• Ear, tail and skin lesions vary according to different production flows in a farrow-to-finish pig farm

      Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; García Manzanilla, Edgar; Leonard, Finola C; Calderón Díaz, Julia A; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/S/832 (Biomed Central, 2019-07-15)
      Background Pig performance and risk of disease are associated with production flow. Given the link between health and welfare, it is likely that animal welfare indicators are also associated with production flow. This study investigated the association between production flow and tail, ear and skin lesions on a farm with a purported ‘all-in/all-out’ policy. This was an observational study whereby pigs were managed according to routine farm practice. A total of 1,016 pigs born within 1 week from the same batch were followed through the production stages and the presence or absence of welfare indicators was recorded at 4, 7, 9, 12, 16 and 24 weeks of age. Three production flows were retrospectively identified: flow 1 = ‘normal’ pigs that advanced through the production stages together ‘on time’, flow 2 = pigs delayed from advancing from the 1st to the 2nd nursery stage by 1 week and flow 3 = pigs delayed from advancing through the production stages by > 1 week. A nested case control design was applied by matching pigs by sow parity, number of born alive and birth weight. Results The presence of ear lesions was 4.5 less likely in pigs in flow 2 and 2.9 times less likely in pigs in flow 3 (P < 0.001) compared to pigs in flow 1. Pigs in flow 3 were 2.2 more likely to have tail and 1.6 times more likely to have ear lesions (P < 0.001) compared to pigs in flow 2. Pigs in flow 2 were less likely to have tail lesions compared with pigs in flow 1 (P < 0.05). Differences between production flows for the risk of skin lesions varied according to age (P < 0.05). Conclusion All production flows were associated with a high risk of lesions which raises concerns for pig welfare. However, risks for ear, tail and skin lesions varied according to each production flow likely due to the specific management practices inherent to each flow. Results from this study could be used to modify existing management practices, thus leading to improvements in animal welfare and possibly performance in intensive pig systems.
    • Effect of a single, oral administration of selenitetriglycerides, at two dose rates, on blood selenium status and haematological and biochemical parameters in Holstein-Friesian calves

      Żarczyńska, Katarzyna; Sobiech, Przemysław; Tobolski, Dawid; Mee, John F; Illek, Josef; University of Warmia and Mazury; Minister of Science and Higher Education, Poland; 010/RID/2018/19 (Biomed Central, 2021-04-23)
      Background Selenitetriglycerides are biologically active, organic forms of selenium formed as a result of the modification of selenic acid and sunflower oil. Studies in rats have shown that they are well absorbed and of low toxicity. There are no published studies on selenitetriglycerides supplementation in calves. Results In this study, selenitetriglycerides were administered once orally on the 2nd day of life at a dose of 0.5 or 1 mg Se/kg body weight to each of six Holstein-Friesian calves while six control calves were not supplemented. Blood for determination of selenium concentration, glutathione peroxidase activity, haematological parameters, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase activities and glucose, total protein, albumin, triglycerides, cholesterol, urea, and creatinine concentration was collected before supplementation (day 0) and 1, 2, 5, 10 and 14 days after supplementation. Selenitetriglycerides administration increased (P < 0.01) serum selenium concentration in supplemented calves as early as day1, from a mean of 63.4 to 184.22 µg/l in calves receiving selenium at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg BW, and from 63.17 to 200.33 µg/l in calves receiving 1 mg/kg. Serum selenium concentrations remained significantly higher compared to the control group throughout the experiment. Glutathione peroxidase activity was higher in supplemented than control calves, significantly so in animals receiving the 1 mg/kg dose of Se on the 10th and 14th days (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in the haematological and biochemical parameters between the groups. Conclusions This experiment showed that supplementation with selenitetriglycerides could significantly improve blood selenium status in calves without adverse effects on haematological or biochemical parameters. These findings are essential prerequisites for future studies on selenitetriglycerides supplementation to manage clinical selenium deficiency in calves.
    • Effect of abrupt weaning at housing on leukocyte distribution, functional activity of neutrophils, and acute phase protein response of beef calves

