Publications by authors named "Beatriz Vidondo"

42 Publications

Risk factors for severe outcomes for COVID-19 patients hospitalised in Switzerland during the first pandemic wave, February to August 2020: prospective observational cohort study.

Swiss Med Wkly 2021 07 28;151:w20547. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, Bern, Switzerland / Veterinary Public Health Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Background: As clinical signs of COVID-19 differ widely among individuals, from mild to severe, the definition of risk groups has important consequences for recommendations to the public, control measures and patient management, and needs to be reviewed regularly.

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore risk factors for in-hospital mortality and intensive care unit (ICU) admission for hospitalised COVID-19 patients during the first epidemic wave in Switzerland, as an example of a country that coped well during the first wave of the pandemic.

Methods: This study included all (n = 3590) adult polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed hospitalised patients in 17 hospitals from the hospital-based surveillance of COVID-19 (CH-Sur) by 1 September 2020. We calculated univariable and multivariable (adjusted) (1) proportional hazards (Fine and Gray) survival regression models and (2) logistic regression models for in-hospital mortality and admission to ICU, to evaluate the most common comorbidities as potential risk factors.

Results And Discussion: We found that old age was the strongest factor for in-hospital mortality after having adjusted for gender and the considered comorbidities (hazard ratio [HR] 2.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.33−2.59 and HR 5.6 95% CI 5.23−6 for ages 65 and 80 years, respectively). In addition, male gender remained an important risk factor in the multivariable models (HR 1.47, 95% CI 1.41−1.53). Of all comorbidities, renal disease, oncological pathologies, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease (but not hypertension) and dementia were also risk factors for in-hospital mortality. With respect to ICU admission risk, the pattern was different, as patients with higher chances of survival might have been admitted more often to ICU. Male gender (OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.58−2.31), hypertension (OR  1.3, 95% CI 1.07−1.59) and age 55–79 years (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.06−1.26) are risk factors for ICU admission. Patients aged 80+ years, as well as patients with dementia or with liver disease were admitted less often to ICU.

Conclusion: We conclude that increasing age is the most important risk factor for in-hospital mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients in Switzerland, along with male gender and followed by the presence of comorbidities such as renal diseases, chronic respiratory or cardiovascular disease, oncological malignancies and dementia. Male gender, hypertension and age between 55 and 79 years are, however, risk factors for ICU admission. Mortality and ICU admission need to be considered as separate outcomes when investigating risk factors for pandemic control measures and for hospital resources planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4414/smw.2021.20547DOI Listing
July 2021

Causes of Abortions in South American Camelids in Switzerland-Cases and Questionnaire.

Animals (Basel) 2021 Jun 30;11(7). Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Clinic for Ruminants, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

Over the last decade, South American camelids (SAC) have gained increasing popularity in Switzerland. They are used for several purposes such as fiber and meat production, as companion or guard animals and for trekking activities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency and reasons for pregnancy loss and perinatal death in SAC herds. Within the scope of this study, early embryonic losses could not be identified, as pregnancy examinations by ultrasonography are not performed routinely. Aborted and stillborn fetuses were collected, necropsied and analyzed for infectious abortifacients. A nationwide survey among breeders was carried out. During a 1.5-year period, only eight cases of aborted or stillborn alpaca and llama (out of a population of 6550 animals) were reported by the breeders, and their causes were subsequently analyzed. In half of the cases, was identified in the fetoplacental material. Abortions and stillbirths were reported to be rare in Swiss herds. As a conclusion, recording of embryonic losses through ultrasound training of veterinarians should be impaired and breeders motivated to have abortions and perinatal mortality examined. Special focus should be laid on due to its zoonotic risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11071956DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8300385PMC
June 2021

Influence of the Head Neck Position on Imaging Measurements Used to Assess the Craniovertebral Junction in Small Breed Dogs: A Cadaveric Study.

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2021 Jul 12;34(4):268-278. Epub 2021 May 12.

Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Clinical Radiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Objective:  The study aimed to determine the influence of head neck position on imaging measurements used to assess the craniovertebral junction (CVJ) and to recommend the most appropriate position for the evaluation of the CVJ.

Study Design:  A cross-sectional sample of adult dogs' cadavers was subjected to a computed tomography scan of the cranium and the cranial cervical region in three standardized head positions. Imaging measurements often used to assess the CVJ were measured. The influence of the head neck position, breed, weight and gender on imaging measurements was tested using repeated measures analysis of variance.

Results:  Twenty-eight cadavers of small breed dogs were enrolled in the study. All cadavers examined had occipital dysplasia. All transarticular imaging measurements were dependent on the head neck position. In addition, the breed, weight and gender had an influence on several measurements.

Conclusion:  We recommend a standardized head neck position of 50 degrees flexion if quantitative imaging measurements of the CVJ are used to diagnose pathologies in this region. Future studies should focus on the definition of cut-off values for quantitative imaging measurements of the CVJ to differentiate between healthy and diseased small breed dogs. Regarding atlantoaxial instability, a combination of six parameters (C1-C2 angle, C1-C2 overlap, atlantoaxial distance, dens-to-axis length ratio, ventral compression index and clivus canal angle) is promising for its diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1726081DOI Listing
July 2021

Inter-evaluator and Intra-evaluator Reliability of a Software Program Used to Extract Kinematic Variables Obtained by an Extremity-Mounted Inertial Measurement Unit System in Sound Horses at the Trot Under Soft and Hard Ground Conditions and Treadmill Exercise.

Front Vet Sci 2021 4;8:595455. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Vetsuisse Faculty, Institut Suisse de Medicine Equine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

To assess the inter-evaluator and intra-evaluator reliability of a software program used to extract kinematic variables by a commercially available extremity-mounted inertial measurement unit system in sound horses at the trot under soft and hard ground conditions and treadmill exercise. Thirty adult, sound and healthy French Montagne stallions. Data collection was performed with six IMUs strapped to the distal, metacarpal, metatarsal and tibial regions of every horse. Per surface (treadmill, soft and hard ground) 10 stallions were trotted three times. Prior to the analysis done by six evaluators (three experienced, three inexperienced) the data was blinded and copied three times. For every analysis a minimum of five strides had to be selected. To assess the intra- and inter-evaluator reliability a selection of gait variables was used to calculate intra and inter correlation coefficients (ICCs) as well as variance partitioning coefficients (VPCs). All of the tested gait variables showed high levels of reliability. There was no mentionable difference considering the correlation coefficients between the intra and inter reliability as well as between the three different surfaces. VPCs showed that the factor horse is by far the most responsible for any appearing variance. The experience of the evaluator had no influence on the results. The software program tested in this study has a high inter- and intra-evaluator reliability under the chosen conditions for the selected variables and acts independent of the ground situation and the experience of the evaluator. On the condition of a correct application it has the potential to become a clinically relevant and reliable gait analysis tool.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.595455DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7969790PMC
March 2021

Early warning of infectious disease outbreaks on cattle-transport networks.

