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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
3.  Experimental infection of duck origin virulent Newcastle disease virus strain in ducks 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:164.
Newcastle disease (ND) caused by virulent Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is an acute, highly contagious and fatal viral disease affecting most species of birds. Ducks are generally considered to be natural reservoirs or carriers of NDV while being resistant to NDV strains, even those most virulent for chickens; however, natural ND cases in ducks have been gradually increasing in recent years. In the present study, ducks of different breeds and ages were experimentally infected with duck origin virulent NDV strain duck/Jiangsu/JSD0812/2008 (JSD0812) by various routes to investigate the pathogenicity of NDV in ducks.
Six breeds (mallard, Gaoyou, Shaoxing, Jinding, Shanma, and Pekin ducks) were infected intramuscularly (IM) with JSD0812 strain at the dose of 5 × 108 ELD50. Susceptibility to NDV infection among breeds varied, per morbidity and mortality. Mallard ducks were the most susceptible, and Pekin ducks the most resistant. Fifteen-, 30-, 45-, 60-, and 110-day-old Gaoyou ducks were infected with JSD0812 strain at the dose of 5 × 108 ELD50 either IM or intranasally (IN) and intraocularly (IO), and their disease development, viral shedding, and virus tissue distribution were determined. The susceptibility of ducks to NDV infection decreased with age. Most deaths occurred in 15- and 30-day-old ducklings infected IM. Ducks infected IN and IO sometimes exhibited clinical signs, but seldom died. Clinical signs were primarily neurologic. Infected ducks could excrete infectious virus from the pharynx and/or cloaca for a short period, which varied with bird age or inoculation route; the longest period was about 7 days. The rate of virus isolation in tissues from infected ducks was generally low, even in those from dead birds, and it appeared to be unrelated to bird age and infection route.
The results confirmed that some of the naturally occurring NDV virulent strains can cause the disease in ducks, and that ducks play an important role in the epidemiology of ND. The prevention of NDV spread in ducks should receive more attention and research in terms of preventing the occurrence and prevalence of ND.
PMCID: PMC4105097  PMID: 25030425
Newcastle disease virus; Duck; Breed; Age; Susceptibility; Pathogenesis; Virus shedding
4.  MIP-3β/CCL19 is associated with the intrathecal invasion of mononuclear cells in neuroinflammatory and non-neuroinflammatory CNS diseases in dogs 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:157.
Chemokines such as MIP-3β/CCL19 are important factors in the mechanism of cell migration and pathogenesis of central nervous system (CNS) inflammatory reactions. The hypothesis of this study is that CCL19, also known as MIP-3β, is involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and non-inflammatory CNS diseases of dogs. Experiments were performed on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples of dogs affected with steroid responsive meningitis-arteritis (SRMA) during the acute phase as well as during treatment. Dogs with SRMA were compared to dogs with presumed meningoencephalomyelitis of unknown origin (MUO), and both groups sub-categorized into dogs receiving no therapy and with patients receiving prednisolone therapy. Idiopathic epilepsy (IE), a group with normal CSF cell count, was used as a control. Additionally, dogs with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) of varying severity were analyzed. Chemokine concentrations were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Migration assays were performed on seven selected CSF samples using a disposable 96-well chemotaxis chamber.
CCL19 was detectable in CSF samples of all dogs. Dogs with untreated SRMA and MUO displayed pronounced CCL19 elevations compared to the control group and patients receiving glucocorticosteroid treatment. CSF cell counts of untreated SRMA and MUO patients were significantly positively correlated with the CCL19 CSF concentration. IVDD patients also had elevated CCL19 concentration compared to controls, but values were considerably lower than in inflammatory CNS diseases. Selected CSF samples displayed chemotactic activity for mononuclear cells in the migration assay.
CCL19 CSF concentrations were markedly elevated in patients affected with the neuroinflammatory diseases SRMA and MUO and showed a strong correlation with the CSF cell count. This chemokine may play an important role in the pathogenesis of SRMA and MUO. The elevation of CSF CCL19 in IVDD suggests that it may also be involved in the secondary wave of spinal cord injuries.
PMCID: PMC4105050  PMID: 25016392
Chemokine; MIP-3β/CCL19; Steroid responsive meningitis-arteritis; Meningoencephalomyelitis of unknown origin; Intervertebral disc disease; Chemotaxis
5.  Novel physico-chemical diagnostic tools for high throughput identification of bovine mastitis associated gram-positive, catalase-negative cocci 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:156.
The routine diagnosis of Streptococcus spp. and other mastitis associated gram-positive, catalase-negative cocci is still based upon biochemical tests and serological methods, which frequently provide ambiguous identification results. We therefore aimed to establish an accurate identification system for differential diagnosis of mastitis associated Streptococcus spp. and related species using biophysical techniques such as Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and MALDI – TOF/MS.
Based on a panel of 210 isolates from cases of bovine mastitis, an unsupervised FTIR spectral reference library was established and an artificial neural network (ANN) - assisted identification system was developed. All bacterial isolates were previously identified by species-specific PCR and/or 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. An overall identification rate of 100% at species level for 173 strains unknown to the ANN and the library was achieved by combining ANN and the spectral database, thus demonstrating the suitability of our FTIR identification system for routine diagnosis. In addition, we investigated the potential of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for the identification of mastitis associated Streptococcus spp. and related bacteria. Using the Microflex LT System, MALDI Biotyper software™ (V3.3) we achieved an accuracy rate of 95.2%. A blind study, including 21 clinical samples from dairy cows, revealed a 100% correct species identification rate for FTIR and 90.5% for MALDI-TOF MS, indicating that these techniques are valuable tools for diagnosis.
