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1.  The effect of agility exercise on eicosanoid excretion, oxidant status, and plasma lactate in dogs 
Background
The objective was to determine the effects of agility exercise on dogs of different skill levels with respect to urinary eicosanoids, urinary 15F2t-isoprostane (lipid peroxidation marker) and hematological/biochemical changes in plasma. Fifteen adult dogs had blood and urine samples obtained prior to, immediately and 4-hours following an agility exercise.
Results
Hematocrit, red blood cells (RBC), albumin, and hemoglobin increased following exercise, with greatest increases correlating to increased skill group (novice, intermediate, masters); at 4-hours post-exercise, hematocrit, RBC, and hemoglobin were decreased. Phosphorus increased following exercise with the greatest increase in novice and intermediates. Plasma lactate increased 3.6-fold in masters, 3.2-fold in intermediates, and 1.2-fold in novice dogs. Urine thromboxane B2 (TXB2) more than tripled 4-hours post-exercise while 6-keto prostaglandin F1α (PGF1α, prostacyclin metabolite), prostaglandin E2 metabolites (13,14-dihydro-15-keto-prostaglandin A2 and 13,14-dihydro-15-keto-prostaglandin E2), and 13,14-dihydro-15-keto prostaglandin F2α were unaffected as determined by a competitive enzyme immunoassay and standardized by division with urine creatinine. Urine 15F2t-isoprostane increased insignificantly.
Conclusions
Alterations in the plasma post-exercise were likely due to hemoconcentration from insensible water loss, splenic contraction and sympathetic stimulation while 4-hours later autohemodilution reduced RBC parameters. Elevations in plasma lactate and urinary TXB2 correlated with advanced skill level/speed of the dogs.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-249
PMCID: PMC3537688  PMID: 23273137
Agility exercise; Dog; Urinary isoprostane; Plasma lactate; Oxidant stress; Urinary eicosanoids; Thromboxane B2
2.  Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) as a biomarker for acute canine kidney injury 
Background
Biomarkers for the early prediction of canine acute kidney injury (AKI) are clinically important. Recently, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) was found to be a sensitive biomarker for the prediction of human AKI at a very early stage and the development of AKI after surgery. However, NGAL has not yet been studied with respect to dog kidney diseases. The application of NGAL canine AKI was investigated in this study.
Results
The canine NGAL gene was successfully cloned and expressed. Polyclonal antibodies against canine NGAL were generated and used to develop an ELISA for measuring NGAL protein in serum and urine samples that were collected from 39 dogs at different time points after surgery.
AKI was defined by the standard method, namely a serum creatinine increase of greater than or equal to 26.5 μmol/L from baseline within 48 h. At 12 h after surgery, compared to the group without AKI (12 dogs), the NGAL level in the urine of seven dogs with AKI was significantly increased (median 178.4 pg/mL vs. 88.0 pg/mL), and this difference was sustained to 72 h.
Conclusion
As the increase in NGAL occurred much earlier than the increase in serum creatinine, urine NGAL seems to be able to serve as a sensitive and specific biomarker for the prediction of AKI in dogs.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-248
PMCID: PMC3549924  PMID: 23270335
NGAL; Kidney injury; Biomarker; ELISA; Polyclonal antibody
3.  Porencephaly and cortical dysplasia as cause of seizures in a dog 
Background
Seizures are a common problem in small animal neurology and it may be related to underlying diseases. Porencephaly is an extremely rare disorder, and in Veterinary Medicine it affects more often ruminants, with only few reports in dogs.
Case presentation
A one-year-old intact male Shih-Tzu dog was referred to Veterinary University Hospital with history of abnormal gait and generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Signs included hypermetria, abnormal nystagmus and increased myotatic reflexes. At necropsy, during the brain analysis, a cleft was observed in the left parietal and occipital lobes, creating a communication between the subarachnoid space and the left lateral ventricle, consistent with porencephaly; and also a focal atrophy of the caudal paravermal and vermal portions of the cerebellum. Furthermore, the histological examination showed cortical and cerebellar neuronal dysplasia.
Conclusions
Reports of seizures due to porencephaly are rare in dogs. In this case, the dog presented a group of brain abnormalities which per se or in assemblage could result in seizure manifestation.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-246
PMCID: PMC3538049  PMID: 23269021
Brain; Canine; Central nervous system diseases; Cerebellum; Hippocampus; Neuropathology
4.  Carprofen for perioperative analgesia causes early anastomotic leakage in the rat ileum 
Background
There is increasing evidence that perioperative use of NSAIDs may compromise the integrity of intestinal anastomoses. This study aims to characterize the negative effects of carprofen on early anastomotic healing in the rat ileum.
Results
In 159 male Wistar rats an anastomosis was constructed in the ileum. In experiment 1 eighty-four rats were divided over control and experimental groups, which received daily buprenorphine or carprofen, respectively, as an analgesic and were killed on day 1, 2 or 3 after surgery. In experiment 2 three groups of 15 rats received carprofen either immediately after surgery or with a delay of 1 or 2 days. Animals were killed after 3 days of carprofen administration. In experiment 3 three groups of 10 rats received different doses (full, half or quarter) of carprofen from surgery.
In significant contrast to buprenorphine, which never did so, carprofen induced frequent signs of anastomotic leakage, which were already present at day 1. If first administration was delayed for 48 hours, the leakage rate was significantly reduced (from 80 to 20%; p = 0.0028). Throughout the study, the anastomotic bursting pressure was lowest in animals who displayed signs of anastomotic leakage. Loss of anastomotic integrity did not coincide with reduced levels of hydroxyproline or increased activity of matrix metalloproteinases.
