The majority of research on the evaluation of horses with colic is focused on referral hospital populations. Early identification of critical cases is important to optimise outcome and welfare. The aim of this prospective study was to survey the primary evaluation of horses with clinical signs of abdominal pain by veterinary practitioners, and compare the initial presentation of critical and non-critical cases.
Data from 1016 primary evaluations of horses presenting with clinical signs of colic were submitted by 167 veterinary practitioners across the United Kingdom over a 13 month period. The mean age of the study population was 13.5 years (median 12.0, range 0–42). Mean heart rate on primary presentation was 47 beats/min (median 44, range 18–125), mean respiratory rate was 20 breaths/min (median 16, range 6–100), and median gastrointestinal auscultation score (0–12, minimum–maximum) was 5 (range 0–12). Clinical signs assessed using a behavioural severity score (0–17, minimum–maximum), were between 0 and 6 in 70.4 % of cases, and 7–12 for 29.6 % of cases. Rectal examination was performed in 73.8 % of cases. Cases that responded positively to simple medical treatment were categorised retrospectively as ‘non-critical’; cases that required intensive medical treatment, surgical intervention, died or were euthanased were categorised as ‘critical’. Eight-hundred-and-twenty-two cases met these criteria; 76.4 % were ‘non-critical’ and 23.6 % were ‘critical’. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify features of the clinical presentation associated with critical cases. Five variables were retained in the final multivariable model: combined pain score: (OR 1.19, P < 0.001, 95 % CI 1.09–1.30), heart rate (OR 1.06, P < 0.001, 95 % CI 1.04–1.08), capillary refill time >2.5 s (OR 3.21, P = 0.046, 95 % CI 1.023–10.09), weak pulse character (OR 2.90, P = 0.004, 95 % CI 1.39–5.99) and absence of gut sounds in ≥1 quadrant (OR 3.65, P < 0.001, 95 % CI 2.08–6.41).
This is the first study comparing the primary presentation of critical and non-critical cases of abdominal pain. Pain, heart rate, gastrointestinal borborygmi and simple indicators of hypovolaemia were significant indicators of critical cases, even at the primary veterinary examination, and should be considered essential components of the initial assessment and triage of horses presenting with colic.
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Horse; Colic; Evaluation; Critical; Outcome
This study aimed to evaluate dogs with pelvic fractures and treated conservatively during locomotion on a pressure-sensing walkway. The hypothesis was that dogs may present changes in kinetic and temporospatial parameters because of the fractures, which may interfere with the symmetry index. Thirty dogs were selected and divided into two groups: Group 1—healthy group (n = 15) and Group 2—conservatively treated group (n = 15). The dogs were of similar body size. The body weight distribution percentages and symmetry indices of the peak vertical force, vertical impulse, stance time, swing time, percentage of stance time, and percentage of swing time of the hind limbs were evaluated.
In Group 2, the time interval between fracture occurrence and patient evaluation was between 4 and 87 months (mean of 20 months). Four dogs had lower percentage of body weight distribution on one of the hind limbs while three dogs had greater weight distributed toward both hind limbs. Four of these dogs had alterations in the temporospatial and/or kinetic symmetry indices.
Dogs with pelvic fractures treated conservatively may present changes in percentage of body weight distribution and symmetry indices of the kinetic and temporospatial parameters. The conservative treatment can cause persistent abnormal gait.
Dogs; Gait analysis; Fracture; Treatment; Kinetic
Computed tomography (CT) is used to evaluate the human tracheobronchial tree because of its unsurpassed ability to visualize the airway and surrounding structures. To establish an ideal animal model for studying subglottic stenosis, we assessed the size and morphology of the normal rabbit’s laryngotracheal airway by helical CT. We measured luminal dimensions at the levels of the arytenoid and cricoid cartilages and the first, third, and eighth tracheal rings. At all levels, the axial slices were used to calculate the maximum anteroposterior (AP) dimension, transverse dimension, and cross-sectional areas. We measured the tracheal length from the cricoid to the third and eighth tracheal rings on sagittal reformation. We assessed the hyoid, thyroid, cricoid, arytenoid, and tracheal rings for the presence of calcific or soft tissue densities. We also addressed the presence or absence of pre-epiglottic and paraglottic fat.
