ResearchPad - cats https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Digestibility of black soldier fly larvae (<i>Hermetia illucens</i>) fed to leopard geckos (<i>Eublepharis macularius</i>)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7714 Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae have been marketed as an excellent choice for providing calcium to reptiles without the need of dusting or gut loading. However, previous studies have indicated that they have limited calcium digestibility and are deficient in fat soluble vitamins (A, D3, and E). In this feeding and digestibility trial, 24 adult male leopard geckos were fed one of three diets for 4 months: 1) whole, vitamin A gut loaded larvae; 2) needle pierced, vitamin A gut loaded larvae; or 3) whole, non-gut loaded larvae. Fecal output from the geckos was collected daily and apparent digestibility was calculated for dry matter, protein, fat, and minerals. There were no differences in digestibility coefficients among groups. Most nutrients were well digested by the leopard geckos when compared to previous studies, with the exception of calcium (digestibility co-efficient 43%), as the calcium-rich exoskeleton usually remained intact after passage through the GI tract. Biochemistry profiles revealed possible deficits occurring over time for calcium, sodium, and total protein. In regards to vitamin A digestibility, plasma and liver vitamin A concentrations were significantly higher in the supplemented groups (plasma- gut loaded groups: 33.38 ± 7.11 ng/ml, control group: 25.8 ± 6.72 ng/ml, t = 1.906, p = 0.04; liver- gut loaded groups: 28.67 ± 18.90 μg/g, control group: 14.13 ± 7.41 μg/g, t = 1.951, p = 0.03). While leopard geckos are able to digest most of the nutrients provided by BSF larvae, including those that have been gut loaded, more research needs to be performed to assess whether or not they provide adequate calcium in their non-supplemented form.

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<![CDATA[Identification of separation-related problems in domestic cats: A questionnaire survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N096b59e8-8c6c-4ade-a9c3-2213a89d5014

Identifying and preventing the occurrence of separation-related problems (SRP) in companion animals are relevant to animal welfare and the quality of human-pet interactions. The SRP are defined as a set of behaviors and physiological signs displayed by the animal when separated from its attachment person. In cats, SRP has been insufficiently studied. Thus, the objective of this study was to develop a questionnaire for cat owners which identifies behaviors that may indicate SRP, as well as relates the occurrence of SRP to the management practices applied in the sampled cats. The associations of SRP with cats’ characteristics, as well as owner, environmental, and management traits were investigated. The questionnaire was developed based on the scientific literature about separation anxiety syndrome in dogs and a few papers in cats, and it was completed by 130 owners of 223 cats. Analysis of owners’ answers was done through categorization and acquisition of relative frequencies of each response category, followed by Fisher’s exact test, chi-square tests in contingency table and Multiple Correspondence Analysis. Among the sampled animals, 13.45% (30 / 223) met at least one of the behavioral criteria we used to define SRP. Destructive behavior was the most frequently reported behavior (66.67%, 20 / 30), followed by excessive vocalization (63.33%, 19 / 30), urination in inappropriate places (60.00%, 18 / 30), depression-apathy (53.33%, 16 / 30), aggressiveness (36.67%, 11 / 30) and agitation-anxiety (36.67%, 11 / 30) and, in lower frequency, defecation in inappropriate places (23.33%, 7 / 30). The occurrence of SRP was associated with the number of females living in the residence (P = 0.01), with not having access to toys (P = 0.04), and no other animal residing in the house (P = 0.04). Separation-related problems in domestic cats are difficult to identify due to the limited amount of knowledge regarding the issue. The questionnaire developed in this study supported identification of the main behaviors likely related to SRP in cats and could be used as a starting point for future research.

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<![CDATA[Expected total thyroxine (TT4) concentrations and outlier values in 531,765 cats in the United States (2014–2015)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89778cd5eed0c4847d2f8c

Background

Levels exceeding the standard reference interval (RI) for total thyroxine (TT4) concentrations are diagnostic for hyperthyroidism, however some hyperthyroid cats have TT4 values within the RI. Determining outlier TT4 concentrations should aid practitioners in identification of hyperthyroidism. The objective of this study was to determine the expected distribution of TT4 concentration using a large population of cats (531,765) of unknown health status to identify unexpected TT4 concentrations (outlier), and determine whether this concentration changes with age.

