Published Projects

Published Projects supported Financially by the Foundation


Hooijberg EH, Steenkamp G, du Preez JP, Goddard A. Analytic and quality control validation and assessment of field performance of a point-of-care chemistry analyzer for use in the White rhinoceros. Veterinary Clinical Pathology 2017:46:100-110

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract
A chemistry point-of-care analyzer would be useful for evaluating injured wildlife, particularly White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) that survive poaching attempts. The IDEXX VetTest could be suitable, but species-specific validation, development of a statistical quality control (QC) strategy, and evaluation under field conditions are necessary. The objectives were to (1) validate the VetTest for the White rhinoceros, (2) perform QC validation on the VetTest and generate a statistical QC strategy, and (3) apply this QC strategy to monitor performance under typical field conditions. Differences between White rhinoceros heparin plasma and serum, short-term imprecision, and reportable range using rhinoceros plasma and long-term imprecision using commercial quality control mate- rial (QCM) were assessed against prescribed total allowable error (TEa) for up to 15 analytes. Quality control validation was performed using data from the long-term imprecision study and TEa. A QC strategy using QCM was developed and used to monitor performance under field conditions. Imprecision was acceptable for all analytes except for ALP, ALT, and AST at low activities. The reportable range for AST and LDH differed from the manufacturer’s specifications. Eleven analytes were suitable for statistical QC using the 13s rule, 3 using the 2s rule; ALP was not suitable. In the field, observed error was < TE a for all 15 analytes and the sigma metric was > 3.0 for 12 analytes. In conclusion the VetTest is suitable for use in the White rhinoceros. Statistical QC is possible for most analytes and useful for evaluation of field performance.



Hooijberg EH*, Steenkamp G*, Buss P, Goddard A*. Method comparison and generation of plasma biochemistry RIs for the White rhinoceros on a point-of-care and wet chemistry analyser. Veterinary Clinical Pathology 2017:DOI:10.1111/vcp.12490

* Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa.


Abstract
Plasma biochemistry analysis may aid the management of White rhinoceros with poaching or other injuries. Analyzer- and species-specific RIs are necessary to evaluate health status and identify abnormalities. The purpose of the study was to perform a comparison study between the IDEXX VetTest and Roche Cobas Integra 400 Plus, and to generate analyzer-specific RIs for White rhinoceros according to published guidelines. Comparison was carried out using White rhinoceros plasma samples from healthy and diseased animals. Reference intervals for albumin, ALT, AST, CK, creatinine, GGT, globulins, glucose, phosphorus, total proteins, and urea were determined from a sample group of chemically immobilized healthy adult White rhinoceros from the Kruger National Park, South Africa. There was a significant analytic bias for all analytes between the 2 analyzers. Results for glucose and total protein were clinically equivalent based on total allowable error limits. Reference intervals were generated from 51 individuals (26 male, 25 female) for all analytes except ALT on the VetTest. The type, direction, and magnitude of bias between the VetTest and Cobas appeared to be species- and analyzer-specific, when compared to other studies. These measures of bias may be used for comparability testing. Reference intervals for total proteins (VetTest 77 – 108 g/L,Cobas 77 – 110 g/L) and globulins (VetTest 47 –79 g/L, Cobas 51 – 87 g/L) were high compared to other uneven-toed ungulates. In conclusion plasma samples from White rhinoceros can be evaluated on both the VetTest and Cobas. Results from this study will aid conservation efforts directed toward this species.



Buss P, Miller M, Fuller A, Haw A, Wanty R, Olea-Popelka F, Meyer M. Cardiovascular effects of etorphine, azaperone, and butorphanol combinations in chemically immobilized captive white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2016;47:834–843

Veterinary Wildlife Services, South African National Parks, Kruger National Park, Private Bag X402, Skukuza 1350, South Africa


Abstract
Chemical capture is an essential tool in the management and conservation of white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum); however, cardiovascular responses in immobilized megaherbivores are poorly understood. Blood pressure and heart rate responses in rhinoceros immobilized with etorphine or etorphine plus azaperone, and the effects of subsequent i.v. butorphanol administration were investigated. Six white rhinoceros were used in a randomized crossover study design with four interventions: 1) etorphine i.m.; 2) etorphine plus azaperone i.m.; 3) etorphine i.m. and butorphanol i.v.; and 4) etorphine plus azaperone i.m., and butorphanol i.v. Etorphine resulted in hypertension and tachycardia in immobilized rhinoceros on initial measurements. Over the 25-min study period, blood pressures and heart rate declined. Heart rates were slower, although the rhinoceros were still tachycardic, and blood pressures lower during the whole study period in animals immobilized with etorphine and azaperone compared with those that received only etorphine. Butorphanol administration resulted in lower arterial blood pressures and heart rates in etorphine-immobilized rhinoceros. In rhinoceros immobilized with etorphine and azaperone, heart rate slowed following administration of butorphanol i.v., although blood pressures remained unchanged. Azaperone reduced hypertension associated with etorphine immobilization, but animals remained tachycardic. Administration of butorphanol to etorphine/azaperone-immoblized rhinoceros lowered heart rate to values approaching normal resting levels without altering blood pressure.



Buss P, Olea-Popelka F, Meyer L, Hofmeyr J, Mathebula N, Kruger M, Brüns A, Martin L, Miller M. Evaluation of cardiorespiratory, blood gas, and lactate values during extended immobilization of white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 46(2): 224–233, 2015 

Veterinary Wildlife Services, South African National Parks, Kruger National Park, Private Bag X402, Skukuza 1350, South Africa

Abstract
Ten white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) were immobilized for a total of 13 procedures in holding facilities in Kruger National Park using etorphine, azaperone, and hyaluronidase to assess the effect of extended immobilization on serial cardiorespiratory, blood gas, and lactate values. Butorphanol was administered intravenously following initial blood collection and physiologic assessment (t¼0). Respiratory and cardiovascular parameters, body temperature, and arterial blood gases were monitored at 10-min intervals for a total of 100 min. Initial parameters at the time of recumbency revealed severe hypoxemia, hypercapnia, tachycardia, an increased alveolar-arterial (A-a) gradient, and mildly elevated lactate levels. At 10 min and 20 min, there were significant (P, 0.05) changes in the following physiologic parameters: heart rate decreased [96 and 80 beats/min, respectively, vs. 120 beats/min], arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2) increased [48 and 45 mm Hg, respectively vs. 30 mm Hg], arterial haemoglobin oxygen saturation increased [79% and 74%, respectively, vs. 47%], A-a gradient decreased [29.13 and 30.00 mm Hg, respectively, vs. 49.19 mm Hg], and respiratory rate decreased [5 and 5 breaths/min vs. 7 breaths/min]. Blood lactate levels also decreased from 2.54 mM/L to 1.50 and 0.89 mM/L, respectively. Despite initial improvements in blood oxygen levels at t ¼ 10 and 20 min, the rhinoceros remained severely hypoxemic for the remainder of the procedure (median PaO2 ¼ 50.5 mm Hg, 95% confidence interval, 43.8–58.1). Median values for respiratory rate (5 breaths/min) and arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2; 68.5 mm Hg) did not change significantly for the remaining 80 min. Median lactate, base excess, bicarbonate, and pH values improved between 20 and 100 min despite the persistent hypercapnia, indicating that the animals adequately compensated for respiratory and lactic acidosis. White rhinoceros were immobilized for 100 min with no negative effects, a desirable outcome if procedures require extended chemical immobilization without oxygen supplementation.



Buss P, Miller M, Fuller A, Haw A, Stout E, Olea-Popelka F, Meyer L. Post-induction butorphanol administration alters oxygen consumption to improve blood gases in etorphine-immobilized white rhinoceros. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.vaa.2017.03.008. 

Veterinary Wildlife Services, South African National Parks, Kruger National Park, Private Bag X402, Skukuza 1350, South Africa

Abstract
The objective was to investigate the effects of post-induction butorphanol administration in etorphine immobilized white rhinoceros on respiration and blood gases using a randomized crossover study in six sub-adult male white rhinoceros. Etorphine, or etorphine followed by butorphanol 12 minutes after recumbency, was 7 administered intramuscularly [2.5 mg etorphine, 25 mg butorphanol (1000 to 1250 kg), or 3.0 mg etorphine, 30 mg butorphanol (1250 to 1500 kg)]. Sampling started at 10 minutes after initial recumbency, and was repeated at five minute intervals for 25 minutes. Arterial blood gases, limb muscle tremors, expired minute ventilation and respiratory frequency were measured at each sampling point. Calculated values included alveolar to arterial oxygen gradient, expected respiratory minute volume, tidal volume, physiological deadspace, oxygen consumption, and carbon dioxide production. Etorphine administration resulted in an initial median (range) hypoxaemia [PaO2 25.0 (23.0-28.0) mmHg], hypercapnia [PaCO2 76.2 (67.2-81.2) mmHg], increased P(A-a) O2 [41.7 (36.6-45.1) mmHg, VO2 [11.1 (10.0-12.0) L minute-1] and muscle tremors. Butorphanol administration was followed by rapid, although moderate, improvements in PaO2 [48.5 (42.0-51.0) mmHg] and PaCO2 [62.8 (57.9-75.2) mmHg]. In rhinoceros administered butorphanol, VO2 [4.4 (3.6-5.1) L minute-1] and VCO2 [4.2 (3.8-4.4) L minute-1] were lower than in those not administered butorphanol. Increased arterial oxygen tension was associated with lower oxygen consumption (p=0.002) which was positively associated with lower muscle tremor scores (p<0.0001). Hypoxaemia and hypercapnia in etorphine-immobilized rhinoceros resulted from an increased alveolar-arterial gradient and increased oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production associated with muscle tremors. Rather than being associated with changes in respiratory minute ventilation, it appears that improved blood gases following butorphanol administration were a consequence of decreased oxygen consumption associated with reduced muscle tremoring.



Gerlach CA, Kummrow MS, Meyer LC, Zeiler GE, Stegmann GF, Buck RK, Fosgate GT, Kästner SB. Continuous intravenous infusion anaesthesia with medetomidine, ketamine, and midazolam after induction with a combination of etorphine, medetomidine, and midazolam or with medetomidine, ketamine, and butorphanol in impala (Aepyceros melampus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2017;48:62–71 

From the Small Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, Foundation, Bünteweg 9, 30559 Hannover, Germany.


