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    ABSTRACT: Early life experiences can have profound long-term, and sometimes trans-generational, effects on individual phenotypes. However, there is a relative paucity of knowledge about effects on pain sensitivity, even though these may impact on an individual's health and welfare, particularly in farm animals exposed to painful husbandry procedures. Here, we tested in sheep whether neonatal painful and non-painful challenges can alter pain sensitivity in adult life, and also in the next generation. Ewes exposed to tail-docking or a simulated mild infection (lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) on days 3–4 of life showed higher levels of pain-related behaviour when giving birth as adults compared with control animals. LPS-treated ewes also gave birth to lambs who showed decreased pain sensitivity in standardized tests during days 2–3 of life. Our results demonstrate long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on pain responses in a commercially important species and suggest that variations in early lif
    Biology letters 07/2014; 10(7-7). DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0273
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    ABSTRACT: An observer blinded, placebo controlled study evaluated the effects of 62.5 μg/m2 dexmedetomidine administered IV on recovery from isoflurane anaesthesia in dogs. Forty-four healthy dogs, weighing 1.8 - 19.95 kg, presented for surgery that was expected to cause mild to moderate pain were studied. All were premedicated with 125 μg/m2 dexmedetomidine and 20 μg/kg buprenorphine IM. Anaesthesia was induced with propofol and maintained with isoflurane. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and local anaesthetic techniques were administered as appropriate. Immediately prior to extubation dogs were treated with dexmedetomidine 62.5 μg/m2 (group D) or an equivalent volume of heparinised saline (S). Assessments of heart rate, respiratory rate, pain (short form Glasgow composite pain scale [SF-GCPS], dynamic interactive visual analogue scale [DIVAS]), sedation (simple descriptive scale [SDS], DIVAS) and mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) were performed immediately before premedication, 20 min later, at the time of test drug administration (T0) and at 15 to 30 min intervals until T4 h. Recovery quality was scored 0 – 3 (SDS). Data were analysed with Student’s t and Mann-Whitney U tests, two-way ANOVA and Fisher’s exact test. Significantly fewer poor quality recoveries were observed in group D (D 2[1-3]; S 2[0-3]; P=0.02), however, sedation was increased in group D compared to group S from T15 to T150 min (P=0.0001). Pain scores were lower in group D compared to group S from T15 to T120 min (P=0.001), but the requirement for additional analgesia in the first 4 h following extubation was not different between groups. Dexmedetomidine may decrease the incidence of poor quality anaesthetic recoveries in dogs.
    The Veterinary Journal 04/2014; 200(1). DOI:10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.01.015
  • 11/2013; 173(18):447-8. DOI:10.1136/vr.f6763
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    ABSTRACT: Levels and seasonal patterns of parasite challenge to livestock are likely to be affected by climate change, through direct effects on life cycle stages outside the definitive host and through alterations in management that affect exposure and susceptibility. Net effects and options for adapting to them will depend very strongly on details of the system under consideration. This short paper is not a comprehensive review of climate change effects on parasites, but rather seeks to identify key areas in which detail is important and arguably under-recognized in supporting farmer adaptation. I argue that useful predictions should take fuller account of system-specific properties that influence disease emergence, and not just the effects of climatic variables on parasite biology. At the same time, excessive complexity is ill-suited to useful farm-level decision support. Dealing effectively with the 'devil of detail' in this area will depend on finding the right balance, and will determine our success in applying science to climate change adaptation by farmers.