The mean AP tracheal dimension ± standard deviation (SD) was 8.6 ± 0.5 mm at the arytenoid level, 8.2 ± 0.7 mm at the cricoid level, and 7.7 ± 0.2 mm at the first tracheal ring level. The transverse tracheal dimension ±SD was 5.3 ± 0.1 mm at the arytenoid level, 5.5 ± 0.5 mm at the cricoid level, and 6.1 ± 0.6 mm at the first tracheal ring level. The mean tracheal area ±SD was 35.7 ± 2.2 mm2 at the arytenoid level, 35.8 ± 5.1 mm2 at the cricoid level, and 39.2 ± 4.3 mm2 at the first tracheal ring level. The tracheal length ±SD was 10.7 ± 2.3 mm from the cricoid to the third tracheal ring and 19.1 ± 1.14 mm to the eighth tracheal ring. There was complete calcification of the hyoid in all rabbits. Only two rabbits showed complete thyroid, arytenoid, or tracheal ring calcification. The remaining airway components were otherwise either uncalcified or partially calcified. The uvula, epiglottis, aryepiglottic fold, vallecula, piriform sinus, true/false vocal cords, and pre-epiglottic/paraglottic fat were not seen in any rabbit.
Helical CT investigation provides good, highly definitive anatomic details of the larynx and trachea in rabbits. Such results may be used in further evaluation of the normal airway and in cases of subglottic stenosis.
Helical computed tomography; Trachea; Subglottis; Rabbits
Intestinal disease in nursery pigs is the most common cause of antibiotic usage in pigs in Denmark. The decision to initiate batch medication of intestinal diseases in nursery pigs is typically made by the stock personnel based on clinical assessments of pigs and counting of diarrhoeic faecal pools on the pen floor. The target population of this study was batches of nursery pigs (10–66 days after weaning) where the stock personnel assessed the pigs to be without signs of intestinal disease and therefore did not needed treatment. The objective was to determine the within-herd prevalence of diarrhoea, and to determine the prevalence of Escherichia coli F4 and F18, Lawsonia intracellularis and Brachyspira pilosicoli by quantitative PCR in pigs with and without diarrhoea.
The overall apparent prevalence of diarrhoeic pigs across sixteen herds was 32.6 % (CI 95 % 27.9–37.3). The prevalence of diarrhoea increased (p ≤ 0.001) with age of the pigs (days after weaning) with an odds ratio of 1.04 (CI 95 % 1.02–1.05) per extra day. Diarrhoeic pools were observed in 51 % of the pens. L. intracellularis, B. pilosicoli, E. coli F4 and F18 were detected in 20, 17, 13 and 11 % of the 256 faecal samples analysed by quantitative PCR respectively. There was no association between detection of pathogens and diarrhoea status of the individual pigs and between detection of pathogens in a pen and diarrhoea floor pools. In 51 % of the samples from diarrhoeic pigs, pathogens were not detected. Only 5 % of the 3060 pigs examined had clinical signs of diseases other than diarrhoea.
One-third of non-medicated nursery pigs had diarrhoea when clinically examined even though they were assessed as healthy by stock personnel. Diarrhoeic status of the pigs and diarrhoeic pools in pen was a poor indicator of intestinal infections with E. coli F4 and F18, L. intracellularis and B. pilosicoli and subclinical infections were common. Therefore, clinical examination and counting of diarrhoea pools should be supported by microbiological testing as decision tools for initiation of batch treatments of intestinal infections in nursery pigs.
Lawsonia intracellularis; Brachyspira pilosicoli; E. coli; Diarrhoea; Batch medication; Pigs
Perinatal mortality is a major cause of loss in the sheep industry. Our aim was to explore time trends in crude population stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates in Norway. We used data on 6,435,715 lambs from flocks enrolled in the Norwegian Sheep Recording System (NSRS) from 2000 through 2010 for descriptive analysis of trends. Longitudinal patterns of mortality rates were compared for lambs within different levels of variables suspected to be associated with perinatal loss.
There was an approximately linear increase in the annual proportion of stillborn lambs during the study period, from 3.3 % in 2000 to 4.7 % in 2010. In the same time period, average litter size of ewes in NSRS flocks increased from 2.00 to 2.19. However, a steady rise in stillbirth rate was observed within each litter size group, suggesting a gradually increasing impact on stillbirth risk of other, yet unidentified, factors. Average flock size increased during the study period. The highest stillbirth rates were found in the largest and smallest flocks. Early neonatal mortality rates (0–5 days of life) varied from year to year (minimum 2.2 %, maximum 3.2 %) and were invariably higher among triplets and quadruplets than among singletons and twins. Annual fluctuations were parallel within the various litter sizes. A significant overall decreasing trend was present within all litter sizes with the exception of singletons. Weather data for the prime lambing months (April and May) 2000–2010 indicated a relationship between low temperatures and high neonatal mortality rates. At the flock level, there was a significant positive correlation between stillbirths and early neonatal mortality rates (r = 0.13), between stillbirth rates in two consecutive years (r = 0.43) and between early neonatal mortality rates in two consecutive years (r = 0.40).
