Browsing by Subject "ANIMALS"

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  • Rene-Martellet, Magalie; Minard, Guillaume; Massot, Raphael; Van Tran Van,; Moro, Claire Valiente; Chabanne, Luc; Mavingui, Patrick (2017)
    Background: Ticks of the group Rhipicephalus sanguineus (sensu lato) are distributed worldwide and are major pathogen vectors of both dogs and humans. Previous phylogenetic reconstructions have suggested the existence of two main lineages within this group, "Tropical" and "Temperate". Symbiotic interactions contribute to vector development, survival, reproduction and competence. The diversity of microbial communities associated with different populations of R. sanguineus (s.l.) remains poorly characterized, however, this knowledge will aid in future studies of hosts-microbiota-pathogen interactions. To gain insight into the bacterial communities associated with R. sanguineus (s.l.) ticks, 40 specimens from France, Senegal and Arizona were analyzed by high-throughput 16S amplicon sequencing. All tick specimens were taxonomically classified using the mitochondrial 12S rDNA gene, which provides sufficient phylogenetic resolution to discriminate different lineages of R. sanguineus. Results: Rhipicephalus sanguineus (s.l.) samples from Senegal belonged to the "Tropical" lineage, samples from France belonged to the "Temperate" lineage, whereas both lineages were identified in samples from Arizona. Regardless of origin, each bacterial microbiota was dominated by three genera: Coxiella, Rickettsia and Bacillus. Rickettsia and Coxiella were the two main genera found in females whereas males had a higher proportion of Bacillus. Significant differences of relative abundances were evidenced between specimens from different geographical origins. Conclusions: This study highlights differences in the microbiota composition within R. sanguineus (s.l.) specimens from different genotypes, genders and geographical origins. This knowledge will help in future studies of the symbiotic interactions, biology and vector competence of the R. sanguineus (s.l.) complex.
  • Yun, Jinhyeon; Ollila, Anna; Valros, Anna; Larenza Menzies, Maria Paula; Heinonen, Mari; Oliviero, Claudio; Peltoniemi, Olli (2019)
    The present study aimed to use behavioural measures to assess pain induced by surgical castration of piglets, and evaluate the efficacy of pain-relief medications. In total, 143 male piglets from 29 sows were used. The treatments included: 1) non-castration (NC; n = 28), 2) castration without medication (SC; n = 29), 3) castration with meloxicam injection 0.4 mg/kg i.m. (ME; n = 28), 4) castration with 0.5 ml of 2% lidocaine in each testicle (LA; n = 29), and 5) castration with general inhalation anaesthesia using isoflurane (1.5%) and meloxicam injection (GA; n = 29). Behaviour was monitored continuously for a ten minute period one hour prior to castration (−1 h), as well as immediately (0 h), one hour (1 h), and two hours (2 h) after castration. Behaviour was also monitored twice (08:00 and 20:00) during the following day. Compared to −1 h, castration induced changes in several behavioural measures in SC piglets at 0 h, suggesting that castration was painful. Furthermore, inactive standing or sitting, tail wagging and aggressive behaviour differed between SC and NC piglets at 0 h. ME and LA piglets spent less time standing or sitting inactively, and LA and GA piglets showed more tail wagging than SC piglets at 0 h (P < 0.05 for all). No other behavioural measures differed among the various groups of castrated piglets. In conclusion, the results indicate that surgical castration is indeed painful. However, the efficacy of various pain-relief protocols in piglets shortly after castration was not verified.
  • Hamalainen, Liisa; Rowland, Hannah M.; Mappes, Johanna; Thorogood, Rose (2017)
    Video playback is becoming a common method for manipulating social stimuli in experiments. Parid tits are one of the most commonly studied groups of wild birds. However, it is not yet clear if tits respond to video playback or how their behavioural responses should be measured. Behaviours may also differ depending on what they observe demonstrators encountering. Here we present blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) videos of demonstrators discovering palatable or aversive prey (injected with bitter-tasting Bitrex) from coloured feeding cups. First we quantify variation in demonstrators' responses to the prey items: aversive prey provoked high rates of beak wiping and head shaking. We then show that focal blue tits respond differently to the presence of a demonstrator on a video screen, depending on whether demonstrators discover palatable or aversive prey. Focal birds faced the video screen more during aversive prey presentations, and made more head turns. Regardless of prey type, focal birds also hopped more frequently during the presence of a demonstrator (compared to a control video of a different coloured feeding cup in an empty cage). Finally, we tested if demonstrators' behaviour affected focal birds' food preferences by giving individuals a choice to forage from the same cup as a demonstrator, or from the cup in the control video. We found that only half of the individuals made their choice in accordance to social information in the videos, i.e., their foraging choices were not different from random. Individuals that chose in accordance with a demonstrator, however, made their choice faster than individuals that chose an alternative cup. Together, our results suggest that video playback can provide social cues to blue tits, but individuals vary greatly in how they use this information in their foraging decisions.
  • Rodriguez, C.; Taminiau, B.; Bouchafa, L.; Romijn, S.; Rajamaki, M. M.; Van Broeck, J.; Delmee, M.; Clercx, C.; Daube, G. (2019)
    Zoonotic transmission of Clostridium difficile has been largely hypothesised to occur after direct or indirect contact with contaminated animal faeces. Recent studies have reported the presence of the bacterium in the natural environment, including in soils and rivers. If C. difficile spores are scattered in the environment, they can easily enter the respiratory tract of dogs, and therefore, dog nasal discharge could be a direct route of transmission not previously investigated. This study reports for the first time the presence of C. difficile in the respiratory tracts of dogs. The bacterium was isolated from 6 (17.1%) out of 35 nasal samples, with a total of 4 positive dogs (19%). C. difficile was recovered from both proximal and distal nasal cavities. All isolates were toxigenic and belonged to PCR- ribotype 014, which is one of the most predominant types in animals and in community- acquired C. difficile infections in recent years. The findings of this study demonstrate that the nasal cavity of dogs is contaminated with toxigenic C. difficile, and therefore, its secretions could be considered as a new route by which bacteria are spread and transmitted.
  • Aivelo, Tuomas; Huovelin, Suvi (2020)
    Citizen science is a valuable tool in environmental and formal education in creating scientific knowledge for the researchers and facilitating learning and fostering a positive relationship toward the environment and study species. We present a case study on the Helsinki Urban Rat Project in which students surveyed rat occurrence in their own near environments. According to our results, experientiality, involvement, meaningfulness, freedom to choose, ease of participation, and the rats themselves contributed to students' increased interest in participation. Furthermore, students described diverse factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive knowledge that they acquired during their participation. In general, students described negative attitudes toward rats, but they less negative views on rats after participation. We reflect on the success of the citizen science project and implications of planning a future citizen science project and incorporating citizen science in formal education.
  • Andjelkovic, Ana; Oliveira, Marcos T.; Cannino, Giuseppe; Yalgin, Cagri; Dhandapani, Praveen K.; Dufour, Eric; Rustin, Pierre; Szibor, Marten; Jacobs, Howard T. (2015)
    The mitochondrial alternative oxidase, AOX, carries out the non proton-motive re-oxidation of ubiquinol by oxygen in lower eukaryotes, plants and some animals. Here we created a modified version of AOX from Ciona instestinalis, carrying mutations at conserved residues predicted to be required for chelation of the diiron prosthetic group. The modified protein was stably expressed in mammalian cells or flies, but lacked enzymatic activity and was unable to rescue the phenotypes of flies knocked down for a subunit of cytochrome oxidase. The mutated AOX transgene is thus a potentially useful tool in studies of the physiological effects of AOX expression.
