Case-control study of risk factors for granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs

Heidi L. Barnes Heller 1Department of Medical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

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Martin N. Granick 2UW Veterinary Care, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

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Marie E. Pinkerton 3Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

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Nicholas S. Keuler 4School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Department of Statistics, College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify environmental and other variables associated with a diagnosis of granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME) in dogs.

DESIGN

Case-control study.

ANIMALS

31 dogs that received a histologic diagnosis of GME (case dogs) from January 2003 to January 2014 and 91 age- and breed-matched dogs.

PROCEDURES

Data were obtained from each dog's medical records regarding home address, signalment, body weight, body condition score (BCS), vaccination history, and date of diagnosis (case dogs) or visit (control dogs). Home address data were used to determine the human population density in each dog's geographic region. Seasonal distributions of GME diagnoses in the case group were evaluated for differences. Case and control dogs were compared with respect to the remaining variables.

RESULTS

For case dogs, no significant difference was identified among seasons in the distribution of GME diagnoses; however, such diagnoses were more common in the spring than in other seasons. No significant differences were identified between case and control dogs in age, body weight, BCS, human population density, season of diagnosis or visit, or time of last vaccination. Although females appeared more likely than males to have a GME diagnosis, this association was not significant and did not change when BCS, time since last vaccination, or human population density was considered.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

None of the evaluated factors, including investigated environmental triggers, were associated with a GME diagnosis in the dogs of this study. Additional research is warranted involving dogs from a broader geographic area.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify environmental and other variables associated with a diagnosis of granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME) in dogs.

DESIGN

Case-control study.

ANIMALS

31 dogs that received a histologic diagnosis of GME (case dogs) from January 2003 to January 2014 and 91 age- and breed-matched dogs.

PROCEDURES

Data were obtained from each dog's medical records regarding home address, signalment, body weight, body condition score (BCS), vaccination history, and date of diagnosis (case dogs) or visit (control dogs). Home address data were used to determine the human population density in each dog's geographic region. Seasonal distributions of GME diagnoses in the case group were evaluated for differences. Case and control dogs were compared with respect to the remaining variables.

RESULTS

For case dogs, no significant difference was identified among seasons in the distribution of GME diagnoses; however, such diagnoses were more common in the spring than in other seasons. No significant differences were identified between case and control dogs in age, body weight, BCS, human population density, season of diagnosis or visit, or time of last vaccination. Although females appeared more likely than males to have a GME diagnosis, this association was not significant and did not change when BCS, time since last vaccination, or human population density was considered.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

None of the evaluated factors, including investigated environmental triggers, were associated with a GME diagnosis in the dogs of this study. Additional research is warranted involving dogs from a broader geographic area.

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