biology and ecology of indigenous Culicoides species. With these research gaps in mind, and as a means of assessing what potential disease outbreaks to expect in the future, an international workshop was held in May 2013 at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. It brought together research groups from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and The Netherlands, with diverse backgrounds in vector ecology, epidemiology, entomology, virology, animal health, modelling, and genetics. Here, we report on the key findings of this workshop.
PMCID: PMC3978055  PMID: 24685104
Culicoides; Midge; Schmallenberg virus; Bluetongue virus; Emerging disease; Ecology
5.  Ethnoveterinary medicines in four districts of Jimma zone, Ethiopia: cross sectional survey for plant species and mode of use 
Traditional medicines have been used for nearly 90% of livestock populations in Ethiopia where complimentary remedies are required to the modern health care system. All plants with pharmacological activity complimentarily prescribed as best choice against livestock diseases. A community based cross - sectional survey was conducted to investigate ethno-veterinary knowledge and practices of study area by purposive sampling techniques. The data from respondents were collected through face-to face interview using pre-tested semi-structured questionnaires, which was further accompanied by field observations of the medicinal plants. The vast majority of the statistics were analyzed descriptively by SPSS 16 Windows version to extrapolate our findings in ethno-botanical knowledge.
In the study, a total of 74 species of ethnoveterinary medicinal plant species from 31 families have been identified for treating 22 different livestock ailments. The three families: Asteraceae, Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae make up larger proportion of reported medicinal plants which accounted for 10.41%, 8.33% and 6.25%, respectively. Of reported medicinal plants, 16.7% informant consensus was recorded for the species Croton macrostachyus Del., 10.7% for Nicotiana tabacum L. and 9.5% for Olea capensis L.Subsp. macrocarpa (C.H. Wright) I.Verd. in treatment of one or more veterinary ailments. The greater varieties of medicinal plant species that accounted for 28.2% were used against management of blackleg which was common livestock diseases in the study area. The findings showed, trees accounted for 43.24%, followed by shrubs (33.78%) and herbs (14.86%). Eighty one percent of medicinal plants reported by respondents were collected from wild habitats, and leaves reported to be used by 68% of the informants for ethnoveterinary medicines preparations. The preparations were applied through different routes of administration; oral administration accounted for (76.2%), followed by application of topical (9.53%) and nasal (5.19%).
Ethnoveterinary practices significantly suggested to play greater roles in livestock health care as an alternative or integral part of modern veterinary practices. The traditional knowledge in treatment of livestock diseases of the study districts needs further scientific evaluations by phytochemical and antimicrobial experimentation to determine safety, efficacy, mode of delivery, drug development and dosage in pharmacological laboratory.
PMCID: PMC3978085  PMID: 24679045
Ethnoveterinary; Medicines; Plant species; Mode of use; Jimma; Ethiopia
6.  EpiContactTrace: an R-package for contact tracing during livestock disease outbreaks and for risk-based surveillance 
During outbreak of livestock diseases, contact tracing can be an important part of disease control. Animal movements can also be of relevance for risk-based surveillance and sampling, i.e. both when assessing consequences of introduction or likelihood of introduction. In many countries, animal movement data are collected with one of the major objectives to enable contact tracing. However, often an analytical step is needed to retrieve appropriate information for contact tracing or surveillance.
In this study, an open source tool was developed to structure livestock movement data to facilitate contact-tracing in real time during disease outbreaks and for input in risk-based surveillance and sampling. The tool, EpiContactTrace, was written in the R-language and uses the network parameters in-degree, out-degree, ingoing contact chain and outgoing contact chain (also called infection chain), which are relevant for forward and backward tracing respectively. The time-frames for backward and forward tracing can be specified independently and search can be done on one farm at a time or for all farms within the dataset. Different outputs are available; datasets with network measures, contacts visualised in a map and automatically generated reports for each farm either in HTML or PDF-format intended for the end-users, i.e. the veterinary authorities, regional disease control officers and field-veterinarians. EpiContactTrace is available as an R-package at the R-project website (
We believe this tool can help in disease control since it rapidly can structure essential contact information from large datasets. The reproducible reports make this tool robust and independent of manual compilation of data. The open source makes it accessible and easily adaptable for different needs.
