Agriculture : Animal health

Agriculture Portfolios


Genetic Testing for Acquired Peripheral Neuropathy in Dogs

UW–Madison researchers have identified a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that is predictive of APN syndrome in dogs, based on a genome-wide association study. Using a population of Labrador retrievers (56 cases and 26 controls), the researchers have shown that a SNP on CFA1 tags the causal variant for APN in the Labrador retriever breed.

Noninvasive Assay for Bovine Embryo Quality

UW–Madison researchers have identified 11 microRNAs (miRNAs) and 18 mRNAs as indicators of healthy IVF embryo development. They discovered that the miRNAs are differentially expressed between bovine blastocyst-stage embryos and those that fail to develop (‘degenerates’). This is the first report that miRNA levels in the culture medium differ among embryos of different developmental fate and can be used as indicators of embryo viability.

Preen Oil: The Nutritional Approach to Chronic Inflammation

UW–Madison researchers have developed methods of using preen oil as a food supplement to treat chronic inflammation in human and non-human animals, birds and fish.

Preen oil may be given orally as a pharmaceutical composition, added to human food products or included in animal, bird or fish food. The fatty acids in the oil accumulate in tissues where they inhibit the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and IL-6 and reduce chronic inflammation, including chronic joint inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

Low-Cost Mastitis Test Speeds Detection

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new test that takes less than two hours and can be used in the field or lab to simultaneously detect the eight most important mastitis pathogens. The assay works on DNA extractions from milk or other samples (e.g., blood or environmental) using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) that can be performed using only the kit and a heat block.

The test involves a rapid DNA extraction method (~ 35 minutes) followed by a 47-minute running time. The researchers developed a ‘master mix’ reaction solution for all eight pathogen-specific primers.

The new assay can test for: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Streptococcus uberis, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, coagulase-negative Staphylococci and Mycoplasma bovis. The result is a simple yes/no.

Combatting Parasitic Worms in Livestock and Other Animals

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for treating gastrointestinal worm infections in animals and humans by administering interleukin-10 (IL-10) peptides and antibodies. IL-10 is a natural feed additive that can be ingested. Critically, helminthes have no known mechanism to develop resistance.

Cooling Bed for Livestock

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new cooling mat for livestock that circulates chilled water through elastic conduction channels. Unlike existing systems that require an interfering layer of bedding, the new design provides greater heat exchange because the chilled surface is placed directly beneath a reclining animal. A layer of cushioning beneath the water channels provides support and comfort.

Potential for Vaccine Against Johne’s Disease

UW–Madison researchers have developed MAP strains with mutated global gene regulators (GGRs) that may be utilized in a vaccine against Johne’s disease.

GGRs are proteins needed for initiating RNA synthesis, for example, sigma factors and transcriptional regulators. By deleting, inactivating or reducing some key GGR sequences in MAP bacteria, non-virulent strains could be produced and administered to animals to confer immunity.

Preventing Septic Shock and Death with Peptide Antibodies

UW–Madison researchers have identified gastrointestinal tract, e.g., mucosal, inflammation as a key factor in SIRS. From this breakthrough, they have developed oral peptide antibodies to control the inflammation and/or prevent translocation of intestinal luminal bacteria into systemic circulation. The antibodies specifically bind sPLA2-IB, a pancreatic enzyme traditionally thought to only be involved in the digestion of dietary phospholipids. The antibodies are prepared using standard techniques and may be humanized or avian egg yolk antibodies. They are preferably administered as an oral pharmaceutical.

Natural Feed Additive Combats Gastrointestinal Infection in Livestock and Poultry

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for treating and maintaining healthy growth in animals infected with gastrointestinal protozoa using interleukin-10 (IL-10) peptides and antibodies.

Incorporating standard techniques, blood serum or eggs produced from hens vaccinated with IL-10 peptide vaccines can be obtained and dried to form an antibody-containing powder. The egg, yolk or serum powder may be added to animal feed in an appropriate amount to transfer the antibodies.

Vaccine Candidates Against Johne's Disease

A UW-Madison researcher has developed potential vaccine candidates for Johne’s disease. The disease is caused by the slow-growing bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, or M. paratuberculosis. The inventor identified several Mycobacterium strain-specific genes that may contribute to the pathogenicity of M. paratuberculosis. These genes could be used to design vaccines against pathogenic subspecies of M. avium, including M. paratuberculosis. In a recent study, vaccine preparations based on these sequences helped protect rodents against infection with M. paratuberculosis.

Method for Optimizing Health and Productivity of Milk Producing Animals

UW-Madison researchers have developed a means of evaluating management programs for transition cows. Their method uses objective measures of each individual’s previous lactation performance and current state to accurately predict the individual’s expected milk production at her first milk test date. A transition monitor value, known as the “Transition Cow Index” or “TCI,” is then calculated as the difference between actual and predicted milk production. The transition monitor can be utilized to evaluate and optimize the health and productivity of individuals and herds, and to make comparisons of transition programs within and among herds.

H3 Equine Influenza A Virus

UW-Madison researchers have developed an isolated H3 equine influenza A virus, as well as methods of preparing and using the virus. This virus, which was isolated following a May 2003 outbreak of respiratory disease in horses, represents a new line of equine influenza virus. It is genetically related to a virus that caused an outbreak of influenza among horses in South Africa and to a virus isolated from greyhound dogs in Florida. This virus will be useful as part of an up-to-date vaccine against equine influenza.

Plasmids Encoding Avian Influenza Genes

A UW-Madison researcher has developed plasmids encoding either the H3 N1 or the H5 N2 genes of avian influenza. These genes were cloned directly from viral isolates and are under the control of the pol II promoter.