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Pharmacology, Toxicology and Healing in Farm Animals - Animal Welfare and Epithelial Barriers

Pickrell, John
Kansas State University
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The primary objective of this research is to evaluate novel methods pain assessment developed by our group using an industry relevant castration and dehorning model. This effort will focus on assessing (1) behavioral changes using accelerometer technology, (2) neuroendocrine responses using measurements of the neuropeptide, substance P in plasma and (3) physiological changes through the determination of plasma cortisol.

A major advantage of our approach over that of other laboratories is that we measure the relationship of these indicators with management practices and plasma analgesia concentrations with validated bioanalytical methods. Together these studies will allow us to formulate effective and scientifically validated analgesic drug regimens that mitigate pain.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: In this project, we study the interaction between food safety animals and the health of their lung and mammary gland epithelium, the barriers between them and the outside world filled with pathogens and toxins. We attempt to analyze risk associated with animal feeding operations that concentrate densities of such food animals and maximize the safety of meat and milk to our consumers. We have developed a screening assay to minimize the ability of toxins to affect the health of lungs and mammary epithelium. We will use animal lung cells to predict potential toxicity from animal feeding operation particle exposure reflected by the release of inflammatory products from these cells. We will combine this data with production data to obtain a quantitative risk assessment relating production to health balance in bovine AFO operations. Animal welfare issues address concerns of beef consumers growth, immunity and ability to move. Respect of cattle coupled with mutual trust, and communication and the bottom line - production and immunity. Pain associated with cattle castration is one of the most important issues. Beef welfare investigators are trying to make scientifically sound pain measurements at the same time they measure plasma analgesic drug concentrations, so that they can develop effective pain reduction drug regimens for food animals. The issue is important to the USDA. Effective drug regimens in food animals will satisfy a second priority - to develop scientific methods of pain management that enhance productivity and animal well being.

APPROACH: Maintaining high quality environment and animal welfare practices creates opportunity for improving the quality of land, air or water and enhancing our safe, secure high-quality food supply and healthy sustainable communities. This project addresses issues of animal production relating to epithelial toxicity and animal welfare issues. Epithelial toxicity's relation animal production, addresses issues that most closely relate safety for our consumers. From another view, increased stocking densities facilitate automated dispersal of food to food animals, reducing that portion of the maintenance costs by five - 10 fold, they lead to dispersal of manure wastes into both air and water as end toxin and nitrogenous wastes, respectively. Maintenance of the safety of our own product - meat and milk - is of paramount concern. Milk is a good source of nutrition, especially to infants and children. We are concerned that if dairy cattle are exposed to environmental toxins, the toxins could be excreted in the milk and cause adverse effects to the health of consumers for dairy products. Previously we have measured airborne ammonia, end toxin, total dust and airborne irrespirable dust deposited in the deep lung parenchyma. To determine more closely how such dust would interact with the environment and animals in it, we have developed a rapid analytical method that involves contact between the Nan particle-sized dust and an established line of lung epithelial cells which experience approximately the same reactions at the same intensities as whole lungs when animals are exposed. Our long term goal is to use animal lung cells to screen for potential toxicity from particle exposure as indicated by the release of pro oxidant and anti oxidant cytokines to predict health levels of either lung or mammary epithelium. We intend to combine this data with production data to obtain a quantitative risk assessment model relating to production to inflammatory balance in bovine AFO operations. Animal welfare issues address concerns of beef consumers as well as efficiencies of cattle growth, immunity and movement. Attention to respect of cattle, mutual trust and communication should benefit the concerns of beef consumers; strengthen cattle immune systems and increase growth and efficiency. Pain associated with cattle castration is an important beef production and welfare issue. The long term goal of the beef welfare investigators is to validate science-based pain measurements studied in conjunction with plasma analgesic drug concentrations, to enable characterization of pharmacodynamic relationship suitable for establishing efficacious anti-nociceptive drug regimens in food animals. This objective addresses a primary UDA NRI funding priority. Efficacious drug regimens in food animals will satisfy a second priority to develop science based management practices to enhance animal well being.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Food Defense and Integrity
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication