The study analysed the prevalence of 227 illnesses in 29 breeds as well as mixed-breed housecats. Credit: Eeva Karmitsa A research group led by Professor Hannes Lohi at the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Research Centre has conducted a unique study on the health of Finnish cats. The most typical health issues in cats have to do with the mouth, skin and kidneys. In addition, the research group identified nearly 60 illnesses specific to particular breeds. These results can be used to improve cat welfare and develop breeding programmes, and they provide a solid foundation for future genetic research, particularly on breed-specific diseases. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, on 29 August 2016. The cat is the most popular domestic animal in Finland. Most Finnish cats are mixed-breed housecats. Just over 4,000 purebred cats are registered every year. Nevertheless, there is little literature on feline illnesses, and no systematic population-level, country-specific health surveys had been conducted until now. A comprehensive health survey was developed for this study, covering 227 diseases as well as information on the cats' living environment, diet and behaviour. The goal was to gain information on how prevalent and breed-specific certain diseases are and to generate a foundation for genetic research and the establishment of a gene bank. The comprehensive survey charted the prevalence of more than 220 illnesses among a population of more than 8,000 cats. "There is much less information about feline illnesses than, for example, canine ones. We used social media to gather our data, and the study benefitted greatly from the active participation of cat enthusiasts. Most of the data was collected in just over six months. Our research material is unique in its structure and scope, and it highlights important breed-specific genetic illnesses which are ripe for further study," explains researcher Katariina Vapalahti, the first author of the study. The research material is extensive and covers more than 8,000 cats, just over 1,500 of them housecats. The study analysed the prevalence of 227 illnesses in 29 breeds as well as mixed-breed housecats. The study determined the most common diseases and disease classifications for specific breeds and breed combinations. "All of the results by breed, including housecats, can be downloaded through our publication so that people can promote the welfare and health of their cats and researchers can decide on further lines of study. There are hundreds of images and tables in our publications. Our data is very comprehensive," Vapalahti states. New information and basis for future study The study provides a solid foundation for genetic research. "We discovered nearly 60 breed-specific, or hereditary, diseases, and so far we have only identified the genetic mutation associated with six of them. Our study will help researchers develop a strategy for genetic research and prioritising sample collection. For example, our material revealed the prevalence of asthma among Korats and a renal disease in Ragdolls. These results can also help model corresponding human illnesses. Active cooperation with cat enthusiasts must continue in the future so that we can compile all relevant data. The cat genome has been mapped, just like the dog genome, and there are research tools out there," explains Professor Lohi. The study also provides preliminary information on cat behaviour and differences between breeds. For example, British Shorthairs are calmer than many other breeds, while Turkish Vans and Bengals are more active and aggressive. The material has already been used to make more detailed behavioural analyses, and a separate publication is being prepared. "The study provides useful information for preventing disease and developing breeding programmes. The results reflect the findings of previous research in part, but they also provide a great deal of new information on the health of purebred cats and housecats alike," Lohi concludes. Explore further: Exotic cats lend paws for better feline medicine More information: Katariina Vapalahti et al. Health and Behavioral Survey of over 8000 Finnish Cats, Frontiers in Veterinary Science (2016). DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2016.00070
The team, part of the School of Veterinary Science, treated an eight-foot-long Proserpine Carpet Python for spinal pain earlier this month. Associate Professor Dr Bob Doneley said the snake was longer than the X-ray table, and required special treatment for assessment. "Snakes have between 300 and 400 vertebrae, each with a pair of ribs attached," he said. And though non-venomous, the Proserpine snake could still wind tightly around a human and her bite could still pack a punch. "It was a matter of anaesthetising her and then using a plastic tube to keep her back straight while we took the X-rays," Dr Doneley said. "One vertebrae in her spine was starting to dissolve and we haven't ruled out an infection." The team put the snake on painkillers and antibiotics, and will check her progress in six months. "Nothing happens in reptiles in a hurry," Dr Doneley said. Gary Fitzgerald, the clinic's head nurse, is the owner of the snake. A keen herpetologist, Mr Fitzgerald has kept reptiles since he was a small boy and, with his training as a veterinary technician, he is alert to any signs of problems. "He noticed this snake was becoming a bit more aggressive than usual, and also that when it was moving, it was keeping part of its back very straight," Dr Doneley said. "It would take an experienced reptile vet and keeper to notice this problem. So we examined the snake and pressed along its back and it reacted as if in pain." There's an art to anaesthetising snakes, as the blood vessels cannot be seen through the skin and if you hit a muscle instead of a vein, the anaesthetic may not work. "You've got to know where the veins are, then they take a minute or two to go to sleep and we put them on an anaesthetic machine using a ventilator." The clinic sees about 1000 wildlife cases a year, offering a variety of cases for UQ veterinary students to learn about treating and caring for wildlife. "I always get a buzz when someone tells me they have released something," Dr Doneley said. "This job is rewarding on so many levels. Teaching university students to look after these animals is the best part of this job. "What they learn here, they won't learn in a private practice where the focus is more on domestic animals. This is a huge opportunity to learn about disease, medicine, surgery and general care of birds, reptiles, small animals and wildlife cases. "The skills they learn now will help students to help them and similar species in future, which is particularly important if they become endangered." The Veterinary School receives no government funding for wildlife care so it relies on community support through the Wildlife Emergency Care Fund. "We are always grateful for donations to care for our native animals," Dr Doneley said.
Santos I.C.L.,State University of Ceara |
Teixeira R.S.C.,Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development |
Lopes E.S.,Veterinary Science |
Albuquerque A.H.,State University of Ceara |
And 7 more authors.
Revista Brasileira de Ciencia Avicola | Year: 2015
This study aimed at evaluating bacterial shedding, as detected in swabs, feces, and eggs of quails submitted to forced molting by feed fasting and experimentally infected with a Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) strain. In the experiment, 84 40-week-old Italian female quails were distributed in the following groups: FI (quails induced to molt by fasting and inoculated with Salmonella Enteritidis-SE); CI (quails fed with a laying diet and inoculated with SE); FNI (quails induced to molt by fasting and not inoculated with SE); and CNI (quails fed with a laying feed and not inoculated with SE). Feces, cloacal swabs, and eggs were collected on day 1, 3, 7 and 14 post-inoculation (dpi) and submitted to bacteriological analyses. All samples obtained from cloacal swabs were negative for SE. None of the quails of the non-inoculated groups (FNI and CNI) were positive for SE in the fecal samples. Among the inoculated quails, the FI group presented significantly higher (p< 0.05) SE shedding in the feces on 1 dpi than the CI group. On 4 dpi, no significant difference was observed (p< 0.05) in SE shedding between the inoculated quail groups. On 7 dpi, only the FI group shed SE in the feces, whereas on 14 dpi, none of the groups shed SE. According to the results, we concluded that quails submitted to molting by fasting have higher possibility of shedding SE in the feces. © 2015 Fundacao APINCO de Ciencia e Tecnologia Avicolas. All rights reserved.