Nils Toft

National Veterinary Laboratory, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, United States

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Publications (102)199.92 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background The acute phase proteins (APP) serum amyloid A (SAA), haptoglobin, and fibrinogen are valuable blood biomarkers in equine inflammatory diseases, but knowledge of factors influencing their concentrations in blood and peritoneal fluid (PF) of horses with colic is needed.Objectives The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of demographics (age, sex, breed), disease process (simple obstruction, strangulating obstruction, inflammatory), disease location, disease duration, hypovolemia, and admission hospital on concentrations of APP, lactate and white blood cell counts (WBC) in horses with colic admitted to 2 referral hospitals.AnimalsThe study included 367 horses with colic admitted at 2 referral hospitals.Methods Prospective multicenter observational study of clinical data, as well as blood and PF biomarkers. Associations between biomarker concentrations and clinical variables were analyzed using multivariate linear regression analysis.ResultsIncreasing pre-admission duration of colic was associated with increased concentrations of APP in blood and PF. Blood concentrations of SAA and fibrinogen were associated with disease process (inflammatory, strangulations, simple obstructions) in more colic duration groups (5–12 and >24 hours) than any of the other biomarkers. No relevant associations between demographic factors, hospital, or hydration status and the measured biomarkers were found.Conclusions and Clinical ImportanceIn horses with colic, concentrations of APP are associated mainly with disease process and duration of colic and may thus be used for assessment of disease independently of demographic or geographic factors. Serum amyloid A may be a diagnostic marker for use in colic differential diagnosis, but further evaluation is needed.
    Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 01/2015; · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High instances of antimicrobial resistance are linked to both routine and excessive antimicrobial use, but excessive or inappropriate use represents an unnecessary risk. The competitive growth advantages of resistant bacteria may be amplified by the strain dynamics; in particular, the extent to which resistant strains out-compete susceptible strains under antimicrobial pressure may depend not only on the antimicrobial treatment strategies, but also on the epidemiological parameters such as composition of the bacterial strains in a pig. This study evaluated how variation in the dosing protocol for intramuscular administration of tetracycline and the composition of bacterial strains in a pig affect the level of resistance in the intestine of a pig. Predictions were generated by a mathematical model of competitive growth of Escherichia coli strains in pigs under specified plasma concentration profiles of tetracycline. All dosing regimens result in a clear growth advantage for resistant strains. Short treatment duration was found to be preferable, as it allowed less time for resistant strains to outcompete the susceptible ones. Dosing frequency appeared to be ineffective at reducing the resistance levels. The number of competing strains had no apparent effect on the resistance level during treatment, but possession of fewer strains reduced the time to reach equilibrium after the end of treatment. To sum up, epidemiological parameters may have more profound influence on growth dynamics than dosing regimens and should be considered when designing improved treatment protocols. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 12/2014; · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Although a common neurological disorder in dogs, long-term outcome of epilepsy is sparsely documented.Objectives To investigate risk factors for survival and duration of survival in a population of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy or epilepsy associated with a known intracranial cause.AnimalsOne hundred and two client owned dogs; 78 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and 24 dogs with epilepsy associated with a known intracranial cause.MethodsA retrospective hospital based study with follow-up. Dogs diagnosed with epilepsy between 2002 and 2008 were enrolled in the study. Owners were interviewed by telephone using a structured questionnaire addressing epilepsy status, treatment, death/alive, and cause of death.ResultsMedian life span was 7.6 years, 9.2 years, and 5.8 years for all dogs, and dogs with idiopathic epilepsy or dogs with epilepsy associated with a known intracranial cause (P < .001), respectively. Survival time for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy was significantly (P = .0030) decreased for dogs euthanized because of epilepsy (median: 35 months) compared to dogs euthanized for other reasons (median: 67.5 months). Neutered male dogs with idiopathic epilepsy had a significant (P = .031) shorter survival (median: 38.5 months) after index seizure compared to intact male dogs (median: 71 months). Treatment with two antiepileptic drugs (AED′s) did not negatively influence survival (P = .056).Conclusion and Clinical ImportanceDogs with idiopathic epilepsy can in many cases expect a life span close to what is reported for dogs in general. In dogs where mono-therapy is not sufficient, the need for treatment with two AED′s is not linked to a poor prognosis.
    Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 09/2014; · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More than 30% of E. coli strains sampled from pig farms in Denmark over the last five years were resistant to the commonly used antimicrobial tetracycline. This raises a number of questions: How is this high level sustained if resistant bacteria have reduced growth rates? Given that there are multiple susceptible and resistant bacterial strains in the pig intestines, how can we describe their coexistence? To what extent does the composition of these multiple strains in individual pigs influence the total bacterial population of the pig pen? What happens to a complex population when antimicrobials are used? To investigate these questions, we created a model where multiple strains of bacteria coexist in the intestines of pigs sharing a pen, and explored the parameter limits of a stable system; both with and without an antimicrobial treatment. The approach taken is a deterministic bacterial population model with stochastic elements of bacterial distributions and transmission. The rates that govern the model are process-oriented to represent growth, excretion, and uptake from environment, independent of herd and meta-population structures. Furthermore, an entry barrier and elimination process for the individual strains in each pig were implemented. We demonstrate how competitive growth between multiple bacterial strains in individual pigs, and the transmission between pigs in a pen allow for strains of antimicrobial resistant bacteria to persist in a pig population to different extents, and how quickly they can become dominant if antimicrobial treatment is initiated. The level of spread depends in a non-linear way of the parameters that govern excretion and uptake. Furthermore, the sampling of initial distributions of strains and stochastic transmission events give rise to large variation in how homogenous and how resistant the bacterial population becomes. Most important: resistant bacteria are demonstrated to survive with a disadvantage in growth rate of well over 10%.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e100458. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As in other fibroproliferative disorders, hypoxia has been suggested to play a key role in the pathogenesis of exuberant granulation tissue (EGT). The purpose of this study was to investigate metabolism and blood flow locally in full-thickness wounds healing with (limb wounds) and without (body wounds) formation of EGT.Microdialysis was used to recover endogenous metabolites from the wounds, and laser Doppler flowmetry was used to measure blood flow. Measurements were performed before wounding and 1-28 days after wounding.Blood flow was consistently lower in limb wounds than in body wounds throughout the study period with no change over time. After wounding and throughout the study period theglucose concentration wassignificantly lower in limb wounds than in body woundswhereas the lactate level showed a significantly higher concentration in limb wounds. The lactate/glucose ratio displayed a significant difference between body and limb wounds.In conclusion, the metabolic disturbances may suggest inadequate oxygen supply during the wound healing process in equine limb wounds healing with EGT. This may be related to the inherently decreased perfusion in the wound bed of limb wounds.
    Wound Repair and Regeneration 06/2014; · 2.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Standard logistic regression assumes that the outcome is measured perfectly. In practice, this is often not the case, which could lead to biased estimates if not accounted for. This study presents Bayesian logistic regression with adjustment for misclassification of the outcome applied to data with spatial correlation. The models assessed include a fixed effects model, an independent random effects model, and models with spatially correlated random effects modelled using conditional autoregressive prior distributions (ICAR and ICAR(ρρ)). Performance of these models was evaluated in a simulation study. Parameters were estimated by Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods, using slice sampling to improve convergence. The results demonstrated that adjustment for misclassification must be included to produce unbiased regression estimates. With strong correlation the ICAR model performed best. With weak or moderate correlation the ICAR(ρρ) performed best. With unknown spatial correlation the recommended model would be the ICAR(ρρ), assuming convergence can be obtained.
    Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To examine the use of handheld methodology to assess mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) on cows kept loose-housed.Study designProspective randomized partial cross-over experimental study. A one-factor (test day) design was used to evaluate MNT over time.AnimalsOne hundred and fifteen healthy, loose-housed Danish Holstein cattle.Methods We evaluated intra-individual variation, inter-observer agreement and variation over time of MNT using two handheld devices and two stimulation sites. Mechanical, ramped stimulations were performed with an algometer (6.5 mm diameter steel probe, 0–10.0 kgf) or an electronic von Frey device (plastic tip with diameter 0.8 mm, 0–1000 gf). Each cow received 5–6 consecutive stimulations within a 2 × 5 cm skin area on the dorsal or lateral aspect of the left third metatarsus until an avoidance reaction occurred. We investigated the difference in precision [expressed as coefficient of variation (CV)] between the combinations of devices and stimulation sites. The inter-observer agreement and the difference in MNT between test day 1, 3, 7, 10 and 24 were investigated for selected combinations. Data were analysed in mixed models and Bland-Altman as relevant.ResultsThe CVs did not differ [range 0.34–0.52 (p = 0.1)]. Difference between observers (95% limits) was 0.2 kgf (2.8) and 4 gf (369) for the algometer and von Frey device, respectively. Mechanical nociceptive threshold increased from 361 on test day one to 495 gf on test day 24 (p < 0.01).Conclusion and clinical relevanceAll methods showed a high degree of intra-individual variation, and no combination of device and stimulation site showed superior precision. Mean difference between observers was low, and MNT was not consistent over time. Further development of the methods is required before they can be used in research to investigate possible relations between claw lesions and hyperalgesia.
    Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 04/2014; · 1.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Migrating Strongylus vulgaris and encysted cyathostomin larvae cause a localized inflammatory response in horses. It is unknown whether these larvae elicit a systemic acute phase response (APR), evidenced by changes in serum amyloid A (SAA), haptoglobin (Hp), iron (Fe), albumin, or albumin/globulin (A/G) ratio. In this study, 28 horses were randomly allocated to receive either pyrantel tartrate or a pelleted placebo formulation in their daily feed. Concurrent with treatment, all the horses were administered 5000 pyrantel-susceptible cyathostomin infective larvae once daily, 5 days a week, for 24 weeks. Beginning in the fifth week, the horses also received 25 S. vulgaris larvae once weekly for the remainder of the study. At regular biweekly intervals, fecal samples were collected for quantitative egg counts, and whole blood and serum samples were collected for measurement of packed cell volume, total protein, albumin, globulin, A/G ratio, SAA, Hp, and Fe. On days 161-164, all the horses were euthanatized and necropsied. Samples were collected for enumeration of total luminal worm burdens, encysted cyathostomin larval populations, and migrating S. vulgaris larvae. Concentrations of Hp, Fe, and A/G ratio were associated significantly with strongyle burdens. Only treated male horses had significant increases in serum albumin. Larval S. vulgaris did not associate with Fe, whereas Fe was associated negatively with both total cyathostomin burdens and encysted L4s. The A/G ratios differed significantly between the two treatment groups. Significant differences between groups and individual time points were also observed for Hp and Fe, whereas SAA concentrations remained low throughout the study. In general, this study illustrated that experimental inoculations with S. vulgaris and cyathostomins may be associated with changes in Hp, Fe, and serum proteins, but not with SAA. Overall, these changes suggest that mixed strongyle infections elicit a mild acute phase reaction.
    Veterinary Parasitology 01/2014; · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several decades after the inception of the five-point plan for the control of contagious mastitis pathogens, Streptococcus agalactiae (S. agalactiae) persists as a fundamental threat to the dairy industry in many countries. A better understanding of the relative importance of within- and between-herd sources of new herd infections coupled with the spatiotemporal distribution of the infection, may aid in effective targeting of control efforts. Thus, the objectives of this study were: (1) to describe the spatiotemporal patterns of infection with S. agalactiae in the population of Danish dairy herds from 2000 to 2009 and (2) to estimate the annual herd-level baseline and movement-related incidence risks of S. agalactiae infection over the 10-year period. The analysis involved registry data on bacteriological culture of all bulk tank milk samples collected as part of the mandatory Danish S. agalactiae surveillance scheme as well as live cattle movements into dairy herds during the specified 10-year period. The results indicated that the predicted risk of a herd becoming infected with S. agalactiae varied spatiotemporally; the risk being more homogeneous and higher in the period after 2005. Additionally, the annual baseline risks yielded significant yet distinctive patterns before and after 2005 - the risk of infection being higher in the latter phase. On the contrary, the annual movement-related risks revealed a non-significant pattern over the 10-year period. There was neither evidence for spatial clustering of cases relative to the population of herds at risk nor spatial dependency between herds. Nevertheless, the results signal a need to beef up within-herd biosecurity in order to reduce the risk of new herd infections.