PMCID: PMC3974595  PMID: 24636731
Cattle-transport; Control strategies; Decision support systems; Epidemics; Eradication programs; Network analysis; GIS
7.  Influence of the cardiac glycoside digoxin on cardiac troponin I, acid–base and electrolyte balance, and haematobiochemical profiles in healthy donkeys (Equus asinus) 
The effect of digoxin administration on the serum concentration of the cardiac troponin I (cTnI) has not been reported to date in equidae. This study was therefore designed to evaluate the effect of digoxin on cardiac cell damage in donkeys (Equus asinus) as assessed by cTnI, acid–base and electrolyte balance and haematobiochemical profiles. Ten clinically healthy donkeys were given an IV infusion of digoxin at a dose of 14 μg/kg. Blood samples were collected from the donkeys up through 72 h post-injection.
Three of the donkeys exhibited increased heart and respiratory rates post-injection. In the other seven animals, the heart and respiratory rates were lower 4 h post-injection. The serum digoxin concentration increased significantly at many time points after injection. The serum concentration of cTnI did not differ significantly between pre- and post-injection. An increase in blood pH was noted at 3 h after digoxin injection. There were also increases in PO2 and in oxygen saturation. Decreases in PCO2 at 2 to 48 h post-injection as well as a decrease in blood lactate at 4 h post-injection were observed. The serum concentration of glucose remained significantly elevated at all-time points after digoxin injection.
It is concluded that administration of digoxin to healthy donkeys (14 μg/kg) did not result in elevations of serum cTnI concentration, signs of digoxin intoxication, ECG abnormalities and did not increase serum concentrations of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine.
PMCID: PMC3984684  PMID: 24621180
Cardiac troponin I; Digoxin; Donkey; Heart failure; Intoxication
8.  Antitrypanosomal activity of aloin and its derivatives against Trypanosoma congolense field isolate 
There is an urgent need for the development of new, cheap, safe and highly effective drugs against African trypanosomiasis that affects both man and livestock in sub-Saharan Africa including Ethiopia. In the present study the exudate of Aloe gilbertii, an endemic Aloe species of Ethiopia, aloin, aloe-emodin and rhein were tested for their in vitro and in vivo antitrypanosomal activities against Trypanosoma congolense field isolate. Aloin was prepared from the leaf exudate of A. gilbertii by acid catalyzed hydrolysis. Aloe-emodin was obtained by oxidative hydrolysis of aloin, while rhein was subsequently derived from aloe-emodin by oxidation. In vitro trypanocidal activity tests were conducted on parasites obtained from infected mice, while mice infected with T. congolense were used to evaluate in vivo antitrypanosomal activity of the test substances.
Results of the study showed that all the test substances arrested parasites motility at effective concentration of 4.0 mg/ml within an incubation period ranging from 15 to 40 min. Moreover, the same concentration of the test substances caused loss of infectivity of the parasites to mice during 30 days observation period. Among the tested substances, rhein showed superior activity with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 0.4 mg/ml. No adverse reactions were observed when the test substances were administered at a dose of 2000 mg/kg. Rhein at doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg, and the exudate, aloin and aloe-emodin at a dose of 400 mg/kg reduced the level of parasitaemia significantly (P < 0.05) and improved anaemia.
The results obtained in this investigation indicate that aloin and its derivatives particularly rhein have the potential to be used as a scaffold for the development of safe and cost effective antitrypanosomal drugs that can be useful in the continuing fight against African trypanosomiasis.
PMCID: PMC3984735  PMID: 24612613
African trypanosomiasis; Aloe gilbertii; Aloin; Aloe-emodin; Rhein; Antitrypanosomal activities; Trypanosoma congolense
9.  Substitution of dietary fish oil with plant oils is associated with shortened mid intestinal folds in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) 
Fish meal and fish oil are increasingly replaced by ingredients from terrestrial sources in the feeds for farmed salmonids due to expanding production and reduced availability of marine feed raw material. Fish oil that is rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is considered beneficial to human health in general and to prevent intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis in particular. In contrast, n-6 fatty acids that are present in many vegetable oils have been associated with increased risk of colitis and colon cancer in rodents and humans, as well as lowered transcription levels of certain stress and antioxidant-related genes in Atlantic salmon.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the intestinal health in Atlantic salmon fed with different vegetable oils as partial substitutes of fish oil in the diet. A feed trial lasting for 28 weeks included one reference diet containing fish oil as the sole lipid source and three diets where 80% of the fish oil was replaced by a plant oil blend with either olive oil, rapeseed oil or soybean oil as the main lipid source. These plant oils have intermediate or low n-3/n-6-ratios compared to fish oil having a high n-3/n-6-ratio. The protein and carbohydrate fractions were identical in all the feeds.
