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    ABSTRACT: Thromboelastography is a whole blood-based coagulation assay that can be used to investigate hypocoagulability and hypercoagulability, as seen with thromboembolic diseases and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Numerous coagulopathies due to different causes are reported in cows. The objective was to establish reference intervals for thromboelastography using the TEG 5000 (Haemonetics GmbH, Munich, Germany) with citrated whole blood samples and kaolin activation in dairy cows and to investigate possible thromboelastographic changes between cows in different lactation periods. An additional objective was to test the stability of samples for up to 100 h. Sixty blood samples from healthy Holstein-Friesian cows were examined. The samples were allocated to 3 different lactation groups (≤30 d postcalving, 31-99 d postcalving, ≥100 d postcalving). Thromboelastography was performed by using the TEG 5000 analyzer with citrated whole blood samples with kaolin activation. The calculated reference intervals were as follows: reaction time = 2.2 to 6.2 min, coagulation time = 0.8 to 2.0 min, angle α = 58.2 to 81.8°, maximum amplitude = 64.3 to 89.2 mm, and clot rigidity = 9.2 to 41.2 dyn/cm(2). The 3 different lactation groups showed no significant differences in TEG parameters. No significant difference was seen in samples stored for up to 48 h at room temperature, which indicates that delays in processing samples, such as those arising during transit, are not an issue.
    Journal of Dairy Science 07/2014; 97(9). DOI:10.3168/jds.2014-7909
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    ABSTRACT: Feather plucking, or the removal by a parrot of its own feathers, is thought to be one of the most common behaviour presentations in veterinary practice that treat avian patients. However, its aetiology is poorly understood. The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of feather plucking within the population of African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus erithacus and Psittacus erithacus timneh) and cockatoos (Cacatua spp.) registered with 9 veterinary practices in the United Kingdom (UK), and to explore the association between frequently hypothesised risk factors and feather plucking in these species. A questionnaire was sent to the owners of 400 African grey parrots and 310 cockatoos registered with 9 UK veterinary practices. Returned questionnaires from 137 African grey parrots and 92 cockatoos were analysed, of which 39.4% of African grey parrots and 42.4% of cockatoos had exhibited feather plucking behaviour at some point in their lifetime. Multivariable logistic regression modelling demonstrated that increasing hours of sleep and length of ownership were significantly associated (p< 0.05) with feather plucking in African grey parrots. Pet shop origin, cage location against ≥ 1 wall, and ≥ 1 vacation taken by owners each year were significantly associated (p< 0.05) with feather plucking in cockatoos. The high prevalence of feather plucking in these commonly kept pets highlights this problem as a welfare concern, while the risk factor analysis challenges many frequently cited hypotheses regarding its aetiology. Further research is required to explore whether there is a causal relationship between the significant risk factors identified in this study and feather plucking behaviour.
    Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 07/2014; 23(3). DOI:10.1053/j.jepm.2014.06.012
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    ABSTRACT: Evaluating the welfare issues in keeping exotic species as pets, be they owls or owl monkeys, parrots or parrot fish, as we are doing in this issue of the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine must necessarily bring to the fore the question of whether keeping such animals as pets is ethical. And by saying ‘keeping’, we must include capture from the wild, transport and handling on the way to the final owner, husbandry of the animal while in captivity and breeding of the animal to maintain a captive population. Veterinarians have argued over the suitability of ‘exotics’ as pets for many years both in the US and in the UK. It must be remembered that those were the days when lion cubs and chimpanzees were kept as pets. Dr Ian Keymer’s paper, written in 1972, when he was senior veterinarian at the Zoological Society of London, defined an exotic species as an animal ‘which still maintains its existence in a natural environment unaided by man and has not been bred or intentionally changed by man’, Is Keymer’s definition of exotic one we would use today? The dictionary would say that exotic is ‘originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country’ and in that respect many of the species with which we deal from axolotls to zebra fish are indeed exotic. But in the veterinary field many would also include rabbits, guinea pigs and pet rodents in the exotic fold. Others would question this, since rabbits, to name only one species commonly still seen by many as ‘exotic’, have been kept by mankind for many hundreds of years and are now, it would seem at least in the UK, the third most commonly presented animals to small animal veterinarians. Yet they are very different from the dogs and cats with which all small animal practitioners are familiar.
    Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 06/2014; DOI:10.1053/j.jepm.2014.06.011
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    ABSTRACT: Case Description-A 6-year-old neutered female mixed-breed dog was evaluated because of a 6-week history of left forelimb lameness that varied in severity. Clinical Findings-Radiography revealed expansile and lytic changes of the left accessory carpal bone (ACB). Results of histologic evaluation of ACB core biopsy specimens indicated areas of bone necrosis. The entire left ACB was excised and submitted for histologic evaluation; results confirmed a diagnosis of idiopathic ischemic necrosis. Treatment and Outcome-Left pancarpal arthrodesis was performed to treat carpal hyperextension and persistent lameness. The dog had an excellent functional outcome with no other problems related to the carpus until its death 4 years later, further decreasing suspicion that the problem was attributable to an undetected neoplasm or bacterial or fungal osteomyelitis. Clinical Relevance-The radiographic and histologic findings for the dog of this report were similar to previously reported findings for dogs with ischemic femoral head necrosis and humans with ischemic carpal (pisiform or lunate bone) necrosis. The etiology of the ischemic ACB necrosis in this dog was not determined. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of a dog with idiopathic ischemic ACB necrosis. Idiopathic ischemic necrosis should be included as a differential diagnosis for dogs with lameness and destructive and expansile ACB radiographic lesions. An excellent functional outcome may be attained by means of ACB excision and pancarpal arthrodesis.
    Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 12/2013; 243(12):1746-50. DOI:10.2460/javma.243.12.1746
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    ABSTRACT: The report of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) encoding a divergent mecA gene in 2011 was highly significant. This homologue, designated mecC, poses diagnostic problems with the potential to be misdiagnosed as methicillin-sensitive S. aureus, with important potential consequences for individual patients and for the surveillance of MRSA. mecC MRSA have now been reported from 13 European countries and have been isolated from 14 different host species, with evidence of a recent increase in Denmark. The emergence of mecC MRSA is a topic of interest to human and veterinary microbiology, and we consider it timely to review here its discovery and subsequent investigation.
    Trends in Microbiology 12/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.tim.2013.11.003
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    ABSTRACT: Methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus spp. results from the expression of an alternative penicillin-binding protein 2a (encoded by mecA) with a low affinity for β-lactam antibiotics. Recently, a novel variant of mecA known as mecC (formerly mecALGA251) was identified in Staphylococcus aureus isolates from both humans and animals. In this study, we identified two Staphylococcus sciuri subsp. carnaticus isolates from bovine infections that harbour three different mecA homologues: mecA, mecA1 and mecC. We subjected the two isolates to whole-genome sequencing to further understand the genetic context of the mec-containing region. We also used PCR and RT-PCR to investigate the excision and expression of the SCCmec element and mec genes, respectively. Whole-genome sequencing revealed a novel hybrid SCCmec region at the orfX locus consisting of a class E mec complex (mecI-mecR1-mecC1-blaZ) located immediately downstream of a staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type VII element. A second SCCmec attL site (attL2), which was imperfect, was present downstream of the mecC region. PCR analysis of stationary-phase cultures showed that both the SCCmec type VII element and a hybrid SCCmec-mecC element were capable of excision from the genome and forming a circular intermediate. Transcriptional analysis showed that mecC and mecA, but not mecA1, were both expressed in liquid culture supplemented with oxacillin. Overall, this study further highlights that a range of staphylococcal species harbour the mecC gene and furthers the view that coagulase-negative staphylococci associated with animals may act as reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes for more pathogenic staphylococcal species.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 12/2013; 69(4). DOI:10.1093/jac/dkt452
