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Risk factors for development of dysautonomia in dogs

Roy D. BerghausDepartments of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Dennis P. O'BrienDepartments of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Gayle C. JohnsonDepartments of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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James G. ThorneDepartments of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Abstract

Objective—To identify risk factors associated with dysautonomia in dogs.

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—42 dogs with dysautonomia examined between October 1988 and January 2000 and 132 control dogs examined during the same period for an unrelated problem.

Procedure—Information was gathered from medical records and surveys mailed to owners of case and control dogs.

Results—42 case and 132 control dogs were included; completed surveys were returned by owners of 30 case and 103 control dogs. Dogs with dysautonomia were significantly younger (median, 18 months) than control dogs (median, 60 months) and more likely to come from rural areas and to spend ≥ 50% of their time outdoors. Compared with rural control dogs that spent at least some time outdoors, affected dogs were more likely to have access to pasture land, farm ponds, and cattle, and to have consumed wildlife, at least occasionally. The largest numbers of dogs with dysautonomia were identified during February and April, with relatively few dogs identified during the summer and early fall.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Although the cause of dysautonomia is unknown, results suggest that dogs with dysautonomia were significantly more likely to live in rural areas and spend ≥ 50% of their time outdoors than were control dogs examined for unrelated diseases. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218: 1285–1290)

Abstract

Objective—To identify risk factors associated with dysautonomia in dogs.

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—42 dogs with dysautonomia examined between October 1988 and January 2000 and 132 control dogs examined during the same period for an unrelated problem.

Procedure—Information was gathered from medical records and surveys mailed to owners of case and control dogs.

Results—42 case and 132 control dogs were included; completed surveys were returned by owners of 30 case and 103 control dogs. Dogs with dysautonomia were significantly younger (median, 18 months) than control dogs (median, 60 months) and more likely to come from rural areas and to spend ≥ 50% of their time outdoors. Compared with rural control dogs that spent at least some time outdoors, affected dogs were more likely to have access to pasture land, farm ponds, and cattle, and to have consumed wildlife, at least occasionally. The largest numbers of dogs with dysautonomia were identified during February and April, with relatively few dogs identified during the summer and early fall.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Although the cause of dysautonomia is unknown, results suggest that dogs with dysautonomia were significantly more likely to live in rural areas and spend ≥ 50% of their time outdoors than were control dogs examined for unrelated diseases. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218: 1285–1290)