      Lynch, Eilish M; Earley, Bernadette; McGee, Mark; Doyle, Sean; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; John and Pat Hume Scholarship (Biomed Central, 2010-07-22)
      Background: Sixteen, spring-born, single suckled, castrated male calves of Limousin × Holstein-Friesian and Simmental × Holstein-Friesian dams respectively, were used to investigate the effect of weaning on total leukocyte and differential counts, neutrophil functional activity, lymphocyte immunophenotypes, and acute phase protein response. Calves grazed with their dams until the end of the grazing season when they were housed in a slatted floor shed. On the day of housing, calves were assigned to a treatment, (i) abruptly weaned (W: n = 8) or (ii) non-weaned (controls) (C: n = 8). Weaned calves were housed in pens without their dams, whereas non-weaned (control) calves were housed with their dams. Blood was collected on day -7, 0 (housing), 2, 7, and 14 to determine total leukocyte and differential counts and concentration of fibrinogen and haptoglobin. Lymphocyte immunophenotypes were characterised using selected surface antigens (CD4+, CD8+, WC1+ (γδ T cells), MHC Class II+ lymphocytes), and the functional activities of neutrophils (surface expression of L-selectin (CD62L), phagocytic and oxidative burst activity) were investigated using flow cytometry. Results: Treatment × sampling time interactions (P < 0.05) were detected for total leukocyte and neutrophil counts, all lymphocyte subsets, mean fluorescence intensity of CD62L+ neutrophils, and percentage neutrophils performing phagocytosis. On d 2, total leukocyte and neutrophil count increased (P < 0.001), and percentage CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes, percentage phagocytic neutrophils, mean fluorescence intensity of CD62L+ neutrophils decreased (P < 0.05) in W compared with baseline (d 0), whereas they were unchanged (P > 0.05) in C. On d 2, percentage WC1+ lymphocytes decreased (P < 0.05), whereas percentage MHC class II+ lymphocytes increased (P < 0.05) in W and C, however the magnitude of change was greater in W than C. There were no treatment × sampling time interactions (P > 0.05) for monocyte, eosinophil, and basophil counts, percentage G1+ neutrophils, or percentage oxidative burst positive neutrophils. Conclusions: Abrupt weaning resulted in increased neutrophil counts and impaired trafficking and phagocytic function. Together with the changes in lymphocyte subsets, the results suggest that there was a greater transitory reduction in immune function at housing in abruptly weaned than non-weaned beef calves.
    • The effect of breed and diet type on the global transcriptome of hepatic tissue in beef cattle divergent for feed efficiency

      Higgins, Marc G; Kenny, David A.; Fitzsimons, Claire; Blackshields, Gordon; Coyle, Séan; McKenna, Clare; McGee, Mark; Morris, Derek W; Waters, Sinead M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Biomed Central, 2019-06-26)
      Background Feed efficiency is an important economic and environmental trait in beef production, which can be measured in terms of residual feed intake (RFI). Cattle selected for low-RFI (feed efficient) have similar production levels but decreased feed intake, while also emitting less methane. RFI is difficult and expensive to measure and is not widely adopted in beef production systems. However, development of DNA-based biomarkers for RFI may facilitate its adoption in genomic-assisted breeding programmes. Cattle have been shown to re-rank in terms of RFI across diets and age, while also RFI varies by breed. Therefore, we used RNA-Seq technology to investigate the hepatic transcriptome of RFI-divergent Charolais (CH) and Holstein-Friesian (HF) steers across three dietary phases to identify genes and biological pathways associated with RFI regardless of diet or breed. Results Residual feed intake was measured during a high-concentrate phase, a zero-grazed grass phase and a final high-concentrate phase. In total, 322 and 33 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified across all diets for CH and HF steers, respectively. Three genes, GADD45G, HP and MID1IP1, were differentially expressed in CH when both the high-concentrate zero-grazed grass diet were offered. Two canonical pathways were enriched across all diets for CH steers. These canonical pathways were related to immune function. Conclusions The absence of common differentially expressed genes across all dietary phases and breeds in this study supports previous reports of the re-ranking of animals in terms of RFI when offered differing diets over their lifetime. However, we have identified biological processes such as the immune response and lipid metabolism as potentially associated with RFI divergence emphasising the previously reported roles of these biological processes with respect to RFI.
    • Effect of concrete slats, three mat types and out-wintering pads on performance and welfare of finishing beef steers

      Earley, Bernadette; McNamara, John; Jerrams, Stephen J; O'Riordan, Edward G. (Springer Nature, 2017-05-30)
      Background The objective was to investigate the effect of placing mats on concrete slatted floors on performance, behaviour, hoof condition, dirt scores, physiological and immunological variables of beef steers, and to compare responses with animals on out-wintering pads. Continental crossbred beef steers [n = 360; mean (±SD) initial live weight 539 kg (42.2)] were blocked by breed and live weight and randomly assigned to one of five treatments; (1) Concrete slats alone, (2) Mat 1 (Natural Rubber structure) (Durapak Rubber Products), (3) Mat 2 (Natural rubber structure) (EasyFix), (4) Mat 3 (modified ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam structure) and (5) Out-wintering pads (OWP’s). Results Animals on the OWPs had a greater (P < 0.05) live weight gain (P < 0.05) compared with the slat and Mat 2 treatments: results for Mat 1 and Mat 3 were the same (P > 0.05) as the other treatments. Animals on the OWPs had reduced lying percentage time compared with all the other treatments. Dry matter (DM) intake was greater for animals on the OWPs compared with all the other treatments. Carcass weight, kill out proportion, carcass fat score, carcass composition score, FCR and physiological responses were similar (P > 0.05) among treatments. No incidence of laminitis was observed among treatments. The number of hoof lesions was greater on all mat types (P < 0.05) compared with concrete slats and OWP treatments. Dirt scores were greater (P < 0.05) for animals on OWPs when measured on days 42, 84, 105, 126 and 150 compared with animals on slats. Conclusions Under the conditions adopted for the present study, there was no evidence to suggest that animals housed on bare concrete slats were disadvantaged in respect of animal welfare compared with animals housed on other floor types. It is concluded that the welfare of steers was not adversely affected by slats compared with different mat types or OWPs.
    • Effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation on the transcriptional profile of hepatic tissue in cattle