Methodology/Principle findings

This study is a population-based, retrospective study evaluating an electronic database of laboratory results to identify unique TT4 measurement between January 2014 and July 2015. An expected distribution of TT4 concentrations was determined using a large population of cats (531,765) of unknown health status, and this in turn was used to identify unexpected TT4 concentrations (outlier) and determine whether this concentration changes with age. All cats between the age of 1 and 9 years (n = 141,294) had the same expected distribution of TT4 concentration (0.5–3.5ug/dL), and cats with a TT4 value >3.5ug/dL were determined to be unexpected outliers. There was a steep and progressive rise in both the total number and percentage of statistical outliers in the feline population as a function of age. The greatest acceleration in the percentage of outliers occurred between the age of 7 and 14 years, which was up to 4.6 times the rate seen between the age of 3 and 7 years.

Conclusions

TT4 concentrations >3.5ug/dL represent outliers from the expected distribution of TT4 concentration. Furthermore, age has a strong influence on the proportion of cats. These findings suggest that patients with TT4 concentrations >3.5ug/dL should be more closely evaluated for hyperthyroidism, particularly between the ages of 7 and 14 years. This finding may aid clinicians in earlier identification of hyperthyroidism in at-risk patients.

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<![CDATA[Owner personality and the wellbeing of their cats share parallels with the parent-child relationship]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633934d5eed0c484ae6236

Human personality may substantially affect the nature of care provided to dependants. This link has been well researched in parents and children, however, relatively little is known about this dynamic with regards to humans’ relationships with non-human animals. Owner interactions with companion animals may provide valuable insight into the wider phenomenon of familial interactions, as owners usually adopt the role of primary caregiver and potentially surrogate parent. This study, using cats as an exemplar, explored the relationship between owner personality and the lifestyles to which cats are exposed. In addition, it explored owner personality as it related to reported cat behaviour and wellbeing. Cat owners (n = 3331) responded to an online survey examining their personality and the health, behaviour and management of their cats. Owner personality was measured using the Big Five Inventory (BFI) to assess: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness. Owners also provided information concerning the physical health, breed type, management and behavioural styles of their cats. Generalised linear mixed models were used to identify relationships between owner personality and a range of factors that may have welfare implications for the wider companion animal population, and specifically, cats. Higher owner Neuroticism was associated with an increased likelihood of non-pedigree rather than pedigree cat ownership, a decreased likelihood of ad libitum access to the outdoors, cats being reported as having a ‘behavioural problem’, displaying more aggressive and anxious/fearful behavioural styles and more stress-related sickness behaviours, as well as having an ongoing medical condition and being overweight. Other owner personality traits were generally found to correlate more positively with various lifestyle, behaviour and welfare parameters. For example, higher owner Extroversion was associated with an increased likelihood that the cat would be provided ad libitum access to the outdoors; higher owner Agreeableness was associated with a higher level of owner reported satisfaction with their cat, and with a greater likelihood of owners reporting their cats as being of a normal weight. Finally higher owner Conscientiousness was associated with the cat displaying less anxious/fearful, aggressive, aloof/avoidant, but more gregarious behavioural styles. These findings demonstrate that the relationship between carer personality and the care received by a dependent, may extend beyond the human family to animal-owner relationships, with significant implications for the choice of management, behaviour and potentially the broader wellbeing of companion animals.

