Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research]]> vol. 82 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Relationship between haemoglobin concentration and packed cell volume in cattle blood samples</b>]]> A convention that has been adopted in medicine is to estimate haemoglobin (HB) concentration as a third of packed cell volume (PCV) or vice versa. The present research set out to determine whether a proportional relationship exists between PCV and Hb concentration in cattle blood samples, and to assess the validity of the convention of estimating Hb concentration as a third of PCV. A total of 440 cattle in Ghana from four breeds (Ndama, 110; West African Short Horn, 110; Zebu, 110 and Sanga, 110) were bled for haematological analysis, specifically packed cell volume, using the microhaematocrit technique and haemoglobin concentration using the cyanmethaemoglobin method. Means, standard deviations, standard errors of mean and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Trendline analyses generated linear regression equations from scatterplots. For all the cattle, a significant and consistent relationship (r= 0.74) was found between Hb concentration and PCV (%). This was expressed as Hb concentration (g/dL) = 0.28 PCV + 3.11. When the Hb concentration was estimated by calculating it as a third of PCV, the relationship was expressed in linear regression as Hb concentration (g/dL) = 0.83 calculated Hb + 3.11. The difference in the means of determined (12.2 g/dL) and calculated (10.9 g/dL) Hb concentrations for all cattle was significant (p < 0.001), whereas the difference in the means of determined Hb and corrected calculated Hb was not significant. In conclusion, a simplified relationship of Hb (g/dL) = (0.3 PCV) + 3 may provide a better estimate of Hb concentration from the PCV of cattle. <![CDATA[<b>Functional anatomy of the lacrimal gland in African black ostrich <i>Struthio camelus domesticus </i>in the embryonic and postnatal period</b>]]> The aim of the present study was morphological and histochemical analysis of the lacrimal gland (LG) in African black ostrich Struthio camelus domesticus in the embryonic and postnatal period. Studies were conducted on 50 ostriches aged between the 28th day of incubation until 7 months old. Tissue sections were stained with haematoxylin and eosin, Azan trichrome, periodic acid-Schiff, Alcian blue pH 2.5, aldehyde fuchsin and Hale's dialysed iron. The LG in ostrich was classified as a tubulo-acinar type. The primordia of the lobes were determined in the LG structure on the 28th day of incubation, whilst the weakly visible lobes with acini and tubules were observed on the 40th day of incubation. Morphometric studies of the LG showed steady growth, characterised by an increase in both length and width. Histometric measurements of lobe size showed little difference between the first, second and third age groups, whilst in the fourth age group a marked increase in size of lobes was observed. The study showed that, apart from morphological changes, during the growth of the LG the character of acid mucopolysaccharides changed. Sulphated acid mucopolysaccharides were indicated, particularly with aldehyde fuchsin (AF) staining in the fourth age group. The Hale's dialysed iron (HDI) staining showed a low concentration of carboxylated acid mucopolysaccharides in the first and second age groups and a higher concentration in the third and fourth age groups. Periodic acid-Schiff staining (PAS)-positive cells were observed in each age group, but only a small number of cells with a weakly PAS-positive reaction were demonstrated in the first age group. <![CDATA[<b>Virulence gene profiles of avian pathogenic <i>Escherichia coli </i>isolated from chickens with colibacillosis in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe</b>]]> Colibacillosis, a disease caused by avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC), is one of the main causes of economic losses in the poultry industry worldwide. This study was carried out in order to determine the APEC-associated virulence genes contained by E. coli isolates causing colibacillosis in chickens. A total of 45 E. coli isolates were obtained from the diagnostics and research branch of the Central Veterinary Laboratories, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. These isolates were obtained from chickens with confirmed cases of colibacillosis after postmortem examination. The presence of the iutA, hlyF, ompT, frz, sitD, fimH, kpsM, sitA, sopB, uvrY, pstB and vat genes were investigated by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. Of the 45 isolates, 93% were positive for the presence of at least one virulence gene. The three most prevalent virulence genes were iutA (80%), fimH (33.3%) and hlyF (24.4%). The kpsM, pstB and ompT genes had the lowest prevalence, having been detected in only 2.2% of the isolates. All 12 virulence genes studied were detected in the 45 APEC isolates. Virulence gene profiles were constructed for each APEC isolate from the multiplex data. The APEC isolates were profiled as 62.2% fitting profile A, 31.1% profile B and 6.7% profile C. None of the isolates had more than seven virulence genes. Virulence profiles of Zimbabwean APEC isolates are different from those previously reported. Zimbabwean APEC isolates appear to be less pathogenic and may rely on environmental factors and stress in hosts to establish infection. <![CDATA[<b>Pattern of antimicrobial usage in livestock animals in south-western Nigeria: The need for alternative