Animal and Veterinary Research Center

Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal

Animal and Veterinary Research Center

Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal
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Cerqueira J.O.L.,Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo | Cerqueira J.O.L.,Animal and Veterinary Research Center | Araujo J.P.P.,Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo | Blanco-Penedo I.,IRTA - Institute of Agricultural-Alimentary Research and Technology | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research | Year: 2017

We studied the relationship between behavior during milking with milking parlor management, measuring the occurrence of steps and kicks, and cow-related factors. We also investigated the link between stepping and kicking during milking and udder health. A total of 2,903 direct observations of milking behavior were collected in 44 dairy herds in the north of Portugal. The results showed great variability in the occurrence of stepping and kicking among herds during milking. Mixed linear and logistic regression models for factors associated with stepping and kicking were developed. Cows in tandem milking parlors took fewer steps (P < 0.003) than in herringbone ones, although in the tandem milking system, more kicking occurred than in parallel and herringbone systems. Milking room temperatures of more than 27°C led to a higher frequency of kicks among cows (P < 0.010). The practice of overmilking also produced a significantly greater frequency of cow stepping (P < 0.001). Primiparous cows stepped a third less frequently than did greater parity cows but showed a greater tendency to kick compared with the multiparous ones. Cows with somatic cell counts for more than 200,000 cells/mL at the time of the visit also showed a trend toward higher kicking frequency. The results suggest that animal welfare measures, like kicking and stepping, are suitable for epidemiologic studies. Significant interactions were observed when animals were affected by challenging health and welfare situations. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Tidy A.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Fangueiro S.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Dubey J.P.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Cardoso L.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | And 3 more authors.
Veterinary Parasitology | Year: 2017

Toxoplasmosis, caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, is one of the most widespread zoonoses in the world. It can affect most warm-blooded animals but only felids are its definitive hosts. We determined seroprevalence and associated risk factors in birds and mammals kept in two zoological parks in northern Portugal. Sera from 77 birds and 42 mammals were assayed for the presence of T. gondii antibodies by the modified agglutination test (MAT, cut-off titre 20); 34.5% (41/119) were seropositive. All seropositive animals were apparently healthy except one seropostive mandarin (Aix galericulata) which had chorioretinitis. This is the first report on T. gondii seroprevalence in wild animals in captivity in Portugal. The present findings indicate a widespread exposure of zoo animals in Portugal to T. gondii. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Monteiro-Cardoso V.F.,Royal University | Monteiro-Cardoso V.F.,Animal and Veterinary Research Center | Silva A.M.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Oliveira M.M.,Royal University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes | Year: 2014

Cancer cells can adapt their metabolic activity under nutritional hostile conditions in order to ensure both bioenergetics and biosynthetic requirements to survive. In this study, the effect of glucose deprivation on Caco-2 cells bioenergetics activity and putative relationship with membrane lipid changes were investigated. Glucose deprivation induces a metabolic remodeling characterized at mitochondrial level by an increase of oxygen consumption, arising from an improvement of complex II and complex IV activities and an inhibition of complex I activity. This effect is accompanied by changes in cellular membrane phospholipid profile. Caco-2 cells grown under glucose deprivation show higher phosphatidylethanolamine content and decreased phosphatidic acid content. Considering fatty acid profile of all cell phospholipids, glucose deprivation induces a decrease of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) simultaneously with an increase of n-6 PUFA, with consequent drop of n-3/n-6 ratio. Additionally, glucose deprivation affects significantly the fatty acid profile of all individual phospholipid classes, reflected by an increase of peroxidability index in zwitterionic phospholipids and a decrease in all anionic phospholipids, including mitochondrial cardiolipin. These data indicate that Caco-2 cells metabolic remodeling induced by glucose deprivation actively involves membrane lipid changes associated with a specific bioenergetics profile which ensure cell survival. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

PubMed | University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro, Animal and Veterinary Research Center, Laboratory of Parasitology, Municipality of Vinhais and University of Bari
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Parasites & vectors | Year: 2016

Thelazia callipaeda is a zoonotic nematode that affects the eyes of domestic and wild animals, including dogs, cats and red foxes. This parasitic eye worm is transmitted by Phortica variegata, which is a zoophilic fruit fly spread in Europe. Two wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) found dead in north-eastern Portugal were submitted to necropsy.Both animals presented gross lesions compatible with haemorrhagic viral disease. Eye examination revealed the presence of six worms (three in each animal, on both eyes). Out of the six nematodes, five females and one male were morphologically and molecularly identified as T. callipaeda.This is the first report of T. callipaeda in wild rabbits from Portugal, which reveals a new host for this parasite in southern Europe and emphasizes the importance of including thelaziosis in the differential diagnosis of ocular alterations in both animals and humans from areas where the eye worm is endemic.