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<![CDATA[Modelling potential habitat for snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in Ladakh, India]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59febcd5eed0c484135369

The snow leopard Panthera uncia is an elusive species inhabiting some of the most remote and inaccessible tracts of Central and South Asia. It is difficult to determine its distribution and density pattern, which are crucial for developing conservation strategies. Several techniques for species detection combining camera traps with remote sensing and geographic information systems have been developed to model the habitat of such cryptic and low-density species in challenging terrains. Utilising presence-only data from camera traps and direct observations, alongside six environmental variables (elevation, aspect, ruggedness, distance to water, land cover, and prey habitat suitability), we assessed snow leopard habitat suitability across Ladakh in northern India. This is the first study to model snow leopard distribution both in India and utilising direct observation data. Results suggested that elevation and ruggedness are the two most influential environmental variables for snow leopard habitat suitability, with highly suitable habitat having an elevation range of 2,800 m to 4,600 m and ruggedness of 450 m to 1,800 m. Our habitat suitability map estimated approximately 12% of Ladakh's geographical area (c. 90,000 km2) as highly suitable and 18% as medium suitability. We found that 62.5% of recorded livestock depredation along with over half of all livestock corrals (54%) and homestays (58%) occurred within highly suitable snow leopard habitat. Our habitat suitability model can be used to assist in allocation of conservation resources by targeting construction of livestock corrals to areas of high habitat suitability and promoting ecotourism programs in villages in highly suitable snow leopard habitat.

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<![CDATA[The impact of human activities on Australian wildlife]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c52188dd5eed0c484798e5f

Increasing human population size and the concomitant expansion of urbanisation significantly impact natural ecosystems and native fauna globally. Successful conservation management relies on precise information on the factors associated with wildlife population decline, which are challenging to acquire from natural populations. Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres (WRC) provide a rich source of this information. However, few researchers have conducted large-scale longitudinal studies, with most focussing on narrow taxonomic ranges, suggesting that WRC-associated data remains an underutilised resource, and may provide a fuller understanding of the anthropogenic threats facing native fauna. We analysed admissions and outcomes data from a WRC in Queensland, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, to determine the major factors driving admissions and morbidity of native animals in a region experiencing rapid and prolonged urban expansion. We studied 31,626 admissions of 83 different species of native birds, reptiles, amphibians, marsupials and eutherian mammals from 2006 to 2017. While marsupial admissions were highest (41.3%), admissions increased over time for all species and exhibited seasonal variation (highest in Spring to Summer), consistent with known breeding seasons. Causes for admission typically associated with human influenced activities were dominant and exhibited the highest mortality rates. Car strikes were the most common reason for admission (34.7%), with dog attacks (9.2%), entanglements (7.2%), and cat attacks (5.3%) also high. Admissions of orphaned young and overt signs of disease were significant at 24.6% and 9.7%, respectively. Mortality rates were highest following dog attacks (72.7%) and car strikes (69.1%) and lowest in orphaned animals (22.1%). Our results show that WRC databases offer rich opportunities for wildlife monitoring and provide quantification of the negative impacts of human activities on ecosystem stability and wildlife health. The imminent need for urgent, proactive conservation management to ameliorate the negative impacts of human activities on wildlife is clearly evident from our results.

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<![CDATA[Plant-based (vegan) diets for pets: A survey of pet owner attitudes and feeding practices]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478ca4d5eed0c484bd39b0

People who avoid eating animals tend to share their homes with animal companions, and moral dilemma may arise when they are faced with feeding animal products to their omnivorous dogs and carnivorous cats. One option to alleviate this conflict is to feed pets a diet devoid of animal ingredients—a ‘plant-based’ or ‘vegan’ diet. The number of pet owners who avoid animal products, either in their own or in their pets’ diet, is not currently known. The objective of this study was to estimate the number of meat-avoiding pet owners, identify concerns regarding conventional animal- and plant-based pet food, and estimate the number of pets fed a plant-based diet. A questionnaire was disseminated online to English-speaking pet owners (n = 3,673) to collect data regarding pet owner demographics, diet, pet type, pet diet, and concerns regarding pet foods. Results found that pet owners were more likely to be vegetarian (6.2%; 229/3,673) or vegan (5.8%; 212/3,673) than previously reported for members of the general population. With the exception of one dog owned by a vegetarian, vegans were the only pet owners who fed plant-based diets to their pets (1.6%; 59/3,673). Of the pet owners who did not currently feed plant-based diets but expressed interest in doing so, a large proportion (45%; 269/599) desired more information demonstrating the nutritional adequacy of plant-based diets. Amongst all pet owners, the concern most commonly reported regarding meat-based pet foods was for the welfare of farm animals (39%; 1,275/3,231). The most common concern regarding strictly plant-based pet foods was regarding the nutritional completeness of the diet (74%; 2,439/3,318). Amongst vegans, factors which predicted the feeding of plant-based diets to their pets were concern regarding the cost of plant-based diets, a lack of concern regarding plant-based diets being unnatural, and reporting no concern at all regarding plant-based diets for pets. Given these findings, further research is warranted to investigate plant-based nutrition for domestic dogs and cats.