Conclusions
Carprofen interferes with wound healing in the rat ileum at a very early stage. Although the mechanisms responsible remain to be fully elucidated, one should be aware of the potential of NSAIDs to interfere with the early phase of wound repair.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-247
PMCID: PMC3582476  PMID: 23270317
NSAID; Carprofen; Rat; Anastomosis; Wound healing; Ileum
5.  Porcine intestinal epithelial barrier disruption by the Fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol and T-2 toxin promotes transepithelial passage of doxycycline and paromomycin 
Background
The gastrointestinal tract is the first target for the potentially harmful effects of mycotoxins after intake of mycotoxin contaminated food or feed. With deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisin B1 (FB1) and zearalenone (ZEA) being important Fusarium toxins in the northern hemisphere, this study aimed to investigate in vitro the toxic effect of these mycotoxins on intestinal porcine epithelial cells derived from the jejunum (IPEC-J2 cells). Viability of IPEC-J2 cells as well as the proportion of apoptotic and necrotic IPEC-J2 cells was determined by flow cytometry after 72 h of exposure to the toxins. Correlatively, the integrity of the intestinal epithelial cell monolayer was studied using Transwell® inserts, in which the trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and passage of the antibiotics doxycycline and paromomycin were used as endpoints.
Results
We demonstrated that the percentage of Annexin-V-FITC and PI negative (viable) cells, Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative (apoptotic) cells and Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive (necrotic) IPEC-J2 cells showed a mycotoxin concentration-dependent relationship with T-2 toxin being the most toxic. Moreover, the ratio between Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative cells and Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive cells varied depending on the type of toxin. More Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive cells could be found after treatment with T-2 toxin, while more Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative cells were found after exposure to DON. Consistent with the cytotoxicity results, both DON and T-2 decreased TEER and increased cellular permeability to doxycycline and paromomycin in a time- and concentration-dependent manner.
Conclusions
It was concluded that Fusarium mycotoxins may severely disturb the intestinal epithelial barrier and promote passage of antibiotics.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-245
PMCID: PMC3548726  PMID: 23244712
Mycotoxins; Cytotoxicity; Flow cytometry; Permeability; Intestinal cells
6.  Biologic activity of the novel small molecule STAT3 inhibitor LLL12 against canine osteosarcoma cell lines 
Background
STAT3 [1] has been shown to be dysregulated in nearly every major cancer, including osteosarcoma (OS). Constitutive activation of STAT3, via aberrant phosphorylation, leads to proliferation, cell survival and resistance to apoptosis. The present study sought to characterize the biologic activity of a novel allosteric STAT3 inhibitor, LLL12, in canine OS cell lines.
Results
We evaluated the effects of LLL12 treatment on 4 canine OS cell lines and found that LLL12 inhibited proliferation, induced apoptosis, reduced STAT3 phosphorylation, and decreased the expression of several transcriptional targets of STAT3 in these cells. Lastly, LLL12 exhibited synergistic anti-proliferative activity with the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin in the OS lines.
Conclusion
LLL12 exhibits biologic activity against canine OS cell lines through inhibition of STAT3 related cellular functions supporting its potential use as a novel therapy for OS.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-244
PMCID: PMC3585923  PMID: 23244668
STAT3; Osteosarcoma; Canine
7.  Herpes virus infection associated with interstitial nephritis in a beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) 
Background
The capacity for herpesvirus to cause disease in cetaceans is unclear and may be varied depending on the different conditions of individuals and between different species. Kidney pathology and intralesional virus-associated infection have been rarely reported in cetaceans.
Result
On April 2004, an old adult male Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) 420 cm long with a poor body condition was stranded on Tenerife Island. During necropsy, no gross lesions were observed in the kidneys. However, membranous glomerulonephritis, multifocal interstitial lymphoplasmacytic nephritis and acute multifocal necrotizing tubulointerstitial nephritis with intranuclear inclusion bodies was diagnosed by histological analysis. Tissue samples were submitted for bacteriological analysis and molecular viral screening.
Conclusion
A novel alpha herpesvirus associated with interstitial nephritis was identified in an old adult male Blainville's beaked whale (M. densirostris) with a poor body condition stranded in the Canary Islands. This report suggests that identification of herpesvirus infection could be used as a differential diagnosis for interstitial nephritis in cetaceans.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-243
PMCID: PMC3577509  PMID: 23237059
Beaked whale; Interstitial nephritis; Alpha herpes virus; Diagnosis
8.  Susceptibility of neuron-like cells derived from bovine Wharton’s jelly to bovine herpesvirus type 5 infections 
Background
Bovine herpesvirus type 5 (BoHV-5), frequently lethal in cattle, is associated with significant agricultural economic losses due to neurological disease. Cattle and rabbits are frequently used as models to study the biology and pathogenesis of BoHV-5 infection. In particular, neural invasion and proliferation are two of the factors important in BoHV-5 infection. The present study investigated the potential of bovine Wharton’s jelly mesenchymal stromal cells (bWJ-MSCs) to differentiate into a neuronal phenotype and support robust BoHV-5 replication.