Lopes A.P.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Lopes A.P.,Animal and Veterinary Research Center | Vila-Vicosa M.J.,University of Évora | Coutinho T.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | And 4 more authors.
Veterinary Parasitology | Year: 2015

Trichinellosis is one of the most important foodborne parasitic zoonoses, caused by nematodes of the genus Trichinella. Pigs and other domestic and wild animals, including red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), are sources of Trichinella infection for human beings. Trichinella britovi is the major agent of infection in sylvatic animals and the most important species circulating in the European wildlife. The present study aimed at assessing Trichinella spp. infection in red foxes from the North of Portugal. Forty-seven carcasses of wild red foxes shot during the official hunting season or killed in road accidents were obtained between November 2008 and March 2010. In order to identify the presence of Trichinella spp. larvae in red foxes, an individual artificial digestion was performed using approximately 30. g of muscle samples. Larvae of Trichinella spp. were detected in one (2.1%) out of the 47 assessed foxes. After a multiplex polymerase chain reaction analysis, T. britovi was molecularly identified as the infecting species. The recognition of T. britovi in a red fox confirms that a sylvatic cycle is present in the North of Portugal and that the local prevalence of Trichinella infection in wildlife must not be ignored due to its underlying zoonotic risks. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Cardoso L.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Cardoso L.,University of Porto | Cortes H.C.E.,University of Évora | Eyal O.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | And 7 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2014

Background: Hepatozoon canis is a protozoan tick-borne pathogen of dogs and wild canids. Hepatozoon spp. have been reported to infect foxes in different continents and recent studies have mostly used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection and characterization of the infecting species. Surveying red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) may contribute to better understanding the epidemiology of canine vector-borne diseases, including hepatozoonosis caused by H. canis in domestic dogs. The present study investigated the prevalence of Hepatozoon spp. by means of histopathology and molecular analysis of different tissues in red foxes from different parts of Portugal. Methods. Blood and tissues including bone marrow, heart, hind leg muscle, jejunum, kidney, liver, lung, popliteal or axillary lymph nodes, spleen and/or tongue were collected from 91 red foxes from eight districts in northern, central and southern Portugal. Tissues were formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, cut and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified a ∼650 bp fragment of the 18S rRNA gene of Hepatozoon spp. and the DNA products were sequenced. Results: Hepatozoon canis was detected in 68 out of 90 foxes (75.6%) from all the sampled areas by PCR and sequencing. Histopathology revealed H. canis meronts similar in shape to those found in dogs in the bone marrow of 11 (23.4%) and in the spleen of two (4.3%) out of 47 foxes (p = 0.007). All the 11 foxes found positive by histopathology were also positive by PCR of bone marrow and/or blood. Positivity by PCR (83.0%) was significantly higher (p < 0.001) than by histopathological examination (23.4%) in paired bone marrow samples from the same 47 foxes. Sequences of the 18S rRNA gene of H. canis were 98-99% identical to those in GenBank. Conclusions: Hepatozoon canis was found to be highly prevalent in red fox populations from northern, central and southern Portugal. Detection of the parasite by histopathology was significantly less sensitive than by PCR. Red foxes are a presumptive reservoir of H. canis infection for domestic dogs. © 2014 Cardoso et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Cardoso L.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Gilad M.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Cortes H.C.E.,University of Évora | Nachum-Biala Y.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | And 6 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2015

Background: The bacteria Anaplasma platys and Ehrlichia canis and the protozoan Leishmania infantum are vector-borne agents that cause canine vector-borne diseases, some of which are zoonotic. The present survey investigated the prevalence of Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Leishmania in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Portugal by molecular analysis, in order to evaluate the epidemiological role of these canids as reservoirs of infection. Methods: Blood and/or bone marrow samples were collected from 78 red foxes obtained in eight districts of northern, central and southern Portugal. Real-time polymerase chain reactions (PCR) amplified a 123 bp fragment of the 16S rRNA gene of Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp. and a 265 bp fragment of the L. infantum internal transcribed spacer one (ITS1) region of the rRNA operon evaluated by PCR-high resolution melt analysis (PCR-HRM), with sequencing of the DNA products. A phylogenetic analysis was carried out to compare these to other sequences from Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp. deposited in GenBank®. Results: A. platys was detected in 10 (14.5%) and E. canis in two (2.9%) out of 69 foxes; and L. infantum was detected in one (1.3%) of the 78 foxes. The prevalence of A. platys was significantly different from the prevalence of E. canis (p=0.016) and from that of L. infantum (p=0.002). No co-infections were found in any one of the 78 foxes. No statistically significant differences were found between the type of sample (blood and bone marrow), geographic regions (north/centre and south), age (<2 years and ≥2 years) and gender for any one of the agents. Conclusions: This is the first known report of A. platys in red foxes worldwide, as well as the first molecular evidence of E. canis in foxes from Portugal. The moderate prevalence of A. platys suggests that red foxes may play a role in the epidemiology of infection with this bacterium and serve as a reservoir for domestic dogs. © 2015 Cardoso et al.; licensee BioMed Central.

