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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the seroprevalence of heartworm infection, risk factors for seropositivity, and frequency of prescribing heartworm preventives for cats.

DESIGN Prospective cross-sectional study.

ANIMALS 34,975 cats from 1,353 veterinary clinics (n = 26,707) and 125 animal shelters (8,268) in the United States and Canada.

PROCEDURES Blood samples were collected from all cats and tested with a point-of-care ELISA for Dirofilaria immitis antigen, FeLV antigen, and FIV antibody. Results were compared among geographic regions and various cat groupings.

RESULTS Seropositivity for heartworm antigen in cats was identified in 35 states but not in Canada; overall seroprevalence in the United States was 0.4%. Seroprevalence of heartworm infection was highest in the southern United States. A 3-fold increase in the proportion of seropositive cats was identified for those with (vs without) outdoor access, and a 2.5-fold increase was identified for cats that were unhealthy (vs healthy) when tested. Seroprevalence was 0.3% in healthy cats, 0.7% in cats with oral disease, 0.9% in cats with abscesses or bite wounds, and 1.0% in cats with respiratory disease. Coinfection with a retrovirus increased the risk of heartworm infection. Heartworm preventives were prescribed for only 12.6% of cats at testing, and prescribing was more common in regions with a higher seroprevalence.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE At an estimated prevalence of 0.4%, hundreds of thousands of cats in the United States are likely infected with heartworms. Given the difficulty in diagnosing infection at all clinically relevant parasite stages and lack of curative treatment options, efforts should be increased to ensure all cats receive heartworm preventives.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of the anesthetic combination tiletamine, zolazepam, ketamine, and xylazine (TKX) for anesthesia of feral cats at largescale neutering clinics.

Design—Original study.

Animals—7,502 feral cats.

Procedure—Cats were trapped by their caretakers for a feral cat neutering program from July 1996 to August 2000. The anesthetic combination TKX was injected IM into cats while they remained in their traps. Each milliliter of TKX contained 50 mg of tiletamine, 50 mg of zolazepam, 80 mg of ketamine, and 20 mg of xylazine. Females were spayed by veterinarians, whereas males were castrated by veterinarians or veterinary students. Yohimbine (0.5 mg, IV) was administered at the end of the procedure. Logs were kept of the individual drug doses, signalment of the cats, and any complications encountered. These data were analyzed retrospectively (1996 to 1999) and prospectively (2000).

Results—Of the 5,766 cats for which dosing records were complete, 4,584 (79.5%) received a single dose of TKX. The mean initial dose of TKX was 0.24 ± 0.04 ml/cat, and the total mean dose of TKX was 0.27 ± 0.09 ml. Overall mortality rate was 0.35% (26/7,502) cats, and the death rate attributable solely to potential anesthetic deaths was 0.23% (17/7,502) cats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The use of TKX for large-scale feral cat neutering clinics has several benefits. The TKX combination is inexpensive, provides predictable results, can be administered quickly and easily in a small volume, and is associated with a low mortality rate in feral cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002; 220:1491–1495)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of adult cat serum as an immunoglobulin supplement in kittens with failure of passive transfer.

Design—Randomized controlled study.

Animals—11 specific pathogen-free queens and their 43 kittens.

Procedure—Kittens were removed from the queens at birth, prior to suckling colostrum, and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups: colostrum-deprived, colostrum-fed, colostrum-deprived and administration of pooled adult cat serum IP, and colostrum-deprived and administration of pooled adult serum SC. Colostrum-fed kittens were returned to the queen and allowed to suckle normally. Colostrum-deprived kittens were isolated from the queen and fed a kitten milk replacer for 2 days to prevent absorption of colostral IgG. All colostrum-deprived kittens were returned to the queen on day 3. Serum IgG concentrations were measured by radial immunodiffusion in the kittens at birth and 2 days and 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks after birth.

Results—None of the kittens had detectable serum IgG at birth. Both IP and SC administration of adult cat serum resulted in peak serum IgG concentrations equivalent to those in kittens that suckled normally. Untreated colostrum-deprived kittens did not achieve serum IgG concentrations comparable to those for kittens in the other groups until 6 weeks of age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that adult cat serum may be used as an immunoglobulin supplement in colostrum-deprived kittens. Although the minimum concentration of IgG necessary to protect kittens from infection is unknown, concentrations achieved were comparable to those in kittens that suckled normally. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1401–1405)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine prevalence of FeLV infection and serum antibodies against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in unowned free-roaming cats.

Design—Cross-sectional serologic survey.

Animals—733 unowned free-roaming cats in Raleigh, NC, and 1,143 unowned free-roaming cats in Gainesville, Fla.

Results—In Raleigh, overall prevalence of FeLV infection was 5.3%, and overall seroprevalence for FIV was 2.3%. In Gainesville, overall prevalence of FeLV infection was 3.7%, and overall seroprevalence for FIV was 4.3%. Overall, FeLV prevalence was 4.3%, and seroprevalence for FIV was 3.5%. Prevalence of FeLV infection was not significantly different between males (4.9%) and females (3.8%), although seroprevalence for FIV was significantly higher in male cats (6.3%) than in female cats (1.5%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Prevalence of FeLV infection and seroprevalence for FIV in unowned free-roaming cats in Raleigh and Gainesville are similar to prevalence rates reported for owned cats in the United States. Male cats are at increased risk for exposure to FIV, compared with female cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:620–622)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence and severity of pulmonary arterial lesions in cats seropositive for heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) but lacking adult heartworms in the heart and lungs during necropsy.

Animals—630 adult cats from an animal control shelter in Florida.

Procedure—Cats were tested for adult heartworms in the heart and pulmonary arteries and antibody against heartworms in the serum. Histologic examination was conducted on the right caudal lung lobe of 24 heartworm- and antibody-positive cats; 24 heartworm-negative and antibody-positive cats; and 24 heartworm-, antibody-, and antigen-negative cats. Wall areas of 10 small to medium-sized pulmonary arteries of each cat were measured and expressed as a proportion of total cross-sectional area.

Results—Heartworm infection or seropositive status was significantly and strongly associated with severity of medial hypertrophy of pulmonary arterial walls. Heartworm- and antibody-positive cats and heartworm-negative and antibody-positive cats had a significant increase in wall thickness, compared with wall thickness for heartworm- and antibody-negative cats. Heartworm- and antibody-positive cats had the most severe hypertrophy. The proportion with occlusive medial hypertrophy was significantly higher in heartworm- and antibody-positive cats (19/24 [79%]) and heartworm-negative and antibody-positive cats (12/24 [50%]), compared with heartworm- and antibody-negative cats (3/24 [13%]).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cats with serologic evidence of exposure to heartworms, including those without adult heartworms in the lungs and heart, have a greater prevalence of pulmonary arterial lesions than heartworm-negative cats without serologic evidence of exposure. Additional studies are needed to define the pathogenesis, specificity, and clinical importance of these lesions. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1544–1549)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine the pharmacokinetics of enrofloxacin in neonatal kittens and compare the pharmacokinetics of enrofloxacin in young and adult cats.

Animals—7 adult cats and 111 kittens (2 to 8 weeks old).

Procedure—A single dose of 5 mg of enrofloxacin/kg was administered to adults (IV) and kittens (IV, SC, or PO). Plasma concentrations of enrofloxacin and its active metabolite, ciprofloxacin, were determined.

Results—The half-life of enrofloxacin administered IV in 2-, 6-, and 8-week-old kittens was significantly shorter and its elimination rate significantly greater than that detected in adults. The apparent volumes of distribution were lower at 2 to 4 weeks and greater at 6 to 8 weeks. This resulted in lower peak plasma concentration (Cmax) at 6 to 8 weeks; however, initial plasma concentration was within the therapeutic range after IV administration at all ages. Compared with IV administration, SC injection of enrofloxacin in 2-weekold kittens resulted in similar Cmax, half-life, clearance, and area under the curve values. Enrofloxacin administered via SC injection was well absorbed in 6- and 8- week-old kittens, but greater clearance and apparent volume of distribution resulted in lower plasma concentrations. Oral administration of enrofloxacin resulted in poor bioavailability.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In neonatal kittens, IV and SC administration of enrofloxacin provided an effective route of administration. Oral administration of enrofloxacin in kittens did not result in therapeutic drug concentrations. Doses may need to be increased to achieve therapeutic drug concentrations in 6- to 8-week-old kittens. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:350–356)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether passive transfer of IgG in neonatal kittens affects plasma opsonic capacity and neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst responses to bacteria in vitro.

Animals—22 kittens from 6 specific pathogen-free queens.

Procedure—Kittens were randomized at birth into the following treatment groups: colostrum-fed, colostrum-deprived, or colostrum-deprived supplemented with feline or equine IgG. Blood samples were collected at intervals from birth to 56 days of age. Plasma IgG concentrations were determined by radial immunodiffusion assay. Neutrophil function was assessed by a flow cytometry assay providing simultaneous measurement of bacteria-induced phagocytosis and oxidative burst. The opsonic capacity of kitten plasma was determined in an opsonophagocytosis assay with bacteria incubated in untreated or heat-inactivated plasma.