Results
Upon inducing differentiation within a defined neuronal specific medium, most bWJ-MSCs acquired the distinctive neuronal morphological features and stained positively for the neuronal/glial markers MAP2 (neuronal microtubule associated protein 2), N200 (neurofilament 200), NT3 (neutrophin 3), tau and GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein). Expression of nestin, N200, β-tubulin III (TuJI) and GFAP was further demonstrated by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Following BoHV-5 inoculation, there were low rates of cell detachment, good cell viability at 96 h post-infection (p.i.), and small vesicles developed along neuronal branches. Levels of BoHV-5 antigens and DNA were associated with the peak in viral titres at 72 h p.i. BoHV-5 glycoprotein C mRNA expression was significantly correlated with production of progeny virus at 72 h p.i. (p < 0.05).
Conclusion
The results demonstrated the ability of bWJ-MSCs to differentiate into a neuronal phenotype in vitro and support productive BoHV-5 replication. These findings constitute a remarkable contribution to the in vitro study of neurotropic viruses. This work may pave the way for bWJ-MSCs to be used as an alternative to animal models in the study of BoHV-5 biology.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-242
PMCID: PMC3528423  PMID: 23227933
BoHV-5; in vitro replication; Neuronal culture
9.  Genotyping of Coxiella burnetii from domestic ruminants in northern Spain 
Background
Information on the genotypic diversity of Coxiella burnetii isolates from infected domestic ruminants in Spain is limited. The aim of this study was to identify the C. burnetii genotypes infecting livestock in Northern Spain and compare them to other European genotypes. A commercial real-time PCR targeting the IS1111a insertion element was used to detect the presence of C. burnetii DNA in domestic ruminants from Spain. Genotypes were determined by a 6-loci Multiple Locus Variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) panel and Multispacer Sequence Typing (MST).
Results
A total of 45 samples from 4 goat herds (placentas, N = 4), 12 dairy cattle herds (vaginal mucus, individual milk, bulk tank milk, aerosols, N = 20) and 5 sheep flocks (placenta, vaginal swabs, faeces, air samples, dust, N = 21) were included in the study. Samples from goats and sheep were obtained from herds which had suffered abortions suspected to be caused by C. burnetii, whereas cattle samples were obtained from animals with reproductive problems compatible with C. burnetii infection, or consisted of bulk tank milk (BTM) samples from a Q fever surveillance programme. C. burnetii genotypes identified in ruminants from Spain were compared to those detected in other countries. Three MLVA genotypes were found in 4 goat farms, 7 MLVA genotypes were identified in 12 cattle herds and 4 MLVA genotypes were identified in 5 sheep flocks. Clustering of the MLVA genotypes using the minimum spanning tree method showed a high degree of genetic similarity between most MLVA genotypes. Overall 11 different MLVA genotypes were obtained corresponding to 4 different MST genotypes: MST genotype 13, identified in goat, sheep and cattle from Spain; MST genotype 18, only identified in goats; and, MST genotypes 8 and 20, identified in small ruminants and cattle, respectively. All these genotypes had been previously identified in animal and human clinical samples from several European countries, but some of the MLVA genotypes are described here for the first time.
Conclusions
Genotyping revealed a substantial genetic diversity among domestic ruminants from Northern Spain.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-241
PMCID: PMC3528428  PMID: 23227921
Q fever; Ruminants; Genotyping; MLVA; MST; Spain
10.  Biosecurity measures for backyard poultry in developing countries: a systematic review 
Background
Poultry represents an important sector in animal production, with backyard flocks representing a huge majority, especially in the developing countries. In these countries, villagers raise poultry to meet household food demands and as additional sources of incomes. Backyard production methods imply low biosecurity measures and high risk of infectious diseases, such as Newcastle disease or zoonosis such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
We reviewed literature on biosecurity practices for prevention of infectious diseases, and published recommendations for backyard poultry and assessed evidence of their impact and feasibility, particularly in developing countries. Documents were sourced from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) website, and from Pubmed and Google databases.
Results
A total of 62 peer-reviewed and non-referred documents were found, most of which were published recently (after 2004) and focused on HPAI/H5N1-related biosecurity measures (64%). Recommendations addressed measures for flock management, feed and water management, poultry trade and stock change, poultry health management and the risk to humans. Only one general guideline was found for backyard poultry-related biosecurity; the other documents were drawn up for specific developing settings and only engaged their authors (e.g. consultants). These national guidelines written by consultants generated recommendations regarding measures derived from the highest standards of commercial poultry production. Although biosecurity principles of isolation and containment are described in most documents, only a few documents were found on the impact of measures in family poultry settings and none gave any evidence of their feasibility and effectiveness for backyard poultry.
Conclusions
Given the persistent threat posed by HPAI/H5N1 to humans in developing countries, our findings highlight the importance of encouraging applied research toward identifying sustained and adapted biosecurity measures for smallholder poultry flocks in low-income countries.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-240
PMCID: PMC3538710  PMID: 23216706
Biosecurity; Poultry; Backyard flocks; Scavenging; Infectious disease; H5N1 HPAI; Newcastle disease
11.  Uncommon mandibular osteomyelitis in a cat caused by Nocardia africana 
Background
Nocardiosis is an unusual infection in companion animals characterized by suppurative to pyogranulomatous lesions, localized or disseminated. Cutaneous-subcutaneous, pulmonary and systemic signs are observed in feline nocardiosis. However, osteomyelitis is a rare clinical manifestation in cats. Nocardia cyriacigeorgica (formerly N. asteroides sensu stricto), Nocardia brasiliensis, Nocardia otitidiscaviarum, and Nocardia nova are the most common pathogenic species identified in cats, based on recent molecular classification (16S rRNA gene). The present report is, to our knowledge, the first case of mandibular osteomyelitis in a cat caused by Nocardia africana, diagnosed based upon a combination of methods, including molecular techniques.
