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Animal Diseases - Top 30 Publications

Comparison of veterinary drugs and veterinary homeopathy: part 1.

For many years after its invention around 1796, homeopathy was widely used in people and later in animals. Over the intervening period (1796-2016) pharmacology emerged as a science from Materia Medica (medicinal materials) to become the mainstay of veterinary therapeutics. There remains today a much smaller, but significant, use of homeopathy by veterinary surgeons. Homeopathic products are sometimes administered when conventional drug therapies have not succeeded, but are also used as alternatives to scientifically based therapies and licensed products. The principles underlying the veterinary use of drug-based and homeopathic products are polar opposites; this provides the basis for comparison between them. This two-part review compares and contrasts the two treatment forms in respect of history, constituents, methods of preparation, known or postulated mechanisms underlying responses, the legal basis for use and scientific credibility in the 21st century. Part 1 begins with a consideration of why therapeutic products actually work or appear to do so.

Veterinary student competence in equine lameness recognition and assessment: a mixed methods study.

The development of perceptual skills is an important aspect of veterinary education. The authors investigated veterinary student competency in lameness evaluation at two stages, before (third year) and during (fourth/fifth year) clinical rotations. Students evaluated horses in videos, where horses were presented during trot on a straight line and in circles. Eye-tracking data were recorded during assessment on the straight line to follow student gaze. On completing the task, students filled in a structured questionnaire. Results showed that the experienced students outperformed inexperienced students, although even experienced students may classify one in four horses incorrectly. Mistakes largely arose from classifying an incorrect limb as lame. The correct detection of sound horses was at chance level. While the experienced student cohort primarily looked at upper body movement (head and sacrum) during lameness assessment, the inexperienced cohort focused on limb movement. Student self-assessment of performance was realistic, and task difficulty was most commonly rated between 3 and 4 out of 5. The inexperienced students named a considerably greater number of visual lameness features than the experienced students. Future dedicated training based on the findings presented here may help students to develop more reliable lameness assessment skills.

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, July 2017.

Current and emerging issues: reminder of the notifiable status of porcine epidemic diarrhoeaHighlights from the scanning surveillance networkUpdate on international disease threatsReview of animal health threats by the Veterinary Risk Group These are among matters discussed in the Animal and Plant Health Agency's (APHA's) disease surveillance report for July 2017.

Brachycephalic dogs - time for action.

Pig empire under infectious threat: risk of African swine fever introduction into the People's Republic of China.

Pig production and pork consumption are very important to the People's Republic of China for both economic and cultural reasons. The incursion and spread of a disease such as African swine fever (ASF), which emerged in Eastern Europe in 2007, could have devastating socioeconomic consequences for both the Chinese and the global pig industry. The Chinese government consequently attributes a very high priority to ASF and is actively seeking to improve its preparedness. This paper discusses different drivers and pathways of potential emergence of ASF in China in light of the country's specificities, including international movements of people, pigs and pig products, swill feeding practices and wild boar populations. It suggests that effective ASF risk management in China will require a comprehensive and integrated approach linking science and policy and will need to involve all relevant stakeholders to develop realistic policies.

Diagnosis of equine influenza.

During the summer months, there will be increased movement and, therefore, increased mixing of the horse population, leading to a higher risk of disease transmission and subsequent clinical cases. It is important that both vets and owners remain vigilant for equine influenza infection. Here, Adam Rash, of the Animal Health Trust, discusses the diagnosis of this disease.

Equine disease surveillance: quarterly summary.

This quarterly equine disease surveillance report, prepared by Defra, the Animal Health Trust and the British Equine Veterinary Association, covers: Summary of surveillance testing, January to March 2017International disease occurrence in the first quarter of 2017Focus on the diagnosis of equine influenza.

In Vivo Imaging of Retinal Hypoxia Using HYPOX-4-Dependent Fluorescence in a Mouse Model of Laser-Induced Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO).

To demonstrate the utility of a novel in vivo molecular imaging probe, HYPOX-4, to detect and image retinal hypoxia in real time, in a mouse model of retinal vein occlusion (RVO).

