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  • Author or Editor: Loïc Desquilbet x
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OBJECTIVE To define a frailty-related phenotype—a clinical syndrome associated with the aging process in humans—in aged dogs and to investigate its association with time to death.

ANIMALS 116 aged guide dogs.

PROCEDURES Dogs underwent a clinical geriatric assessment (CGA) and were followed to either time of death or the study cutoff date. A 5-component clinical definition of a frailty phenotype was derived from clinical items included in a geriatric health evaluation scoresheet completed by veterinarians during the CGA. Univariate (via Kaplan-Meier curves) and multivariate (via Cox proportional hazards models) survival analyses were used to investigate associations of the 5 CGA components with time to death.

RESULTS 76 dogs died, and the median time from CGA to death was 4.4 years. Independent of age at the time of CGA, dogs that had ≥ 2 of the 5 components (n = 10) were more likely to die during the follow-up period, compared with those that had 1 or no components (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.9 [95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 10.9]). After further adjustments for subclinical or clinical diseases and routine biomarkers, the adjusted hazard ratio remained significant.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that signs of frailty appeared to be a risk factor for death in dogs. The concept of frailty in dogs requires further development.

IMPACT FOR HUMAN MEDICINE The concept of frailty, as defined for humans, seems transposable to dogs. Given that they share humans' environments and develop several age-related diseases similar to those in humans, dogs may be useful for the study of environmental or age-related risk factors for frailty in humans.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effect of track surface firmness on the development of musculoskeletal injuries in French Trotters during 4 months of race training.

ANIMALS 12 healthy 3-year-old French Trotters.

PROCEDURES Horses were paired on the basis of sex and body mass. Horses within each pair were randomly assigned to either a hard-track or soft-track group. The counterclockwise training protocol was the same for both groups. Surface firmness of each track was monitored throughout the training period. Radiography, ultrasonography, MRI, and scintigraphy were performed on all 4 limbs of each horse before and after 2 and 4 months of training. Lesions were described, and lesion severity was classified with a 5-point system, where 0 = no lesions and 4 = severe lesion.

RESULTS 86 lesions were identified, of which 46 (53.5%) were classified as potentially clinically relevant (grade, ≥ 2). Of the 18 moderate and severe lesions, 15 were identified in horses of the hard-track group, and 10 of those were in forelimbs. Moderate to severe tendinopathy of the superficial digital flexor tendon of the forelimb developed in 3 of the 6 horses of the hard-track group but none of the horses of the soft-track group. Metatarsal condyle injuries were more frequent in horses of the hard-track group than horses of the soft-track group. Severe lesions were identified only in left limbs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that track surface firmness is a risk factor for musculoskeletal injuries in horses trained for harness racing.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



Evaluate the short-term effects of acupuncture on the dynamic manifestations of axial stiffness in steeplechase racehorses.


12 steeplechase racehorses presenting signs of axial stiffness during training.


Horses were randomly assigned to either an acupuncture treatment by an experienced certified acupuncturist (n = 6) or no treatment as negative controls (6). The horses’ locomotion was evaluated during training before treatment (D0) and 7 (D7) and 14 (D14) days after by their rider and trainer through a questionnaire. Additionally, the improvement of their dorsal flexibility 2 days after treatment was evaluated subjectively at the trot, free jumping at the canter was evaluated by expert clinicians, and free jumping at the trot was evaluated objectively via inertial measurement units.


Significantly more horses were improved on D7 and D14 in the acupuncture group (6/6) compared with the control group (1/5; P =.01) according to the scores set by the trainer and riders. Subjective evaluation of the dorsal flexibility also revealed a significant improvement (P = .04) for horses receiving the acupuncture treatment (median improvement score, 0.50 [reference range, 0.5 to 0.9]) compared with control horses (–0.25 [reference range, –0.5 to 0]).


Acupuncture may be an interesting nondoping strategy to improve clinical signs of axial stiffness and performance on steeplechase racehorses.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To characterize the epidemiological, clinical, and echocardiographic features of dogs and cats with tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) and determine their survival times.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 15 dogs and 16 cats with a diagnosis of TOF as determined via echocardiography.

PROCEDURES Medical records of dogs and cats were reviewed to extract information on signalment, clinical status at the time of TOF diagnosis, echocardiographic findings, and any outcome data.

RESULTS The most common canine breeds were terrier types (n = 7). Most animals (28/31 [90%]) had clinical signs of TOF at the time of diagnosis, including cyanosis (16/31 [52%]). Pulmonic stenosis was characterized by a variable systolic Doppler-derived pressure gradient (median [range], 108 mm Hg [26 to 255 mm Hg]). Most ventricular septal defects were large, with a median (range) ratio of the diameter of the ventricular septal defect to that of the aorta of 0.60 (0.18 to 1.15). Median age at cardiac-related death was 23.4 months, with no significant difference between dogs and cats. Median survival time from TOF diagnosis to cardiac-related death was briefer for animals with no or low-grade heart murmur (3.4 months) than for those with higher-grade heart murmur (16.4 months). After adjustment for age and sex, having a lack of or a low- to mild-grade systolic heart murmur was significantly associated with a briefer survival time.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE With a few exceptions, cardiac-related death occurred predominantly in young adult dogs and cats with TOF, and most animals had severe clinical signs at the time of TOF diagnosis.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association