  • Grönthal, Thomas; Ollilainen, Matti; Eklund, Marjut; Piiparinen, Heli; Gindonis, Veera; Junnila, Jouni; Saijonmaa-Koulumies, Leena; Liimatainen, Riitta; Rantala, Merja (2015)
    Background: Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are common multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria in dogs. In 2012-2013 three dogs of the Guide Dog School of the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired were found to be MRSP positive. Guide dogs have regular contact with each other during their first year of life and prolonged contact when in training. Since dogs are placed in different parts of Finland after training, there is a risk for national spread of MDR bacteria. In this study the prevalence of MRSP and MRSA, as well as the risk factors for MRSP were determined in the Finnish guide dog population. MRSP isolates were investigated using molecular methods and compared to the earlier isolates. Results: Out of 132 tested dogs 4 were MRSP positive thus giving the prevalence estimate of 3% (95% CI: 1-8%) for MRSP in the target population. MRSA was not detected (prevalence estimate 0%, 95% CI: 0-3%). Risk factors associated with MRSP were being a breeding bitch (OR = 8.4; 95% CI: 1.1-64.1, P = 0.012), the number of veterinary visits (OR = 1.23; 95% CI: 1.0-1.5, P = 0.025) and number of antimicrobial courses (OR = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.0-2.55; P = 0.035). Identified MRSP isolates belonged to five different sequence types (ST45, 71, 402, 403 and 404). All ST71 isolates carried SCCmec II-III, while the SCCmec type of the ST45 and ST402 (a single locus variant of ST45) isolates were non-typeable with the method used. Conclusions: MRSP and MRSA had low prevalence in the studied dog population despite the close contact between dogs, and the MRSP population was heterogenic. Antimicrobial therapy and veterinary visits are risk factors for MRSP even among a small case group.
  • Franks, Victoria R.; Ewen, John G.; McCready, Mhairi; Thorogood, Rose (2020)
    Early independence from parents is a critical period where social information acquired vertically may become outdated, or conflict with new information. However, across natural populations, it is unclear if newly independent young persist in using information from parents, or if group-level effects of conformity override previous behaviours. Here, we test if wild juvenile hihi (Notiomystis cincta, a New Zealand passerine) retain a foraging behaviour from parents, or if they change in response to the behaviour of peers. We provided feeding stations to parents during chick-rearing to seed alternative access routes, and then tracked their offspring's behaviour. Once independent, juveniles formed mixed-treatment social groups, where they did not retain preferences from their time with parents. Instead, juvenile groups converged over time to use one access route­ per group, and juveniles that moved between groups switched to copy the locally favoured option. Juvenile hihi did not copy specific individuals, even if they were more familiar with the preceding bird. Our study shows that early social experiences with parents affect initial foraging decisions, but social environments encountered later on can update transmission of arbitrary behaviours. This suggests that conformity may be widespread in animal groups, with potential cultural, ecological and evolutionary consequences.
  • Kujala, Miiamaaria V.; Somppi, Sanni; Jokela, Markus; Vainio, Outi; Parkkonen, Lauri (2017)
    Facial expressions are important for humans in communicating emotions to the conspecifics and enhancing interpersonal understanding. Many muscles producing facial expressions in humans are also found in domestic dogs, but little is known about how humans perceive dog facial expressions, and which psychological factors influence people's perceptions. Here, we asked 34 observers to rate the valence, arousal, and the six basic emotions (happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, fear, and anger/aggressiveness) from images of human and dog faces with Pleasant, Neutral and Threatening expressions. We investigated how the subjects' personality (the Big Five Inventory), empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index) and experience of dog behavior affect the ratings of dog and human faces. Ratings of both species followed similar general patterns: human subjects classified dog facial expressions from pleasant to threatening very similarly to human facial expressions. Subjects with higher emotional empathy evaluated Threatening faces of both species as more negative in valence and higher in anger/aggressiveness. More empathetic subjects also rated the happiness of Pleasant humans but not dogs higher, and they were quicker in their valence judgments of Pleasant human, Threatening human and Threatening dog faces. Experience with dogs correlated positively with ratings of Pleasant and Neutral dog faces. Personality also had a minor effect on the ratings of Pleasant and Neutral faces in both species. The results imply that humans perceive human and dog facial expression in a similar manner, and the perception of both species is influenced by psychological factors of the evaluators. Especially empathy affects both the speed and intensity of rating dogs' emotional facial expressions.
  • Emameh, Reza Zolfaghari; Kuuslahti, Marianne; Näreaho, Anu; Sukura, Antti; Parkkila, Seppo (2016)
    Trichinellosis is a helminthic infection where different species of Trichinella nematodes are the causative agents. Several molecular assays have been designed to aid diagnostics of trichinellosis. These assays are mostly complex and expensive. The genomes of Trichinella species contain certain parasite-specific genes, which can be detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. We selected -carbonic anhydrase (-CA) gene as a target, because it is present in many parasites genomes but absent in vertebrates. We developed a novel -CA gene-based method for detection of Trichinella larvae in biological samples. We first identified a -CA protein sequence from Trichinella spiralis by bioinformatic tools using -CAs from Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. Thereafter, 16 sets of designed primers were tested to detect -CA genomic sequences from three species of Trichinella, including T.spiralis, Trichinellapseudospiralis and Trichinellanativa. Among all 16 sets of designed primers, the primer set No. 2 efficiently amplified -CA genomic sequences from T.spiralis, T.pseudospiralis and T.nativa without any false-positive amplicons from other parasite samples including Toxoplasma gondii, Toxocara cati and Parascaris equorum. This robust and straightforward method could be useful for meat inspection in slaughterhouses, quality control by food authorities and medical laboratories.
  • Falgenhauer, Linda; Schwengers, Oliver; Schmiedel, Judith; Baars, Christian; Lambrecht, Oda; Hess, Stefanie; Berendonk, Thomas U.; Falgenhauer, Jane; Chakraborty, Trinad; Imirzalioglu, Can (2019)
    Water is considered to play a role in the dissemination of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria including those encoding Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL) and carbapenemases. To investigate the role of water for their spread in more detail, we characterized ESBL/Carbapenemase-producing bacteria from surface water and sediment samples using phenotypic and genotypic approaches. ESBL/Carbapenemase-producing isolates were obtained from water/sediment samples. Species and antibiotic resistance were determined. A subset of these isolates (n = 33) was whole-genome-sequenced and analyzed for the presence of antibiotic resistance genes and virulence determinants. Their relatedness to isolates associated with human infections was investigated using multilocus sequence type and cgMLST-based analysis. Eighty-nine percent of the isolates comprised of clinically relevant species. Fifty-eight percent exhibited a multidrug-resistance phenotype. Two isolates harbored the mobile colistin resistance gene mcr-1. One carbapenemase-producing isolate identified as Enterobacter kobei harbored bla(VIM-)(1). Two Escherichia coli isolates had sequence types (ST) associated with human infections (ST131 and ST1485) and a Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate was classified as hypervirulent. A multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolate encoding known virulence genes associated with severe lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients was also detected. The presence of MDR and clinically relevant isolates in recreational and surface water underlines the role of aquatic environments as both reservoirs and hot spots for MDR bacteria. Future assessment of water quality should include the examination of the multidrug resistance of clinically relevant bacterial species and thus provide an important link regarding the spread of MDR bacteria in a One Health context.
  • Romiguier, Jonathan; Rolland, Jonathan; Morandin, Claire; Keller, Laurent (2018)
    Background: The ants of the Formica genus are classical model species in evolutionary biology. In particular, Darwin used Formica as model species to better understand the evolution of slave-making, a parasitic behaviour where workers of another species are stolen to exploit their workforce. In his book "On the Origin of Species" (1859), Darwin first hypothesized that slave-making behaviour in Formica evolved in incremental steps from a free-living ancestor. Methods: The absence of a well-resolved phylogenetic tree of the genus prevent an assessment of whether relationships among Formica subgenera are compatible with this scenario. In this study, we resolve the relationships among the 4 palearctic Formica subgenera (Formica str. s., Coptoformica, Raptiformica and Serviformica) using a phylogenomic dataset of 945 genes for 16 species. Results: We provide a reference tree resolving the relationships among the main Formica subgenera with high bootstrap supports. Discussion: The branching order of our tree suggests that the free-living lifestyle is ancestral in the Formica genus and that parasitic colony founding could have evolved a single time, probably acting as a pre-adaptation to slave-making behaviour. Conclusion: This phylogenetic tree provides a solid backbone for future evolutionary studies in the Formica genus and slave-making behaviour.