Participation of women and children in hunting activities in Sierra Leone and implications for control of zoonotic infections.

The emergence of infectious diseases of zoonotic origin highlights the need to understand social practices at the animal-human interface. This study provides a qualitative account of interactions between humans and wild animals in predominantly Mende villages of southern Sierra Leone. We conducted fieldwork over 4 months including participant and direct observations, semi-structured interviews (n = 47), spontaneously occurring focus group discussions (n = 12), school essays and informal interviews to describe behaviours that may serve as pathways for zoonotic infection. In this region, hunting is the primary form of contact with wild animals. We describe how these interactions are shaped by socio-cultural contexts, including opportunities to access economic resources and by social obligations and constraints. Our research suggests that the potential for exposure to zoonotic pathogens is more widely distributed across different age, gender and social groups than previously appreciated. We highlight the role of children in hunting, an age group that has previously not been discussed in the context of hunting. The breadth of the "at risk" population forces reconsideration of how we conceptualize, trace and monitor pathogen exposure.

Preventing Enteric Infections from Contact with Animals.

Precautions when visiting petting zoos and state fairs.

Wetlands, wild Bovidae species richness and sheep density delineate risk of Rift Valley fever outbreaks in the African continent and Arabian Peninsula.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an emerging, vector-borne viral zoonosis that has significantly impacted public health, livestock health and production, and food security over the last three decades across large regions of the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula. The potential for expansion of RVF outbreaks within and beyond the range of previous occurrence is unknown. Despite many large national and international epidemics, the landscape epidemiology of RVF remains obscure, particularly with respect to the ecological roles of wildlife reservoirs and surface water features. The current investigation modeled RVF risk throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as a function of a suite of biotic and abiotic landscape features using machine learning methods. Intermittent wetland, wild Bovidae species richness and sheep density were associated with increased landscape suitability to RVF outbreaks. These results suggest the role of wildlife hosts and distinct hydrogeographic landscapes in RVF virus circulation and subsequent outbreaks may be underestimated. These results await validation by studies employing a deeper, field-based interrogation of potential wildlife hosts within high risk taxa.

Epidemiology, clinical features and risk factors for human rabies and animal bites during an outbreak of rabies in Maputo and Matola cities, Mozambique, 2014: Implications for public health interventions for rabies control.

In Mozambique, the majority of rabies outbreaks are unreported and data on the epidemiological features of human rabies and animal bites are scarce. An outbreak of human rabies in adjacent Maputo and Matola cities in 2014 prompted us to investigate the epidemiology, clinical features and risk factors of human rabies and animal bites in the two cities.

A Pharmacodynamic Analysis of Choroidal Neovascularization in a Porcine Model Using Three Targeted Drugs.

To compare the efficacy of microneedle-delivered suprachoroidal (SC) pazopanib to intravitreal (Ivit) delivery of pazopanib, bevacizumab, or a fusion protein hI-con1 versus vehicle controls on choroidal neovascularization (CNV) growth in a pig model.

Cryptosporidium and Giardia Infections in Children: A Review.

Diarrheal disease remains the second leading cause of mortality in children in developing countries. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause and its importance stands to increase as rotavirus vaccine becomes used around the world. Cryptosporidium is particularly problematic in children younger than 2 years old and in the immunocompromised. Giardia lamblia is a common intestinal protozoan that is associated with diarrhea and, perhaps, growth faltering in impoverished settings. This review establishes the current prevalence of these infections in global settings and reviews current diagnosis and management approaches.

