Published haematologic and serum biochemistry reference intervals are very scarce for captive cheetahs and even more for free-ranging cheetahs. The current study was performed to establish reference intervals for selected serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs. Baseline serum biochemistry analytes were analysed from 66 healthy Namibian cheetahs. Samples were collected from 30 captive cheetahs at the AfriCat Foundation and 36 free-ranging cheetahs from central Namibia. The effects of captivity-status, age, sex and haemolysis score on the tested serum analytes were investigated. The biochemistry analytes that were measured were sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, urea and creatinine. The 90% confidence interval of the reference limits was obtained using the non-parametric bootstrap method. Reference intervals were preferentially determined by the non-parametric method and were as follows: sodium (128 mmol/L - 166 mmol/L), potassium (3.9 mmol/L - 5.2 mmol/L), magnesium (0.8 mmol/L - 1.2 mmol/L), chloride (97 mmol/L - 130 mmol/L), urea (8.2 mmol/L - 25.1 mmol/L) and creatinine (88 μmol/L - 288 μmol/L). Reference intervals from the current study were compared with International Species Information System values for cheetahs and found to be narrower. Moreover, age, sex and haemolysis score had no significant effect on the serum analytes in this study. Separate reference intervals for captive and free-ranging cheetahs were also determined. Captive cheetahs had higher urea values, most likely due to dietary factors. This study is the first to establish reference intervals for serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs according to international guidelines. These results can be used for future health and disease assessments in both captive and free-ranging cheetahs.
Members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) cause tuberculosis (TB) in both animals and humans. In this article, three animal-adapted MTC strains that are endemic to the southern African subregion - that is, Mycobacterium suricattae, Mycobacterium mungi, and the dassie bacillus - are reviewed with a focus on clinical and pathological presentations, geographic distribution, genotyping methods, diagnostic tools and evolution. Moreover, factors influencing the transmission and establishment of TB pathogens in novel host populations, including ecological, immunological and genetic factors of both the host and pathogen, are discussed. The risks associated with these infections are currently unknown and further studies will be required for greater understanding of this disease in the context of the southern African ecosystem.
The nutraceutical industry has proliferated in recent years, with the most popular form of supplementation being the multivitamin-multimineral (MVMM) supplement. In the animal health sector, supplement use has also expanded. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of MVMM supplementation, beneficial or otherwise, on the general health status of the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) strain, an animal model used in hypertension research. A commercially prepared MVMM supplement was given tri-weekly via oral dosing for 8 weeks to two groups of seven adult female SHR and Wistar rats. Their corresponding control groups were dosed with deionised water only. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, growth rate and food and water intake were measured weekly. At the end of 8 weeks, the animals were euthanased and a full blood profile, urine sodium to potassium ratio, blood urea nitrogen levels and total plasma cholesterol was measured for all groups. The results indicated that growth rate was higher for the SHR supplemented group. Supplementation also decreased diastolic blood pressure in both Wistar and SHR groups and increased red blood cell count and decreased total cholesterol in the SHR group. No adverse effects on the general health status of the animals were observed. MVMM supplementation may therefore be useful in aiding growth and delaying the onset of hypertension and its effects. It may also assist in the longevity of the breeding stock of SHR rats.
Although significant animal suffering caused by preventable diseases is frequently seen in developing countries, reports of this are scarce. This report describes avoidable animal suffering owing to a suspected canine distemper (CD) outbreak in unvaccinated dogs owned by low-income families in Mozambique that killed approximately 200 animals. Affected dogs exhibited clinical signs, and gross and microscopic lesions compatible with CD. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed the presence of canine distemper virus (CDV) in the kidney of one dog from the cohort. This brief communication again illustrates that large outbreaks of CDV in unvaccinated dogs occur and that large-scale avoidable suffering and threats to the health of dogs and wild canines continue. Mass vaccination supported by government and non-government organisations is recommended.