This study clearly demonstrates that FTIR spectroscopy as well as MALDI-TOF MS can significantly improve and facilitate the identification and differentiation of mastitis associated Streptococcus spp. and related species. Although the FTIR identification system turned out being slightly superior to MALDI-TOF MS in terms of identification on species level, both methods offer interesting alternatives to conventional methods currently used in mastitis diagnosis as both of them provide high accuracy at low operating costs once the instrument is acquired.
PMCID: PMC4105049  PMID: 25015262
Bovine mastitis; FTIR spectroscopy; MALDI-TOF MS; Artificial neural network
6.  Hepatogenic and neurogenic differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells from abattoir-derived bovine fetuses 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:154.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are multipotent progenitor cells characterized by their ability to both self-renew and differentiate into tissues of mesodermal origin. The plasticity or transdifferentiation potential of MSC is not limited to mesodermal derivatives, since under appropriate cell culture conditions and stimulation by bioactive factors, MSC have also been differentiated into endodermal (hepatocytes) and neuroectodermal (neurons) cells. The potential of MSC for hepatogenic and neurogenic differentiation has been well documented in different animal models; however, few reports are currently available on large animal models. In the present study we sought to characterize the hepatogenic and neurogenic differentiation and multipotent potential of bovine MSC (bMSC) isolated from bone marrow (BM) of abattoir-derived fetuses.
Plastic-adherent bMSC isolated from fetal BM maintained a fibroblast-like morphology under monolayer culture conditions. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that bMSC populations were positive for MSC markers CD29 and CD73 and pluripotency markers OCT4 and NANOG; whereas, were negative for hematopoietic markers CD34 and CD45. Levels of mRNA of hepatic genes α-fetoprotein (AFP), albumin (ALB), alpha1 antitrypsin (α1AT), connexin 32 (CNX32), tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT) and cytochrome P450 (CYP3A4) were up-regulated in bMSC during a 28-Day period of hepatogenic differentiation. Functional analyses in differentiated bMSC cultures evidenced an increase (P < 0.05) in albumin and urea production and glycogen storage. bMSC cultured under neurogenic conditions expressed NESTIN and MAP2 proteins at 24 h of culture; whereas, at 144 h also expressed TRKA and PrPC. Levels of MAP2 and TRKA mRNA were up-regulated at the end of the differentiation period. Conversely, bMSC expressed lower levels of NANOG mRNA during both hepatogenic and neurogenic differentiation processes.
The expression patterns of linage-specific markers and the production of functional metabolites support the potential for hepatogenic and neurogenic differentiation of bMSC isolated from BM of abattoir-derived fetuses. The simplicity of isolation and the potential to differentiate into a wide variety of cell lineages lays the foundation for bMSC as an interesting alternative for investigation in MSC biology and eventual applications for regenerative therapy in veterinary medicine.
PMCID: PMC4098697  PMID: 25011474
Bovine fetuses; Mesenchymal stem cell; Differentiation potential; Hepatocyte-like cell; Neuron-like cell
7.  Epidemiology and molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage isolates from bovines 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:153.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium usually found on skin and mucous membranes of warm blooded animals. Resistance in S. aureus has been increasingly reported though depending on the clonal lineage. Indeed, while hospital acquired (HA)-methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are typically multi-resistant, community associated (CA)-MRSA are by large more susceptible to many antibiotics. Although S. aureus isolated from animals are often susceptible to most antibiotics, multi-resistant livestock associated (LA)-MRSA have been recovered from bovine mastitis.
In this study, we investigated the prevalence and types of MRSA present in the nose of healthy bovines of different age groups and rearing practices. Since no validated methods for MRSA isolation from nasal swabs were available, we compared two isolation methods. Molecular characterization was performed by means of spa-typing, MLST, SCCmec typing and microarray analysis for the detection of antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes.
MRSA between herd prevalence in bovines was estimated at 19.8%. There was a marked difference between rearing practices with 9.9%, 10.2% and 46.1% of the dairy, beef and veal calve farms respectively being MRSA positive. No significant difference was observed between both isolation methods tested. Most isolates were ST398 spa type t011 or closely related spa types. Few ST239 spa type t037 and t388 and ST8 spa type t121 were also found. SCCmec types carried by these strains were mainly type IV(2B), IV(2B&5) and type V. Type III and non-typeable SCCmec were recovered to a lesser extent. All isolates were multi-resistant to at least two antimicrobials in addition to the expected cefoxitin and penicillin resistance, with an average of resistance to 9.5 different antimicrobials. Isolates selected for microarray analysis carried a broad range of antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes.
MRSA were mainly present in veal farms, compared to the lower prevalence in dairy or beef farms. Multi-resistance in these strains was high. Though mainly CC398 spa t011 was found, the genetic diversity was higher than what was found for pigs in Belgium. CC8 strains, a typically human lineage but also recently found also in association with bovines, has been retrieved here also.