Case presentation
A one-year-old non-neutered female cat, raised in a rural area, was admitted to the Companion Animal Hospital-PUCPR, São José dos Pinhais, State of Paraná, Brazil, with a history a progressive facial lesion, difficulty apprehending food, loss of appetite, apathy and emaciation. Clinical examination showed fever, submandibular lymphadenitis, and a painless, 8 cm diameter mass, which was irregularly-shaped, of firm consistency, and located in the region of the left mandible. The skin around the lesion was friable, with diffuse inflammation (cellulitis), multiple draining sinuses, and exudation of serosanguinous material containing whitish “sulfur” granules.
Diagnosis was based initially in clinical signs, microbiological culture, cytological, and histopathological findings, and radiographic images. Molecular sequencing of 16S rRNA of isolate allowed diagnosis of Nocardia africana. Despite supportive care and antimicrobial therapy based on in vitro susceptibility testing the animal died.
Conclusion
The present report describes a rare clinical case of feline osteomyelitis caused by Nocardia africana, diagnosed based upon a combination of clinical signs, microbiological culture, cytological and histopathological findings, radiographic images, and molecular methods. The use of modern molecular techniques constitutes a quick and reliable method for Nocardia species identification, and may contribute to identification to new species of Nocardia that are virulent in cats.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-239
PMCID: PMC3528425  PMID: 23216681
Cat; Nocardia africana; Feline nocardiosis; Osteomyelitis
12.  Construction and validation of a decision tree for treating metabolic acidosis in calves with neonatal diarrhea 
Background
The aim of the present prospective study was to investigate whether a decision tree based on basic clinical signs could be used to determine the treatment of metabolic acidosis in calves successfully without expensive laboratory equipment. A total of 121 calves with a diagnosis of neonatal diarrhea admitted to a veterinary teaching hospital were included in the study. The dosages of sodium bicarbonate administered followed simple guidelines based on the results of a previous retrospective analysis. Calves that were neither dehydrated nor assumed to be acidemic received an oral electrolyte solution. In cases in which intravenous correction of acidosis and/or dehydration was deemed necessary, the provided amount of sodium bicarbonate ranged from 250 to 750 mmol (depending on alterations in posture) and infusion volumes from 1 to 6.25 liters (depending on the degree of dehydration). Individual body weights of calves were disregarded. During the 24 hour study period the investigator was blinded to all laboratory findings.
Results
After being lifted, many calves were able to stand despite base excess levels below −20 mmol/l. Especially in those calves, metabolic acidosis was undercorrected with the provided amount of 500 mmol sodium bicarbonate, which was intended for calves standing insecurely. In 13 calves metabolic acidosis was not treated successfully as defined by an expected treatment failure or a measured base excess value below −5 mmol/l. By contrast, 24 hours after the initiation of therapy, a metabolic alkalosis was present in 55 calves (base excess levels above +5 mmol/l). However, the clinical status was not affected significantly by the metabolic alkalosis.
Conclusions
Assuming re-evaluation of the calf after 24 hours, the tested decision tree can be recommended for the use in field practice with minor modifications. Calves that stand insecurely and are not able to correct their position if pushed require higher doses of sodium bicarbonate, if there is clinical evidence of a marked D-lactic acidosis. In those calves, determining the degree of loss of the palpebral reflex was identified as a useful decision criterion to provide an additional amount of 250 mmol sodium bicarbonate. This work demonstrates the clinical relevance of the discovery that D-lactate is responsible for most of the clinical signs expressed in neonatal diarrheic calves suffering from metabolic acidosis.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-238
PMCID: PMC3548689  PMID: 23216654
D-lactate; Clinical signs; Calves; Neonatal diarrhea; Treatment protocol; Sodium bicarbonate; Intravenous fluid therapy
13.  The diversity of the fecal bacterial community and its relationship with the concentration of volatile fatty acids in the feces during subacute rumen acidosis in dairy cows 
Background
Sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) is a well-recognized digestive disorder found in particular in well-managed dairy herds. SARA can result in increased flow of fermentable substrates to the hindgut, which can increase the production of volatile fatty acids, alter the structure of the microbial community, and have a negative effect on animal health and productivity. However, little is known about changes in the structure of the microbial community and its relationship with fatty acids during SARA. Four cannulated primiparous (60 to 90 day in milk) Holstein dairy cows were assigned to two diets in a 2 × 2 crossover experimental design. The diets contained (on a dry matter basis): 40% (control diet, COD) and 70% (SARA induction diet, SAID) concentrate feeds. Samples of ruminal fluid and feces were collected on day 12, 15, 17 and 21 of the treatment period, and the pH was measured in the ruminal and fecal samples; the fecal microbiota was determined by pyrosequencing analysis of the V1–V3 region of amplified 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA).
