Objective—To evaluate the degree of noise to which kenneled dogs were exposed in 2 typical kennels and to determine whether a measurable change in hearing might have developed as a result of exposure to this noise.
Animals—14 dogs temporarily housed in 2 kennel environments.
Procedures—Noise levels were measured for a 6-month period in one environment (veterinary technical college kennel) and for 3 months in another (animal shelter). Auditory brainstem response testing was performed on dogs in the veterinary kennel 48 hours and 3 and 6 months after arrival. Temporal changes in the lowest detectable response levels for wave V were analyzed.
Results—Acoustic analysis of the kennel environments revealed equivalent sound level values ranging between 100 and 108 dB sound pressure level for the 2 kennels. At the end of 6 months, all 14 dogs that underwent hearing tests had a measured change in hearing.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of the noise assessments indicated levels that are damaging to the human auditory system. Such levels could be considered dangerous for kenneled dogs as well, particularly given the demonstrated hearing loss in dogs housed in the veterinary kennel for a prolonged period. Noise abatement strategies should be a standard part of kennel design and operation when such kennels are intended for long-term housing of dogs.
Objective—To compare owner-assessed ease of administration and overall acceptability of 3 chemically inactive formulations administered PO to cats.
Animals—90 healthy client-owned cats.
Procedures—Cats were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 3 formulations PO once daily for 14 days: medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, dissolving thin film strips (proprietary ingredients), or gelatin capsules filled with microcrystalline cellulose. Owners administered the formulations and rated ease of administration daily on a 10-cm visual analogue scale (VAS). At the end of the study, owners rated overall acceptability of formulations from their own perspective and their overall perception of acceptability to their cat.
Results—Mean VAS scores for daily ease of administration of MCT oil and film strips were significantly higher than scores for gelatin capsules at all time points, except on days 2, 4, and 7. There was no difference between MCT oil and film strip formulation scores. Mean VAS scores were 8.8 (MCT oil), 8.9 (film strips), and 7.4 (gelatin capsules) for overall acceptability to owners and 8.0 (MCT oil), 8.3 (film strips), and 6.7 (gelatin capsules) for overall owner-perceived acceptability to cats.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Daily ease of administration on 11 of 14 days and overall owner-perceived acceptability to cats were scored significantly higher for film strips and MCT oil, compared with scores for gelatin capsules. Overall acceptability to owners followed a similar pattern; however, the differences were not significant. Dissolving thin film strip or MCT oil vehicles may allow for easier PO administration of medication to cats than does administration of gelatin capsules.
Objective—To establish a demographic approach to facilitate the comparison of husbandry success for deer species in zoos and to test for factors that influence the performance of deer species in captivity.
Sample Population—Data collected from 45,736 zoo-kept deer that comprised 31 species.
Procedures—Data had been collected by the International Species Information System during the last 3 decades on zoo-kept deer around the world. The relative life expectancy (rLE) of a species (ie, mean life expectancy as a proportion of the maximum recorded life span for that species) was used to describe zoo populations. The rLE (values between 0 and 1) was used to reflect the husbandry success of a species.
Results—A significant positive correlation was found between the rLE of a species and the percentage of grass in the natural diet of the species, suggesting that there are more problems in the husbandry of browsing than of grazing species. The 4 species for which a studbook (ie, record of the lineage of wild animals bred in captivity) was maintained had a high rLE, potentially indicating the positive effect of intensive breeding management.
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—The rLE facilitated the comparison of husbandry success for various species and may offer the possibility of correlating this quotient with other biological variables. Ultimately, identifying reasons for a low husbandry success in certain species may form the basis for further improvements of animal welfare in captivity.
Objective—To determine whether disparities in health and welfare among cats are present within neighborhoods and across census tracts in a large US city, and to compare results with area-level human data.
Sample Population—17,587 cat intake records from 2 animal sheltering organizations serving Boston, and summary data from city animal control authorities for a 5-year period (2004 through 2008).
Procedures—Geocoded addresses (n = 15,285) were spatially joined to neighborhood and census tract polygons. Cat intakes and deaths were calculated per capita and compared with human demographic and death data. Poisson mixed-effects models were used to smooth mortality rates and calculate relative risks.
