The prevention of diseases through health control is essential at zoos. Recently, the gut microbiota, which is an ecosystem consisting of the bacteria living in the digestive tract, has been found to be one of the key systems that mediates animal health. However, there is little basic knowledge about gut microbiota in zoo animals, particularly the relationship between mothers and infants during lactation. Here, we investigated the formation of the gut microbiota during infancy in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in Okinawa Zoo and compared the composition between infant and mother. In addition, we analyzed the components of breast milk and examined the correlation with the infant gut microbiota. Analysis revealed that the gut microbiota of the infant contained high amount of Lactobacillales and its diversity was relatively low compared to that of the mother. We found several milk components, such as lactose, threonine and estradiol-17β, which showed a positive correlation with the change of Lactobacillales during the lactation period. In conclusion, the present study sheds light on the mechanism of gut microbiota formation during infancy in an Asian elephant and provides important insights into the health control of Asian elephants in zoos.
Atlanto-axial (AA) instability due to ligament insufficiency is a common cause of cervical spinal cord compression in toy breeds. However, in some dogs a difference in size between the atlas and the axis leads to joint incongruence that exacerbates AA subluxation and makes surgical treatment challenging. Twelve dogs with AA instability with incongruence were enrolled in a single institution prospective observational study. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the AA joint were compared to a retrospectively reviewed control group. A novel surgical approach consisting of a dorsal internal fixation technique was performed in six dogs. For affected dogs, the mean normalised difference between the dorso-ventral atlas canal and the dorso-ventral axis canal was 29.67% (median of 35.07%, standard deviation 25.64%), while in normal dogs a mean difference of 4.67% (median of 3.95%, standard deviation 5.21%) was observed. On MRI, 12/12 affected dogs had spinal cord compression, which was classified as reducible (3/12), partially reducible (6/12) and non-reducible (3/12). In surgically operated dogs, follow-up CT showed a partial or complete reduction of the previous spinal cord compression with a consistent amelioration or resolution of the presenting complaints. The proposed surgical technique was safe and effective in dogs with partially or completely reducible spinal cord compression.
This article released online on July 30, 2014 as advance publication has been retracted by the Editorial Board of Journal of Veterinary Medical Science due to a violation of the journal’s “Information for Authors”.