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  • Author or Editor: James A. Hart x
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Objective—To evaluate a behavioral intake questionnaire in animal shelters for the presence of biased results and assess its use in the characterization of behavioral problems of dogs relinquished to shelters.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—54 dogs being relinquished to a shelter and 784 dogs belonging to veterinary clients.

Procedure—Owners who were relinquishing their dogs and agreed to complete the behavioral questionnaire were alternately assigned to 1 of 2 groups; participants were aware that information provided would be confidential or nonconfidential (ie, likely used for adoption purposes). Data from confidential and nonconfidential information groups were compared, and the former were compared with data (collected via the questionnaire) regarding a population of client-owned dogs.

Results—Analyses revealed significant differences in 2 areas of reported problem behavior between the confidential and nonconfidential information groups: owner-directed aggression and stranger-directed fear. Compared with client-owned–group data, significantly more relinquished shelter dogs in the confidential information group were reported to have ownerdirected aggression, stranger-directed aggression, dog-directed aggression or fear, stranger-directed fear, nonsocial fear, and separation-related behaviors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Among persons relinquishing dogs to a shelter, those who believed questionnaire responses were confidential reported owner-directed aggression and fear of strangers in their pets more frequently than relinquishers who believed responses were nonconfidential. Confidentiality had no apparent effect on the reporting of other assessed behavioral problems. Results suggest that behavioral questionnaires may sometimes provide inaccurate information in a shelter setting, but the information may still be useful when evaluating behavior of relinquished dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1755–1761)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To describe clinical signs and treatment outcomes for juvenile alpacas with spiral colon impaction (SCI).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—12 juvenile (< 6 months old) camelids with SCI.

Procedures—Crias with SCI were identified by searching the medical records database of the Cornell University Equine and Farm Animal Hospital. A keyword-based search method was used. Inclusion required confirmation of SCI on the basis of surgical or necropsy findings. History, signalment, examination findings, diagnostic test results, medical treatments, and surgical reports as well as short- and long-term outcomes were reviewed. Peritoneal fluid parameters were compared with those of age-matched comparison crias in which SCI was suspected but ruled out at necropsy or exploratory celiotomy.

Results—12 crias with confirmed SCI were identified. Common clinical signs included lethargy and diarrhea. Abdominal distention was observed in 9 crias. In 3 crias, a mass in the region of the spiral colon was palpated. Seven crias underwent peritoneal fluid analysis; compared with age-matched comparison crias, SCI-affected crias had higher peritoneal fluid nucleated cell counts and nucleated cell count-to-total protein concentration ratios. A ventral midline celiotomy was performed in 9 crias; 7 underwent an enterotomy, and 2 underwent transmural infusion of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution with manual breakdown of ingesta; 3 of these crias survived for at least 6 months.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Crias with SCI that were not resolved by medical management had a poor prognosis. During celiotomy, transmural infusion of saline solution with manual breakdown of ingesta provided a less invasive alternative to enterotomy.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To characterize effects of intranasal inoculation of virulent Brucella melitensis strain 16M in mice.

Animals—Female Balb/c mice, 6 to 8 weeks old.

Procedure—Studies were designed to elucidate gross morphologic lesions, bacterial burden in target organs, and histologic changes in tissues following experimental intranasal inoculation of mice with B melitensis 16M, which could be used to characterize a model for testing vaccine efficacy.

Results—Measurable splenomegaly was evident at 3 and 7 weeks after inoculation. A demonstrable increase in splenic colony-forming units (CFU) from infected mice increased over time with increasing dose when comparing inocula of 103, 104, and 105 CFU. Recovery of brucellae from the lungs was possible early in infection with 101, 103, and 105 CFU, but only the group inoculated with 105 CFU consistently yielded quantifiable bacteria. At a dose of 101 CFU, few organisms were located in the spleen. Bacteria were recovered up to 140 days after inoculation in mice given 103 CFU. At an inoculum of 105 CFU, bacterial counts were highest early in infection. Histologic examination of tissues revealed an increase in white pulp and marginal zone in the spleen and lymphohistiocytic hepatitis.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Changes in the spleen and liver increased with increases in dose and with increased time following intranasal inoculation with B melitensis 16M. Surprisingly, histologic changes were not observed in the lungs of inoculated mice. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:398–405)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research