PMCID: PMC4103977  PMID: 25011427
Nasal carriage; Bovine; Epidemiology; Molecular characterization; Antimicrobial resistance
8.  Evaluation of ethanol vortex ELISA for detection of bovine tuberculosis in cattle and deer 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:147.
The use of serological assays for diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been intensively studied and use of specific antigens have aided in improving the diagnostic accuracy of the assays. In the present study, we report an in-house enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), developed by using ethanol extract of Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis). The assay, named (ethanol vortex ELISA [EVELISA]), was evaluated for detection of anti- M. bovis antibodies in the sera of cattle and white-tailed deer.
By using the EVELISA, we tested sera obtained from two species of animals; cattle (n = 62 [uninfected, n = 40; naturally infected, n = 22]) and white-tailed deer (n = 41 [uninfected, n = 25; naturally infected, n = 7; experimentally infected, n = 9]). To detect species specific molecules, components in the ethanol extract were analyzed by thin layer chromatography and western blotting.
Among the tested animals, 77.2% of infected cattle and 87.5% of infected deer tested positive for anti- M. bovis antibody. There were only minor false positive reactions (7.5% in cattle and 0% in deer) in uninfected animals. M. bovis -specific lipids and protein (MPB83) in the ethanol extract were detected by thin layer chromatography and western blotting, respectively.
The results warrant further evaluation and validation of EVELISA for bovine TB diagnosis of traditional and alternative livestock as well as for free-ranging animal species.
PMCID: PMC4096425  PMID: 24992970
Bovine tuberculosis; Cattle; White-tailed deer; ELISA; Mycobacterium bovis; EVELISA
9.  Effect of photoperiod on the feline adipose transcriptome as assessed by RNA sequencing 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:146.
Photoperiod is known to cause physiological changes in seasonal mammals, including changes in body weight, physical activity, reproductive status, and adipose tissue gene expression in several species. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of day length on the adipose transcriptome of cats as assessed by RNA sequencing. Ten healthy adult neutered male domestic shorthair cats were used in a randomized crossover design study. During two 12-wk periods, cats were exposed to either short days (8 hr light:16 hr dark) or long days (16 hr light:8 hr dark). Cats were fed a commercial diet to maintain baseline body weight to avoid weight-related bias. Subcutaneous adipose biopsies were collected at wk 12 of each period for RNA isolation and sequencing.
A total of 578 million sequences (28.9 million/sample) were generated by Illumina sequencing. A total of 170 mRNA transcripts were differentially expressed between short day- and long day-housed cats. 89 annotated transcripts were up-regulated by short days, while 24 annotated transcripts were down-regulated by short days. Another 57 un-annotated transcripts were also different between groups. Adipose tissue of short day-housed cats had greater expression of genes involved with cell growth and differentiation (e.g., myostatin; frizzled-related protein), cell development and structure (e.g., cytokeratins), and protein processing and ubiquitination (e.g., kelch-like proteins). In contrast, short day-housed cats had decreased expression of genes involved with immune function (e.g., plasminogen activator inhibitor 1; chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2; C-C motif chemokine 5; T-cell activators), and altered expression of genes associated with carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
Collectively, these gene expression changes suggest that short day housing may promote adipogenesis, minimize inflammation and oxidative stress, and alter nutrient metabolism in feline adipose tissue, even when fed to maintain body weight. Although this study has highlighted molecular mechanisms contributing to the seasonal metabolic changes observed in cats, future research that specifically targets and studies these biological pathways, and the physiological outcomes that are affected by them, is justified.
PMCID: PMC4092351  PMID: 24992939
Cat; Gene expression; Adipose tissue; RNA-seq; Transcriptomics
10.  Supplementation with conjugated linoeic acid decreases pig back fat deposition by inducing adipocyte apoptosis 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:141.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a C18 fatty acid with conjugated double bonds, has been shown to serve as a powerful anti-obesity agent by several research groups, although the precise mechanism remains elusive. Previous studies showed that CLA induced apoptosis in 3T3-L1 cells and in mice. The aim of this research was to clarify the role of CLA in adipocyte apoptosis in pigs, a relevant model for obesity research.
Our results clearly show that back fat deposition of CLA-fed pigs was significantly lower than that of pigs in the control group. Moreover, some typical apoptotic cells were observed among the adipocytes of CLA-fed pigs. Furthermore, the CLA-fed pigs had reduced expression of the anti-apoptosis factor Bcl-2 and increased expression of the pro-apoptosis factors Bax and P53. Subsequently, increased cytochrome C was released from the mitochondria to the endochylema, and the caspase cascade was activated, resulting in cellular apoptosis. These results are consistent with the effects of Bcl-2 and Bax in regulating CLA-induced adipocyte apoptosis via the mitochondrial signaling pathway. However, the increased expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and its receptor TNFR indicate that the effect of CLA might partly be through the death receptor signaling pathway in adipose cells.
Our study has demonstrated that CLA reduces pig body fat deposition, an outcome that is partly meditated by apoptosis of adipose cells, and that both the mitochondrial pathway and the death receptor pathway are involved in this effect.