      Keogh, Kate; Kenny, David A.; Cormican, Paul; Kelly, Alan K; Waters, Sinead M.; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/RFP/GEN2447 (Biomed Central, 2016-03-17)
      Background Compensatory growth (CG) is an accelerated growth phenomenon observed in animals upon re-alimentation following a period of dietary restriction. It is typically utilised in livestock systems to reduce feed costs during periods of reduced feed availability. The biochemical mechanisms controlling this phenomenon, however, are yet to be elucidated. This study aimed to uncover the molecular mechanisms regulating the hepatic expression of CG in cattle, utilising RNAseq. RNAseq was performed on hepatic tissue of bulls following 125 days of dietary restriction (RES) and again following 55 days of subsequent re-alimentation during which the animals exhibited significant CG. The data were compared with those of control animals offered the same diet on an ad libitum basis throughout (ADLIB). Elucidation of the molecular control of CG may yield critical information on genes and pathways which could be targeted as putative molecular biomarkers for the selection of animals with improved CG potential. Results Following a period of differential feeding, body-weight and liver weight were 161 and 4 kg higher, respectively, for ADLIB compared with RES animals. At this time RNAseq analysis of liver tissue revealed 1352 significantly differentially expressed genes (DEG) between the two treatments. DEGs indicated down-regulation of processes including nutrient transport, cell division and proliferation in RES. In addition, protein synthesis genes were up-regulated in RES following a period of restricted feeding. The subsequent 55 days of ad libitum feeding for both groups resulted in the body-weight difference reduced to 84 kg, with no difference in liver weight between treatment groups. At the end of 55 days of unrestricted feeding, 49 genes were differentially expressed between animals undergoing CG and their continuously fed counterparts. In particular, hepatic expression of cell proliferation and growth genes were greater in animals undergoing CG. Conclusions Greater expression of cell cycle and cell proliferation genes during CG was associated with a 100 % recovery of liver weight during re-alimentation. Additionally, an apparent up-regulation in capacity for cellular protein synthesis during restricted feeding may contribute to and sustain CG during re-alimentation. DEGs identified are potential candidate genes for the identification of biomarkers for CG, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes.
    • The effect of disinfectant ingredients on teat skin bacteria associated with mastitis in Irish dairy herds

      Fitzpatrick, Sarah R; Garvey, Mary; Flynn, Jim; O’Brien, Bernadette; Gleeson, David; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; 2016054 (Biomed Central, 2021-01-02)
      Background Teat disinfection is an important step in the control of mastitis within a dairy herd. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of 96 commercially available teat disinfectant products in Ireland against bacterial isolates on teat skin. Teat disinfection products were applied to the teats of seventeen Holstein–Friesian cows. A split-udder model was used where one cow received two different teat disinfection products on each day. A composite swab sample was taken of the left teats and the right teats before and after teat disinfectant application. Swab samples were plated onto 3 different selective agars to enumerate bacterial counts of streptococcal, staphylococcal and coliform isolates. Results Streptococcal isolates were the most prominent bacterial group recovered on teat swabs taken before the application of a teat disinfection product (55.0%), followed by staphylococcal isolates (41.3%) and coliform isolates (3.7%). Products were reclassified by active ingredients (n = 9) for analysis. These ingredient groups included; chlorhexidine, chlorine dioxide, diamine, iodine, iodine and lactic acid, lactic acid, lactic acid and chlorhexidine, lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, and lactic acid and salicylic acid. The ingredient group, chlorine dioxide, resulted in comparable reductions to the iodine group for streptococcal isolates. The ingredient group, iodine combined with lactic acid, resulted in the greatest reduction of staphylococcal isolates. When observing products individually, a product containing 1.6% w/w lactic acid combined with hydrogen peroxide was the most effective at reducing streptococcal isolates on the teat skin, whereas a product containing lactic acid combined with 0.6% w/w chlorhexidine was the most effective against staphylococcal isolates. Minor differences were observed regarding the relationship between effectiveness and active ingredient concentration between products. Conclusions This study suggests that some teat disinfectant products achieve a higher reduction in bacterial levels against different specific bacterial groups on teat skin than other products. Therefore, when choosing a teat disinfectant product, the bacteria in the dairy herds’ environment should be considered. Further studies are necessary to evaluate products efficacy against new IMIs and any possible effects on teat skin condition.
    • Effect of early calf-hood nutrition on the transcriptomic profile of subcutaneous adipose tissue in Holstein-Friesian bulls

      English, Anne-Marie; Waters, Sinead M.; Cormican, Paul; Byrne, Colin J; Fair, Seán; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Irish Research Council; 11/S/116; GOIPG/2013/1391 (Biomed Central, 2018-04-24)
      Background Adipose tissue is a major endocrine organ and is thought to play a central role in the metabolic control of reproductive function in cattle. Plane of nutrition during early life has been shown to influence the timing of puberty in both male and female cattle, though the exact biological mechanisms involved are currently unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of early calf-hood nutrition on the transcriptomic profile of subcutaneous adipose tissue in Holstein-Friesian bulls to identify possible downstream effects on reproductive physiology. Results Holstein-Friesian bull calves with a mean (±S.D.) age and bodyweight of 19 (±8.2) days and 47.5 (±5.3) kg, respectively, were assigned to either a high (n = 10) or low (n = 10) plane of nutrition. Calves were fed in order to achieve an overall growth rate of 1.08 and 0.57 kg/day for the high and low plane of nutrition treatments, respectively. At 126 days of age, the bulls were euthanized, subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were harvested and RNAseq analysis was performed. There were 674 genes differentially expressed in adipose tissue of calves on the low compared with the high plane of nutrition (P < 0.05; FDR < 0.05; fold change > 2.0). High plane of nutrition positively altered the expression of genes across an array of putative biological processes but the most dominant cellular processes affected were cellular energy production and branched chain amino acid degradation. A high plane of nutrition caused upregulation of genes such as leptin (LEP) and adiponectin (ADIPOQ), which are known to directly affect reproductive function. Conclusions These results provide an insight into the effect of augmenting the plane of nutrition of Holstein-Friesian bull calves in the prepubertal period on the transcriptome of adipose tissue.
    • Effect of floor type on the performance, physiological and behavioural responses of finishing beef steers