  • Siragusa, Laura; Westman, Clinton; Moritz, Sarah (2020)
    We introduce and elaborate on the notion of "shared breath" as a way of understanding human and nonhuman copresence and offer descriptions and narratives about three Indigenous groups in Russia and Canada, namely, Veps, Western Woods Cree, and Interior Salish St'at'imc. These data illustrate vividly how the underused metaphor of shared breath sheds light on active participation in life by and respectful relations with nonhuman beings, thus surpassing other overly used spatial, physical, and spiritual metaphors. We move beyond the physical aspects of discrete spaces and materials in extending consideration to pertinent metaphorical and tangible aspects of the verbal, sonorous, and ritual performances undertaken by humans in order to negotiate and reinforce relations with other beings. Relationality is continuously accommodated and regenerated by human and nonhuman agencies through ritual acts that include blowing, chants, breathing, drumming, visualizing, and smoking. The shared breath through which these encounters take place emblematizes turning moments, when new directions may be taken and long-term relations of respect may be established, validated, and reinforced. Shared breath is both a medium and a modality of shamanic and animist relationality, offering a new way of looking at human-nonhuman contact and exchange in animist ritual contexts and beyond.
  • Yun, Jinhyeon; Olkkola, Satu; Hänninen, Marja-Liisa; Oliviero, Claudio; Heinonen, Mari (2017)
    This study investigated the effects of a single amoxicillin treatment of newborn piglets on the prevalence of hernias and abscesses until the age of nine weeks. We also studied whether the treatment was associated with growth and mortality, the need for treatment of other diseases, the proportions of ampicillin resistant coliforms and antimicrobial resistance patterns of intestinal Escherichia coli (E. coli). A total of 7156 piglets, from approximately 480 litters, were divided into two treatment groups: ANT (N = 3661) and CON (N = 3495), where piglets were treated with or without a single intramuscular injection of 75 mg amoxicillin one day after birth, respectively. The umbilical and inguinal areas of weaned pigs were palpated at four and nine weeks of age. At the same time, altogether 124 pigs with hernias or abscesses and 820 non -defective pigs from three pens per batch were weighed individually. Mortality and the need to treat piglets for other diseases were recorded. Piglet faecal samples were collected from three areas of the floors of each pen at four weeks of age. The prevalence of umbilical hernias or abscesses did not differ between the groups at four weeks of age, but it was higher in the CON group than in the ANT group at nine weeks of age (2.3% vs. 0.7%, P
  • Yun, Jinhyeon; Björkman, Stefan; Pöytäkangas, Merja; Peltoniemi, Olli (2017)
    In reproductive physiology research, experimental animals are often subjected to stressful procedures, including blood sampling and biopsy. In this present study, presence of pain or distress induced by four different procedures was examined using a measurement of salivary cortisol levels and activity observations in sows. The treatments were: 1) PAL: The ovary was palpated through the rectum without snaring, 2) TUB: transvaginal ultrasound-guided biopsy of the ovary was conducted without snaring, 3) SNA: a soft rope snare was placed around the maxilla, 4) CAT: A soft rope snare was placed around the maxilla, and an intravenous catheter was inserted through the ear vein of the sows. Activities, social cohesion and other pain-related behaviour, and salivary cortisol concentrations were recorded. Salivary cortisol concentrations in CAT sows increased in response to the procedure (P < 0.05), whereas the other treatments did not trigger a significant response. The CAT sows had higher cortisol concentrations than the other groups for 10 min after initiation of the procedures (P < 0.01), and they maintained higher cortisol levels than the PAL and TUB groups 15 min post-treatment (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the CAT sows showed the highest frequency of head shaking (P < 0.001) and trembling behaviour (P < 0.05) during the 1 h post-treatment. Summarizing, the catheterization procedure might induce a short-term pain or stress response during and after the procedure in terms of pain-related behaviour and salivary cortisol status. We suggest that TUB might not cause appreciable pain or distress.