plans</b>]]> Resistance to antibiotics has continued to increase, placing future animal and human disease management in real danger. The developing countries characterised by widespread indiscriminate antibiotic use and in which 'third-generation' antibiotics are not readily available or affordable are the worst affected. A 3-year (2010-2012) retrospective survey of antibiotic usage in livestock production in three selected states of south-western Nigeria was conducted. Data obtained from eight purposively selected licensed veterinary pharmaceutical sales establishments in the area, based on keeping detailed sales records for the study period, were analysed using Stata Version 12. Results showed that tetracyclines (33.6%), fluoroquinolones (26.5%) and beta-lactams/aminoglycosides (20.4%) constituted the majority of the antibiotics used over the 3 years. The differences in the quantities of antibiotic types used within each antimicrobial class were statistically significant for tetracyclines (F = 59.87; p < 0.0001) and fluoroquinolones (F = 43.97; p < 0.0001) but not for beta-lactams/aminoglycosides (F = 3.21; p = 0.148). Furthermore, antibiotic consumption increased by 40.4% between 2010 and 2012. Although statistically insignificant (F = 0.277; p = 0.762), the increasing trend across the years was at rates of 23.5% between 2010 and 2011 and 13.8% between 2011 and 2012. In addition, the findings show a significantly higher consumption rate (t = 15.21; df = 5; p < 0.0001) during the rainy (52.5%) than the dry (47.5%) seasons. The current increasing trend in antibiotic usage holds a serious danger for the future and therefore calls for alternative plans to safeguard future livestock production, food security and human health. This becomes more imperative considering emerging resistance against tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones, the foremost remedies for livestock diseases in most developing countries. <![CDATA[<b>A survey of the causes of cattle organs and/or carcass condemnation, financial losses and magnitude of foetal wastage at an abattoir in Dodoma, Tanzania</b>]]> Slaughterhouses provide a safeguard that prevents the public from consuming meat of poor quality or meat which may be infected with zoonotic diseases. This work reviews a 3-year database of cattle that were slaughtered and inspected between 2010 and 2012 at Dodoma abattoir, Tanzania. In addition, meat inspection was undertaken for 1 month (December 2013). The aim of this study was to establish causes of organ and carcass condemnations and their financial implications as well as the magnitude of slaughter of pregnant cows at Dodoma abattoir. During retrospective study, it was found that a total of 9015 (10.5%) lungs, 6276 (7.3%) intestines, 5402 (6.3%) livers, 3291 (3.8%) kidneys and 41 (0.05%) carcasses were condemned. Pulmonary emphysema (3.4%), fasciolosis (4.5%), pimply gut (5.7%), kidney congenital cysts (1.9%) and hydatidosis (3.1%) were major causes of organ condemnations. This large number of condemned edible organs and/or carcasses implies that public health considerations result in deprivation of valuable protein. Occurrence of hydatidosis, cysticercosis, fasciolosis and tuberculosis illustrates the possible public health problem and presence of environmental infections. Of the 794 cows slaughtered in December 2013, 46% were pregnant. Financial loss as a result of organ and/or carcass condemnations was estimated at $9892. Condemnation of organs and/or carcasses and indiscriminate slaughter of pregnant cows represent a significant loss of meat and revenue and a reduction in growth of future herds, which has a negative effect on the livestock industry. This justifies appropriate surveillance and disease control programmes coupled with strict enforcement of legislation governing animal welfare to curb the slaughter of pregnant animals. <![CDATA[<b>Parasites of pigs in two farms with poor husbandry practices in Bishoftu, Ethiopia</b>]]> A cross-sectional study was conducted from November 2011 to April 2012 on a total of 384 pigs from two privately owned intensive farms in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. The objectives of the study were to identify and determine the prevalence of common parasites of pigs. For the determination of gastrointestinal (GIT) parasites, faecal samples were collected from the study animals and subjected to standard parasitological examination techniques. Physical examination was conducted for the presence of skin parasitic lesions and skin scrapings were collected to determine prevalence of ectoparasites. The overall prevalence of GIT parasites in the pigs was 25% (96/384). Examination of faecal samples revealed the ova or oocysts of four different gastrointestinal parasites, namely Coccidia (12%), Strongyles (5.2%), Ascaris suum (4.9%) and Trichuris suis (2.9%). Mixed infection by at least two parasite species was observed in 3.65% (14/384) of the pigs. The only ectoparasite species identified was Sarcoptes scabiei var. suis, with a prevalence of 2.6%. This study indicates that pig parasites are a major problem in the study area, hence implementation of strategic control measures and appropriate hygienic management systems are recommended to reduce the prevalence of parasites. <![CDATA[<b>Determination of the optimal time of vaccination against infectious bursal disease virus (Gumboro) in Algeria</b>]]> This study was conducted to determine the effect of maternally derived antibody (MDA) on live vaccine against infectious bursal disease. A total of 140 chicks