Abstract
In order to develop a long-term anaesthesia for flighty antelope species in field situations, two different protocols for induction and maintenance with an intravenous infusion were evaluated in wild-caught impala (Aepyceros melampus). Ten adult female impala were induced with two induction protocols: one consisted of 0.2 mg/kg medetomidine, 4 mg/kg ketamine, and 0.15 mg/kg butorphanol (MKB) and one consisted of 0.375 mg/kg etorphine, 0.2 mg/kg medetomidine, and 0.2 mg/kg midazolam (EMM). In both treatments, anaesthesia was maintained with a continuous intravenous infusion (CII) at an initial dose rate of 1.2 lg/kg per hr medetomidine, 2.4 mg/kg per hr ketamine and 36 lg/kg per hr midazolam. Partial reversal was achieved with naltrexone (2 : 1 mg butorphanol; 20 : 1 mg etorphine) and atipamezole (5 : 1 mg medetomidine). Evaluation of anaesthesia included respiratory rate, heart rate, rectal temperature, arterial blood pressure, oxygen saturation, end tidal carbon dioxide tension, and tidal volume at 5-min intervals, palpebral reflex and response to painful stimuli at 15-min intervals, and arterial blood gases at 30-min intervals. Plasma cortisol concentration was determined after induction and before reversal. Duration and quality of induction and recovery were evaluated. EMM caused a faster induction of 9.5 6 2.9 min compared to 11.0 6 6.4 min in MKB. Recovery was also quicker in EMM(EMM:6.3 6 5.4 min; MKB: 9.8 6 6.0 min). However, EMM also produced more cardiopulmonary side effects, including hypoxemia and hypercapnia, and calculated oxygenation indices (PaCO2-PETCO2) were worse than in MKB. One animal died after induction with EMM. The CII provided surgical anaesthesia in 7 of 10 animals in MKB and in 9 of 9 animals in EMM for 120 min. In conclusion, the MKB induction protocol had advantages for prolonged anaesthesia in impala with significantly less cardiopulmonary depression compared to EMM. The comparably decreased anaesthetic depth could easily be adjusted by an increase of the CII.



Buck RK*, Meyer LRC*, Stegmann GF*, Kästner SBR, Kummrow M, Gerlach C, Fosgate GT, Zeiler GE*. Propofol–medetomidine–ketamine total intravenous anaesthesia in thiafentanil–medetomidine-immobilized impala (Aepyceros melampus). Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia 2016 doi:10.1111/vaa.12402

*Department of Companion Animal Studies and Department of Paraclinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


Abstract
The objective was to characterize a propofol–medetomidine–ketamine total intravenous anaesthetic in impala (Aepyceros melampus) using a prospective clinical study in 10 adult female impala. Impala were immobilized at 1253 m above sea level with 2.0 mg thiafentanil and 2.2 mg medetomidine via projectile darts. Propofol was given to effect (0.5 mg/kg boluses) to allow endotracheal intubation, following which oxygen was supplemented at 2 L minute. Anaesthesia was maintained with a constant-rate infusion of medetomidine and ketamine at 5 µg/kg/hour and 1.5 mg/kg/hour respectively, and propofol to effect (initially 0.2 mg/kg/minute) for 120 minutes. The propofol infusion was titrated according to reaction to nociceptive stimuli every 15 minutes. Cardiopulmonary parameters were monitored continuously and arterial blood gas samples were analysed intermittently. After 120 minutes’ maintenance, the thiafentanil and medetomidine were antagonized using naltrexone (10:1 thiafentanil) and atipamezole (5:1 medetomidine), respectively. All impala were successfully immobilized. The median dose [interquartile range (IQR)] of propofol required for intubation was 2.7 (1.9–3.3) mg/kg. The propofol–medetomidine–ketamine combination abolished voluntary movement and ensured anaesthesia for the 120 minute period. Propofol titration showed a generally downward trend. Median (IQR) heart rate [57 (53–61) beats/minute], respiratory rate [10 (9–12) breaths/minute] and mean arterial blood pressure [101 (98–106) mmHg] were well maintained. Arterial blood gas analysis indicated hypoxaemia, hypercapnia and acidaemia. Butorphanol (0.12 mg/kg) was an essential rescue drug to counteract thiafentanil-induced respiratory depression. All impala regurgitated frequently during the maintenance period. Recovery was calm and rapid in all animals. Median (IQR) time to standing from antagonist administration was 4.4 (3.2–5.6) minutes. In conclusion a propofol– medetomidine–ketamine combination could provide adequate anaesthesia for invasive procedures in impala. The propofol infusion should begin at 0.2 mg/kg/minute and be titrated to clinical effect. Oxygen supplementation and airway protection with a cuffed endotracheal tube are essential.


van Vollenhoven E*, Grant CC, Fletcher L, Ganswindt A, Page PP*. Repeatability and reliability of heart rate variability in healthy adult pony mares. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 2017;46:73-81.

*Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa.


Abstract
Heart rate variability (HRV) is an important noninvasive method to quantify stress by measuring sympathetic and parasympathetic activity of the autonomic nervous system. Few studies exist on the repeatability and reliability of HRV in equids. The objectives of this study were to (1) compare the effect of different correction factors (CF) available in HRV analysis software on HRV indicator values and (2) to determine the repeatability and reliability of HRV indicators in an unrestricted (pasture) and a restricted movement (equine examination stocks) environment. Data were recorded on five consecutive days from six adult pony mares. Short-term tachograms were compared with regard to software CF by graphical and statistical (Friedman's and Wilcoxon signed rank test) comparison. The results showed that the specific CF influences the HRV indicator values. The strong CF was able to balance the elimination of artefacts without removing the variability of RR intervals and was subsequently used to determine repeatability and reliability. HRV indicators showed good repeatability over the 5 days using Friedman test (pasture, P = .162–.898; examination stocks, P = .29–.865), indicating that there were no significant differences between HRV indicator values. The reliability, represented by intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and coefficient of variation (CV), was poor-to-good for pasture data (ICC = 0.44–0.79; CV = 10–68.10) and examination stocks data (ICC = 0.22–0.83; CV = 16.07–62.29). Measurements obtained from the examination stocks were less reliable than those from pasture. Using normalized low-frequency and normalized high-frequency components improved reliability. Free-movement environment-based HRV recordings could ensure better reliability but may require the use of a stronger CF.



Zeiler GE*, Stegmann GF*, Fosgate G, Buck RK*, Sabine B. R. Kastner SBR, Kummrow M, Gerlach C, Meyer LCR. Etorphine–ketamine–medetomidine total intravenous anesthesia in wild impala (Aepyceros melampus) of 120-minute duration. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2015;46:755–766. 

*Department of Companion Animal Studies and Department of Paraclinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


Abstract
There is a growing necessity to perform long-term anesthesia in wildlife, especially antelope. The costs and logistics of transporting wildlife to veterinary practices make surgical intervention a high-stakes operation. Thus there is a need for a field-ready total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) infusion to maintain anesthesia in antelope. This study explored the feasibility of an etorphine–ketamine–medetomidine TIVA for field anesthesia. Ten wild-caught, adult impala (Aepyceros melampus) were enrolled in the study. Impala were immobilized with a standardized combination of etorphine (2 mg) and medetomidine (2.2 mg), which equated to a median (interquartile range [IQR]) etorphine and medetomidine dose of 50.1 (46.2–50.3) and 55.1 (50.8–55.4) lg/kg, respectively. Recumbency was attained in a median (IQR) time of 13.9 (12.0–16.5) min. Respiratory gas tensions, spirometry, and arterial blood gas were analyzed over a 120-min infusion. Once instrumented, the TIVA was infused as follows: etorphine at a variable rate initiated at 40 lg/kg per hour (adjusted according to intermittent deep-pain testing); ketamine and medetomidine at a fixed rate of 1.5 mg/kg per hour and 5 lg/kg per hour, respectively. The etorphine had an erratic titration to clinical effect in four impala. Arterial blood pressure and respiratory and heart rates were all within normal physiological ranges. However, arterial blood gas analysis revealed severe hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and acidosis. Oxygenation and ventilation indices were calculated and highlighted possible co-etiologies to the suspected etorphine-induced respiratory depression as the cause of the blood gas derangements. Impala recovered in the boma post atipamezole (13 mg) and naltrexone (42 mg) antagonism of medetomidine and etorphine, respectively. The etorphine–ketamine–medetomidine TIVA protocol for impala may be sufficient for field procedures of up to 120-min duration. However, hypoxemia and hypercapnia are of paramount concern and thus oxygen supplementation should be considered mandatory. Other TIVA combinations may be superior and warrant further investigation.




Goddard A, Leisewitz AL, Kristensen AT, Schoeman JP. Platelet indices in dogs with Babesia rossi infection. Veterinary Clinical Pathology 2015:44; 493-497

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa.


Abstract
Thrombocytopenia without clinical bleeding is a consistent finding in virulent canine babesiosis. The objective of the study was to investigate the platelet index phenotype in Babesia rossi-infected dogs and the association with disease outcome. We hypothesized that an increased proportion of large, activated platelets would be present. Ninety-six infected and 15 control dogs were included. Babesia-infected dogs were further divided into survivors and nonsurvivors. Platelet count, mean platelet volume (MPV), platelet volume distribution width (PDW), plateletcrit (PCT), mean platelet mass (MPM), mean platelet component concentration (MPC), and platelet component distribution width (PCDW) were measured at presentation, and at 24 and 48 hours in admitted survivors. Mortality rate was 13% (12/96). At presentation, compared to controls, PLT and PCT were significantly decreased in survivors and nonsurvivors (P < .001 for both). Mean platelet volume was significantly increased in survivors and nonsurvivors compared to the controls (P < .001 for both); however, MPM was only significantly increased in the survivors (P < .001). There were no differences between the survivors and nonsurvivors for any of the indices at presentation. Platelet count and PCT were significantly increased at 24 and 48 hours, and MPC significantly increased at 24 hours for admitted survivors compared to the values at presentation. In conclusion, large, activated platelets were significantly increased and may play a role in the lack of a bleeding phenotype, despite severe thrombocytopenia, in canine babesiosis.



Goddard A, Leisewitz AL, Kristensen AT, Schoeman JP. Platelet activation and platelet–leukocyte interaction in dogs naturally infected with Babesia rossi. The Veterinary Journal 2015:205;387-392

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa.

Abstract
Using flow cytometry, platelet–leukocyte aggregate (PLA) formation has previously been documented in dogs with a variety of systemic inflammatory disorders and immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia. Platelet activation and subsequent interaction between platelets and leukocytes are important for regulating innate immunity and systemic inflammation. The objective of this study was to investigate PLA formation in canine babesiosis and to determine whether it was associated with outcome. Blood was collected from 36 client-owned dogs diagnosed with Babesia rossi infection and 15 healthy controls using EDTA as anticoagulant. Activated platelets and PLA formation were detected by measuring surface expression of P-selectin (CD62P) on platelets, monocytes and neutrophils. Of the Babesia-infected dogs, 29 survived and seven died. The percentage of CD62P-positive monocytes was significantly higher (P = 0.036) in the Babesia-infected dogs (54%) than in healthy control dogs (35.3%). However, there were no significant differences between the Babesia-infected and control groups for CD62P-positive platelets (4.9% and 1.2%, respectively) and CD62P-positive neutrophils (28.3% and 17.9%, respectively). The percentage of CD62P-positive monocytes was significantly higher (P = 0.019) in the survivors (58.9%) than in healthy control dogs; however, there were no significant differences between the non-survivors (39.2%) and the controls or between survivors and non-survivors. There were no significant differences between groups for the percentage of CD62P-positive platelets (survivors 4.8%; nonsurvivors 5.3%; controls 1.2%) or CD62P-positive neutrophils (survivors 31.6%; non-survivors 5.6%; controls 17.9%). In conclusion, Babesia-infected dogs, specifically dogs that survived, had a significantly increased percentage of platelet–monocyte aggregates compared to healthy control dogs.