    Preventive Veterinary Medicine 11/2013; · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Detection of bulk tank milk (BTM) antibodies using ELISA (BTM-ELISA) may constitute an inexpensive test for surveillance of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) infection in dairy cattle herds provided that the test is accurate and consistent. The objectives of this study were to determine: (a) the correlation between repeated BTM reactions; and (b) the association between the BTM antibody ELISA-level and the within-herd prevalence of antibody-positive cows. Eight BTM samples per herd and approximately four milk samples per lactating cow per herd were collected from each of 108 Danish Holstein herds over a period of one year. All samples were tested using a commercial indirect ELISA for detection of MAP specific antibodies. The individual cow's results were dichotomised and used to estimate the within-herd antibody prevalence at each test-date. These prevalences were then combined with the ELISA reading on the BTM test-date closest to the cow-level test-date. A mixed-effect analysis of covariance with autoregressive type 1 correlation structure was carried out using the log-transformed BTM-ELISA results as outcome. This model was used to assess the correlation between repeated tests with and without correction for within-herd antibody prevalence. The repeated BTM-recordings were highly correlated with a correlation of 0.80 between samples collected 1.5 months apart. The within-herd antibody prevalence significantly influenced this estimate (p<0.0001), which dropped to 0.60 when corrected for the within-herd antibody prevalence. Although the test-results were relatively consistent and correlated with the within-herd prevalence, the magnitude of the test-values makes it difficult to use the BTM-ELISA for surveillance of MAP infections in practice.
    Preventive Veterinary Medicine 10/2013; · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate histopathologic and immunohistochemical aspects of equine deep stromal abscesses (DSA) with a focus on the histopathologic diagnosis, presumptive etiology, and the immunohistochemical expression of three angiogenesis-related factors: vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra). Paraffin-embedded biopsy samples from 51 DSA. The biopsies were collected from full-thickness penetrating keratoplasty or split-thickness lamellar keratoplasty surgeries at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center in the period from 2004 to 2009. The histopathologic and immunohistochemical findings were tested for association between each other. Prevalence calculation and test for association with qualitative data analysis was used for data evaluation. Fungal hyphae were found histologically in 47.1% (n = 24) of the DSA cases. Histopathologically, most fungal DSA showed suppurative keratitis (n = 34; 66.7%) and little to no stromal vascularization infiltrating the abscess (negative association, P = 0.005). All three angiogenesis-related factors were expressed to some degree in DSA tissue. A negative association between VEGF-A and PEDF when compared to the presence of fungal hyphae (P < 0.001, P = 0.023) indicated that cases positive for these two factors will most probably not have fungal hyphae present. Abnormally decreased VEGF-A expression is suggested as the reason for the slow vascularization and delayed resolution of fungal DSA, whereas PEDF and IL-ra did not seem to have any influence on the vascularization process. Clinical and histopathologic characteristics of DSA make it possible to suggest an etiology for an equine DSA with an unknown etiology.
    Veterinary Ophthalmology 10/2013; · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To study the equine deep stromal abscesses (DSA) with focus on the duration of the corneal disease, medical treatment, season of presentation, clinical appearance, and the degree of corneal vascularization. Equine DSA diagnosed, biopsied, and surgically treated at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center (UFVMC) from 2004 to 2009 were identified. The medical record, clinical photographic images, and microbiology results for each case were evaluated. Frequency and prevalence calculation as well as qualitative data analysis was performed for clinical and microbiological data. Fifty-one equine DSA were included in the study. Spring (March, April, May; 33.4%) and winter (December, January, February; 31.4%) were the most common seasons for DSA presentation. The 51 cases were divided into four categories of focal opacity from their clinical appearance: focal yellow (45.2%), focal white (23.5%), diffuse yellow/white (23.5%), and focal pink (7.8%). 5.9% of the DSA (n = 3) were culture positive for fungal growth, whereas 17.6% were positive for bacterial growth (n = 9). No association between short-/long-term systemically administered NSAID treatment and the corneal vascular response to the corneal lesion could be appreciated. Equine DSA most often present in the spring and winter in the subtropical environment of the state of Florida (USA). The clinical appearance may have a connection with the etiology and pathogenesis of the equine DSA. No connection between short- or long-term systemically administered NSAID and the degree of corneal vascularization of the DSA was noted.