Results
SAID decreased ruminal and fecal pH and increased the propionate, butyrate and total volatile fatty acid (TVFA) concentration in feces when compared with the COD. A barcoded DNA pyrosequencing method was used to generate 2116 16S operational taxonomic units (OTUs). A total of 11 phyla were observed, distributed amongst all cattle on both diets; however, only 5 phyla were observed in all animals regardless of dietary treatment, and considerable animal to animal variation was revealed. The average abundance and its range of the 5 phyla were as follows: Firmicutes (63.7%, 29.1–84.1%), Proteobacteria (18.3%, 3.4–46.9%), Actinobacteria (6.8%, 0.4–39.9%), Bacteroidetes (7.6%, 2.2–17.7%) and Tenericutes (1.6%, 0.3–3%). Feeding the SAID resulted in significant shifts in the structure of the fecal microbial community when compared with the traditional COD. Among the 2116 OTUs detected in the present study, 88 OTUs were affected significantly by diet; and the proportion of these OTUs was 20.6% and 17.4% among the total number of sequences, respectively. Among the OTUs affected, the predominant species, including OTU2140 (G: Turicibacter), OTU1695 (G: Stenotrophomonas) and OTU8143 (F: Lachnospiraceae), were increased, while the abundance of OTU1266 (S: Solibacillus silvestris) and OTU2022 (G: Lysinibacillus) was reduced in the SAID group compared with the COD. Further, our results indicated that the fecal volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations were significantly related to presence of some certain species of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes in the feces.
Conclusions
This is, to our knowledge, the first study that has used barcoded DNA pyrosequencing to survey the fecal microbiome of dairy cattle during SARA. Our results suggest that particular bacteria and their metabolites in the feces appear to contribute to differences in host health between those given SAID and traditional COD feeding. A better understanding of these microbial populations will allow for improved nutrient management and increased animal growth performance.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-237
PMCID: PMC3582618  PMID: 23217205
Subacute rumen acidosis; Fecal bacterial community; Volatile fatty acid; Dairy cows
14.  Prevalence of porcine cysticercosis and associated risk factors in Homa Bay District, Kenya 
Background
Taenia solium is an important zoonosis in many developing countries. Cysticercosis poses a serious public health risk and leads to economic losses to the pig production industry. Due to scarcity of data on the epidemiology of porcine cysticercosis in Kenya, the present study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors for porcine cysticercosis within Homa Bay district. A cross-sectional survey was carried out in 2010, and a total of 392 pigs were recruited in a household survey, with all being tested by ante-mortem lingual palpation (together with questionnaire data on pig production, occurrence and transmission of porcine cysticercosis, risk factors and awareness of porcine cysticercosis collected from the households from which pigs were sampled). Sufficient serum was collected from 232 of the pigs to be tested for the presence of circulating parasite antigen using a monoclonal antibody-based sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Ag-ELISA).
Results
Seventy six pigs were found positive by the Ag-ELISA (32.8%, 95% C.I. 26.8-39.2%), while by tongue inspection cysticerci were detected in 22/ 392 pigs (5.6% 95% C.I. 3.6-8.4%).
The most important risk factor for porcine cysticercosis in the Homa Bay area was for pigs to belong to a farm where latrine use by members of the household was not evident (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.13–2.37).
Conclusion
The present findings indicate that porcine cysticercosis is endemic in Homa Bay District, and that latrine provision, in conjunction with free-range pig keeping contributes significantly to porcine cysticercosis transmission.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-234
PMCID: PMC3528429  PMID: 23217158
Taenia solium; Cysticercosis; Porcine; Prevalence; Kenya
15.  Squamous metaplasia of the rete ovarii in a Zebu cow 
Background
Stratified keratinizing squamous epithelium in the ovary has been associated with the diagnosis of ovarian teratoma in cows. Recently, the diagnosis of “epidermoid cyst” has been proposed. A case of squamous metaplasia of the rete ovarii in a Zebu cow is described in this report.
Case presentation
A crossbreed Zebu cow had both ovaries enlarged with multiple cysts. Most cysts were lined by well differentiated keratinizing stratified squamous epithelium and filled with keratinized lamellar material. Some cysts were lined by an epithelial layer that ranged from single cuboidal, double cuboidal epithelium, stratified non keratinized epithelium, and areas of keratinizing stratified squamous epithelium. Single or double layered cuboidal epithelia of the cysts expressed low molecular weight cytokeratin 7, whose expression was absent in the keratinizing stratified squamous epithelia of same cysts. Conversely, high molecular weight cytokeratins 1, 5, 10, and 14 were strongly expressed by the keratinizing stratified epithelium.
Conclusion
Squamous metaplasia of the rete ovarii was diagnosed. Squamous metaplasia of the rete ovarii, may account for some of the previously described squamous lesions in the ovary, which may have been misinterpreted as teratoma or epidermoid cysts.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-235
PMCID: PMC3528438  PMID: 23217175
Ovary; Cow; Rete ovarii; Squamous metaplasia; Epidermoid cyst
16.  Domestic dog demographic structure and dynamics relevant to rabies control planning in urban areas in Africa: the case of Iringa, Tanzania 
Background
Mass vaccinations of domestic dogs have been shown to effectively control canine rabies and hence human exposure to rabies. Knowledge of dog population demography is essential for planning effective rabies vaccination programmes; however, such information is still rare for African domestic dog populations, particularly so in urban areas. This study describes the demographic structure and population dynamics of a domestic dog population in an urban sub-Saharan African setting. In July to November 2005, we conducted a full household-level census and a cross-sectional dog demography survey in four urban wards of Iringa Municipality, Tanzania. The achievable vaccination coverage was assessed by a two-stage vaccination campaign, and the proportion of feral dogs was estimated by a mark-recapture transect study.