PMCID: PMC4074849  PMID: 24969229
Conjugated linoleic acid; Fat deposition; Adipocyte; Apoptosis; Pig
11.  How commercial and non-commercial swine producers move pigs in Scotland: a detailed descriptive analysis 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:140.
The impact of non-commercial producers on disease spread via livestock movement is related to their level of interaction with other commercial actors within the industry. Although understanding these relationships is crucial in order to identify likely routes of disease incursion and transmission prior to disease detection, there has been little research in this area due to the difficulties of capturing movements of small producers with sufficient resolution. Here, we used the Scottish Livestock Electronic Identification and Traceability (ScotEID) database to describe the movement patterns of different pig production systems which may affect the risk of disease spread within the swine industry. In particular, we focused on the role of small pig producers.
Between January 2012 and May 2013, 23,169 batches of pigs were recorded moving animals between 2382 known unique premises. Although the majority of movements (61%) were to a slaughterhouse, the non-commercial and the commercial sectors of the Scottish swine industry coexist, with on- and off-movement of animals occurring relatively frequently. For instance, 13% and 4% of non-slaughter movements from professional producers were sent to a non-assured commercial producer or to a small producer, respectively; whereas 43% and 22% of movements from non-assured commercial farms were sent to a professional or a small producer, respectively. We further identified differences between producer types in several animal movement characteristics which are known to increase the risk of disease spread. Particularly, the distance travelled and the use of haulage were found to be significantly different between producers.
These results showed that commercial producers are not isolated from the non-commercial sector of the Scottish swine industry and may frequently interact, either directly or indirectly. The observed patterns in the frequency of movements, the type of producers involved, the distance travelled and the use of haulage companies provide insights into the structure of the Scottish swine industry, but also highlight different features that may increase the risk of infectious diseases spread in both Scotland and the UK. Such knowledge is critical for developing more robust biosecurity and surveillance plans and better preparing Scotland against incursions of emerging swine diseases.
PMCID: PMC4082416  PMID: 24965915
Livestock movement; Risk of infection; Pig; Contingency planning
12.  Methamphetamine intoxication in a dog: case report 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:139.
Methamphetamine abuse has undergone a dramatic worldwide increase, and represents a significant and global issue for public health. Incidents of methamphetamine intoxication and death in humans are relatively commonplace. Because of its increasing illicit availability, together with legitimate use in human medicine, accidental or intentional exposure to methamphetamine in dogs is becoming a more likely scenario.
Case presentation
A 3-year-old, 3.7 kg intact female Miniature Poodle who had been intentionally fed an unknown amount of a crystalline-like substance developed extreme agitation, seizures, tachycardia, hyperthermia, hypertension, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), bloody diarrhea, and dilated pupils. Blood work revealed leukocytosis, erythropenia, lymphocytosis, thrombocytopenia, coagulation abnormalities, but all to a mild extent, together with mild elevation in both alanine aminotranferease (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALKP), and a mild decreased in glucose. Radiologic diagnosis revealed generalized, severe distension of the stomach and small intestinal tract with air. Immunochromatographic screening tests and gas chromatography mass spectrometry analysis confirmed methamphetamine intoxication and revealed concentrations of methamphetamine in blood and urine of 0.32 μg/mL and 2.35 μg/mL respectively. The dog demonstrated progressive improvement after supportive care, with the high fever resolved over the initial 24 hours of hospitalization, and agitation was successfully controlled beyond 48 hours after initial hospitalization. Hemostatic abnormalities were progressive improved after heparin therapy and supportive care. By the sixth day of hospitalization the dog was clinically well, and all laboratory data had returned to normal with the exception of a mild elevateion of ALKP.
To the authors’ knowledge, this is the second case report of methamphetamine intoxication in dogs presented in veterinary practice in open literature so far. Although rare, methamphetamine intoxication should be considered as a differential diagnosis in dogs with a toxic substance ingestion history and with typical nervous and cardiovascular system symptoms. In such cases rapid diagnosis and aggressive intervention is important for prognosis. Blood methamphetamine concentration may be a helpful value for assessment of the severity of intoxication and prediction of clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4078017  PMID: 24962469
Methamphetamine; Intoxication; Dog; Agitation; Tachycardia; Hyperthermia; Disseminated intravascular coagulation; Urine screen test; Gas chromatography mass spectrometry
13.  The effects of chemical and physical penetration enhancers on the percutaneous permeation of lidocaine through equine skin 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:138.
The effect of physical and chemical permeation enhancers on in vitro transdermal permeation of lidocaine was investigated in the horse.
Therefore, the effect of six vehicles (phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), 50% ethanol, 50% propylene glycol, 50% isopropylalcohol, 50% isopropylalcohol/isopropylmyristate and 50% dimethylsulfoxide) was examined as well as the effect of microneedle pretreatment with different needle lengths on transdermal drug delivery of lidocaine.
The skin was obtained from the thorax of six Warmblood horses and was stored up to two weeks at - 20°C. Franz-type diffusion cells were used to study the transdermal permeation through split skin (600 μm thickness). The amount of lidocaine in the receptor fluid was determined by UV–VIS high-performance liquid chromatography.