selected from vaccinated parent stock were used in this investigation. In a preset vaccination schedule, blood samples were collected to check for the actual effect. It was noticed that on day 1 the chicks contained a high level (6400.54 ± 2993.67) of maternally derived antibody that gradually decreased below a positive level within 21 days (365.86 ± 634.46). It was found that a high level of MDA interferes with the vaccine virus, resulting in no immune response. For better immune response, it is suggested that the chickens should be vaccinated at day 21, as the uniformity of MDA is poor (coefficient of the variation [CV] > 30%), and boosted at day 28. Indeed, two vaccinations are necessary to achieve good protection against infectious bursal disease virus of the entire flock. <![CDATA[<b>Cystic echinococcosis amongst small ruminants and humans in central Ethiopia</b>]]> This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of cystic echinococcosis (CE) in small ruminants and humans in Addis Ababa, central Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study involving systematic random sampling was conducted to estimate the prevalence of CE in 512 small ruminants (262 sheep and 250 goats) slaughtered at Addis Ababa Abattoir Enterprise between October 2011 and March 2012. Hydatid cysts were identified macroscopically during postmortem examination and their fertility and viability were determined. CE was observed in 21 (8.02%) sheep and 17 (6.80%) goats. In sheep 13 (4.96%) of the lungs, 10 (3.81%) livers and 1 (0.381%) heart were found to be infected with hydatid cysts. Involvement of lung and liver in goats was found to be 10 (4.0%) and 8 (3.2%) respectively, with no cysts recorded in the heart.Of the total of 77 and 47 cysts encountered in sheep and goats, 33 (42.85%) and 15 (31.91%) respectively were fertile. Viability of protoscoleces from fertile cysts in sheep (29 [87.87%]) was higher than in goats (6 [40.0%]). For humans, retrospective analysis covering five years of case reports at two major hospitals in Addis Ababa between January 2008 and December 2012 showed that of the total of 25 840 patients admitted for ultrasound examination, 27 CE cases were registered, a prevalence of 0.1% and mean annual incidence rate of approximately 0.18 cases per 100 000 population. Liver was the major organ affected in humans (81.5% in affected patients) followed by spleen (11.1%) and kidney (7.4%). Logistic regression analysis showed that prevalence of CE varied significantly in relation to host age in the small ruminants (OR = 3.93, P < 0.05) as well as in humans (95% CI, R = 4.8). This epidemiological study confirms the importance of CE in small ruminants and humans in central Ethiopia, emphasising the need for integrated approaches to controlling this neglected preventable disease. <![CDATA[<b>Pre-slaughter, slaughter and post-slaughter defects of skins and hides at the Sheba Tannery and Leather Industry, Tigray region, northern Ethiopia</b>]]> Skins and hides are perishable resources that can be damaged by parasitic diseases and human error, which result in downgrading or rejection. This study was conducted to identify defect types and to determine their prevalence in pickled sheep and wet blue goat skins and wet blue hides. Each selected skin or hide was examined for defects in natural light and the defects were graded according to established quality criteria in Ethiopian standard manuals. Major defects were captured by digital photography. The major pre-slaughter defects included scratches (64.2%), cockle (ekek) (32.8%), wounds or scars (12.6%), lesions from pox or lumpy skin disease (6.1%), poor substance (5%), branding marks (2.3%) and tick bites (1.5%). The presence of grain scratches in wet blue hides (76.3%) was significantly higher than in pickled sheep (67.2%) and wet blue goat (59.1%) skins. The major slaughter defects included flay cuts or scores, holes, poor pattern and vein marks, with a higher occurrence in wet blue goat skins (28.7%; P < 0.001) than in wet blue hides (22.8%) and pickled sheep skins (11.1%). The most prevalent post-slaughter defects were grain cracks (14.9%), hide beetle damage (8%), damage caused by heat or putrefaction (3.7%) and machine-induced defects (0.5%). Grain cracks (27.04%) and hide beetle damage (13.9%) in wet blue goat skins were significantly more common than in wet blue hides and pickled sheep skins. These defects cause depreciation in the value of the hides and skins. Statistically significant (P < 0.001) higher rejection rates were recorded for wet blue hides (82.9%) than for pickled sheep skins (18.3%) and wet blue goat skins (8.5%). Improved animal health service delivery, effective disease control strategies and strong collaboration between stakeholders are suggested to enhance the quality of skins and hides. <![CDATA[<b>A postmortem study on indigestible foreign bodies in the rumen and reticulum of ruminants, eastern Ethiopia</b>]]> A cross-sectional study was conducted on ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) slaughtered at Haramaya University and Haramaya municipal abattoirs from November 2013 to April 2014 in Haramaya, eastern Ethiopia. The objective of the study was to identify types and estimate the prevalence of foreign bodies in the rumen and reticulum of domestic ruminants in the area. From 810 randomly selected study animals, 422 (52.1%) were found to have foreign bodies. Of the 332 cattle, 193 sheep and 285 goats examined, 144 (43.4%), 109 (56.5%) and 169 (59.3%) respectively were found with various types of