Vilhena H.,Escola Universitaria Vasco da Gama | Vilhena H.,Animal and Veterinary Research Center | Vilhena H.,Hospital Veterinario Do Baixo Vouga | Granada S.,Escola Universitaria Vasco da Gama | And 6 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2014

Background: Canine leishmaniosis (CanL) due to Leishmania infantum is a global zoonosis endemic in more than 70 countries in Europe, North Africa, Asia and America; however, data on this infection is scarce from southern Africa. The aim of this study was to survey dogs in Luanda, Angola, for Leishmania infection. Findings. One hundred-and-three dogs presented to a veterinary medical centre in Luanda were serologically and molecularly assessed for Leishmania with the direct agglutination test (DAT) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Two dogs were seropositive, with DAT titres of 800 and ≥6400; the latter was also found to be PCR-positive and confirmed to be infected with L. infantum by DNA sequence analysis. No other dog was found to be PCR-positive. The first dog had been imported from Portugal, but the latter had never left Angola (neither had its parents), strongly suggesting an autochthonous infection. Conclusions: Although other cases of CanL have previously been described in the country, this is the first reported study of canine Leishmania infection at the population level, as well as the first report on the molecular characterization of L. infantum in dogs from Angola. © 2014 Vilhena et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

PubMed | Clinica Casa dos Animais, University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro, Animal and Veterinary Research Center, Escola Universitaria Vasco da Gama and Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Parasites & vectors | Year: 2016

No molecular data have been available on tick-borne pathogens that infect dogs from Angola. The occurrence of agents from the genera Anaplasma, Babesia, Ehrlichia and Hepatozoon was assessed in 103 domestic dogs from Luanda, by means of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequence analysis.Forty-six dogs (44.7%) were positive for at least one pathogen. Twenty-one animals (20.4%) were found infected with Anaplasma platys, 18 (17.5%) with Hepatozoon canis, six (5.8%) with Ehrlichia canis, six (5.8%) with Babesia vogeli, one (1.0%) with Babesia gibsoni and one (1.0%) with an unnamed Babesia sp. The molecular frequency of single infections taken together was 37.9% and that of co-infections with several combinations of two pathogens accounted for 6.8% of the animals.This is the first report of A. platys, B. vogeli, B. gibsoni, E. canis and H. canis infections diagnosed by PCR in domestic dogs from Angola. The present study provides evidence that dogs in Luanda are widely exposed to, and at risk of becoming infected with, tick-borne pathogens. Further investigation is needed, including a larger number of animals, canine populations from other cities and provinces of the country, as well as potential vector ticks, aiming at better characterizing and controlling canine vector-borne diseases in Angola.

Lopes A.P.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Lopes A.P.,Animal and Veterinary Research Center | Sousa S.,University of Porto | Dubey J.,Beltsville Agricultural Research Center | And 8 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2013

Background: Leishmania infantum and Toxoplasma gondii are protozoa with zoonotic and economic importance. Prevalences of antibodies to these agents were assessed in 173 horses from the north of Portugal. Findings. Antibodies to L. infantum were detected by the direct agglutination test (DAT); seven (4.0%) horses were seropositive with DAT titres of 200 (n = 5), 800 (n = 1) and ≥ 1600 (n = 1). Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT); 23 (13.3%) horses were seropositive with MAT titres of 20 (n = 13), 40 (n = 5), 80 (n = 3) and ≥ 160 (n = 2). No statistical differences were found among equine categories of gender (female, male and gelding), age (1.5-6, 7-12 and 13-30 years), type of housing (indoors and mixed/outdoors), ability (recreation, farming and sports) and clinical status (apparently healthy and sick) for both agents. Conclusions: Horses are exposed to and may be infected with L. infantum and T. gondii in the north of Portugal. © 2013 Lopes et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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