Confusion and misunderstanding often occur when two people attempt to communicate using different languages. More commonly, confusion arises when two people attempt to communicate using the same language but attach different meanings to the same terms. A good example is the term humane, particularly as it relates to whether the care we provide as veterinarians is humane.
The term humane encompasses the best qualities of humankind, including kindness, tenderness, empathy, and compassion. Although all of these behaviors exist to some extent in various animals, animals cannot act in a humane fashion (that is, animal behavior is not judged as humane
Objective—To determine hospital proportional morbidity
rates (HPMR) for urethral obstructions, urethral
plugs or urethroliths, and urethrostomies in cats in
veterinary teaching hospitals (VTH) in Canada and the
United States between 1980 and 1999.
Animals—305,672 cats evaluated at VTH.
Procedures—Yearly HPMR were determined for cats
with urethral obstructions, urethral plugs or urethroliths,
or urethrostomies from data compiled by
the Purdue Veterinary Medical Database. The test for
a linear trend in proportions was used.
Results—Urethral obstructions were reported in 4,683
cats. Yearly HPMR for urethral obstructions declined
from 19 cases/1,000 feline evaluations in 1980 to 7
cases/1,000 feline evaluations in 1999. Urethral plugs
or urethroliths affected 1,460 cats. Yearly HPMR for
urethral plugs or urethroliths decreased from 10
cases/1,000 feline evaluations in 1980 to 2 cases/1,000
feline evaluations in 1999. A total of 2,359 urethrostomies
were performed. Yearly HPMR for urethrostomies
decreased from 13 cases/1,000 feline evaluations
in 1980 to 4 cases/1,000 feline evaluations in
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Frequency of
feline urethrostomies performed at VTH in Canada and
the United States declined during the past 20 years
and paralleled a similar decline in frequency of urethral
obstructions and urethral plugs or urethroliths. These
trends coincide with widespread use of diets to minimize
struvite crystalluria in cats, which is important
because struvite has consistently been the predominant
mineral in feline urethral plugs during this period.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:502–505)
The practice of veterinary medicine involves art as well as science. Whether one thinks of communication as an art or a science or both,1 we could not practice veterinary medicine without communicating with others. How we communicate with our clients can be a source of mutual understanding and positive action or a source of misunderstanding and frustration. Clearly then, communication is a vital component of providing effective patient care.2
Learning to Listen
Effective communication involves more than mastering speech; it is also vitally linked to our desire and ability to listen. Although many veterinarians have had some
Objective—To determine proportional morbidity rates
(PMR) and risk factors for lower urinary tract diseases
(LUTD) in cats.
Sample Population—Records of 22,908 cats with
LUTD and 263,168 cats without LUTD.
Procedure—Data were retrieved from the Purdue
Veterinary Medical Data Base. Descriptive statistics
and univariate logistic regression analyses were performed
to assess whether breed, age, sex, and neutering
status were associated with different causes of
Results—Mean PMR for LUTD irrespective of cause
was 8/100 cats (range, 2 to 13/100 cats). Increased
risk for urocystolithiasis (Russian Blue, Himalayan,
and Persian cats), bacterial urinary tract infections
(UTI; Abyssinian cats), congenital urinary tract defects
(Manx and Persian cats), and urinary incontinence
(Manx cats) was detected. Cats between 2 and < 7
years of age had increased risk for urethral plugs, neurogenic
disorders, congenital defects, and iatrogenic
injuries. Cats between 4 and < 10 years of age had
increased risk for urocystolithiasis, urethral obstructions,
and idiopathic LUTD. Cats ≥ 10 years of age had
increased risk for UTI and neoplasia. Castrated males
had increased risk for each cause of LUTD except UTI
and incontinence. Spayed females had increased risk
for urocystolithiasis, UTI, and neoplasia. Sexually
intact females had decreased risk for each cause of
LUTD except neurogenic disorders and iatrogenic
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Specific breed,
age, sex, and neutering status may be associated with
specific types of feline LUTD. Knowledge of patient
risk factors for LUTD may facilitate development of
surveillance strategies that enhance earlier detection.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1429–1435)
Objective—To evaluate the reproducibility and accuracy of 4 portable pH meters, a reagent strip, and pH paper for measuring urine pH in dogs.
Design—Prospective masked randomized study.
Sample Population—201 free-catch urine samples from 114 hospitalized dogs.
Procedures—Urine samples were divided into 2-mL aliquots. Measurements of urine pH were obtained by use of a laboratory benchtop pH meter, 4 portable pH meters, a urine reagent strip, and pH paper. The pH of each aliquot was measured within 4 hours of collection by an evaluator unaware of the aliquot's origin.To assess reproducibility, the coefficient of variation for each pH measurement device was calculated. To determine which device was most accurate, the degree of agreement among the different devices was assessed in comparison with the benchtop pH meter, which was considered the reference method.
Results—3 of the 4 portable pH meters had nearly perfect agreement with the reference method. The reagent strip and pH paper had moderate to poor agreement with the reference method.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Urine pH measurements should be made by use of a portable or benchtop pH meter when accurate measurements are crucial for diagnosis or treatment. Reagent strips and pH papers are useful in obtaining pH approximations but are not recommended when accurate measurements of urine pH are required.