All investigated vehicle supplementations diminished the transdermal flux of lidocaine through equine skin in comparison to pure PBS except dimethylsulfoxide, which resulted in comparable permeation rates to PBS. The maximum flux (Jmax) was 1.6-1.8 fold lower for lidocaine applied in 50% ethanol, propylene glycol, isopropylalcohol and isopropylalcohol/isopropylmyristate. A significant higher Jmax of lidocaine was observed when lidocaine was applied in PBS onto microneedle pretreated skin with similar permeation rates in both needle lengths. After 6 hours, 1.7 fold higher recovery rates were observed in the microneedle pretreated skin samples than in the untreated control samples. The lagtimes were reduced to 20–50% in the microneedle pretreated skin samples.
Microneedles represent a promising tool for transdermal lidocaine application in the horse with a rapid systemic bioavailability.
PMCID: PMC4078091  PMID: 24950611
Lidocaine; Percutaneous Permeation; Topical application; Permeation enhancer; Microneedles; Equine skin
14.  Long-distance aerial dispersal modelling of Culicoides biting midges: case studies of incursions into Australia 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:135.
Previous studies investigating long-distance, wind-borne dispersal of Culicoides have utilised outbreaks of clinical disease (passive surveillance) to assess the relationship between incursion and dispersal event. In this study, species of exotic Culicoides and isolates of novel bluetongue viruses, collected as part of an active arbovirus surveillance program, were used for the first time to assess dispersal into an endemic region.
A plausible dispersal event was determined for five of the six cases examined. These include exotic Culicoides specimens for which a possible dispersal event was identified within the range of two days – three weeks prior to their collection and novel bluetongue viruses for which a dispersal event was identified between one week and two months prior to their detection in cattle. The source location varied, but ranged from Lombok, in eastern Indonesia, to Timor-Leste and southern Papua New Guinea.
Where bluetongue virus is endemic, the concurrent use of an atmospheric dispersal model alongside existing arbovirus and Culicoides surveillance may help guide the strategic use of limited surveillance resources as well as contribute to continued model validation and refinement. Further, the value of active surveillance systems in evaluating models for long-distance dispersal is highlighted, particularly in endemic regions where knowledge of background virus and vector status is beneficial.
PMCID: PMC4074460  PMID: 24943652
Culicoides; Bluetongue; Atmospheric dispersal modelling; Surveillance
15.  Hepatic progenitor cells in canine and feline medicine: potential for regenerative strategies 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:137.
New curative therapies for severe liver disease are urgently needed in both the human and veterinary clinic. It is important to find new treatment modalities which aim to compensate for the loss of parenchymal tissue and to repopulate the liver with healthy hepatocytes. A prime focus in regenerative medicine of the liver is the use of adult liver stem cells, or hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs), for functional recovery of liver disease. This review describes recent developments in HPC research in dog and cat and compares these findings to experimental rodent studies and human pathology. Specifically, the role of HPCs in liver regeneration, key components of the HPC niche, and HPC activation in specific types of canine and feline liver disease will be reviewed. Finally, the potential applications of HPCs in regenerative medicine of the liver are discussed and a potential role is suggested for dogs as first target species for HPC-based trials.
PMCID: PMC4089933  PMID: 24946932
Liver; Progenitor cell; Dog; Cat; Regenerative medicine
16.  Detection of total and PRRSV-specific antibodies in oral fluids collected with different rope types from PRRSV-vaccinated and experimentally infected pigs 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:134.
Oral fluid collected by means of ropes has the potential to replace serum for monitoring and surveillance of important swine pathogens. Until now, the most commonly used method to collect oral fluid is by hanging a cotton rope in a pen. However, concerns about the influence of rope material on subsequent immunological assays have been raised. In this study, we evaluated six different rope materials for the collection of oral fluid and the subsequent detection of total and PRRSV-specific antibodies of different isotypes in oral fluid collected from PRRSV-vaccinated and infected pigs.
An initial experiment showed that IgA is the predominant antibody isotype in porcine saliva. Moreover, it was found that synthetic ropes may yield higher amounts of IgA, whereas all rope types seemed to be equally suitable for IgG collection. Although IgA is the predominant antibody isotype in porcine oral fluid, the PRRSV-specific IgA-based IPMA and ELISA tests were clearly not ideal for sensitive detection of PRRSV-specific IgA antibodies. In contrast, PRRSV-specific IgG in oral fluids was readily detected in PRRSV-specific IgG-based IPMA and ELISA tests, indicating that IgG is a more reliable isotype for monitoring PRRSV-specific antibody immunity in vaccinated/infected animals via oral fluids with the currently available tests.
Since PRRSV-specific IgG detection seems more reliable than PRRSV-specific IgA detection for monitoring PRRSV-specific antibody immunity via oral fluids, and since all rope types yield equal amounts of IgG, it seems that the currently used cotton ropes are an appropriate choice for sample collection in PRRSV monitoring.
PMCID: PMC4072892  PMID: 24938323
PRRSV; Oral fluid; Antibody detection; Collection method
17.  Detection of serum antibodies to hepatitis E virus in domestic pigs in Italy using a recombinant swine HEV capsid protein 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:133.
The hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been detected in both humans and animals, particularly pigs, worldwide. Several evidences, including human infection following consumption of raw contaminated meat, suggest a zoonotic transmission of HEV. In Italy, large circulation of genotype 3 HEV has been reported in swine, and recent studies have confirmed the involvement of this genotype in autochthonous human cases.