PLoS One 2021 6;16(1):e0244999. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Veterinary Public Health Institute, University of Bern, Bern-Liebefeld, Switzerland.

Surveillance of infectious diseases in livestock is traditionally carried out at the farms, which are the typical units of epidemiological investigations and interventions. In Central and Western Europe, high-quality, long-term time series of animal transports have become available and this opens the possibility to new approaches like sentinel surveillance. By comparing a sentinel surveillance scheme based on markets to one based on farms, the primary aim of this paper is to identify the smallest set of sentinel holdings that would reliably and timely detect emergent disease outbreaks in Swiss cattle. Using a data-driven approach, we simulate the spread of infectious diseases according to the reported or available daily cattle transport data in Switzerland over a four year period. Investigating the efficiency of surveillance at either market or farm level, we find that the most efficient early warning surveillance system [the smallest set of sentinels that timely and reliably detect outbreaks (small outbreaks at detection, short detection delays)] would be based on the former, rather than the latter. We show that a detection probability of 86% can be achieved by monitoring all 137 markets in the network. Additional 250 farm sentinels-selected according to their risk-need to be placed under surveillance so that the probability of first hitting one of these farm sentinels is at least as high as the probability of first hitting a market. Combining all markets and 1000 farms with highest risk of infection, these two levels together will lead to a detection probability of 99%. We conclude that the design of animal surveillance systems greatly benefits from the use of the existing abundant and detailed animal transport data especially in the case of highly dynamic cattle transport networks. Sentinel surveillance approaches can be tailored to complement existing farm risk-based and syndromic surveillance approaches.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244999PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7787438PMC
May 2021

Slightly and Moderately Lame Cows in Tie Stalls Behave Differently From Non-lame Controls. A Matched Case-Control Study.

Front Vet Sci 2020 17;7:594825. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Lameness affects dairy cows worldwide and is usually associated with pain. Behavioral differences in lame compared to non-lame tie-stall-housed dairy cows might be less pronounced than in free-stall-housed, since the principle demands to a cow's locomotor system and thus the impact of lameness on behavior seem to be lower in tie stalls. Behavioral differences between lame and non-lame cows might be used to estimate the impact of lameness on the well-being of tied dairy cows. In the current study, lame cows were categorized as locomotion scoring between 2.25 and 3.25 on a 1-5 scale. The aim was to compare the eating, rumination and lying behavior of lame cows against non-lame tied dairy cows, in order to draw conclusions on the association of lameness, behavior and well-being in tied dairy cows. The eating and rumination behavior of 26, the lying behavior of 30, and the relative upright and lying activities of 25 matched case-control pairs were analyzed, considering the matching criteria farm, breed-type, and parity-group. Lame cows had fewer [mean of the pairwise differences (case-control) (mean) = -2.6 bouts, CI (-3.8--1.4) bouts, = 0.001], but longer lying bouts [mean = 26.7 min per bout, CI (10.1-43.4) min per bout, = 0.006]. The lying time was shorter [mean = -64.7 min, CI (-104.4--24.9) min, = 0.006] in lame cows compared to their non-lame controls. Lame cows had a shorter eating time [mean = -27.7 min, CI (-51.5--4.0) min, = 0.042] and spent a larger proportion of their upright time ruminating [mean = 7.2%, CI (3.2-11.1)%, = 0.001] instead of eating. The results of the current study indicate that the eating, rumination, and lying behavior of lame tied dairy cows is altered. These findings indicate that slight and moderate lameness (locomotion score between 2.25 and 3.25 on a 1-5 scale) are likely to be associated with an impaired well-being in affected tied dairy cows. This underlines the need to continuously reduce the lameness prevalence and severity in tied dairy herds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.594825DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7773726PMC
December 2020

Effect of intramuscular and intravaginal PGE-2 treatment compared to intramuscular oxytocin treatment in eutocic sows on the farrowing performance in a free farrowing system.

Theriogenology 2021 Feb 25;161:1-7. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Clinic for Swine, Departement of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:

A duration of parturition beyond 300 min negatively impacts the health of the sow and the survival of piglets during parturition. Hence, oxytocin is widely used to speed up the parturition. However, oxytocin's negative side effects raise the need of finding alternative treatments such as those already implemented in human medicine. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) applied intravaginally (PGE2-V) (1.0 mg) or intramuscularly (PGE2-M) (2.5 mg) to improve the parturition process after expulsion of the fourth piglet compared to a placebo (P-V), which was sterile intravaginal gel or intramuscular oxytocin application (OXY-M) (20 iu) in free farrowing systems.In total, 201 eutocic sows were examined after stratification by parity and random allocation into groups: 54 (P-V), 48 (OXY-M), 50 (PGE2-V), 49 (PGE2-M). Farrowing duration (time between first piglet and last piglet), piglet interval and placenta expulsion duration (time between first and last placenta) were recorded, and each piglet was scored for meconium staining and vitality. Furthermore, stillborn piglets were categorized into ante-partum and intra-partum deaths.Under the present conditions, neither administration of PGE2 nor oxytocin revealed a significant effect on the farrowing process or the vitality of the piglets when compared to untreated sows. Nonetheless, significant differences could be detected between PGE-2 and oxytocin treatments. The duration of farrowing was significantly shorter in oxytocin-treated sows (156 min) compared to sows treated intramuscularly with PGE2 (238 min). Furthermore, the placenta expulsion duration in the OXY-M group (130 min) significantly differed from PGE2-V (198 min) and PGE2-M group (218 min). Although these accelerations of parturition might be considered as a beneficial effect, routine treatment with uterotonic agents after birth of the fourth piglet in free farrowing eutocic sows cannot be recommended, because an overall benefit when compared to untreated sows was not approved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2020.11.013DOI Listing
February 2021

Comparison of the effects of 7.2% hypertonic saline and 20% mannitol on electrolyte and acid-base variables in dogs with suspected intracranial hypertension.

J Vet Intern Med 2021 Jan 25;35(1):341-351. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Division of Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Background: Hyperosmolar agents frequently are used to decrease intracranial pressure but their effects on electrolyte and acid-base variables have not been prospectively investigated.

Objectives: Compare duration and magnitude of changes in electrolyte and acid-base variables after hyperosmolar treatment.

Animals: Twenty-eight client-owned dogs with intracranial hypertension caused by various pathologies.

Methods: Prospective, randomized, nonblinded, experimental cohort study. Fifteen dogs received a single dose (4 mL/kg) of 7.2% hypertonic saline (HTS), 13 dogs received 20% mannitol (MAN) 1 g/kg IV. Electrolyte and acid-base variables were measured before (T ), and 5 (T ), 60 (T ), and 120 (T ) minutes after administration. Variables were compared between treatments and among time points within treatment groups.

Results: Mean plasma sodium and chloride concentrations were higher after HTS than MAN at T (158 vs 141 mEq/L; 126 vs 109 mEq/L) and significant differences were maintained at all time points. After HTS, plasma sodium and chloride concentrations remained increased from T at all time points. After MAN, plasma sodium and chloride concentrations decreased at T , but these changes were not maintained at T and T . Plasma potassium concentration was lower at T after HTS compared with T (3.6 vs 3.9 mEq/L) and compared to MAN (3.6 vs 4.1 mEq/L). At T and T , plasma ionized calcium concentration was lower after HTS than MAN (1.2 vs 1.3 mmol/L). No significant differences were found in acid-base variables between treatments.

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: At the administered dose, dogs receiving HTS showed sustained increases in plasma sodium and chloride concentrations, whereas dogs receiving MAN showed transient decreases. Future studies should assess the effects of multiple doses of hyperosmolar agents on electrolyte and acid-base variables.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.15973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7848367PMC
January 2021

Influence of a purpose-built frame on the accuracy of computer-assisted orthopedic surgery of equine extremities.

Vet Surg 2020 Oct 11;49(7):1367-1377. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Objective: To determine the influence of a purpose-built frame on the accuracy of screw placement during computer-assisted orthopedic surgery (CAOS) of the equine extremity.

Study Design: Experimental cadaveric study.

Sample Population: Twenty-four paired equine cadaveric limbs obtained from seven horses.

Methods: Three 4.5-mm cortex screws were inserted in lag technique in three different planes of orientation in the proximal phalanx (P1) by means of CAOS. In the study group (n = 12 limbs), the tracker was anchored on a purpose-built frame designed to stabilize the extremity. In the control group (n = 12 limbs), a conventional tracker array was used that was anchored directly on P1. The stability of both tracker arrays was assessed during the procedure by using fiducial markers. After screw placement, preoperative and postoperative computed tomographic images were assessed to measure surgical accuracy aberrations (SAA) between the planned and achieved screw position. Descriptive statistics and repeated-measures analysis of variance were performed to compare SAA measurements between the study and control group.

Results: Both tracker arrays remained consistently stable in all specimens. Mean overall SAA of screw insertion were lower in the study group (0.7 mm; median, 0.5; range 0-3.4) than in the control group (1.2 mm; median, 0.9; range, 0-4.2 mm).

Conclusion: The mean SAA achieved in cortex screw placement using CAOS lies within the range of approximately 1 mm. The use of a purpose-built frame avoided additional drilling of the target bone and improved surgical accuracy compared with the conventional tracker array.

Clinical Significance: The purpose-built frame described in this report can be used to facilitate CAOS in equine orthopedics without compromising surgical accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/vsu.13484DOI Listing
October 2020

Colder Ambient Temperatures Influence Acute Onset Canine Intervertebral Disc Extrusion.

Front Vet Sci 2020 7;7:175. Epub 2020 Apr 7.

Division of Small Animal Surgery, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Canine intervertebral disc disease is one of the most common neurologic conditions in veterinary medicine but the influence of environmental factors thereon has not been fully investigated. Subjectively, there has been the impression of increased admissions of acute spinal cord injuries due to intervertebral disc extrusion during periods of colder temperatures. In the present retrospective study, the different weather conditions (temperature, precipitation, sunshine, humidity, and atmospheric pressure) during the acute onset of clinical signs and a lag period of 3 days prior to the occurrence of symptoms were analyzed. One-hundred-and-one client owned dogs from the meteorological region of the Lake Geneva were presented to two referral centers during the 6-year (2007-2012) study period. Chondrodystrophic dogs represented 65.3% of our population, with the French Bulldog (19.8%) and Dachshund (17.8%) being the most common breeds. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified an increased occurrence of intervertebral disc disease during colder temperatures. Our results are congruent with those of human studies which have shown that lower ambient temperatures are associated with more pain and increased risk for muscle injuries. The interplay of endogenous (breed, anatomical characteristics) and exogenous (environmental) factors should be addressed in a larger cohort study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7154144PMC
April 2020

Carpal, tarsal, and stifle skin lesion prevalence and potential risk factors in Swiss dairy cows kept in tie stalls: A cross-sectional study.

PLoS One 2020 12;15(2):e0228808. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

The prevalence of skin lesions at the legs of dairy cows often serves as an indicator for animal welfare and is used as a measurement of adequacy of the present housing conditions. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of skin lesions at the carpus, tarsus, and stifle in Swiss dairy cows kept in tie stalls and to describe potential risk factors associated with the different types and severities thereof. Skin lesions and potential risk factors were assessed in 627 cows of 27 tie stall farms in a cross-sectional study. The associations of each outcome and the potential risk factors were assessed by means of logistic regression models using farm as the random factor. One odds ratio was obtained for each biologically relevant risk factor category and the final models were compared between the lesion types and locations. Tarsal lesions were recorded most frequently, with a prevalence of 62.2, 34.4, and 24.0% for moderate to severe hair loss, any severity of ulceration, and moderate to severe swelling, respectively. The prevalence of carpal lesions ranged from 54.4% for hair loss, over 7.7% for ulceration, to 6.1% for swelling, while stifle lesions were recorded less frequently with a prevalence of 18.6, 8.9, 3.4% for hair loss, ulceration, and swelling, respectively. The risk for various skin lesion types and locations significantly increased, when the concrete stall base was covered with a rubber mat and the bedding depth was low. Cows were at the lowest risk to develop skin lesions when they had more than 13 days of outdoor exercise per month. The prevalence of skin lesions in tied Swiss dairy cows is remarkably high and could possibly be reduced by providing the herd more frequent outdoor exercise and a well-cushioned, friction-absorbing and non-abrasive lying surface.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228808PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7015392PMC
May 2020

Risk factors for the infection with Brachyspira hyodysenteriae in pig herds.

Prev Vet Med 2020 Jan 7;174:104819. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Clinic for Swine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, PB 3350, 3001, Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Swine dysentery (SD), caused by infection with Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, is a serious disease in pig production worldwide. Quantitative risk factors triggering the occurrence of infection are unknown. The present case-control study aimed at identifying major risk factors related to presence of B. hyodysenteriae in pig herds. Twenty case herds and 60 randomly selected control herds with a minimum herd size of '10 sows/ 80 fattening pigs' were examined by means of a questionnaire-based interview and a herd examination. Herds with previous eradication of SD were excluded. Logistic regression models revealed that the 'positive/suspicious SD status of source herds', the regular application of treatment, purchasing more than 4 batches/ year, contact to foxes, diagnostics performed during last 12 months, liquid feeding systems, rats on farm, and >250 fatting places were associated with higher chances of a herd to be infected. On the contrary, having different sources of grower pigs within one batch, the presence of raptor birds and the presence of martens in the region were associated with fewer chances of being infected. The final multivariable logistic regression model identified purchasing more than 4 batches/ year (OR = 7.5, 95 % CI 1.8-54.3) and contact to foxes (OR = 5.9; 97.5 % CI 1.2-34.6) as the two main risk factors in our study. 'More than 4 batches/ year' implies continuous herd management supporting persistence of B. hyodysenteriae in an infected herd, but also increased number of purchases each increasing the risk of B. hyodysenteriae introduction by carrier pigs or transport vehicles. Foxes might be infected with B. hyodysenteriae by feeding on positive piglets and rodents. Besides, 'contact to foxes' might represent a lack in biosecurity. In conclusion, the risk factors detected underline the importance of biosecurity in SD prevention and control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.104819DOI Listing
January 2020

Coinfection of Swiss cattle with bovine parainfluenza virus 3 and at acute and chronic stages of bovine respiratory disease complex.

J Vet Diagn Invest 2019 Sep 27;31(5):674-680. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

Institute of Animal Pathology (Mehinagic, Stokar-Regenscheit), Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology.

Viral agents such as bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and bovine parainfluenza virus 3 (BPIV-3) are considered primary infectious agents in bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC). Information regarding the pathogenesis of BRDC is scarce, especially at an advanced chronicity stage, in addition to ongoing coinfection with other primary agents such as . Based on a retrospective review of histology slides from 104 autopsy cases, we classified cases according to type of pneumonia and chronicity. We performed immunohistochemistry (IHC) for BRSV, BPIV-3, and as well as real-time PCR (rtPCR) for on lung tissue of all 104 cases and correlated results with the morphologic type of pneumonia. Histomorphologically, 79 cases were classified as bronchopneumonia, 16 as bronchointerstitial pneumonia, and 9 as interstitial pneumonia. In 89 cases, at least 1 of the investigated agents was detected by IHC; 44 of these cases had a coinfection. BPIV-3 was the predominant agent present, as a single infection in 39 cases, and in coinfection with in 39 cases. Comparing the detection methods for , rtPCR was more specific and sensitive than IHC. The combination of both methods provided a good visual tool for assessing severity and distribution of antigen within the tissue. Unlike BRSV, BPIV-3 and persisted in chronic BRDC, suggesting ongoing impairment of defense mechanisms in the lung.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1040638719861686DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727125PMC
September 2019

Neonicotinoids and ectoparasitic mites synergistically impact honeybees.

Sci Rep 2019 06 4;9(1):8159. Epub 2019 Jun 4.

Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

The Western honeybee, Apis mellifera, is the most important managed pollinator globally and has recently experienced unsustainably high colony losses. Synergistic interactions among stressors are believed to be primarily responsible. However, despite clear evidence of strong effect on honeybee longevity of widely-employed neonicotinoid insecticides and of the ubiquitous ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, no data exist to show synergistic effects between these two stressors. Even though neonicotinoids had no significant impact by themselves, we here show for the first time a synergistic time-lag interaction between mites and neonicotinoids that resulted in significantly reduced survival of long-lived winter honeybees. Even though these mites are potent vectors of viruses, the virus-insecticide interaction had no significant impact. The data suggest a previously overlooked mechanism possibly explaining recent unsustainably high losses of managed A. mellifera honeybee colonies in many regions of the world. Future mitigation efforts should concentrate on developing sustainable agro-ecosystem management schemes that incorporate reduced use of neonicotinoids and sustainable solutions for V. destructor mites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44207-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6547850PMC
June 2019

Fractures of the Second Cervical Vertebra in 66 Dogs and 3 Cats: A Retrospective Study.

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2019 May 17;32(3):200-206. Epub 2019 May 17.

Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, Bern, Switzerland.

Background:  In human medicine, fractures of the second cervical vertebra have been studied elaborately and categorized in detail. This is not the case in veterinary medicine where clinical decisions are often based on old studies focusing on the cervical spine in general.

Objectives:  The aim of this study was to describe the clinical features, fracture types, therapeutic options and outcome of dogs and cats with a fractured axis.

Study Design:  The present study was a multi-institutional retrospective case series.

Results:  Crossbreeds and Labrador Retrievers were the most represented dog breeds. Median age was 2 years. Motor vehicle accident was the most common inciting cause, followed by frontal collision. The most common neurological deficits ranged from cervical pain with or without mild ataxia (22/68) to tetraparesis (28/68) and tetraplegia (11/68). Concerning treatment, 37 of 69 patients underwent surgical fracture stabilization, 27/69 received conservative therapy and 5/69 were immediately euthanatized. Of all treated cases, 52/58 showed ambulatory recovery (23/25 of the conservatively treated and 29/33 of the surgically treated cases), whereby in 40/52 cases full recovery without persisting signs was achieved.

Conclusions:  Fractures of the axis commonly occur in young dogs. In many cases, neurological deficits are relatively mild. Generally, animals with a fractured axis have a very good prognosis for functional recovery. The risk of perioperative mortality is considerably lower than previously reported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-1678542DOI Listing
May 2019

Application of an Endothelial Cell Culture Assay for the Detection of Neutralizing Anti-Clostridium Perfringens Beta-Toxin Antibodies in a Porcine Vaccination Trial.

Toxins (Basel) 2019 04 15;11(4). Epub 2019 Apr 15.

Institute of Animal Pathology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

Background: Beta-toxin (CPB) is the major virulence factor of type C, causing hemorrhagic enteritis in newborn pigs but also other animals and humans. Vaccines containing inactivated CPB are known to induce protective antibody titers in sow colostrum and neutralization of the CPB activity is thought to be essential for protective immunity in newborn piglets. However, no method is available to quantify the neutralizing effect of vaccine-induced antibody titers in pigs. (2) Methods: We developed a novel assay for the quantification of neutralizing anti-CPB antibodies. Sera and colostrum of sows immunized with a commercial type A and C vaccine was used to determine neutralizing effects on CPB induced cytotoxicity in endothelial cells. Antibody titers of sows and their piglets were determined and compared to results obtained by an ELISA. (3) Results: Vaccinated sows developed neutralizing antibodies against CPB in serum and colostrum. Multiparous sows developed higher serum and colostrum antibody titers after booster vaccinations than uniparous sows. The antibody titers of sows and those of their piglets correlated highly. Piglets from vaccinated sows were protected against intraperitoneal challenge with type C supernatant. (4) Conclusions: The test based on primary porcine endothelial cells quantifies neutralizing antibody activity in serum and colostrum of vaccinated sows and could be used to reduce and refine animal experimentation during vaccine development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins11040225DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6520926PMC
April 2019

Increase of pregnancy rate after multiple periovulatory inseminations in mares.

Tierarztl Prax Ausg G Grosstiere Nutztiere 2019 Feb 26;47(1):18-24. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty University of Berne, and Agroscope.

Objective: There exist differences in the reproductive behavior of stallions and mares under free-running and domestic in-hand breeding conditions. Contrary to artificial insemination programs, a stallion mates a mare multiple times per estrus under natural conditions. The objective of this study was to determine if multiple periovulatory artificial inseminations (MI), four times in two different time intervals instead of two, would result in increased pregnancy outcome or higher incidences of breeding induced endometritis.

Material And Methods: Eighty-two estrous mares were allocated randomly to one of three experimental groups. They were administered intramuscular deslorelin (1.25 mg) to induce ovulation, and 24 hours later, they were inseminated either twice (group DI), four times in relatively short intervals (group MISI) or four times in relatively long intervals (MILI), after division of one commercial insemination dose (either frozen-thawed or chilled-warmed semen) into two or four portions, respectively. Uterine sampling for bacteriological and cytological analysis was conducted directly before the first insemination and 24 hours after the last insemination.

Results: Mares of the MI groups showed a higher pregnancy rate with frozen-thawed semen than mares of the DI group. There was no difference in bacteriological and cytological results between the three groups. In addition, mares of the MISI group showed less intrauterine fluid accumulation 24 hours after the last insemination than mares of the DI and MILI groups.

Conclusion And Clinical Relevance: We suggest that multiple periovulatory inseminations with frozen-thawed semen in a close time frame to ovulation lead to an increase of pregnancy results per cycle, and that they do not lead to impaired inflammatory reactions of the uterus in healthy fertile mares.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-0803-1211DOI Listing
February 2019

Craniovertebral Junction Anomalies in Small Breed Dogs with Atlantoaxial Instability: A Multicentre Case-Control Study.

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2019 Jan 28;32(1):33-40. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Clinical Radiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Objective:  The main purpose of this study was to define criteria to systemically describe craniovertebral junction (CVJ) anomalies and to report the prevalence of CVJ anomalies in small breed dogs with and without atlantoaxial instability (AAI).

Materials And Methods:  Retrospective multicentre matched case-control study evaluating magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomographic images of small breed dogs with and without AAI for the presence of CVJ anomalies.

Results:  One hundred and twenty-two dogs were enrolled (61 with and 61 without AAI). Only dogs with AAI had dens axis anomalies such as separation ( = 20) or a short-rounded conformation ( = 35). Patients with AAI were more likely to have atlantooccipital overlapping based on transection of McRae's line by the dorsal arch of the atlas (odds ratio [OR] = 5.62,  < 0.01), a transection of Wackenheim's clivus line (OR = 41.62,  < 0.01) and rostral indentation of the occipital bone (OR = 2.79,  < 0.05). Patients with AAI were less likely to have a larger clivus canal angle (OR = 0.94,  < 0.01) and larger occipital bone lengths (OR = 0.89,  < 0.05).

Clinical Significance:  Small breed dogs with AAI are more likely to have other CVJ anomalies such as atlantooccipital overlapping or dens anomalies. The grade of brachycephaly does not differ between patients with and without AAI. Certain objective criteria from human literature were found useful for the assessment of both AAI and atlantooccipital overlapping such as McRae's line, Wackenheim's clivus line, and clivus canal angle. The classification criteria used can help to evaluate CVJ anomalies in a more systematic way.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1675797DOI Listing
January 2019

Complications associated with closed castration using the Henderson equine castration instrument in 300 standing equids.

Vet Surg 2019 Jan 27;48(1):21-28. Epub 2018 Oct 27.

Swiss Institute for Equine Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; ALP-Haras, Avenches, Switzerland.

Objective: To describe a closed castration technique in standing equids, report associated complications, and identify potential risk factors.

Study Design: Prospective cohort study of 300 standing equids that were castrated with the Henderson Equine Castrating Instrument.

Methods: Thirteen participating veterinarians recorded intraoperative difficulties and postoperative complications. Descriptive statistics, univariate analyses with Fisher's exact tests, and logistic regressions were used to evaluate intraoperative difficulties and postoperative complications and to assess risk factors for postoperative complications.

Results: Data were collected on 300 equids (269 horses, 23 ponies, and 8 donkeys). Intraoperative difficulties were experienced in 39 of 300 (13%) procedures. Postoperative complications were reported in 69 of 300 (23%) equids, including excessive swelling (29, 9.67%), surgical site infection (SSI; 27, 9%), severe hemorrhage (3, 1%), and prolapse of the omentum (2, 0.64%). Donkeys were at increased risk of severe hemorrhage (2/8, 25%, P = .0019). Equids that were castrated in a hospital setting (83/300, 27.66%) more frequently developed excessive swelling (P = .0034, odds ratio [OR] = 3.20) and SSI (P = .0047, OR = 3.18) compared with equids that were castrated in a field setting (217/300, 72.33%). Prolonging antimicrobial prophylaxis or age of the equid at the time of castration had no effect on the prevalence of excessive swelling or SSI.

Conclusion: The method of castration evaluated here resulted in a similar prevalence of postoperative complications to that previously reported for castrations in standing horses but fewer SSI.

Clinical Significance: The described method provides a viable option for castrating horses and ponies, but is not recommended in donkeys.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/vsu.12960DOI Listing
January 2019

Structural characterization of four different naturally occurring porcine collagen membranes suitable for medical applications.