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<![CDATA[Comparison of ground reaction force measurements in a population of Domestic Shorthair and Maine Coon cats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab86bd5eed0c484027fa5

Current research on gait analysis mostly involves horses and dogs. Feline kinetics and kinematics are being investigated and receiving more clinical interest at present. Ground reaction forces measured on pressure-sensitive mattresses have been established in healthy Domestic Shorthair cats (DSH). Currently, no further information exists on either breed-specific measured gait reaction forces or comparisons among breeds. Because Maine Coon (MC) cats appear to be over-represented with orthopaedic diseases of the hind limb (hip dysplasia, patellar luxation), we evaluated ground reaction force GRF measurements in MC cats and compared them with those of DSH cats. Pre-evaluation radiological and clinical exams determined that the cats were not lame. The parameters evaluated were peak vertical force (PFz), vertical impulse (IFz), time to PFz (TPFz), step length (SL), paw contact area (PCA), stance phase duration (SPD) and symmetry index (SI) for the fore- and hind limbs. In both breeds, PFz and IFz were greater in forelimbs than in hind limbs. The PFz and IFz in Newtons were higher in the MC cats compared to the DSH cats, but not after normalisation for total force (%TF) and body mass (%BM). Furthermore, due to their body conformation, MC cats have a longer SL, larger PCA, and higher body weight than DSH cats. No other parameters differed significantly, except that the TPFz displayed an earlier value in the MC hind limbs. Measured symmetry indices were similar to those reported in dogs and did not differ between breeds. This is the first study to report GRF values and temporospatial parameters in a healthy MC cat population. However, our results could not confirm differences between normalized PFz and IFz and temporospatial parameters between the breeds. The authors therefore conclude that genetic or other causes may be involved in orthopaedic hind limb pathogenesis seen in MC cats more often than in other breeds.

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<![CDATA[Lower allergen levels in hypoallergenic Curly Horses? A comparison among breeds by measurements of horse allergens in hair and air samples]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab852d5eed0c4840278d8

Background

Exposure to horses can cause severe allergic reactions in sensitized individuals. The breed, American Bashkir Curly Horse is categorized as hypoallergenic, primarily due to reports of allergic patients experiencing fewer symptoms while handling this special breed. The possible reasons for this phenomenon could be lower allergen production and/or reduced allergen release into the air because of increased sebum content in their skin and hair compared to other breeds. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to compare different horse breeds in relation to allergen content in hair and airborne dust samples.

Methods

In total, 224 hair samples from 32 different horse breeds were investigated. Personal nasal filters were used to collect airborne dust during the grooming of 20 Curly Horses and 20 Quarter Horses. Quantitative analysis of all samples was performed using two newly developed immunoassays for the detection of horse dander (HD) antigens and the major allergen Equ c 1 and the commercial assay for Equ c 4. Results were analyzed using multiple linear regression models for hair samples and the Mann Whitney U test for airborne samples.

Results

Horse antigen and allergen levels differed up to four orders of magnitude between individual animals. Despite enormous variability, levels of HD antigen, Equ c 1 and Equ c 4 in hair were significantly related to the breed and gender combined with the castration status of male animals. Curly Horses had significantly higher concentrations of all three tested parameters compared to the majority of the investigated breeds (medians: 11800 μg/g for HD antigen, 2400 μg/g for Equ c 1, and 258 kU/g for Equ c 4). Tinker Horses, Icelandic Horses and Shetland Ponies were associated with approximately 7-fold reduced levels of HD antigen and Equ c 1, and up to 25-fold reduced levels of Equ c 4 compared to Curly Horses. Compared to mares, stallions displayed increased concentrations of HD antigens, Equ c 1 and Equ c 4 by a factor 2.2, 3.5 and 6.7, respectively. No difference was observed between mares and geldings. No differences in airborne allergen concentrations collected with personal nasal filters during grooming were found between Curly and Quarter Horses.

