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The Australian paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) is of significant medical and veterinary importance as a cause of dermatological and neurological disease, yet there is currently limited information about the bacterial communities harboured by these ticks and the risk of infectious disease transmission to humans and domestic animals. Ongoing controversy about the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (the aetiological agent of Lyme disease) in Australia increases the need to accurately identify and characterise bacteria harboured by I. holocyclus ticks.  

Ticks are the second most important vector of pathogens to humans after mosquitoes and the chief cause of vector-borne diseases in domestic animals and wildlife. 

This research provided the first evidence of a relapsing fever Borrelia sp. and of novel “Candidatus Neoehrlichia” species in Australia. The results raise new questions about tick-borne pathogens in I. holocyclus ticks. 

You can read the full study here:

Inhibition of the endosymbiont “Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii” during 16S rRNA gene profiling reveals potential pathogens in Ixodes ticks from Australia’: 

Source: Alexander W. Gofton, Charlotte L. Oskam, Nathan Lo, Tiziana Beninati, Heng Wei,Victoria McCarl, Dáithí C. Murray, Andrea Paparini, Telleasha L. Greay, Andrew J. Holmes, Michael Bunce, Una Ryan and Peter Irwin. Parasites & Vectors 2015, 8:345 




Sheep given supplements of organic selenium above United States government recommendations showed improved growth, weight and immunity, according to new research at Oregon State University. 

In a new study published in the Journal of Animal Science, OSU researchers show that maximum selenium levels permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may be too low for sheep to reach optimum growth and health. 

Selenium is essential for cellular function in animals and aids development. Large selenium doses can be toxic, but too-low levels can impair growth and compromise the immune system. 

"When sheep don't grow to their potential or have weak immune systems, it can be a sign of insufficient selenium," said Gerd Bobe, co-author of the study and an OSU professor. "Our research shows higher levels of selenium can result in healthier animals that grow bigger and that can improve returns at the marketplace for farmers and ranchers." 

Normally, grazing animals eat ample amounts of selenium from grass and other plants grown in soils naturally containing the element. Yet the soils of the Pacific Northwest are low in selenium, and the region's livestock often need it added to their diets to avoid health problems. 

A challenge is that the range between selenium deficiency and selenium toxicity can be narrow; current FDA regulations limit the amount of dietary selenium supplementation for animals grazing on selenium-scare soils – up to 0.7 mg per sheep per day or 3 mg per beef cattle per day. 

In OSU's experiments, pregnant ewes were given selenium doses up to five times higher than the FDA's allowed level – an amount of supplementation researchers determined to be not harmful to sheep. The element is carried into the bodies of offspring, helping young animals during development. 

At the highest amount, ewes gave birth to lambs that grew to be 4.3 pounds heavier than average after 60 days. Furthermore, survival was 15 percent higher in lambs receiving the highest amount of organic selenium supplementation. As farmers look to sell sheep at five to six months old, weight and health metrics are keys to profitability. 

Selenium also boosted an important gauge of the lambs' immune systems. Levels of immunoglobulin G, a protein that defends against pathogens and is essential for lamb survival, were elevated by 48 percent in Polypay ewes and 23 percent in all ewes given five times maximum FDA-permitted levels of selenium. 

The changes were measured in colostrum of ewes – a mother's first milk that is rich in immunoglobulins and vital for building the immune system and protecting against pathogens. 

OSU has a long legacy of selenium research. Half a century ago, OSU animal scientist Jim Oldfield was the first to identify severe selenium deficiency as a reason for several deadly diseases in animals, including cardiomyopathy and white muscle disease. 

A new generation of OSU research is attempting to determine how much selenium and in what form is best for optimal growth and health of sheep and cattle. 

Consumers may also benefit from eating meat from selenium-supplemented animals, as its one of the major sources of the element in the U.S. diet. Human observational studies suggest that regions with low selenium intake have a greater risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, Bobe said. 

"Consuming selenium-enriched foods may be a viable alternative for getting extra selenium," said Bobe, an expert in human and animal nutrition. "Plus, selenium-enriched animal products, including meat, are sold in other countries at a premium price." 

Journal reference: Journal of Animal Science. Provided by Oregon State University

SOURCE: Article courtesy of PHYSorg



Wound Healing and Anti-Inflammatory Effect in Animal Models of Calendula officinalis L. Growing in Brazil


Calendula officinalis is an annual herb from Mediterranean origin which is popularly used in wound healing and as an anti-inflammatory agent.