Goddard A, Leisewitz AL, Kjelgaard-Hansen M, Kristensen AT, Schoeman JP. Excessive pro-inflammatory serum cytokine concentrations in virulent canine babesiosis. PloS ONE 11(3): e0150113. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150113.

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa.

Abstract
Babesia rossi infection causes a severe inflammatory response in the dog, which is the result of the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine secretion. The aim of this study was to determine whether changes in cytokine concentrations were present in dogs with babesiosis and whether it was associated with disease outcome. Ninety-seven dogs naturally infected with B. rossi were studied and fifteen healthy dogs were included as controls. Diagnosis of babesiosis was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction and reverse line blot. Blood samples were collected from the jugular vein at admission, prior to any treatment. Cytokine concentrations were assessed using a canine-specific multiplex assay on an automated analyser. Serum concentrations of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-18, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) were measured. Twelve of the Babesia-infected dogs died (12%) and 85 survived (88%). Babesia-infected dogs were also divided into those that presented within 48 hours from displaying clinical signs, and those that presented more than 48 hours after displaying clinical signs. Cytokine concentrations were compared between the different groups using the Mann-Whitney U test. IL-10 and MCP-1 concentrations were significantly elevated for the Babesia-infected dogs compared to the healthy controls. In contrast, the IL-8 concentration was significantly decreased in the Babesia-infected dogs compared to the controls. Concentrations of IL-6 andMCP-1 were significantly increased in the non-survivors compared to the survivors. Concentrations for IL-2, IL-6, IL-18 and GM-CSF were significantly higher in those cases that presented during the more acute stage of the disease. These findings suggest that a mixed cytokine response is present in dogs with babesiosis caused by B. rossi, and that an excessive pro-inflammatory response may result in a poor outcome.



Golezardya H, Oosthuizen MC, Penzhorn, BL. Diversity of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) at three breeding centres in South Africa and activity patterns of questing ticks. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 2016:7;788-797

Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa.

Abstract
Ticks were collected from 191 cheetahs at three breeding centres in North West and Limpopo Provinces, South Africa. Haemaphysalis elliptica, a common tick of large felids, was the most abundant species collected, while Amblyomma hebraeum and Rhipicephalus simus occurred in lower numbers. In addition to these three species, drag-sampling of the vegetation revealed the presence of Amblyomma marmoreum, Rhipicephalus (B.) decoloratus and Rhipicephalus zambeziensis. The presence of free-ranging antelopes, murid rodents and tortoises at the breeding centres probably contributed to the availability of immature tick stages on the vegetation. Diurnal and seasonal questing patterns of ixodid ticks were investigated at monthly intervals at the largest cheetah-breeding centre. Questing ticks were most abundant on the vegetation during the warm summer months. Most questing H. elliptica larvae and nymphs were collected from the vegetation in the early morning and late afternoon and fewest during the middle of the day.



Gratwick Z, Viljoen A, Page PC, Goddard A, Fosgate GT Lyle CH. A comparison of the effects of a 4% modified fluid gelatin and a 6% hydroxyethyl starch on haemodilution, colloid osmotic pressure, haemostasis and renal parameters in healthy ponies. Equine Veterinary Journal DOI: 10.1111/evj.12594

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa.

Abstract
Adverse effects on renal health and haemostasis have been documented in human patients administered hydroxyethyl starches (HESs). Gelatins could provide useful substitutes should similar adverse effects be identified in horses. The objectives were to compare the effects of a 4% modified fluid gelatin (MFG) with a 6% (130/0.4) HES on haemodilution, colloid osmotic pressure (COP), haemostasis and renal parameters in healthy ponies. Three treatments (A = 10 ml/kg bwt HES, B = 10 ml/kg bwt MFG and C = 20 ml/kg bwt MFG) were administered to 6 healthy ponies with a one-week washout period. Haematocrit, platelet count, total serum protein, COP, thromboelastography (TEG), prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) and fibrinogen were measured at baseline and at multiple time points up to 24 h post-infusion. Serum creatinine, urine specific gravity (USG), urine protein: creatinine ratio (UPC), urine gamma glutamyltransferase:creatinine ratio (UGC) and urine sediment examination (USE) were performed before and 24 h after each treatment, as well as one week after the final treatment. All treatments resulted in significant haemodilution and increases in COP, with treatment C having a significantly greater effect on haematocrit than other treatments. The platelet count decreased with all treatments and was significantly lower following treatment C compared with treatment B. No clinically relevant differences were observed in any of the TEG parameters within or between treatments. No significant differences in PT, aPTT or fibrinogen were observed between treatments. Serum creatinine, UPC and UGC did not change significantly between pre- and post-study measurements. USG and USE remained within normal limits. In conclusion, MFG could be considered as an alternative to HES for volume expansion and oncotic support. Neither MFG nor HES were associated with clinically significant adverse effects on haemostasis or renal parameters.



Hudson-Lamb GC, Schoeman JP, Hooijberg EH,Heinrich SK, Tordiffe ASW. Reference intervals for selected serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 87.1 (2016): 1-6.

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa.

Abstract
Published haematologic and serum biochemistry reference intervals are very scarce for captive cheetahs and even more for free-ranging cheetahs. The current study was performed to establish reference intervals for selected serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs. Baseline serum biochemistry analytes were analysed from 66 healthy Namibian cheetahs. Samples were collected from 30 captive cheetahs at the AfriCat Foundation and 36 free-ranging cheetahs from central Namibia. The effects of captivity-status, age, sex and haemolysis score on the tested serum analytes were investigated. The biochemistry analytes that were measured were sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, urea and creatinine. The 90% confidence interval of the reference limits was obtained using the non-parametric bootstrap method. Reference intervals were preferentially determined by the non-parametric method and were as follows: sodium (128 mmol/L - 166 mmol/L), potassium (3.9 mmol/L - 5.2 mmol/L), magnesium (0.8 mmol/L - 1.2 mmol/L), chloride (97 mmol/L - 130 mmol/L), urea (8.2 mmol/L - 25.1 mmol/L) and creatinine (88 μmol/L - 288 μmol/L). Reference intervals from the current study were compared with International Species Information System values for cheetahs and found to be narrower. Moreover, age, sex and haemolysis score had no significant effect on the serum analytes in this study. Separate reference intervals for captive and free-ranging cheetahs were also determined. Captive cheetahs had higher urea values, most likely due to dietary factors. This study is the first to establish reference intervals for serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs according to international guidelines. These results can be used for future health and disease assessments in both captive and free- ranging cheetahs.
 


Dalton DL, Linden B, Wimberger K, Nupen LJ, Tordiffe ASW, Taylor PJ, Madisha MT, Kotze A. (2015) Correction: New insights into samango monkey speciation in South Africa. PLoS ONE 2015:10(6): e0129988. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129988

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.

Abstract
The samango monkey is South Africa's only exclusively forest dwelling primate and represents the southernmost extent of the range of arboreal guenons in Africa. The main threats to South Africa's forests and thus to the samango are linked to increasing land-use pressure and increasing demands for forest resources, resulting in deforestation, degradation and further fragmentation of irreplaceable habitats. The species belongs to the highly polytypic Cercopithecus nictitans group which is sometimes divided into two species C. mitis and C. albogularis. The number of subspecies of C. albogularis is also under debate and is based only on differences in pelage colouration and thus far no genetic research has been undertaken on South African samango monkey populations. In this study we aim to further clarify the number of samango monkey subspecies, as well as their respective distributions in South Africa by combining molecular, morphometric and pelage data. Overall, our study provides the most comprehensive view to date into the taxonomic description of samango monkeys in South Africa. Our data supports the identification of three distinct genetic entities namely; C. a. labiatus, C. a. erythrarchus and C. a. schwarzi and argues for separate conservation management of the distinct genetic entities defined by this study.



Smitz N, Cornélis D, Chardonnet P, Caron A, de Garine-Wichatitsky M, Jori F, Mouton A, Latinne A, Pigneur L, Melletti M, Kanapeckas KL. Genetic structure of fragmented southern populations of African Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer). BMC Evolutionary Biology 2014, 14:203 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/14/203

Department of Life Sciences-Conservation Genetics, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium

Abstract
Background: African wildlife experienced a reduction in population size and geographical distribution over the last millennium, particularly since the 19th century as a result of human demographic expansion, wildlife overexploitation, habitat degradation and cattle-borne diseases. In many areas, ungulate populations are now largely confined within a network of loosely connected protected areas. These metapopulations face gene flow restriction and run the risk of genetic diversity erosion. In this context, we assessed the “genetic health” of free ranging southern African Cape buffalo populations (S.c. caffer) and investigated the origins of their current genetic structure. The analyses were based on 264 samples from 6 southern African countries that were genotyped for 14 autosomal and 3 Y-chromosomal microsatellites.

Results: The analyses differentiated three significant genetic clusters, hereafter referred to as Northern (N), Central (C) and Southern (S) clusters. The results suggest that splitting of the N and C clusters occurred around 6000 to 8400 years ago. Both N and C clusters displayed high genetic diversity (mean allelic richness (Ar) of 7.217, average genetic diversity over loci of 0.594, mean private alleles (Pa) of 11), low differentiation, and an absence of an inbreeding depression signal (mean FIS = 0.037). The third (S) cluster, a tiny population enclosed within a small isolated protected area, likely originated from a more recent isolation and experienced genetic drift (FIS = 0.062, mean Ar = 6.160, Pa = 2). This study also highlighted the impact of translocations between clusters on the genetic structure of several African buffalo populations. Lower differentiation estimates were observed between C and N sampling localities that experienced translocation over the last century. Conclusions: We showed that the current genetic structure of southern African Cape buffalo populations results from both ancient and recent processes. The splitting time of N and C clusters suggests that the current pattern results from human-induced factors and/or from the aridification process that occurred during the Holocene period. The more recent S cluster genetic drift probably results of processes that occurred over the last centuries (habitat fragmentation, diseases). Management practices of African buffalo populations should consider the micro-evolutionary changes highlighted in the present study.


Hartman MJ, Monnet E, Kirberger RM, Schmidt-Küntzel A, Schulman ML, Stander JA, Stegmann GF, Schoeman JP. Single-Incision Laparoscopic Sterilization of the Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Vet Surg 2015;44:76-82

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04,Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa.

