The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a tremendous impact on people’s lives throughout the world. A cross-sectional study was conducted to clarify the influence of COVID-19 on Japanese companion animal clinics. A self-administered electronic questionnaire regarding the incidence of COVID-19, hygiene management, the influence on clinical service and employment, and mental stress of staff was conducted for workers in animal clinics between 1 May and 10 June 2021. Questions concerning the hygiene management before the occurrence of COVID-19, under the first state of emergency, and at the time of the survey were asked using the Likert scale. Kessler 6 (K6) was used as an indicator of mental distress. In total, 430 individuals responded. Of these, 4.9% experienced COVID-19 infection in staff. Hygiene management was strengthened, but no particular practice was statistically associated with the occurrence of COVID-19 cases in staff. In Nakaya’s variation of Scheffe’s paired comparison, the highest prioritized goal in the clinics was the prevention of nosocomial infection with COVID-19. The prevalence of serious mental illness (K6 >=13) was 11.1% (95% confidence interval: 6.3–18.6%). Multivariable negative binomial regression found four risk factors for psychological distress: veterinary nurse (P=0.016 with veterinarians and P<0.01 with other staff), female (P=0.004), fear of infection at work (P<0.001), and stress by refraining from going out (P<0.001). Directors of clinics are recommended to take care of female veterinary nurses for distress.
Blocking the interaction between CD28 and B7 by cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) is a potent immune checkpoint that prevents damage to host tissues from excessive immune responses. However, it also significantly diminishes immune responses against cancers and allows cancer cell growth. This study found that recombinant (r) human (h) CTLA-4 specifically binds to canine dendritic cells (DCs) and suppresses the responses of canine T cells to allogeneic DCs. ERY2-4, a peptide targeting rhCTLA-4 selected from a yeast-displayed library of helix-loop-helix (HLH) peptides and improved to have a binding affinity to rhCTLA-4 as strong as that of rhB7, inhibited the binding of rhCTLA-4 to canine DCs. Furthermore, the targeting peptide significantly enhanced the response of canine T cells to allogeneic DCs. These results suggest that the CTLA-4-targeting peptide enhances canine T cell activity by blocking the interaction between canine CTLA-4 on T cells and canine B7 on DCs. This study demonstrates the generation of a new type of immune checkpoint inhibitor, which may be applicable to cancer therapy in dogs.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of vitamin E supplementation on blood oxidative stress biomarker in weaned calves. Thirty clinically healthy 12 weeks of age Japanese Black calves were randomly assigned to two groups: 15 calves received 300 IU of vitamin E daily from 12 to 18 weeks of age (VE group), and the other 15 calves did not receive the vitamin E (control group). Blood samples were taken at 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 weeks of age. The concentration of serum reactive oxygen metabolites at 20 weeks of age were significantly lower in the VE group than those in the control group. Vitamin E supplementation to weaned calves might affect blood oxidative stress.
A 12-year-old mixed-breed dog presented with a 2-month history of abdominal distension. Radiographic examination, abdominal ultrasonography, and computed tomography revealed a mass in the cecum (15.0 × 11.9 × 4.5 cm). The cecal mass was surgically removed and examined histopathologically. Immunohistochemically, the neoplastic cells expressed S-100 and neuron specific enolase but not α-smooth muscle actin and CD117 (c-kit). These histologic and immunohistochemical features indicated that the mass was consistent with a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST). In dogs, most MPNSTs arise from the brachial plexus, spinal nerve root, and skin of the extremities. However, gastrointestinal MPNSTs in dogs have not been described previously. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to describe cecal MPNST in a dog.
Corni fructus is consumed as food and herbal medicine in Chinese culture. Studies have revealed that corni fructus exhibits potent antioxidant activity; however, few studies have investigated the ability of corni fructus to lower uric acid concentrations. In this study, the xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibition and uric acid–lowering effect of corni fructus extract (CFE) were evaluated in mice with potassium oxonate–induced hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia is a chronic disease prevalent worldwide and is associated with high recurrence rates. In addition, drugs used to treat hyperuricemia induce side effects that discourage patient compliance. Hyperuricemia induces metabolic imbalances resulting in accumulative uric acid deposition in the joints and soft tissues. Hyperuricemia not only induces gout but also interrupts hepatic and renal function, thereby trigging severe inflammation and various complications, including obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, and metabolic diseases. In this study, the ethyl acetate fraction (EAF) of CFE resulted in yields of antioxidant photochemical components significantly higher than those of CFEs formed using other substances. The EAF of CFE exhibited high free radical scavenging activity and XO inhibition and effectively lowered uric acid concentrations in the animal model of chemically induced hyperuricemia. The results of this study can serve as a reference for the prevention of preclinical gout as well as for functional food research.