In this study 111 sera collected from healthy pigs in two Italian regions were tested for anti-HEV IgG antibodies. For specific HEV antibody detection in swine, we developed ELISA and Western blotting methods, using a truncated capsid (ORF2) protein lacking the first 111 amino acids of a swine HEV genotype 3 strain. The ORF2-based ELISA revealed anti-HEV antibodies in 104 out of 111 pigs compared with 102 detected with a commercial ELISA kit. A lower number of sera reacted with the recombinant ORF2 protein in a Western blotting format (81/111). Using a Latent class analysis (LCA), the estimated sensitivities for ELISA-ORF2 and ELISA-kit tests were 0.961 and 0.936, respectively, whereas specificities were 0.599 and 0.475. The estimated sensitivity of Western blotting was 0.775, and the specificity was 0.944.
The overall results confirm the high prevalence of HEV seropositive healthy pigs in Italy. Through comparisons with a commercial ELISA test, the swine genotype 3 HEV antigen produced in this study was proven suitable to detect anti-HEV antibodies in pig sera by both ELISA and Western Blotting.
PMCID: PMC4073516  PMID: 24934984
Hepatitis E virus; Swine; ORF2; ELISA; Western blotting
18.  Observed management practices in relation to the risk of infection with paratuberculosis and to the spread of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in Swiss dairy and beef herds 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:132.
Many studies have been conducted to define risk factors for the transmission of bovine paratuberculosis, mostly in countries with large herds. Little is known about the epidemiology in infected Swiss herds and risk factors important for transmission in smaller herds. Therefore, the presence of known factors which might favor the spread of paratuberculosis and could be related to the prevalence at animal level of fecal shedding of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis were assessed in 17 infected herds (10 dairy, 7 beef). Additionally, the level of knowledge of herd managers about the disease was assessed. In a case–control study with 4 matched negative control herds per infected herd, the association of potential risk factors with the infection status of the herd was investigated.
Exposure of the young stock to feces of older animals was frequently observed in infected and in control herds. The farmers’ knowledge about paratuberculosis was very limited, even in infected herds. An overall prevalence at animal level of fecal shedding of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis of 6.1% was found in infected herds, whereby shedders younger than 2 years of age were found in 46.2% of the herds where the young stock was available for testing. Several factors related to contamination of the heifer area with cows’ feces and the management of the calving area were found to be significantly associated with the within-herd prevalence. Animal purchase was associated with a positive herd infection status (OR = 7.25, p = 0.004).
Numerous risk factors favoring the spread of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis from adult animals to the young stock were observed in infected Swiss dairy and beef herds, which may be amenable to improvement in order to control the disease. Important factors were contamination of the heifer and the calving area, which were associated with higher within-herd prevalence of fecal shedding. The awareness of farmers of paratuberculosis was very low, even in infected herds. Animal purchase in a herd was significantly associated with the probability of a herd to be infected and is thus the most important factor for the control of the spread of disease between farms.
PMCID: PMC4065578  PMID: 24930008
Paratuberculosis; Johne’s disease; Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis; Infection; Awareness; Risk factor; Control; Dairy; Beef
19.  Abdominal obesity is associated with heart disease in dogs 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:131.
The relationship between overall obesity and fat distribution in dogs and the development of heart disease is unclear. In the present study we evaluated the association between overall obesity and fat distribution and clinical heart disease by morphometric and computed tomography (CT)-based measurements. Body condition score (BCS), modified body mass index (MBMI, kg/m2), waist-to-hock-to-stifle distance ratio (WHSDR), waist-to-ilium wing distance ratio (WIWDR), and waist-to-truncal length ratio (WTLR) were compared between dogs with (n = 44) and without (n = 43) heart disease using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Intra-abdominal fat (IAF) and subcutaneous fat (SQF) were measured in dogs with (n = 8) and without (n = 9) heart disease at the center of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae by CT.
BCS was similar between heart disease and healthy groups (3.6 ± 0.2 vs. 3.3 ± 0.1, P = 0.126). The following morphometric measurements were greater in the heart disease group compared with healthy canines: MBMI (65.0 ± 4.5 vs. 52.5 ± 3.7 kg/m2, respectively, P = 0.035); WIWDR (4.1 ± 0.1 vs. 3.1 ± 0.1, P < 0.01); and WTLR (1.25 ± 0.04 vs. 1.05 ± 0.04, P < 0.01). However, there was no significant difference in WHSDR (3.6 ± 0.1 vs. 3.7 ± 0.2, P = 0.875). Interestingly, IAF was significantly increased in dogs with heart disease compared with healthy dogs (23.5 ± 1.5% vs. 19.4 ± 1.2%, P = 0.039) whereas SQF was similar between two groups (35.5 ± 2.7% vs. 38.6 ± 3.5%, P = 0.496). Of the five morphometric indices studied, WIWDR and WTLR provided acceptable discrimination for diagnosing heart disease in dogs, with areas under the ROC curve of 0.778 (95% confidence interval [CI]:0.683-0.874) and 0.727 (95% CI:0.619-0.835), respectively.
Our data indicate that abdominal obesity, rather than overall obesity, is associated with heart disease in dogs. Measurements of both WIWDR and WTLR are particular useful for detection of an abdominal obesity in dogs.