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To describe laparoscopic ovariectomy and salpingectomy in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) using single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS). STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort.
ANIMALS: Female cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) (n = 21).
METHODS: Cheetahs were randomly divided to receive either ovariectomy (n = 11) or salpingectomy (n = 10). The use and complications of a SILS port was evaluated in all of cheetahs. Surgery duration and insufflation volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) were recorded and compared across procedures. RESULTS: Laparoscopic ovariectomy and salpingectomy were performed without complications using a SILS port. The poorly-developed mesosalpinx and ovarian bursa facilitated access to the uterine tube for salpingectomy in the cheetah. The median surgery duration for ovariectomy was 24 minutes (interquartile range 3) and for salpingectomy was 19.5 minutes (interquartile range 3) (P = .005). The median volume of CO2 used for ovariectomy was 11.25 L (interquartile range 3.08) and for salpingectomy was 4.90 L (interquartile range 2.52), (P = .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic ovariectomy and salpingectomy can be performed in the cheetah using SILS without perioperative complications. Salpingectomy is faster than ovariectomy and requires less total CO2 for insufflation.


Laubscher LL, Hoffman LC, Pitts N I and Raath J P. Validating a human biotelemetry system for use in captive blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus). Zoo Biol 2015 doi: 10.1002/zoo.21222

Department of Animal Science, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, South Africa

Abstract
We fitted two blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) with modified versions of the Equivital™ EQ02 wireless monitoring system to evaluate if the device could accurately measure heart rate and respiration rate in this species whilst anaesthetized as well as whilst fully conscious in captivity. Whilst under anaesthesia, we monitored each animal's heart rate and respiration rate using the Equivital™ biotelemetry belt, a Cardell® veterinary monitor and manual measurements. The animals were also administered doxapram hydrochloride (Dopram®) and adrenaline intravenously at different times to stimulate changes in respiration and heart rate, respectively. Once 30 minutes of monitoring was completed, we reversed the anaesthetic and left the animals in captivity for 24 hours whilst wearing the Equivital™ belts. After 24 hr, we repeated the anaesthesia and monitoring as well as the administration of the doxapram hydrochloride and adrenaline. Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC) calculated between all three monitoring methods showed moderate to excellent agreements for heart rate on both days (ICC: 0.73–0.98). ICCs calculated between the three methods for respiration rate showed good to excellent agreement between the Equivital belt and the other two methods (0.82–0.92) with the exception of occasions when only poor to fair agreements were found between the Cardell® measurements and manual measurements. Heart rate and respiration rate were also found to increase with motion while animals were in captivity. The results indicate that a modified version of the Equivital™ EQ02 system can be used as a potential biotelemetry device for measuring heart and respiration rate in captive blue wildebeest.



Dittberner MJ, Venter L, Naidoo V. Accelerated induction of etorphine immobilization in blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) through the addition of hyaluronidase. Vet Anaes & Anal 2015;42:173-177

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa.

Abstract
The objective was to study the effects of the addition of hyaluronidase (HA) to an etorphine/azaperone drug combination on induction times of immobilization. Eight wild managed blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) were used is a part-randomized ‘blinded’ cross-over study. Animals were immobilized, on separate occasions separated by two weeks, with one of four treatments. Treatments were; ‘Control drugs (CD), etorphine 0.01 mg kg _1 + azaperone at 0.1 mg kg _1; treatment 1 CD + 5000IU HA; treatment
2 CD + 7500 IU HA; and treatment 3 etorphine 0.007 mg kg _1 + azaperone at 0.07 mg kg _1 + 7500 IU HA. Times to first effect and to immobilization (from darting to possible to approach and blindfold) were measured. ANOVA was used to compare treatments.
Results for control, and treatments 1–3 respectively times (in minutes) to first effect were 1.58 +/- 0.42 (1.02–2.10), 1.64+/-0.42 (0.95–2.17), 1.12+/-0.24 (0.80–1.48) and 1.60 +/- 0.21 (1.13–1.88) and to immobilization were 5.38 _ 1.53 (3.82–8.07), 3.80 _ 1.14 (2.02–5.50), 3.51+/-1.08 (2.28–5.52) and 4.46+/- 0.67 (3.30–5.40). Compared to control, time to first effect for treatment 2 was significantly shorter. Time to immobilization was significantly quicker in all three treatments containing HA than that for control. In conclusion hyaluronidase can reduce the time to immobilization when used in the immobilizing dart, and might be usefully incorporated into etorphine combinations for darting wildlife.



Ganswindt SB, Myburgh JG, Cameron EZ, Andre Ganswindt A. Non-invasive assessment of adrenocortical function in captive Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 2014;177:11-17.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa.

Abstract
The occurrence of stress-inducing factors in captive crocodilians is a concern, since chronic stress can negatively affect animal health and reproduction, and hence production. Monitoring stress in wild crocodiles could also be beneficial for assessing the state of health in populations which are potentially threatened by environmental pollution. In both cases, a non-invasive approach to assess adrenocortical function as a measure of stress would be preferable, as animals are not disturbed during sample collection, and therefore sampling is feedback-free. So far, however, such a non-invasive method has not been established for any crocodilian species. As an initial step, we therefore examined the suitability of two enzyme-immunoassays, detecting faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGMs) with a 11β,21-diol-20-one and 5β-3α-ol-11-one structure, respectively, for monitoring stress-related physiological responses in captive Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus). An adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge was performed on 10 sub-adult crocodiles, resulting in an overall increase in serum corticosterone levels of 272% above the pre-injection levels 5 h post-injection. Saline-treated control animals (n = 8) showed an overall increase of 156% in serum corticosterone levels 5 h post-administration. Faecal samples pre- and post-injection could be obtained from three of the six individually housed crocodiles, resulting in FGM concentrations 136–380% above pre-injection levels, always detected in the first sample collected post-treatment (7–15 days post-injection). FGM concentrations seem comparatively stable at ambient temperatures for up to 72 h post-defaecation. In conclusion, non-invasive hormone monitoring can be used for assessing adrenocortical function in captive Nile crocodiles based on FGM analysis.



Vemming DC, Steenkamp G, Carstens A, Olorunju SAS, Stroehle RM, Page PC. Prevalence of dental disorders in an abattoir population of horses in South Africa by oral examination of intact and bisected heads. Vet J 2015;205:110–112

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa.

Abstract
Dental care is an integral part of equine veterinary practice. The objectives of this cross sectional study were to describe the prevalence of dental disorders in an abattoir population of horses, and to compare oral examination of intact and bisected heads. Heads from 40 horses, 19 males and 21 females, were examined and divided into immature, adult or older horses based on dental age. Older horses had a significantly higher prevalence of infundibular caries (91.7%), diastemata (66.7%) and fractures (58.3%), whereas dental wear disorders affected all age groups. Gasterophilus spp. larvae were detected in 20% of the horses. A short oral examination performed on intact heads was adequate for diagnosing major disorders, but the occurrence of many conditions had only fair to poor agreement with the bisected heads. A more detailed oral examination may be needed for reliable diagnosis of many disorders.



Hartman MJ, Monnet E, Kirberger RM, Venter LJ, Bester L, Schulman ML, Serfontein T, Fourie R, Schoeman JP. Laparoscopic sterilization of the African lioness (Panthera leo). Vet Surg. 2013;42(5):559-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2012.01049.

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04,Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa.

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To describe laparoscopic ovariectomy and salpingectomy in the African lioness (Panthera leo).
STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive clinical study.
ANIMALS: Female lions (n = 16).
METHODS: Lionesses were randomly divided into 2 groups: O = ovariectomy (n = 8) and S = salpingectomy (n = 8) for laparoscopic surgery. Two Veress needle placement techniques were used.
RESULTS: Laparoscopic ovariectomy and salpingectomy were performed without complications. The poorly developed mesosalpinx and ovarian bursa rendered the uterine tube more accessible for salpingectomy compared to the dog making the procedure easier in the lioness. Similarly, salpingectomy is a relatively easier procedure compared with ovariectomy especially when the modified Hasson technique for Veress needle placement is used.
CONCLUSIONS:Laparoscopic ovariectomy and salpingectomy can be safely performed in the African lioness.



van der Merwe LL, Christie J, Clift SJ, Dvir E. Salivary gland enlargement and sialorrhoea in dogs with spirocercosis: a retrospective and prospective study of 298 cases. J SA Vet Assoc. 2012;83(1):920. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v83i1.920.

Department of Companion Animal, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04,Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa.

Abstract
This longitudinal cross-sectional clinical study investigated the incidence of sialorrhoea in dogs with spirocercosis and determined whether breed, body weight and the extent of the oesophageal involvement was associated with this presentation. A retrospective analysis was performed on the medical records of 233 dogs and information pertaining to 65 dogs was collected as part of a prospective study. All the animals were client-owned. Patients from the retrospective study underwent thoracic radiography or oesophageal endoscopy to diagnose and characterise the infection and were placed on therapy with a macrocyclic lactone, whereas the patients in the prospective study had both radiography and endoscopy routinely performed and biopsies of the oesophageal nodules collected where possible. Tru-cut biopsies of affected salivary glands were taken in 10 of 13 patients demonstrating clinical signs of sialorrhoea and salivary gland enlargement. The entire salivary gland was sectioned in an additional three dogs with spirocercosis and no sialorrhoea that were presented for post mortem examination. Sialorrhoea was present in 33/298 cases (11%). Fox terrier breeds were over-represented in the patients with sialorrhoea, comprising 36% of cases, whereas they only comprised 1.5% of the patients without sialorrhoea (p < 0.001, chi squared test) and 5% of the combined group. Dogs weighing 12 kg or less were significantly over-represented in the sialorrhoea group, 69% versus 19.5% (p < 0.001, chi square test). Age was not significantly different between the two groups (p < 0.08, Mann-Whitney test). The number of oesophageal nodules per case was significantly higher in the non-sialorrhoea cases (p = 0.048, Mann-Whitney test). The prevalence of distal oesophageal and lower oesophageal sphincter involvement, and neoplastic transformation of the nodules were not statistically different between the two groups. None of the fox terriers in either group showed neoplastic transformation of the parasitic nodules even though they were over-represented as a breed. Mandibular salivary glands were affected in 86% of cases showing sialorrhoea. Histopathology revealed acinar hyperplasia in all cases with concurrent necrosis detected in only two cases.Sialorrhoea and salivary gland enlargement has an incidence of 11% (33/298 cases) in canine spirocercosis. Small breeds (≤ 12 kg) and particularly fox terrier breeds are over-represented in the group demonstrating sialorrhoea and this appeared to be the only risk factor.The conclusion was that sialorrhoea secondary to canine spirocercosis occurs frequently and its presence should prompt further investigation for oesophageal and gastro-intestinal disease. Severely affected patients can be managed with phenobarbitone to control the dysphagia in addition to the routine macrocyclic lactones treatment.