      Earley, Bernadette; McDonnell, Barry; O'Riordan, Edward G.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 2015-10-31)
      Background:The study objective was to investigate the effect of bare concrete slats (Control), two types of mats [(Easyfix mats (mat 1) and Irish Custom Extruder mats (mat 2)] fitted on top of concrete slats, and wood-chip to simulate deep bedding (wood-chip placed on top of a plastic membrane overlying the concrete slats) on performance, physiological and behavioral responses of finishing beef steers. One-hundred and forty-four finishing steers (503 kg; standard deviation 51.8 kg) were randomly assigned according to their breed (124 Continental cross and 20 Holstein–Friesian) and body weight to one of four treatments for 148 days. All steers were subjected to the same weighing, blood sampling (jugular venipuncture), dirt and hoof scoring pre study (day 0) and on days 23, 45, 65, 86, 107, 128 and 148 of the study. Cameras were fitted over each pen for 72 h recording over five periods and subsequent 10 min sampling scans were analysed. Results: Live weight gain and carcass characteristics were similar among treatments. The number of lesions on the hooves of the animals was greater (P < 0.05) on mats 1 and 2 and wood-chip treatments compared with the animals on the slats. Dirt scores were similar for the mat and slat treatments while the wood-chip treatment had greater dirt scores. Animals housed on either slats or wood-chip had similar lying times. The percent of animals lying was greater for animals housed on mat 1 and mat 2 compared with those housed on concrete slats and wood chips. Physiological variables showed no significant difference among treatments. Conclusions: In this exploratory study, the performance or welfare of steers was not adversely affected by slats, differing mat types or wood-chip as underfoot material.
    • Effect of genotype on duodenal expression of nutrient transporter genes in dairy cows

      Waters, Sinead M.; Keogh, Kate; Buckley, Frank; Kenny, David A. (Biomed Central, 2013-12-09)
      Background Studies have shown clear differences between dairy breeds in their feed intake and production efficiencies. The duodenum is critical in the coordination of digestion and absorption of nutrients. This study examined gene transcript abundance of important classes of nutrient transporters in the duodenum of non lactating dairy cows of different feed efficiency potential, namely Holstein-Friesian (HF), Jersey (JE) and their F1 hybrid. Duodenal epithelial tissue was collected at slaughter and stored at -80°C. Total RNA was extracted from tissue and reverse transcribed to generate cDNA. Gene expression of the following transporters, namely nucleoside; amino acid; sugar; mineral; and lipid transporters was measured using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Data were statistically analysed using mixed models ANOVA in SAS. Orthogonal contrasts were used to test for potential heterotic effects and spearman correlation coefficients calculated to determine potential associations amongst gene expression values and production efficiency variables. Results While there were no direct effects of genotype on expression values for any of the genes examined, there was evidence for a heterotic effect (P < 0.05) on ABCG8, in the form of increased expression in the F1 genotype compared to either of the two parent breeds. Additionally, a tendency for increased expression of the amino acid transporters, SLC3A1 (P = 0.072), SLC3A2 (P = 0.081) and SLC6A14 (P = 0.072) was also evident in the F1 genotype. A negative (P < 0.05) association was identified between the expression of the glucose transporter gene SLC5A1 and total lactational milk solids yield, corrected for body weight. Positive correlations (P < 0.05) were also observed between the expression values of genes involved in common transporter roles. Conclusion This study suggests that differences in the expression of sterol and amino acid transporters in the duodenum could contribute towards the documented differences in feed efficiency between HF, JE and their F1 hybrid. Furthermore, positive associations between the expression of genes involved in common transporter roles suggest that these may be co-regulated. The study identifies potential candidates for investigation of genetic variants regulating nutrient transport and absorption in the duodenum in dairy cows, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes.
    • Effect of liner design, pulsator setting, and vacuum level on bovine teat tissue changes and milking characteristics as measured by ultrasonography

