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Investigation of potential risk factors for mesenteric volvulus in military working dogs

Shane J. AndrewsDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Todd M. ThomasLTC Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX 78236.

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Joe G. HauptmanDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Bryden J. StanleyDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To identify risk factors for mesenteric volvulus (MV) in military working dogs (MWDs).

DESIGN Retrospective case-control study.

ANIMALS 211 MWDs (54 with and 157 without MV [case and control dogs, respectively]).

PROCEDURES Medical records (cases and controls) and necropsy reports (cases) were reviewed. Signalment, pertinent medical and surgical history, behavior and temperament characteristics, feeding schedules, and training types were recorded. Weather patterns for regions where dogs resided were researched. Data were evaluated statistically to identify potential risk factors for MV.

RESULTS Risk factors significantly associated with MV included German Shepherd Dog breed (OR, 11.5), increasing age (OR, 2.0), and history of prophylactic gastropexy (OR, 65.9), other abdominal surgery (after gastropexy and requiring a separate anesthetic episode; OR, 16.9), and gastrointestinal disease (OR, 5.4). Post hoc analysis of the subset of MWDs that underwent gastropexy suggested that postoperative complications were associated with MV in these dogs but type of gastropexy and surgeon experience level were not.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Data supported earlier findings that German Shepherd Dog breed and history of gastrointestinal disease were risk factors for MV. The MWDs with a history of prophylactic gastropexy or other abdominal surgery were more likely to acquire MV than were those without such history. These findings warrant further study. Despite the association between prophylactic gastropexy and MV, the authors remain supportive of this procedure to help prevent the more common disease of gastric dilatation-volvulus.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To identify risk factors for mesenteric volvulus (MV) in military working dogs (MWDs).

DESIGN Retrospective case-control study.

ANIMALS 211 MWDs (54 with and 157 without MV [case and control dogs, respectively]).

PROCEDURES Medical records (cases and controls) and necropsy reports (cases) were reviewed. Signalment, pertinent medical and surgical history, behavior and temperament characteristics, feeding schedules, and training types were recorded. Weather patterns for regions where dogs resided were researched. Data were evaluated statistically to identify potential risk factors for MV.

RESULTS Risk factors significantly associated with MV included German Shepherd Dog breed (OR, 11.5), increasing age (OR, 2.0), and history of prophylactic gastropexy (OR, 65.9), other abdominal surgery (after gastropexy and requiring a separate anesthetic episode; OR, 16.9), and gastrointestinal disease (OR, 5.4). Post hoc analysis of the subset of MWDs that underwent gastropexy suggested that postoperative complications were associated with MV in these dogs but type of gastropexy and surgeon experience level were not.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Data supported earlier findings that German Shepherd Dog breed and history of gastrointestinal disease were risk factors for MV. The MWDs with a history of prophylactic gastropexy or other abdominal surgery were more likely to acquire MV than were those without such history. These findings warrant further study. Despite the association between prophylactic gastropexy and MV, the authors remain supportive of this procedure to help prevent the more common disease of gastric dilatation-volvulus.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Andrews' present affiliation is US Army Veterinary Corps.

Address correspondence to Dr. Andrews (andrewsshanej@gmail.com).