PMCID: PMC4066699  PMID: 24923277
Dogs; Abdominal obesity; Heart disease; Receiver operating characteristic; Waist circumference; Computed tomography
20.  Confirmation that “Brachyspira hampsonii” clade I (Canadian strain 30599) causes mucohemorrhagic diarrhea and colitis in experimentally infected pigs 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:129.
“Brachyspira hampsonii”, discovered in North America in 2010 associated with dysentery-like illness, is an economically relevant swine pathogen resulting in decreased feed efficiency and increased morbidity, mortality and medication usage. “B. hampsonii” clade II strain 30446 has been shown to be causally associated with mucohemorrhagic diarrhea and colitis. Our objectives were to determine if “Brachyspira hampsonii” clade I strain 30599 is pathogenic to pigs, and to evaluate the relative diagnostic performance of three ante mortem sampling methodologies (direct PCR on feces, PCR on rectal GenoTube Livestock swabs, Brachyspira culture from rectal swabs). Five-week old pigs were intragastrically inoculated thrice with 108 genomic equivalents "B. hampsonii" (n = 12), or served as sham controls (n = 6). Feces were sampled and consistency assessed daily. Necropsies were performed 24 h after peak clinical signs.
One pig died due to unrelated illness. Nine of 11 inoculated pigs, but no controls, developed mucoid or mucohemorrhagic diarrhea (MHD). Characteristic lesions of swine dysentery were observed in large intestine. “B. hampsonii” strain 30599 DNA was detected by qPCR in feces of all inoculated pigs for up to 6 days prior to the onset of MHD. The organism was isolated from the feces and colons of pigs demonstrating MHD, but not from controls. B. intermedia was isolated from inoculated pigs without MHD, and from 5 of 6 controls.
We conclude that “Brachyspira hampsonii” clade I strain 30599 is pathogenic and causes mucohemorrhagic diarrhea and colitis in susceptible pigs. Moreover, the three sampling methodologies performed similarly. GenoTube Livestock, a forensic swab designed to preserve DNA during shipping is a useful tool especially in settings where timely transport of diagnostic samples is challenging.
PMCID: PMC4059474  PMID: 24917084
“Brachyspira hampsonii”; Swine dysentery; Mucohemorrhagic; Bloody; Diarrhea; Colitis; Pig; Porcine
21.  Cloning and characterization of feline islet glucokinase 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:130.
Glucokinase (GK) is a metabolic enzyme encoded by the GCK gene and expressed in glucose-sensitive tissues, principally pancreatic islets cell and hepatocytes. The GK protein acts in pancreatic islets as a “glucose sensor” that couples fluctuations in the blood glucose concentration to changes in cellular function and insulin secretion. GCK and GK have proposed importance in the development and progression of diabetes mellitus and are potential therapeutic targets for diabetes treatment. The study was undertaken to determine the nucleotide sequence of feline pancreatic GK cDNA, predict the amino acid sequence and structure of the feline GK protein, and perform comparative bioinformatic analysis of feline cDNA and protein. Routine PCR techniques were used with cDNA from feline pancreas. Clones were assembled to obtain the full length cDNA. Protein prediction and modeling were performed using bioinformatic tools.
Full-length feline pancreatic GK cDNA contains a 1398 nucleotide coding sequence with high identity to other pancreatic GK cDNAs. The deduced 465 amino acid feline protein has 15 amino acid substitutions not found in other mammalian GK proteins but maintains high structural homology with human GK. Feline pancreatic GK is highly conserved at nucleotide and protein levels. Residues crucial for substrate binding and catalysis are completely conserved in the feline protein.
Molecular analysis predicts that feline pancreatic GK functions similarly to other mammalian GK proteins.
PMCID: PMC4066705  PMID: 24917242
Glucose sensor; Pancreas; Carbohydrate metabolism; Hexokinase; Gene expression
22.  Construction and immunogenicity of a DNA vaccine coexpressing GP3 and GP5 of genotype-I porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:128.
The European (EU) genotype of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (Genotype-I PRRSV) has recently emerged in China. The coexistence of Genotype-I and -II PRRSV strains could cause seriously affect PRRSV diagnosis and management. Current vaccines are not able to protect against PRRSV infection completely and have inherent drawbacks. Thus, genetically engineered vaccines, including DNA vaccine and live vector engineered vaccines, have been developed. This study aimed to determine the enhanced immune responses of mice inoculated with a DNA vaccine coexpressing GP3 and GP5 of a Genotype-I PRRSV.
To evaluate the immunogenicity of GP3 and GP5 proteins from European-type PRRSV, three DNA vaccines, pVAX1-EU-ORF3-ORF5, pVAX1-EU-ORF3 and pVAX1-EU-ORF5, were constructed, which were based on a Genotype-I LV strain (GenBank ID: M96262). BALB/c mice were immunized with the DNA vaccines; delivered in the form of chitosan-DNA nanoparticles. To increase the efficiency of the vaccine, Quil A (Quillaja) was used as an adjuvant. GP3 and GP5-specific antibodies, neutralizing antibodies and cytokines (IL-2, IL-4, IL-10 and IFN gamma) from the immunized mice sera, and other immune parameters, were examined, including T-cell proliferation responses and subgroups of spleen T-lymphocytes. The results showed that ORF3 and ORF5 proteins of Genotype-I PRRSV induced GP3 and GP5-specific antibodies that could neutralize the virus. The levels of Cytokines IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, and IFN–γ of the experimental groups were significantly higher than those of control groups after booster vaccination (P < 0.05). The production of CD3+CD4+ and CD3+CD8+ T lymphocyte was also induced. T lymphocyte proliferation assays showed that the PRRSV LV strain virus could stimulate the proliferation of T lymphocytes in mice in the experimental group.