Results
The estimated size of the domestic dog population in Iringa was six times larger than official town records assumed, however, the proportion of feral dogs was estimated to account for less than 1% of the whole population. An average of 13% of all households owned dogs which equalled a dog:human ratio of 1:14, or 0.31 dogs per household or 334 dogs km-2. Dog female:male ratio was 1:1.4. The average age of the population was 2.2 years, 52% of all individuals were less than one year old. But mortality within the first year was high (72%). Females became fertile at the age of 10 months and reportedly remained fertile up to the age of 11 years. The average number of litters whelped per fertile female per year was 0.6 with an average of 5.5 pups born per litter. The population growth was estimated at 10% y-1.
Conclusions
Such high birth and death rates result in a rapid replacement of anti-rabies immunised individuals with susceptible ones. This loss in herd immunity needs to be taken into account in the design of rabies control programmes. The very small proportion of truly feral dogs in the population implies that vaccination campaigns aimed at the owned dog population are sufficient to control rabies in urban Iringa, and the same may be valid in other, comparable urban settings.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-236
PMCID: PMC3534358  PMID: 23217194
17.  Detection and identification of Chlamydophila psittaci in asymptomatic parrots in Poland 
Background
Psittacosis, an avian disease caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, can manifest as an acute, protracted, or chronic illness, but can also be asymptomatic. C. psittaci can persist in the host for months to years, often without causing obvious illness, and therefore poses a threat for zoonotic outbreak. We investigated the prevalence of C. psittaci from 156 tracheal swab samples from 34 different species of parrots in Poland, and determined the genotype of strains from the positive samples.
Results
An overall prevalence of 10.3% was observed using two different PCR assays, both providing similar results. Thirteen of the PCR-positive samples were genotype A, two were genotype B, and one could not be classified.
Conclusions
These results indicate widespread dissemination of C. psittaci in Polish psittacine populations, without any clinical signs of chlamydiosis, and hence could pose a zoonotic hazard. PCR screening provided a definitive diagnosis of psittacosis, and subsequent ompA gene analysis could be helpful for better understanding the epidemiology of the C. psittaci genotypes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the incidence of C. psittaci in parrots in Poland.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-233
PMCID: PMC3538658  PMID: 23206592
Chlamydophila psittaci; Psittacine birds; RFLP-PCR
18.  Effects of inadequate maternal dietary protein:carbohydrate ratios during pregnancy on offspring immunity in pigs 
Background
Inadequate nutrition in utero may retard foetal growth and alter physiological development of offspring. This study investigated the effects of low and high protein diets fed to primiparous German Landrace sows throughout pregnancy on the immune function of their offspring at different ages. Sows were fed diets with adequate (AP, 12.1%; n = 13), low (LP, 6.5%; n = 15), or high (HP, 30%; n = 14) protein content, made isoenergetic by varying carbohydrate levels. Cortisol, total protein and immunoglobulin (IgG, IgM, IgA) concentrations were measured in the blood of sows over the course of pregnancy. Cortisol, total protein, immunoglobulins, lymphocyte proliferation, immune cell counts, and cytokines were assessed in the blood of offspring at baseline and under challenging conditions (weaning; lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration).
Results
In sows, the LP diet increased cortisol (P < 0.05) and decreased protein levels (P < 0.01) at the end of pregnancy. Immunoglobulin concentrations were decreased in LP (IgA) and HP piglets (IgG, IgM and IgA) on the first day of life (P < 0.05), whereas the number of lymphocytes and mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation of the piglets were unaffected by the maternal diet. Mortality during the suckling period was higher in LP piglets compared with AP and HP offspring (P < 0.01). Furthermore, LP piglets showed an elevated cortisol response to weaning, and in HP piglets, the CD4+ cell percentage and the CD4+/CD8+ ratio increased after weaning (P < 0.05). The lipopolysaccharide-induced rise of IL-6 was higher in LP (P = 0.09) and HP (P < 0.01) compared with AP piglets, and LP piglets displayed higher IL-10 levels than AP piglets (P < 0.05).
Conclusions
Our results indicate that both low and high protein:carbohydrate ratios in the diet of pregnant sows can induce short-term as well as long-lasting effects on immune competence in piglets that may have serious consequences for host defence against bacterial pathogens.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-232
PMCID: PMC3527219  PMID: 23190629
19.  Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes in fecal samples reveals high diversity of hindgut microflora in horses and potential links to chronic laminitis 
Background
The nutrition and health of horses is closely tied to their gastrointestinal microflora. Gut bacteria break down plant structural carbohydrates and produce volatile fatty acids, which are a major source of energy for horses. Bacterial communities are also essential for maintaining gut homeostasis and have been hypothesized to contribute to various diseases including laminitis. We performed pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA bacterial genes isolated from fecal material to characterize hindgut bacterial communities in healthy horses and those with chronic laminitis.
Results
Fecal samples were collected from 10 normal horses and 8 horses with chronic laminitis. Genomic DNA was extracted and the V4-V5 segment of the 16S rRNA gene was PCR amplified and sequenced on the 454 platform generating a mean of 2,425 reads per sample after quality trimming. The bacterial communities were dominated by Firmicutes (69.21% control, 56.72% laminitis) and Verrucomicrobia (18.13% control, 27.63% laminitis), followed by Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes. We observed more OTUs per individual in the laminitis group than the control group (419.6 and 355.2, respectively, P = 0.019) along with a difference in the abundance of two unassigned Clostridiales genera (P = 0.03 and P = 0.01). The most abundant bacteria were Streptococcus spp., Clostridium spp., and Treponema spp.; along with unassigned genera from Subdivision 5 of Verrucomicrobia, Ruminococcaceae, and Clostridiaceae, which together constituted ~ 80% of all OTUs. There was a high level of individual variation across all taxonomic ranks.
