Opportunities for the public to interact with animals in public settings such as petting zoos, fairs, and farm visits can be valuable learning and entertainment experiences. However, zoonotic disease transmission from healthy animals on exhibit and their environments, as well as injuries and other health problems, may result from these interactions if steps are not taken to minimize risks. The 2023 Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings provides background about these potential risks and updates recommendations for reducing those risks. Enteric zoonotic disease risks from animal contact in public settings include Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli infections, cryptosporidiosis, and campylobacteriosis. These infections occur when pathogens are accidentally ingested by individuals following direct contact with animals or contaminated objects. Zoonotic influenza infections can occur in a similar manner or through aerosols generated from infected animals. Other infectious diseases, parasitic infections, bites, and other injuries are also possible hazards in these settings. Inadequate handwashing and facility design flaws are frequent contributors to these risks, especially on farms or temporary exhibits not specifically designed for public use. Venues should provide sufficient handwashing stations and establish clearly defined animal contact areas. Operators should educate visitors about potential disease and injury risks, steps necessary to minimize exposure, and the importance of handwashing after the visit. Additionally, operators and visitors alike should realize that certain individuals are at heightened risk for zoonotic infections. Signs, handouts, and other educational materials are publicly available in a toolkit that accompanies the compendium.
To evaluate the impact of daily gabapentin on behavior modification progression and signs of stress in fearful shelter cats from hoarding environments.
37 cats (32 met inclusion criteria).
Healthy fearful cats were entered into group (1) gabapentin or (2) placebo upon intake. Both groups received daily behavior modification. Cats received 10 mg/kg of liquid gabapentin or placebo every 12 hours. Daily measures of cat stress score, latency to emerge from hiding, general in-shelter behavior, and urine suppression were collected. Results were analyzed on an intention-to-treat and per-protocol basis (including only cats that received > 75% of their doses). Post-adoption surveys assessed cat social behavior.
Of 32 fearful cats, 28 (87.5%) graduated from the behavior modification program in a median of 11 days (range, 4 to 51 days). Per-protocol analysis showed that gabapentin predicted quicker behavior modification progression and lower cat stress score, latency to emerge, and urine suppression compared to placebo. Median time to graduation was reduced by half with gabapentin. Intention-to-treat analysis showed that gabapentin predicted a lower cat stress score and latency to emerge. No differences were observed between groups for general in-shelter behavior. Among limited survey respondents (n = 7), despite showing unsocial behavior in the first week and among unfamiliar people, cats showed social behavior 1 year post-adoption.
Daily gabapentin was beneficial in behavior modification progress and reduced signs of stress in shelter cats. Fearful cats from hoarding environments can be successfully treated with behavior modification ± daily gabapentin within an animal shelter.
The researchers and clinicians within the Dog Aging Project (DAP), a longitudinal cohort study of aging in companion dogs, created and validated a novel survey instrument titled the End of Life Survey (EOLS) to gather owner-reported mortality data about companion dogs.
Bereaved dog owners who participated in the refinement, face validity assessment, or reliability assessment of the EOLS (n = 42) and/or completed the entire survey between January 20 and March 24, 2021 (646).
The EOLS was created and modified by veterinary health professionals and human gerontology experts using published literature, clinical veterinary experience, previously created DAP surveys, and feedback from a pilot study conducted with bereaved dog owners. The EOLS was subjected to qualitative validation methods and post hoc free-text analysis to evaluate its ability to thoroughly capture scientifically relevant aspects of companion dogs’ deaths.
The EOLS was well received with excellent face validity as assessed by dog owners and experts. The EOLS had fair to substantial reliability for the 3 validation themes—cause of death (κ = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.5 to 0.95), perimortem quality of life (κ = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.73), and reason for euthanasia (κ = 0.3; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.52)—and had no need for any substantial content alterations based on free-text analysis.
The EOLS has proven to be a well-accepted, comprehensive, and valid instrument for capturing owner-reported companion dog mortality data and has the potential to enhance veterinarians’ ability to care for the aging dog population by illuminating their understanding of companion dogs’ end-of-life experiences.
To prospectively assess the efficacy of emesis induction for the recovery of gastric foreign objects in cats and to determine if any factors influenced recovery.
22 client-owned cats.
Cats for which emesis induction was deemed appropriate were administered an emetic agent by the attending clinician between October 2018 and April 2021. Data collected included whether emesis was successful in recovery in some or all of the foreign object, time from administration to emesis, number of emetic events, and type, length, width, and surface area of the material ingested.
Of the 22 cats that had emesis attempted, 11 (50%) vomited some or all of the foreign object. The time from ingestion to presentation, time from the last meal, presence of food in the vomitus, type of the object, and length, width, and surface area of the object did not influence the likelihood of successful recovery with emesis induction. The most common object cats ingested were rubber bands.
