Institute of Animal Husbandry

Slovakia

Institute of Animal Husbandry

Slovakia

Time filter

Source Type

News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: phys.org

Alpacas, a species of New World camelids, have very thick wool. This requires them to be shorn regularly, just like sheep. But shearing is a source of stress for the animals. This has now been confirmed for the first time by researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna based on an evaluation of clinical, hormonal and behavioural parameters. The scientists were able to show that even the act of restraining the animals in different positions released higher concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol. Shearing the animals on the floor or on a special tilt table also resulted in changed clinical parameters such as heart rate. These values remained at normal levels only when the animals were sheared in a standing position. But shearing animals in the standing position is only possible if the alpacas do not resist being restrained with a risk of injury to themselves or to their handlers. These animals should be restrained on a mattress on the ground or on a tilt table. The study was published in Veterinary Records with organisational and financial support from the Alpaca Association e.V. of Germany and the Austrian Buiatric Association. Alpacas are members of the camel family and, like llamas, guanacos and vicuñas, belong to the New World camelids. Domesticated they are of great importance in South America, especially in Peru, where they have been kept and bred for their wool for thousands of years. In Europe, on the other hand, alpaca breeding is relatively uncommon. But the number of animals and breeders has been growing for years. Just like sheep, alpacas must be shorn regularly to harvest their wool. The procedure is an unusual one for the animals and thus a source of stress. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna has now investigated for the first time which shearing position produces the least amount of stress for the animals and therefore represents the least stressful method from the point of view of the animal's wellbeing. Unlike sheep, which are usually turned onto their backs, alpaca breeders use several different methods of restraint. The animals are either held by assistants in a standing position, restrained on a mattress on the ground or placed on special shearing tables. Previously, there had been no studies as to which method produced the least stress among the animals. "The stress of the animals can be determined based on clinical parameters, by observing the animals' behaviour or through the laboratory analysis of saliva and faeces," explains senior author Susanne Waiblinger of the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare. Saliva and faeces contain cortisol, which is an important stress marker. Saliva cortisol is considered to reflect a short-term stress response, whereas faecal cortisol shows longer-lasting stress responses. Besides measuring stress-induced hormonal levels, the researchers also looked at clinical parameters, such as heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature, as well as the animals' behaviour. Clinical parameters nearly unchanged when shearing in standing position To describe the impact of shearing on the alpacas, the team divided its study into two parts. Part one studied the level of stress caused by each of the restraining methods, as the shearing itself represents a separate stress factor. In part two, the animals were divided into groups and shorn using one of the methods. Animals that were restrained without shearing exhibited no significant changes in terms of the clinical parameters. Both the respiratory rate and heart rate remained at normal levels. "The body temperature was unchanged during this part of the study. But if the animals were restrained and also shorn, the clinical values changed significantly in the animals that were restrained on the floor or on the table. For all restraining methods, however, body temperature remained unchanged. This makes alpacas different from sheep or from the alpaca's relative, the vicuña," says first author Thomas Wittek of the University Clinic for Ruminants. Stress hormone shows that alpacas are only stressed by the restraint The analysis of the cortisol concentrations in saliva and faeces, on the other hand, showed that the animals were also stressed in the first part of the study despite the almost unchanged clinical parameters. Saliva cortisol levels were clearly higher after just 20 minutes and increased even further within 40 minutes. The cortisol concentrations then remained unchanged, although the higher levels could be demonstrated in faeces even 33 hours later. During restraint and shearing, the cortisol values also increased regardless of the shearing position. When animals were restrained on the ground, however, this led to a more significant increase of hormone levels over time compared to the other two methods. Faecal cortisol levels remained at the same high levels in all three groups. Animal behaviour just as important for choice of restraining method "At first glance, it appears difficult to compare or associate the two experiments," says Wittek. "But we can assume that just the sound of the shearing machine and the duration of the restraint cause stress for the animals. This means that you can practically add the values." Merely positioning the animals is a source of stress, which then increases further through the act of shearing. The standing position was tolerated the best by the alpacas in terms of the clinical parameters. Restraining the animals in the standing position, however, only makes sense and is only possible if the alpacas remain calm. If they resist from the beginning, the risk of injury to themselves or to one of the handlers is too great, says first author Wittek. These animals should therefore be restrained on a table. The handlers usually know the behaviour of their animals and can decide in advance which method to use. More information: T. Wittek et al. Clinical parameters and adrenocortical activity to assess stress responses of alpacas using different methods of restraint either alone or with shearing, Veterinary Record (2017). DOI: 10.1136/vr.104232


