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Summary

In this report, the use of appropriate statistical methods for the evaluation of heartworm immunodiagnostic tests is discussed. The evaluation of these tests is complicated by factors causing variation in sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and predictive values of positive and negative test results. The primary sources of inconsistency are variation in the prevalence of heartworm infection among populations of dogs and the sensitivity of immunodiagnostic tests to various categories of heartworm infections (ie, patent, immune-mediated occult, unisex occult, and immature occult). Sample size (ie, number of dogs tested) affects the confidence limit values of sensitivity and specificity. At least 100 dogs should be used in each testing group (infected and uninfected) to generate values of sensitivity or specificity within reasonably narrow confidence limits. Use of more than 200 dogs in each testing group contributes little to further narrowing of confidence limits. The selection of appropriate statistical tests for comparison of tests or comparison of the sensitivity or specificity of a single diagnostic test to various categories of heartworm infections is critical. The McNemar paired χ2 test is appropriate for comparison of diagnostic tests, but it must be done by use of duplicate sera from each animal. A χ2 test of independence, or, in the case of a small sample size, the Fisher exact test, is appropriate for comparing the sensitivity or specificity of a single diagnostic test to various categories of heartworm infection.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate long-term neurologic outcome in dogs with atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS) that were treated nonsurgically with a cervical splint.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals±19 dogs with AAS and managed with a cervical splint.

Procedure—Medical records from 2 university hospitals were reviewed. Information pertaining to trauma, duration of clinical signs prior to admission, medical treatments prior to admission, results of neurologic and physical examinations at the time of admission, results of laboratory testing, results of diagnostic imaging, neurologic status at the time of discharge, duration of time the cervical splint was used for treatment, and neurologic status at the time of splint removal and at a final reexamination was extracted from the medical records. Long-term outcome was defined as neurologic status greater than or equal to 1 year after splint removal. Factors associated with a good or poor long-term outcome were determined.

Results—A good final outcome was reported in 10 of 16 dogs. Median duration of clinical signs prior to referral was 30 days; dogs that were affected ≤ 30 days were significantly more likely to have a good long-term outcome, compared with dogs affected > 30 days. The neurologic grade at admission, radiographic appearance of the dens, age at onset of clinical signs, and history were not associated with outcome.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Nonsurgical management of AAS by use of a cervical splint is a viable treatment modality for young dogs with a first episode of acute-onset clinical signs, regardless of the severity of neurologic deficits at admission. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:257–262)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize the frequency and type of bacterial infection by culture- and immunohistochemical (IHC)-based methods and determine the impact of infection on clinical features and survival time in cats with suppurative cholangitis-cholangiohepatitis syndrome (S-CCHS).

ANIMALS

168 client-owned cats with S-CCHS (cases).

PROCEDURES

Clinical features, bacterial culture results, culture-inoculate sources, and survival details were recorded. Cases were subcategorized by comorbidity (extrahepatic bile duct obstruction, cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, ductal plate malformation, biopsy-confirmed inflammatory bowel disease, and biopsy-confirmed pancreatitis) or treatment by cholecystectomy or cholecystoenterostomy. Culture results, bacterial isolates, Gram-stain characteristics, and IHC staining were compared among comorbidities. Lipoteichoic acid IHC staining detected gram-positive bacterial cell wall components, and toll-like receptor expression IHC reflected pathologic endotoxin (gram-negative bacteria) exposure.

