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Authors: Boglárka Baska-Vincze, Ferenc Baska and Ottó Szenci

Monitoring fetal heart rate (FHR) and fetal heart rate variability (FHRV) helps to understand and evaluate normal and pathological conditions in the foal. The aim of this study was to establish normal heart rate reference values for the ongoing equine pregnancy and to perform a heart rate variability (HRV) time-domain analysis in Lipizzaner mares. Seventeen middle- and late-term (days 121–333) pregnant Lipizzaner mares were examined using fetomaternal electrocardiography (ECG). The mean FHR (P = 0.004) and the standard deviation of FHR (P = 0.012) significantly decreased during the pregnancy. FHR ± SD values decreased from 115 ± 35 to 79 ± 9 bpm between months 5 and 11. Our data showed that HRV in the foal decreased as the pregnancy progressed, which is in contrast with the findings of earlier equine studies. The standard deviation of normal-normal intervals (SDNN) was higher (70 ± 25 to 166 ± 108 msec) than described previously. The root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) decreased from 105 ± 69 to 77 ± 37 msec between the 5th and 11th month of gestation. Using telemetric ECG equipment, we could detect equine fetal heartbeat on day 121 for the first time. In addition, the large differences observed in the HR values of four mare-fetus pairs in four consecutive months support the assumption that there might be ‘high-HR’ and ‘low-HR’ fetuses in horses. It can be concluded that the analysis of FHR and FHRV is a promising tool for the assessment of fetal well-being but the applicability of these parameters in the clinical setting and in studs requires further investigation.

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In the equine practice, attempts have been made to examine the fetus in the second and third trimester of pregnancy but all of the available methods have limitations. Until now, transabdominal ultrasonography has been regarded as the most informative examination. This method allows us to measure fetal heart rate, fetal activity as well as the quality and quantity of the fetal fluids. A modified biophysical profile for horses was used by several researchers in the USA from the 1990s as a gold standard. However, it is not sensitive enough and, in the authors’ experience, professionals can face difficulties during its application (e.g. for measuring aortic diameter and fetal breathing movements). In cows, this method was first used for this purpose by a Canadian research group in 2007. They reported that transabdominal ultrasound was promising but showed low sensitivity in this species. The present studies show that birth weight cannot be predicted from fetal aortic diameter measurement in cows as suggested by other researchers. Transabdominal ultrasound needs special equipment (2–3.5 MHz convex transducer) and basic ultrasonographic knowledge; however, we suggest that in most cases it can be performed with the dam placed in a stock and without shaving the examination area. The method provides useful information within 30–40 minutes, enabling the examiner to determine whether or not the fetus is alive and to recognise placentitis or twins. This technique also allows measuring the combined thickness of the uteroplacental unit, and the authors’ ongoing study showed higher normal values in Lipizzaner mares compared to values in other breeds. In conclusion, with the help of advanced techniques, simple and low-cost methods should be developed for the evaluation of the pregnant dam and its fetus to assess fetal viability in the veterinary practice.

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Authors: Boglárka Vincze, Orsolya Kutasi, Ferenc Baska and Ottó Szenci

The aims of this study were to detect physiological changes in blood biochemical parameters throughout gestation, to compare the findings in nonpregnant and pregnant Lipizzaner mares in early-mid and late pregnancy, and to provide reference values for clinical chemistry parameters in this horse breed. A total of 136 venous blood samples were collected from 20 pregnant and 10 nonpregnant (control) asymptomatic Lipizzaner broodmares for biochemical analyses. Twelve parameters (albumin, total protein, urea, triglycerides, glucose, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate transaminase, glutamate dehydrogenase, gammaglutamyltransferase, creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase) were measured. For the statistical analyses, correlation, analysis of variance and Kruskal–Wallis H-test were used to evaluate the possible associations between parameters. Serum triglyceride levels proved to be significantly different in pregnant mares compared to the control group. Total protein and urea levels significantly decreased, while glucose, triglyceride and glutamate dehydrogenase values increased from approx. the fifth month of gestation until parturition. Four biochemical parameters (albumin, aspartate transaminase, total protein and urea) were lower and three other variables (glucose, alkaline phosphatase and creatinine) were significantly higher in late-term pregnant mares than in mares in early or mid-gestation. It is concluded that reference values not only reflect the species, breed and sex but also the reproductive status of animals.