      Gleeson, David E; O'Callaghan, Edmond J; Rath, Myles V (Biomed Central, 2004-05-01)
      Friesian-type dairy cows were milked with different machine settings to determine the effect of these settings on teat tissue reaction and on milking characteristics. Three teat-cup liner designs were used with varying upper barrel dimensions (wide-bore WB = 31.6 mm; narrow-bore NB = 21.0 mm; narrow-bore NB1 = 25.0 mm). These liners were tested with alternate and simultaneous pulsation patterns, pulsator ratios (60:40 and 67:33) and three system vacuum levels (40, 44 and 50 kPa). Teat tissue was measured using ultrasonography, before milking and directly after milking. The measurements recorded were teat canal length (TCL), teat diameter (TD), cistern diameter (CD) and teat wall thickness (TWT). Teat tissue changes were similar with a system vacuum level of either 50 kPa (mid-level) or 40 kPa (low-level). Widening the liner upper barrel bore dimension from 21.0 mm (P < 0.01) or 25.0 mm (P < 0.001) to 31.6 mm increased the magnitude of changes in TD and TWT after machine milking. Milk yield per cow was significantly (P < 0.05) higher and cluster-on time was reduced (P < 0.01) with the WB cluster as compared to the NB1 cluster. Minimum changes in teat tissue parameters were achieved with system vacuum level of 40 kPa and 50 kPa using NB and WB clusters, respectively. Similar changes in teat tissue and milk yield per cow were observed with alternate and simultaneous pulsation patterns. Widening pulsator ratio from 60:40 to 67:33 did not have negative effects on changes in teat tissue and had a positive effect on milk yield and milking time. Milk liner design had a bigger effect on teat tissue changes and milking characteristics than pulsation settings.
    • Effect of milk feed source, frequency of feeding and age at turnout on calf performance, live-weight at mating and 1st lactation milk production

      Gleeson, David E; O'Brien, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2012-10-18)
      Female calves (n = 108) were assigned to 6 cold milk feeding treatments in two experiments for a 70-day period. Live-weight (LW) was measured weekly, with an additional LW taken at day 410 and post-calving for animals in experiment 1. In Experiment 1, the effect of feeding frequency and age of turnout to pasture on calf performance and 1st lactation milk yields were evaluated. The whole milk (WM) feeding treatments applied were (i) once daily feeding (OD), (ii) twice daily feeding (TD), (iii) OD feeding, outdoors at 38 days (ODO). In Experiment 2, the effects of feeding milk replacer (MR) as opposed to WM and age of turnout to pasture on calf performance were evaluated. The treatments applied were (i) OD feeding with WM (OD), (ii) OD feeding with milk replacer (MR) (ODMR), (iii) OD feeding with MR, outdoors at 38 days (ODMRO). Experiment 1: There were no differences (P > 0.05) in LW or average daily gain between TD and OD calves at day 80 or 410. ODO calves had lower LW at day 80 as compared to OD or TD (P < 0.001). Calf LW at day 80 was 86, 89 and 85 kg and at day 410 was 304, 309 and 316 kg for OD, TD and ODO, respectively. Milk feeding frequency or time of calf turnout had no effect on LW post calving, milk composition or 1st lactation milk yields. Experiment 2: Total LW at day 80 was higher (P < 0.05) for ODMR compared to OD or ODMRO calves. Calf LW was 87, 95, and 88 kg for OD, ODMR and ODMRO, respectively. However, LW at day 410 did not differ between treatments.This study showed that while some differences were observed in calf LW at day 80, these differences had no effect on LW at day 410 or 1st lactation milk yield. It can be concluded that calves can be successfully reared when fed OD with WM or MR, indoors and when turned out to pasture at 38 days of age.
    • Effect of pre-milking teat disinfection on new mastitis infection rates of dairy cows

      Gleeson, David E; Flynn, James; O'Brien, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2018-04-18)
      Background The practise of teat disinfection prior to cluster attachment for milking is being adopted by farmers in Ireland, particularly where there are herd issues with new infection rates. Pre-milking teat disinfection has been shown to reduce bacterial numbers on teat skin and to be most effective against environmental bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Streptococcus uberis. A split udder design experiment was undertaken on two research herds (A = 96 cows: B = 168 cows) to test the benefit of pre-milking teat disinfection on new mastitis infection levels. The disinfectant was applied to the left front and right hind teats of all cows in each herd and the right front and left hind teats received no disinfectant treatment prior to milking over a complete lactation. Individual quarter foremilk samples were taken on 5 occasions during the lactation and all clinical cases were recorded. The presence and number of staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria on teat skin of a random sample of experimental cows (n = 20) was measured on 3 occasions during lactation (April, June, and October). Results Pre-milking teat disinfection had no significant impact on quarter SCC and new infection rates (P > 0.05). The median SCC was 169 (95% CI = 144–198) × 103 cells/mL and 170 (95% CI = 145–199) × 103 cells/mL for disinfected teats and non-disinfected teats, respectively. There were no differences in SCC observed between herds (A = 161 (95% CI = 127–205) × 103 cells/mL; B = 169 (95% CI = 144–198) × 103 cells/mL) over the complete lactation. Bacterial levels on teat skin were reduced significantly with pre-milking teat disinfection compared to teats receiving no disinfectant (P < 0.001). Total infections (clinical and sub-clinical) were similar for disinfected teats (n = 36) and not disinfected teats (n = 40), respectively. Staphylococcus aureus (n = 47) and Strep. uberis (n = 9) were identified as the predominant bacteria in quarter foremilk samples with both clinical and sub-clinical infections. Conclusion SCC and new infection rates were similar in non-disinfected teats and disinfected (pre-milking) teats. The routine application of pre-milking teat disinfectant in pasture-grazed herds is unlikely to be of benefit where herd SCC is below 200 × 103 cells/mL.
    • Effect of pre-milking teat preparation procedures on the microbial count on teats prior to cluster application