Drivers for Rift Valley fever emergence in Mayotte: A Bayesian modelling approach.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a major zoonotic and arboviral hemorrhagic fever. The conditions leading to RVF epidemics are still unclear, and the relative role of climatic and anthropogenic factors may vary between ecosystems. Here, we estimate the most likely scenario that led to RVF emergence on the island of Mayotte, following the 2006-2007 African epidemic. We developed the first mathematical model for RVF that accounts for climate, animal imports and livestock susceptibility, which is fitted to a 12-years dataset. RVF emergence was found to be triggered by the import of infectious animals, whilst transmissibility was approximated as a linear or exponential function of vegetation density. Model forecasts indicated a very low probability of virus endemicity in 2017, and therefore of re-emergence in a closed system (i.e. without import of infected animals). However, the very high proportion of naive animals reached in 2016 implies that the island remains vulnerable to the import of infectious animals. We recommend reinforcing surveillance in livestock, should RVF be reported is neighbouring territories. Our model should be tested elsewhere, with ecosystem-specific data.

Apatinib, an Inhibitor of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 2, Suppresses Pathologic Ocular Neovascularization in Mice.

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling via VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) plays a crucial role in pathologic ocular neovascularization. In this study, we investigated the antiangiogenic effect of apatinib, a pharmacologic inhibitor of VEGFR2 tyrosine kinase, against oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in mice.

Visceral leishmaniasis in an environmentally protected area in southeastern Brazil: Epidemiological and laboratory cross-sectional investigation of phlebotomine fauna, wild hosts and canine cases.

Leishmaniasis is a rapidly expanding zoonosis that shows increasing urbanization. Concern exists regarding the role of wildlife in visceral leishmaniasis (VL) transmission, due to frequent natural or anthropogenic environmental changes that facilitate contact between wildlife, humans and their pets. The municipality of Campinas, in southeastern Brazil, initially recorded VL in 2009, when the first autochthonous case was confirmed in a dog living in an upscale residential condominium, located inside an environmentally protected area (EPA). Since then, disease transmission remains restricted to dogs inhabiting two geographically contiguous condominiums within the EPA.

Identifying wildlife reservoirs of neglected taeniid tapeworms: Non-invasive diagnosis of endemic Taenia serialis infection in a wild primate population.

Despite the global distribution and public health consequences of Taenia tapeworms, the life cycles of taeniids infecting wildlife hosts remain largely undescribed. The larval stage of Taenia serialis commonly parasitizes rodents and lagomorphs, but has been reported in a wide range of hosts that includes geladas (Theropithecus gelada), primates endemic to Ethiopia. Geladas exhibit protuberant larval cysts indicative of advanced T. serialis infection that are associated with high mortality. However, non-protuberant larvae can develop in deep tissue or the abdominal cavity, leading to underestimates of prevalence based solely on observable cysts. We adapted a non-invasive monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect circulating Taenia spp. antigen in dried gelada urine. Analysis revealed that this assay was highly accurate in detecting Taenia antigen, with 98.4% specificity, 98.5% sensitivity, and an area under the curve of 0.99. We used this assay to investigate the prevalence of T. serialis infection in a wild gelada population, finding that infection is substantially more widespread than the occurrence of visible T. serialis cysts (16.4% tested positive at least once, while only 6% of the same population exhibited cysts). We examined whether age or sex predicted T. serialis infection as indicated by external cysts and antigen presence. Contrary to the female-bias observed in many Taenia-host systems, we found no significant sex bias in either cyst presence or antigen presence. Age, on the other hand, predicted cyst presence (older individuals were more likely to show cysts) but not antigen presence. We interpret this finding to indicate that T. serialis may infect individuals early in life but only result in visible disease later in life. This is the first application of an antigen ELISA to the study of larval Taenia infection in wildlife, opening the doors to the identification and description of infection dynamics in reservoir populations.

Local and global genetic diversity of protozoan parasites: Spatial distribution of Cryptosporidium and Giardia genotypes.

Cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are recognized as significant enteric diseases due to their long-term health effects in humans and their economic impact in agriculture and medical care. Molecular analysis is essential to identify species and genotypes causing these infectious diseases and provides a potential tool for monitoring. This study uses information on species and genetic variants to gain insights into the geographical distribution and spatial patterns of Cryptosporidium and Giardia parasites. Here, we describe the population heterogeneity of genotypic groups within Cryptosporidium and Giardia present in New Zealand using gp60 and gdh markers to compare the observed variation with other countries around the globe. Four species of Cryptosporidium (C. hominis, C. parvum, C. cuniculus and C. erinacei) and one species of Giardia (G. intestinalis) were identified. These species have been reported worldwide and there are not unique Cryptosporidium gp60 subtype families and Giardia gdh assemblages in New Zealand, most likely due to high gene flow of historical and current human activity (travel and trade) and persistence of large host population sizes. The global analysis revealed that genetic variants of these pathogens are widely distributed. However, genetic variation is underestimated by data biases (e.g. neglected submission of sequences to genetic databases) and low sampling. New genotypes are likely to be discovered as sampling efforts increase according to accumulation prediction analyses, especially for C. parvum. Our study highlights the need for greater sampling and archiving of genotypes globally to allow comparative analyses that help understand the population dynamics of these protozoan parasites. Overall our study represents a comprehensive overview for exploring local and global protozoan genotype diversity and advances our understanding of the importance for surveillance and potential risk associated with these infectious diseases.

Detection of chronic wasting disease prion seeding activity in deer and elk feces by real-time quaking-induced conversion.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emergent prion disease affecting cervid species in North America, Canada, South Korea, and recently, Norway. Detection of CWD has been advanced by techniques that rely on amplification of low levels of prion amyloid to a detectable level. However, the increased sensitivity of amplification assays is often compromised by inhibitors and/or activators in complex biologic samples including body fluids, excreta, or the environment. Here, we adapt real-time quaking-induced conversion conditions to specifically detect CWD prions in fecal samples from both experimentally infected deer and naturally infected elk and estimate environmental contamination. The results have application to detection, surveillance and management of CWD, and potentially to other protein-misfolding diseases.

Genetically stable infectious Schmallenberg virus persists in foetal envelopes of pregnant ewes.

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is a recently emerged vector-borne virus, inducing congenital defects in bovines, ovines and caprines. Here we have shown that infectious SBV is capable of persisting until the moment of birth in the foetal envelopes of ewes infected with SBV-infectious serum at day 45 (1/5 positive) and 60 (4/6 positive) of gestation. This persistence of at least 100 days is a new aspect of the SBV pathogenesis that could help to explain how SBV overwinters the cold season in temperate climate zones. Furthermore, sequencing of the M segment shows that the persisting virus in the foetal envelopes is genetically stable since only a few mutations compared to the inoculum were found. This supports the hypothesis that persisting virus could start the infection of new hosts. Finally, neutralization tests showed that infectious SBV present in the foetal envelopes at birth can be neutralized by the humoral immunity present in the infected ewes.

Evaluation of candidate reference genes for quantitative expression studies in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) during ontogenesis and in tissues of healthy and infected fishes.

Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), used to determine the gene expression profile, is an important tool in functional genomic research, including fishes. To obtain more robust and meaningful result, the best possible normalization of the data is of utmost significance. In the present study, we have evaluated the potential of five commonly used housekeeping genes i.e., elongation factor 1-α (EF1A), β-Actin (ACTB), 18S ribosomal RNA (18S), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and β-2-Microglobulin (B2M) in normal physiological conditions, developmental stages and in response to bacterial infection in Asian seabass, Lates calcarifer (Bloch), an important food fish cultured in the Asia-Pacific region. The expression levels of these five genes were estimated in 11 tissues of normal seabass juveniles, 14 embryonic and larval developmental stages and six tissues of Vibrio alginolyticus-challenged animals. Further, the expression stability of these genes was calculated based on three algorithms i.e. geNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper. The results showed that although there are tissue-specific variations for each gene, ACTB and EF1A are the most stable genes across the tissues of normal animals. However, in bacteria-challenged animals, EF1A and 18S were found to be the best reference genes for data normalization. The expression of all the genes tested showed an increasing trend in developmental stages and the increase was significant at blastula stage. Among the five genes tested, EF1A and ACTB were found to be the genes with least variation and highest stability across the developmental stages. This forms the first report on validation of housekeeping genes in L. calcarifer, in the context of ontogenic development and in response to infection.

A novel VWF variant associated with type 2 von Willebrand disease in German Wirehaired Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers.

Von Willebrand disease (VWD), caused by deficiency of the von Willebrand factor (VWF), is the most common bleeding disorder in humans and dogs. The complete cDNA encoding VWF of a German Wirehaired Pointer with type 2 VWD was sequenced, and we found four variants that alter the amino acid sequence. These variants were: c.1657T>G corresponding to p.Trp553Gly; c.1777G>A (p.Glu593Lys); c.4937A>G (p.Asn1646Ser) and c.5544G>A (p.Met1848Ile). A haplotype of the c.1657G, c.1777A and c.4937G alleles co-segregated with the VWF antigen level in a four-generation pedigree with the disease. Healthy dogs of the breed were found that were homozygous for the c.1777A or the c.5544A allele, indicating that these variants do not cause VWD. Dogs that were homozygous for the c.4937G allele and had no signs of a bleeding disorder were observed in the Chinese Crested dog breed. Thus, only the c.1657G variant was found in the homozygous state exclusively in VWD affecteds, and this variant is the strongest candidate to be the cause of VWD type 2 in the German Wirehaired Pointer breed. A screen of German Shorthaired Pointers indicated that the variant also segregates with VWD in this breed.

Characterization of PTV-12, a newly described porcine teschovirus serotype: in vivo infection and cross-protection studies.

Porcine teschoviruses (PTVs) constitute 1 of the 31 genera within the Picornaviridae family, comprising at least 13 genetic types (PTV-1 to PTV-13), of which only 11 (PTV-1 to PTV-11) have been recognized as serotypes to date. Specific for swine and wild boars, most PTVs are usually non-pathogenic, but some viral variants cause severe disorders in the central nervous system (Teschen disease) or milder signs (Talfan disease), as well as reproductive, digestive and respiratory disorders and skin lesions. Previous studies revealed a high diversity of teschoviruses circulating in Spanish pig populations. Phylogenetic analysis performed with these sequences and others available in GenBank disclosed 13 clusters, 11 of which corresponded to the known PTV serotypes, and 1 of 2 additional groups is represented by isolate CC25, whose full-length genomic sequence has been obtained. This group is new to science, and was putatively named PTV-12. Here, a complete characterization of this isolate is presented, including the experimental infection of minipigs to assess tissue tropism and possible pathogenicity in vivo in the host species. In addition, using this experimental animal model, we investigated whether a pre-existing infection with this PTV-12 isolate could confer cross-protection against infection with a heterotypic PTV-1 virulent strain. Based on phylogenetic analysis and serological data, we propose CC25 as the prototype strain of a new teschovirus serotype, PTV-12.

The sero-epidemiology of Rift Valley fever in people in the Lake Victoria Basin of western Kenya.

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a zoonotic arbovirus affecting livestock and people. This study was conducted in western Kenya where RVFV outbreaks have not previously been reported. The aims were to document the seroprevalence and risk factors for RVFV antibodies in a community-based sample from western Kenya and compare this with slaughterhouse workers in the same region who are considered a high-risk group for RVFV exposure. The study was conducted in western Kenya between July 2010 and November 2012. Individuals were recruited from randomly selected homesteads and a census of slaughterhouses. Structured questionnaire tools were used to collect information on demographic data, health, and risk factors for zoonotic disease exposure. Indirect ELISA on serum samples determined seropositivity to RVFV. Risk factor analysis for RVFV seropositivity was conducted using multi-level logistic regression. A total of 1861 individuals were sampled in 384 homesteads. The seroprevalence of RVFV in the community was 0.8% (95% CI 0.5-1.3). The variables significantly associated with RVFV seropositivity in the community were increasing age (OR 1.2; 95% CI 1.1-1.4, p<0.001), and slaughtering cattle at the homestead (OR 3.3; 95% CI 1.0-10.5, p = 0.047). A total of 553 slaughterhouse workers were sampled in 84 ruminant slaughterhouses. The seroprevalence of RVFV in slaughterhouse workers was 2.5% (95% CI 1.5-4.2). Being the slaughterman, the person who cuts the animal's throat (OR 3.5; 95% CI 1.0-12.1, p = 0.047), was significantly associated with RVFV seropositivity. This study investigated and compared the epidemiology of RVFV between community members and slaughterhouse workers in western Kenya. The data demonstrate that slaughtering animals is a risk factor for RVFV seropositivity and that slaughterhouse workers are a high-risk group for RVFV seropositivity in this environment. These risk factors have been previously reported in other studies providing further evidence for RVFV circulation in western Kenya.

