ResearchPad - dogs https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Canine hip dysplasia screening: Comparison of early evaluation to final grading in 231 dogs with Fédération Cynologique Internationale A and B]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15741 This study aimed to verify if a significant difference exists between parameters in the early evaluation of normal and near-normal hip joints, to evaluate the influence of age and breed on the parameters, and to clarify the usefulness of a total score for differentiating between Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) grade A and B hips.MethodsA total of 231 dogs were classified according to whether they had FCI A or B hips at adulthood, with measurements obtained at 14–28 weeks of age. The total score was calculated by the summation of the following quantitative parameters: angle of subluxation (AS), angle of reduction (AR), laxity index (LI), and dorsal acetabular rim slope (DARS). Logistic regression analysis was performed to establish the probability of the study population to develop an FCI B hip based on the total score. This was repeated for the highest score in combination with the worst-rated hip and once more for breeds.ResultsNo correlation between age and the parameters was found in the cohort, or for FCI A and B. The values of all the parameters were significantly lower in the FCI A group than in the FCI B group (AR: 4.42° ± 6.0° vs 7.62° ± 7.2°; AS: 0.45° ± 1.9° vs 1.55° ± 3.8°; LI: 0.32 ± 0.1 vs 0.36 ± 0.1; DARS: 3.30° ± 1.8° vs 3.77° ± 1.9°; TS: 11.47 ± 8.3 vs 16.65 ± 10.9). Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers showed significant differences between parameters for both FCI grades. The range, where FCI A and B hips can be predicted on the basis of the total score, was different when assessed for the entire cohort, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers.Clinical significanceOur results show that even in normal and near-normal hips, the parameters significantly differed in the early evaluation. Moreover, cutoff values should be set for different breeds in the prediction of the FCI grade during early evaluation for a better breeding selection regarding canine hip dysplasia, one of the most common orthopedic diseases among large and giant breed dogs. ]]> <![CDATA[Development of plasma and whole blood taurine reference ranges and identification of dietary features associated with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers: A prospective, observational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14758 A surge in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consumer complaints identified concerns that legume-rich, grain-free diets were associated with nutritionally-mediated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Golden retrievers represent the most reported breed affected by this condition and previous studies documented the disease is responsive to dietary change and taurine supplementation. Although dietary findings across cases are compelling, prospective studies with control groups are lacking. The role of diet in developing taurine deficiency and echocardiographic changes consistent with DCM in healthy dogs is unknown.ObjectivesWe hypothesized that golden retrievers eating non-traditional diets are at a higher risk of having taurine deficiency and nutritionally-mediated DCM compared with those eating traditional commercial diets. We aimed to compare taurine concentrations and echocardiographic indices of systolic function between golden retrievers in each diet group and elucidate associations between diet and these variables. Additionally, we aimed to generate breed-specific reference intervals for whole blood and plasma taurine concentrations.Animals86 golden retrievers.MethodsGolden retrievers eating traditional or non-traditional diets were evaluated and diet history, taurine concentrations and echocardiographic data were collected. Dietary features, taurine concentrations and echocardiographic findings were compared between diet groups. Relative risks were calculated for the likelihood of echocardiographic abnormalities and taurine deficiency in each diet group. Breed-specific reference intervals were constructed for taurine concentrations in dogs from the traditional diet group.ResultsGolden retrievers eating non-traditional diets had significantly lower taurine concentrations and more frequent systolic dysfunction. Breed specific reference intervals are higher than previously reported across breeds.ConclusionsNon-traditional diets, which were typically grain-free and contained legumes in this study, were significantly associated with and have increased relative risk for the identification of taurine deficiency and echocardiographic abnormalities consistent with nutritionally-mediated DCM. These findings were identifiable in the absence of clinical signs and support the findings of multiple previous studies and the ongoing FDA investigation. ]]> <![CDATA[Spatial serosurvey of anti-<i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> antibodies in individuals with animal hoarding disorder and their dogs in Southern Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14734 Despite vulnerability and unsanitary conditions of animal hoarding may predispose environmental contamination and spread of vectors and pathogens, no study to date has focused on their impact on public health and zoonotic diseases. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the seroprevalence of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies and associated factors in individuals with animal hoarding disorder (AHD) and their dogs in Curitiba, Southern Brazil. Blood samples were obtained from 264 dogs (21 households) and 19 individuals with AHD (11 households). Their blood was tested by indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT). Overall, anti-Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity was found in 21/264 dogs (7.95%; 95% CI: 4.69–11.22) with titers ranging from 16 to 4096, and in 7/19 individuals with AHD (36.84%; CI: 15.15–58.53) with titers ranging from 16 to 64. Serological analysis for anti-T. gondii antibodies were considered positive in at least one individual or dog in 9/11 (81.82%; 95% CI: 59.03–100.00) cases that were thoroughly assessed. Surprisingly, the seropositivity of individuals with AHD and their dogs was among the lowest reportedly observed in human and dog populations of Brazil. There was no significant association between positive owners and positive dogs or the presence of cats in the household. Regard epidemiological variables, a significant association was found between dog’s seropositivity and the type of dog food. To the authors’ knowledge, the present study represents the first investigation of T. gondii seroprevalence in individuals with hoarding disorder and their dogs. In conclusion, despite low sanitary conditions, anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies frequency in individuals with AHD and their dogs are lower than the general population likely due to low protozoan load in such isolated households.