      Gleeson, David E; O'Brien, Bernadette; Flynn, James; O'Callaghan, Edmond J; Galli, F (Biomed Central, 2009-07-01)
      A study was carried out to investigate the effect of six pre-milking teat preparation procedures on lowering the staphylococal, streptococcal and coliform microbial count on teat skin prior to cluster application. The teat preparations included 'Iodine', 'Chlorhexidine' teat foam, 'Washing and drying' with paper, 'No preparation', 'Chlorine' teat foam, and disinfectant 'Wipes'. Teat preparations were applied for five days to 10 cows for each treatment during two herd management periods (indoors and outdoors). Teats were swabbed on day four and five before teat preparation and repeated after teat preparation. The swabs were plated on three selective agars: Baird Parker (Staphylococcus spp.), Edwards (Streptococcus spp.), and MacConkey (coliform). Following incubation, microbial counts for each pathogen type were manually counted and assigned to one of six categories depending on the microbial counts measured. The results were analysed by logistic regression using SAS 28. The main analysis was conducted on binary improvement scores for the swabbing outcomes. There were no differences for staphylococcal, streptococcal and coliform bacterial counts between treatments, measured 'before' teat preparation. Treatments containing 'Chlorhexidine' teat foam (OR = 4.46) and 'Wipes' (OR = 4.46) resulted in a significant reduction (P < 0.01) in the staphylococcal count on teats compared to 'Washing and drying' or 'No preparation'. 'Chlorine' teat foam (OR = 3.45) and 'Wipes' (3.45) had the highest probability (P < 0.01) of reducing streptococcal counts compared to 'Washing and drying' or 'No preparation'. There was no statistical difference between any of the disinfectant treatments applied in reducing coliforms. Thus, the use of some disinfectant products for pre-milking teat preparation can have beneficial effects on reducing the levels of staphylococcal and streptococcal pathogens on teat skin.
    • Effect of pre-weaning concentrate supplementation on peripheral distribution of leukocytes, functional activity of neutrophils, acute phase protein and behavioural responses of abruptly weaned and housed beef calves

      Lynch, Eilish M; McGee, Mark; Doyle, Sean; Earley, Bernadette; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 2012-01-04)
      Background: The effect of pre-weaning concentrate supplementation on peripheral distribution of leukocytes, functional activity of neutrophils, acute phase protein response, metabolic and behavioural response, and performance of abruptly weaned and housed beef calves was investigated. Calves were grazed with their dams until the end of the grazing season when they were weaned and housed (day (d) 0) in a concrete slatted floor shed, and offered grass silage ad libitum plus supplementary concentrates. Twenty-six days prior to weaning and housing, 20 singled suckled, pure-bred Simmental male (non-castrated), (n = 10, m) and female (n = 10, f) calves were assigned to one of two treatments (i) concentrate supplement (CS: n = 10 (5 m and 5 f), mean age (s.d.) 201 (12.8) d, mean weight (s.d.) 258 (20.2) kg) or (ii) no concentrate supplement (controls) (NCS: n = 10, (5 m and 5 f), mean age (s.d.) 201 (13.4) d, mean weight (s.d.) 257 (19.6) kg) pre-weaning. Results: There was a treatment × sampling time interaction (P < 0.05) for percentage CD4+ and WC1+ (γδ T cells) lymphocytes and concentration of plasma globulin. On d 2, percentage CD4+ lymphocytes decreased (P < 0.001) in both treatments. Subsequently on d 7, percentage of CD4+ lymphocytes increased (P < 0.01) in CS compared with d 0, whereas percentage of CD4+ lymphocytes in NCS did not differ (P > 0.05) from d 0. On d 2, WC1+ lymphocytes decreased (P < 0.05) in both treatments but the decrease was greater (P < 0.05) in NCS than CS. Subsequently, percentages did not differ (P > 0.05) from pre-weaning baseline. On d 2, the increase in concentration of globulin was greater (P < 0.05) in CS compared with NCS, and subsequently there was no difference between treatments. Pre-weaning ADG was 1.07 (s.e.m.) (0.26) kg and 0.99 (s.e.m.) (0.26) kg for CS and NCS, respectively. Post-weaning, CS calves spent more time lying compared with NCS calves. Conclusions: Calves supplemented with concentrate prior to weaning had a lesser reduction in WC1+ lymphocytes, increased percentage CD4+ lymphocytes and concentration of total protein, and spent more time lying post-weaning, compared with non-supplemented calves.
    • Effect of restricting silage feeding prepartum on time of calving, dystocia and stillbirth in Holstein-Friesian cows

