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Animals, Volume 7, Issue 6 (June 2017)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Salmonid Jumping and Playing: Potential Cultural and Welfare Implications
Animals 2017, 7(6), 42; doi:10.3390/ani7060042
Received: 6 March 2017 / Revised: 22 May 2017 / Accepted: 25 May 2017 / Published: 30 May 2017
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Abstract
Salmonids of several species and other fishes can jump into the air from the water. This behavior has been used in net pen culture applications to control parasitic sea lice. The reasons that salmonids jump remain a topic for speculation. Research on these
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Salmonids of several species and other fishes can jump into the air from the water. This behavior has been used in net pen culture applications to control parasitic sea lice. The reasons that salmonids jump remain a topic for speculation. Research on these behaviors has focused on Atlantic salmon in net pen culture in Northwest Europe. Jumping in salmonids is a heterogeneous behavioral category with diverse functional outcomes. Additional research is needed from broad perspectives spanning indigenous and institutional science, cultural wisdom, and ethological direct observation. In theory and in practice, it is interesting that some salmonid jumping behavior may be a form of play. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Salmonids, Culture and Welfare)
Open AccessArticle A National Census of Birth Weight in Purebred Dogs in Italy
Animals 2017, 7(6), 43; doi:10.3390/ani7060043
Received: 23 March 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 27 May 2017 / Published: 30 May 2017
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Abstract
Despite increasing professionalism in dog breeding, the physiological range of birth weight in this species remains unclear. Low birth weight can predispose to neonatal mortality and growth deficiencies in humans. To date, the influence of the morphotype on birth weight has never been
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Despite increasing professionalism in dog breeding, the physiological range of birth weight in this species remains unclear. Low birth weight can predispose to neonatal mortality and growth deficiencies in humans. To date, the influence of the morphotype on birth weight has never been studied in dogs. For this purpose, an Italian census of birth weight was collected from 3293 purebred pups based on maternal morphotype, size, body weight and breed, as well as on litter size and sex of pups. Multivariate analysis outcomes showed that birth weight (p < 0.001) and litter size (p < 0.05) increased with maternal size and body weight. Birth weight was also influenced by the maternal head and body shape, with brachycephalic and brachymorph dogs showing the heaviest and the lightest pups, respectively (p < 0.001). Birth weight decreased with litter size (p < 0.001), and male pups were heavier than females (p < 0.001). These results suggest that canine morphotype, not only maternal size and body weight, can affect birth weight and litter size with possible practical implications in neonatal assistance. Full article
Open AccessArticle Long Term Physiologic and Behavioural Effects of Housing Density and Environmental Resource Provision for Adult Male and Female Sprague Dawley Rats
Animals 2017, 7(6), 44; doi:10.3390/ani7060044
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 21 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
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Abstract
There is considerable interest in refining laboratory rodent environments to promote animal well-being, as well as research reproducibility. Few studies have evaluated the long term impact of enhancing rodent environments with resources and additional cagemates. To that end, male and female Sprague Dawley
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There is considerable interest in refining laboratory rodent environments to promote animal well-being, as well as research reproducibility. Few studies have evaluated the long term impact of enhancing rodent environments with resources and additional cagemates. To that end, male and female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were housed singly (n = 8/sex), in pairs (n = 16/sex), or in groups of four (n = 16/sex) for five months. Single and paired rats were housed in standard cages with a nylon chew toy, while group-housed rats were kept in double-wide cages with two PVC shelters and a nylon chew toy and were provided with food enrichment three times weekly. Animal behaviour, tests of anxiety (open field, elevated plus maze, and thermal nociception), and aspects of animal physiology (fecal corticoid levels, body weight, weekly food consumption, organ weights, and cerebral stress signaling peptide and receptor mRNA levels) were measured. Significant differences were noted, primarily in behavioural data, with sustained positive social interactions and engagement with environmental resources noted throughout the study. These results suggest that modest enhancements in the environment of both male and female SD rats may be beneficial to their well-being, while introducing minimal variation in other aspects of behavioural or physiologic responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welfare Assessment of Laboratory Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring the Role of Farm Animals in Providing Care at Care Farms