    Animal Health Research Reviews 10/2013; 14(02):1-5. DOI:10.1017/S146625231300011X
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    ABSTRACT: Infection of horses with Anoplocephala perfoliata induces a severe inflammatory reaction of the caecal mucosa around the site of parasite attachment adjacent to the ileocecal valve. Lesions show epithelial erosion or ulceration of the mucosa with infiltration by eosinophils, lymphocytes and mast cells leading to oedema, gross thickening and fibrosis of the caecal wall. Despite this evidence of an inflammatory reaction to A. perfoliata within the mucosa of the caecum there is little information about the nature of the local immune response to A. perfoliata. An ELISA which assays serum IgG(T) antibodies to A. perfoliata excretory/secretory antigens has been developed as a diagnostic test. However, the specificity of the ELISA remains sub-optimal and the role of other isotypes in the immune response to A. perfoliata has not been reported. This study measured IgA, IgE and IgG(T) antibody responses to A. perfoliata excretory/secretory antigens in sera of 75 horses presented for slaughter. The prevalence of A. perfoliata infection, as confirmed by the presence of parasites in the terminal ileum, caecum or proximal colon, was 55%. A. perfoliata-specific IgG(T) and IgE antibodies were significantly elevated in infected horses compared to controls; IgA antibodies were also detected but did not differ between infected and control horses. Diagnosis by serum IgG(T) ELISA had a sensitivity of 78% and a specificity of 80%, by comparison the serum IgE ELISA had a sensitivity of just 44% with a specificity of 82% and therefore did not provide an improved diagnostic test. Western blots with sera from infected horses demonstrated IgE-binding to at least 10 separate components of excretory/secretory (E/S) antigens. A similar pattern was also found with IgG(T). Around 30% of horses had high levels of serum IgE which bound fucose-containing carbohydrate antigens on the parasite surface but this was unrelated to the presence of A. perfoliata infection.
    Veterinary Parasitology 10/2013; 199(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.vetpar.2013.10.005
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    ABSTRACT: are the anaesthetics used for fish aversive? Despite years of routine general use of many agents, within both scientific research and aquaculture, there is a paucity of information regarding their tolerance and associated behavioural responses by fish. This study examined nine of the most commonly used fish anaesthetic agents, and performed preference tests using adult mixed sex zebrafish (Danio rerio), the most commonly held laboratory fish. Video tracking software quantified swimming behaviour related to aversion for each anaesthetic at 50% of its standard recommended dose compared with clean water in a flow-through chemotaxic choice chamber. Results suggest that several commonly used anaesthetics were aversive, including two of the most commonly recommended and used: MS222 (ethyl 3-aminobenzoate methanesulphate) and benzocaine. For ethical best practice, it is recommended that compounds that are aversive, even at low concentration, should no longer be used routinely for anaesthesia or indeed the first step of humane euthanasia of adult zebrafish. Two agents were found not to induce aversive behavioural responses: etomidate and 2,2,2 tribromoethanol. For the millions of adult zebrafish used in laboratories and breeding worldwide, etomidate appears best suited for future routine humane use.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e73773. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0073773
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    ABSTRACT: Pain associated with poultry lameness is poorly understood. The anti-nociceptive properties of two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were evaluated using threshold testing in combination with an acute inflammatory arthropathy model. Broilers were tested in six groups (n = 8 per group). Each group underwent a treatment (saline, meloxicam (3 or 5 mg/kg) or carprofen (15 or 25 mg/kg)) and a procedure (Induced (arthropathy-induction) or sham (sham-handling)) prior to testing. Induced groups had Freund’s complete adjuvant injected intra-articularly into the left intertarsal joint (hock). A ramped thermal stimulus (1 °C/s) was applied to the skin of the left metatarsal. Data were analysed using random-intercept multi-level models. Saline-induced birds had a significantly higher skin temperature (± SD) than saline-sham birds (37.6 ± 0.8 °C vs. 36.5 ± 0.5 °C; Z = −3.47, P < 0.001), consistent with an inflammatory response. Saline was associated with significantly lower thermal thresholds (TT) than analgesic treatment (meloxicam: Z = 2.72, P = 0.007; carprofen: Z = 2.58, P = 0.010) in induced birds. Saline-induced birds also had significantly lower TT than saline-sham birds (Z = −2.17, P = 0.030). This study found direct evidence of an association between inflammatory arthropathies and thermal hyperalgesia, and showed that NSAID treatment maintained baseline thermal sensitivity (via anti-nociception). Quantification of nociceptive responsiveness in a predictable broiler pain model identified thermal anti-hyperalgesic properties of two NSAIDs, which suggested that therapeutically effective treatment was provided at the doses administered. Such validation of analgesic strategies will increase the understanding of pain associated with specific natural broiler lameness types.