Kimaro WH, Madekurozwa MC, Groenewald HB. Histomorphometrical and ultrastructural study of the effects of carbendazim on the magnum of the Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 2013 Jul 19;80(1):E1-8. doi: 10.4102/ojvr.v80i1.579.

Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa and Department of Veterinary Anatomy, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania.

Abstract :
The study investigated the effect of various doses of carbendazim on the morphology of the magnum of the Japanese quail. No morphological changes were observed in the magnum in birds treated with carbendazim at doses of 25 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg bodyweight. A carbendazim dose of 400 mg/kg bodyweight was the lowest dose which caused morphological changes in the magnum. Histologically, carbendazim caused pyknosis and glandular atrophy in the magnum mucosa. Carbendazim also caused significant decreases in the height of the mucosal folds, epithelial height, glandular width and glandular luminal diameter at 400 mg/kg and 800 mg/kg (p < 0.05). At ultrastructural level, dose-dependent deciliation was observed. Pyknotic nuclei, dilated cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum, swollen mitochondria, numerous vacuoles and lysosomes in the luminal and glandular epithelia were identified. The observed degenerative changes could be due to cytoskeletal disruption caused by carbendazim toxicity. Degeneration of the luminal and glandular cells in the magnum pose a potential threat to the egg production and reproduction of exposed birds.



Williams JH, van Dyk E, Nel PJ, Lane E, Van Wilpe E, Bengis RG, de Klerk-Lorist L-M, Van Heerden J. Pathology and immunohistochemistry of papillomavirus-associated cutaneous lesions in Cape mountain zebra, giraffe, sable antelope and African buffalo in South Africa. J SA Vet Ass 2011;82(2):97-106

Section of Pathology, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa

Abstract
Skin lesions associated with papillomaviruses have been reported in many animal species and man. Bovine papillomavirus (BVP) affects mainly the epidermis, but also the dermis in several species including bovine, the best-known example being equine sarcoid, which is associated with BVP types 1 and 2. This publication describes and illustrates the macroscopic and histological appearance of BPV-associated papillomatous, fibropapillomatous or sarcoid-like lesions in Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra zebra) from the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve, 2 giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) from the Kruger National Park, and a sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) from the Kimberley area of South Africa. An African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) cow from Kruger National Park also had papillomatous lesions but molecular characterisation of lesional virus was not done. Immunohistochemical staining using polyclonal rabbit antiserum to chemically disrupted BPV-1, which cross-reacts with the L1 capsid of most known papillomaviruses, was positive in cells of the stratum granulosum of lesions in Giraffe 1, the sable and the buffalo and negative in those of the zebra and Giraffe 2. Fibropapillomatous and sarcoid-like lesions from an adult bovine were used as positive control for the immunohistochemistry and are described and the immunohistochemistry illustrated for comparison. Macroscopically, both adult female giraffe had severely thickened multifocal to coalescing nodular and occasionally ulcerated lesions of the head, neck and trunk with local poorly-circumscribed invasion into the subcutis. Necropsy performed on the 2nd giraffe revealed neither internal metastases nor serious underlying disease. Giraffe 1 had scattered, and Giraffe 2 numerous, large, anaplastic, at times indistinctly multinucleated dermal fibroblasts with bizarre nuclei within the sarcoid-like lesions, which were BPV-1 positive in Giraffe 1 and BPV-1 and -2 positive in Giraffe 2 by RT-PCR. The sable antelope presented with a solitary large lesion just proximal to the right hind hoof, which recurred after excision, and was BPV-1 positive by RT-PCR. Other wart-like growths were present elsewhere on the body. The Cape mountain zebra either succumbed from their massive lesions or were euthanased or removed from the herd because of them. The lesions were BPV-1 and/or -2 positive by RT-PCR. The buffalo lesions were wart-like papillomatous projections in the inguinal and udder region. Stratum granulosum cells that stained immunohistochemically positive in the various species appeared koilocyte-like, as described in human papillomaviral lesions.



Maas M, Keet D F, Rutten VPMG, Heesterbeek JAP, Nielen M. Assessing the impact of feline immunodeficiency virus and bovine tuberculosis co-infection in African lions. Proc Royal Soc B-Biol Sc 2012;279:4206-4214 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1503

Div Epidemiol, Dept Farm Anim Hlth and Div Immunol, Dept Infect Dis & Immunol, Univ Utrecht Utrecht, Netherlands and Dept Vet Trop Dis, Univ Pretoria, Onderstepoort South Africa

Abstract
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, is a disease that was introduced relatively recently into the Kruger National Park (KNP) lion population. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIVple) is thought to have been endemic in lions for a much longer time. In humans, co-infection between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus increases disease burden. If BTB were to reach high levels of prevalence in lions, and if similar worsening effects would exist between FIVple and BTB as for their human equivalents, this could pose a lion conservation problem. We collected data on lions in KNP from 1993 to 2008 for spatio-temporal analysis of both FIVple and BTB, and to assess whether a similar relationship between the two diseases exists in lions. We found that BTB prevalence in the south was higher than in the north (72 versus 19% over the total study period) and increased over time in the northern part of the KNP (0-41%). No significant spatio-temporal differences were seen for FIVple in the study period, in agreement with the presumed endemic state of the infection. Both infections affected haematology and blood chemistry values, FIVple in a more pronounced way than BTB. The effect of co-infection on these values, however, was always less than additive. Though a large proportion (31%) of the lions was co-infected with FIVple and M. bovis, there was no evidence for a synergistic relation as in their human counterparts. Whether this results from different immunopathogeneses remains to be determined.
 


Khan F, Vorster JH, van Vuuren M, Mapham P. Evaluation of the effects of long-term storage of bovine ear notch samples on the ability of 2 diagnostic assays to identify calves persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhoea virus. J SA Vet Ass 2011;82(1): 18–23.

Vetdiagnostix – Veterinary Pathology Services, PO Box 13624, Cascades, 3202 South Africa.

Abstract
Research aimed at optimising diagnostic laboratory procedures is central to the development of effective bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) control programmes. BVDV is a single stranded RNA virus that crosses the placenta to infect foetuses, resulting in reproductive losses due to foetal death or persistently infected calves that die early in life. Persistently infected animals are widely accepted to be the primary reservoir of BVDV and the largest source of infection. This poses important challenges to overall animal/herd health and can cause major losses to the cattle industry. Long-term storage of bovine ear notch samples from calves persistently infected with BVDV may adversely affect the ability of diagnostic assays to detect the virus efficiently. In order to test this hypothesis, ear notch samples from 7 animals were divided into 2 groups. One set was subjected to prompt formalin fixation and the other set stored either as fresh samples without preservatives at –2 °C, or soaked overnight in phosphate buffered saline followed by freezing of the supernatant fluid at –2 °C. Frozen ear notches and ear notch supernatant yielded positive results with an antigen- capture, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (AC-ELISA) for the duration of the study (6 months) and optical density (OD) values remained significantly within range. There was no significant difference between storing fresh ear notch samples or PBS at –2 °C. However, positive immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining on formalin fixed ear notches started to fade between Day 17 and Day 29 when stored at room temperature. It was concluded that fresh ear notches could safely be stored at –2 °C for a period of 6 months prior to testing for BVD viral antigens.


van der Merwe LL, ChristieJ, Clift SJ, Dvir E. Salivary gland enlargement and sialorrhoea in dogs with spirocercosis: A retrospective and prospective study of 298 cases. J SA Vet Ass 2012;83(1):920

Department of Companion Animal, Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract
This longitudinal cross-sectional clinical study investigated the incidence of sialorrhoea in dogs with spirocercosis and determined whether breed, body weight and the extent of the oesophageal involvement was associated with this presentation. A retrospective analysis was performed on the medical records of 233 dogs and information pertaining to 65 dogs was collected as part of a prospective study. All the animals were client-owned. Patients from the retrospective study underwent thoracic radiography or oesophageal endoscopy to diagnose and characterise the infection and were placed on therapy with a macrocyclic lactone, whereas the patients in the prospective study had both radiography and endoscopy routinely performed and biopsies of the oesophageal nodules collected where possible. Tru-cut biopsies of affected salivary glands were taken in 10 of 13 patients demonstrating clinical signs of sialorrhoea and salivary gland enlargement. The entire salivary gland was sectioned in an additional three dogs with spirocercosis and no sialorrhoea that were presented for post mortem examination. Sialorrhoea was present in 33/298 cases (11%). Fox terrier breeds were over-represented in the patients with sialorrhoea, comprising 36% of cases, whereas they only comprised 1.5% of the patients without sialorrhoea (p < 0.001, chi squared test) and 5% of the combined group. Dogs weighing 12 kg or less were significantly over-represented in the sialorrhoea group, 69% versus 19.5% (p < 0.001, chi square test). Age was not significantly different between the two groups (p < 0.08, Mann-Whitney test). The number of oesophageal nodules per case was significantly higher in the non-sialorrhoea cases (p = 0.048, Mann-Whitney test). The prevalence of distal oesophageal and lower oesophageal sphincter involvement, and neoplastic transformation of the nodules were not statistically different between the two groups. None of the fox terriers in either group showed neoplastic transformation of the parasitic nodules even though they were over-represented as a breed. Mandibular salivary glands were affected in 86% of cases showing sialorrhoea. Histopathology revealed acinar hyperplasia in all cases with concurrent necrosis detected in only two cases. Sialorrhoea and salivary gland enlargement has an incidence of 11% (33/298 cases) in canine spirocercosis. Small breeds (. 12 kg) and particularly fox terrier breeds are over-represented in the group demonstrating sialorrhoea and this appeared to be the only risk factor. The conclusion was that sialorrhoea secondary to canine spirocercosis occurs frequently and its presence should prompt further investigation for oesophageal and gastro-intestinal disease. Severely affected patients can be managed with phenobarbitone to control the dysphagia in addition to the routine macrocyclic lactones treatment.
 