Using Quil A as adjuvant, Genotype-I PRRSV GP3 and GP5 proteins produced good immunogenicity and reactivity. More importantly, better PRRSV-specific neutralizing antibody titers and cell-mediated immune responses were observed in mice immunized with the DNA vaccine co-expressing GP3 and GP5 proteins than in mice immunized with a DNA vaccine expressing either protein singly. The results of this study demonstrated that co-immunization with GP3 and GP5 produced a better immune response in mice.
PMCID: PMC4090398  PMID: 24916952
Genotype-I PRRSV; GP3; GP5; DNA vaccine; Immunogenicity; Quil A
23.  Intratypic heterologous vaccination of calves can induce an antibody response in presence of maternal antibodies against foot-and-mouth disease virus 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:127.
Maternal antibodies can interfere with foot-and-mouth disease vaccination. In this study we determined whether intratypic heterologous vaccination could help to improve herd immunity.
In unvaccinated calves, a half-life of maternal antibodies of 21 days was determined. At two weeks of age, calves without maternal antibodies showed a good antibody response against both vaccines used in the trial, while in calves with maternal antibodies no antibody response to homologous vaccination (A Turkey 14/98) but a limited antibody response to intratypic heterologous vaccination (A22 Iraq) was observed.
Two weeks old calves without maternal antibodies respond well to vaccination, but when emergency vaccination is carried out in a region that uses prophylactic vaccination, using an intratypic heterologous vaccine strain may improve the immunity in calves with maternal antibodies.
PMCID: PMC4055936  PMID: 24906852
Foot-and-mouth disease; Maternal antibodies; FMD; FMDV; Vaccine; Emergency vaccination; Control; Half-life; r1 value; Heterologous vaccination
24.  A cross sectional observational study to estimate herd level risk factors for Leptospira spp. serovars in small holder dairy cattle farms in southern Chile 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:126.
The south of Chile constitutes the main cattle milk producing area of the country. Regarding leptospirosis control in Chile, there is neither an official program nor an epidemiological characterization of smallholder dairy farms. This study was carried out to determine Leptospira seroprevalence and to evaluate risk factors associated with seropositivity at herd level in smallholder bovine dairy herds in southern Chile.
A cross-sectional study was conducted, and a convenient sample of 1,537 apparently healthy dairy cows was included in the study. Individual blood samples were taken and examined for six selected reference Leptospira serovars by the Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT).
Of the included herds 75% (52/69) showed serological titers against one or more Leptospira serovar. Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo was the serovar most frequently (81%) reported from animals with positive results. The variables considered risk factors for Leptospira seropositivity were calve natural breeding system, using a specific calving area and vaccination against Leptospira. Adult cows in contact with calves weaned, proved to be a protective factor against infection.
Herds neglecting the management practices mentioned in this study could represent an important source of Leptospira infection for other herds in the same geographic area, as well as for other animal species.
PMCID: PMC4063232  PMID: 24906684
Leptospira; Seropositivity; MAT; Iinfection; Risk factors; Herd
25.  Rate of manual leukocyte differentials in dog, cat and horse blood samples using ADVIA 120 cytograms 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:125.
Modern automated haematology instruments are capable of performing leukocyte differentials faster, cheaper and with a higher precision than the traditional 100-cell manual differential count. Thus, in human laboratories, criteria are defined for performing a manual review of the blood smear resulting in a marked reduction of manual differential counts. While common in human laboratories, this approach to reducing the number of manual differentials in veterinary laboratories is still not commonly performed. Thus, our aim was to determine the rate and causes of manual leukocyte differentials in a university clinical pathology laboratory using the automated laser-based haematology analyser ADVIA 120. Overall, 14,953 complete blood cell counts from dogs, cats and horses were reviewed. Manual leukocyte differentials were requested if abnormal ADVIA peroxidase and baso cytograms were detected (i.e. suspicion of left shift or atypical lymphocytes/blasts, inappropriate separation of cell populations).
In 21% of canine, 32% of feline and 20% of equine samples, a manual differential was requested. Indistinct separation of the cell population was present in 10% to 15% of the cases. Depending on the species, atypical lymphocytes were suspected in 2% to 12%, left shift in 13% to 25% and suspicion of blasts was present in less than 0.4% of the cases.
The obtained results are comparable to those published for human medicine and the rate of manual differentiation could be markedly reduced in veterinary laboratories if microscopic examination was used as a validation procedure rather than as a reflexive substitute for automated differentiation.
PMCID: PMC4053280  PMID: 24903909
White blood cells; Cytograms; Blood smear review; Laboratory productivity; Left shift; Reactive lymphocytes; Dog; Cat; Horse

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