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A series of studies was conducted to identify a practical measure for preventing dental calculus formation in dogs. The studies involved a colony of 27 Beagles that received an initial dental prophylaxis. The dogs were then stratified on the basis of their normal rate of calculus formation and randomly assigned to parallel groups within each strata. During 4-week test periods, a variety of experimental regimens were instituted, followed by clinical assessments of calculus. Major observations were that a crystal growth inhibitor, soluble pyrophosphate, incorporated into a dry dog food modestly reduced calculus formation when used at high concentrations; anticalculus effects attributable to this agent were significant (P < 0.05) only when it was used as a surface coating; the coating of dry dog chow or plain biscuits with a calcium sequestrant, sodium hexametaphosphate (hmp), provided the greatest benefit and resulted in significant (P < 0.05) reductions in calculus formation of about 60 to 80%, depending on the dosage regimen; and the feeding of a single daily snack of 2 hmp-coated plain biscuits (0.6% hmp) decreased calculus formation by nearly 80%. We concluded that the coating of dry dog chow or plain dog biscuits with hmp is an effective means of reducing calculus formation in dogs.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare heartworm serum antibody (Ab) and antigen (Ag) test results, using commercial laboratories and in-house heartworm test kits, with necropsy findings in a population of shelter cats.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—330 cats at an animal shelter.

Procedure—Between March and June 1998, 30 ml of blood was collected from the cranial and caudal venae cavae of 330 cats that were euthanatized at a local animal shelter. Results of heartworm Ab and Ag serologic tests for heartworm infection were compared with necropsy findings in this population of cats, using commercial laboratories and in-house test kits to measure serum Ab and Ag concentrations.

Results—On necropsy, adult Dirofilaria immitis were found in 19 of 330 (5.8%) cats. Combining results from serum Ab and Ag tests achieved higher sensitivities than using serum Ab and Ag test results alone (ie, maximum sensitivities of 100% vs 89.5%, respectively), whereas use of serum Ag and Ab test results alone achieved higher specificities compared with the use of a combination of serum Ab and Ag results (ie, maximum specificities of 99.4% vs 92.9%, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—On the basis of our findings, if a cat has clinical signs that suggest heartworm disease despite a negative heartworm serum Ab test result, an alternative heartworm Ab test, a heartworm Ag test, thoracic radiography, or two-dimensional echocardiography should be performed. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:693–700)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether a mutation in the fibrillin 2 gene (FBN2) is associated with canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and osteoarthritis in dogs.

Animals—-1,551 dogs.

Procedures—Hip conformation was measured radiographically. The FBN2 was sequenced from genomic DNA of 21 Labrador Retrievers and 2 Greyhounds, and a haplotype in intron 30 of FBN2 was sequenced in 90 additional Labrador Retrievers and 143 dogs of 6 other breeds. Steady-state values of FBN2 mRNA and control genes were measured in hip joint tissues of fourteen 8-month-old Labrador Retriever–Greyhound crossbreeds.

Results—The Labrador Retrievers homozygous for a 10-bp deletion haplotype in intron 30 of FBN2 had significantly worse CHD as measured via higher distraction index and extended-hip joint radiograph score and a lower Norberg angle and dorsolateral subluxation score. Among 143 dogs of 6 other breeds, those homozygous for the same deletion haplotype also had significantly worse radiographic CHD. Among the 14 crossbred dogs, as the dorsolateral subluxation score decreased, the capsular FBN2 mRNA increased significantly. Those dogs with incipient hip joint osteoarthritis had significantly increased capsular FBN2 mRNA, compared with those dogs without osteoarthritis. Dogs homozygous for the FBN2 deletion haplotype had significantly less FBN2 mRNA in their femoral head articular cartilage.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The FBN2 deletion haplotype was associated with CHD. Capsular gene expression of FBN2 was confounded by incipient secondary osteoarthritis in dysplastic hip joints. Genes influencing complex traits in dogs can be identified by genome-wide screening, fine mapping, and candidate gene screening.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research