In this study, a simple and efficient miracidium hatching technique (MHT) protocol for preparing a single-genome DNA of Schistosoma japonicum was proposed. The protocol was designed with 96-well plates to collect a miracidium for single-genome DNA preparation, and the effects of lighting conditions on hatching rates were evaluated. The highest hatching rate was recorded under sunlight (92.4%), followed by fluorescent light (88.0%), and the lowest rate was recorded under the dark condition (4.7%). The results suggested for the first time, to our knowledge, that sunlight was efficient for this simple MHT protocol. Successful amplification of microsatellite marker genes using DNA isolated from a single miracidium also confirmed the quality of the single-genome DNA for subsequent applications.
A 10-year-old spayed female Japanese Shiba Inu had an intraperitoneal mass that was excised surgically. The central area of the mass was composed of osteoblast-like neoplastic cells, osteoid, macrophages, and numerous fibers. The neoplastic cells showed nuclear atypia and many mitotic figures. Therefore, the central area of the mass was diagnosed as an extraskeletal osteosarcoma. The peripheral area of the mass was granuloma tissue with numerous fibers. The neoplastic and granuloma area included two types of fibers, which were identified as rayon and polyester by their morphological and staining characteristics. These fibers were consistent with those of commercial surgical swab, suggesting that the fibers may have been derived from retained surgical swabs at the time of ovariohysterectomy. Therefore, this lesion was considered an extraskeletal osteosarcoma associated with a retained surgical swab.
Stress affects a variety of organs. Diarrhea and constipation are closely related to stress, which involves the gastrointestinal motility of the colon. We compared the gastrointestinal motility of the proximal, mid, and distal colon in mice with stress. Stress was applied by water immersion restraint. Colon motility was measured using an isotonic transducer in the direction of the circular muscles. Electric field stimulation-induced contractions in stressed mice were reduced compared to control mice in the proximal and distal colon. On the other hand, in the mid colon, contraction in control mice and stressed mice were almost same. This interesting difference between the regions may provide a clue to the functional abnormalities in gastrointestinal motility associated with stress.
Pituitary gonadotropin secretion is regulated by several pituitary factors as well as GnRH and ovarian hormones. To elucidate the regulatory mechanisms of pituitary gonadotropin secretions, we observed changes in the mRNA levels of pituitary factors, namely annexin A1 (Anxa1) and Anxa5, inhibin/activin subunits, follistatin (Fst), and vitamin D receptor (Vdr), in female rat pituitary glands during the estrous cycle. Additionally, levels of LHβ subunit (Lhb), FSHβ subunit (Fshb), and GnRH receptor (Gnrh-r) mRNA were examined. During proestrus, Anxa1, Anxa5, Vdr, and inhibin α-subunit (Inha) exhibited the lowest levels, while during estrus, activin βB-subunit (Actbb), Lhb, and Gnrh-r were the lowest. Moreover, Fshb exhibited the highest value during metestrus, whereas Fst did not differ significantly. Correlation analyses revealed 16 statistically significant gene combinations. In particular, four combinations, namely Anxa5 and Inha, Anxa5 and Actbb, Inha and Vdr, and Inha and Actbb, were highly significant (P<0.0001), while four combinations, Anxa1 and Anxa5, Anxa1 and Vdr, Anxa5 and Vdr, and Lhb and Gnrh-r, were moderately significant (P<0.001). The remaining eight combinations that exhibited statistical significance were Anxa1 and Inha, Anxa1 and Actbb, Vdr and Actbb, Anxa1 and Fshb, Inha and Lhb, Actbb and Fshb, Actbb and Lhb, and Fst and Fshb (P<0.05). These results highlight strong correlations among Anxa1, Anxa5, Vdr, Inha, and Actbb, thereby suggesting that an interaction among ANXA1, ANXA5, and VDR may lead to further communications with inhibin and/or activin in the pituitary gland.