foreign bodies. The prevalence of foreign bodies was significantly (χ2 = 17.53, p < 0.05) higher in sheep (59.3%) and goats (56.7%) than in cattle (43.4%). Overall the prevalence of foreign bodies in study animals with poor body condition was significantly higher (χ2 = 38.57,p < 0.05) than in those with medium and good body condition. A higher percentage of foreign bodies occurred in the rumen alone (87.9%) than in the reticulum alone (5.0%), with the rest present in both. Significantly higher proportions of foreign bodies were observed in the rumen of cattle (χ2 = 332, p < 0.05), sheep (χ2 = 193, p < 0.05) and goats (χ2 = 285.0, p = 0.000) than in the reticulum. Plastic was the most commonly encountered (79.2%) foreign body, followed by cloth (15.3%) and rope (12.3%). In addition, metal (0.9%) and calcified material and/or stone (1.0%) were found in the reticulum of cattle. Lack of a plastic waste disposal system in the area as well as communal/free grazing of livestock in highly waste-polluted areas seemed to be major factors in the high occurrence of foreign bodies in ruminants. To change this, collaborative intervention schemes involving professionals, policy makers, livestock keepers and environmental activists are needed. <![CDATA[<b>The occurrence of <i>Culicoides </i>species, the vectors of arboviruses, at selected trap sites in Zimbabwe</b>]]> A study of the distribution of Culicoides species was conducted by establishing 12 light trap sites over five rainy seasons between 1998 and 2003 covering all the geo-climatic natural regions of Zimbabwe. In total, 279 919 specimens of Culicoides were trapped over a total of 163 trapping nights. The highest median counts of Culicoides per trapping night were recorded in natural region III, which has climatic conditions conducive to the successful development of the larvae. Culicoides imicola, the major vector of bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses in Africa, was found to be the most abundant species (80.4%), followed by Culicoides enderleini (5.9%) and Culicoides milnei (5.2%). This study identified 10 species of Culicoides that had not been previously described in Zimbabwe, including Culicoides loxodontis and Culicoides miombo, which are members of the C. imicola complex. A total of 23 994 Culicoides midges were collected from five trap sites in Harare, Zimbabwe, with the dominant species, C. imicola, representing 91.6% of the total collection. Seventeen arboviruses were isolated from these midges, 15 of which were bluetongue virus. The predominant bluetongue virus serotype was serotype 11, followed by serotypes 1, 8, 12 and 15. Bluetongue virus serotypes 1, 2, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16 and 18, detected in this study, had not been previously reported in Zimbabwe. <![CDATA[<b>Safety and immunogenicity of Onderstepoort Biological Products' Rift Valley fever Clone 13 vaccine in sheep and goats under field conditions in Senegal</b>]]> This blinded field safety study was conducted in Senegal to assess safety and immunogenicity of administration of the registered dose of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) Clone 13 vaccine (Onderstepoort Biological Products) to sheep and goats of West African breeds under natural conditions. A total of 267 small ruminants (220 sheep, 47 goats) were included; half received RVFV Clone 13 vaccine at the recommended dose and half received the diluent (as placebo) only. The study was performed on three commercial farms in the northern and eastern region of Senegal in accordance with veterinary good clinical practices. The animals were observed daily for 3 days after vaccination, and then weekly for 1 year. In both sheep and goats vaccinated against RVFV seroconversion rates above 70% were recorded. No seroconversion related to RVFV was observed in placebo-treated animals. No statistically significant differences were determined between placebo and vaccinated groups for mean rectal temperatures for the first 3 days after administration (p > 0.05). No abnormal clinical signs related to treatment were noted, and only one slight injection site reaction was observed in one vaccinated animal for 2 days after vaccination. Out of 176 births assessed over 1 year (93 from the vaccinated group, 83 from the placebo group), 9 were abnormal in the placebo group and 3 in the vaccinated group (p > 0.05). The frequency of adverse events was similar in the placebo and vaccinated groups. RVFV Clone 13 vaccine administered according to the manufacturer's instructions was safe and well tolerated in West African breeds of sheep and goats, including animals of approximately 6 months of age and pregnant females, under field conditions in Senegal. Antibody levels persisted up to 1 year after vaccination. <![CDATA[<b>Spatio-temporal patterns and movement analysis of pigs from smallholder farms and implications for African swine fever spread, Limpopo province, South Africa</b>]]> Infectious and zoonotic disease outbreaks have been linked to increasing volumes of legal and illegal trade. Spatio-temporal and trade network analyses have been used to evaluate the risks associated with these challenges elsewhere, but few details are available for the pig sector in South Africa. Regarding pig diseases, Limpopo province is important as the greater part of the province falls within the African swine fever control area. Emerging small-scale pig farmers in Limpopo perceived pig production as an important means of improving their livelihood and an alternative investment. They engage in