Conclusion

Breed and castration status had a significant influence on the antigen and allergen levels of horse hair. However, these differences were smaller than the wide variability observed among individual horses. Compared to other breeds, Curly Horses were not associated with lower allergen levels in hair and in air samples collected during grooming. Our approach provides no molecular explanation why Curly Horses are considered to be hypoallergenic.

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<![CDATA[GoFish: A versatile nested PCR strategy for environmental DNA assays for marine vertebrates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c19669dd5eed0c484b52642

Here we describe GoFish, a strategy for single-species environmental DNA (eDNA) presence/absence assays using nested PCR. The assays amplify a mitochondrial 12S rDNA segment with vertebrate metabarcoding primers, followed by nested PCR with M13-tailed, species-specific primers. Sanger sequencing confirms positives detected by gel electrophoresis. We first obtained 12S sequences from 77 fish specimens for 36 northwestern Atlantic taxa not well documented in GenBank. Using these and existing 12S records, we designed GoFish assays for 11 bony fish species common in the lower Hudson River estuary and tested seasonal abundance and habitat preference at two sites. Additional assays detected nine cartilaginous fish species and a marine mammal, bottlenose dolphin, in southern New York Bight. GoFish sensitivity was equivalent to Illumina MiSeq metabarcoding. Unlike quantitative PCR (qPCR), GoFish does not require tissues of target and related species for assay development and a basic thermal cycler is sufficient. Unlike Illumina metabarcoding, indexing and batching samples are unnecessary and advanced bioinformatics expertise is not needed. From water collection to Sanger sequencing results, the assay can be carried out in three days. The main limitations to this approach, which employs metabarcoding primers, are the same as for metabarcoding, namely, inability to distinguish species with shared target sequences and inconsistent amplification of rarer eDNA. In addition, the performance of the 20 assays reported here as compared to other single-species eDNA assays is not known. This approach will be a useful addition to current eDNA methods when analyzing presence/absence of known species, when turnaround time is important, and in educational settings.

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<![CDATA[Zoonotic multidrug-resistant microorganisms among small companion animals in Germany]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141e88d5eed0c484d270af

Antimicrobial multidrug-resistant microorganisms (MDRO) can be transmitted between companion animals and their human owners. Aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of extended spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) and Staphylococcus aureus including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in different companion animal species. Dogs (n = 192), cats (n = 74), and rabbits (n = 17), treated in a veterinary practice and hospital or living in an animal shelter and private households, were sampled. All facilities were located in a region characterized by a high density of pig production. Nasal, buccal and perianal swabs were enriched and cultured on solid chromogenic selective media. A subgroup of 20 animals (13 dogs, 3 cats, 4 rabbits) was analyzed for the presence of staphylococci other than S. aureus. Amongst all animals (n = 283), twenty dogs (10.4%) and six cats (8.1%) carried S. aureus. MRSA was found in five dogs (2.6%) and two cats (2.7%). Isolates were of spa types t011, t034, t108 (all mecA-positive, ST398), and t843 (mecC-positive, ST130), typical for livestock-associated (LA)-MRSA. Except for one dog, MRSA-positive animals did not have direct contact to husbandry. ESBL-Escherichia coli (blaCTX-M/blaTEM/blaSHV genes) were present in seven dogs (3.6%), one cat (1.4%) possessed a cefotaxime-resistant Citrobacter freundii isolate (blaTEM/blaCMY-2 genes). MDRO carriage was associated with animals from veterinary medical settings (p<0.05). One dog and one rabbit carried methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci. The exclusive occurrence of MRSA lineages typically described for livestock stresses the impact of MDRO strain dissemination across species barriers in regional settings. Presence of ESBL-E and LA-MRSA among pets and probable dissemination in clinical settings support the necessity of a “One Health” approach to address the potential threats due to MDRO-carrying companion animals.