PLoS One 2018 3;13(10):e0205027. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Division of Veterinary Anatomy, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Collagen is the main structural element of connective tissues, and its favorable properties make it an ideal biomaterial for regenerative medicine. In dental medicine, collagen barrier membranes fabricated from naturally occurring tissues are used for guided bone regeneration. Since the morphological characteristics of collagen membranes play a crucial role in their mechanical properties and affect the cellular behavior at the defect site, in-depth knowledge of the structure is key. As a base for the development of novel collagen membranes, an extensive morphological analysis of four porcine membranes, including centrum tendineum, pericardium, plica venae cavae and small intestinal submucosa, was performed. Native membranes were analyzed in terms of their thickness. Second harmonic generation and two-photon excitation microscopy of the native membranes showed the 3D architecture of the collagen and elastic fibers, as well as a volumetric index of these two membrane components. The surface morphology, fiber arrangement, collagen fibril diameter and D-periodicity of decellularized membranes were investigated by scanning electron microscopy. All the membrane types showed significant differences in thickness. In general, undulating collagen fibers were arranged in stacked layers, which were parallel to the membrane surface. Multiphoton microscopy revealed a conspicuous superficial elastic fiber network, while the elastin content in deeper layers varied. The elastin/collagen volumetric index was very similar in the investigated membranes and indicated that the collagen content was clearly higher than the elastin content. The surface of both the pericardium and plica venae cavae and the cranial surface of the centrum tendineum revealed a smooth, tightly arranged and crumpled morphology. On the caudal face of the centrum tendineum, a compact collagen arrangement was interrupted by clusters of circular discontinuities. In contrast, both surfaces of the small intestinal submucosa were fibrous, fuzzy and irregular. All the membranes consisted of largely uniform fibrils displaying the characteristic D-banding. This study reveals similarities and relevant differences among the investigated porcine membranes, suggesting that each membrane represents a unique biomaterial suitable for specific applications.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0205027PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6169977PMC
March 2019

Effect of three types of horseshoes and unshod feet on selected non-podal forelimb kinematic variables measured by an extremity mounted inertial measurement unit sensor system in sound horses at the trot under conditions of treadmill and soft geotextile surface exercise.

Vet Rec Open 2018 18;5(1):e000237. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Institute suisse de médicine équine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Therapeutic farriery is part of the management of certain orthopaedic conditions. Non-podal parameters are important as most horses shod with therapeutic shoes are expected to perform again and the choice of shoe type may be influenced by the effects they may have on gait. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the effects of three different shoe designs and unshod front feet on forelimb non-podal kinematic variables using an extremity mounted inertial measurement unit (IMU) system under conditions of treadmill and overground exercise on a soft geotextile surface at the trot. Ten sound horses with no underlying orthopaedic problem were instrumented with eight IMUs at distal radii, tibia and third metacarpal/tarsal regions. Measurements were performed during four consecutive days. During the first three days, the three shoe types were randomly selected per horse and day. On the fourth day, all horses were tested unshod. Data were collected at the trot on a treadmill, and on a soft geotextile surface. Specifically designed software and a proprietary algorithm processed the accelerometer and gyroscope signals to obtain orientation and temporal data to describe selected kinematic variables predetermined by the system. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to assess differences between shoe type and surface. The presence of shoes produced significant changes in spatiotemporal variables which seemed to be related to shoe mass rather than shoe design as there were no significant differences found between different shoe types. Shod horses showed a gait characterised by an increased range of motion (ROM) of the fore limbs. Previously reported effects of the investigated shoes on podal kinematics do not seem to affect the investigated kinematic variables indicating perhaps a compensatory effect occurring at some level in the extremity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vetreco-2017-000237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018867PMC
June 2018

Diagnostic accuracy of post-ACTH challenge salivary cortisol concentrations for identifying horses with equine glandular gastric disease.

J Anim Sci 2018 Jun;96(6):2154-2161

Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Swiss Institute for Equine Medicine (ISME), Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, and Agroscope, Bern, Switzerland.

The aims of this study were to better characterize the adrenal response to i.v. adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in horses with and without gastric disease and to validate and simplify the ACTH stimulation test by determining the diagnostic accuracy of six consecutive sampling time points after ACTH administration for equine glandular gastric disease (EGGD) and equine squamous gastric disease (ESGD). Twenty-six endurance and eventing horses without clinical disease [Sport Horse Population (SHP)] and an independent population of 62 horses [General Population (GP)] were grouped by gastroscopic findings (no/mild vs. moderate/severe EGGD, grade 0-1 vs. 2-4 ESGD, respectively) and underwent an ACTH stimulation test. Salivary cortisol (ng/mL) was analyzed before and 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150 min after i.v. injection of 1 µg/kg BW synthetic ACTH1-24. The association between having moderate or severe EGGD or ESGD and the amount of salivary cortisol was analyzed by means of receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The following explanatory variables were considered: cortisol values for every time point, the area under the curve (AUC)-including all time points and corrected for the baseline-and the partial areas under the curve AUC0-90 and AUC90-150. Sampling after 60 min had highest association with moderate/severe EGGD. The diagnostic potential of the ACTH test was higher for the SHP [sensitivity 100% (95% CI 54% to 100%), specificity 75% (95% CI 51% to 91%), ROC-AUC 91% (95% CI 69% to 98%), 1-sided P-value < 0.001] than for the GP [sensitivity 75% (95% CI 48% to 93%), specificity 52% (95% CI 37% to 67%), ROC-AUC 68% (95% CI 51% to 79%), 1-sided P-value = 0.0064]. There were, however, no significant associations with ESGD. The superiority of sampling after 60 min suggests that the initial release of cortisol rather than its peak or the AUC are relevant regarding EGGD. Even though the wide confidence intervals and thus the lack of diagnostic accuracy do not presently support clinical use, characterization of the adrenal response to an ACTH stimulus improves the understanding of EGGD pathophysiology and its relation to stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/sky074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6095231PMC
June 2018

Amplification of the basic reproduction number in cattle farm networks.

Authors:
Beatriz Vidondo

PLoS One 2018 19;13(4):e0191257. Epub 2018 Apr 19.