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    ABSTRACT: There are limited data available on the epidemiology and prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the human population that encode the recently described mecA homologue, mecC. To address this knowledge gap we undertook a prospective prevalence study in England to determine the prevalence of mecC among MRSA isolates. Three hundred and thirty-five sequential MRSA isolates from individual patients were collected from each of six clinical microbiology laboratories in England during 2011-12. These were tested by PCR or genome sequencing to differentiate those encoding mecA and mecC. mecC-positive isolates were further characterized by multilocus sequence typing, spa typing, antimicrobial susceptibility profile and detection of PBP2a using commercially available kits. Nine out of the 2010 MRSA isolates tested were mecC positive, indicating a prevalence among MRSA in England of 0.45% (95% CI 0.24%-0.85%). The remainder were mecA positive. Eight out of these nine mecC MRSA isolates belonged to clonal complex 130, the other being sequence type 425. Resistance to non-β-lactam antibiotics was rare among these mecC MRSA isolates and all were phenotypically identified as MRSA using oxacillin and cefoxitin according to BSAC disc diffusion methodology. However, all nine mecC isolates gave a negative result using three different commercial PBP2a detection assays. mecC MRSA are currently rare among MRSA isolated from humans in England and this study provides an important baseline prevalence rate to monitor future changes, which may be important given the increasing prevalence of mecC MRSA reported in Denmark.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 11/2013; 69(4). DOI:10.1093/jac/dkt462
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    ABSTRACT: The straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is Africa's most widely distributed and commonly hunted fruit bat, often living in close proximity to human populations. This species has been identified as a reservoir of potentially zoonotic viruses, but uncertainties remain regarding viral transmission dynamics and mechanisms of persistence. Here we combine genetic and serological analyses of populations across Africa, to determine the extent of epidemiological connectivity among E. helvum populations. Multiple markers reveal panmixia across the continental range, at a greater geographical scale than previously recorded for any other mammal, whereas populations on remote islands were genetically distinct. Multiple serological assays reveal antibodies to henipaviruses and Lagos bat virus in all locations, including small isolated island populations, indicating that factors other than population size and connectivity may be responsible for viral persistence. Our findings have potentially important public health implications, and highlight a need to avoid disturbances that may precipitate viral spillover.
    Nature Communications 11/2013; 4:2770. DOI:10.1038/ncomms3770
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    ABSTRACT: We have established and efficient system to specify NG2/PDGF-Rα/OLIG2+ oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) at low, physiological (3%) oxygen levels. This was achieved via both forebrain and spinal cord origins, with up to 98% of cells expressing NG2. Developmental insights reveal a critical role for fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) in OLIG2 induction via ventral forebrain pathways. The OPCs mature in vitro to express O4 (46%) and subsequently become galactocerebroside (GALC), O1, and myelin basic protein-positive (MBP+) multibranching oligodendrocytes. These were cultured alongside hESC-derived neurons. The electrophysiological properties of human OPCs are similar to those of rat OPCs, with large voltage-gated sodium currents and the ability to fire action potentials. Exposure to a selective retinoid X receptor agonist increased the proportion of O4+ oligodendrocytes that express MBP from 5% to 30%. Thus, we have established a developmentally engineered system to investigate the biological properties of human OPCs and test the effects of putative remyelinating agents prior to clinical application.
    Stem Cell Reports 11/2013; 1(5):437-450. DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2013.09.006
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    ABSTRACT: Sub-clinical infection of murine norovirus (MNV) was detected in a mixed breeding group of wild-type and Stat1-/- mice with no outward evidence of morbidity or mortality. Investigations revealed the presence of an attenuated MNV variant that did not cause cytopathic effects in RAW264.7 cells or death in Stat1-/- mice. Histopathological analysis of tissues from wild-type, heterozygous and Stat1-/- mice revealed a surprising spectrum of lesions. An infectious molecular clone was derived directly from faeces (MNV-O7) and the sequence analysis confirmed it was a member of norovirus genogroup V. Experimental infection with MNV-O7 induced a sub-clinical infection with no weight loss in Stat1-/- or wild-type mice and recapitulated the clinical and pathological picture of the naturally infected colony. Unexpectedly, by 54 days post infection, 50 % of Stat1-/- mice had cleared MNV-O7. In contrast, all wild-type mice remained persistently infected. Most significantly this was associated with liver lesions in all the sub-clinically infected wild-type mice. These data confirm that long-term persistence in wild-type mice is established with specific variants of MNV and that despite a sub-clinical presentation, active foci of acute inflammation persist within liver. The data also show that STAT1 dependent responses are not required to protect mice from lethal infection with all strains of MNV.
    Journal of General Virology 11/2013; 95(Pt_2). DOI:10.1099/vir.0.059188-0
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