Animals 2017, 7(6), 45; doi:10.3390/ani7060045
Received: 15 February 2017 / Revised: 24 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 2 June 2017
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Abstract
We explore the role of farm animals in providing care to different types of participants at care farms (e.g., youngsters with behavioural problems, people with severe mental problems and people with dementia). Care farms provide alternative and promising settings where people can interact
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We explore the role of farm animals in providing care to different types of participants at care farms (e.g., youngsters with behavioural problems, people with severe mental problems and people with dementia). Care farms provide alternative and promising settings where people can interact with animals compared to a therapeutic healthcare setting. We performed a literature review, conducted focus group meetings and carried out secondary data-analysis of qualitative studies involving care farmers and different types of participants. We found that farm animals are important to many participants and have a large number of potential benefits. They can (i) provide meaningful day occupation; (ii) generate valued relationships; (iii) help people master tasks; (iv) provide opportunities for reciprocity; (v) can distract people from them problems; (vi) provide relaxation; (vii) facilitate customized care; (viii) facilitate relationships with other people; (ix) stimulate healthy behavior; (x) contribute to a welcoming environment; (xi) make it possible to experience basic elements of life; and (xii) provide opportunities for reflection and feedback. This shows the multi-facetted importance of interacting with animals on care farms. In this study the types of activities with animals and their value to different types of participants varied. Farm animals are an important element of the care farm environment that can address the care needs of different types of participants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Assisted Therapy)
Open AccessArticle Trap-Neuter-Return Activities in Urban Stray Cat Colonies in Australia
Animals 2017, 7(6), 46; doi:10.3390/ani7060046
Received: 14 April 2017 / Revised: 21 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 May 2017 / Published: 2 June 2017
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Abstract
Trap, neuter and return (TNR) describes a non-lethal approach to the control of urban stray cat populations. Currently, in Australia, lethal control is common, with over 85% of cats entering some municipal pounds euthanized. No research has been published describing TNR activities in
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Trap, neuter and return (TNR) describes a non-lethal approach to the control of urban stray cat populations. Currently, in Australia, lethal control is common, with over 85% of cats entering some municipal pounds euthanized. No research has been published describing TNR activities in Australia. Adults involved with TNR in Australia were invited to participate. Data from 53 respondents were collected via an anonymous online questionnaire. Most respondents were females 36 to 65 years of age, and slightly more participated in TNR as individuals than as part of an organization. Respondents generally self-funded at least some of their TNR activities. The median number of colonies per respondent was 1.5 (range 1 to over 100). Median colony size declined from 11.5 to 6.5 cats under TNR over a median of 2.2 years, and the median percent reduction was 31%; this was achieved by rehoming cats and kittens and reducing reproduction. A median of 69% of cats in each colony were desexed at the time of reporting. Most respondents fed cats once or twice daily, and at least 28% of respondents microchipped cats. Prophylactic healthcare was provided to adult cats and kittens, commonly for intestinal parasites (at least 49%), and fleas (at least 46%); vaccinations were less common. Time-consuming activities for respondents were feeding (median 4 h/week) and locating resources (median 1.1 h/week). These findings indicate that TNR, when involving high desexing rates within colonies, adoption of kittens and friendly adults, and ongoing oversight by volunteer caretakers, can reduce cat numbers over time, improve health and welfare of cats and kittens, and is largely funded by private individuals and organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Open AccessCommunication ExNOTic: Should We Be Keeping Exotic Pets?