The substantial increase in ovine stillbirth rate in recent years in Norway was to some extent related to a corresponding increase in the proportion of lambs in triplet or larger litters; however, other factors apparently have contributed. Early neonatal mortality rate exhibited year-to-year variations, partly following temperature fluctuations, which is somewhat unexpected, considering that lambing mainly occurs indoors in Norway.
Sheep; Recording system; Time trends; Stillbirth; Neonatal mortality
During 8 months from July 2012 to February 2013, a major outbreak of canine distemper involving 64 mink farms occurred on the Danish peninsula of Jutland. The canine distemper outbreak was associated with exposure of farmed mink to infected wild carnivores and could represent a deficit in biosecurity on the mink farms. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent and association of specific biosecurity measures with the outbreak. The study was carried out in an epidemiological case–control design. The case group consisted of the 61 farms, which had a confirmed outbreak of canine distemper from July 2012 to February 2013. The control group included 54 farms without an outbreak of canine distemper in 2012 or 2013, selected as the closest geographical neighbour to a case farm.
The results showed that significantly more control than case farms had vaccinated their mink against canine distemper virus. Mortality was only assessed on the case farms, and there was a non-significantly lower mortality on vaccinated farms than on the non-vaccinated farms. Furthermore, the proportion of farms with observations of wild red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) inside the farm enclosures were larger for case farms, indicating that the control farms had a better biosecurity or were not equally exposed to canine distemper virus. Generally, all farms had very few specific precautions at the gate entrance in respect to human visitors as well as animals. The use of biosecurity measures was very variable in both case and control farms. Not using plastic boot covers, presence of dogs and cats, presence of demarcated area for changing clothes when entering and leaving the farm area and presence of hand washing facilities significantly lowered the odds of the farm having a canine distemper virus outbreak.
The results of the study indicate that consistent use of correct vaccination strategies, implementation of biosecurity measures and limiting human and animal access to the mink farm can be important factors in reducing the risk for canine distemper outbreaks.
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Canine distemper virus; Biosecurity; Mink; Neovison vison
Free amino acids and acylcarnitines
circulating in the blood can be used for diagnosis for metabolic illness and imbalances. To date, the normal reference ranges of amino acids and acylcarnitines in horse peripheral blood have not been established. In this study, the concentrations of 12 amino acids and 26 acylcarnitines were determined by tandem mass spectrometry in complete blood from 100 healthy horses (50 Quarter horses (QH) [23 males and 27 females] and 50 American Miniature horses (AMH) [15 males and 35 females]) with no signs of metabolic disease. The means and standard deviations were determined and data statistically analyzed.
Concentrations of short, medium, and long chain acylcarnitines were significantly higher in male AMH than in male QH. The concentrations of the amino acids alanine, arginine, glycine, proline (glycogenic), and leucine (ketogenic) were higher in the QH than in the AMH. Female AMH had higher concentrations of propionylcarnitine, leucine, proline, arginine, and ornithine than female QH.
Normal reference ranges of amino acids and acylcarnitines were established for AMH and QH. Significant differences were found in concentration of these compounds between breeds and gender.
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Amino acid; Acylcarnitine; Metabolic profile; Miniature horse; Quarter horse; Tandem mass spectrometry
Organic pig production is expanding and amongst the objectives of organic farming are enhancing animal health and welfare. However, some studies have reported a higher prevalence of lameness and joint condemnation at slaughter in free-range/organic pigs than in conventionally raised pigs. Organic slaughter pigs have free-range housing in which indoor and outdoor access is compulsory, while in conventional farming the pigs are commonly confined to indoor pens. The present study evaluated the effects of free-range and confined housing on lameness prevalence in a herd of 106 finisher pigs, and whether osteochondrosis and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae associated arthritis influences these effects. We also evaluated the association between clinical lameness during the rearing period and joint condemnations at slaughter.
Seventy free-range and 36 confined housed fattener pigs were scored for their gait twice during the rearing period and 848 joints were evaluated post mortem. Osteochondrosis was more frequent among free-range than confined pigs (P < 0.05), and when present it was also more severe (P < 0.001). Pigs with more numerous and more severe osteochondral lesions had their gait affected more than did pigs with fewer such lesions (P < 0.05). Hence it was a paradox that we did not detect more lameness among the free-range pigs than the confined pigs. E. rhusiopathiae associated arthritis was not diagnosed. The association between gait remarks/clinical lameness and joint condemnations at slaughter was not significant.