Conclusions
Our exploration of the equine fecal microflora revealed higher bacterial diversity in horses with chronic laminitis and identification of two Clostridiales genera that differed in abundance from control horses. There was large individual variation in bacterial communities that was not explained in our study. The core hindgut microflora was dominated by Streptococcus spp., several cellulytic genera, and a large proportion of uncharacterized OTUs that warrant further investigation regarding their function. Our data provide a foundation for future investigations of hindgut bacterial factors that may influence the development and progression of chronic laminitis.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-231
PMCID: PMC3538718  PMID: 23186268
20.  Inhibitory effect of topical Adelmidrol on antigen-induced skin wheal and mast cell behavior in a canine model of allergic dermatitis 
Background
Adelmidrol is a semisynthetic derivative of azelaic acid and analogue of the anti-inflammatory compound palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). Based upon its physicochemical properties, adelmidrol is suitable for topical application. The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of a topical adelmidrol emulsion on early and late inflammatory responses in hypersensitive dogs. Repeated intradermal injections of Ascaris suum extract were performed in both lateral thoracic areas of six conscious hypersensitive Beagle dogs, topically treated during 8 consecutive days. Adelmidrol (2%) was applied to one side and vehicle to the other. 24 hours after the last antigen challenge, two biopsies (adelmidrol- and vehicle-treated side) were obtained for each dog at the antigen injection site.
Results
A significant reduction in the antigen-induced wheal areas was observed on the 4th and 7th day of adelmidrol treatment. Moreover, cutaneous mast cell numbers were significantly decreased in biopsies obtained after 8 consecutive days of topical adelmidrol treatment.
Conclusions
The results obtained in the present study show that topical treatment with adelmidrol might represent a new therapeutic tool in controlling the early and late allergic inflammatory skin responses in companion animals.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-230
PMCID: PMC3540011  PMID: 23181761
Adelmidrol; Aliamides; Mast cells; Allergy; Ascaris suum; Dogs
21.  Isolation and phylogenetic analysis of orf virus from the sheep herd outbreak in northeast China 
Background
Orf is a zoonotic and epitheliotrophic contagious disease that mainly affects sheep, goats, wild ruminants, and humans with a worldwide distribution. To date, there is little information on the characterization of ORFV strains that are endemic in Mainland China. In addition, the relationship between the severity of disease and the molecular profile of ORFV strains has not been fully elucidated.
Results
From the recent outbreak of a sheep herd in Nongan, northeast of China, the novel orf virus (ORFV) strain NA1/11 was successfully isolated. Western blot analysis indicated that the NA1/11 strain cross reacts with monoclonal antibody A3 and infected sheep ORFV antiserum. The purified virions revealed the typical ovoid shape when observed by atomic force microscopy. To determine the genetic characteristics of the NA1/11 strain, the sequences of ORFV011 (B2L), ORFV059 (F1L), ORFV109, ORFV110 and ORFv132 (VEGF) genes were amplified and compared with reference parapoxvirus strains. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (nMDS) was performed to analyze the nucleotide similarities between different ORFV strains.
Conclusions
Phylogenetic analysis based on ORFV 011 nucleotide sequences showed that the NA1/11strain was closely related to Xinjiang and Gansu strains. ORFV110 and ORFV132 genes are highly variable. The results revealed that precise phylogenetic analysis might provide evidence for genetic variation and movement of circulating ORFV strains in Northeast China. In addition, nMDS analysis showed that geographic isolation and animal host are likely major factors resulting in genetic differences between ORFV strains.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-229
PMCID: PMC3561078  PMID: 23174032
Parapoxvirus; Orf virus; Phylogenetic analysis; Sheep; Zoonosis; nMDS
22.  Factors associated with the occurrence and level of Isospora suis oocyst excretion in nursing piglets of Greek farrow-to-finish herds 
Background
Piglet isosporosis is one of the most common parasitic diseases in modern pig production. To prevent clinical disease, prophylactic treatment of piglets with toltrazuril (BAYCOX® 5%, Bayer HealthCare, Animal Health, Monheim, Germany) is widely practiced in the past 20 years. There are only very few reports documenting the likely effect of managerial practices, such as hygiene measures, all-in-all-out management of farrowing facilities and piglet manipulations, and/or farm-specific environment - i.e. design and materials of the farrowing pen and room - in the risk of disease occurrence and transmission. Therefore, in this cross-sectional study, we identified litter- and herd-level factors associated with the odds and the level of Isospora suis oocyst excretion in nursing piglets of Greek farrow-to-finish pig herds. Faecal samples were collected from 314 liters of 55 randomly selected herds. Oocyst counts were determined by a modified McMaster technique and possible risk-factor data were collected through a questionnaire. In the analysis, we employed a two-part model that simultaneously assessed the odds and the level of oocyst excretion.
Results
Factors associated with lower odds of oocyst excretion were: use of toltrazuril treatment, all-in all-out management of the farrowing rooms, no cross-fostering or fostering during the first 24 hours after farrowing, plastic flooring in the farrowing pens, farrowing rooms with more than fourteen farrowing pens and employment of more than two caretakers in the farrowing section. Factors associated with lower oocyst excretion level were: use of toltrazuril treatment and caretakers averting from entering into farrowing pens.
