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  • Author or Editor: Francisco Olea-Popelka x
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Objective—To evaluate serum antibody titers in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) following routine vaccination with a commercially available, inactivated rabies vaccine.

Design—Seroepidemiologic study.

Animals—14 captive African elephants from a single herd.

Procedures—Elephants were vaccinated as part of a routine preventive health program. Initially, elephants were vaccinated annually (2 mL, IM), and blood was collected every 4 or 6 months for measurement of rabies virus–neutralizing antibody titer by means of the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test. Individual elephants were later switched to an intermittent vaccination schedule to allow duration of the antibody response to be determined.

Results—All elephants had detectable antibody responses following rabies vaccination, although there was great variability among individual animals in regard to antibody titers, and antibody titers could be detected as long as 24 months after vaccine administration. Young animals were found to develop an antibody titer following administration of a single dose of the rabies vaccine. Age and time since vaccination had significant effects on measured antibody titers.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that African elephants developed detectable antibody titers in response to inoculation with a standard large animal dose of a commercially available, inactivated rabies vaccine. The persistence of detectable antibody titers in some animals suggested that vaccination could be performed less frequently than once a year if antibody titers were routinely monitored.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate the relationship between width and depth of surgical margins, amount of edema within and around the tumor, and degree of demarcation between the tumor and surrounding tissues with the clinical outcome following surgical removal of cutaneous mast cell tumors (cMCTs) in dogs.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—100 dogs with 115 resectable cMCTs.

Procedures—Information about the dogs' clinical outcomes following cMCT removal was obtained from primary care veterinarians. Histologic sections of excised tumors were assessed retrospectively for tumor grade and measurement of the narrowest lateral and deep margins of nonneoplastic tissue excised with the tumors; edema within the tumor and surrounding tissues was assessed as minimal, moderate, or severe. Tumors were classified as poorly, moderately, or well demarcated on the basis of the degree of mast cell infiltration into the adjoining connective tissue.

Results—Following tumor excision (with no additional postsurgery treatment), 96 dogs had no local recurrence or metastatic disease for 27 to 31 months; 4 metastatic disease–related deaths (dogs with grade II or III tumors) occurred within 3 to 9 months. Histologically, mean lateral and deep surgical margins around the tumors were 8.9 and 5.3 mm, respectively. No recurrence of tumor or metastatic disease developed following excision with lateral margins ≥ 10 mm and deep margins ≥ 4 mm. Edema and degree of demarcation were not correlated with outcome.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that most grade I and II cMCTs in dogs can be successfully treated by complete surgical removal with margins smaller than those currently recommended.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate clinical characteristics, outcome, and prognostic variables in a cohort of dogs surviving > 1 year after an initial diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—90 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—Medical records for an 11-year period from 1997 through 2008 were reviewed, and patients with appendicular osteosarcoma that lived > 1 year after initial histopathologic diagnosis were studied. Variables including signalment, weight, serum alkaline phosphatase activity, tumor location, surgery, and adjuvant therapies were recorded. Median survival times were calculated by means of a Kaplan-Meier survival function. Univariate analysis was conducted to compare the survival function for categorical variables, and the Cox proportional hazard model was used to evaluate the likelihood of death > 1 year after diagnosis on the basis of the selected risk factors.

Results—90 dogs met the inclusion criteria; clinical laboratory information was not available in all cases. Median age was 8.2 years (range, 2.7 to 13.3 years), and median weight was 38 kg (83.6 lb; range, 21 to 80 kg [46.2 to 176 lb]). Serum alkaline phosphatase activity was high in 29 of 60 (48%) dogs. The most common tumor location was the distal portion of the radius (54/90 [60%]). Eighty-nine of 90 (99%) dogs underwent surgery, and 78 (87%) received chemotherapy. Overall, 49 of 90 (54%) dogs developed metastatic disease. The median survival time beyond 1 year was 243 days (range, 1 to 1,899 days). Dogs that developed a surgical-site infection after limb-sparing surgery had a significantly improved prognosis > 1 year after osteosarcoma diagnosis, compared with dogs that did not develop infections.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of the present study indicated that dogs with an initial diagnosis of osteosarcoma that lived > 1 year had a median survival time beyond the initial year of approximately 8 months. As reported previously, the development of a surgical-site infection in dogs undergoing a limb-sparing surgery significantly affected prognosis and warrants further study.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify factors associated with use of a veterinarian by small-scale food animal operations.

Design—Cross-sectional descriptive survey.

Sample—16,000 small-scale farm or ranch operations in all 50 states.

Procedures—Surveys were conducted via mail or telephone during 2011 for small-scale operations (gross annual agricultural sales between $10,000 and $499,999) in which an animal or animal product comprised the highest percentage of annual sales.

Results—8,186 (51.2%) operations responded to the survey; 7,849 surveys met the inclusion criteria. For 6,511 (83.0%) operations, beef cattle were the primary animal species. An estimated 82.1% of operations (95% confidence interval [CI], 81.1% to 83.0%) had a veterinarian available ≤ 29 miles away; 1.4% (95% CI, 1.2% to 1.7%) did not have a veterinarian available within 100 miles of the operation. Operations for which the nearest veterinarian was ≥ 100 miles away or for which a veterinarian was not available were located in 40 US states. Overall, 61.7% of operations (95% CI, 60.6% to 62.9%) had used a veterinarian during the 12 months prior to the survey. Producers with college degrees were significantly more likely to use a veterinarian (675%) versus those who did not complete high school (52.9%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicated most small-scale operations had adequate access to veterinarians during 2011, but there seemed to be localized shortages of veterinarians in many states.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association