Melbourne Veterinary School - Research Publications

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    Impact of diet on faecal output and caecotroph consumption in rabbits
    Meredith, AL ; Prebble, JL (WILEY, 2017-01-01)
    OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact of four rabbit diets (hay only, extruded diet with hay, muesli with hay and muesli only) on faecal pellet size, faecal output and caecotrophy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-two Dutch rabbits were studied over 17 months. Faecal pellet size and weight were measured in weeks 3, 9, 21 and 43 and faecal output in weeks 10, 22 and 45. Number of uneaten caecotrophs was recorded weekly. RESULTS: Faecal pellets were consistently smaller and lighter in rabbits fed muesli only, and the size of pellets produced by those fed muesli with hay decreased over the course of the study. Faecal output was greatest in rabbits with the highest hay intake. Uneaten caecotrophs were found in greatest frequency in rabbits fed muesli. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Muesli diets have a negative effect on faecal output and caecotroph ingestion and may therefore predispose to digestive disorders. Higher hay intake is associated with greater faecal output and fewer uneaten caecotrophs and may assist in preventing the gastrointestinal stasis.
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    SYSTEMIC INFECTION DUE TO CANDIDA PARAPSILOSIS IN A DOMESTIC FERRET (MUSTELA PUTORILIS FURO)
    Mancinelli, E ; Meredith, AL ; Stidworthy, MF (ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2014-01-01)
    An 18-month-old castrated male ferret (Mustela putorius furo) was presented to the veterinary hospital for acute collapse but died despite initiation of emergency treatment. The body was submitted for a complete postmortem examination. The pathologist determined the ferret was suffering from severe necrotizing encephalitis, necrogranulomatous mediastinal lymphadenitis, and ulcerative dermatitis attributable to systemic Candida parapsilosis. This is the first report of systemic Candida parapsilosis in a ferret.
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    Conservation of genetic uniqueness in remaining populations of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris L.) in the South of England
    Hardouin, EA ; Baltazar-Soares, M ; Schilling, A-K ; Butler, H ; Garcia-Rodriguez, O ; Crowley, E ; Liang, W-J ; Meredith, A ; Lurz, PWW ; Forster, J ; Kenward, RE ; Hodder, KH (WILEY, 2019-06-01)
    The Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is an emblematic species for conservation, and its decline in the British Isles exemplifies the impact that alien introductions can have on native ecosystems. Indeed, red squirrels in this region have declined dramatically over the last 60 years due to the spread of squirrelpox virus following the introduction of the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Currently, red squirrel populations in Britain are fragmented and need to be closely monitored in order to assess their viability and the effectiveness of conservation efforts. The situation is even more dramatic in the South of England, where S. vulgaris survives only on islands (Brownsea Island, Furzey Island, and the Isle of Wight). Using the D-loop, we investigated the genetic diversity and putative ancestry of the squirrels from Southern England and compared them to a European dataset composed of 1,016 samples from 54 populations. We found that our three populations were more closely related to other squirrels from the British Isles than squirrels from Europe, showed low genetic diversity, and also harbored several private haplotypes. Our study demonstrates how genetically unique the Southern English populations are in comparison with squirrels from the continental European range. We report the presence of four private haplotypes, suggesting that these populations may potentially harbor distinct genetic lineages. Our results emphasize the importance of preserving these isolated red squirrel populations for the conservation of the species.
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    Identification of novel anelloviruses with broad diversity in UK rodents
    Nishiyama, S ; Dutia, BM ; Stewart, JP ; Meredith, AL ; Shaw, DJ ; Simmonds, P ; Sharp, CP (MICROBIOLOGY SOC, 2014-07-01)
    Anelloviruses are a family of small circular ssDNA viruses with a vast genetic diversity. Human infections with the prototype anellovirus, torque teno virus (TTV), are ubiquitous and related viruses have been described in a number of other mammalian hosts. Despite over 15 years of investigation, there is still little known about the pathogenesis and possible disease associations of anellovirus infections, arising in part due to the lack of a robust cell culture system for viral replication or tractable small-animal model. We report the identification of diverse anelloviruses in several species of wild rodents. The viruses are highly prevalent in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) and field voles (Microtus agrestis), detectable at a low frequency in bank voles (Myodes glareolus), but absent from house mice (Mus musculus). The viruses identified have a genomic organization consistent with other anelloviruses, but form two clear phylogenetic groups that are as distinct from each other as from defined genera.