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<![CDATA[Research trends and geographical distribution of mammalian carnivores in Portugal (SW Europe)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0993c9d5eed0c4842ad92c

Information regarding species’ status at a regional scale is instrumental for effective conservation planning. Some regions of southwestern Europe, such as Portugal, albeit included in the Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot, lack a detailed assessment of the distribution patterns of several taxonomic groups, such as carnivores. Moreover, information is scattered, often unreliable and biased towards some species or regions. This study aimed at reviewing the existing knowledge on mammalian terrestrial carnivores in Portugal, to analyse research trends, update the species checklist and assess their historical and current distribution patterns. We conducted a comprehensive review of 755 scientific studies to analyse several publication metrics and compiled 20,189 presence records of all mammalian terrestrial carnivores occurring in Portugal since historical times to evaluate their distribution patterns. Carnivore research in Portugal began in the 18th century, with a recent boost in the mid-1990s, and has been biased towards certain research topics and regionally threatened species. There are 15 extant species in Portugal, with nine occurring across the country, six showing a more limited range, as well as one additional species currently locally extinct (Ursus arctos). Over the last decades, the distribution ranges of seven species apparently remained stable, two expanded, two contracted, and three showed unclear trends. The presence of a new invasive carnivore, the raccoon (Procyon lotor), is also documented here. This study illustrates the relevance of a comprehensive analysis of non-systematic data to assess the historic and current status of mammalian terrestrial carnivores at a national level, and to identify knowledge gaps and research priorities.

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<![CDATA[Responses of snow leopards, wolves and wild ungulates to livestock grazing in the Zorkul Strictly Protected Area, Tajikistan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ae479d5eed0c484589c89

Long recognized as a threat to wildlife, livestock grazing in protected areas has the potential to undermine conservation goals, via competition, habitat degradation, human-carnivore conflict and disruption of predator-prey relationships. In the Strictly Protected Area Zorkul in Tajikistan (Zorkul Reserve), grazing is commonplace despite official prohibition, with potentially detrimental effects on local fauna, in particular, snow leopard Panthera uncia, wolf Canis lupus, brown bear Ursus arctos, argali sheep Ovis ammon, Asiatic ibex Capra sibirica, and long-tailed marmot Marmota caudata. To understand the impacts of grazing and associated human pastoralism on the large mammal community in Zorkul Reserve we used data from camera traps to build models of ungulate and carnivore site use intensity, and we investigated carnivore summer diets using microscopic scat analysis. While sample sizes limited our inference for several species, we found that site use of the most common ungulate, argali, decreased with proximity to herder’s camps, indicating possible displacement into sub-optimal habitats. However, no such pattern was present in carnivore site use. For wolf and snow leopard, the most frequently encountered prey items were argali and marmot, while bear depended almost exclusively on marmot. While current pastoralist practices in the reserve may not be incompatible with wildlife presence, our findings suggest that pastoralism may negatively impact ungulates by displacing them from otherwise suitable habitats, with unknown fitness consequences for ungulates or the predators that depend upon them. Managing Zorkul Reserve and other actively grazed protected areas to meet potentially competing demands of local pastoralist communities and conservation will require careful consideration of such interactions to minimize the risk of cascading negative impacts on wildlife.

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<![CDATA[Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N6) in Domestic Cats, South Korea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1686cdd5eed0c484444ba8

In December 2016, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) infection with systemic pathologic lesions was found in cats in South Korea. Genetic analyses indicated that the feline isolates were similar to HPAI H5N6 viruses isolated in chicken farms nearby. This finding highlights the need for monitoring of domestic mammals during HPAI outbreaks.