Morphometric measurements showed significantly shorter folds in the mid intestine in all groups fed vegetable oils compared to the group fed fish oil. In the distal intestine, the complex folds were significantly shorter in the fish fed soybean oil compared to the fish fed rapeseed oil. Histological and immunohistochemical examination did not show clear difference in the degree of inflammation or proliferation of epithelial cells related to dietary groups, which was further confirmed by real-time RT-PCR which revealed only moderate alterations in the mRNA transcript levels of selected immune-related genes.
Shortened intestinal folds might be associated with reduced intestinal surface and impaired nutrient absorption and growth, but our results suggest that partial substitution of dietary fish oil with vegetable oils does not have any major negative impact on the intestinal health of Atlantic salmon.
PMCID: PMC3973862  PMID: 24606841
Atlantic salmon; Fatty acids; Fish oil; Inflammation; Intestine; Morphometric analyses; Plant oils; Real-time PCR
10.  Simultaneous infections by different Salmonella strains in mesenteric lymph nodes of finishing pigs 
Salmonellosis is a major worldwide zoonosis, and Salmonella-infected finishing pigs are considered one of the major sources of human infections in developed countries. Baseline studies on salmonellosis prevalence in fattening pigs in Europe are based on direct pathogen isolation from mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN). This procedure is considered the most reliable for diagnosing salmonellosis in apparently healthy pigs. The presence of simultaneous infections by different Salmonella strains in the same animal has never been reported and could have important epidemiological implications.
Fourteen finishing pigs belonging to 14 farms that showed high salmonellosis prevalence and a variety of circulating Salmonella strains, were found infected by Salmonella spp, and 7 of them were simultaneously infected with strains of 2 or 3 different serotypes. Typhimurium isolates showing resistance to several antimicrobials and carrying mobile integrons were the most frequently identified in the colonized MLN. Four animals were found infected by Salmonella spp. of a single serotype (Rissen or Derby) but showing 2 or 3 different antimicrobial resistance profiles, without evidence of mobile genetic element exchange in vivo.
This is the first report clearly demonstrating that pigs naturally infected by Salmonella may harbour different Salmonella strains simultaneously. This may have implications in the interpretation of results from baseline studies, and also help to better understand human salmonellosis outbreaks and the horizontal transmission of antimicrobial resistance genes.
PMCID: PMC3974189  PMID: 24606823
Salmonella; Multiple infections; Pigs; Serotypes; Antimicrobial resistance
11.  Age effects on plasma cholesterol and triglyceride profiles and metabolite concentrations in dogs 
In dogs, occurrence of lipid metabolism disorders such as obesity and diabetes mellitus has increased markedly in recent years. Hyperlipidemia has been regarded as a common characteristic for obese animals and hyperlipidemic condition may be associated with inflammation, oxidative stress and lipid composition changes. In this study, we investigated the changes in plasma cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) profiles and metabolite concentrations in 24 dogs (young group: 0-7 years old, n = 12, aged group: 8-13 years old, n = 12).
Plasma adiponectin (ADN) concentrations were significantly lower in aged dogs than those in young dogs (mean ± SD, 17.2 ± 10.0 μg mL-1 vs 29.3 ± 12.5 μg mL-1, respectively; P <0.05). Although there were no significant differences statistically, aged dogs showed significantly higher plasma alpha1- acid glycoprotein (alpah1-AG) levels compared to those in young dogs. Plasma cholesterol lipoprotein and TG lipoprotein were divided into four fractions by biphasic agarose gel electrophoresis technique. The levels of the third TG-lipoprotein fraction from the positive pole (TG Fraction 3) were significantly higher in aged dogs than in young dogs (mean ± SD, 143.0 ± 109.3 mg dL-1 vs 55.2 ± 31.3 mg dL-1, respectively; P <0.05). On the correlation coefficient analysis by Peason’s method, moderate positive correlations were seen between the age and TG (r = 0.446, P = 0.029), TG Fraction 3 (r = 0.516, P = 0.010), malondialdehyde (r = 0.146, P = 0.043), alpha-1 AG (r = 0.448, P = 0.028) levels, respectively. Moderate negative correlations were seen the age and total cholesterol (TC) Fraction 2 (r = -0.446, P = 0.029), glucose (r = -0.637, P = 0.001), ADN (r = -0.408, P = 0.048), respectively.
Present data suggest biochemical characteristics of lipid metabolism disorder may be affected by aging in dogs.