trading and marketing their products with a potential risk to animal health, because the preferred markets often facilitate potential longdistance spread and disease dispersal over broad geographic areas. In this study, we explored the interconnectedness of smallholder pig farmers in Limpopo, determined the weaknesses and critical control points, and projected interventions that policy makers can implement to reduce the risks to pig health. The geo-coordinates of surveyed farms were used to draw maps, links and networks. Predictive risks to pigs were determined through the analyses of trade networks, and the relationship to previous outbreaks of African swine fever was postulated. Auction points were identified as high-risk areas for the spread of animal diseases. Veterinary authorities should prioritise focused surveillance and diagnostic efforts in Limpopo. Early disease detection and prompt eradication should be targeted and messages promoting enhanced biosecurity to smallholder farmers are advocated. The system may also benefit from the restructuring of marketing and auction networks. Since geographic factors and networks can rapidly facilitate pig disease dispersal over large areas, a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the complexities that exist around the animal disease epidemiology becomes mandatory. <![CDATA[<b>Prevalence of salivary gland hypertrophy syndrome in laboratory colonies and wild flies of <i>Glossina pallidipes </i>in Ethiopia</b>]]> Glossina pallidipes salivary gland hyperplasia (GpSGH) syndrome caused by the salivary gland hyperplasia virus reduces the reproduction potential of tsetse flies, posing a serious threat for rearing of sufficient colonies for use of tsetse and trypanosome control using the sterile insect technique. This research was conducted in the Kaliti Tsetse Mass Rearing and Irradiation Centre in Ethiopia with the objective of studying the prevalence of GpSGH syndrome in laboratory colonies of G. pallidipes (Tororo and Arbaminch) reared for release in the implementation of the sterile insect technique and a field strain of G. pallidipes Arbaminch. Presence or absence of GpSGH was determined when pathological features of the salivary gland were revealed after dissection. The overall prevalence of GpSGH syndrome in laboratory colonies was 48.3% (747/1548) with a statistically significant (z = 17.30, p = 0.001) prevalence of 70.2% (544/775) in Arbaminch colonies and 26.26% (203/773) in Tororo colonies. The prevalence of GpSGH in laboratory flies fed according to the clean blood feeding protocol was 68.9% and 22.4% in Arbaminch and Tororo strains respectively. It was 70.5% and 27.2% respectively in laboratory colonies of Arbaminch and Tororo strains fed according to the standard membrane feeding protocol. The difference in prevalence of the disease between the two feeding protocols was not statistically significant in either Arbaminch (z = 0.361, p = 0.359) or Tororo (z = 1.22, p = 0.111) strains. The prevalence of SGH in wild G. pallidipes Arbaminch strain was 3% (15/500) and was significantly (z = 23.61, p < 0.001) lower than in the laboratory strain. The effect of age and density-related stress on the development of GpSGH was not statistically significant. The prevalence of GpSGH in the newly emerging (teneral) flies in the laboratory colonies was 66.7% and 20% in the Arbaminch and Tororo strains respectively. For all considered risk factors, the prevalence was much higher in G. pallidipes Arbaminch laboratory colonies. <![CDATA[<b>First molecular isolation of <i>Mycoplasma ovis </i>from small ruminants in North Africa</b>]]> Eperythrozoonosis is a small ruminant disease caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma ovis (formerly known as Eperythrozoon ovis). Whilst acute infection in sheep may result in an anaemia and ill thrift syndrome, most animals do not develop clinical signs. Molecular methods were used to compare and evaluate the prevalence of infection with M. ovis in sheep and goats in Tunisia. A total of 739 whole blood samples from 573 sheep and 166 goats were tested for the M. ovis 16S rRNA gene using PCR. The overall prevalence was 6.28% ± 0.019 (36/573). Only sheep were infected with M. ovis (p< 0.001), and the prevalence was significantly higher in central Tunisia (29.2%) compared with other regions (p < 0.05). The prevalence revealed significant differences according to breed and bioclimatic zones (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the prevalence in young sheep (35/330; 10.6%) was higher than in adults (1/243; 0.41%) (p < 0.001). Only sheep of the Barbarine breed were infected, with a prevalence of 11.8% (p < 0.001). This is the first molecular study and genetic characterisation of M. ovis in North African sheep breeds. <![CDATA[<b>Occurrence of porcine cysticercosis in free-ranging pigs delivered to slaughter points in Arapai, Soroti district, Uganda</b>]]> Poverty, hunger and the need for production of pigs with meagre or zero inputs have made most farmers release their pigs to range freely, thus creating a pig-human cycle that maintains Taenia solium, the pig tapeworm and cause of porcine cysticercosis, in the ecosystem. A preliminary study was designed to establish the prevalence of porcine cysticercosis by postmortem examination of the tongue and carcass of free-range pigs from February to April 2014 in Arapai subcounty, Soroti district, eastern Uganda. The tongue of each pig was extended and examined before deep incisions were made and the cut surfaces were examined. The rest of the carcasses were examined for cysts. Out of 178 pigs examined, 32 were qualitatively positive for porcine cysticercosis, representing a prevalence of 18.0%. This high prevalence represents a marked risk to the communities in the study area of neurocysticercosis, a debilitating parasitic zoonosis. Proper human waste disposal by use of pit latrines, confinement of free-range pigs and treatment with albendazole and oxfendazole are recommended. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of Rift Valley fever virus Clone 13 vaccine on semen quality in rams</b>]]> Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an arthropod-borne viral disease of importance in livestock and humans. Epidemics occur periodically in domestic ruminants. People in contact with infected livestock may develop disease that varies from mild flu-like symptoms to fatal viraemia. Livestock vaccination may assist in disease control. Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) Clone 13 is a relatively new vaccine against RVF, derived from an avirulent natural mutant strain of RVFV, and has been shown to confer protective immunity against experimental infection with RVFV. The hypothesis tested in the current trial was that rams vaccinated with RVFV Clone 13 vaccine would not experience a reduction in semen quality (measured by evaluating the percentage progressively motile and percentage morphologically normal spermatozoa in successive ejaculates) relative to unvaccinated control animals. Ram lambs were screened for antibodies to RVFV using a serum neutralisation test. Animals without detectable antibodies (n = 23) were randomly allocated to either a test group (n = 12) or a control group (n = 11). Animals in the test group were vaccinated with RVFV Clone 13 vaccine. Daily rectal temperature measurements and weekly semen and blood samples were taken from all animals. Seven animals were eliminated from the statistical analysis because of potential confounding factors. Logistic regression analysis was performed on data gathered from the remaining animals to determine whether an association existed between animal group, rectal temperature and semen quality parameters. No correlation existed between the treatment group and values obtained for the semen quality parameters measured. There was no statistically significant post-vaccination decline in the percentage of live morphologically normal spermatozoa, or the percentage of progressively motile spermatozoa, either when assessed amongst all animals or when assessed within individual groups. A repeat study with a larger sample size and a more comprehensive pre-screening process may be indicated to avoid the inclusion of unsuitable animals. <![CDATA[<b>Thoracic limb morphology of the red panda (<i>Ailurus fulgens</i>) evidenced by osteology and radiography</b>]]> The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is distributed primarily in the Himalayas and southern China. It is classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The aim of this study was to describe the normal osteology and radiographic anatomy of the thoracic limb of the red panda. Radiography of the right thoracic limb was performed in seven captive adult red pandas. Radiographic findings were correlated with bone specimens from three adult animals. The scapula was wide craniocaudally and presented with a large area for the origin of the teres major muscle. The square-shaped major tubercle did not extend proximal to the head of the humerus. The medial epicondyle was prominent. A supracondylar foramen was present. The radial tuberosity and sesamoid bone for the abductor digiti I longus were prominent. The accessory carpal bone was directed palmarolaterally. Metacarpal bones were widely spread. The thoracic limb morphology of the red panda evidenced by osteology and radiography indicated flexibility of the thoracic limb joints and well-developed flexor and supinator muscles, which are important in arboreal quadrupedal locomotion. Knowledge gained during this study may prove useful in identifying skeletal material or remains and diagnosing musculoskeletal diseases and injuries of the thoracic limb. <![CDATA[<b>The slaughter of increased numbers of pregnant cows in Tanga abattoir, Tanzania: A cause for concern?</b>]]> Information on the level of foetal wastage in slaughtered cattle in Tanzania is limited. A three-month observational study (April - June 2014) of animals slaughtered at the Tanga abattoir in Tanga region, Tanzania was carried out to determine the number of pregnant cows slaughtered. The total number of cattle slaughtered during the study period was 3643, representing a monthly kill average of 1214 and a daily kill average of 40. Over 98% of the cattle presented to the abattoir for slaughter were local breed (Tanzania shorthorn zebu) and most were above 3 years of age. Improved breeds of cattle represented only 1.3% of all slaughters. Of the cattle slaughtered, 2256 (61.9%) were female and 1387 (38.1%) were male. A total of 655 slaughtered cows were pregnant, representing a foetal wastage of 29.1%. Of the 655 recovered foetuses, 333 (50.8%) were male and 322 (49.2%) were female. Of the recovered foetuses, 25.8% were recovered in the first, 42.7% in the second and 31.6% in the third trimester. This study indicates cases of significant foetal losses, negatively impacting future replacement stock as a result of the slaughter of pregnant animals. The indiscriminate slaughter of pregnant cows suggests that existing animal welfare legislation is not sufficiently enforced and routine