  • Kärssin, Age; Häkkinen, Liidia; Niin, Enel; Peik, Katrin; Vilem, Annika; Jokelainen, Pikka; Lassen, Brian (2017)
    Background: Raccoon dogs and red foxes are well-adapted hosts for Trichinella spp. The aims of this study were to estimate Trichinella infection prevalence and biomass and to investigate which Trichinella species circulated in these indicator hosts in Estonia. Methods: From material collected for evaluating the effectiveness of oral vaccination program for rabies eradication in wildlife, samples from 113 raccoon dogs and 87 red foxes were included in this study. From each animal, 20 g of masseter muscle tissue was tested for the presence of Trichinella larvae using an artificial digestion method. The Trichinella larvae were identified to species level by multiplex polymerase chain reaction method. Results: The majority of tested animals were infected with Trichinella spp. The parasite species identified were T. nativa and T. britovi. The apparent infection prevalence was 57.5% in raccoon dogs and 69.0% in red foxes, which were higher than previous estimates. In addition, the larval burden had also increased in both hosts. We estimated that in 2011-2012, the Trichinella spp. biomass was more than 15 times higher in raccoon dogs and almost two times higher in red foxes than in 1992-2000 (based on mean larval burden), and almost 20 times higher in raccoon dogs and almost five times higher in red foxes than in 2000-2002 (based on median larval burden). Conclusions: Raccoon dogs and red foxes are relevant reservoirs for Trichinella spp. in Estonia. The biomass of Trichinella circulating in sylvatic cycles was substantial and had increased: there is substantial infection pressure in the sylvatic cycle.
  • Päivärinta, M.; Latvio, S.; Fredriksson-Ahomaa, M.; Heikinheimo, A. (2020)
    Plasmid-encoded extended-spectrum β-lactamase and AmpC gene-carrying Escherichia coli (ESBL/AmpC E. coli) is an increasing cause of human infections worldwide. Increasing carbapenem and colistin resistance further complicate treatment of these infections. The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence of ESBL/AmpC E. coli in different broiler flocks and farms, as well as in broiler meat, in a country with no antimicrobial usage in broiler production. An additional goal was to assess the genetic characteristics of ESBL/AmpC E. coli isolates by using whole genome sequencing (WGS). Altogether 520 caecal swabs and 85 vacuum-packed broiler meat samples were investigated at the slaughterhouse level. WGS of the bacterial isolates revealed acquired antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes, multilocus sequence types (MLST) and plasmid sequences. ESBL/AmpC E. coli was identified in 92 (18%) of the caecum and 27 (32%) of the meat samples. ESBL/AmpC E. coli-carrying birds derived from six (33%) out of 18 farms. Of the two blaESBL/AmpC genes detected by PCR, blaCMY-2 (96%) was predominant over blaCTX-M-1 (4%). Furthermore, WGS revealed an additional AMR gene sul2. Carbapenemase, colistin, and other AMR genes were not detected from the isolates of either the caecal or meat samples. Altogether seven MLSTs (ST101, ST117, ST212, ST351, ST373, ST1594 and an unknown ST) and a variety of different plasmid sequences (IncB/O/K/Z, IncI1, IncFII, IncII, IncFIB, IncFIC, IncX1 and an additional set of Col-plasmids) were detected. This is the first study on genomic epidemiology of ESBL/AmpC E. coli on broiler farms and flocks with no antimicrobial usage, by using WGS analysis. Results show that ESBL/AmpC E. coli occurrence is common both in the caecum and in the packaged meat. However, compared to other European countries, the occurrence is low and the presence of AMR genes other than blaCMY-2 and blaCTX-M-1 is rare. More studies are needed to understand the ESBL/AmpC E. coli occurrence in broiler production to prevent the meat from contamination during slaughter and processing, thereby also preventing zoonotic transmission of ESBL/AmpC E. coli. Additionally, more studies are needed to understand the ecology and fitness cost of Enterobacteriaceae plasmids in animal production in order to prevent their acquisition of plasmid-encoded antimicrobial resistance genes such as carbapenem and colistin resistance genes, as this would pose a great hazard to food safety.