PMCID: PMC3946593  PMID: 24597741
Aged dog; Adiponectin; Superoxide dismutase; Alpha1-acid glycoprotein; Cholesterol lipoprotein; Triglyceride lipoprotein
12.  Hypoxia-conditioned media allows species-specific attraction of bone marrow stromal cells without need for recombinant proteins 
In vivo tissue regeneration depends on migration of stem cells into injured areas, their differentiation into specific cell types, and their interaction with other cells that are necessary to generate new tissue. Human mesenchymal stem cells, a subset of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), can migrate and differentiate into osteoblasts in bone tissue. This can be facilitated by recombinant growth factors and cytokines. In many animal species, the availability of genomic sequences, recombinant proteins, and/or antibodies is limited so that new approaches are needed to generate resources that facilitate migration of stem cells into tissue defect areas. Here we used bone marrow stromal cells of human, ovine, equine, and canine origin to generate hypoxia-conditioned media (HCM) in order to attract BMSCs of the respective species in migration assays.
We show that HCM contain attractors even more potent than vascular endothelial growth factor and can therefore be used in many animal species without the need for purified proteins.
Generation of HCM is easy and cheap compared to preparation and purification of protein fractions and/or recombinant proteins. Hence, HCM could be applied in large animals (e.g. sheep, horse, dogs) for attraction of BMSCs into tissue defects caused by tumor resection or trauma.
PMCID: PMC3974005  PMID: 24593914
Stem cells; Migration; Hypoxia; Tissue repair
13.  Spinal dermoid sinus in a Dachshund with vertebral and thoracic limb malformations 
Dermoid sinus is an uncommon epithelial-lined fistula that may be associated with vertebral malformations. In humans, Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS) is a rare condition characterized by congenital cervical vertebral fusion and may be associated with other developmental defects, including dermoid sinus. The present case report describes an adult Dachshund with cervical and cranial thoracic vertebral malformations as well as thoracic limb malformations resembling KFS with a concurrent type IV dermoid sinus.
Case presentation
A 1.5 year-old Dachshund with congenital thoracic limbs deformities and cervical-thoracic vertebral malformations presented with cervical hyperesthesia, rigidity of the cervical musculature and tetraparesis. Neurologic, radiographic, and computed tomography (CT) (2D, 3D, CT fistulography) examinations revealed skeletal anomalies, a dermoid sinus in the cranial thoracic region and epidural gas within the vertebral canal. Surgical resection and histopathological evaluation of the sinus tract were performed and confirmed a type IV dermoid sinus. The clinical signs progressively recovered postoperatively, and no recurrent signs were observed after 6 months of follow-up.
Cervical vertebral malformations associated with limbs anomalies have not been reported in dogs and may represent a condition similar to KFS in humans. KFS can occur concurrently with other congenital conditions including dermoid sinus and should be included among the complex congenital anomalies described in dogs.
PMCID: PMC3975874  PMID: 24593884
Dermoid sinus; Klippel-Feil syndrome; Limbs malformations; Dog
14.  The antibacterial activity, antioxidant activity and selectivity index of leaf extracts of thirteen South African tree species used in ethnoveterinary medicine to treat helminth infections 
Diseases caused by bacteria remain a major challenge globally and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The plants used in this study have been used in South Africa to treat helminth infections in livestock and humans. In a previous study we found a correlation between antifungal and anthelmintic activity in some cases. In this study we examined other potential uses of these thirteen plant species by determining the antibacterial and antioxidant activity of the leaf acetone extracts.
The antibacterial activity was determined by using a serial microdilution method against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis. Bioautography was used to determine the number of antibacterial compounds. The antioxidant activity was determined using the ABTS and DPPH methods.
Maesa lanceolata and Leucosidea sericea with an MIC of 0.02 mg/ml had excellent antibacterial activity against Enterococcus faecalis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. There was a poor correlation between antioxidant activity and antibacterial activity with R2 = 0.143. This is because antibacterial activity is mainly related to non-polar compounds and antioxidant activity to polar compounds. Maesa lanceolata extracts had a low cytotoxicity with a selectivity index of 5.2, 2.6, 2.6 and 1.3 for P. aeruginosa, E. faecalis, E. coli and S. aureus respectively. Strychnos mitis extracts had a therapeutic index of 1.1 for E. coli.
This study shows that plant extracts of some species used in ethnoveterinary medicine as anthelmintic may also have excellent antibacterial activity.