veterinary ante-mortem inspection of trade animals is failing to prevent the high level of foetal wastage. <![CDATA[<b>Serological survey of antibodies to <i>Toxoplasma gondii </i>and <i>Coxiella burnetii </i>in rodents in north-western African islands (Canary Islands and Cape Verde)</b>]]> Coxiella burnetii and Toxoplasma gondii are intracellular parasites that cause important reproductive disorders in animals and humans worldwide, resulting in high economic losses. The aim of the present study was to analyse the possible role of peridomestic small mammals in the maintenance and transmission of C. burnetii and T. gondii in the north-western African archipelagos of the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, where these species are commonly found affecting humans and farm animals. Between 2009 and 2013, 108 black rats (Rattus rattus) and 77 mice (Mus musculus) were analysed for the presence of Coxiella and Toxoplasma antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and indirect immunofluorescence (IFA), respectively. Our results showed a wide distribution of C. burnetii and T. gondii, except for T. gondii in Cape Verde, in both rodent species. The overall seroprevalence of C. burnetii antibodies was 12.4%; 21.1% for Cape Verde and 10.2% for the Canary Islands. With respect to T. gondii, seropositive rodents were only observed in the Canary Islands, with an overall seroprevalence of 15%. Considering the fact that both pathogens can infect a large range of hosts, including livestock and humans, the results are of public health and veterinary importance and could be used by governmental entities to manage risk factors and to prevent future cases of Q fever and toxoplasmosis. <![CDATA[<b>Investigation of multidrug-resistant fatal colisepticaemia in weanling pigs</b>]]> Escherichia coli is usually a benign commensal of the gut microflora. However, when E. coli acquires virulence genes it can multiply rapidly and cause disease through colonisation of the intestinal mucosa. Escherichia coli can become a significant pathogen in young pigs. We report an investigation of fatal colisepticaemia in weanling pigs from emerging farms where piglets and weaners were diarrhoeic and the mortality rate ranged between 15% and 70% in each litter. Faecal and tissue samples were processed for histopathology, bacteriology and molecular biology (multiplex and monoplex polymerase chain reaction) and we recovered enteroaggregative multidrug-resistant E. coli producing EAST-1 enterotoxin. An association between poor housing conditions and the observed cases was established and future management programmes were recommended to reduce the impact of such pathogens. Enteroaggregative E. coli is becoming a major problem in the pig industry. It therefore becomes necessary to establish the full impact of E. coli on the South African pig industry and to determine the geographic extent of the problem. <![CDATA[<b>Determination of oxytetracycline residues in cattle meat marketed in the Kilosa district, Tanzania</b>]]> Oxytetracycline is used to treat various diseases in cattle. However, its use may be associated with unacceptable residue levels in food. Oxytetracycline residues in tissues from indigenous cattle were determined in a cross-sectional study conducted in the Kilosa district, Tanzania, between November 2012 and April 2013. A total of 60 tissue samples, including muscle, liver and kidney, were collected from slaughterhouses and butchers and analysed for oxytetracycline using high-performance liquid chromatography. Oxytetracycline residues were found in 71.1% of the samples, of which 68.3% were above acceptable regulatory levels. The mean concentration of oxytetracycline across tissues was 3401.1 μg/kg ± 879.3 μg/kg; concentrations in muscle, liver and kidney were 2604.1 μg/kg ± 703.7 μg/kg, 3434.4 μg/kg ± 606.4 μg/kg and 3533.1 μg/kg ± 803.6 μg/kg, respectively. High levels of oxytetracycline residue in meat from indigenous cattle may pose a health threat to consumers in Kilosa. The findings possibly reflect a general lack of implementation of recommended withdrawal periods, ignorance about drug use and lack of extension services. Strict regulation of the use of antimicrobial drugs in the livestock industry and associated testing of animal-derived food sources prior to marketing are required. <![CDATA[<b>Peste des petits ruminants outbreaks in White Nile State, Sudan</b>]]> Eight outbreaks of peste des petits ruminants in sheep and goats were reported in White Nile State, Sudan, between 2008 and 2009. A mortality rate of 4.2% was reported across the different outbreaks. Clinically the disease was characterised by high fever, ocular and nasal discharge, pneumonia, ulceration of the mucous membranes, diarrhoea and death. The postmortem findings included necrotic lesions in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, and swollen, oedematous lymph nodes associated with the lungs and intestine. Of the 209 serum samples tested by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, 113 (54%) were found positive. Peste des petits ruminants virus was confirmed in tissues, nasal swabs and blood samples by immunocapture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and isolation of the virus in culture of lamb testicle cells. <![CDATA[<b>Equine encephalosis in Thoroughbred foals on a South African stud farm</b>]]> Thoroughbred foal body temperature data were collected from shortly after birth until shortly after weaning during the 2007/2008 season on a stud farm in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Equine