    Veterinary Ophthalmology 10/2013; · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The elimination of misclassification bias introduced by multiple observers was evaluated and discussed based on an illustrative example using lameness prevalence in 80 Danish dairy herds. Data from 5073 cows from loose-housed cubicle herds larger than 100 cows were included in the analysis. Four trained observers performed clinical scoring on cow level and undertook a calibration test with 39 video sequences. The calibration test served both the purpose of estimating inter-observer agreement (PABAK=0.69) in accordance with previous results and to estimate the sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) for each observer. In the absence of a gold standard for the clinical observations, a latent class analysis (LCA) evaluating the true within-herd lameness prevalence was used. Sensitivity amongst observers was fairly low (0.24-0.81) inducing a general underestimation of the true prevalence. Comparative analyses were made to assess the effect of grazing on the lameness prevalence in order to demonstrate the consequences of using unadjusted apparent prevalences (AP) compared to the true prevalences (TP). Lameness prevalence was higher in grazing herds using AP estimates (19.0% zero-grazing, 20.2% grazing); while the TP estimates showed the expected higher lameness prevalence in zero-grazing herds (42.3% vs. 35.9%). Hence, this study emphasizes the importance of adjusting for observer Se and Sp to obtain true prevalence and avoid false interpretation.
    Preventive Veterinary Medicine 09/2013; · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Danish farmers can order a real-time PCR mastitis diagnostic test on routinely taken cow-level samples from milk recordings. Validation of its performance in comparison to conventional mastitis diagnostics under field conditions is essential for efficient control of intramammary infections (IMI) with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Therefore, the objective of this study was to estimate the sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) of real-time PCR, bacterial culture (BC) and California mastitis test (CMT) for the diagnosis of the naturally occurring IMI with S. aureus in routinely collected milk samples using latent class analysis (LCA) to avoid the assumption of a perfect reference test. Using systematic random sampling, a total of 609 lactating dairy cows were selected from 6 dairy herds with bulk tank milk PCR cycle threshold (Ct) value ≤39 for S. aureus. At routine milk recordings, automatically obtained cow-level (composite) milk samples were analyzed by PCR and at the same milking, 2436 quarter milk samples were collected aseptically for BC and CMT. Results showed that 140 cows (23%) were positive for S. aureus IMI by BC while 170 cows (28%) were positive by PCR. Estimates of Se and Sp for PCR were higher than test estimates of BC and CMT. SeCMT was higher than SeBC however, SpBC was higher than SpCMT. SePCR was 91%, while SeBC was 53%, and SeCMT was 61%. SpPCR was 99%, while SpBC was 89%, and SpCMT was 65%. In conclusion, PCR has a higher performance than the conventional diagnostic tests (BC and CMT) suggesting its usefulness as a routine test for accurate diagnosis of S. aureus IMI from dairy cows at routine milk recordings. The use of LCA provided estimates of the test characteristics for two currently diagnostic tests (BC, CMT) and a novel technique (real-time PCR) for diagnosing S. aureus IMI under field conditions at routine milk recordings in Denmark.
    Preventive Veterinary Medicine 08/2013; · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is a neurodegenerative condition affecting geriatric dogs and sharing several characteristics with human Alzheimer's disease (AD). CCD manifests as alterations of behavioral patterns and daily routines. Clinical signs are associated with neurodegenerative changes (eg, cortical atrophy and amyloid-beta deposits). OBJECTIVES: To investigate clinical characteristics, survival, and risk factors with CCD. Vitamin E was investigated as a potential marker of CCD. METHODS: Ninety-four dogs >8 years of age were investigated with a validated CCD questionnaire and allocated to CCD, borderline CCD (b-CCD) and non-CCD groups. The dogs were included in 2008-2009 and followed up in an observational study until follow-up in 2012. RESULTS: Four key clinical signs dominated in dogs with CCD: sleeping during the day and restless at night, decreased interaction, disorientation at home, and anxiety. A number of borderline CCD cases developed into CCD over time indicating that a prodromal stage of CCD may exist. CCD did not influence survival negatively. Small breeds did not show better survival than large breeds (P = .055) and there was no difference between sexes (P = .99). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: A few key questions addressing sleep-wake cycle, interaction, and signs of confusion and anxiety can be used as a clinical marker of CCD. Special attention should be paid to anxiety in dogs with CCD because it may be especially stressful to both dog and owner. Dogs with CCD seem to have a good chance of living a full lifespan if supported by the veterinarian and the owner.
    Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 05/2013; · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) causes a chronic infection in cattle. MAP infected cattle with humoral immune (HI) reactions with IgG antibodies are usually those where latency of infection has ceased and their infection is progressing towards reduced milk yield, weight loss and significant bacterial excretion in feces. The proportion of detectable infections among all infected animals that will develop disease is often referred to as 'the tip of the iceberg'. The purpose of this study was to estimate this proportion. Test-records from 18,972 Danish dairy cows with MAP specific IgG antibodies on their final test-record were used to estimate age-specific sensitivities (Se). These cows were the infected ones considered to develop disease in a population with a representative age-distribution and were defined as cases. The specificity (Sp) of the test was estimated based on test-results from 166,905 cows, which had no MAP IgG antibodies in their final four test-records. The Sp, age-specific Se and maximum Se were used to estimate the probability of having HI at a given age resulting in the proportion of infected cows with HI at a given age. For cows 2 years of age, the proportion of detectable cases was 0.33, while it was 0.94 for cows 5 years of age. Thus, there was a significant shift in the tip of the iceberg with aging. This study provided a model for estimating the proportion of latent chronic infections that would progress to disease, and the results can be used to model infection dynamics.
    PLoS ONE 04/2013; 8(4):e63009. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A scientific literature review and consensus of expert opinion used the welfare definitions provided by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) Five Freedoms as the framework for selecting a set of animal-based indicators that were sensitive to the current on-farm welfare issues of young lambs (aged ⩽6 weeks). Ten animal-based indicators assessed by observation - demeanour, response to stimulation, shivering, standing ability, posture, abdominal fill, body condition, lameness, eye condition and salivation were tested as part of the objective of developing valid, reliable and feasible animal-based measures of lamb welfare The indicators were independently tested on 966 young lambs from 17 sheep flocks across Northwest England and Wales during December 2008 to April 2009 by four trained observers. Inter-observer reliability was assessed using Fleiss's kappa (κ), and the pair-wise agreement with an experienced, observer designated as the 'test standard observer' (TSO) was examined using Cohen's κ. Latent class analysis (LCA) estimated the sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) of each observer without assuming a gold standard and predicted the Se and Sp of randomly selected observers who may apply the indicators in the future. Overall, good levels of inter-observer reliability, and high levels of Sp were identified for demeanour (κ = 0.54, Se ⩾ 0.70, Sp ⩾ 0.98), stimulation (κ = 0.57, Se = 0.30 to 0.77, Sp ⩾ 0.98), shivering (κ = 0.55, Se = 0.37 to 0.85, Sp ⩾ 0.99), standing ability (0.54, Se ⩾ 0.80, Sp ⩾ 0.99), posture (κ = 0.45, Se ⩾ 0.56, Sp = 0.99), abdominal fill (κ = 0.44, Se = 0.39 to 0.98, Sp = 0.99), body condition (κ = 0.72, Se ⩾ 0.38 to 0.90, Sp = 0.99), lameness (κ = 0.68, Se > 0.73, Sp = 1.00), and eye condition (κ = 0.72, Se ⩾ 0.86, Sp = 0.99). LCA predicted that randomly selected observers had Se > 0.77 (acceptable), and Sp ⩾ 0.98 (high) for assessments of demeanour, lameness, abdominal fill posture, body condition and eye condition. The diagnostic performance of some indicators was influenced by the composition of the study population, and it would be useful to test the indicators on lambs with a greater level of outcomes associated with poor welfare. The findings presented in this paper could be applied in the selection of valid, reliable and feasible indicators used for the purposes of on-farm assessments of lamb welfare.