RESULTS

Clinical features were similar among cases except for more frequent abdominal pain and lethargy in cats with positive culture results and pyrexia, abdominal pain, and hepatomegaly for cats with polymicrobial infections. Bacteria were cultured in 93 of 135 (69%) cats, with common isolates including Enterococcus spp and Escherichia coli. IHC staining was positive in 142 of 151 (94%) cats (lipoteichoic acid, 107/142 [75%]; toll-like receptor 4, 99/142 [70%]). With in-parallel interpretation of culture and IHC-based bacterial detection, 154 of 166 (93%) cats had bacterial infections (gram-positive, 118/154 [77%]; gram-negative, 111/154 [72%]; polymicrobial, 79/154 [51%]). Greater frequency of bacterial isolation occurred with combined tissue, bile, and crushed cholelith inoculates. Infection and gram-positive bacterial isolates were associated with significantly shorter long-term survival times.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

S-CCHS was associated with bacterial infection, pathologic endotoxin exposure, and frequent polymicrobial infection in cats. Combined tissue inoculates improved culture detection of associated bacteria.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize clinical features, comorbidities, frequency of bacterial isolation, and survival time in cats with suppurative cholangitis-cholangiohepatitis syndrome (S-CCHS).

ANIMALS

168 client-owned cats with S-CCHS.

PROCEDURES

Data were prospectively (1980 to 2019) collected regarding clinical features, comorbidities, bacterial infection, illness duration, and treatments. Variables were evaluated for associations with survival time.

RESULTS

Median age of cats was 10.0 years, with no breed or sex predilection observed. Common clinical features included hyporexia (82%), hyperbilirubinemia (80%), lethargy (80%), vomiting (80%), jaundice (67%), weight loss (54%), and hypoalbuminemia (50%). Comorbidities included extrahepatic bile duct obstruction (53%), cholelithiasis (42%), cholecystitis (40%), and ductal plate malformation (44%) as well as biopsy-confirmed inflammatory bowel disease (60/68 [88%]) and pancreatitis (41/44 [93%]). Bacterial cultures were commonly positive (69%) despite prebiopsy antimicrobial administration in most cats. Of surgically confirmed choleliths, diagnostic imaging identified only 58%. Among 55 cats with “idiopathic pancreatitis,” 28 (51%) were documented to have transiting choleliths, and 20 had pancreatic biopsies confirming pancreatitis. Cholelithiasis (with or without bile duct obstruction) and cholecystectomy were associated with survival advantages. Survival disadvantages were found for leukocytosis, ≥ 2-fold increased alkaline phosphatase, and hyperbilirubinemia. Cholecystoenterostomy had no survival impact. Cats with ductal plate malformations were significantly younger at diagnosis and death than other cats. Chronic treatments with antimicrobials, S-adenosylmethionine, and ursodeoxycholic acid were common postbiopsy.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

S-CCHS in cats was associated with bacterial infection and various comorbidities and may be confused with pancreatitis. Surgically correctable morbidities (ie, cholecystitis, cholecystocholelithiasis) and cholecystectomy provided a significant survival advantage.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

OBJECTIVE

To compare plasma concentrations of glucagon and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) between healthy dogs and dogs with aminoaciduric canine hypoaminoacidemic hepatopathy syndrome (ACHES) dogs.

ANIMALS

Privately owned healthy (n = 5) control (CON) and ACHES (8; including 3 with diabetes mellitus) dogs enrolled between October 2, 2019, and March 4, 2020.

PROCEDURES

This was a prospective case-control study. Fasting and 15-minute postprandial plasma glucagon total GLP-1 concentrations were measured with commercial immunoassays.

RESULTS

Dogs with ACHES had lower fasting (median, 0.5; mean difference, 3.8; 95% CI, 0.52 to 7.0 pmol/L; P = .021) and postprandial (median, 0.35; mean difference, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.8 to 8.3 pmol/L; P = .002) plasma glucagon concentrations than CON (fasting and postprandial medians, 3.5 and 4.6 pmol/L, respectively). ACHES dogs had significantly (median, 4.15; mean difference, 12.65; 95% CI, 2.0 to 16.3 pg/ml; P = .011) lower postprandial plasma GLP-1 concentrations than CON (median, 16.8 pg/ml). There was no significant difference between fasting GLP-1 levels between the 2 groups.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Lower postprandial plasma GLP-1 concentrations may contribute to the propensity of diabetes mellitus in ACHES. Lower glucagon concentrations may reflect an appropriate physiologic response to hypoaminoacidemia.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