Results—Among treatment groups, there were no significant differences in neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst responses to bacteria or opsonic capacity of plasma. In all samples of plasma, inactivation of complement and other heat-labile opsonins significantly reduced the opsonic capacity. Plasma IgG concentrations in kittens did not correlate with neutrophil function or plasma opsonic capacity before or after inactivation of complement.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The plasma opsonic capacity and neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst responses in vitro of kittens receiving passive transfer of IgG via colostrum intake or IgG supplementation and those deprived of colostrum were similar. The alternate complement pathway or other heat-labile opsonins may be more important than IgG in bacterial opsonization and phagocytosis. ( Am J Vet Res 2003;64:538–543)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence of infectious diseases of animal and zoonotic importance in cats and dogs rescued and transferred from the Gulf Coast region following Hurricane Katrina.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—414 dogs and 56 cats rescued and transferred from the Gulf Coast region within 4 months after the hurricane.

Procedures—EDTA-anticoagulated blood and serum samples were tested via PCR and serologic assays for infectious diseases.

Results—In dogs, prevalence was highest for anti-West Nile virus (WNV) antibodies (218/390 [55.9%]), Dirofilaria immitis antigen (195/400 [48.8%]), anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies (92/366 [25.1%]), and hemotropic mycoplasma DNA (40/345 [11.9%]). The DNA of Bartonella spp, Ehrlichia spp, or Babesia spp or anti-canine influenza virus antibodies were identified in < 2% of dogs. In cats, prevalence was highest for antibodies against Bartonella spp and DNA of Bartonella spp combined (49/55 [89.1 %]), anti–T gondii antibodies (13/55 [23.6%]), hemotropic mycoplasma DNA (5/47 [10.6%]), anti-WNV antibodies (5/48 [10.4%]), D immitis antigen (4/50 [8.0%]), and anti–FIV antibodies (4/56 [7.1%]). A total of 308 (74.4%) dogs and 52 (92.9%) cats had evidence of previous or current vector-borne infections.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cats and dogs rescued from the disaster region had evidence of multiple infectious diseases. The dispersal of potentially infectious animals to other regions of North America where some infections were not typically found could have contributed to new geographic ranges for these organisms or to underdiagnosis in affected animals because of a low index of suspicion in regions with low disease prevalence.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of anesthesia and surgery on serologic responses to vaccination in kittens.

Design—Prospective controlled trial.

Animals—32 specific-pathogen–free kittens.

Procedures—Kittens were assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: neutering at 7, 8, or 9 weeks of age or no neutering. All kittens were inoculated with modified-live virus vaccines against feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), feline herpesvirus (FHV), and feline calicivirus (FCV) at 8, 11, and 14 weeks of age and inactivated rabies virus (RV) at 14 weeks of age. Serum antibody titers against FPV, FHV, and FCV were determined at 8, 9, 11, 14, and 17 weeks of age; RV titers were determined at 14 and 17 weeks of age.

Results—Serologic responses of kittens neutered at the time of first vaccination (8 weeks) were not different from those of kittens neutered 1 week before (7 weeks) or 1 week after (9 weeks) first vaccination or from those of kittens that were not neutered. In total, 31%, 0%, 69%, and 9% of kittens failed to develop adequate titers against FPV, FCV, FHV, and RV, respectively, by 17 weeks of age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Neutering at or near the time of first vaccination with a modified-live virus vaccine did not impair antibody responses in kittens. Many kittens that were last vaccinated at 14 weeks of age had inadequate antibody titers at 17 weeks of age. Kittens may be vaccinated in the perioperative period when necessary, and the primary vaccination series should be extended through at least 16 weeks of age.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To estimate seroprevalences for FeLV antigen and anti-FIV antibody and risk factors for seropositivity among cats in the United States and Canada.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

ANIMALS 62,301 cats tested at 1,396 veterinary clinics (n = 45,406) and 127 animal shelters (16,895).

PROCEDURES Blood samples were tested with a point-of-care ELISA for FeLV antigen and anti-FIV antibody. Seroprevalence was estimated, and risk factors for seropositivity were evaluated with bivariate and multivariable mixed-model logistic regression analyses adjusted for within-clinic or within-shelter dependencies.

RESULTS Overall, seroprevalence was 3.1% for FeLV antigen and 3.6% for anti-FIV antibody. Adult age, outdoor access, clinical disease, and being a sexually intact male were risk factors for seropositivity for each virus. Odds of seropositivity for each virus were greater for cats tested in clinics than for those tested in shelters. Of 1,611 cats with oral disease, 76 (4.7%) and 157 (9.7%) were seropositive for FeLV and FIV, respectively. Of 4,835 cats with respiratory disease, 385 (8.0%) were seropositive for FeLV and 308 (6.4%) were seropositive for FIV. Of 1,983 cats with abscesses or bite wounds, 110 (5.5%) and 247 (12.5%) were seropositive for FeLV and FIV, respectively. Overall, 2,368 of 17,041 (13.9%) unhealthy cats were seropositive for either or both viruses, compared with 1,621 of 45,260 (3.6%) healthy cats.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Seroprevalences for FeLV antigen and anti-FIV antibody were similar to those reported in previous studies over the past decade. Taken together, these results indicated a need to improve compliance with existing guidelines for management of feline retroviruses.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association