OBJECTIVE To test a unique electronic ear tag designed to collect movement data to determine whether physical activity of sick steers differed from that of healthy steers.
ANIMALS 206 steers.
PROCEDURES Physical activity in 2 groups of steers during November and December of 2010 (101 steers; the tag of 1 steer failed, and thus that steer was removed from the study, which resulted in data for 100 steers) and 2011 (105 steers) was monitored with an electronic ear tag device with an on-board triple-axis accelerometer. The accelerometer recorded motion in all 3 axes in the form of counts per minute. A radio-frequency transmitter on the ear tag delivered serial packets of motion data to a local server. An algorithm was developed to analyze the activity data to determine whether this technique could be used to assess health status with high accuracy.
RESULTS Steers that became sick had significantly fewer activity counts (approx 25% fewer), compared with the activity counts of steers that remained healthy the entire time.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE In this study, automated detection of health status in growing cattle was feasible through remote monitoring of animal activity. Early identification of sick animals should lead to improved health outcomes, increased marketability, and improved animal well-being and help to minimize the use of antimicrobials that could contribute to resistant bacteria.
Objective—To evaluate annual survival and mortality rates and the longevity of a managed population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).
Design—Retrospective cohort study.
Animals—103 bottlenose dolphins at the US Navy Marine Mammal Program (MMP).
Procedures—Population age structures, annual survival and crude mortality rates, and median age at death for dolphins > 30 days old were determined from 2004 through 2013.
Results—During 2004 through 2013, the annual survival rates for MMP dolphins ranged from 0.98 to 1.0, and the annual crude mortality rates ranged from 0% to 5%, with a mean of 2.7%. The median age at death was 30.1 years from 2004 through 2008 and increased to 32 years from 2009 through 2013. The maximum age for a dolphin in the study was 52 years.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the annual mortality rates were low and survival rates were high for dolphins in the MMP from 2004 through 2013 and that the median age at death for MMP dolphins during that time was over 10 years greater than that reported in free-ranging dolphins. These findings were likely attributable to the continually improving care and husbandry of managed dolphin populations.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the impact of oral megestrol acetate (MA) administration on adrenal function in male bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).
DESIGN Serial cross-sectional study.
ANIMALS 8 adult male dolphins, all of which were receiving MA at various daily doses (range, 0 to 60 mg, PO) for the control of reproductive behavior.
PROCEDURES Blood samples were collected every 2 weeks for 1 year from dolphins trained to voluntarily provide them. Cortisol, ACTH, and other hormone concentrations were measured in serum or plasma via radioimmunoassay or ELISA. Fecal samples, also provided by dolphins voluntarily, were assayed for glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations. Effects of daily MA dose on hormone concentrations were evaluated.
RESULTS Daily MA doses as low as 10 mg strongly suppressed cortisol secretion in nearly all dolphins, and except for a single measurement, no dolphin had measurable serum concentrations at doses ≥ 20 mg. Variations in serum cortisol concentration were unrelated to season but were directly related to ACTH concentrations, suggesting primary effects upstream of the adrenal gland. Cessation of MA administration resulted in almost immediate restoration of measurable serum cortisol concentrations, although concentrations continued to rise in a few dolphins over the following weeks to months.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Caution should be exercised when administering MA to control reproductive behavior in male dolphins. Because the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis appeared to be sensitive to even small doses of MA in dolphins, duration of treatment may be the most critical consideration.
Objective—To compare ground reaction forces (GRFs) measured by use of a pressure-sensitive walk-way (PSW) and a force plate (FP) and evaluate weekly variation in the GRFs and static vertical forces in dogs.
Animals—34 clinically normal dogs and 5 research dogs with lameness.
Procedure—GRF data were collected from 5 lame and 14 clinically normal dogs by use of an FP and a PSW. Peak vertical force (PVF), vertical impulse (VI), and velocity measurements (determined by use of photocells and PSW data) were compared between groups. Peak vertical force, VI, stride length, ground phase time (ie, contact time), and static body weight distribution data were collected on 2 occasions, 1 week apart, in 20 different clinically normal dogs by use of a PSW; week-to-week variation in values was evaluated.
Results—Measurements of velocity derived by use of the photocells were not different from those derived by use of the PSW. For any 1 limb, values derived by use of the PSW were significantly lower than values derived with the FP. For values obtained by use of either technique, there were no differences between left and right limbs except for values of PVF measured via PSW in forelimbs. Values of PVF, VI, contact time, stride length, and static weight distribution generated by the PSW did not vary from week to week.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Values for GRFs varied between the FP and PSW. However, data derived by use of PSW were consistent and could be used to evaluate kinetic variables over time in the same dog.
Case Description—3 adult (24- to 43-year-old) Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) with chronic episodic malaise and inappetence associated with high serum aminotransferase (alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase) activities, high serum iron concentration, and serum transferrin saturation > 80% were evaluated.
Clinical Findings—Results of histologic examination of liver biopsy specimens revealed hemosiderosis in all 3 dolphins. Except for chronic lymphocytosis in 1 dolphin, results of extensive diagnostic testing revealed no other abnormalities. For each dolphin, a diagnosis of iron overload of unknown origin was made.
Treatment and Outcome—Phlebotomy treatment was implemented to reduce body stores of iron. Each phlebotomy procedure removed 7% to 17% (1 to 3 L) of estimated blood volume. Treatment consisted of an induction phase of weekly phlebotomy procedures for 22 to 30 weeks, which was complete when serum iron concentration and aminotransferase activities were within reference ranges and serum transferrin saturation was ≤ 20% or Hct was ≤ 30%. Total amount of iron removed from each dolphin was 53 to 111 mg/kg (24.1 to 50.5 mg/lb) of body weight. One dolphin required maintenance procedures at 8- to 12-week intervals when high serum iron concentration was detected.
Clinical Relevance—Although the cause of the iron overload and high serum aminotransferase activities remained unknown, phlebotomy treatment successfully resolved the clinicopathologic abnormalities, supporting a role of iron overload in the hepatopathy of the 3 dolphins.