In this study, the ethanolic extract, the dichloromethane, and hexanic fractions of the flowers from plants growing in Brazil were produced. The angiogenic activity of the extract and fractions was evaluated through the chorioallantoic membrane and cutaneous wounds in rat models. The healing activity of the extract was evaluated by the same cutaneous wounds model through macroscopic, morphometric, histopathologic, and immunohistochemical analysis. The antibacterial activity of the extract and fractions was also evaluated.

This experimental study revealed that C. officinalis presented anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities as well as angiogenic and fibroplastic properties acting in a positive way on the inflammatory and proliferative phases of the healing process. 

CITATION: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative MedicineVolume 2012 (2012), Article ID 375671, 7 pages,


Leila Maria Leal Parente,1 Ruy de Souza Lino Júnior,2 Leonice Manrique Faustino Tresvenzol,1 Marina Clare Vinaud,2 José Realino de Paula,1 and Neusa Margarida Paulo3




Urban-like night illumination reduces melatonin release in European blackbirds (Turdus merula): implications of city life for biological time-keeping of songbirds

Davide M Dominoni 1 2 3, Wolfgang Goymann 4, Barbara Helm 3 and Jesko Partecke 1 2

1 Department of Migration and Immuno-ecology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, Germany

2 Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany

3 Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

4 Department of Behavioural Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany



Artificial light-at-night is known to affect a broad array of behaviours and physiological processes. In urbanized bird species, light-at-night advances important biological rhythms such as daily cycles of activity/rest and timing of reproduction, but our knowledge of the underlying physiological mechanisms is limited. Given its role as chronobiological signal, melatonin is a strong candidate for mediating the effects of light-at-night.


We exposed urban and rural European blackbirds (Turdus merula) to two light treatments equal in photoperiod but with different light intensities at night. The control group was exposed to 0.0001 lux (almost darkness), while Show Horse ~ CREDIT: wallyirthe experimental group was exposed to 0.3 lux at night, simulating conditions recorded previously on free-living urban blackbirds. We obtained diel profiles of plasma melatonin for all birds in summer (July) and winter (January), while simultaneously recording locomotor activity. Daily patterns of melatonin concentrations were clearly affected by light-at-night in both seasons. In winter, melatonin concentrations of light-at-night birds were lower in the early and late night than in those of birds kept in darkness. In summer, melatonin concentrations of the light-at-night birds were lower through all night compared to birds kept in darkness. Locomotor activity in light-at-night birds was overall higher than in control individuals, both during the day and at night, and it increased sharply before dawn. In winter, the amount of activity before dawn in the light-at-night group correlated with changes in melatonin from midnight to late night: the greater the decrease in melatonin, the greater the amount of pre-dawn activity. Urban and rural birds responded similarly to light-at-night with respect to melatonin, but differed in their behaviour, with rural birds showing more locomotor activity than urban counterparts.


This study points to reduced melatonin release at night as a potential physiological mechanism underlying the advanced onset of morning activity of urbanized birds. Based on the pattern of melatonin secretion, we suggest that birds responded to light-at-night as if they were exposed to a longer day than birds kept under dark nights.

From the full article please note the following excerpts:

“We suggest that the decrease in melatonin as a consequence of light-at-nightArtificially lit barn gives appearance of longer daylight hours to horses ~ CREDIT: jade in winter may provide animals with the physiological signal that the night is shorter than the actual photoperiod, and therefore speeds up reproductive activation. We have recently shown that the blackbirds subjected to 0.3 lux of light-at-night developed the reproductive system almost a month earlier than birds kept under dark nights [13]”

13. Dominoni DM, Quetting M, Partecke J: Artificial light at night advances avian reproductive physiology. Proc Biol Sci 2013, 280:20123017.

Light pollution, in the form of artificial outdoor and indoor lighting, has become a public health issue as it is now evident that exposure to light-at-night can promote de-synchronization between the endogenous circadian clock and the natural light/dark cycle, with profound downstream negative effects [2].”

2. Navara KJ, Nelson RJ: The dark side of light at night: physiological, epidemiological, and ecological consequences. J Pineal Res 2007, 43:215-224.

“Given our results of shortened duration of elevated melatonin and increased activity levels, we hypothesize that light-at-night may disrupt sleep, with potentially serious health consequences [75,77]. Furthermore, night-time light exposure may disrupt physiology through other mechanisms such as alterations in corticosterone rhythmicity or clock genes, as recently shown in rodents [78]. Taking this all together, we call for an improved understanding of the potential physiological costs of the reduction in melatonin levels caused by light-at-night.”

75. Bass J, Turek FW: Sleepless in America: a pathway to obesity and the metabolic syndrome? Arch Intern Med 2005, 165:15-16.

