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Case Description—A healthy 6-year-old 28.5-kg (62.7-lb) spayed female Boxer undergoing surgical repair of a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament was inadvertently administered an overdose of morphine (1.3 mg/kg [0.59 mg/lb]) via subarachnoid injection.

Clinical Findings—50 minutes after administration of the overdose, mild multifocal myoclonic contractions became apparent at the level of the tail; the contractions migrated cranially and progressively increased in intensity and frequency during completion of the surgery.

Treatment and Outcome—The myoclonic contractions were refractory to treatment with midazolam, naloxone, phenobarbital, and pentobarbital; only atracurium (0.1 mg/kg [0.045 mg/lb], IV) was effective in controlling the movements. The dog developed hypertension, dysphoria, hyperthermia, and hypercapnia. The dog remained anesthetized and ventilated mechanically; treatments included continuous rate IV infusions of propofol (1 mg/kg/h [0.45 mg/lb/h]), diazepam (0.25 mg/kg/h [0.11 mg/lb/h]), atracurium (0.1 to 0.3 mg/kg/h [0.045 to 0.14 mg/lb/h]), and naloxone (0.02 mg/kg/h [0.009 mg/lb/h]). Twenty-two hours after the overdose, the myoclonus was no longer present, and the dog was able to ventilate without mechanical assistance. The dog remained sedated until 60 hours after the overdose, at which time its mentation improved, including recognition of caregivers and response to voice commands. No neurologic abnormalities were detectable at discharge (approx 68 hours after the overdose) or at a recheck evaluation 1 week later.

Clinical Relevance—Although intrathecal administration of an overdose of morphine can be associated with major and potentially fatal complications, it is possible that affected dogs can completely recover with immediate treatment and extensive supportive care.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To describe structural changes in the left atrioventricular (mitral) valve complex of dogs with endocardiosis by use of scanning electron microscopy.

Animals—5 clinically normal dogs and 4 dogs with mitral valve endocardiosis.

Procedure—The mitral valve complex from each dog was fixed and prepared for examination via scanning electron microscopy. Findings in valves from clinically normal and affected dogs were compared to identify surface changes associated with endocardiosis.

Results—Compared with findings in valves from clinically normal dogs, endocardiosis-affected mitral valve complexes had several morphologic abnormalities. Tissue swelling on the edge of valve leaflets, chordae tendineae, and the chordal-papillary muscle junction was evident. Damage to the valve complex endothelium was unevenly distributed; in some areas, denudation of endothelial cells had exposed the basement membrane or subendothelial valve collagen matrix. This damage was most noticeable on the leaflet edges and extended more to the ventricular aspect of the valve than the atrial side. Cell loss also extended to the chordae tendineae but was less apparent at the chordal-papillary muscle junction. The remaining endothelial cells on affected valves were arranged in less-ordered rows and had more plasmalemmal microappendages, compared with cells on unaffected valves.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Morphologic changes associated with mitral valve endocardiosis in dogs were similar to those observed in humans with mitral valve prolapse. In dogs with mitral valve endocardiosis, gross changes in the valve complex may affect hemodynamics in the heart; alterations in the leaflet and chordal endothelium may contribute to pathogenesis of this disease. (Am J Vet Res 2004; 65:198–206)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To identify prognostic factors in a large group of dogs with subcutaneous or intramuscular hemangiosarcoma (HSA) or both.

Design—Multi-institutional retrospective cohort study.

Animals—71 dogs with subcutaneous or intramuscular HSA.

Procedures—Medical records of affected dogs were reviewed. The following factors were evaluated for an association with outcome: dog age and sex, clinical signs, anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutrophilia, tumor stage at diagnosis, achievement of complete excision, intramuscular involvement, presence of gross disease, tumor recurrence, and treatment.

Results—Of the 71 cases identified, 16 (29%) had intramuscular tumor involvement. For all dogs, median time to tumor progression and overall survival time (OST) were 116 and 172 days, respectively; 25% survived to 1 year. Univariate analysis identified presence of clinical signs or metastasis at diagnosis, dog age, tumor size, use of any surgery, and presence of gross disease as predictors of time to tumor progression and OST. There was no significant difference in survival time between dogs with respect to type of HSA. Multivariate analysis confirmed that adequate local tumor control, tumor diameter ≤ 4 cm, presence of metastasis at diagnosis, and presence of gross disease were significantly associated with OST.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Subcutaneous and intramuscular HSA remains a heterogeneous group of tumors that generally carries a poor prognosis. Adequate local control of smaller tumors with no associated clinical signs or metastasis may provide the best chance of long-term survival.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association