      Gleeson, David E; O'Brien, Bernadette; Mee, John F; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust (Biomed Central, 2007-11-01)
      A study was carried out to investigate the effect of restricting silage feeding on time of calving and calving performance in Holstein-Friesian cows. In the treatment group (n = 1,248 cows, 12 herds) silage feeding commenced in the evening (17:00 to 20:00 h), after a period of restricted access (2 to 10 h) while in the control group ad-libitum access to silage was provided over the 24 h period (n = 1,193 cows, 12 herds). Daytime and nighttime calvings were defined as calvings occurring between the hours of 06:30 and 00:29 and between 00:30 and 06:29, respectively. Restricting access to silage resulted in less calvings at night compared to cows with ad-libitum access to silage (18 vs 22%, P < 0.05). Cows with restricted access to silage had a higher percentage of difficult calvings (11 vs 7%, P < 0.001) and stillbirths (7 vs 5%, P < 0.05) compared to cows in the control group. The percentage of calvings at night was lower (13%) when access to silage was restricted for 10 h compared to 2, 4 or 6 h (22, 18, 25%, respectively) (P < 0.001). Calf sire breed, calf gender or cow parity did not influence time of calving. In conclusion, offering silage to pregnant Holstein-Friesian cows in the evening, after a period of restricted access, reduced the incidence of nighttime calvings, but increased the incidence of dystocia and stillbirth.
    • The effect of road and sea transport on inflammatory, adrenocortical, metabolic and behavioural responses of weanling heifers

      Earley, Bernadette; Murray, Margaret (Biomed Central, 2010-07-20)
      The objective was to investigate the effect of transport on inflammatory, adrenocortical, metabolic and behavioural responses of weanling heifers transported from Ireland to Spain. Background: At the end of the grazing season, 60 Charolais × beef heifers (mean live weight 245, s.e. 4.3 kg and mean weaning age 219, s.e. 4.9 days) were abruptly weaned from their dams on day 0. The animals were assigned by live weight to two treatments, transport (T) (n = 40) (mean 246, s.e. 5.4 kg) and control (C) (n = 20) (mean 247, s.e. 7.2 kg) on day 0. The T animals were transported from Ireland to France on a roll-on roll-off ferry at a stocking density of 0.93 m2/animal and then by road for 9 h to a French lairage while C animals remained in Ireland and were not transported. On arrival at the French lairage (d 2), 20 T animals were unloaded (ULT) and rested for 12 h in the French lairage and 20 animals rested (RT) on the transporter. All animals had access to hay and water. After the rest period, the ULT animals were re-loaded. The subsequent journey by road from France to Spain was 9 h travel, 7 h rest (on the transporter) and a further 7 h travel by road. All T animals were blood sampled prior to transport (day (d) 0; baseline), on arrival in the French lairage (d 2), after 12 h rest in the French lairage (d 2), on arrival at the feedlot in Spain (d 4) and on d 6, d 8, d 10 and d 34. Control animals were blood sampled at the same times as T animals. Results: ULT and RT animals had lower (P < 0.05) live weight than C animals on d 6. WBC number was lower (P < 0.05) in control animals on d 10 and greater on d 34 compared with baseline values. RT and ULT animals had greater (P < 0.05) WBC number than baseline on d 2 (arrival in France) to d 34. Neutrophil % was unchanged in RT, ULT and control animals compared with baseline. Control, RT and ULT animals had lower haematocrit % (P < 0.05) throughout the study compared with d 0. There was no difference (P > 0.05) in plasma protein concentration between RT and ULT animals from day 2 to d 34. Plasma concentrations of urea were higher (P < 0.05) in RT animals from d 2 to d 34 compared with C animals. RT and ULT animals had lower (P < 0.05) non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) and βeta-hydroxy-butyrate (ßHB) concentrations on d 10 and d 34 compared with d 0. Conclusion: It is concluded that, within the conditions of the present study, the performance of the animals that remained on the transporter during the 12 h lairage period in France was not different post-transport from the transported animals that were unloaded and lairaged in France.
    • Effect of road transport for up to 24 hours followed by twenty-four hour recovery on live weight and physiological responses of bulls

      Earley, Bernadette; Murray, Margaret; Prendiville, Daniel J. (Biomed Central, 2010-07-20)
      Background: The transport of livestock can have major implications for their welfare, and there is strong public interest and scientific endeavour aimed at ensuring that the welfare of transported animals is optimal. The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of transport on live weight, physiological and haematological responses of bulls after road transport of 0, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 hours (h). Seventy-two Charolais bulls (mean weight (s.d.) 367 (35) kg), naïve to transport, were randomly assigned to one of six journey (J) times of 0 h, 6 h, 9 h, 12 h, 18 h and 24 h transport (n = 12 animals/treatment) at a stocking density of 1.02 m2/bull. Blood samples were collected by jugular venipuncture before transport (-0.25 h), immediately after (0 h) and at 1 h, 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, 8 h, 12 h and 24 h relative to time 0 h. The bulls were weighed before transport (- 24 h and - 0.25 h), immediately after (0 h), and at 4 h, 12 h and 24 h relative to time 0 h. Control animals were blood sampled before assignment (-0.25 h) to novel pens, after (24 h), and at 1 h, 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, 8 h, 12 h and 24 h relative to the 24 h sampling time point. Results: Bulls travelling for 6 h (280 km), 9 h (435 km), 12 h (582 km), 18 h (902 km) and 24 h (1192 km) lost 4.7, 4.5, 5.7 (P < 0.05), 6.6 (P < 0.05) and 7.5 (P < 0.05) percentage (%) live weight compared with baseline. Live weight re-gained to pre-transport levels during the 24 h recovery period. Lymphocyte percentages were lower (P < 0.05) and neutrophil percentages were greater (P < 0.05) in all animals. Blood protein, glucose and NEFA concentrations and creatine kinase activity were greater (P < 0.05) in the bulls following transport and returned to baseline within 24 h. Conclusions: Under the conditions of the present study, transport of bulls on journeys by road, ranging from 6 h (280 km) to 24 h (1192 km) duration, affected live weight, haematological and physiological measurements of metabolism and inflammation. Our findings showed that live weight and some physiological and haematological responses of bulls returned to pre-transport levels within 24 h with animals having had access to feed and water.
    • Effect of short term diet restriction on gene expression in the bovine hypothalamus using next generation RNA sequencing technology