encephalosis (EE) caused by EE virus (EEV) serotype 4 (EEV-4) occurred in the foal group during the first autumn after their birth (March and April 2008). A descriptive study was undertaken to provide data on the EEV maternal antibody status, the association between pyrexia and EEV infection, and the incidence of infection amongst the foals prior to and during the episode. This included the frequent capturing of foal body temperature data and regular collection of serum and whole blood during pyretic episodes. Infection by EEV was determined using both virological and serological methods. A high EE incidence of at least 94% occurred amongst the foal cohort, despite the fact that 37% of foals had previously shown maternal antibody to EEV-4. Pyrexia in foals was not directly associated with EE infection and 41% of infected foals showed no detectable pyretic episode. Information obtained from this EE episode showed the high incidence of EEV infection in foals during the first autumn after their birth. Monitoring foal body temperature can alert farmers to outbreaks of infectious disease, such as EE. These results are relevant to the epidemiology of EE and facilitate greater understanding of it as a differential diagnosis of African horse sickness (AHS), given that EE and AHS have similar epidemiologic profiles. <![CDATA[<b>The prevalence of antibodies to <i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> in sheep in the Western Cape, South Africa</b>]]> The seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in a sample of 292 merino sheep farmed in a semi-intensive manner in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, South Africa, was investigated. Antibody seroprevalence was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Of the total sample, 23 sheep tested positive for T. gondii antibodies (8%; 95% CI: 4.7688-10.9846). There was no statistically significant relationship between seroprevalence and age of the sheep. The highest seroprevalence was found in sheep between 28 and 40 months old; a total of 19 sheep were seropositive by 40 months. No seropositive sheep were found in the age group between 16 and 28 months. The seroprevalence reported in this study is higher than what has previously been reported for the Western Cape (6%) and across South Africa on average (4.7%). As sheep farming is economically significant in South Africa, the presence of T. gondii amongst sheep may pose a production threat to the small-stock industry as well as to public health and food security. We therefore recommend further surveillance to identify high-risk animal populations so that local control measures can be put in place. <![CDATA[<b>A review on the effect of macrocyclic lactones on dung-dwelling insects: Toxicity of macrocyclic lactones to dung beetles</b>]]> Avermectins and milbemycins are commonly used in agro-ecosystems for the control of parasites in domestic livestock. As integral members of agro-ecosystems with importance in maintaining pasture health through dung burial behaviour, dung beetles are an excellent non-target bio-indicator taxon for examining potential detrimental effects of pesticide application. The current review focuses on the relative toxicity of four different anthelmintics (ivermectin, eprinomectin, doramectin and moxidectin) in dung residues using dung beetles as a bio-indicator species. One of the implications of this review is that there could be an effect that extends to the entire natural assemblage of insects inhabiting and feeding on the dung of cattle treated with avermectin or milbemycin products. Over time, reduced reproductive rate would result in decreased dung beetle populations and ultimately, a decrease in the rate of dung degradation and dung burial. <![CDATA[<b>Cats and <i>Toxoplasma gondii: </i>A systematic review and meta-analysis in Iran</b>]]> Toxoplasma gondii is a cosmopolitan zoonotic intracellular coccidian of the phylum Apicomplexa infecting warm-blooded animals and human beings. This protozoan causes a significant public health problem in humans and imposes considerable economic losses and damages to husbandry industries. The final host, cats, accounts for all of these significant burdens. Hence the present study was designed to analyse and review the overall prevalence rate of T. gondii infection in cats in Iran for the first time. In the present study data collection (published and unpublished papers, abstracts of proceedings of national parasitology congresses and dissertations) was systematically undertaken on electronic databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, Ebsco, Science Direct, Scopus, Magiran, Irandoc, IranMedex and Scientific Information Database. A total of 21 studies from 1975 to 2013 reporting prevalence of Toxoplasma infection in cats from different areas in Iran met the eligibility criteria. The pooled proportion of toxoplasmosis using the random-effect model amongst cats was estimated at 33.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 22.05-46.41). The prevalence rate of cat toxoplasmosis in various regions of Iran ranged from 1.2% to 89.2%. Firstly, this study establishes a crude prevalence rate of T. gondii infection in cats. Secondly, it discusses the role of significant risk factors including sex, age and being either household or stray cats, in the epidemiology of the disease. Furthermore, the current study determines gaps and drawbacks in the prior studies that are useful to keep in mind to assist in designing more accurate investigations in future.