PMCID: PMC3946145  PMID: 24589020
15.  Evaluation of vertical forces in the pads of Pitbulls with cranial cruciate ligament rupture 
Cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCLR) is one of the most important stifle injuries and a common cause of lameness in dogs. Our objective was to measure the vertical forces in the pads of Pitbulls with cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCLR) using a pressure sensitive walkway. A pressure sensitive walkway was used to collect vertical force data from the pads of 10 Pitbulls affected with unilateral CCLR. Ten healthy Pitbulls were included in the study as controls. Velocity varied between 1.3 and 1.6 m/s and acceleration was kept below ± 0.1 m/s2. Differences between groups and between pads in the same limb within groups were investigated using ANOVA and the Tukey test. The paired Student t-test was employed to assess gait symmetry (p < 0.05).
Peak vertical forces (PVF) were lower in the affected limb, particularly in the metatarsal pad. Increased PVF values in the forelimb and the contralateral hind limb pads of affected dogs suggest a compensatory effect.
A consistent pattern of vertical force distribution was observed in the pads of dogs with CCLR. These data are important for increased understanding of vertical force distribution in the limb of dogs with CCLR disease. Kinetic analysis using pressure sensitive walkways can be useful in follow-up assessment of surgically treated dogs regardless of the surgical technique employed.
PMCID: PMC3945724  PMID: 24581287
Vertical forces; Cranial cruciate ligament rupture; Dogs; Kinetic analysis; Pads
16.  Prevalence of influenza A viruses in livestock and free-living waterfowl in Uganda 
Avian influenza viruses may cause severe disease in a variety of domestic animal species worldwide, with high mortality in chickens and turkeys. To reduce the information gap about prevalence of these viruses in animals in Uganda, this study was undertaken.
Influenza A virus prevalence by RT-PCR was 1.1% (45/4,052) while seroprevalence by ELISA was 0.8% (24/2,970). Virus prevalence was highest in domestic ducks (2.7%, 17/629) and turkeys (2.6%, 2/76), followed by free-living waterfowl (1.3%, 12/929) and swine (1.4%, 7/511). A lower proportion of chicken samples (0.4%, 7/1,865) tested positive. No influenza A virus was isolated. A seasonal prevalence of these viruses in waterfowl was 0.7% (4/561) for the dry and 2.2% (8/368) for the wet season. In poultry, prevalence was 0.2% (2/863) for the dry and 1.4% (24/1,713) for the wet season, while that of swine was 0.0% (0/159) and 2.0% (7/352) in the two seasons, respectively. Of the 45 RT-PCR positive samples, 13 (28.9%) of them were H5 but none was H7. The 19 swine sera positive for influenza antibodies by ELISA were positive for H1 antibodies by HAI assay, but the subtype(s) of ELISA positive poultry sera could not be determined. Antibodies in the poultry sera could have been those against subtypes not included in the HAI test panel.
The study has demonstrated occurrence of influenza A viruses in animals in Uganda. The results suggest that increase in volumes of migratory waterfowl in the country could be associated with increased prevalence of these viruses in free-living waterfowl and poultry.
PMCID: PMC3974059  PMID: 24576325
Influenza A viruses; Poultry; Pigs; RNA; Sera; Free-living; Waterfowl
17.  An international collaborative study to determine the prevalence of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia by monoclonal antibody-based cELISA 
Few serological tests are available for detecting antibodies against Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae, the causal agent of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP). The complement fixation test, the test prescribed for international trade purposes, uses a crude antigen that cross-reacts with all the other mycoplasma species of the “mycoides cluster” frequently infecting goat herds. The lack of a more specific test has been a real obstacle to the evaluation of the prevalence and economic impact of CCPP worldwide. A new competitive ELISA kit for CCPP, based on a previous blocking ELISA, was formatted at CIRAD and used to evaluate the prevalence of CCPP in some regions of Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Tajikistan and Pakistan in an international collaborative study.
The strict specificity of the test was confirmed in CCPP-free goat herds exposed to other mycoplasma species of the “mycoides cluster”. Prevalence studies were performed across the enzootic range of the disease in Africa and Asia. Seroprevalence was estimated at 14.6% in the Afar region of Ethiopia, whereas all the herds presented for CCPP vaccination in Kenya tested positive (individual seroprevalence varied from 6 to 90% within each herd). In Mauritius, where CCPP emerged in 2009, nine of 62 herds tested positive. In Central Asia, where the disease was confirmed only recently, no positive animals were detected in the Wakhan District of Afghanistan or across the border in neighboring areas of Tajikistan, whereas seroprevalence varied between 2.7% and 44.2% in the other districts investigated and in northern Pakistan. The test was also used to monitor seroconversion in vaccinated animals.