Veterinary Public Health Institute, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

The popularly known 20-80 rule or Pareto rule states that 20% of efforts leads to 80% of results. This rule has been applied to the study of infection transmission in contact networks, and specifically, contact networks between cattle farms. Woolhouse and collaborators showed that targeting interventions for disease control and prevention to the 20% of the farms that contribute the most to the basic reproduction number (Ro), could reduce it by 80%. The rule results from the number of incoming and outgoing contacts per farm being highly heterogeneous. Besides, Woolhouse and collaborators showed that this high contact heterogeneity, together with a high positive correlation between the number of incoming and outgoing animal movements per farm leads to an amplification in the Ro. Two previous studies carried out with Scottish cattle transport data found either no correlation or only a weak correlation (rho up to 0.33) when using weighted data. Using data from the contacts between Swiss cattle farms in 2015, we found that the 20-80 rule applies with respect to Ro, although the proportion of highly active farms is smaller (11%). Besides, a positive strong correlation (rho = 0.64, weighted data) between the incoming and outgoing contacts of farms exists. This means that the amplification of Ro (due to the contact heterogeneities and the existing correlation) in cattle contact networks can be much higher than known until now. Our results highlight the importance of an effective active surveillance, more so than in other countries were these amplification mechanisms are absent.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0191257PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5909513PMC
July 2018

Dynamic network measures reveal the impact of cattle markets and alpine summering on the risk of epidemic outbreaks in the Swiss cattle population.

BMC Vet Res 2018 Mar 13;14(1):88. Epub 2018 Mar 13.

Veterinary Public Health Institute, University of Bern, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, CH-3097, Liebefeld, Switzerland.

Background: Livestock herds are interconnected with each other via an intricate network of transports of animals which represents a potential substrate for the spread of epidemic diseases. We analysed four years (2012-2015) of daily bovine transports to assess the risk of disease transmission and identify times and locations where monitoring would be most effective. Specifically, we investigated how the seasonal dynamics of transport networks, driven by the alpine summering and traditional cattle markets, affect the risk of epidemic outbreaks.

Results: We found strong and consistent seasonal variation in several structural network measures as well as in measures for outbreak risk. Analysis of the consequences of excluding markets, dealers and alpine pastures from the network shows that markets contribute much more to the overall outbreak risk than alpine summering. Static descriptors of monthly transport networks were poor predictors of outbreak risk emanating from individual holdings; a dynamic measure, which takes the temporal structure of the network into account, gave better risk estimates. A stochastic simulation suggests that targeted surveillance based on this dynamic network allows a higher detection rate and smaller outbreak size at detection than compared to other sampling schemes.

Conclusions: Dynamic measures based on time-stamped data-the outgoing contact chain-can give better risk estimates and could help to improve surveillance schemes. Using this measure we find evidence that even in a country with intense summering practice, markets continue being the prime risk factor for the spread of contagious diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-018-1406-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5851077PMC
March 2018

Effect of trotting speed on kinematic variables measured by use of extremity-mounted inertial measurement units in nonlame horses performing controlled treadmill exercise.

Am J Vet Res 2018 Feb;79(2):211-218

OBJECTIVE To assess effects of speed on kinematic variables measured by use of extremity-mounted inertial measurement units (IMUs) in nonlame horses performing controlled exercise on a treadmill. ANIMALS 10 nonlame horses. PROCEDURES 6 IMUs were attached at predetermined locations on 10 nonlame Franches Montagnes horses. Data were collected in triplicate during trotting at 3.33 and 3.88 m/s on a high-speed treadmill. Thirty-three selected kinematic variables were analyzed. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to assess the effect of speed. RESULTS Significant differences between the 2 speeds were detected for most temporal (11/14) and spatial (12/19) variables. The observed spatial and temporal changes would translate into a gait for the higher speed characterized by increased stride length, protraction and retraction, flexion and extension, mediolateral movement of the tibia, and symmetry, but with similar temporal variables and a reduction in stride duration. However, even though the tibia coronal range of motion was significantly different between speeds, the high degree of variability raised concerns about whether these changes were clinically relevant. For some variables, the lower trotting speed apparently was associated with more variability than was the higher trotting speed. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE At a higher trotting speed, horses moved in the same manner (eg, the temporal events investigated occurred at the same relative time within the stride). However, from a spatial perspective, horses moved with greater action of the segments evaluated. The detected changes in kinematic variables indicated that trotting speed should be controlled or kept constant during gait evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.79.2.211DOI Listing
February 2018

Effect of Facetectomy on the Three-Dimensional Biomechanical Properties of the Fourth Canine Cervical Functional Spinal Unit: A Cadaveric Study.

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2017 Nov 4;30(6):430-437. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Small Animal Surgery, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.

 To study the biomechanical effect of facetectomy in 10 large breed dogs (>24 kg body weight) on the fourth canine cervical functional spinal unit.  Canine cervical spines were freed from all muscles. Spines were mounted on a six-degrees-of-freedom spine testing machine for three-dimensional motion analysis. Data were recorded with an optoelectronic motion analysis system. The range of motion was determined in all three primary motions as well as range of motion of coupled motions on the intact specimen, after unilateral and after bilateral facetectomy. Repeated-measures analysis of variance models were used to assess the changes of the biomechanical properties in the three treatment groups considered.  Facetectomy increased range of motion of primary motions in all directions. Axial rotation was significantly influenced by facetectomy. Coupled motion was not influenced by facetectomy except for lateral bending with coupled motion axial rotation. The coupling factor (coupled motion/primary motion) decreased after facetectomy. Symmetry of motion was influenced by facetectomy in flexion-extension and axial rotation, but not in lateral bending.  Facet joints play a significant role in the stability of the cervical spine and act to maintain spatial integrity. Therefore, cervical spinal treatments requiring a facetectomy should be carefully planned and if an excessive increase in range of motion is expected, complications should be anticipated and reduced via spinal stabilization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3415/VCOT-17-03-0043DOI Listing
November 2017

Repeatability of gait pattern variables measured by use of extremity-mounted inertial measurement units in nonlame horses during trotting.

Am J Vet Res 2017 Sep;78(9):1011-1018

OBJECTIVE To determine repeatability of gait variables measured by use of extremity-mounted inertial measurement units (IMUs) in nonlame horses during trotting under controlled conditions of treadmill exercise. ANIMALS 10 horses. PROCEDURES Six IMUs were strapped to the metacarpal, metatarsal, and distal tibial regions of each horse. Data were collected in a standardized manner (3 measurements/d on 3 d/wk over a 3-week period) while each horse was trotted on a treadmill. Every measurement consisted of a minimum of 20 strides from which a minimum of 10 strides was selected for analysis. Spatial and temporal variables were derived from the IMUs. Repeatability coefficients based on the within-subject SD were computed for each gait analysis variable at each week. RESULTS Most of the temporal and spatial variables had high repeatability (repeatability coefficients < 10), and the repeatability coefficients were consistent among the 3 weeks of data collection. Some spatial variables, specifically the symmetry variables (which were calculated from other variables), had somewhat higher repeatability coefficients (ie, lower repeatability) only in the last week. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE With the exceptions of some symmetry variables, which may reflect individual variations during movement, the extremity-mounted IMUs provided data with high repeatability for nonlame horses trotting under controlled conditions of treadmill exercise. Repeatability was achieved for each instrumented limb segment with regard to the spatial relationship between 2 adjacent segments (joint angles) and the temporal relationship among all segments (limb phasing). Extremity-mounted IMUs could have the potential to become a method for gait analysis in horses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.78.9.1011DOI Listing
September 2017

Dimerization Efficiency of Canine Distemper Virus Matrix Protein Regulates Membrane-Budding Activity.

