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Objective—To determine the items (question topics) for a subjective instrument to assess degenerative joint disease (DJD)–associated chronic pain in cats and determine the instrument design most appropriate for use by cat owners.

Animals—100 randomly selected client-owned cats from 6 months to 20 years old.

Procedures—Cats were evaluated to determine degree of radiographic DJD and signs of pain throughout the skeletal system. Two groups were identified: high DJD pain and low DJD pain. Owner-answered questions about activity and signs of pain were compared between the 2 groups to define items relating to chronic DJD pain. Interviews with 45 cat owners were performed to generate items. Fifty-three cat owners who had not been involved in any other part of the study, 19 veterinarians, and 2 statisticians assessed 6 preliminary instrument designs.

Results—22 cats were selected for each group; 19 important items were identified, resulting in 12 potential items for the instrument; and 3 additional items were identified from owner interviews. Owners and veterinarians selected a 5-point descriptive instrument design over 11-point or visual analogue scale formats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Behaviors relating to activity were substantially different between healthy cats and cats with signs of DJD-associated pain. Fifteen items were identified as being potentially useful, and the preferred instrument design was identified. This information could be used to construct an owner-based questionnaire to assess feline DJD-associated pain. Once validated, such a questionnaire would assist in evaluating potential analgesic treatments for these patients.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To investigate the prevalence of Escherichia coli contamination and E coli virulence gene signatures consistent with known E coli pathotypes in commercially available conventional diets and raw-meat–based diets (RMBDs).


40 diets in total (19 conventionally cooked kibble or canned diets and 21 RMBDs) obtained from retail stores or online distributors.


Each diet was cultured for E coli contamination in 3 separate container locations using standard microbiological techniques. Further characterization of E coli isolates was performed by polymerase chain reaction-based pathotype and virulence gene analysis.


Conventional diets were negative in all culture based testing. In RMBDs, bacterial contamination was similar to previous reports in the veterinary literature, with 66% (14/21) of the RMBDs having positive cultures for E coli. Among the 191 confirmed E coli isolates from these diets, 31.9% (61/191) were positive for virulence genes. Categorized by pathotype, isolates presumptively belonging to the neonatal meningitis E coli pathotype (15.7% [30/191]) were the most common, followed by enterohemorrhagic E coli (10.5% [20/191]), enteropathogenic E coli (5.8% [11/191]), uropathogenic E coli (2.1% [4/191]), and diffusely adherent E coli (1.6% [3/191]).


The results of this study reaffirmed the bacteriologic risks previously associated with RMBDs. Furthermore, potential zoonotic concerns associated with identified pathotypes in these diets may have significant consequences for owners in the animals’ home environment. Potential risk associated with bacterial contamination should be addressed in animals fed RMBDs.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To evaluate outcomes of dogs with parathyroid carcinoma (PTC) treated by surgical excision and to describe the incidence of postoperative hypocalcemia, degree of hypocalcemia, duration of hospitalization, duration of calcium supplementation, and survival time


100 client-owned dogs with PTC admitted to academic, referral veterinary institutions.


In a retrospective multi-institutional study, medical records of dogs undergoing surgical excision of PTC between 2010 to 2019 were reviewed. Signalment, relevant medical history, clinical signs, clinicopathologic testing, imaging, surgical findings, intraoperative complications, histologic examination, and survival time were recorded.


100 dogs with PTC were included, and 96 dogs had clinical or incidental hypercalcemia. Common clinical signs included polyuria (44%), polydipsia (43%), hind limb paresis (22%), lethargy (21%), and hyporexia (20%). Cervical ultrasonography detected a parathyroid nodule in 91 of 91 dogs, with a single nodule in 70.3% (64/91), 2 nodules in 25.3% (23/91), and ≥ 3 nodules in 4 (4/91)% of dogs. Hypercalcemia resolved in 89 of 96 dogs within 7 days after surgery. Thirty-four percent of dogs developed hypocalcemia, on the basis of individual analyzer ranges, within 1 week after surgery. One dog had metastatic PTC to the prescapular lymph node, and 3 dogs were euthanized for refractory postoperative hypocalcemia. Estimated 1-, 2-, and 3-year survival rates were 84%, 65%, and 51% respectively, with a median survival time of 2 years.


Excision of PTC results in resolution of hypercalcemia and excellent long-term tumor control. Surgical excision of PTC is recommended because of resolution of hypercalcemia and a good long-term prognosis. Future prospective studies and long-term follow-up are needed to further assess primary tumor recurrence, metastasis, and incidence of postoperative hypocalcemia.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association