Newell-Fugate AE, Nöthling JO, Bertschinger HB. Seasonal changes in steroid hormone profiles, body weight, semen quality, and the reproductive tract in captive African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in South Africa Gen Comp Endocr 2012;178:272-281

Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa

Abstract
Characterization of reproductive seasonality in the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) could assist reintroduction programs. Male wild dogs (n = 14) were assessed quarterly (January, mid-summer; April, late summer; August, late winter; November, early summer) for serum testosterone, body weight, testicular and prostatic volume, preputial gland measurement, and ejaculate characteristics. Bi-monthly fecal samples were collected from male (n = 11) and female (n = 4) wild dogs for analysis of fecal androgens and progestagens. Fecal androgens were higher in early summer (246.4 ± 14.5 ng/g) than in early winter (218.6 ± 13.4 ng/ g). Serum testosterone was higher in mid-summer (1.4 ± 0.3 ng/ml) than in late winter (0.7 ± 0.1 ng/ml). Number of spermatozoa per ejaculate was greatest in late summer (301.4 ± 39.3 _ 106). Other semen parameters peaked in mid-summer (pH: 7.4; progressive motility: 85.0 ± 0.1%; live spermatozoa: 81.0 ± 16%; normal morphology: 71.5 ± 8.2%). Total testicular and prostatic volume were greater during summer (testicular: 36.7 ± 4.2 cm3; prostatic: 12.0 ± 1.9 cm3) than winter (testicular: 25.2 ± 1.9 cm3; prostatic: 5.8 ± 0.8 cm3). Preputial pendulance also was greater in summer (7.1 ± 0.5 cm; n = 9) than winter (5.9 ± 0.2 cm). Baseline fecal progestagen metabolites were 6.2 ± 2.5 lg/g and peak fecal progestagen metabolites were 14.7 ± 2.8 lg/g. Copulations resulting in pregnancies (n = 2) occurred in late summer and gestation was 71 days. Female wild dogs were seasonally monoestrous with mating in summer and winter. In conclusion, wild dogs are reproductively seasonal with improvement in male reproductive variables during summer and a bi-phasic seasonal pattern to female receptivity.
 


Huchzermeyer KDA. Prevalence of pansteatitis in African sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell), in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. J SA Vet Ass 2012;83:9 pages

Department of Paraclinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa

Abstract
Pansteatitis was confirmed in sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell), from three main locations within the Kruger National Park (KNP); the Olifants River Gorge, Engelhard Dam on the Letaba River and from the Sabie River in the Sabiepoort. An increasing prevalence of pansteatitis was observed in catfish during repeated samplings from the Olifants Gorge from 2009 to 2011 and co-existence of old and recent lesions indicated on-going incitement of pansteatitis. Only a low prevalence of pansteatitis was observed in catfish sampled from the Olifants River upstream of the Gorge in the KNP and no pansteatitis was observed in catfish sampled from a rain-filled dam not connected to the Olifants River. Common to both the Olifants Gorge and the Sabiepoort is the damming of the rivers in Mozambique to form lakes Massingir and Corumana respectively. Anthropogenic activities resulting in potential pollution of the rivers differ greatly between these two catchments, providing argument against a primary pollution-related aetiology of the pansteatitis found at these two sites. Compared with other sites, analysis of stomach contents of catfish from the Olifants Gorge and the Sabiepoort strongly suggested that consumption of a predominantly fish diet was associated with the development of pansteatitis in these fish. In a farmed population of catfish used as positive control, development of pansteatitis could be ascribed to consumption of rancid fish waste from a trout slaughterhouse. In the Olifants Gorge, alien invasive silver carp, Hypophthalmychthys molitrix (Valenciennes), seasonally migrate upstream out of Lake Massingir to spawn. This schooling species is an obligate phytoplankton feeder with consequent high levels of adipose tissue n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In the Olifants Gorge, at least, this may explain seasonal exposure to levels of polyunsaturated fats in the diets of catfish and crocodiles to which these animals are not adapted. The possible roles of diet, membrane lipid composition and metabolic rate of fish, sediment pollution and seasonal drop in environmental temperature in the pathogenesis of pansteatitis in the catfish are discussed. Further studies are needed to verify some of these speculations.


Sasidharan SP, Ludwig A, Harper C, Moodleyy, Bertschinger HJ, Guthrie AJ. Comparative genetics of sarcoid tumour-affected and non-affected mountain zebra populations

Onderstepoort Laboratory for Applied Veterinary Genetics, Veterinary Wildlife Unit and Equine Research Centre, Private X04, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0110 South Africa and Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, P.O. Box 915, Cardiff, CF103TL, United Kingdom. SA J Wildl Res 2011;46;

Abstract
 In recent years, South African conservation officials have noted the appearance of sarcoids tumour like growths in Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra zebra) populations. In domestic horses (Equus ferus caballus), a genetic predisposition for this bovine papillomavirusinduced tumour is reported. This investigation compared population genetic parameters within tumour-affected populations in Bontebok National Park and Gariep Dam Nature Reserve against Cape mountain zebra populations having few or no tumours in Karoo National Park and Karoo Nature Reserve in South Africa and Hartmann’s mountain zebra populations from Namibia. Tumour-affected populations had the lowest levels of expected heterozygosity, gene diversity and polymorphism and highest values of internal relatedness and homozygosity by loci but not reaching levels of significance (P = 0.05). Wright’s FIS values indicated an overall deficit of heterozygotes in both affected and non-affected Cape mountain zebra populations. Considerable population substructuring, as indicated by FST values and Bayesian clustering, was revealed among all Cape mountain zebra populations. The results provide support for current conservation policies aimed at increasing levels of genetic diversity in isolated Cape mountain zebra populations.



Keet DF, Michel AL, Bengis RG, Becker P, van Dyk DS, van Vuuren M, Rutten VPMG, Penzhorn BL. Intradermal tuberculin testing of wild African lions (Panthera leo) naturally exposed to infection with Mycobacterium bovis. Vet Micro 2010;144;384-391

Directorate Vet Serv, ZA-1350 Skukuza, South Africa (DFK, RGB AvD), Univ Pretoria, Fac Vet Sci, ZA-0110 Onderstepoort, South Africa (vVM, VPMGR,BLP, MRC, Biostat Unit, Pretoria, South Africa (PB), ARC Onderstepoort Vet Inst, Bacteriol Sect, ZA-0110 Onderstepoort, South Africa.

Abstract
African lions in the southern half of Kruger National Park (KNP) are infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Historically, reliable detection of mycobacteriosis in lions was limited to necropsy and microbiological analysis of lesion material collected from emaciated and ailing or repeat-offender lions. We report on a method of cervical intradermal tuberculin testing of lions and its interpretation capable of identifying natural exposure to M. bovis. Infected lions (n = 52/95) were identified by detailed necropsy and mycobacterial culture. A large proportion of these confirmed infected lions (45/52) showed distinct responses to bovine tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) while responses to avian tuberculin PPD were variable and smaller. Confirmed uninfected lions from non-infected areas (n = 11) responded variably to avian tuberculin PPD only. Various non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) were cultured from 45/95 lions examined, of which 21/45 were co-infected with M. bovis. Co-infection with M. bovis and NTM did not influence skin reactions to bovine tuberculin PPD. Avian tuberculin PPD skin reactions were larger in M. bovis-infected lions compared to uninfected ones. Since NTM co-infections are likely to influence the outcome of skin testing, stricter test interpretation criteria were applied. When test data of bovine tuberculin PPD tests were considered on their own, as for a single skin test, sensitivity increased (80.8–86.5%) but false positive rate for true negatives (18.75%) remained unchanged. Finally, the adapted skin test procedure was shown not to be impeded by persistent Feline Immunodeficiency Virus(Ple) co-infection.



Ganswindt A, Munscher S, Henley M, Palme R, Thompson T, Bertschinger H. Concentrations of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in physically injured free-ranging African elephants Loxodonta Africana. Wildl. Biol. 2010;16:1-10

Section of Reproduction, Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110. aganswindt@zoology.up.ac.za

Abstract
Free-ranging African elephants Loxodonta africana use their front feet frequently during the process of foraging and this could be the reason for the high prevalence of physical injuries to these parts of the body. Although the occurrence of severe lameness caused by foot lesions in adult elephants has already been investigated and the clinical and pathological findings have been reported, the effect of foot injuries on glucocorticoid levels as a potential physiological stress response has not been examined. Given the practical difficulties involved in monitoring unpredictable events in free-ranging animals, like the occurrence of foot injuries in elephants, it is not surprising that information regarding the endocrine correlates of physical injury is still limited for elephants. In our study we investigated the effects of foot injuries on concentrations of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM), body condition score (BCS) and reproductive behaviour in two GPS/radio-collared elephant bulls in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. We monitored the bulls aged 40+ (Bull 1) and 30+ (Bull 2) 2-3 times per week for 13 months starting in June 2007 and frequently collected faecal samples for non-invasive hormone monitoring. Faecal samples were lyophilised, extracted and assayed with an enzyme immunoassay which detects GCM with a 3a-hydroxy-11-oxo-structure. Both bulls acquired foot injuries (right front), which caused temporary lameness, but the effect of injury on GCM concentration differed between bulls (P , 0.001). In Bull 1 the injury lasted6250 days and was associated with an up to four-fold increase in GCM concentrations (P,0.001) and his BCS reduced from ’good’ to ’very thin’ by the end of the injury period. In Bull 2 the injury lasted 65 days and was associated with a smaller increase in GCM concentrations (P ¼ 0.03) together with a reduced loss in condition when compared to Bull 1. Following recovery, the condition of both bulls improved progressively and faecal GCM returned to baseline concentrations. Collectively, the data clearly underlined the value of non-invasive hormone measurements as a tool to provide information on the level of stress experienced by elephants. Thus, monitoring GCM levels could help improve the assessment of an elephant’s state of health.


Ganswindt A, Muenscher S, Henley M, Henley, S, Heistermann M, Palme R, Thompson P, Bertschinger, H Endocrine correlates of musth and the impact of ecological and social factors in free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana), Hormones and Behavior (2010), doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.02.009

Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa aganswindt@zoology.up.ac.za

Abstract
Sexual activity in mature male African elephants is predominantly associated with the occurrence of musth, a state or condition which refers to a set of physical, physiological and behavioral characteristics, including an elevation in androgen levels. Although musth appears to be energetically costly, the degree to which it is associated with changes in adrenal endocrine function (e.g., glucocorticoid output) is still unclear. To investigate the possible effect of musth on adrenocortical function, and the impact of socioecological changes on androgen and glucocorticoid levels, six adult African elephant bulls were followed for 13 months in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, and observations and fecal sample collection for endocrine monitoring was carried out about twice weekly. Our data showed that the occurrence of musth was associated with reduced glucocorticoid output, suggesting that musth does not represent a physiological stress mediated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This confirms previous findings in captive-housed animals, providing evidence for a suppressive effect of the musth condition on adrenocortical activity. Furthermore, a seasonal effect on androgen and glucocorticoid levels was found, which appears to vary depending on the reproductive status of the animal. The results also indicate a relationship between the presence or absence of social partners and changes in testicular and adrenal endocrine activity. Finally, the data confirm previous findings in captive-housed elephants, that an elevation in androgen concentrations usually occurs before the onset of physical musth signs, and therefore support the idea that the change in androgen levels represents the initial stimulus for the musth condition.