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<![CDATA[A genome-wide association study of deafness in three canine breeds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14705 Congenital deafness in the domestic dog is usually related to the presence of white pigmentation, which is controlled primarily by the piebald locus on chromosome 20 and also by merle on chromosome 10. Pigment-associated deafness is also seen in other species, including cats, mice, sheep, alpacas, horses, cows, pigs, and humans, but the genetic factors determining why some piebald or merle dogs develop deafness while others do not have yet to be determined. Here we perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify regions of the canine genome significantly associated with deafness in three dog breeds carrying piebald: Dalmatian, Australian cattle dog, and English setter. We include bilaterally deaf, unilaterally deaf, and matched control dogs from the same litter, phenotyped using the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) hearing test. Principal component analysis showed that we have different distributions of cases and controls in genetically distinct Dalmatian populations, therefore GWAS was performed separately for North American and UK samples. We identified one genome-wide significant association and 14 suggestive (chromosome-wide) associations using the GWAS design of bilaterally deaf vs. control Australian cattle dogs. However, these associations were not located on the same chromosome as the piebald locus, indicating the complexity of the genetics underlying this disease in the domestic dog. Because of this apparent complex genetic architecture, larger sample sizes may be needed to detect the genetic loci modulating risk in piebald dogs.

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<![CDATA[Associations of dog and cat ownership with wheezing and asthma in children: Pilot study of the Japan Environment and children's study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14570 No previous study has used repeated measures data to examine the associations of dog/cat ownership with wheezing and asthma prevalence among children. This prospective study used repeated measurers analysis to determine whether dog/cat ownership in childhood is an independent risk factor for wheezing and asthma, after adjustment for gestational, socio-economical, and demographical confounders confounders, in Japan.MethodsWe conducted a multicenter pilot study of the Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS) during 2009–2010. Among 440 newborn infants enrolled, 410 (52.8% males) were evaluated for dog/cat ownership in the home and history of wheezing and asthma in five follow-up questionnaire surveys (until age 6 years). Dog/cat ownership during follow-up period was categorized into four groups: 7.6% were long-term dog/cat owners, 5.9% were toddler-age owners, 5.9% were preschool-age owners, and 80.7% were never owners.ResultsThe prevalence of wheezing during follow-up period increased from 20.8% to 35.4% and the prevalence of asthma increased from 1.3% to 16.3%. A fitted logistic generalized estimating equation models including important confounders showed no significant associations of the interaction between dog and/or cat ownership and follow-up time with the risks of wheezing and asthma. However, the risks of wheezing and asthma were slightly lower for long-term and toddler-age dog/cat owners than for preschool-age and never owners.ConclusionsThe present findings suggest that dog and cat ownership from toddler-age does not increase the risks of wheezing and asthma compared with never owners among Japanese children. ]]> <![CDATA[Genetic diversity of <i>Echinococcus multilocularis</i> and <i>Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato</i> in Kyrgyzstan: The A2 haplotype of <i>E</i>. <i>multilocularis</i> is the predominant variant infecting humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13871 Analysis of the genetic variability in Echinococcus species from different endemic countries have contributed to the knowledge in the taxonomy and phylogeography of these parasites. The most important species of this genus, Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato and Echinococcus multilocularis, co-exist in Kyrgyzstan causing serious public health issues. E. granulosus s.l. causes cystic echinococcosis and E. multilocularis is the causative agent of alveolar echinococcosis. The most relevant finding of our study is the identification of the cob/nad2/cox1 A2 haplotype of E. multilocularis as the most commonly found in humans and dogs. However, it remains unknown if this variant of E. multilocularis, based on genetic differences in mitochondrial genes, presents differences in virulence which could have contributed to the emergence of alveolar echinococcosis in Kyrgyzstan. The results also show a number of non-previously described genetic variants of E. multilocularis and E. granulosus s.s.