Results—Data from geocoded records indicated that annual rates of cat intakes and deaths ranged widely (0.85 to 10.3 cats/1,000 persons and 0.27 to 3.9 cats/1,000 persons, respectively) within 16 neighborhoods of Boston. The disparity across 156 census tracts that comprised these neighborhoods was even greater (0.10 to 22.1 cats/1,000 persons and 0.15 to 6.47 cats/1,000 persons for intakes and deaths, respectively). Cat deaths were significantly correlated with human premature deaths at the neighborhood level (R2 = 0.77). Overall, annual per capita city-wide shelter-associated mortality rate for cats (estimated at approx 2.6 cats/1,000 persons) was similar to rates in other progressive communities.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—By use of geospatial techniques, 14- to 40-fold gradients in cat deaths were detected across Boston neighborhoods and census tracts. Cat deaths were associated with human premature deaths and socioeconomic indicators reflecting deprivation. Targeted interventions may be effective in resolving these disparities.
Objective—To compare effects of hot iron branding and microchip transponder injection regarding aversive behavioral reactions indicative of pain and inflammation in horses.
Animals—7 adult horses.
Procedures—In a randomized controlled clinical crossover study, behavioral reactions to hot iron branding and microchip transponder injection were scored by 4 observers. Local and systemic inflammation including allodynia were assessed and compared by use of physiologic and biochemical responses obtained repeatedly for the 168-hour study period. Serum cortisol concentration was measured repeatedly throughout the first 24 hours of the study. Sham treatments were performed 1 day before and 7 days after treatments.
Results—Hot iron branding elicited a significantly stronger aversive reaction indicative of pain than did microchip transponder injection (odds ratio [OR], 12.83). Allodynia quantified by means of skin sensitivity to von Frey monofilaments was significantly greater after hot iron branding than after microchip transponder injection (OR, 2.59). Neither treatment induced signs of spontaneously occurring pain that were observed during the remaining study period, and neither treatment induced increased serum cortisol concentrations. Comparison with sham treatments indicated no memory of an unpleasant event. The hot iron branding areas had significantly increased skin temperature and swelling (OR, 14.6). Systemic inflammation as measured via serum amyloid A concentration was not detected after any of the treatments.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Microchip transponder injection induced less signs of pain and inflammation and did not seem to pose a higher long-term risk than hot iron branding. Consequently, results indicated that hot iron branding does inflict more pain and should be abandoned where possible.
Objective—To compare efficacy of flunixin meglumine versus carprofen in controlling pain under field conditions following castration by use of an external clamping technique in calves that received epidural anesthesia.
Animals—40 male 5- to 6-month-old calves.
Procedures—Calves were allocated to 4 groups: castrated only (control calves; n = 8); castrated 5 minutes after epidural injection of 2% lidocaine (epidural-alone treated calves; 8), castrated after epidural anesthesia and SC administration of flunixin meglumine (epidural-flunixin treated calves; 12), and castrated after epidural anesthesia and SC administration of carprofen (epidural-carprofen–treated calves; 11 [1 calf not included]). Plasma cortisol concentration was measured before and 6, 24, and 48 hours after castration. Time of arrival at the feed trough at 24 and 48 hours was observed. Calves were observed at 24 and 48 hours for 4 pain-related behaviors.
Results—At 6 hours, control calves had significantly higher plasma cortisol concentrations, compared with baseline values and those of epidural-flunixin– and epidural-carprofen–treated calves. At 24 hours, epidural-carprofen–treated calves had significantly lower plasma cortisol concentrations, compared with control calves. At 48 hours, epidural-carprofen–treated calves had plasma cortisol concentrations that were similar to baseline values and significantly lower than epidural-flunixin– and epidural-alone–treated calves. At 24 and 48 hours, epidural-carprofen–treated calves were first to arrive at the feed trough and had fewer pain-related behaviors.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—SC administration of carprofen in combination with epidural injection of lidocaine may improve the welfare of calves castrated by use of an external clamping technique for up to 48 hours.
Objective—To evaluate plasma concentrations of substance P (SP) and cortisol in calves after castration or simulated castration.
Animals—10 Angus-crossbred calves.
Procedures—Calves were acclimated for 5 days, assigned to a block on the basis of scrotal circumference, and randomly assigned to a castrated or simulated-castrated (control) group. Blood samples were collected twice before, at the time of (0 hours), and at several times points after castration or simulated castration. Vocalization and attitude scores were determined at time of castration or simulated castration. Plasma concentrations of SP and cortisol were determined by use of competitive and chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassays, respectively. Data were analyzed by use of repeated-measures analysis with a mixed model.
Results—Mean ± SEM cortisol concentration in castrated calves (78.88 ± 10.07 nmol/L) was similar to that in uncastrated control calves (73.01 ± 10.07 nmol/L). However, mean SP concentration in castrated calves (506.43 ± 38.11 pg/mL) was significantly higher than the concentration in control calves (386.42 ± 40.09 pg/mL). Mean cortisol concentration in calves with vocalization scores of 0 was not significantly different from the concentration in calves with vocalization scores of 3. However, calves with vocalization scores of 3 had significantly higher SP concentrations, compared with SP concentrations for calves with vocalization scores of 0.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Similar cortisol concentrations were measured in castrated and control calves. A significant increase in plasma concentrations of SP after castration suggested a likely association with nociception. These results may affect assessment of animal well-being in livestock production systems.
Objective—To determine the enzymatic and hormonal responses, heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) production, and Hsp70 mRNA expression in heart and kidney tissues of transport-stressed pigs.
Animals—24 pigs (mean weight, 20 ± 1 kg).
Procedures—Pigs were randomly placed into groups of 12 each. One group was transported for 2 hours. The other group was kept under normal conditions and used as control pigs. Sera were used to detect triiodothyronine, thyroxine, and cortisol concentrations and alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and creatine kinase activities. The heart and kidneys of anesthetized pigs were harvested and frozen in liquid nitrogen for quantification of Hsp70 and Hsp70 mRNA.
Results—No significant differences were detected in serum alanine aminotransferase activity and triiodothyronine and cortisol concentrations between groups; however, the serum creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase activities and thyroxine concentrations were higher in transported pigs. Densitometric readings of western blots revealed that the amount of Hsp70 in heart and kidney tissues was significantly higher in transported pigs, compared with control pigs. Results of fluorescence quantitative real-time PCR assay revealed that the Hsp70 mRNA transcription in heart tissue, but not kidney tissue, was significantly higher in transported pigs, compared with control pigs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Transportation imposed a severe stress on pigs that was manifested as increased serum activities of aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase and increased amounts of Hsp70 and Hsp70 mRNA expression in heart and kidney tissues. Changes in serum enzyme activities were related to the tissue damage of transport-stressed pigs.
Objective—To validate the use of a novel questionnaire as an instrument for measurement of chronic pain in dogs through its impact on health-related quality of life (HRQL).
Animals—108 dogs with chronic degenerative joint disease and 26 healthy dogs.
Procedures—Questionnaire responses were subjected to factor analysis (FA) and questionnaire scores to discriminant analysis to evaluate construct validity. Questionnaire scores were used to explore the potential of this instrument for minimizing respondent bias and for evaluative purposes.
Results—FA results revealed a sensible factor structure accounting for 65% of the variance in data, with factors identifiable as domains of HRQL in dogs affected by chronic pain. Further evidence for construct validity was provided when questionnaire scores were used to discriminate, on the basis of 218 questionnaires, between dogs with clinician-awarded pain scores of 0 and dogs with pain scores ≥ 1 (88% discrimination, with 95% of no-pain group dogs and 87% of some-pain group dogs correctly categorized). Use of the questionnaire provided minimized respondent bias.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Validation of the questionnaire as an instrument for discriminative and evaluative measurements of orthopedic chronic pain through its impact on HRQL in dogs was provided. Use of the questionnaire, with further testing and refinement, may support improved clinical decision making, facilitate development of evidence-based therapeutic options for chronic diseases, and help veterinarians and owners define humane end points in dogs.
Impact for Human Medicine—Information gained here may provide improved measurements of clinical change in animal studies that use dogs with naturally occurring chronic pain to evaluate novel human treatment protocols.