Dzikiti TB, Stegmann GF, Hellebrekers LJ, Auer RE, Dzikiti LN. Sedative and cardiopulmonary effects of acepromazine, midazolam, butorphanol, acepromazine-butorphanol and midazolam-butorphanol on propofol anaesthesia in goats. J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2009;80(1):10-16

Anaesthesiology Section, Companion Animal Clinical Studies Department, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa. brighton.dzikiti@up.ac.za

Abstract
The sedative, propofol-sparing and cardiopulmonary effects of acepromazine, midazolam, butorphanol and combinations of butorphanol with acepromazine or midazolam in goats were evaluated. Six healthy Boer - Indigenous African crossbreed goats were by randomised cross-over designated to 6 groups: Group SAL that received saline, Group ACE that received acepromazine, Group MID that received midazolam, Group BUT that received butorphanol, Group ACEBUT that received acepromazine and butorphanol and Group MIDBUT that received midazolam and butorphanol as premedication agents intramuscularly on different occasions at least 3 weeks apart. The degree of sedation was assessed 20 minutes after administration of the premedication agents. Thirty minutes after premedication, the dose of propofol required for induction of anaesthesia adequate to allow placement of an endotracheal tube was determined. Cardiovascular, respiratory and arterial blood-gas parameters were assessed up to 30 minutes after induction of general anaesthesia. Acepromazine and midazolam produced significant sedation when administered alone, but premedication regimens incorporating butorphanol produced inconsistent results. The dose of propofol required for induction of anaesthesia was significantly reduced in goats that received midazolam alone, or midazolam combined with either acepromazine or butorphanol. The quality of induction of anaesthesia was good in all groups, including the control group. Cardiovascular, respiratory and blood-gas parameters were within normal limits in all groups and not significantly different between or within all groups. In conclusion: sedation with midazolam alone, or midazolam combined with either acepromazine or butorphanol significantly reduces the induction dose of propofol with minimal cardiopulmonary effects in goats.



MacLachlan NJ, Crafford JE, Vernau W, Gardner IA, Goddard A, Guthrie AJ, Venter EH. Experimental reproduction of severe bluetongue in sheep. Vet Pathol 2008;45:310–315
Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (NJM, WV), Department of Medicine and Epidemiology (IAG) School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA; Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (JEC, EHV), Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies (AG), Equine Research Centre (AJG), Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, Republic of South Africa

Abstract
Merino sheep inoculated with a virulent South African strain of bluetongue virus serotype 4 developed severe clinical signs and lesions characteristic of fulminant bluetongue (BT), including coronitis, hemorrhage and ulceration of the mucosal lining of the oral cavity and fore stomachs, and focally extensive necrosis of skeletal muscle especially of the neck. At necropsy up to 14 days after infection, the infected sheep exhibited striking pulmonary edema, edema of the tissues of the head and neck, and pleural and pericardial effusion of varying severity. A reliable model for experimental reproduction of fulminant BT in sheep will facilitate future studies to better characterize the pathogenesis of this disease, particularly the mechanisms responsible for the increased vascular permeability that characterizes BT and related orbiviral diseases such as African horse sickness.



Pretorius JA, Oosthuizen MC, van Vuuren M. Gammaherpesvirus carrier status of black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) in South Africa. J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2008;79(3):136-41.
Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa. jana@thabamanzi.co.za

Abstract
Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is an economically important disease primarily of domestic cattle with a high case fatality rate. It is caused by either alcelaphine herpesvirus type 1 (AlHV-1) or ovine herpesvirus type 2 (OvHV-2). The major reservoir host of AlHV-1 is the blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), but it is generally accepted that the black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) is also a reservoir host. No viral studies in the black wildebeest have been reported and the carrier status of black wildebeest has not been documented. Specimens were collected from several game farms and conservation areas in central South Africa representing the geographical area historically linked to the natural habitat of the black wildebeest. Specimens were obtained from 304 black wildebeest of different ages and sex, as well as 51 black wildebeest foetuses at different stages of gestation. Virus was isolated from a black wildebeest calf. Morphological features and antigenic characteristics suggested it to be a gammaherpesvirus closely related to AlHV-1. All serum samples tested positive with a competitive inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CI-ELISA) for group-specific malignant catarrhal fever virus antibody. A SYBR Green real-time PCR assay was developed for the detection of gammaherpesviral DNA. Only 15.8 % of the animals tested positive with the real-time PCR assay whereas 90 % of the foetuses tested positive. This finding suggests that, unlike OvHV-2 infection in lambs in which the infection takes place after weaning, the virus in black wildebeest is mainly transmitted in utero or soon after birth. The results suggest that black wildebeest are latent carriers of a gammaherpesvirus similar or closely related to AlHV-1 present in blue wildebeest and that it is likely that all black wildebeest are persistently infected.



Schoeman J P, Herrtage ME. The response of the pituitary-adrenal and pituitary-thyroidal axes to the plasma glucose perturbations in Babesia canis rossi babesiosis.
J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2007;78(4):215-220.

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa. johanp.schoeman@up.ac.za

Abstract
This prospective, cross-sectional, interventional study was designed to determine the association between the hormones of the pituitary-adrenal and pituitary-thyroid axes and other clinical parameters with the blood glucose perturbations in dogs with naturally occurring Babesia canis rossi babesiosis. Thirty-six dogs with canine babesiosis were studied. Blood samples were obtained from the jugular vein in each dog prior to treatment at admission to hospital and serum endogenous adrenocorticotrophic hormone(ACTH), pre-ACTH cortisol, thyroxine, free thyroxine and TSH concentrations were measured. Immediately thereafter each dog was injected intravenously with 5 µg/kg of ACTH (tetracosactrin). A 2nd blood sample was taken 1 hour later for serumpost-ACTHcortisol measurement. Three patient groups were recruited: hypoglycaemic dogs (glucose < 3.3 mmol/ℓ, n = 12); normoglycaemic dogs (glucose 3.3�5.5 mmol/ℓ, n = 12); hyperglycaemic dogs (glucose > 5.5 mmol/ℓ, n = 12). Basal and post-ACTH serum cortisol concentrations were significantly higher in hypoglycaemic dogs, whereas body temperature, serum thyroxine and free thyroxine were significantly lower in hypoglycaemic dogs. Haematocrit was significantly lower in both hypo-and hyperglycaemic dogs compared with normoglycaemic dogs. Low blood glucose concentrations were significantly associated with high basal and post-ACTH cortisol concentrations and with low serum thyroxine and free thyroxine concentrations in dogs suffering from B. canis rossi babesiosis.



Köster LS, Schoeman JP, MeltzerDGA. ACTH stimulation test in the captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2007;78(3):133-136.

Veterinary Wildlife Unit, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa

Abstract
Serum cortisol response was assessed in 8 captive cheetahs, of varying ages, after the intravenous administration of 500 μg of tetracosactide (Synacthen Depot®, Novartis, Kempton Park) while maintained under general anaesthesia. In addition, 8 cheetahs were anaesthetised and given an equal volume of saline in order to establish baseline cortisol concentrations at similar stages of anaesthesia. A significant difference in the median cortisol concentration measured over time was found following ACTH administration in the ACTH group (P<0.001). There is no difference between the median cortisol concentrations in the ACTH group at time-points 120, 150 and 180 min after ACTH stimulation (P=0.867). Thus it appears appropriate to collect serum 120 to 180 min after tetracosactide administration to assess maximal stimulation of the adrenal in the cheetah. No statistically significant rise was seen in the anaesthetised control group following the injection of saline (P = 0.238).
 

Lovely CJ, Pittman JM, Leslie, AJ. Normal haematology and blood biochemistry of wild Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2007;78(3):137-144.

Gobabis Veterinary Practice, PO Box 1424, Gobabis, Namibia

Abstract
Wild Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) of various size classes were captured in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Blood was collected from the post occipital sinus and used for the determination of a wide range of haematological and biochemical parameters. These values were compared between the sexes and between 3 size classes. The values were also compared with the limited data available from farmed Nile crocodiles, as well as from other wild Nile crocodiles. The Okavango crocodiles were comparatively anaemic, and had comparatively low total protein and blood glucose levels. There was a high prevalence of Hepatozoon pettiti infection, however, there was no significant difference in haematological values between the infected and uninfected crocodiles. The values reported here will be useful in diagnostic investigations in both zoo and farmed Nile crocodiles.


Steenkamp G, Ferreira SM, Bester MN. Tusklessness and tusk fractures in free-ranging African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana). J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2007;78(2):75-80.


Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002 South Africa.

Abstract
The incidence of tusklessness varies between free-ranging African elephant populations. Sex-linked genetic drift predicts 2 outcomes – the condition becomes fixed and sex-specific incidences diverge when populations are small and/or heavily poached. By contrast, for large and intact populations, tusklessness diminishes and there is no variation between sexes. We tested these predictions by comparing sex-specific incidences between 15 populations: a small one with a skewed founder effect towards tusklessness; 5 that had experienced intense levels of poaching; 2 that had been subjected to non-selective culling and 7 that are relatively pristine. Patterns of rainfall were studied of tusk fractures amongst these populations to correct for any effect that acquired tusklessness may have on our predictions. The incidence of tusk fractures was related to annual rainfall, but the mechanism that leads to an increase of the condition in drier areas was not clear. Incidences of tusk fractures in free-ranging populations implied that the frequency of acquired bilateral tusklessness is low and should not affect our results. All males had tusks. Tusklessness in females was high in the small skewed founder population and some of those where there was a history of poaching. The incidence is expected to decline if the residual population is large.

Koeppel KN, BertschingerH, van Vuuren M, Picard J, Steiner J, Williams D, Cardwell J. The use of a probiotic in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2006;77(3):127-130 .

Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa.

Abstract
Juvenile captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) often present with diarrhoea that is commonly associated with bacterial infections. A species-specific probiotic containing Lactobacillus Group 2 and Enterococcus faecium was prepared from healthy adult cheetahs. Juvenile cheetahs (n = 27) between 8 and 13 months of age were included in the probiotic trial. The animals were observed prior to and after feeding of the probiotic which was made available for 28 days. Feeding of the probiotic resulted in a significantly increased body weight in the treatment group (P = 0.026), while there was no increase in the control group. A relative improvement in the faecal quality in the probiotic group during the treatment period compared with the pre-treatment (P = 0.0363) and post-treatment (P = 0.004) period was observed. This was accompanied by an absence of blood and mucus in the faeces during the treatment period in the probiotic group.


Dowdle SM, Joubert KE, Lambrechts NE, Lobetti RG, Pardini AD.The prevalence of subclinical gastroduodenal ulceration in Dachshunds with intervertebral disc prolapse. J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2003 Sep;74(3):77-81.

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa. sdowdle@mweb.co.za

Abstract
Endoscopy was used to determine the prevalence of subclinical gastroduodenal ulceration in 30 Dachshunds undergoing decompressive surgery for acute intervertebral disc prolapse. The endoscopy was performed on the day of admission and on the 3rd or 4th day after surgery. Three regions of the stomach (cardia, corpus and pylorus) and the proximal duodenum were visually inspected and biopsy samples were taken for histopathology. The combination of visual and microscopic changes were then used to determine the prevalence of subclinical gastroduodenal ulceration in this population. An overall prevalence of 76% was calculated from these findings. Ulcerogenic medication administered prior to admission did not appear to influence the prevalence. This result identifies a need for veterinarians to be aware of this potentially severe complication and warrants the use of prophylactic anti-ulcer medication in spinal surgery patients.