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<![CDATA[Recapitulation of the accessible interface of biopsy-derived canine intestinal organoids to study epithelial-luminal interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N24a1d01a-2f11-47b7-a628-8330af6f7455

Recent advances in canine intestinal organoids have expanded the option for building a better in vitro model to investigate translational science of intestinal physiology and pathology between humans and animals. However, the three-dimensional geometry and the enclosed lumen of canine intestinal organoids considerably hinder the access to the apical side of epithelium for investigating the nutrient and drug absorption, host-microbiome crosstalk, and pharmaceutical toxicity testing. Thus, the creation of a polarized epithelial interface accessible from apical or basolateral side is critical. Here, we demonstrated the generation of an intestinal epithelial monolayer using canine biopsy-derived colonic organoids (colonoids). We optimized the culture condition to form an intact monolayer of the canine colonic epithelium on a nanoporous membrane insert using the canine colonoids over 14 days. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy revealed a physiological brush border interface covered by the microvilli with glycocalyx, as well as the presence of mucin granules, tight junctions, and desmosomes. The population of stem cells as well as differentiated lineage-dependent epithelial cells were verified by immunofluorescence staining and RNA in situ hybridization. The polarized expression of P-glycoprotein efflux pump was confirmed at the apical membrane. Also, the epithelial monolayer formed tight- and adherence-junctional barrier within 4 days, where the transepithelial electrical resistance and apparent permeability were inversely correlated. Hence, we verified the stable creation, maintenance, differentiation, and physiological function of a canine intestinal epithelial barrier, which can be useful for pharmaceutical and biomedical researches.

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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[Resting state networks of the canine brain under sevoflurane anaesthesia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0f88adec-494f-4799-9601-5a30499e23df

Resting-state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rs-fMRI) has become an established technique in humans and reliably determines several resting state networks (RSNs) simultaneously. Limited data exist about RSN in dogs. The aim of this study was to investigate the RSNs in 10 healthy beagle dogs using a 3 tesla MRI scanner and subsequently perform group-level independent component analysis (ICA) to identify functionally connected brain networks. Rs-fMRI sequences were performed under steady state sevoflurane inhalation anaesthesia. Anaesthetic depth was titrated to the minimum level needed for immobilisation and mechanical ventilation of the patient. This required a sevoflurane MAC between 0.8 to 1.2. Group-level ICA dimensionality of 20 components revealed distributed sensory, motor and higher-order networks in the dogs’ brain. We identified in total 7 RSNs (default mode, primary and higher order visual, auditory, two putative motor-somatosensory and one putative somatosensory), which are common to other mammals including humans. Identified RSN are remarkably similar to those identified in awake dogs. This study proves the feasibility of rs-fMRI in anesthetized dogs and describes several RSNs, which may set the basis for investigating pathophysiological characteristics of various canine brain diseases.