    animal 04/2013; · 1.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Strongyle parasites are ubiquitous in grazing horses. Strongylus vulgaris, the most pathogenic of the large strongyles, is known for its extensive migration in the mesenteric arterial system. The lifecycle of S. vulgaris is characterised by a long prepatent period where the migrating larvae are virtually undetectable as there currently is no test available for diagnosing prepatent S. vulgaris infection. Presence of S. vulgaris larvae in the arterial system causes endarteritis and thrombosis with a risk of non-strangulating intestinal infarctions. Emergence of anthelmintic resistance among cyathostomins has led to recommendations of reduced treatment intensity by targeting horses that exceed a predetermined strongyle faecal egg count threshold. One study suggests an apparent increase in prevalence of S. vulgaris on farms where reduced anthelmintic treatment intensity has been implemented. These issues highlight the need for an accurate and reliable assay for diagnosing prepatent S. vulgaris infection. METHODS: Immunoscreening of a larval S. vulgaris cDNA library using hyperimmune serum raised against S. vulgaris excretory/secretory antigens was performed to identify potential diagnostic antigens. Immunoreactive clones were sequenced, one potential antigen was characterised, expressed as a recombinant protein, initially evaluated by western blot (WB) analysis, the diagnostic potential of the IgG subclasses was evaluated by ELISA, and the diagnostic accuracy evaluated using serum from 102 horses with known S. vulgaris infection status. RESULTS: The clone expressing the potential antigen encoded a S. vulgaris SXP/RAL2 homologue. The recombinant protein, rSvSXP, was shown to be a potential diagnostic antigen by WB analysis, and a target of serum IgGa, IgG(T) and total IgG in naturally infected horses, with IgG(T) antibodies being the most reliable indicator of S. vulgaris infection in horses. Evaluation of diagnostic accuracy of the ELISA resulted in a sensitivity of 73.3%, a specificity of 81.0%, a diagnostic odds ratio of 11.69; a positive likelihood ratio (LR) of 3.85 and a negative LR was 0.33. The area under the ROC curve was 0.820. CONCLUSION: IgG(T) antibodies to recombinant SvSXP show potential for use as an antigen for prepatent diagnosis of migrating stages of S. vulgaris with moderate to good diagnostic accuracy.
    Parasites & Vectors 04/2013; 6(1):84. · 3.25 Impact Factor
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
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    ABSTRACT: Social network analysis provides a valuable framework for understanding the dynamics of diseases on networks as well as a means for defining effective control measures. An understanding of the underlying contact pattern for a susceptible population is advisable before embarking on any strategy for disease control. The objective of this study was to characterise the network of Danish cattle movements over a 10-year period from 2000 to 2009 with a view to understanding: (1) cohesiveness of the network, (2) influential holdings and (3) structural vulnerability of the network. Network analyses of data involving all cattle movements in Denmark registered during the period of interest were performed. A total of 50,494 premises participated in 4,204,895 individual movements during the 10-year period. The results pointed to a predominantly scale-free structure of the network; though marked by small-world properties in March-April 2001 as well as in 24 other months during the period October 2006 to December 2009. The network was sparsely connected with markets being the key influential holdings. Its vulnerability to removal of markets suggests that targeting highly connected holdings during epidemics should be the focus of control efforts.
    Preventive Veterinary Medicine 03/2013; · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in milk of bovine origin is suspected of being implicated in Crohn's disease in humans. Milk can be contaminated via direct excretion of MAP in milk or indirectly via fecal contamination of the milk. This study aimed at estimating the level of MAP in farm bulk tank milk and simulating the effect of direct and indirect contamination with MAP. The effect of discarding milk from test-positive cows at different prevalences was assessed. The concentration of MAP in milk was estimated using a simulation model, while taking direct and indirect contamination with MAP into account. Direct MAP contamination of milk was related to infection stages, while indirect contamination was associated with within-herd prevalence and distribution of cows in different stages of infection. Discarding of milk based on diagnostic test results was included as a control option. Median MAP load in farm bulk tank milk at within-herd infection prevalences from 7.5% to 60% were estimated to be 0.54-7.53 CFU/mL milk. Maximum concentration at the prevalence of 60% could be 1186 CFU/mL caused by shedding of high amounts of MAP in feces. At the prevalence of 15%, discarding milk from test positive cows would result in discarding 11% of milk and reduce the MAP level by 80%. Due to poor sensitivity of the diagnostic test, removing test-positive cows would not further reduce the already low concentration of MAP and it would not guarantee the milk as MAP-free. The model was relatively simple yet capable of capturing true infection status and associated contributions from milk and feces. Further knowledge on distribution of fecal excretion from infected cows is required because very few "super-shedders" might play a major role.
    Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 03/2013; 10(3):270-277. · 2.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

953 Citations
199.92 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • National Veterinary Laboratory
      Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, United States
  • 2013–2014
    • Technical University of Denmark
      • Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
    • Zagazig University
      Ez Zaqāzīq, Eastern Province, Egypt
  • 2006–2014
    • University of Copenhagen
      • • Department of Large Animal Sciences
      • • Faculty of Life Sciences
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 2007–2013
    • IT University of Copenhagen
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 2012
    • Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University
      Chittagong Ghat, Chittagong, Bangladesh
  • 2003
    • MSD Animal Health Denmark
      Ballerup, Capital Region, Denmark