To address the limitations of traditional IACUC review of clinical research studies involving client-owned animals, the AVMA issued a policy describing the use of a veterinary clinical studies committee (VCSC), analogous to an institutional review board, as a way to ensure the adequate review and oversight of such studies. While IACUC composition, review, approval processes, and responsibilities are well established, uniform guidance for VCSCs is not readily available and not included in the guidance for IACUCs. In this manuscript we describe suggested best practices for scientific and ethical review of veterinary clinical research studies, regardless of the specific research setting. This resource complements the AVMA policy mentioned above by providing additional thoughts on aspects of VCSCs, including considerations necessary for the adequate review and oversight of clinical research studies using client-owned animals by VCSCs or IACUCs.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D) concentrations are associated with survival and negatively correlate with acute-phase protein (APP) concentrations in ill dogs and cats admitted to nursing care units.

ANIMALS

Client-owned dogs (n = 79) and cats (16) admitted to 2 academic veterinary hospital nursing care units.

METHODS

A prospective cohort study was conducted between August 12, 2019, and October 26, 2021. A diagnostic laboratory measured 25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)2D, and haptoglobin (HPT) in dogs and cats; C-reactive protein (CRP) in dogs; and serum amyloid A (SAA) in cats. Serum was collected within 12 hours of admission. Illness severity (acute patient physiologic and laboratory evaluation [APPLEfast]) scores and survival data were recorded.

RESULTS

Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were in the deficient range for 22 of 79 dogs and 2 of 16 cats. There were no associations between serum analyte concentrations (25[OH]D, 1,25[OH]2D, and APP) or APPLEfast score and survival in dogs or cats. In dogs, HPT was negatively correlated with 25(OH)D (P = .002; r = –0.34) and 1,25(OH)2D (P = .012; r = –0.28), while CRP was positively correlated with HPT (P = .001; r = 0.32) and APPLEfast score (P = .014; r = 0.16). In cats, 1,25(OH)2D was negatively correlated with APPLEfast scores (P = .055; r = –0.49) and SAA was positively correlated with HPT (P = .002; r = 0.73).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Serum 25(OH)D or 1,25(OH)2D was not associated with survival in our hospitalized patient population. Relationships between APP and serum vitamin D metabolites with APPLEfast scores in cats warrant further investigation as illness severity biomarkers.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify metabolites and metabolic pathways affected in dogs with aminoaciduric canine hypoaminoacidemic hepatopathy syndrome (ACHES) compared to healthy control (CON) dogs of similar ages and breeds. To improve our understanding of ACHES pathophysiology and identify novel candidate biomarkers associated with ACHES.

ANIMALS

A prospective case-control study. Privately owned dogs with ACHES (n = 19) and healthy (CON) dogs (n = 9) were recruited between February 18, 2015, and April 18, 2018.

METHODS

A prospective case-control study. Plasma and urine were collected from ACHES and CON dogs. The Cornell University Proteomics and Metabolomics Core Facility conducted an untargeted metabolomic analysis.

RESULTS

After controlling for age, sex, and weight, 111 plasma and 207 urine metabolites significantly differed between ACHES and CON dogs. Data reduction and cluster analysis revealed robust segregation between ACHES and CON dogs. Enrichment analysis of significant compounds in plasma or urine identified altered metabolic pathways, including those related to AA metabolism, cellular energetics, and lipid metabolism. Biomarker analysis identified metabolites that best-distinguished ACHES from CON dogs, including pyruvic acid isomer and glycerol-3-phosphate in the plasma and an alanine isomer and choline in the urine.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Our findings provide an in-depth analysis of metabolic perturbations associated with ACHES. Several affected metabolic pathways (eg, lipid metabolism) offer a new understanding of ACHES pathophysiology. Novel candidate biomarkers warrant further evaluation to determine their potential to aid in ACHES diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment monitoring.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research