This newly formatted CCPP cELISA kit has retained the high specificity of the original kit. It can therefore be used to evaluate the prevalence of CCPP in countries or regions without vaccination programs. It could also be used to monitor the efficacy of vaccination campaigns as high-quality vaccines induce high rates of seroconversion.
PMCID: PMC3938968  PMID: 24565080
Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia; Competitive ELISA; Seroprevalence; Kenya; Ethiopia; Mauritius; Tajikistan; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Vaccine quality control
18.  Expression of glutathione, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione S-transferase pi in canine mammary tumors 
Glutathione (GSH) is one of the most important agents of the antioxidant defense system of the cell because, in conjunction with the enzymes glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and glutathione S transferase pi (GSTpi), it plays a central role in the detoxification and biotransformation of chemotherapeutic drugs. This study evaluated the expression of GSH and the GSH-Px and GSTpi enzymes by immunohistochemistry in 30 canine mammary tumors, relating the clinicopathological parameters, clinical outcome and survival of the bitches. In an in vitro study, the expression of the genes glutamate cysteine ligase (GCLC) and glutathione synthetase (GSS) that synthesize GSH and GSH-Px gene were verified by qPCR and subjected to treatment with doxorubicin, to check the resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapy.
The immunohistochemical expression of GSH, GSH-Px and GSTpi was compared with the clinical and pathological characteristics and the clinical outcome in the bitches, including metastasis and death.
The results showed that high immunoexpression of GSH was correlated to the absence of tumor ulceration and was present in dogs without metastasis (P < 0.05). There was significant correlation of survival with the increase of GSH (P < 0.05). The expression of the GSH-Px and GSTpi enzymes showed no statistically significant correlation with the analyzed variables (p > 0.05). The analysis of the relative expression of genes responsible for the synthesis of GSH (GCLC and GSS) and GSH-Px by quantitative PCR was done with cultured cells of 10 tumor fragments from dogs with mammary tumors.
The culture cells showed a decrease in GCLC and GSS expression when compared with no treated cells (P < 0.05). High GSH immunoexpression was associated with better clinical outcomes.
Therefore, high expression of the GSH seems to play an important role in the clinical outcome of patients with mammary tumors and suggest its use as prognostic marker. The in vitro doxorubicin treatment significantly reduces the expression of GCLC and GSS genes so we can consider them to be candidates for predictive markers of therapeutic response in mammary cancer.
PMCID: PMC3975948  PMID: 24565113
Mammary neoplasia; Glutathione; Immunohistochemistry; Real-time PCR; Oxidative stress
19.  Intra-pulp temperature increase of equine cheek teeth during treatment with motorized grinding systems: influence of grinding head position and rotational speed 
In equine practice, teeth corrections by means of motorized grinding systems are standard procedure. The heat resulting from that treatment may cause irreparable damage to the dental pulp. It has been shown that a 5.5°C temperature rise may cause severe destruction in pulp cells. Hence, the capability to continuously form secondary dentine is lost, and may lead, due to equine-typical occlusal tooth abrasion, to an opening of the pulp cavity.
To obtain reliable data on the intra-pulp increase in temperature during corrective treatments, equine cheek teeth (CT) were modified in a way (occlusal surface smoothed, apical parts detached, pulp horns standardized) that had been qualified in own former published studies. All parameters influencing the grinding process were standardized (force applied, initial temperatures, dimensions of pulp horns, positioning of grinding disk, rotational speed). During grinding experiments, imitating real dental treatments, the time span for an intra-pulp temperature increase of 5.5°C was determined.
The minimum time recorded for an intra-pulp temperature increase of 5.5°C was 38 s in mandibular CT (buccal grinding, 12,000 rpm) and 70 s in maxillary CT (flat occlusal grinding, 12,000 rpm). The data obtained showed that doubling the rotational speed of the disk results in halving the time span after which the critical intra-pulp temperature increase in maxillary CT is reached. For mandibular CT, the time span even drops by two thirds.
The use of standardized hypsodont CT enabled comparative studies of intra-pulp heating during the grinding of occlusal tooth surfaces using different tools and techniques. The anatomical structure of the natural vital hypsodont tooth must be kept in mind, so that the findings of this study do not create a deceptive sense of security with regard to the time-dependent heating of the native pulp.