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<![CDATA[The positioning of the asymmetric septum during sporulation in Bacillus subtilis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0c04e4d5eed0c48481ced8

Probably one of the most controversial questions about the cell division of Bacillus subtilis, a rod-shaped bacterium, concerns the mechanism that ensures correct division septum placement–at mid-cell during vegetative growth but closer to one end during sporulation. In general, bacteria multiply by binary fission, in which the division septum forms almost exactly at the cell centre. How the division machinery achieves such accuracy is a question of continuing interest. We understand in some detail how this is achieved during vegetative growth in Escherichia coli and B. subtilis, where two main negative regulators, nucleoid occlusion and the Min system, help to determine the division site, but we still do not know exactly how the asymmetric septation site is determined during sporulation in B. subtilis. Clearly, the inhibitory effects of the nucleoid occlusion and Min system on polar division have to be overcome. We evaluated the positioning of the asymmetric septum and its accuracy by statistical analysis of the site of septation. We also clarified the role of SpoIIE, RefZ and MinCD on the accuracy of this process. We determined that the sporulation septum forms approximately 1/6 of a cell length from one of the cell poles with high precision and that SpoIIE, RefZ and MinCD have a crucial role in precisely localizing the sporulation septum. Our results strongly support the idea that asymmetric septum formation is a very precise and highly controlled process regulated by a still unknown mechanism.

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<![CDATA[Animal influence on water, sanitation and hygiene measures for zoonosis control at the household level: A systematic literature review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b5ff79c463d7e28ade495ce

Introduction

Neglected zoonotic diseases (NZDs) have a significant impact on the livelihoods of the world’s poorest populations, which often lack access to basic services. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes are included among the key strategies for achieving the World Health Organization’s 2020 Roadmap for Implementation for control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). There exists a lack of knowledge regarding the effect of animals on the effectiveness of WASH measures.

Objectives

This review looked to identify how animal presence in the household influences the effectiveness of water, hygiene and sanitation measures for zoonotic disease control in low and middle income countries; to identify gaps of knowledge regarding this topic based on the amount and type of studies looking at this particular interaction.

Methods

Studies from three databases (Medline, Web of Science and Global Health) were screened through various stages. Selected articles were required to show burden of one or more zoonotic diseases, an animal component and a WASH component. Selected articles were analysed. A narrative synthesis was chosen for the review.

Results

Only two studies out of 7588 met the inclusion criteria. The studies exemplified how direct or indirect contact between animals and humans within the household can influence the effectiveness of WASH interventions. The analysis also shows the challenges faced by the scientific community to isolate and depict this particular interaction.

Conclusion

The dearth of studies examining animal-WASH interactions is explained by the difficulties associated with studying environmental interventions and the lack of collaboration between the WASH and Veterinary Public Health research communities. Further tailored research under a holistic One Health approach will be required in order to meet the goals set in the NTDs Roadmap and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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<![CDATA[A local and global sensitivity analysis of a mathematical model of coagulation and platelet deposition under flow]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6945b6463d7e3867f4aca2

The hemostatic response involves blood coagulation and platelet aggregation to stop blood loss from an injured blood vessel. The complexity of these processes make it difficult to intuit the overall hemostatic response without quantitative methods. Mathematical models aim to address this challenge but are often accompanied by numerous parameters choices and thus need to be analyzed for sensitivity to such choices. Here we use local and global sensitivity analyses to study a model of coagulation and platelet deposition under flow. To relate with clinical assays, we measured the sensitivity of three specific thrombin metrics: lag time, maximum relative rate of generation, and final concentration after 20 minutes. In addition, we varied parameters of three different classes: plasma protein levels, kinetic rate constants, and platelet characteristics. In terms of an overall ranking of the model’s sensitivities, we found that the local and global methods provided similar information. Our local analysis, in agreement with previous findings, shows that varying parameters within 50-150% of baseline values, in a one-at-a-time (OAT) fashion, always leads to significant thrombin generation in 20 minutes. Our global analysis gave a different and novel result highlighting groups of parameters, still varying within the normal 50-150%, that produced little or no thrombin in 20 minutes. Variations in either plasma levels or platelet characteristics, using either OAT or simultaneous variations, always led to strong thrombin production and overall, relatively low output variance. Simultaneous variation in kinetics rate constants or in a subset of all three parameter classes led to the highest overall output variance, incorporating instances with little to no thrombin production. The global analysis revealed multiple parameter interactions in the lag time and final concentration leading to relatively high variance; high variance was also observed in the thrombin generation rate, but parameters attributed to that variance acted independently and additively.