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<![CDATA[Ebola Virus Neutralizing Antibodies in Dogs from Sierra Leone, 2017]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf0144049-4013-4bf0-a561-a4aaf6886740

Ebola virus (EBOV) is a highly pathogenic zoonotic virus for which the reservoir host has not been identified. To study the role of dogs as potential hosts, we screened 300 serum samples from dogs in Sierra Leone and found EBOV neutralizing antibodies in 12, suggesting their susceptibility to natural infection.

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<![CDATA[Human Norovirus Infection in Dogs, Thailand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf4bb1636-e720-4209-aedf-d0deb2544f78

In July 2018, recombinant norovirus GII.Pe-GII.4 Sydney was detected in dogs who had diarrhea in a kennel and in children living on the same premises in Thailand. Whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of 4 noroviruses from Thailand showed that the canine norovirus was closely related to human norovirus GII.Pe-GII.4 Sydney, suggesting human-to-canine transmission.

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<![CDATA[Is it time to stop sweeping data cleaning under the carpet? A novel algorithm for outlier management in growth data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6ac4201b-e1d9-4dac-b706-1c6b88e127a6

All data are prone to error and require data cleaning prior to analysis. An important example is longitudinal growth data, for which there are no universally agreed standard methods for identifying and removing implausible values and many existing methods have limitations that restrict their usage across different domains. A decision-making algorithm that modified or deleted growth measurements based on a combination of pre-defined cut-offs and logic rules was designed. Five data cleaning methods for growth were tested with and without the addition of the algorithm and applied to five different longitudinal growth datasets: four uncleaned canine weight or height datasets and one pre-cleaned human weight dataset with randomly simulated errors. Prior to the addition of the algorithm, data cleaning based on non-linear mixed effects models was the most effective in all datasets and had on average a minimum of 26.00% higher sensitivity and 0.12% higher specificity than other methods. Data cleaning methods using the algorithm had improved data preservation and were capable of correcting simulated errors according to the gold standard; returning a value to its original state prior to error simulation. The algorithm improved the performance of all data cleaning methods and increased the average sensitivity and specificity of the non-linear mixed effects model method by 7.68% and 0.42% respectively. Using non-linear mixed effects models combined with the algorithm to clean data allows individual growth trajectories to vary from the population by using repeated longitudinal measurements, identifies consecutive errors or those within the first data entry, avoids the requirement for a minimum number of data entries, preserves data where possible by correcting errors rather than deleting them and removes duplications intelligently. This algorithm is broadly applicable to data cleaning anthropometric data in different mammalian species and could be adapted for use in a range of other domains.

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<![CDATA[Increasing sika deer population density may change resource use by larval dung beetles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8cd3ee58-c057-4e17-9e0d-6a1ba00b0cfd

Because animal feces contain organic matter and plant seeds, dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) are important for the circulation of materials and secondary seed dispersal through burying feces. Dung beetles are usually generalists and use the feces of various mammals. Additionally, the larval stages have access to feces from only one mammal species leaving them susceptible to changes in animal fauna and variations in animal populations. Here, we explain the effects of resource availability changes associated with sika deer (Cervus nippon) overabundance on dung beetle larvae feeding habits in Japan. δ15N values were notably higher in raccoon dog and badger dung than in that of other mammals. A dung beetle breeding experiment revealed that the δ15N values of dung beetle exoskeletons that had fed on deer feces during their larval stage were significantly lower than those of beetles that had fed on raccoon dog feces. The δ15N values of the adult exoskeleton were significantly lower in a deer high-density area than in a low-density area in large dung beetles only. It is possible that the high-quality feces, such as those of omnivores, preferred by the large beetles decrease in availability with an increase in deer dung; large beetles may therefore be unable to obtain sufficient high-quality feces and resort to using large amounts of low-quality deer feces. Small dung beetles may use the easily obtained feces that is in high abundance and they may also use deer feces more frequently with increases in deer density. These findings suggest that a larval resource shift associated with deer overabundance may affect ecosystem functions such as soil nutrient cycling and seed dispersal.