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Abstract

Two adult barbels (Barbus barbus) with visible skin tumours were subjected to histopathological and molecular examinations. The fish were caught in the River Danube near Budapest. Papillomas were found around their oral cavity, at the operculum and at the pectoral fins, while epidermal hyperplasias were seen on the body surface. Cyprinid herpesvirus 1 (CyHV-1) was detected in the kidney of the specimens by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and barbel circovirus 1 (BaCV1) was found in all internal organs and in the tissues of the tumours. The whole genome of BaCV1 and three conserved genes from the genome of CyHV-1 were sequenced. Previously, BaCV1 had been reported only once from a mass mortality event among barbel fry. The whole genome sequence of our circovirus shared 99.9% nucleotide identity with that of the formerly reported BaCV1. CyHV-1 is known to infect common carp and coloured carp (Cyprinus carpio), and has been assumed to infect other cyprinid fish species as well. We found the nucleotide sequences of the genes of CyHV-1 to be identical in 98.7% to those of the previous isolates from carp. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first molecular confirmation of the presence of CyHV-1 DNA in cyprinid fish species other than carp.

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Abstract

Two adult barbels (Barbus barbus) with visible skin tumours were subjected to histopathological and molecular examinations. The fish were caught in the River Danube near Budapest. Papillomas were found around their oral cavity, at the operculum and at the pectoral fins, while epidermal hyperplasias were seen on the body surface. Cyprinid herpesvirus 1 (CyHV-1) was detected in the kidney of the specimens by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and barbel circovirus 1 (BaCV1) was found in all internal organs and in the tissues of the tumours. The whole genome of BaCV1 and three conserved genes from the genome of CyHV-1 were sequenced. Previously, BaCV1 had been reported only once from a mass mortality event among barbel fry. The whole genome sequence of our circovirus shared 99.9% nucleotide identity with that of the formerly reported BaCV1. CyHV-1 is known to infect common carp and coloured carp (Cyprinus carpio), and has been assumed to infect other cyprinid fish species as well. We found the nucleotide sequences of the genes of CyHV-1 to be identical in 98.7% to those of the previous isolates from carp. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first molecular confirmation of the presence of CyHV-1 DNA in cyprinid fish species other than carp.

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Authors: Csaba Jakab, Attila Szász, Janina Kulka, Ferenc Baska, Miklós Rusvai, Péter Gálfi and Tibor Németh

This short report describes a case of tricuspid valvular metastasis of canine disseminated histiocytic sarcoma in a 9-year-old female Rottweiler. Immunohistochemically the malignant neoplastic cells gave a strong reaction for vimentin and lysozyme, and showed negativity for serotonin, CD3, CD79a and cytokeratin. The intratumoural microvessels were detected by immunohistochemistry using CD31 and claudin-5. This appears to be the first report of a valvular metastasis of canine malignant histiocytosis.

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Authors: Boglárka Vincze, András Gáspárdy, Levente Kovács, Ervin Albert, Luca Kézér, Ferenc Baska and Ottó Szenci

Transabdominal ultrasonography has been shown to be a useful and reliable method for assessing fetal well-being in horses and cattle. To test the applicability of fetal aortic diameter measurement in cattle, 44 late-term pregnant cows and heifers were examined 21 to 0 days prior to calving. Mean fetal aortic diameter was 2.07 ± 0.14 cm and mean fetal heart rate (FHR) was 109 ± 17 bpm. Three dead calves were dissected and their aortic diameter was measured in a water bath. The mean birth weight (n = 44) was 39.9 ± 5.8 kg. There was a significant negative correlation between FHR and fetal aortic diameter. However, although some studies have shown that fetal aortic diameter strongly correlates with birth weight in near-term horses and cattle, in this study there was no correlation between fetal aortic diameter and birth weight in Holstein-Friesian cows and heifers irrespective of whether the fetus was born alive or dead.

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