77. Kantermann T, Juda M, Vetter C, Roenneberg T: Shift-work research: Where do we stand, where should we go? Sleep Biol Rhythms 2010, 8:95-105.

78. Bedrosian TA, Galan A, Vaughn CA, Weil ZM, Nelson RJ: Light at night alters daily patterns of cortisol and clock proteins in female siberian hamsters. J Endocrinol 2013, 25:590-596. 

CITATION: Frontiers in Zoology 2013, 10:60 doi:10.1186/1742-9994-10-60 

Published: 3 October 2013

© 2013 Dominoni et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


SOURCE: This is an Open Access article courtesy of BioMed Central - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License



Haemorrhagic pneumonia in sled dogs caused by Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus - one fatality and two full recoveries: a case report

Gry Jaeger 1, Hege Kippenes Skogmo 1, Øyvor Kolbjørnsen 2, Hans Jørgen Søiland Larsen 4, Bjarne Bergsjø 3 and Henning Sørum 4

1 Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, PO Box 8146 Dep, N-0033 Oslo, Norway

2 Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Department of pathology, Sentrum, PO Box 750, N-0106, Oslo, Norway

3 Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Department of Bacteriology – Animals and Fish, Sentrum, PO Box 750, N-0106, Oslo, Norway

4 Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Department of food safety and infection biology, Section for microbiology, immunology and parasitology, PO Box 8146 Dep, N-0033 Oslo, Norway


In spite of yearly vaccination, outbreaks of canine infectious respiratory disease are periodically seen amongst domestic dogs. These infections compromise host defense mechanisms, and, when combined withSled dog team ~ CREDIT: Imma other stressful events, allow opportunistic pathogens like Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus to create serious disease. Early recognition and treatment are tremendously important for a successful outcome in these cases. A polyvalent vaccine was given to 22 racing dogs three days after a competition, followed by two days of rest, and then the dogs were returned to regular training. Coughing was noticed among the dogs four days after immunisation. Three days after this outbreak one of the dogs was unusually silent and was found dead the next morning. Simultaneously two other dogs developed haemorrhagic expectorate, depression and dyspnea and were brought in to the veterinary hospital. Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus was isolated in pure culture from all three cases. They were treated and rehabilitated successfully, and won a sledge race three months later. This paper discusses the necropsy results, treatment regime, rehabilitation and the chronology of vaccination, stressful events and disease.

CITATION: Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2013, 55:67 doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-67. Published: 11 September 2013 

© 2013 Jaeger et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


SOURCE: This is an Open Access article courtesy of BioMed Central - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

PLEASE NOTE: This article cleary demonstrates when vaccination is not only ineffective but harmful. Prior to the race all dogs were described as healthy, in good physical shape and free of signs of infection or disease. Only four days post-vaccination most of the 22 dog pack displayed symptoms of CIRD.

From the full article note the following excerpts:

“In a study of experimental parvovirus infection in dogs, Potgieter and others [13] observed that dogs vaccinated with modified live CDV and CAV-1 five days before challenge with virulent canine parvovirus resulted in disease caused by canine parvovirus whereas unvaccinated dogs remained healthy. This may indicate that these animals had reduced immunity associated with recent vaccination.”

13. Potgieter LN, Jones JB, Patton CS, Webb-Martin TA: Experimental parvovirus infection in dogs. Can J Comp Med 1981, 45:212-216.

“We may speculate that the environmental stress related to the transportation, high-end competition, time of vaccination and too early exercise all contributed to the immunosuppression and consequently the susceptibility to virus- and/or bacterial infection, and where potentially more aggressive and opportunistic bacteria like S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus can progress quickly. It may also be advisable to choose a later moment for vaccination than close up to a challenging physical competition, and to avoid any strenuous exercise for at least ten to 14 days after immunisation.”

“Environmental stress associated with intense exercise, competition and prolonged transportation combined with canine vaccination may suppress the innate immune response to viral infections and subsequent S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus infection that only rarely cause pathology in dogs.”

From a holistic perspective, polyvalent (or multivalent) vaccines are considered a far greater onslaught to the immune system than singular disease (monovalent) vaccines. Giving a live attenuated virus combination vaccine (containing 6 disease components) only three days after the stress of training, prolonged transportation and competing in an international level race had further compromised the immune system before the dogs had sufficient time to fully recover from their event. The ability of the dogs to return to full vitality and regain suitable natural defense mechanisms was reduced by what is coined as ‘vaccine damage’! The administration of this vaccine lead to immunosuppression thereby allowing the pathogen to enter the weakened systems of most of the 22 dogs eventuating with haemorrhagic pneumonia in 3 of the weakest dogs, one of which died.