The results indicate that free-range housing may have both positive and negative effects on locomotory traits. Free-range pigs may be less clinically affected by osteochondrosis than are confined pigs. One explanation for this effect may be strengthening of joint supportive tissue and pain relief promoted by exercise. Visual gait scoring missed serious joint lesions that probably were harmful to the pigs, and should therefore not be used as a sole indicator of joint/leg health in welfare inspection of pigs. The association between gait scores and joint condemnation appeared to be poor. This study was limited to one herd, and so more and larger studies on the effects of free-range housing on lameness severity and osteochondrosis development in pigs are recommended.
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Organic; Lameness; Housing; Gait scoring; Joints; Arthritis; Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae; Osteochondrosis; Welfare
Porcine sapovirus, belonging to the family Caliciviridae, is an enteric virus that is widespread in the swine industry worldwide. A total of 14 sapovirus genogroups have been suggested and the most commonly found genogroup in swine is genogroup III (GIII). The goal of the present experiment was to examine the presence of sapovirus in 51 naturally infected pigs at two different time points. The pigs were kept under experimental conditions after weaning. Previous studies on sapovirus have primarily been of a cross sectional nature, typically prevalence studies performed on farms and abattoirs. In the present study, faecal samples, collected from each pig at 5½ weeks and 15–18 weeks of age, were analysed for sapovirus by reverse transciptase polymerase chain reaction and positive findings were genotyped by sequencing.
At 5½ weeks of age, sapovirus was detected in the majority of the pigs. Sequencing revealed four different strains in the 5½ week olds—belonging to genogroups GIII and GVII. Ten to 13 weeks later, the virus was no longer detectable from stools of infected pigs. However, at this time point 13 pigs were infected with another GIII sapovirus strain not previously detected in the pigs studied. This GIII strain was only found in pigs that, in the initial samples, were virus-negative or positive for GVII.
At 5 weeks of age 74 % of the pigs were infected with sapovirus. At 15–18 weeks of age all pigs had cleared their initial infection, but a new sapovirus GIII strain was detected in 25 % of the pigs. None of the pigs initially infected with the first GIII strain were reinfected with this new GIII strain, which may indicate the presence of a genogroup-specific immunity.
Sapovirus; Caliciviridae; Swine; RT-PCR; Phylogenetic analysis
Pyometra is a serious bacterial infection of the uterus affecting female dogs and manifests as an accumulation of pus in the uterine lumen. The aim of the study was to assess changes in serum interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-10 concentrations in bitches with pyometra undergoing ovariohysterectomy.
Blood samples were collected from healthy bitches (controls) and bitches with pyometra before surgery, and 3 and 10 days after ovariohysterectomy. Before surgery, bitches with pyometra had significantly higher serum concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10 than the controls. After surgery, the serum concentration of IL-6 and IL-10 decreased significantly. In healthy dogs, the concentration of IL-6 and IL-10 showed a significant increase 3 days after surgery followed by a decrease on day 10.
An increase in serum concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10 was present before surgery in bitches with pyometra and 3 days after ovariohysterectomy in healthy controls. Concentrations decreased after ovariohysterectomy and/or proper healing, suggesting that these cytokines can be useful for assessment of the postoperative period in bitches.
Cytokines; Bitches; Pyometra; Ovariohysterectomy; Post surgery monitoring
Dichelobacter nodosus is the main causative agent of ovine footrot, and there are strong indications that the bacterium can be transferred to cattle grazing on the same pasture as sheep. The aim of this study was to investigate if benign and virulent D. nodosus strains isolated from sheep can be transferred to the interdigital skin of cattle under experimental conditions. Further, we wanted to observe the impact of such infection on bovine foot health, and test the effect of topical chlortetracycline (Cyclo spray®: Eurovet) on the infection.
Six heifers were included in the study. After an initial 18-day maceration period, three heifers were inoculated on one single foot with a benign strain and three with a virulent strain by adding bacterial suspension in a bandage. The bandages were left on for 17 days, and when removed, D. nodosus was isolated from all six heifers. All six heifers developed interdigital dermatitis. In five of the heifers D. nodosus organisms were demonstrated within the epidermis. Twenty-four days after treatment with chlortetracycline all heifers were negative by cultivation, but tested positive for D. nodosus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Two of the six heifers still tested positive for D. nodosus by PCR 49 days after treatment. After 70 days, all heifers tested negative for D. nodosus.