There is a lack of information in comparing the healing rate between the left and right sides of the maxilla and mandible. Osteogenesis of alveolar bone was evaluated with digital radiology by comparing differences in bone density (BD) at different time points within the left and right maxilla and mandible. Alveolar bone defects were created in five healthy Chacma baboons. Standardised x-ray images were acquired over time and the densities of the selected trauma areas were measured pre-operatively, post-operatively and at 3 and 6 weeks post-operatively. Differences in densities were statistically tested. There was no significant difference when the grey scale averages of the combined first and fourth quadrants (right side) and combined second and third quadrants (left side) were compared pre-operatively (t = 0.70), immediately post-operatively (t = 0.34), 3 weeks post-operatively (t = 0.40) and 6 weeks post-operatively (t = 0.66). There was also no significant difference between the values for the first and second quadrants (maxilla) pre-operatively (t = 0.37), immediately post-operatively (t = 0.30), 3 weeks post-operatively (t = 0.30) and 6 weeks post-operatively (t = 0.38); the third and fourth quadrants (mandible) were also not significantly different pre-operatively (t = 0.29), immediately post-operatively (t = 0.69), 3 weeks post-operatively (t = 0.07) and 6 weeks post-operatively (t = 0.06). However, the results showed an increased predisposition of the right side to regenerate faster than the left side and indicated sufficient information to investigate the effect of laterality and preferred side of mastication on the rate of healing and alveolar BD in the maxilla and mandible.
A questionnaire of 15 questions was completed by four categories of respondents with the aim of establishing the experience and opinions of these groups on the constraints including animal health problems for communal, small-scale sheep and goat farming in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The questionnaires were completed independently and categories were representative of the areas investigated. Analysis of responses was done by means, ranges, votes and clusters of responses. Comparisons between the responses of the four categories were made to identify similarities or contrasts. The results revealed that of non-veterinary concerns, stock theft was the major problem for these farms. Nutrition was a further major constraint. A third area of significant concern was the provision or availability of facilities like fences, water troughs, dips and sheds. Lack of marketing and business skills were also seen as important deficiencies to be rectified so as to promote profitable farming. Of the most important veterinary problems identified, the provision, availability, cost and care of drugs and vaccines were seen as major stumbling blocks to effective disease control, as well as lack of access to veterinary services. The most important diseases that constrain small-ruminant livestock farming in the farming systems investigated were sheep scab and other ectoparasites, heart water, enterotoxaemia, internal parasites and bluetongue. A lack of knowledge in key areas of small-stock farming was revealed and should be rectified by an effective training and support programme to improve the contribution of small-ruminant farming to livelihoods in these communities.
The aim of this study was to screen for selected parasites and antibody levels against vectorborne pathogens in owned dogs in Lilongwe, Malawi. The study population consisted of 100 dogs; 80 participating in vaccination-spaying campaigns and 20 visiting a veterinary clinic as paying clients. All dogs went through a general physical examination including visual examination for signs of ectoparasites. A total of 100 blood samples were analysed using commercial snap tests and 40 faecal samples by egg flotation in saturated sodium chloride. The sampled dogs had a seroprevalence of 12% for Anaplasma spp., 22% for Ehrlichia spp., 4% for Dirofilaria immitis and 1% for Leishmania spp. Eggs from Ancylostoma spp. were found in 80% of the faecal samples, whereas eggs of Trichuris vulpis, Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina were only present in 3%, 8% and 13% of the samples, respectively. Ectoparasites such as Ctenocephalides sp., Trichodectes sp. and ticks were present on 98%, 25% and 11%, respectively, of the campaign dogs. Among client dogs, 35% had Ctenocephalides fleas, 10% had Trichodectes lice and none had ticks. Public education and prophylactic treatment could be used to improve the animal welfare of dogs; this would most likely also have positive impact on public health.
In this on-farm investigation, we report on stillbirths, weakness and perinatal mortality seen in calves on a commercial beef farm in the Roossenekal area, Mpumalanga province, South Africa. Post-mortem examination of these calves and histopathological examination of organ and tissue samples did not indicate an infectious aetiology. Affected calves had marginal to deficient whole blood selenium concentrations. Whole blood samples collected from adult cattle on this farm and five neighbouring farms were deficient in selenium. The potential contributions of other minerals to the symptoms seen are a subject of ongoing investigation, but selenium deficiency was marked in this herd and required urgent correction. Methods to correct the deficiency included the use of injectable products, and an oral selenium supplement chelated to methionine. Selenium availability to plants is primarily determined by the selenium content of the parent bedrock, the presence of other minerals and the pH of the soil. The apparent sudden onset of this problem implicates a soil factor as being responsible for reducing selenium's bioavailability in this area. Selenium deficiency can have a significant impact on human health. HIV and/or AIDS, various forms of cancer and several specific clinical syndromes are associated with selenium deficiency in humans, and the impact on human health in this area also requires further investigation.