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Tannins have long been considered ‘anti-nutritional’ factors in monogastric nutrition, shown to reduce feed intake and palatability. However, recent studies revealed that compared with condensed tannins, hydrolysable tannins (HT) appear to have far less impact on growth performance, but may be inhibitory to the total activity of caecal bacteria. This in turn could reduce microbial synthesis of skatole and indole in the hindgut of entire male pigs (EM). Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the impact of a group of dietary HT on growth performance, carcass traits and boar taint compounds of group housed EM. For the study, 36 Swiss Large White boars were assigned within litter to three treatment groups. Boars were offered ad libitum one of three finisher diets supplemented with 0 (C), 15 (T15) or 30 g/kg (T30) of HT from day 105 to 165 of age. Growth performance, carcass characteristics, boar taint compounds in the adipose tissue and cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes CYP2E1, CYP1A2 and CYP2A19 gene expression in the liver was assessed. Compared with C, feed efficiency but not daily gain and daily feed intake was lower (P<0.05) in T15 and T30 boars. Except for the percentage carcass weight loss during cooling, which tended (P<0.10) to be greater in T30 than C and T15, carcass characteristics were not affected by the diets. In line with the numerically lower androstenone level, bulbourethral and salivary glands of T30 boars were lighter (P<0.05) than of T15 with intermediate values for C. Indole level was lower (P<0.05) in the adipose tissue of T30 than C pigs with intermediate levels in T15. Skatole levels tended (P<0.10) to be lower in T30 and C than T15 pigs. Hepatic gene expression of CYP isoenzymes did not differ between-treatment groups, but was negatively correlated (P<0.05) with androstenone (CYP2E1 and CYP1A2), skatole (CYP2E1, CYP2A) and indole (CYP2A) level. In line with the numerically highest androstenone and skatole concentrations, boar taint odour but not flavour was detected by the panellists in loins from T15 compared with loins from C and T30 boars. These results provide evidence that HT affected metabolism of indolic compounds and androstenone and that they affected the development of accessory sex glands. However, the effects were too small to be detected by sensory evaluation.
The aim of this review article is to provide an overview of the role of pigs as a biomedical model for humans. The usefulness and limitations of porcine models have been discussed in terms of metabolic, cardiovascular, digestive and bone diseases in humans. Domestic pigs and minipigs are the main categories of pigs used as biomedical models. One drawback of minipigs is that they are in short supply and expensive compared with domestic pigs, which in contrast cost more to house, feed and medicate. Different porcine breeds show different responses to the induction of specific diseases. For example, ossabaw minipigs provide a better model than Yucatan for the metabolic syndrome as they exhibit obesity, insulin resistance and hypertension, all of which are absent in the Yucatan. Similar metabolic/physiological differences exist between domestic breeds (e.g. Meishan v. Pietrain). The modern commercial (e.g. Large White) domestic pig has been the preferred model for developmental programming due to the 2- to 3-fold variation in body weight among littermates providing a natural form of foetal growth retardation not observed in ancient (e.g. Meishan) domestic breeds. Pigs have been increasingly used to study chronic ischaemia, therapeutic angiogenesis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and abdominal aortic aneurysm as their coronary anatomy and physiology are similar to humans. Type 1 and II diabetes can be induced in swine using dietary regimes and/or administration of streptozotocin. Pigs are a good and extensively used model for specific nutritional studies as their protein and lipid metabolism is comparable with humans, although pigs are not as sensitive to protein restriction as rodents. Neonatal and weanling pigs have been used to examine the pathophysiology and prevention/treatment of microbial-associated diseases and immune system disorders. A porcine model mimicking various degrees of prematurity in infants receiving total parenteral nutrition has been established to investigate gut development, amino acid metabolism and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Endoscopic therapeutic methods for upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding are being developed. Bone remodelling cycle in pigs is histologically more similar to humans than that of rats or mice, and is used to examine the relationship between menopause and osteoporosis. Work has also been conducted on dental implants in pigs to consider loading; however with caution as porcine bone remodels slightly faster than human bone. We conclude that pigs are a valuable translational model to bridge the gap between classical rodent models and humans in developing new therapies to aid human health.
The ability of a species to adapt to their captive conditions depends on how well the enclosure resembles its natural environment (Mallapur and Choudhury, 2003). Enabling captive animals to exert some control over their environment (e.g. feeding habits) allows for high animal welfare standards which has recently been achieved through environmental ‘enrichment’ using complex and diverse enclosure designs (Carlstead, 1996). The principal method of assessing a captive animal’s welfare is by observing their behaviours and comparing it to its wild relatives (Carlstead, 1996). Building on previous work (Williams and Litten-Brown, 2008), the objective of this study was to determine whether enclosure design has an effect on the behaviours of captive common squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus).
The conformation of horses can have a large effect on their movement and performance as working animals. This is particularly important for racehorses, as various aspects of body shape can increase or decrease racing performance. For example, steep shoulders are usually a hindrance for jumping, as well as more likely to be connected to lameness problems (Holstrom, 2003). Confirmation will have different effects depending on the type of race the horse is expected to run. A horse which is smaller and more compact will not perform as well in the same races as a larger horse, and the two animals are likely to do well over different styles of jump. For example, a horse with a lower, flatter jump is more likely to do well over hurdles than steeplechase fences, as the latter are larger and more likely to throw the horse off balance (Smith Thomas, 1974). Shoulder angle may prove to be a reliable indicator of success in performance horses, as sloping shoulders enables complete flexibility of the humerus, leading to longer strides and greater speed (Smith Thomas, 1974). Horses with shorter strides have been found to be more prone to lameness in the front legs as the shorter stride length causes the legs to be under more pressure from hitting the ground more frequently (Peham et al., 2001). It has been suggested that the length of the shoulder is also important (Schafer, 1981) and as it is linked to lung capacity -allowing for a deeper ribcage. The aim of this study was to compare conformation and performance in a number of racehorses.
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