    The Veterinary Journal 09/2013; 198(3). DOI:10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.09.013
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    ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB), infects a wide range of wild and domestic mammals. Despite a control programme spanning decades, M. bovis infection levels in cattle in Great Britain (GB) have continued to rise over recent years. As the incidence of infection in cattle and wildlife may be linked to that in swine, data relating to infection of pigs identified at slaughter were examined in this study. Between 2007 and 2011, almost all M. bovis-infected pigs originated from farms in the South-West and West-Midland regions of England. The data suggest that pigs raised outdoors or on holdings with poor biosecurity may be more vulnerable to infection with M. bovis. In the majority of cases, the same strains of M. bovis were found in pigs and cattle, despite that fact that direct contact between these species was rarely observed. Genotyping and geographical mapping data indicated that some strains found in pigs may correlate better with those present in badgers, rather than cattle. In consequence, it is proposed that pigs may represent a useful sentinel for M. bovis infection in wildlife in GB. Given the potential implications of this infection for the pig industry, and for the on-going effort to control bovine TB, the importance of understanding the epidemiology and pathogenesis of M. bovis infection, as well as monitoring its prevalence, in pigs should not be underestimated.
    The Veterinary Journal 09/2013; 198(2). DOI:10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.08.035
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    ABSTRACT: Although the rearing period has an important influence on the development of feather pecking in laying hens, few studies have quantified the risk factors operating on commercial farms during this time and identified their long-term impact. Our aim was to conduct a longitudinal study to investigate the effect of rearing environment on feather pecking in young and adult laying hens. Thirty-four flocks from 29 rearing farms were recruited and visited at the beginning, middle and end of the rearing period and once at lay (35 weeks). Twelve flocks were beak trimmed. Information on rearing environment was used to create models predicting feather pecking and plumage damage during rear and lay, using the multilevel statistical software MLwiN 2.25. Across all flocks, gentle feather pecking (GFP) was observed during 94% of the visits at both rear and lay, at 1.3 and 1.0 bouts/bird/h respectively. Severe feather pecking (SFP) was observed during 27% of the visits during rear and during 65% of the visits at lay, with a mean rate of 0.4 pecks/bird/h during rear and 1.9 pecks/bird/h at lay, across all flocks. The mean percentage of the flock with missing feathers was 12% at 16 weeks and 49% at lay. The mean individual feather score at lay was 21 (range 6–24 (best)). The study confirmed that feather pecking and feather damage occur during the rearing period. Statistical modelling further showed that the percentage of the flock with missing feathers was significantly lower and individual feather scores significantly higher (better) at lay, in flocks where feather pecking had not started at the end of rear. The three models on the effect of rearing environment on GFP, SFP and the percentage of the flock with missing feathers during rear contained 21 significant variables. Approximately a third of those related to house climate (temperature, humidity, sound, light and dust levels), while another third related to foraging. Foraging itself appeared in all three models, confirming that good foraging is one of the major factors in reducing feather pecking. The four models on the effect of rearing environment on GFP, SFP, the percentage of the flock with missing feathers and individual feather scores at lay contained 17 significant variables and sound level was significant in three of the four. The analysis further indicated that experienced rearing staff was protective against feather pecking at both rear and lay and that feather pecking increased with an increasing number of diet changes during rear.
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 09/2013; 148(s 1–2):54–63. DOI:10.1016/j.applanim.2013.07.014
  • Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology 08/2013; 7(6):497-9. DOI:10.1586/17474124.2013.814931
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