Conclusion
Apart from prophylactic treatment with toltrazuril, the risk and the level of I. suis oocyst excretion from piglets in their second week of life, was associated with managerial and environmental factors. Changes in these factors, which may enhance prevention of piglet isosporosis – either alternatively or supplementary to medical control – are of increasing importance because of the likely development of resistant parasites under the currently widespread use of anticoccidial compounds.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-228
PMCID: PMC3527311  PMID: 23174007
Isospora suis; Oocyst excretion; Risk factor; Two-part model
23.  Assessing risk profiles for Salmonella serotypes in breeding pig operations in Portugal using a Bayesian hierarchical model 
Background
The EU Regulation No 2160/2003 imposes a reduction in the prevalence of Salmonella in pigs. The efficiency of control programmes for Salmonella in pigs, reported among the EU Member States, varies and definitive eradication seems very difficult. Control measures currently recommended for Salmonella are not serotype-specific. Is it possible that the risk factors for different Salmonella serotypes are different? The aim of this study was to investigate potential risk factors for two groups of Salmonella sp serotypes using pen faecal samples from breeding pig holdings representative of the Portuguese pig sector.
Methods
The data used come from the Baseline Survey for the Prevalence of Salmonella in breeding pigs in Portugal. A total of 1670 pen faecal samples from 167 herds were tested, and 170 samples were positive for Salmonella. The presence of Salmonella in each sample (outcome variable) was classified in three categories: i) no Salmonella, ii) Salmonella Typhimurium or S. Typhimurium-like strains with the antigenic formula: 1,4,5,12:i:-, , and iii) other serotypes. Along with the sample collection, a questionnaire concerning herd management and potential risk factors was utilised. The data have a “natural” hierarchical structure so a categorical multilevel analysis of the dataset was carried out using a Bayesian hierarchical model. The model was estimated using Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods, implemented in the software WinBUGS.
Results
The significant associations found (when compared to category “no Salmonella”), for category “serotype Typhimurium or S. Typhimurium-like strains with the antigenic formula: 1,4,5,12:i:-” were: age of breeding sows, size of the herd, number of pigs/pen and source of semen. For the category “other serotypes” the significant associations found were: control of rodents, region of the country, source of semen, breeding sector room and source of feed.
Conclusions
The risk factors significantly associated with Salmonella shedding from the category “serotype Typhimurium or serotype 1,4,5,12:i:-“ were more related to animal factors, whereas those associated with “other serotypes” were more related to environmental factors. Our findings suggest that different control measures could be used to control different Salmonella serotypes in breeding pigs.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-226
PMCID: PMC3514327  PMID: 23171637
24.  Efficacy of clarithromycin on biofilm formation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius 
Background
Surgical site infections (SSIs) caused by biofilm-forming methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) have emerged as the most common hospital-acquired infections in companion animals. No methods currently exist for the therapeutic remediation of SSIs caused by MRSP in biofilms. Clarithromycin (CLA) has been shown to prevent biofilm formation by Staphylococcus aureus. This study aims to assess the in vitro activity of CLA in eradicating MRSP biofilm formation on various materials.
Results
Quantitative assay results (P = 0.5126) suggest that CLA does not eradicate MRSP biofilm formation on polystyrene after 4 – 24 h growth periods. Scanning electron micrographs confirmed that CLA did not eradicate MRSP biofilm formed on orthopaedic implants.
Conclusions
By determining the in vitro characteristics and activities of MRSP isolates alone and against antibiotics, in vitro models of biofilm related infections can be made. In vitro data suggests that CLA does not effectively eradicate S. pseudintermedius biofilms in therapeutic doses.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-225
PMCID: PMC3534386  PMID: 23171620
MRSP; S. pseudintermedius; Methicillin-resistant; Therapeutic; Bacteria; Biofilm; Macrolide, Clarithromycin
25.  Canine muscle cell culture and consecutive patch-clamp measurements - a new approach to characterize muscular diseases in dogs 
Background
The recognition of functional muscular disorders, (e.g. channelopathies like Myotonia) is rising in veterinary neurology. Morphologic (e.g. histology) and even genetic based studies in these diseases are not able to elucidate the functional pathomechanism. As there is a deficit of knowledge and skills considering this special task, the aim of the current pilot study was to develop a canine muscle cell culture system derived from muscle biopsies of healthy client-owned dogs, which allows sampling of the biopsies under working conditions in the daily veterinary practise.
Results
Muscular biopsies from 16 dogs of different age and breed were taken during standard surgical procedures and were stored for one to three days at 4°C in a transport medium in order to simulate shipping conditions. Afterwards biopsies were professionally processed, including harvesting of satellite cells, inducing their proliferation, differentiating them into myotubes and recultivating myotubes after long-term storage in liquid nitrogen. Myogenic origin of cultured cells was determined by immunofluorescence, immunohistology and by their typical morphology after inducing differentiation. Subsequent to the differentiation into myotubes feasibility of patch-clamp recordings of voltage gated ion channels was successfully.
Conclusion
We have developed a canine muscle cell culture system, which allows sampling of biopsies from young and old dogs of different breeds under practical conditions. Patch clamp measurements can be carried out with the cultured myotubes demonstrating potential of these cells as source for functional research.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-227
PMCID: PMC3539935  PMID: 23171640
Myotubes; Voltage gated ion channels; Functional; Dog; Animal models

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