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<![CDATA[Methods of olfactory ensheathing cell harvesting from the olfactory mucosa in dogs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89778fd5eed0c4847d2ff8

Olfactory ensheathing cells are thought to support regeneration and remyelination of damaged axons when transplanted into spinal cord injuries. Following transplantation, improved locomotion has been detected in many laboratory models and in dogs with naturally-occurring spinal cord injury; safety trials in humans have also been completed. For widespread clinical implementation, it will be necessary to derive large numbers of these cells from an accessible and, preferably, autologous, source making olfactory mucosa a good candidate. Here, we compared the yield of olfactory ensheathing cells from the olfactory mucosa using 3 different techniques: rhinotomy, frontal sinus keyhole approach and rhinoscopy. From canine clinical cases with spinal cord injury, 27 biopsies were obtained by rhinotomy, 7 by a keyhole approach and 1 with rhinoscopy. Biopsy via rhinoscopy was also tested in 13 cadavers and 7 living normal dogs. After 21 days of cell culture, the proportions and populations of p75-positive (presumed to be olfactory ensheathing) cells obtained by the keyhole approach and rhinoscopy were similar (~4.5 x 106 p75-positive cells; ~70% of the total cell population), but fewer were obtained by frontal sinus rhinotomy. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea was observed in one dog and emphysema in 3 dogs following rhinotomy. Blepharitis occurred in one dog after the keyhole approach. All three biopsy methods appear to be safe for harvesting a suitable number of olfactory ensheathing cells from the olfactory mucosa for transplantation within the spinal cord but each technique has specific advantages and drawbacks.

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<![CDATA[Laws of concatenated perception: Vision goes for novelty, decisions for perseverance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c88240cd5eed0c484639615

Every instant of perception depends on a cascade of brain processes calibrated to the history of sensory and decisional events. In the present work, we show that human visual perception is constantly shaped by two contrasting forces exerted by sensory adaptation and past decisions. In a series of experiments, we used multilevel modeling and cross-validation approaches to investigate the impact of previous stimuli and decisions on behavioral reports during adjustment and forced-choice tasks. Our results revealed that each perceptual report is permeated by opposite biases from a hierarchy of serially dependent processes: Low-level adaptation repels perception away from previous stimuli, whereas decisional traces attract perceptual reports toward the recent past. In this hierarchy of serial dependence, “continuity fields” arise from the inertia of decisional templates and not from low-level sensory processes. This finding is consistent with a Two-process model of serial dependence in which the persistence of readout weights in a decision unit compensates for sensory adaptation, leading to attractive biases in sequential perception. We propose a unified account of serial dependence in which functionally distinct mechanisms, operating at different stages, promote the differentiation and integration of visual information over time.

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<![CDATA[Mortality and morbidity in wild Taiwanese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d1ad5eed0c484c81ffa

Globally, pangolins are threatened by poaching and illegal trade. Taiwan presents a contrary situation, where the wild pangolin population has stabilized and even begun to increase in the last two decades. This paper illustrates the factors responsible for causing mortality and morbidity in the wild Taiwanese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla) based on radio-tracking data of wild pangolins and records of sick or injured pangolins admitted to a Taiwanese wildlife rehabilitation center. Despite being proficient burrowers, results from radio-tracking show that Taiwanese pangolins are highly susceptible to getting trapped in tree hollows or ground burrows. Data from Pingtung Rescue Center for Endangered Wild Animals showed that trauma (73.0%) was the major reason for morbidity in the Taiwanese pangolin with trauma from gin traps being the leading cause (77.8%), especially during the dry season, followed by tail injuries caused by dog attacks (20.4%). Despite these threats, Taiwan has had substantial success in rehabilitating and releasing injured pangolins, primarily due to the close collaboration of Taiwanese wildlife rehabilitation centers over the last twenty years.

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<![CDATA[Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding rabies in Grenada]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59febfd5eed0c48413538b

Objective

While Grenada attained a zero-human-rabies case status since 1970, the authors conducted the first study to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices that may contribute to this status as well as to receive feedback on the rabies control program in Grenada.

Methodology

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in July, 2017 with 996 households on the mainland. A questionnaire was administered to collect information on knowledge of rabies and prevention, vaccination practices, perception of institutional responsibilities for rabies control, and evaluation of the anti-rabies program.

Results

Of the 996 households, 617 (62%) had owners of animals that can be infected with rabies and were included in the analysis. Respondents were very aware of rabies as a disease that can infect animals and humans. The rate of participation in the vaccination program was 51.6% for pets and 38.0% for livestock. About 40% of respondents were knowledgeable about the extent of protection from the rabies vaccine. Respondents did not demonstrate exceptionally high levels of knowledge about animals that were likely to be infected with rabies, neither the anti-rabies programs that were conducted in Grenada. The three most frequent recommendations made to improve the rabies-control programs were: increase education programs, control the mongoose population, and expand the vaccination period each year.

Conclusions

Conducting a comprehensive national rabies education program, expanding the vaccination program, and increasing the rate of animal vaccination are important steps that need to be taken to maintain the current zero-human-case status.

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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[Identification of qPCR reference genes suitable for normalizing gene expression in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b525fd5eed0c4842bc6fe

The mdx mouse is the most widely-used animal model of the human disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and quantitative PCR analysis of gene expression in the muscles of this animal plays a key role in the study of pathogenesis and disease progression and in evaluation of potential therapeutic interventions. Normalization to appropriate stably-expressed reference genes is essential for accurate quantitative measurement, but determination of such genes is challenging: healthy and dystrophic muscles present very different transcriptional environments, further altering with disease progression and muscle use, raising the possibility that no single gene or combination of genes may be stable under all experimental comparative scenarios. Despite the pedigree of this animal model, this problem remains unaddressed. The aim of this work was therefore to comprehensively assess reference gene suitability in the muscles of healthy and dystrophic mice, identifying reference genes appropriate for specific experimental comparisons, and determining whether an essentially universally-applicable set of genes exists. Using a large sample collection comprising multiple muscles (including the tibialis anterior, diaphragm and heart muscles) taken from healthy and mdx mice at three disease-relevant ages, and a panel of sixteen candidate reference genes (FBXO38, FBXW2, MON2, ZFP91, HTATSF1, GAPDH, ACTB, 18S, CDC40, SDHA, RPL13a, CSNK2A2, AP3D1, PAK1IP1, B2M and HPRT1), we used the geNorm, BestKeeper and Normfinder algorithms to identify genes that were stable under multiple possible comparative scenarios. We reveal that no single gene is stable under all conditions, but a normalization factor derived from multiple genes (RPL13a, CSNK2A2, AP3D1 and the widely-used ACTB) appears suitable for normalizing gene expression in both healthy and dystrophic mouse muscle regardless of muscle type or animal age. We further show that other popular reference genes, including GAPDH, are markedly disease- or muscle-type correlated. This study demonstrates the importance of empirical reference gene identification, and should serve as a valuable resource for investigators wishing to study gene expression in mdx mice.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of a novel microRNA, miR-188, elevated in serum of muscular dystrophy dog model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b525dd5eed0c4842bc6ee

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding small RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Several miRNAs are exclusively expressed in skeletal muscle and participate in the regulation of muscle differentiation by interacting with myogenic factors. These miRNAs can be found at high levels in the serum of patients and animal models for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is expected to be useful as biomarkers for their clinical conditions. By miRNA microarray analysis, we identified miR-188 as a novel miRNA that is elevated in the serum of the muscular dystrophy dog model, CXMDJ. miR-188 was not muscle-specific miRNA, but its expression was up-regulated in skeletal muscles associated with muscle regeneration induced by cardiotoxin-injection in normal dogs and mice. Manipulation of miR-188 expression using antisense oligo and mimic oligo RNAs alters the mRNA expression of the myogenic regulatory factors, MRF4 and MEF2C. Our results suggest that miR-188 is a new player that participates in the gene regulation process of muscle differentiation and that it may serve as a serum biomarker reflecting skeletal muscle regeneration.

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