This study shows that both virulent and benign D. nodosus strains originating from sheep can be transferred to naïve heifers under experimental conditions. Further, the study supports the hypothesis that infections with virulent D. nodosus in cattle are associated with interdigital dermatitis. No conclusion regarding the treatment of D. nodosus infection with chlortetracycline was possible.
Dichelobacter nodosus; Interdigital dermatitis; Cross-infection; Sheep; Cattle
Infection with Salmonella enterica is a major public health concern in developed countries, and multidrug-resistant strains have become increasingly prevalent. S. enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 (DT104) strains are prevalent in livestock in Japan and include numerous strains of multidrug-resistant S. enterica. Epidemiological analysis of these strains is critical for both agriculture and public health; however, diagnostic tests for these strains have yielded inconsistent results.
We developed a rapid, simple, and inexpensive polymerase chain reaction test to detect multi-drug resistant DT104 strains. We designed primers specific to the prophage ST104 sequence encoded by DT104 strains and assessed the specificity of these primers by assaying a panel of 50 S.enterica isolates. Amplification products of the expected size were generated from the genomes of each of the DT104 strains; however, the ST104 primers failed to amplify products from non-DT104 strains of S.enterica serovar Typhimurium or other S. enterica serovars. Furthermore, a probe generated using the ST104 primers detected a restriction fragment encoding the ST104 region of DT104 by Southern hybridization.
The ST104 primers exhibit specificity to DT104 strains and are suitable for epidemiological applications.
Detection; Epidemiologic investigation; PCR; Salmonella Typhimurium DT104; ST104
Nodular lung lesions in swine are frequently due to abscesses or granulomatous pneumonia. Although tumours are rarely reported in modern pig farming, they should be considered as a differential diagnosis when nodular lung lesions are found. A first-parity sow exhibiting respiratory signs was euthanized. Several whitish firm nodules, not encapsulated, ranging in diameter from 0.5 to 5 cm were present in all lung lobes. Microscopically, the nodules were composed of dense neoplastic cells, mainly in Antoni types A and B patterns, infiltrative and with development of emboli. All neoplastic cells stained positively by immunohistochemistry for vimentin and S-100 protein, with variable immunostaining for glial fibrillary acidic protein and stained negative for cytokeratin. Based on the gross, histological and immunohistochemical features, the tumor was diagnosed as malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour.
Swine; Peripheral nerve sheath tumor; Schwannoma; Lung
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) patterns of canine cervical hydrated nucleus pulposus extrusion (HNPE) have been described by a few reports, but the correlation between microsurgical and MRI features has never been investigated. The aim of this study was to compare the MRI features of HNPE with microsurgical findings and cytological outcomes and also to investigate the anatomical and pathophysiological aspects of the disease.
A prospective clinical study was conducted in 36 dogs suffering from HNPE. The diagnosis was based on high-field MRI findings of ventral extradural lesions, adjacent to the dorsal aspect of intervertebral discs, characterised by high signal intensity in T2-weighted sequences and hypointensity in T1-weighted sequences. MRI images were analysed with regard to the intervertebral space involved, the grading of spinal cord compression, the signal intensity and distribution of the material, and the thickness and signal intensity of the involved discs. All patients underwent microsurgical decompression and direct observations were recorded and films of the surgical procedure analysed.
The majority of patients had acute onset of clinical signs (78 %), the patient did not exhibit signs of pain in 75 % of dogs and neurological deficits varied from slight tetraparesis (33 %) to tetraplegia (28 %). The localization of the extruded disc material was ventral relative to the dorsal longitudinal ligament that was lifted dorsally and appeared intact at the site of compression. Direct microsurgical observations of the HNPE sites showed that extruded disc material was collected within the fibres of the dorsal longitudinal ligament. The consistency was gelatinous in 42 %, water-like in 33 %, and lumpy liquid in 25 % of cases. Cytological samples did not detect the presence of inflammation, bacteria, fungi, neoplastic cells or foreign material.
Microsurgical features of HNPE suggest that the extruded disc is collected within the fibres of the dorsal longitudinal ligament and this may explain the typical MRI appearance of this disease. Further pathophysiological studies are needed to investigate why the cervical nucleus pulposus extrusion appears to occur without obvious trauma.
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Discal cyst; Intraspinal cyst; Extradural; Dorsal longitudinal ligament; Hydrated nucleus pulposus extrusion