PMCID: PMC3936934  PMID: 24559121
Equine; Pulp; Teeth; Dental treatment; Temperature
20.  Up-regulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress induced genes of the unfolded protein response in the liver of periparturient dairy cows 
In dairy cows, the periparturient phase is a stressful period, which is commonly associated with strong metabolic adaptations and the development of pathophysiologic conditions and disorders. Some of the symptoms occurring in the liver, such as the development of fatty liver, are similar to those observed under the condition of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Therefore, we hypothesized, that in the liver of dairy cows ER stress is induced during the periparturient phase, which in turn leads to an induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR). In order to investigate this hypothesis, we determined relative mRNA concentrations of 14 genes of the ER stress-induced UPR in liver biopsy samples of 13 dairy cows at 3 wk antepartum and 1, 5 and 14 wk postpartum.
We found, that the mRNA concentrations of 13 out of the 14 genes involved in the UPR in the liver were significantly increased (1.9 to 4.0 fold) at 1 wk postpartum compared to 3 wk antepartum. From 1 wk postpartum to later lactation, mRNA concentrations of all the genes considered were declining. Moreover, at 1 wk postpartum, mRNA concentration of the spliced variant of XBP1 was increased in comparison to 3 wk antepartum, indicating that splicing of XBP1 – a hallmark of ER stress - was induced following the onset of lactation.
The present study reveals, that ER stress might be induced during the periparturient phase in the liver of dairy cows. We assume that the ER stress-induced UPR might contribute to the pathophysiologic conditions commonly observed in the liver of periparturient cows, such as the development of fatty liver, ketosis or inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3936700  PMID: 24555446
Dairy cow; Liver; ER stress; Unfolded protein response
21.  Morphometric, densitometric and mechanical properties of mandibular deciduous teeth in 5-month-old Polish Merino sheep 
Caries, enamel hypoplasia, molar incisor hipomineralization, amylogenesis imperfecta, dentine dysplasia, hypophosphatasia and other dental disorders lead to tooth mineralization disturbances and structural abnormalities, decreasing masticatory organ functions. Dental disorders in sheep can lead to premature slaughter before they have attained final stage of their reproductive life and induce economic loss due to high flock replacement costs. Growth rate, health status and meat quality of sheep depends on tooth properties and quality determining in large extent efficiency of the masticatory apparatus and initial food break up. Considering lack of basic anatomical and physiological data on teeth properties in sheep, the aim of the study was to evaluate morphometric, densitometric and mechanical traits of deciduous mandibular incisor, canine and the second premolar obtained at the slaughter age of 5 months of life.
The obtained results have shown the highest values of weight, total tooth volume, enamel volume and dentine volume in second premolar. Morphometric and mechanical parameters of incisors reached the highest values in first incisor and decreased gradually in second and third incisor, and in canine. Densitometric measurements have not revealed significant differences of the volumetric tooth mineral density in hard dental tissues between the investigated teeth.
In conclusion, proposed methodological approach is noninvasive since the deciduous teeth undergo physiological replacement with permanent teeth. Deciduous teeth can be easy collected for analyses from large animal population and may reflect mineral status and metabolism resulting from postnatal growth and development of the whole flock. In individual cases, evaluation of properties of deciduous teeth may serve for breeding selection and further reproduction of sheep possessing favorable traits of teeth and better masticatory system functions.
PMCID: PMC3936944  PMID: 24548814
Sheep; Teeth; Densitometry; Quantitative computed tomography; Microtomography
22.  A recombinant chimera comprising the R1 and R2 repeat regions of M. hyopneumoniae P97 and the N-terminal region of A. pleuropneumoniae ApxIII elicits immune responses 
Infection by Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, either alone or together, causes serious respiratory diseases in pigs.
To develop an efficient multi-disease subunit vaccine against these pathogens, we produced a chimeric protein called Ap97, which comprises a deletion derivative of the N-terminal region of the A. pleuropneumoniae ApxIII toxin (ApxN) and the R1 and R2 repeats of M. hyopneumoniae P97 adhesin (P97C), using an E. coli expression system.
The levels of both IgG1 and IgG2a isotypes specific for ApxN and P97C in the sera of Ap97-immunized mice increased, and Ap97 induced the secretion of IL-4 and IFN-γ by mouse splenocytes. Antisera from mice and pigs immunized with Ap97 readily reacted with both native ApxIII and P97 proteins. In addition, immunization with the Ap97 vaccine effectively protected pigs against challenge with both pathogens.
These findings suggest that Ap97 confers immunogenicity, and is an effective vaccine that protects pigs against infection by M. hyopneumoniae and A. pleuropneumoniae.