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Shearing the animals on the floor or on a special tilt table also resulted in changed clinical parameters such as heart rate. These values remained at normal levels only when the animals were sheared in a standing position. But shearing animals in the standing position is only possible if the alpacas do not resist being restrained with a risk of injury to themselves or to their handlers. These animals should be restrained on a mattress on the ground or on a tilt table. The study was published in Veterinary Record with organisational and financial support from the Alpaca Association e.V. of Germany and the Austrian Buiatric Association. Alpacas are members of the camel family and, like llamas, guanacos and vicuñas, belong to the New World camelids. Domesticated they are of great importance in South America, especially in Peru, where they have been kept and bred for their wool for thousands of years. In Europe, on the other hand, alpaca breeding is relatively uncommon. But the number of animals and breeders has been growing for years. Just like sheep, alpacas must be shorn regularly to harvest their wool. The procedure is an unusual one for the animals and thus a source of stress. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna has now investigated for the first time which shearing position produces the least amount of stress for the animals and therefore represents the least stressful method from the point of view of the animal's wellbeing. Unlike sheep, which are usually turned onto their backs, alpaca breeders use several different methods of restraint. The animals are either held by assistants in a standing position, restrained on a mattress on the ground or placed on special shearing tables. Previously, there had been no studies as to which method produced the least stress among the animals. "The stress of the animals can be determined based on clinical parameters, by observing the animals' behaviour or through the laboratory analysis of saliva and faeces," explains senior author Susanne Waiblinger of the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare. Saliva and faeces contain cortisol, which is an important stress marker. Saliva cortisol is considered to reflect a short-term stress response, whereas faecal cortisol shows longer-lasting stress responses. Besides measuring stress-induced hormonal levels, the researchers also looked at clinical parameters, such as heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature, as well as the animals' behaviour. Clinical parameters nearly unchanged when shearing in standing position To describe the impact of shearing on the alpacas, the team divided its study into two parts. Part one studied the level of stress caused by each of the restraining methods, as the shearing itself represents a separate stress factor. In part two, the animals were divided into groups and shorn using one of the methods. Animals that were restrained without shearing exhibited no significant changes in terms of the clinical parameters. Both the respiratory rate and heart rate remained at normal levels. "The body temperature was unchanged during this part of the study. But if the animals were restrained and also shorn, the clinical values changed significantly in the animals that were restrained on the floor or on the table. For all restraining methods, however, body temperature remained unchanged. This makes alpacas different from sheep or from the alpaca's relative, the vicuña," says first author Thomas Wittek of the University Clinic for Ruminants. Stress hormone shows that alpacas are only stressed by the restraint The analysis of the cortisol concentrations in saliva and faeces, on the other hand, showed that the animals were also stressed in the first part of the study despite the almost unchanged clinical parameters. Saliva cortisol levels were clearly higher after just 20 minutes and increased even further within 40 minutes. The cortisol concentrations then remained unchanged, although the higher levels could be demonstrated in faeces even 33 hours later. During restraint and shearing, the cortisol values also increased regardless of the shearing position. When animals were restrained on the ground, however, this led to a more significant increase of hormone levels over time compared to the other two methods. Faecal cortisol levels remained at the same high levels in all three groups. Animal behaviour just as important for choice of restraining method "At first glance, it appears difficult to compare or associate the two experiments," says Wittek. "But we can assume that just the sound of the shearing machine and the duration of the restraint cause stress for the animals. This means that you can practically add the values." Merely positioning the animals is a source of stress, which then increases further through the act of shearing. The standing position was tolerated the best by the alpacas in terms of the clinical parameters. Restraining the animals in the standing position, however, only makes sense and is only possible if the alpacas remain calm. If they resist from the beginning, the risk of injury to themselves or to one of the handlers is too great, says first author Wittek. These animals should therefore be restrained on a table. The handlers usually know the behaviour of their animals and can decide in advance which method to use. The University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) is one of the leading veterinary, academic and research facilities in Europe. Its main focus is on the research fields of animal health, food safety, animal husbandry and animal welfare as well as biomedical fundamentals. The Vetmeduni Vienna has 1,300 employees and is currently training 2,300 students. The campus in Floridsdorf, Vienna has five university hospitals and numerous research institutions at its disposal. Two research institutes at Wilhelminenberg, Vienna and a Teaching and Research in Lower Austria also belong to the Vetmeduni Vienna. http://www. Wittek, T., Salaberger, T., Palme, R., Becker, S., Hajek, F., Lambacher, B., Waiblinger, S. (2017) Clinical parameters and adrenocortical activity to assess stress responses of alpacas using different methods of restraint either alone or with shearing Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. vet. Thomas Wittek Head of the Clinical Unit of Ruminant Medicine University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) T +43 1 25077- 5200 thomas.wittek@vetmeduni.ac.at Ao.Univ.Prof., Dr.med.vet. Susanne Waiblinger Institute of Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) T: +43 1 25077 4906 susanne.waiblinger@vetmeduni.ac.at


