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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)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

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 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 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)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the frequency and duration of feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) vaccine-induced interference with fecal parvovirus diagnostic testing in cats.

Design—Prospective controlled study.

Animals—Sixty-four 8- to 10-week-old specific-pathogen–free kittens.

Procedures—Kittens were inoculated once with 1 of 8 commercial multivalent vaccines containing modified-live virus (MLV) or inactivated FPV by the SC or intranasal routes. Feces were tested for parvovirus antigen immediately prior to vaccination, then daily for 14 days with 3 tests designed for detection of canine parvovirus. Serum anti-FPV antibody titers were determined by use of hemagglutination inhibition prior to vaccination and 14 days later.

Results—All fecal parvovirus test results were negative prior to vaccination. After vaccination, 1 kitten had positive test results with test 1, 4 kittens had positive results with test 2, and 13 kittens had positive results with test 3. Only 1 kitten had positive results with all 3 tests, and only 2 of those tests were subjectively considered to have strongly positive results. At 14 days after vaccination, 31% of kittens receiving inactivated vaccines had protective FPV titers, whereas 85% of kittens receiving MLV vaccines had protective titers.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Animal shelter veterinarians should select fecal tests for parvovirus detection that have high sensitivity for FPV and low frequency of vaccine-related test interference. Positive parvovirus test results should be interpreted in light of clinical signs, vaccination history, and results of confirmatory testing. Despite the possibility of test interference, the benefit provided by universal MLV FPV vaccination of cats in high-risk environments such as shelters outweighs the impact on diagnostic test accuracy.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine seroprevalence of dirofilariasis in dogs and seroprevalences of dirofilariasis, FeLV infection, and FIV infection in cats exported from the Gulf Coast region following the 2005 hurricanes.

Design—Seroprevalence survey.

Animals—1,958 dogs and 1,289 cats exported from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas between August 20 and December 31, 2005.

Procedures—141 animal welfare groups in 37 states and Alberta, Canada, reported results of serologic testing. Risk factors for infection, including age, sex, neuter status, breed, and state of rescue, were examined by means of univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

Results—Seroprevalence of dirofilariasis in dogs was 48.8%. Sexually intact dogs were 1.6 times as likely to have dirofilariasis as were neutered dogs, dogs in the ancient breed group were 2.2 times as likely and dogs in the guarding breed group were 1.7 times as likely to have dirofilariasis as were dogs in the herding breed group, and dogs from Mississippi were significantly less likely to have dirofilariasis than were dogs from Texas. Seroprevalences of dirofilariasis, FeLV infection, and FIV infection in cats were 4.0%, 2.6%, and 3.6%, respectively. Seroprevalence of FIV infection was significantly higher in adult cats than in juveniles and in males than in females.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that dogs and cats exported from the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricane disaster area had disease rates similar to those for animals in the region prior to the hurricanes.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the proportion of dogs entering an animal shelter with protective antibody titers (PATs) for canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) and identify factors associated with having a PAT.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—431 dogs admitted to an open-admission municipal animal shelter in north central Florida with a history of infectious disease outbreaks.

Procedures—Blood was collected from dogs on the day of admission to the shelter. Antibody titers for CDV and CPV were measured by virus neutralization and hemagglutination inhibition, respectively. Age, sex, neuter status, address of origin, source (stray or previously owned), health status (healthy or not healthy), and outcome (adoption, euthanasia, or reclaimed by owner) data were also collected.

Results—Overall, 64.5% (278/431) of dogs had insufficient titers for antibodies against CDV, CPV, or both. A total of 153 (35.5%) dogs had PATs for both CDV and CPV, 33 (7.7%) had PATs for CDV but not CPV, 136 (31.5%) had PATs for CPV but not CDV, and 109 (25.3%) did not have PATs for either virus. Older dogs were more likely to have PATs for CDV and CPV. Neutered dogs were more likely to have PATs for CDV. Factors not associated with having a PAT included source, health status, and type of community from which the dog originated.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most dogs had insufficient antibody titers for CDV, CPV, or both at the time of admission to the animal shelter. Findings support current guidelines recommending vaccination of all dogs immediately upon admission to shelters, regardless of source or physical condition.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the earliest day of gestation at which relaxin could be detected in pregnant queens by use of a commercially available point-of-care test designed for use in dogs, and to calculate sensitivity and specificity of the test for pregnancy detection on any specified day of gestation.

Design—Evaluation study.

Animals—162 female cats (24 queens from a breeding colony, 128 stray and feral queens undergoing ovariohysterectomy, and 10 ovariohysterectomized cats).

Procedures—24 queens were monitored for pregnancy. Blood samples were collected daily and tested for relaxin until 2 consecutive positive test results were obtained. The earliest day of pregnancy detection was estimated by counting backward from the day of parturition to the day of the first positive test. The uteri, ovaries, and any fetuses of 128 stray and feral queens undergoing ovariohysterectomy were examined grossly, and gestational day in pregnant queens was determined on the basis of fetal crown-rump length. Blood samples from these queens and from 10 cats ovariohysterectomized prior to the study were collected for relaxin testing.

Results—Pregnancy was detected by use of the relaxin test kit as early as gestational day 20; sensitivity of the test was 100% on and after gestational day 29. False-positive results were detected in 3 queens, 2 of which had large (approx 2 × 3-cm) ovarian cysts, resulting in a specificity of 95.9%.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A commercially available relaxin test kit designed for use in dogs can be used to reliably detect pregnancy in cats.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the frequency of enteropathogens in cats entering an animal shelter with normal feces or diarrhea.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—100 cats evaluated at an open-admission municipal animal shelter in Florida.

Procedures—Fecal samples collected within 24 hours after admission from 50 cats with normal feces and 50 cats with diarrhea were tested by fecal flotation, antigen testing, PCR assay, and electron microscopy for selected enteropathogens.

Results—12 enteropathogens were identified. Cats with diarrhea were no more likely to be infected with ≥ 1 (84%) enteropathogens than were cats with normal feces (84%). Only feline coronavirus was significantly more prevalent in cats with diarrhea (58%) than in cats with normal feces (36%). Other enteropathogens identified in cats with and without diarrhea included Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin A (42% and 50%, respectively), Cryptosporidium spp (10% and 20%, respectively), Giardia spp (20% and 8%, respectively), Cystoisospora spp (14% and 10%, respectively), hookworms (10% and 18%, respectively), ascarids (6% and 16%, respectively), Salmonella spp (6% and 4%, respectively), astrovirus (8% and 2%, respectively), feline panleukopenia virus (4% and 4%, respectively), calicivirus (0% and 2%, respectively), and Spirometra spp (0% and 2%, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In the present study, cats entered the shelter with a variety of enteropathogens, many of which are pathogenic or zoonotic. Most infections were not associated with diarrhea or any specific risk factors such as signalment, source, or body condition, making it difficult to predict which cats were most likely to be infected. It is not possible to test all shelter cats for all possible infections, so practical guidelines should be developed to treat routinely for the most common and important enteropathogens.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association