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    Novel adenoviruses detected in British mustelids, including a unique Aviadenovirus in the tissues of pine martens (Martes martes)
    Walker, D ; Gregory, WF ; Turnbull, D ; Rocchi, M ; Meredith, AL ; Philbey, AW ; Sharp, CP (MICROBIOLOGY SOC, 2017-08-01)
    Several adenoviruses are known to cause severe disease in veterinary species. Recent evidence suggests that canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1) persists in the tissues of healthy red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), which may be a source of infection for susceptible species. It was hypothesized that mustelids native to the UK, including pine martens (Martes martes) and Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra), may also be persistently infected with adenoviruses. Based on high-throughput sequencing and additional Sanger sequencing, a novel Aviadenovirus, tentatively named marten adenovirus type 1 (MAdV-1), was detected in pine marten tissues. The detection of an Aviadenovirus in mammalian tissue has not been reported previously. Two mastadenoviruses, tentatively designated marten adenovirus type 2 (MAdV-2) and lutrine adenovirus type 1 (LAdV-1), were also detected in tissues of pine martens and Eurasian otters, respectively. Apparently healthy free-ranging animals may be infected with uncharacterized adenoviruses with possible implications for translocation of wildlife.
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    A Review of Zoonotic Infection Risks Associated with the Wild Meat Trade in Malaysia
    Cantlay, JC ; Ingram, DJ ; Meredith, AL (SPRINGER, 2017-06-01)
    The overhunting of wildlife for food and commercial gain presents a major threat to biodiversity in tropical forests and poses health risks to humans from contact with wild animals. Using a recent survey of wildlife offered at wild meat markets in Malaysia as a basis, we review the literature to determine the potential zoonotic infection risks from hunting, butchering and consuming the species offered. We also determine which taxa potentially host the highest number of pathogens and discuss the significant disease risks from traded wildlife, considering how cultural practices influence zoonotic transmission. We identify 51 zoonotic pathogens (16 viruses, 19 bacteria and 16 parasites) potentially hosted by wildlife and describe the human health risks. The Suidae and the Cervidae families potentially host the highest number of pathogens. We conclude that there are substantial gaps in our knowledge of zoonotic pathogens and recommend performing microbial food safety risk assessments to assess the hazards of wild meat consumption. Overall, there may be considerable zoonotic risks to people involved in the hunting, butchering or consumption of wild meat in Southeast Asia, and these should be considered in public health strategies.
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    Serological and molecular epidemiology of canine adenovirus type 1 in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the United Kingdom
    Walker, D ; Fee, SA ; Hartley, G ; Learmount, J ; O'Hagan, MJH ; Meredith, AL ; Bronsvoort, BMDC ; Porphyre, T ; Sharp, CP ; Philbey, AW (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-10-31)
    Canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1) causes infectious canine hepatitis (ICH), a frequently fatal disease which primarily affects canids. In this study, serology (ELISA) and molecular techniques (PCR/qPCR) were utilised to investigate the exposure of free-ranging red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to CAV-1 in the United Kingdom (UK) and to examine their role as a wildlife reservoir of infection for susceptible species. The role of canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2), primarily a respiratory pathogen, was also explored. In foxes with no evidence of ICH on post-mortem examination, 29 of 154 (18.8%) red foxes had inapparent infections with CAV-1, as detected by a nested PCR, in a range of samples, including liver, kidney, spleen, brain, and lung. CAV-1 was detected in the urine of three red foxes with inapparent infections. It was estimated that 302 of 469 (64.4%) red foxes were seropositive for canine adenovirus (CAV) by ELISA. CAV-2 was not detected by PCR in any red foxes examined. Additional sequence data were obtained from CAV-1 positive samples, revealing regional variations in CAV-1 sequences. It is concluded that CAV-1 is endemic in free-ranging red foxes in the UK and that many foxes have inapparent infections in a range of tissues.
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    British Red Squirrels Remain the Only Known Wild Rodent Host for Leprosy Bacilli
    Schilling, A-K ; Avanzi, C ; Ulrich, RG ; Busso, P ; Pisanu, B ; Ferrari, N ; Romeo, C ; Mazzamuto, MV ; McLuckie, J ; Shuttleworth, CM ; Del-Pozo, J ; Lurz, PWW ; Escalante-Fuentes, WG ; Ocampo-Candiani, J ; Vera-Cabrera, L ; Stevenson, K ; Chapuis, J-L ; Meredith, AL ; Cole, ST (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-02-01)
    Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in the British Isles are the most recently discovered animal reservoir for the leprosy bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Initial data suggest that prevalence of leprosy infection is variable and often low in different squirrel populations. Nothing is known about the presence of leprosy bacilli in other wild squirrel species despite two others (Siberian chipmunk [Tamias sibiricus], and Thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]) having been reported to be susceptible to experimental infection with M. leprae. Rats, a food-source in some countries where human leprosy occurs, have been suggested as potential reservoirs for leprosy bacilli, but no evidence supporting this hypothesis is currently available. We screened 301 squirrel samples covering four species [96 Eurasian red squirrels, 67 Eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), 35 Siberian chipmunks, and 103 Pallas's squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus)] from Europe and 72 Mexican white-throated woodrats (Neotoma albigula) for the presence of M. leprae and M. lepromatosis using validated PCR protocols. No DNA from leprosy bacilli was detected in any of the samples tested. Given our sample-size, the pathogen should have been detected if the prevalence and/or bacillary load in the populations investigated were similar to those found for British red squirrels.