Recovery of gastric foreign objects in cats with emesis induction alone may be successful 50% of the time. The type and size of the object is unlikely to influence whether or not emesis will be successful. This information can help prepare cat-owners for expectations and outcomes following attempts at emesis induction.
To determine the incidence of histologic grade shift (alteration of grade relative to the original tumor) in recurrent canine soft tissue sarcoma (STS) and mast cell tumor (MCT), and to determine the level of agreement between blinded pathologist review and original histology interpretation of STS and MCT grades.
15 dogs with recurrent cutaneous/subcutaneous STS and 5 dogs with recurrent cutaneous MCT. All included dogs underwent excision of both the primary and recurrent tumors and had tumor samples available for review.
The medical records and histology database from a single institution were reviewed, and data were recorded and analyzed. A single board-certified veterinary pathologist performed blinded evaluation of all excisional tumor samples, including both primary and recurrent disease, and these were evaluated independently and in conjunction with initial pathologic diagnoses.
Based on single pathologist review, 7 of 15 (46.7%) dogs with recurrent STS had grade shift characterized by a higher or lower recurrent tumor grade in 4 of 7 and 3 of 7 cases, respectively, and 1 of 5 dogs with recurrent MCT had grade shift characterized by an increased grade of the recurrent tumor. Variability in reported grade between original histology report and pathologist review occurred for 13 of 30 (43.3%) STS excisional biopsy samples and 0 of 10 MCT excisional biopsy samples.
Grade shift has been reported in multiple tumor types in people and has the potential to alter prognosis and treatment recommendations. This is the first study to document this phenomenon in dogs. Additional large-scale studies are needed to determine factors associated with grade shift as well as prognostic significance of grade shift for recurrent canine STS and MCT.
To evaluate technical efficiency of US companion animal practices.
60 independently owned companion animal practices selected from the 2022 AVMA Veterinary Practice Owners Survey.
A ratio of the weighted sum of outputs to weighted sum of inputs was computed for each practice (ie, decision-making unit [DMU]). Inputs included labor (hours worked) and capital (fixed costs and number of exam rooms). Outputs (or production) included annual gross revenue, number of patients seen per year, and number of appointment slots per full-time–equivalent (FTE) veterinarian per year. Data envelopment analysis was used to optimize the ratio and estimate relative efficiency (RE) scores.
25 (42%) practices were classified as having high efficiency (RE = 1 or 100% efficient), 26 (43%) as having moderate efficiency (RE > 0.7 but < 1.0), and 9 (15%) as having low efficiency (RE ≤ 0.7). Mean RE scores for moderate- and low-efficiency practices were 0.83 and 0.66, meaning they could have reached their current production levels with 17% or 34% less resources. Per the model, if all 60 practices were 100% efficient on the RE scale, 22 fewer FTE veterinarians, 47 fewer FTE veterinary technicians and assistants, and 43 fewer FTE nonmedical staff would be needed overall.
These preliminary findings suggested that efforts to optimize efficiency could allow companion animal practices to meet demands for their services without necessarily needing to hire more staff. Such efforts might include engaging support staff to their full potential and implementing automated processes. Additional research is needed to identify routines or workflows that distinguish high-efficiency practices from others.
To raise veterinary awareness of a newly recognized parasitic threat to canine and human health, highlight the increasing availability of molecular parasitological diagnostics and the need to implement best practices of cestocidal use in high-risk dogs.
A young Boxer dog with vomiting and bloody diarrhea, suspected diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.
CLINICAL PRESENTATION, PROGRESSION, AND PROCEDURES
Bloodwork revealed inflammation, dehydration, and protein loss, addressed with supportive therapy. Fecal culture revealed only Escherichia coli. On centrifugal flotation, tapeworm eggs (which could be Taenia or Echinococcus spp) and, unusually, adult cestodes of Echinococcus were observed. The referring veterinarian was contacted to initiate immediate treatment with a cestocide due to zoonotic potential. Diagnosis was confirmed with a coproPCR which has higher sensitivity for Echinococcus spp than fecal flotation alone. DNA was identical to an introduced European strain of E multilocularis currently emerging in dogs, people, and wildlife. Since dogs can also self-infect and develop hepatic alveolar echinococcosis (severe and often fatal), this was ruled out using serology and abdominal ultrasound.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME
Following cestocidal treatment, fecal flotation and coproPCR were negative for eggs and DNA of E multilocularis; however, coccidia were detected and diarrhea resolved following treatment with sulfa-based antibiotics.
This dog was serendipitously diagnosed with E multilocularis, acquired through ingestion of a rodent intermediate host likely infected from foxes and coyotes. Therefore, as a dog at high risk of reexposure from eating rodents, regular (ideally monthly) treatment with a labeled cestocide is indicated going forward.