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<![CDATA[Prioritizing core areas, corridors and conflict hotspots for lion conservation in southern Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a196f463d7e428027f8b4

Conservation of large carnivores, such as the African lion, requires preservation of extensive core habitat areas, linkages between them, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. However, there are few rigorous examples of efforts that prioritized conservation actions for all three of these critical components. We used an empirically optimized resistance surface to calculate resistant kernel and factorial least cost path predictions of population connectivity and conflict risk for lions across the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) and surrounding landscape. We mapped and ranked the relative importance of (1) lion dispersal areas outside National Parks, (2) corridors between the key areas, and (3) areas of highest human-lion conflict risk. Spatial prioritization of conservation actions is critical given extensive land use redesignations that are reducing the extent and increasing the fragmentation of lion populations. While our example focuses on lions in southern Africa, it provides a general approach for rigorous, empirically based comprehensive conservation planning based on spatial prioritization.

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<![CDATA[Identifying priority conservation landscapes and actions for the Critically Endangered Javan leopard in Indonesia: Conserving the last large carnivore in Java Island]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b49f0b1463d7e3adec7b97c

With the extirpation of tigers from the Indonesian island of Java in the 1980s, the endemic and Critically Endangered Javan leopard is the island’s last remaining large carnivore. Yet despite this, it has received little conservation attention and its population status and distribution remains poorly known. Using Maxent modeling, we predicted the locations of suitable leopard landscapes throughout the island of Java based on 228 verified Javan leopard samples and as a function of seven environmental variables. The identified landscapes covered over 1 million hectares, representing less than 9% of the island. Direct evidence of Javan leopard was confirmed from 22 of the 29 identified landscapes and included all national parks, which our analysis revealed as the single most important land type. Our study also emphasized the importance of maintaining connectivity between protected areas and human-modified landscapes because adjacent production forests and secondary forests were found to provide vital extensions for several Javan leopard subpopulations. Our predictive map greatly improves those previously produced by the Government of Indonesia’s Javan Leopard Action Plan and the IUCN global leopard distribution assessment. It shares only a 32% overlap with the IUCN range predictions, adds six new priority landscapes, all with confirmed presence of Javan leopard, and reveals an island-wide leopard population that occurs in several highly fragmented landscapes, which are far more isolated than previously thought. Our study provides reliable information on where conservation efforts must be prioritized both inside and outside of the protected area network to safeguard Java’s last remaining large carnivore.

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<![CDATA[Firing-rate based network modeling of the dLGN circuit: Effects of cortical feedback on spatiotemporal response properties of relay cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b07d0de463d7e0d4a37a6e7

Visually evoked signals in the retina pass through the dorsal geniculate nucleus (dLGN) on the way to the visual cortex. This is however not a simple feedforward flow of information: there is a significant feedback from cortical cells back to both relay cells and interneurons in the dLGN. Despite four decades of experimental and theoretical studies, the functional role of this feedback is still debated. Here we use a firing-rate model, the extended difference-of-Gaussians (eDOG) model, to explore cortical feedback effects on visual responses of dLGN relay cells. For this model the responses are found by direct evaluation of two- or three-dimensional integrals allowing for fast and comprehensive studies of putative effects of different candidate organizations of the cortical feedback. Our analysis identifies a special mixed configuration of excitatory and inhibitory cortical feedback which seems to best account for available experimental data. This configuration consists of (i) a slow (long-delay) and spatially widespread inhibitory feedback, combined with (ii) a fast (short-delayed) and spatially narrow excitatory feedback, where (iii) the excitatory/inhibitory ON-ON connections are accompanied respectively by inhibitory/excitatory OFF-ON connections, i.e. following a phase-reversed arrangement. The recent development of optogenetic and pharmacogenetic methods has provided new tools for more precise manipulation and investigation of the thalamocortical circuit, in particular for mice. Such data will expectedly allow the eDOG model to be better constrained by data from specific animal model systems than has been possible until now for cat. We have therefore made the Python tool pyLGN which allows for easy adaptation of the eDOG model to new situations.

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