Van Niekerk LJ, Verstraete FJ, Odendaal JS. A comparison of the surgical caseloads of selected companion animal hospitals and a veterinary academic hospital in South Africa.J S Afr Vet Assoc 2002 Sep;73(3):115-8

Fourways Veterinary Hospital, Johannesburg, PO Box 68159, Bryanston 2021, South Africa.

Abstract
Educational institutions should be aware of the frequency of surgical procedures in private practice, to assist both the student and the lecturer in evaluating the relative importance of procedures and to structure training programmes accordingly. The surgical caseload for 1 year at a veterinary academic hospital and 13 private companion animal hospitals registered with the South African Veterinary Council were compared. Surgical records were entered into a spreadsheet and sorted according to 96 selected surgical procedures to facilitate comparisons. Surgical procedures were in turn grouped according to date, species, degree of difficulty and frequency of occurrence. Feline procedures were more commonly performed in private hospitals. The academic hospital's caseload was dominated by major and advanced procedures while the private hospitals carried out more minor procedures. At the private hospitals more general surgery, and ear, nose and throat surgery as well as dental procedures were performed, while at the academic hospital more ophthalmic, orthopaedic, thoracic and neurosurgical procedures were carried out. The most commonly performed procedures at the academic hospital differed from those at the private hospitals. No seasonal trends were evident.

Quan M, Mulders MS, Meltzer DG.The effect of storage conditions on samples for the evaluation of copper status in blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi).J S Afr Vet Assoc 2002 Sep;73(3):111-4

Wildlife Unit, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa.

Investigations to determine the effect of sample storage on the concentration of copper in liver tissue and on the activity of erythrocyte superoxide dismutase were undertaken in preparation for a study of blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) that were suspected to be suffering from copper deficiency. Two liver samples were collected from each of 20 culled blesbok in a manner that simulated the collection of biopsies from the live animal. These samples were stored either in 10% formalin or frozen at -20 degrees C until analysed 4 1/2 months later. The effect of different methods of sample storage on superoxide dismutase activity was determined. Erythrocytes collected from 3 Jersey cows and 5 culled blesbok were washed and divided into 0.5 ml portions, stored at room temperature (approximately 20 degrees C), in a refrigerator (4 degrees C), frozen at -20 degrees C in a freezer, and in liquid nitrogen (-200 degrees C). An analysis of superoxide dismutase activity was undertaken using a commercial assay kit at intervals of 2-4 days until the levels of activity had fallen significantly. The copper concentration in formalin-preserved liver samples was significantly lower than that measured in frozen liver tissue apparently as a result of leaching. The activity of superoxide dismutase in cattle blood was unchanged for 4 days at room temperature but fell appreciably after 2 days at 4 degrees C and -20 degrees C. Enzyme activity remained unchanged for 200 days in erythrocytes stored in liquid nitrogen. Superoxide dismutase activity levels in healthy blesbok were considerably lower than those measured in Jersey cows and remained unaffected for up to 6 days in samples stored at 4 degrees C and 20 degrees C. The level of activity fell significantly thereafter. Samples stored in liquid nitrogen were unchanged after 40 days.
 

Botha CJ, Naude TW. Plant poisonings and mycotoxicoses of importance in horses in Southern Africa.J S Afr Vet Assoc 2002 Sep;73(3):91-7

Department of Paradinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa. cbotha@op.up.ac.za

Abstract
Well-known plant poisonings such as 'dunsiekte' (seneciosis) and 'jaagsiekte' (crotalariosis) of horses in southern Africa are briefly reviewed. Relatively unfamiliar mycotoxicoses such as stachybotryotoxicosis and perennial rye grass staggers and potentially occurring exotic intoxications such as equine nigropallidal encephalomalacia and ergot alkaloid poisoning are also discussed. This article is aimed at informing the southern African equine practitioner about probable poisonings that might occur locally in horses.



Schoeman T, Lobetti RG, Jacobson LS, Penzhorn BL. Feline babesiosis: signalment, clinical pathology, and concurrent infections. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 2001 72:4-11. 

Department of Companion Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa.

Abstract
Fifty-six cats with naturally occurring Babesia felis infection were studied. No breed or sex predilection could be identified, but there was an apparent predilection for young adult cats less than 3 years of age. Macrocytic, hypochromic, regenerative anaemia was present in 57 % of the cats and in-saline agglutination tests were positive in 16 %. No characteristic changes were observed in total or differential leukocyte counts. Thrombocyte counts were variable and thrombocytopaenia was an inconsistent finding. Hepatic cytosol enzyme activity and total bilirubin concentrations were elevated in the majority of cats. Serum protein values were mostly normal, but increased values were occasionally observed and polyclonal gammopathies were observed in all cats with increased total globulin concentrations. No remarkable changes in renal parameters were observed. A variety of electrolyte abnormalities occurred in a number of cats, but no consistent pattern of change could be identified. A close correlation was evident between peripheral and central parasite counts. Concurrent infections with Haemobartonella felis, feline immunodeficiency virus and/or feline leukemia virus were identified in a number of cats. 

Lobetti RG, Jacobson LS. Renal involvement in dogs with babesiosis. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 2001 72:23-28. 

Department of Companion Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa.

Abstract
Proteinuria, and renal tubular casts and epithelial cells in urine sediment, are commonly observed in both complicated and uncomplicated babesiosis, but do not necessarily reflect or predict renal failure. This study investigated the presence and degree of renal damage in canine babesiosis. Renal function and integrity were evaluated using scrum urea and creatinine, serum electrolytes (sodium and potassium), fractional clearance of sodium (FcNa) and potassium (FcK), urine enzyme activity of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and alkaline phosphatase, urine protein:creatinine ratio, and urinalysis. One control group (n = 10) and 3 groups of babesiosis cases were studied: mild uncomplicated (n = 10), severe uncomplicated (n = 11), and complicated (n = 9). All babesiosis groups showed well concentrated urine. Mean serum urea was elevated in the severe and complicated groups, and was significantly different from the control group. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups for creatinine, although the complicated group had a mean value above the normal reference range. Hypokalaemia was uncommon in all the groups. Hyperkalaemia was present in only 2 dogs in the complicated group. Marginal hyponatraemia was present in a minority of dogs in all groups. The serum electrolytes were not significantly different between groups. There was no overall elevation, nor any statistically significant difference in both the FcNa and FcK between the groups. Only 1 dog, in the complicated group, showed marked enzymuria. Proteinuria was a common finding and was significantly different between the severe and complicated groups and the control group. Some dogs in all groups had renal tubular epithelial cells in the urinary sediment, which increased in severity from the mild to the complicated groups and was significantly different from the control group. This study demonstrated that minimal renal damage occurs more often in canine babesiosis than significant damage or acute renal failure.  

Lobetti RG, Mohr AJ, Dippenaar T, Myburgh E. A preliminary study on the serum protein response in canine babesiosis. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 2000 71:38-42. 

Department of Companion Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa.

Abstract
Total serum protein, albumin, globulin, globulin fractions (alpha, beta and gamma globulins) and an acute-phase protein (alpha1-acid glycoprotein) were evaluated in dogs with naturally occurring mild (Group 1), severe (Group 2) or complicated babesiosis (Group 3). Results showed that the total serum protein, albumin, A/G ratio and alpha globulins were statistically different between Groups 1 and 2. There was no statistical difference between groups with total, beta and gamma globulins. The findings from this study suggest that dogs with mild and severe babesiosis had low total serum proteins, albumin, A/G ratio and alpha globulins; dogs with complicated babesiosis showed no typical serum protein changes or patterns; and that there was no evidence of an acute-phase response detectable on serum protein electrophoresis in any of the 3 groups. A marked acute-phase response was, however, present, as measured by the alpha1-acid glycoprotein, in all 3 groups. As this was a retrospective study, the possibility that the observed responses were due in part to concurrent disease could not be excluded



Matthee S, Krecek RC, Milne SA. Prevalence and biodiversity of helminth parasites in donkeys from South Africa. Journal of Parasitology 2000 86:756-62.

Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa.

Abstract
Seven donkeys (Equus asinus) from North-West and Mpumalanga Provinces in South Africa were examined at necropsy. Quantitative samples were collected from the gastrointestinal tract for recovery of helminth parasites from the stomach, small intestine, cecum, ventral colon, dorsal colon, descending colon, and cranial mesenteric artery. Fifteen genera and 29 species of helminths were identified comprising 27 species of nematodes in the Ascarididae, Atractidae, Habronematidae, Onchocercidae, Oxyuridae, and Strongylidae; 1 species of cestode in the Anoplocephalidae; and 1 species of trematode in the Paramphistomatidae. In addition, 2 species of oestrid fly larvae in the Gastrophiliidae were identified. The most abundant group in number of species was the cyathostomes (small strongyles) and, of these, Cyathostomum montgomeryi, Cylicocyclus sp. (a), and Cylicostephanus minutus were the most numerous. The most prevalent cyathostomes were C. montgomeryi and Cylicocyclus sp. n. (a). Strongylus vulgaris was the most abundant and prevalent large strongyle species. The occurrence of small strongyle species and their prevalence in this study are compared with 3 other studies on donkeys in Africa.



Jacobson LS, Lobetti RG, Vaughan-Scott T. Blood pressure changes in dogs with babesiosis.
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 2000 71:38-42


Department of Companion Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa.

Abstract
Systemic arterial blood pressures were measured in 30 dogs with acute babesiosis, 10 each with mild uncomplicated, severe uncomplicated and complicated disease. Ten healthy dogs were used as controls. Hypotension was defined as more than 3 standard deviations below the control mean. Normal mean pressures (+/-SD) were: systolic arterial pressure 151 (+/-11) mm Hg, diastolic arterial pressure 89 (+/-8) mm Hg and mean arterial pressure 107 (+/-10) mm Hg. Hypotension was the most frequent abnormality, and increased strikingly in incidence as disease severity increased, with 5/10 dogs in the complicated group being hypotensive for systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressures, compared with 2/10 in the severe uncomplicated group and 0/10 in the mild uncomplicated group. Systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressures in the complicated group and severe uncomplicated group, and systolic pressure in the mild uncomplicated group, were significantly lower than in the controls. There were no significant relationships between arterial pressures and age, pulse rate, respiratory rate, temperature, mucous membrane colour or haematocrit. There was a significant negative correlation between arterial pressures and white cell and immature neutrophil counts. Arterial pressures differed significantly between dogs that were clinically collapsed and those that were not, but not between survivors and non-survivors. Pulse pressure (systolic-diastolic) was low in 7/10 complicated, 1/10 mild uncomplicated, and 1/10 severe uncomplicated cases, and differed significantly between the complicated and control groups. The high incidence of hypotension in clinically severe babesiosis has important implications for therapy.




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