Sopkova D.,University of Veterinary Medicine in Kosice | Andrejcakova Z.,University of Veterinary Medicine in Kosice | Vlckova R.,University of Veterinary Medicine in Kosice | Danisova O.,University of Veterinary Medicine in Kosice | And 4 more authors.
Indian Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2015

The aim of this study was to determine the activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and its isoenzymes in the blood serum and seminal plasma of boars from the breeding and insemination centre with regard to their age. Significant quantitative differences in the presence of isoenzymes between blood serum and seminal plasma were recorded. Isoenzyme LDH-C4 in the seminal plasma of breeding boars of both groups was identified in the position between the third and fourth fraction of LDH, although boars from the breeding centre showed significantly lower concentrations. Refrigeration had a negative influence on the activity of LDH isoenzymes in the blood serum after 7 days and in seminal plasma after 3 days of storage. The work extends the knowledge in an insufficiently examined field of veterinary medicine: the distribution and physiological function of LDH in boars focusing on isoenzyme LDH-C4 in seminal plasma.


In conventional dairy farming, calves are separated from their mothers on the day of their birth. They are then usually kept in single pens for a period of time before being housed in groups. The animals can only develop a good relationship with humans if their caretakers have regular and gentle interactions with them. First author Stephanie Lürzel and her colleagues from the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare at the Vetmeduni Vienna studied 104 Holstein calves at a commercial dairy farm in eastern Germany. Around half of the animals were stroked three minutes a day for a period of 14 days after their birth, whereas the other half was not. Lürzel and master's student Charlotte Münsch stroked the calves on the lower part of the neck. "In earlier studies our team found out that cows especially enjoy being stroked at this spot. The animals' heart rates even fall during stroking," says Lürzel. About 90 days after their birth, stroked calves weighed more than the control group. The gentle contact with humans therefore appears to have a direct influence on the animals' weight gain. "A study from the year 2013 shows that cows that gained weight more quickly before weaning produce more milk. The daily weight gain of the stroked calves in our study was about 3 percent higher than that of the control group. This would translate into around 50 kg more milk per cow per year," Lürzel explains. The researchers examined the quality of the human-animal relationship using the so-called avoidance distance test, which measures the distance at which a calf avoids a person approaching it from the front. Animals with less fear of humans show a lower avoidance distance. In animals that are afraid of people, the avoidance distance is higher. The experiments showed that stroked calves do not avoid people as quickly as animals from the control group. The avoidance distance was lower among the stroked animals. "This test clearly shows that regular stroking has positive effects on the human-animal relationship," Lürzel points out. "In practice, I recommend animal caretakers to maintain regular gentle interactions with their animals. Even if there is not as much time as three minutes a day per calf, regular interactions still have positive effects for the animals." The results were different after calves were disbudded without anaesthesia about 32 days after their birth, as was the usual practice on the study farm. Disbudding is a common procedure at dairy farms: the horn buds are cauterized with a heated iron to destroy them before the horns can grow. After disbudding, the avoidance distances were higher in both groups than before the procedure. Furthermore, animals that had been stroked no longer differed from control calves. "Disbudding, a procedure that without anaesthesia involves enormous pain for the animal, apparently disturbs the good relationship with humans that had been established previously through stroking. Several weeks after disbudding, however, the effect of stroking on the human-animal relationship was visible again," Lürzel explains. On the basis of this and previous study results, ethologist Lürzel recommends gentle interactions with calves: "Farm animals that experience regular interactions with people, either with a veterinarian during a routine check-up or with the farmer during the milking process, benefit from a good relationship with humans." Lürzel dismisses as untenable the opinion of some farmers that cattle should have fear of people in order to increase ease of handling. In the end, regular gentle interactions with the animals also have a positive effect on a farm's commercial success. More information: Stephanie Lürzel et al. The influence of gentle interactions on avoidance distance towards humans, weight gain and physiological parameters in group-housed dairy calves, Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.09.004