J Virol 2017 08 27;91(16). Epub 2017 Jul 27.

Division of Neurological Sciences, DCR-VPH, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Paramyxoviruses rely on the matrix (M) protein to orchestrate viral assembly and budding at the plasma membrane. Although the mechanistic details remain largely unknown, structural data suggested that M dimers and/or higher-order oligomers may facilitate membrane budding. To gain functional insights, we employed a structure-guided mutagenesis approach to investigate the role of canine distemper virus (CDV) M protein self-assembly in membrane-budding activity. Three six-alanine-block (6A-block) mutants with mutations located at strategic oligomeric positions were initially designed. While the first one includes residues potentially residing at the protomer-protomer interface, the other two display amino acids located within two distal surface-exposed α-helices proposed to be involved in dimer-dimer contacts. We further focused on the core of the dimeric interface by mutating asparagine 138 (N138) to several nonconservative amino acids. Cellular localization combined with dimerization and coimmunopurification assays, performed under various denaturing conditions, revealed that all 6A-block mutants were impaired in self-assembly and cell periphery accumulation. These phenotypes correlated with deficiencies in relocating CDV nucleocapsid proteins to the cell periphery and in virus-like particle (VLP) production. Conversely, all M-N138 mutants remained capable of self-assembly, though to various extents, which correlated with proper accumulation and redistribution of nucleocapsid proteins at the plasma membrane. However, membrane deformation and VLP assays indicated that the M-N138 variants exhibiting the most reduced dimerization propensity were also defective in triggering membrane remodeling and budding, despite proper plasma membrane accumulation. Overall, our data provide mechanistic evidence that the efficiency of CDV M dimerization/oligomerization governs both cell periphery localization and membrane-budding activity. Despite the availability of effective vaccines, both measles virus (MeV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) still lead to significant human and animal mortality worldwide. It is assumed that postexposure prophylaxis with specific antiviral compounds may synergize with vaccination campaigns to better control ongoing epidemics. Targeting the matrix (M) protein of MeV/CDV is attractive, because M coordinates viral assembly and egress through interaction with multiple cellular and viral components. However, the lack of basic molecular knowledge of how M orchestrates these functions precludes the rational design of antivirals. Here we combined structure-guided mutagenesis with cellular, biochemical, and functional assays to investigate a potential correlation between CDV M self-assembly and virus-like particle (VLP) formation. Altogether, our findings provide evidence that stable M dimers at the cell periphery are required to productively trigger VLPs. Such stabilized M dimeric units may facilitate further assembly into robust higher-order oligomers necessary to promote plasma membrane-budding activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00521-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5533904PMC
August 2017

Provision of straw by a foraging tower -effect on tail biting in weaners and fattening pigs.

Porcine Health Manag 2017 16;3. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse Faculty, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, CH-3097 Liebefeld, BE Switzerland.

Background: Straw is one of the most effective rooting materials to reduce tail biting in pigs. A so-called foraging-tower (FT) provides only small quantities of straw compatible with liquid manure systems. The focus of the present study was on the effect of providing straw by FT in order to prevent tail biting in tail docked pigs. Four consecutive batches of 160 pigs, randomly divided into a straw (SG) and a control group (CG) were followed up from weaning to slaughter.

Results: Tail wounds (Score ≥ 2) were detected in 104 out of 12,032 single observations (SG n = 48; CG  = 56) in 9 pens (SG  = 4/32; CG  = 5/32) mainly focused on the fattening period of batch 2 due to a failure in the ventilation system. No significant differences concerning the distribution of Score ≥ 2 in pens of the SG and CG could be identified. Bite marks (Score 1) were documented in 395 observations at animal level (SG  = 197, CG  = 198) in all batches. In the nursery period, the air velocity significantly increased the chance that at least one pig per pen and week showed a tail lesion score ≥1 ( = 0.024). In the fattening period ammonia concentration was positively associated with tail lesions ( = 0.007). The investigation of blood samples revealed infections with in all batches and a circulation of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (NA-vaccine strain) and Porcine Circovirus Type 2 in two batches each. The average daily straw consumption was 3.5 g/pig (standard deviation (SD) = 1.1) during the rearing period and 31.9 g/pig (SD = 7.7) during the fattening period.

Conclusion: Due to the low prevalence of tail biting in all batches the effect of the FT tower could not be evaluated conclusively. The operation of the FT with an average daily straw consumption of 3.5 g/pig (SD = 1.1) during the rearing period and 31.9 g/pig (SD = 7.7) during the fattening period did not affect the weight gain. Exploratory behaviour seems to cause bite marks (score 1), which do not necessarily result in tail biting. The main outbreak of tail biting was probably triggered by a failure of the ventilation system, which resulted in a number of climatic and air quality changes including higher ammonia concentrations and sudden temperature changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40813-017-0052-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5382410PMC
March 2017

Neonicotinoid insecticides can serve as inadvertent insect contraceptives.

Proc Biol Sci 2016 Jul;283(1835)

Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland Bee Protection Laboratory (BeeP), Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand Agroscope, Swiss Bee Research Centre, Bern, Switzerland.

There is clear evidence for sublethal effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on non-target ecosystem service-providing insects. However, their possible impact on male insect reproduction is currently unknown, despite the key role of sex. Here, we show that two neonicotinoids (4.5 ppb thiamethoxam and 1.5 ppb clothianidin) significantly reduce the reproductive capacity of male honeybees (drones), Apis mellifera Drones were obtained from colonies exposed to the neonicotinoid insecticides or controls, and subsequently maintained in laboratory cages until they reached sexual maturity. While no significant effects were observed for male teneral (newly emerged adult) body mass and sperm quantity, the data clearly showed reduced drone lifespan, as well as reduced sperm viability (percentage living versus dead) and living sperm quantity by 39%. Our results demonstrate for the first time that neonicotinoid insecticides can negatively affect male insect reproductive capacity, and provide a possible mechanistic explanation for managed honeybee queen failure and wild insect pollinator decline. The widespread prophylactic use of neonicotinoids may have previously overlooked inadvertent contraceptive effects on non-target insects, thereby limiting conservation efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.0506DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4971197PMC
July 2016
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