Fatty acids are an essential component of mammalian bodies. They go through different metabolic pathways depending on physiological states and inflammatory stimuli. In this study, we conducted a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)-based comprehensive analysis of lipid metabolites in urine of canine patients with liver mass. There were significant differences in quantity of some lipid metabolites that may be closely associated with the disease and/or general inflammatory responses, including increased metabolites of prostaglandin E2 and/or PGF2α. We demonstrated that our approach of profiling lipid metabolites in the urine is useful in gaining insights into the disease. These findings may also have an application as a screening test or a diagnosis tool for canine liver mass.
This study aimed to evaluate the outcomes and complications of triple-combination surgery consisting of thoracic duct ligation (TDL), partial pericardiectomy (PPC), and cisterna chyli ablation (CCA) for the treatment of idiopathic chylothorax in dogs. Eleven privately owned dogs with idiopathic chylothorax underwent the triple-combination surgery: TDL and PPC were performed in left recumbency, followed by CCA in dorsal recumbency. Of the 11 dogs, seven were Shiba, two were Afghan hounds, and one each was Borzoi and mixed-breed. TDL and PPC required two intercostal thoracotomies in five dogs, whereas they were performed through a single intercostal incision in the other dogs. None of the dogs showed major intraoperative complications. The median operation time was 190 min (range, 151–234 min). Nine dogs showed no pleural effusion after surgery without medical management. Another dog showed the disappearance of chylous effusion, followed by the pleural accumulation of modified transudate. However, the residual one dog in whom chylothorax did not improve postoperatively died 4 months after the combination surgery. The mortality rate at the conclusion of this study was 9.1%. Although the triple-combination surgery with TDL, PPC, and CCA was complex and required a prolonged operation time, the success rate of resolving chylothorax in our study was comparable to that of open surgery as previously reported. Therefore, this study suggests that such triple-combination surgery can become one of the therapeutic options for the management of canine idiopathic chylothorax.
Thoroughbred horses appear to be particularly predisposed to cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy (CVSM), also known as wobbler syndrome. We hypothesized that variations in the cervical vertebral volumes can affect the dynamic instability of the cervical vertebrae. This observational study aimed to clarify whether cervical vertebral volume could be considered as a contributing factor in CVSM in Thoroughbred horses. Computed tomography (CT) was used to investigate a total of 21 male Thoroughbred horses (age range, 217–1,002 days; mean, 542.3 days). The study population comprised 17 CVSM horses (age range, 217–1,002 days; mean, 549.8 days) and 4 non-CVSM horses (age range, 244–682 days; mean, 510.5 days). The cervical vertebral volumes of three-dimensional CT were measured using the image-processing software. A significant difference in the variation of cervical vertebral volumes among C2 to C4 and C3 to C5 was identified in the CVSM group (P<0.05). While no significant differences were found in the variation in cervical vertebral volumes among C4 to C6. C3 demonstrated a significantly smaller cervical vertebral volume than C2 and C4 (P<0.05). In the non-CVSM group, no significant differences were found in the variation of cervical vertebral volume among C2 to C4, C3 to C5, and C4 to C6. Our findings suggest that variations in cranial cervical vertebral volume in CVSM male horses can be considered as an important contributing factor in CVSM development.
L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) is upregulated in various malignant tumors in humans. LAT1 expression correlates with the grade of cancer and prognosis. LAT1 is responsible for the supply of many essential amino acids to cancer cells. Inhibition of LAT1 reduces the amino acids that enter the cell and inhibits cancer cell growth. Therefore, novel anticancer drugs targeting LAT1 have attracted much attention in recent years. In this study, to explore the applicability of using LAT1 expression in intracranial tumors as a prognostic factor and therapeutic target, we investigated the expression of LAT1 in surgically resected primary and secondary intracranial tumor tissues from dogs and cats. Immunohistochemical analysis of LAT1 was performed on intracranial tumor tissue from 14 dogs and 3 cats. Primary intracranial tumors were seen in 10 dogs and included meningiomas, histiocytic sarcomas, pituitary tumors, and gliomas, and 9 out of 10 cases were positive for LAT1. Primary intracranial tumors were seen in 2 cats and included meningioma and lymphoma; both cases were positive for LAT1. Secondary intracranial tumors were positive for LAT1 in 3 out of 4 cases in dogs and 1 out of 1 in cats. Since the majority of intracranial tumors in dogs and cats were positive for LAT1, immunostaining for LAT1 is expected to be a prognostic indicator and therapeutic target in the future.