      Matthews, Daragh; Diskin, Michael G.; Kenny, David A.; Creevey, Christopher J.; Keogh, Kate; Waters, Sinead M. (Biomed Central, 2017-11-09)
      Background Negative energy balance (NEB) is an imbalance between energy intake and energy requirements for lactation and body maintenance affecting high-yielding dairy cows and is of considerable economic importance due to its negative impact on fertility and health in dairy herds. It is anticipated that the cow hypothalamus experiences extensive biochemical changes during the early post partum period in an effort to re-establish metabolic homeostasis. However, there is variation in the tolerance to NEB between individual cows. In order to understand the genomic regulation of ovulation in hypothalamic tissue during NEB, mRNA transcriptional patterns between tolerant and sensitive animals were examined. A short term dietary restriction heifer model was developed which induced abrupt onset of anoestrus in some animals (Restricted Anovulatory; RA) while others maintained oestrous cyclicity (Restricted Ovulatory; RO). A third control group (C) received a higher level of normal feeding. Results A total of 15,295 genes were expressed in hypothalamic tissue. Between RA and C groups 137 genes were differentially expressed, whereas between RO and C, 32 genes were differentially expressed. Differentially expressed genes were involved in the immune response and cellular motility in RA and RO groups, respectively, compared to C group. The largest difference between groups was observed in the comparison between RA and RO heifers, with 1094 genes shown to be significantly differentially expressed (SDE). Pathway analysis showed that these SDE genes were associated with 6 canonical pathways (P < 0.01), of which neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction was the most significant. Within the comparisons the main over-represented pathway functions were immune response including neuroprotection (CXCL10, Q1KLR3, IFIH1, IL1 and IL8; RA v C and RA v RO); energy homeostasis (AgRP and NPY; RA v RO); cell motility (CADH1, DSP and TSP4; RO v C) and prevention of GnRH release (NTSR1 IL1α, IL1β, NPY and PACA; RA v RO). Conclusions This information will assist in understanding the genomic factors regulating the influence of diet restriction on fertility and may assist in optimising nutritional and management systems for the improvement in reproductive performance.
    • Effect of space allowance and mixing on growth performance and body lesions of grower-finisher pigs in pens with a single wet-dry feeder

      Camp Montoro, Jordi; Boyle, Laura A; Solà-Oriol, David; Muns, Ramon; Gasa, Josep; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; 0415 (Biomed Central, 2021-01-06)
      Background Low space allowance (SA) and mixing may result in reduced growth performance (GP) and animal welfare issues because of adverse social behaviours directed to pen mates. This could be exacerbated in pens with single space feeders owing to social facilitation of feeding behaviour. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of SA and mixing on GP and body lesions (BL) in pens with one single space wet-dry feeder. Results Two experiments were conducted on grower-finisher pigs from 10 to 21 weeks of age. In Exp1, pigs (N = 216) were assigned to three SA; 0.96 m2/pig (n = 6 pens; 10 pigs/pen; SA96), 0.84 m2/pig (n = 6; 12 pigs/pen; SA84) and 0.72 m2/pig (n = 6; 14 pigs/pen; SA72), in a randomized design. In Exp2, pigs (N = 230) were used in a 2 × 2 factorial randomized design considering SA and mixing as treatments. Pigs were assigned to two SA; 0.96 m2/pig (n = 10 pens; 10 pigs/pen; SA96) and 0.78 m2/pig (n = 10; 13 pigs/pen; SA78) and were either mixed or not at the entry to the finishing facility. GP was not affected by SA (P > 0.05) in either experiment. In Exp2, non-mixed pigs were 5.4 kg heavier (P <  0.001), gained 74 g more per day (P = 0.004), consumed 101.8 g more of feed per day (P = 0.007) and tended to have higher feed efficiency (P = 0.079) than mixed pigs from 11 to 21 weeks of age. Number of BL was affected by SA in both experiments. In Exp1, SA72 pigs had 74.4 and 97.4% more BL than SA96 and SA84 pigs at 20 weeks of age respectively (P <  0.01). In Exp2, SA78 pigs had 48.6, 43.6 and 101.3% more BL than SA96 pigs at 12, 16 and 21 weeks of age respectively (P <  0.05). Mixing did not affect the number of BL from 12 to 21 weeks of age in Exp2 (P > 0.05). Conclusion Mixing had a considerable effect on growth performance thus, strategies to avoid or mitigate mixing should be considered. Although space allowance had no effect on growth performance, high number of body lesions in the lower space allowance indicates that space allowances equal or below 0.78 m2/pig are detrimental to the welfare of pigs despite following the EU legislation.