Animals 2017, 7(6), 47; doi:10.3390/ani7060047
Received: 7 February 2017 / Revised: 2 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 19 June 2017
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Abstract
There has been a recent trend towards keeping non-traditional companion animals, also known as exotic pets. These pets include parrots, reptiles, amphibians and rabbits, as well as small species of rodent such as degus and guinea pigs. Many of these exotic pet species
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There has been a recent trend towards keeping non-traditional companion animals, also known as exotic pets. These pets include parrots, reptiles, amphibians and rabbits, as well as small species of rodent such as degus and guinea pigs. Many of these exotic pet species are not domesticated, and often have special requirements in captivity, which many owners do not have the facilities or knowledge to provide. Keeping animals in settings to which they are poorly adapted is a threat to their welfare. Additionally, owner satisfaction with the animal may be poor due to a misalignment of expectations, which further impacts on welfare, as it may lead to repeated rehoming or neglect. We investigate a range of commonly kept exotic species in terms of their suitability as companion animals from the point of view of animal welfare and owner satisfaction, and make recommendations on the suitability of various species as pets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)

Review

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Open AccessReview Equine Welfare during Exercise: An Evaluation of Breathing, Breathlessness and Bridles
Animals 2017, 7(6), 41; doi:10.3390/ani7060041
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 22 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 May 2017 / Published: 26 May 2017
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Abstract
Horses engaged in strenuous exercise display physiological responses that approach the upper functional limits of key organ systems, in particular their cardiorespiratory systems. Maximum athletic performance is therefore vulnerable to factors that diminish these functional capacities, and such impairment might also lead to
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Horses engaged in strenuous exercise display physiological responses that approach the upper functional limits of key organ systems, in particular their cardiorespiratory systems. Maximum athletic performance is therefore vulnerable to factors that diminish these functional capacities, and such impairment might also lead to horses experiencing unpleasant respiratory sensations, i.e., breathlessness. The aim of this review is to use existing literature on equine cardiorespiratory physiology and athletic performance to evaluate the potential for various types of breathlessness to occur in exercising horses. In addition, we investigate the influence of management factors such as rein and bit use and of respiratory pathology on the likelihood and intensity of equine breathlessness occurring during exercise. In ridden horses, rein use that reduces the jowl angle, sometimes markedly, and conditions that partially obstruct the nasopharynx and/or larynx, impair airflow in the upper respiratory tract and lead to increased flow resistance. The associated upper airway pressure changes, transmitted to the lower airways, may have pathophysiological sequelae in the alveolae, which, in their turn, may increase airflow resistance in the lower airways and impede respiratory gas exchange. Other sequelae include decreases in respiratory minute volume and worsening of the hypoxaemia, hypercapnia and acidaemia commonly observed in healthy horses during strenuous exercise. These and other factors are implicated in the potential for ridden horses to experience three forms of breathlessness—”unpleasant respiratory effort”, “air hunger” and “chest tightness”—which arise when there is a mismatch between a heightened ventilatory drive and the adequacy of the respiratory response. It is not known to what extent, if at all, such mismatches would occur in strenuously exercising horses unhampered by low jowl angles or by pathophysiological changes at any level of the respiratory tract. However, different combinations of the three types of breathlessness seem much more likely to occur when pathophysiological conditions significantly reduce maximal athletic performance. Finally, most horses exhibit clear behavioural evidence of aversion to a bit in their mouths, varying from the bit being a mild irritant to very painful. This in itself is a significant animal welfare issue that should be addressed. A further major point is the potential for bits to disrupt the maintenance of negative pressure in the oropharynx, which apparently acts to prevent the soft palate from rising and obstructing the nasopharynx. The untoward respiratory outcomes and poor athletic performance due to this and other obstructions are well established, and suggest the potential for affected animals to experience significant intensities of breathlessness. Bitless bridle use may reduce or eliminate such effects. However, direct comparisons of the cardiorespiratory dynamics and the extent of any respiratory pathophysiology in horses wearing bitted and bitless bridles have not been conducted. Such studies would be helpful in confirming, or otherwise, the claimed potential benefits of bitless bridle use. Full article
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