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Legnaro, Italy

Cozzi G.,University of Padua | Prevedello P.,University of Padua | Stefani A.L.,Viale dell University 16 | Piron A.,Lallemand S.A.S. | And 4 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2011

The study aimed at comparing three strategies of supplementing selenium (Se) during the finishing period of Charolais young bulls: (1) administration of sodium selenite throughout the finishing (NaSe); (2) administration of an Se-enriched yeast strain (Saccharomyces cerevisiae NCYC R397) throughout the finishing (Se-Y); (3) administration of sodium selenite for 140 days replaced by Se-enriched yeast during the last 70 days of finishing (Switch). Eighty-four young bulls (mean initial BW = 434.2 ± 31.9 kg; mean age = 382 ± 52 days) were stratified by live weight and equally assigned to one of three Se treatments. Experimental groups were fed the same diets and the inclusion rate of the different treatments was targeted to achieve 0.3 mg of Se/kg of dry matter (DM) in the complete feed. The average daily gain of bulls was 1.36 kg/d and no differences due to Se treatment were recorded. Dry matter intake and feed conversion ratio were not affected by Se treatment resulting in, on average, 10.3 kg/d and 7.65, respectively. Repeated blood samples were taken at days 0, 120, 180 and 210 of finishing to assess the Se status of the animals. As compared to NaSe, both organic Se treatments (Se-Y and Switch) increased plasma Se in the last two sampling sessions according to a significant treatment × time interaction (P < 0.001). A similar trend was observed for serum total antioxidant status of the young bulls, whereas there was only a significant time effect (P < 0.001) on glutathione peroxidase activity that was raised by all Se treatments. The finishing period lasted 210 days and at the abattoir there were no differences across Se treatments in carcass weight and dressing percentage. A higher Se content in the Longissimus thoracis (LT) muscle was instead observed in Se-Y samples as compared with NaSe (0.85 v. 0.47 mg/kg DM; P < 0.05). Meat quality evaluation was carried out on LT samples after 6 and 11 days of ageing under a vacuum package. Regardless of ageing time, meat from young bulls supplemented with Se yeast had higher colour lightness (L*) values than those receiving NaSe (38.1 v. 36.6; P < 0.01) and showed a significant decrease in shear force (3.69 v. 4.22 kg/cm 2; P < 0.01). The outcomes of the study suggest that the provision of Se yeast throughout the finishing period is a strategy to increase the benefits of the replacement of sodium selenite with organic selenium in beef cattle. © 2011 The Animal Consortium. Source


Gottardo F.,University of Padua | Nalon E.,University of Padua | Contiero B.,University of Padua | Normando S.,University of Padua | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2011

Calf dehorning is a routine husbandry practice on dairy farms that is justified by safety reasons for stockpersons and by a reduced risk of injures among herdmates. In Europe, the practice is regulated by law but little is known about the methods applied or about farmers' attitude to the practice. This study aimed to broaden the existing information on dehorning in dairy holdings by processing results of 639 farm questionnaires gathered in a traditional dairy area of northeastern Italy. Farm questionnaires were stratified according to herd size, type of housing, and productive purpose of the predominant reared breed(s). Chi-squared tests were performed to verify the significant association between a given practice or opinion and the 3 classification factors, and odd ratios were calculated. The outcomes of the study showed that dehorning was carried out on 80% of the surveyed farms, and disbudding was the method reported by all the interviewed farmers. Hot-iron cauterization was the preferred method for disbudding (91%). On average, disbudding was performed at 32 d of age and it was more likely in farms with ≥60 cows than in smaller dairy holdings (OR = 7.3). The practice was carried out mainly by farm personnel, but the intervention of a veterinarian was far more likely (OR = 5.98) on farms with ≤30 cows than on larger dairies. Most farmers (70%) stated that they had not received any specific training on how to perform disbudding. Fifty-two percent of the respondents reported that disbudding causes prolonged postoperative pain (≥6. h) but pain management was rare. Only 10% of the farmers used local anesthesia before cauterization, and 5% of the farmers provided calves with postoperative analgesia. Consistent with these results, farmers indicated limited willingness to pay the cost of analgesia or to call a veterinarian to perform the procedure. This low motivation of the respondents toward the adoption of practices able to reduce pain related to disbudding might arise from their insufficient knowledge on long-term negative effects of early painful experiences on behavior and handling of dairy heifers. Farmers in favor of keeping horned cows were asked about the reasons for not carrying out dehorning. Aesthetic motivations (54% of respondents) and lack of time (24%) were the main reasons cited. Moreover, a large majority of these respondents (74%) reported no difficulty in handling horned cattle. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association. Source


Dorigatti I.,University of Trento | Mulatti P.,Viale dell University 10 | Rosa R.,Research and Innovation Center | Pugliese A.,University of Trento | Busani L.,Istituto Superiore di Sanita
Epidemics | Year: 2010

We analysed the between-farm transmission of the H7N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus that disrupted the Italian poultry production in the 1999-2000 epidemic with a SEIR model with a spatial transmission kernel, accounting for the containment measures actually undertaken. We found significant differences in susceptibility between species and a reduction in transmissibility after the first phase. We performed simulations to assess the effectiveness of the implemented and new control measures. The most effective measure was the ban on restocking. An earlier start of pre-emptive culling promotes eradication; restricted pre-emptive culling delays eradication but causes lower losses. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source


Bortolotti L.,Viale dell University 10 | Rizzo S.,Viale dell University 10 | Favero L.,Regione Del Veneto Unita Of Progetto Veterinaria | Bonfanti L.,Viale dell University 10 | And 2 more authors.
Avian Diseases | Year: 2012

In the Veneto region (northern Italy), some geographic areas in the Po Valley have a large concentration of industrial poultry farms and are located close to wet areas with high populations of wild waterfowl. Live decoy birds belonging to the orders of Anseriformes and Charadriiformes can constitute a "bridge" for avian influenza (AI) viruses between the wild reservoir and the rural holdings where live decoy birds are usually kept, sometimes together with poultry. Thus, the use of live decoy birds during bird hunting could increase the risk of exposure of poultry farms to AI viruses. Since 2008, this kind of hunting has been strictly regulated with regard to the detection and use of live decoy birds. In order to guarantee the application of appropriate AI risk-modulating and monitoring measures in the management of the live decoys according to the European Union (EU) provisions, a solid and well-structured information system has been created. The Regional Data Bank (RDB) of farms and livestock, which has been operating since 1997, also contains data on farms and poultry movements. Therefore, the RDB management software was updated to collect data from the hunters who keep live decoy birds, and specific functions were integrated to ensure the traceability of these birds. Each live decoy bird has been identified by an irremovable ring. The individual code of each ring is recorded in the RDB and linked to both the holder's code and the hunting area. Transfers and death/slaughtering of the registered birds are recorded, too. The activation of a computerized data collection system has proven to be a prerequisite for the implementation of a control system for live decoy birds and provides an essential tool for the management of AI emergencies. Source


Cozzi G.,University of Padua | Ravarotto L.,Viale dell University 10 | Gottardo F.,University of Padua | Stefani A.L.,Viale dell University 10 | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2011

Confidence intervals for blood parameters used for nutritional and metabolic profile testing in cattle were calculated for clinically normal lactating Holstein cows, taking into account the effects of parity, stage of lactation, and season. Blood samples were collected from 740 cows in 33 Italian dairy herds according to a predefined protocol. Herds were visited during summer and the following winter, sampling 12 lactating cows at each visit (4 primiparous and 8 multiparous). Six cows were selected from the early-lactation group (days in milk: 10 to 89) and the other 6 were selected from the mid-lactation group (days in milk: 90 to 215). Cow selection criteria excluded animals clinically exposed to periparturient diseases as well as animals not considered in good health by a veterinary clinical examination. For each blood variable, outliers were identified and discarded. Data were then analyzed for their Gaussian distribution and variables with not normal distribution were log-transformed to adjust for lack of normality. Herd mean values were calculated for each blood parameter according to 3 main classification factors: parity (primiparous vs. multiparous), stage of lactation (early vs. mid) and season of production (summer vs. winter). The resulting data set was statistically analyzed using a mixed model with the fixed effects of these factors, their interactions, and the random effect of herd. General 95% confidence intervals were calculated for blood variables that showed a relevant herd variance component such as albumin, triglycerides, aspartate, urea, glucose, alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, direct and total bilirubin, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. For the remaining parameters, specific confidence intervals were calculated for each level of the significant main factors. Parity affected blood concentration of total protein, globulin, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, gamma glutamyl transferase, creatinine kinase, and phosphorus. Blood nonesterified fatty acids, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma glutamyl transferase, creatinine kinase and cholesterol were influenced by stage of lactation. The season of production had a significant effect on total protein, globulin, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, phosphorus, sodium, and chlorine. The outcomes of this work will improve the accuracy of the biochemical profile as a tool for dairy practitioners to assess the metabolic status of lactating Holstein cows. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association. Source

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