News Article | September 7, 2016
Site: phys.org

People trust their own dog and exclude the possibility of a bite incident. Credit: Christian Damböck Dog bites suffered by young children are often inflicted by the family dog. Such incidents frequently occur despite the presence of an adult. Even benign behaviours on the part of children, such as hugging the dog, can trigger an aggressive response from the animal. A survey of dog owners conducted by researchers from the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare at Vetmeduni Vienna shows that people underestimate risky situations involving the family dog. A better understanding of the dog's needs and simple measures such as child-free resting and feeding places for the dogs can significantly reduce the risk of dog bites. The analysis of the survey was published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. Children love petting dogs, playing with them and crawling after them. They especially love to hug or cuddle the family dog. Unwanted close contact sometimes causes dogs to feel harassed and they respond by snapping at the child. Many cases of dog bites involving small children happen in everyday life as the result of an apparently friendly interaction on the part of the child. "Dog owners should recognize situations in which their dog may feel harassed and they should intervene in time. Nevertheless, many bite incidents occur right in front of the adults' eyes," explains study director Christine Arhant from the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Animal Protection at Vetmeduni Vienna. Her team is investigating why bite incidents involving the family dog are so common even under adult supervision. The group looked at the results of an online survey in order to provide the first analysis of parental attitudes regarding the supervision of child-dog interactions. "Most of the respondents are aware of the general risk of dog bites," says Arhant. The majority of the participants, however, underestimated the risk involving smaller dogs. Asked to look at pictures of child-dog interactions, the respondents rated interactions with unfamiliar dogs as inherently riskier than with the family dog. Situations involving unfamiliar dogs, even with relatively lower risk, were rated as potentially dangerous. When it comes to the family dog, however, nearly all situations were rated as harmless with no need for intervention. Only the situation of a child cuddling with the dog in the dog's bed was rated as a potential risk. Around 50 percent of respondents allow the child to play or cuddle with the dog as much as they want. The same number leaves the child and dog unsupervised. "The healthy distrust of unfamiliar dogs does not appear to exist toward the family dog," Arhant concludes. "People trust their own dog and exclude the possibility of a bite incident." This not only reduces attentiveness, but dog owners also assume that the family dog is more tolerant and more patient than other dogs. "But people need to respect their dog's need for rest and a place of its own," Arhant says. Attention should be paid to the dog's need for space The online survey shows that dog owners provide for their dog's basic needs, such as walks or separate resting and feeding places. But most respondents appear not to know that a dog needs undisturbed resting periods away from small children. Only a few participants said they made sure that the resting and feeding place for the family dog was out of the children's reach. "Spatial separation means adults do not always have to be attentive to the child-dog interaction. The child is safe and the dog has the chance to relax undisturbed," the study director explains. Awareness alone is not enough The lack of adequate resting areas and resting periods for the dog may create situations in everyday life that could lead to a bite incident. Dog owners must therefore be instructed in proper child-dog supervision. Important factors include attentive observation, guidance of the child's interactions with the dog and separating the dog from the child if necessary. Small children are not yet capable of understanding that a dog does not always want to be touched and followed everywhere it goes. If the dog feels harassed by the child or restricted in its freedom, it will communicate this through body language. Clear signs include body tension, growling, frequent licking of the snout and yawning. Small children have difficulties interpreting this behaviour. Even a growling dog or one baring its teeth is often described by children as smiling. Explore further: Simple steps can shield children from dog bites More information: Christine Arhant et al, Attitudes of caregivers to supervision of child–family dog interactions in children up to 6 years—An exploratory study, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2016.06.007


Zhang D.,Heilongjiang Academy of Agriculture Science | Zhang D.,Institute of Animal Husbandry | Liu D.,Heilongjiang Academy of Agriculture Science | Liu D.,Institute of Animal Husbandry | And 8 more authors.
Indian Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2012

Ambient temperature is a critical factor that affects biological organisms in many ways. In this study, the authors investigated gene expression changes in Min pig muscle in response to cold stress. Female Min pigs were randomly divided into control and cold-stressed groups. Control group was housed at 10±2°C; the cold-stressed group was housed at -20±3°C for 13 days. The results showed that 34 genes were differentially expressed, of which 7 genes were significantly upregulated and 27 genes were significantly downregulated. Subsequent bioinformatics analyses revealed that the differentially expressed genes were mainly related to immune response, response to virus, and RNA binding. The bioinformatics analysis of the differentially expressed genes should be beneficial to further investigations on the underlying mechanisms involved in cold stress-induced damage in the muscle.

Loading Institute of Animal Husbandry collaborators
Loading Institute of Animal Husbandry collaborators