This report describes an intra-abdominal mass caused by progesterone-containing controlled internal drug release (CIDR) devices in the abdominal cavity of a 28-month-old Japanese Black heifer presenting with infertility. Rectal examination revealed a mass containing a cartilage-like object in the pelvic cavity. Computed tomography revealed a mass containing two T-shaped foreign bodies. Laparotomy was performed to remove the mass containing the foreign bodies. The heifer was healthy at discharge seven days post-surgery. This case adds CIDR device as a new etiology for intra-abdominal masses. Furthermore, it highlights the usefulness of CT in diagnosing deep abdominal lesions.
Lumpy skin disease is an arthropod-borne bovine disease caused by lumpy skin disease virus. A suspect lumpy skin disease case in a breeding cattle farm on Kinmen Island, Taiwan was reported on July 8, 2020 and later confirmed the first occurrence of lumpy skin disease in the country by molecular biological detections, electron microscopy, and sequence comparison. Implementation of control measures including blanket vaccination on the island effectively ceased the outbreaks. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the virus discovered in the outbreaks was most similar to those identified in China in 2019. Identifying this virus in the coastal areas in East Asia indicated the rapid eastward spread of lumpy skin disease in Asia.
In Japan, the first patient with severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome was reported in Yamaguchi in 2012. To understand the severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) infection in this region, a retrospective surveillance in sika deer and wild boars in Yamaguchi was conducted using a virus-neutralizing (VN) test. The result revealed that 510 of the 789 sika deer and 199 of the 517 wild boars were positive for anti-SFTSV antibodies. Interestingly, seroprevalence in sika deer increased significantly from 2010–2013 to 2015–2020. The SFTSV gene was detected in one of the 229 serum samples collected from sika deer, but not from wild boars. In conclusion, SFTSV had spread among wild animals before 2012 and expanded gradually around 2013–2015 in Yamaguchi.
Bovine adenovirus type 7 (BAdV-7) is one of the most important respiratory and enteric pathogens in the cattle industry. Although live attenuated vaccines are used to control the virus in Japan, limited information is available on the genomic regions that determine viral pathogenicity. We determined the complete genome sequence of the attenuated BAdV-7 strain TS-GT. The genome is 30,052 bp long and contains 45-bp inverted terminal repeats and 30 predicted genes. A genome sequence comparison showed that 99.9% of the TS-GT genome is identical to the prototypic and pathogenic BAdV-7 strain Fukuroi; however, the TS-GT genome contains a novel mutation and four indels. We describe here potential relationships between these genomic changes and the biological characteristics of BAdV-7.
Mammals exhibit several types of diel activity pattern, including nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, and cathemeral. These patterns vary inter- and intra-specifically and are affected by environmental factors, individual status, and interactions with other individuals or species. Determining the factors that shape diel activity patterns is challenging but essential for understanding the behavioral ecology of animal species, and for wildlife conservation and management. Using camera-trap surveys, we investigated the species distributions and activity patterns of terrestrial mammals on the Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido, Japan, with particular focus on brown bears and sika deer. From June to October 2019, a total of 7,530 observations were recorded by 65 camera-traps for eight species, including two alien species. The diel activity pattern of brown bears was diurnal/crepuscular, similar to that of bears in North America, but different from European populations. Bear observations were more frequent during the autumnal hyperphagia period, and adult females and sub-adults were more diurnal than adult males. In addition, bears inside the protected area were more diurnal than those outside it. These findings suggest that appetite motivation, competitive interactions between conspecifics, and human activities potentially affect bear activity patterns. Similar to other sika deer populations and other deer species, the diel activity patterns of sika deer were crepuscular. Deer showed less variation in activity patterns among months and sex-age classes, while adult males were observed more frequently during the autumn copulation period, suggesting that reproductive motivation affects their activity patterns.
We describe a case series of colonic foreign bodies in seven chinchillas. These animals had all shown complete lack of fecal output. Ultrasonography was performed in each case, revealing a hyperechoic foreign body with strong acoustic shadowing in the bowel in 6 of the 7 cases (86%). Foreign bodies were removed under exploratory laparotomy in all cases, with a perioperative survival rate of 71% (5/7). The foreign bodies were extracted from the distal ansa of the ascending colon (n=3), descending colon (n=3), or intermediate part of the ascending colon (n=1). This case series suggests chinchillas are affected by colonic obstructive foreign bodies and surgical intervention may be necessary to pursue better prognosis in cases where medical therapies prove ineffective.