Babesiosis Surveillance - Wisconsin, 2001-2015.

Babesiosis is an emerging zoonotic disease caused primarily by Babesia microti, an intraerythocytic protozoan. Babesia microti, like the causal agents for Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, is endemic to the northeastern and upper midwestern United States where it is usually transmitted by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Although babesiosis is usually a mild to moderate illness, older or immunocompromised persons can develop a serious malaria-like illness that can be fatal without prompt treatment. The most common initial clinical signs and symptoms of babesiosis (fever, fatigue, chills, and diaphoresis) are nonspecific and present diagnostic challenges that can contribute to delays in diagnosis and effective treatment with atovaquone and azithromycin (1). Results of one study revealed a mean delay of 12-14 days from symptom onset to treatment (2). Knowledge of the incidence and geographic distribution of babesiosis can raise the index of clinical suspicion and facilitate more prompt diagnosis and lifesaving treatment (1). The first known case of babesiosis in Wisconsin was detected in 1985 (3), and babesiosis became officially reportable in the state in 2001. Wisconsin babesiosis surveillance data for 2001-2015 were analyzed in 3-year intervals to compare demographic, epidemiologic, and laboratory features among patients with cases of reported babesiosis. To determine possible reasons for an increase in reported Babesia infection, trends in electronic laboratory reporting and diagnosis by polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR) were examined. Between the first and last 3-year analysis intervals, there was a 26-fold increase in the incidence of confirmed babesiosis, in addition to geographic expansion. These trends might be generalizable to other states with endemic disease, similar suburbanization and forest fragmentation patterns, and warming average temperatures (4). Accurate surveillance in states where babesiosis is endemic is necessary to estimate the increasing burden of babesiosis and other tickborne diseases and to develop appropriate public health interventions for prevention and practice.

What are the monetary losses by BVDV infection and is control cost-effective?

Evolution of Bovine viral diarrhea virus in Canada from 1997 to 2013.

Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a rapidly evolving, single-stranded RNA virus and a production limiting pathogen of cattle worldwide. 79 viral isolates collected between 1997 and 2013 in Canada were subjected to next-generation sequencing. Bayesian phylogenetics was used to assess the evolution of this virus. A mean substitution rate of 1.4×10(-3) substitutions/site/year was found across both BVDV1 and BVDV2. Evolutionary rates in the E2 gene were slightly faster than other regions. We also identified population structures below the sub-genotype level that likely have phenotypic implications. Two distinct clusters within BVDV2a are present and can be differentiated, in part, by a tyrosine to isoleucine mutation at position 963 in the E2 protein, a position implicated in the antigenicity of BVDV1 isolates. Distinct clustering within all sub-genotypes, particularly BVDV2a, is apparent and could lead to new levels of genotypic classification. Continuous monitoring of emerging variants is therefore necessary.

Recognising clinical avian botulism in wild waterbirds.

This article has been prepared by Paul Duff and colleagues of the APHA Wildlife Expert Group.

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, June 2017.

Current and emerging issues: update on Schmallenberg virusHighlights from the scanning surveillance networkUpdate on international disease threatsFocus on recognising clinical avian botulism in wild waterbirdsThese are among matters discussed in the Animal and Plant Health Agency's (APHA's) disease surveillance report for June 2017.