PMCID: PMC3932138  PMID: 24533486
Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae; ApxIII; Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae; P97; Recombinant chimera; Vaccine
23.  Congenital nasolacrimal duct fistula in Brown Swiss cattle 
An increased incidence of nasolacrimal duct fistula in the offspring of dam J and three of her sons (bulls A, B and C) prompted a study to investigate the prevalence and clinical manifestation of this anomaly. The dam J, bull B, 255 direct offspring of bulls A, B, and C and eight other direct and indirect offspring of cow J were examined. The periocular region of each animal was examined for unilateral or bilateral nasolacrimal duct fistula and the location, appearance and size of the lesions.
Of 265 cattle examined, 54 had unilateral (n = 24) or bilateral fistula (n = 30). The prevalence of affected offspring differed significantly among the three bulls. The fistulae were located medial to the medial canthus of the eye and were 1 to 10 mm (median, 1 mm) in height and 1 to 12 mm (median, 2 mm) in length. The shape of the opening was circular in 58, oval in 23 and slit-like in three. One other animal had a large opening with an atypical shape and another had an abnormal medial canthus with several fistulous openings. Seventy openings were pigmented and 52 were hairless. The fistulae were clinically significant in 12 animals.
The findings suggest a hereditary cause of nasolacrimal duct fistula in Brown Swiss cattle.
PMCID: PMC3932140  PMID: 24548799
Cattle; Nasolacrimal duct; Nasolacrimal duct fistula; Congenital anomaly
24.  Development of a direct competitive ELISA for the detection of Mycoplasma bovis infection based on a monoclonal antibody of P48 protein 
Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) is a major, but often overlooked, pathogen documented to cause respiratory disease, mastitis, and arthritis in cattle throughout China since 2008. Here, we report the development of a direct competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Dc-ELISA) to detect M. bovis antibody.
We used a recombinant P48 protein and monoclonal antibody (mAb) 10E. MAb 10E, prepared against the recombinant P48 protein of M. bovis, identified all M. bovis strains with no cross-reactivity with other related pathogens. Coating micro plates with P48 protein instead of whole M. bovis cells as well as the use of mAb 10E produced a specific and sensitive Dc-ELISA for M. bovis antibody detection with a cut-off percent inhibition (PI) value of 32%. Compared with two commercial indirect ELISA (i-ELISA) kits, our Dc-ELISA offered a higher positive detection rate in 165 clinical bovine serum samples.
A rapid, sensitive, and reliable serological diagnosis method was developed for M. bovis, which can facilitate M. bovis surveillance, assisting researchers in understanding the ecology and epidemiology of M. bovis.
PMCID: PMC3942108  PMID: 24533468
Direct competitive ELISA; Mycoplasma bovis; Monoclonal antibody
25.  Highland cattle and Radix labiata, the hosts of Fascioloides magna 
Fascioloides magna is a pathogenic fluke introduced to Europe ca 140 years ago. As it is spreading over the continent, new intermediate and definitive hosts might be involved in transmission of the parasite. In Europe, several studies reported potential new intermediate snail hosts (Radix spp.) for F. magna, and also several cases of fascioloidosis of wild and domestic animals were published. However, the data based on molecular and histological analyses confirming these findings remained unreported. This study aims to refer to unique findings of F. magna in European snails and domestic animals (the first observation in the Czech Republic in the last 30 years) and demonstrate the use of molecular techniques in determination of F. magna.
Two snails of R. labiata naturally infected with F. magna were found; mature cercariae and daughter rediae were observed. Maturity of cercariae was checked by histological methods, however, their ability to encyst was not confirmed. Co-infection of F. magna and Fasciola hepatica in the liver of two highland cattle bulls was proved. Adult fasciolid flukes producing eggs were found in the liver pseudocysts (F. magna) and the bile ducts (F. hepatica). Identification of intermediate hosts, intramolluscan stages, adult flukes and eggs was performed by sequencing the ITS2 region. Connection of F. magna pseudocysts with the gut (via the bile ducts) was not confirmed by means of histological and coprological examinations.
For the first time, Radix labiata was confirmed as the snail host for F. magna under natural conditions and, together with the finding of F. magna infection in cattle, we can expect further transmission of F. magna from wildlife to livestock in localities shared by these hosts.
PMCID: PMC3928908  PMID: 24517409
Fascioloides magna; Fasciola hepatica; Radix labiata; Galba truncatula; Highland cattle; Molecular determination; ITS2; Histology; Pseudocyst

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