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  • Author or Editor: Michael R. Peterson x
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Objective—To determine causes of death or reasons for euthanasia in a population of military working dogs.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—927 military working dogs.

Procedure—Records of all military working dogs that died during the period from 1993 to 1996 were evaluated for cause of death or reason for euthanasia by review of necropsy and histopathology reports, death certificates, and daily clinical treatment sheets. A single primary cause of death or euthanasia was determined.

Results—Although sexually intact male dogs were more numerous in the study population, castrated male dogs typically lived longer than spayed females or sexually intact males. Leading causes of death or euthanasia (76.3% of all dogs) were appendicular degenerative joint disease, neoplasia, spinal cord disease, nonspecific geriatric decline, and gastric dilatation-volvulus. Compared with German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Shepherd Dogs were at increased risk for death attributable to neoplasia, behavior, and respiratory tract disease. German Shepherd Dogs had nearly twice the risk for death associated with spinal cord diseases, compared with Belgian Shepherd Dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For most military working dogs, death or euthanasia results from a few diseases commonly associated with advanced age. Some breed differences in risk for these diseases may exist, which clinicians should consider in the procurement and long-term management of these dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:209–214)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To describe findings in dogs with exogenous thyrotoxicosis attributable to consumption of commercially available dog foods or treats containing high concentrations of thyroid hormone.

Design—Retrospective and prospective case series.

Animals—14 dogs.

Procedures—Medical records were retrospectively searched to identify dogs with exogenous thyrotoxicosis attributable to dietary intake. One case was found, and subsequent cases were identified prospectively. Serum thyroid hormone concentrations were evaluated before and after feeding meat-based products suspected to contain excessive thyroid hormone was discontinued. Scintigraphy was performed to evaluate thyroid tissue in 13 of 14 dogs before and 1 of 13 dogs after discontinuation of suspect foods or treats. Seven samples of 5 commercially available products fed to 6 affected dogs were analyzed for thyroxine concentration; results were subjectively compared with findings for 10 other commercial foods and 6 beef muscle or liver samples.

Results—Total serum thyroxine concentrations were high (median, 8.8 μg/dL; range, 4.65 to 17.4 μg/dL) in all dogs at initial evaluation; scintigraphy revealed subjectively decreased thyroid gland radionuclide in 13 of 13 dogs examined. At ≥ 4 weeks after feeding of suspect food or treats was discontinued, total thyroxine concentrations were within the reference range for all dogs and signs associated with thyrotoxicosis, if present, had resolved. Analysis of tested food or treat samples revealed a median thyroxine concentration for suspect products of 1.52 μg of thyroxine/g, whereas that of unrelated commercial foods was 0.38 μg of thyroxine/g.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that thyrotoxicosis can occur secondary to consumption of meat-based products presumably contaminated by thyroid tissue, and can be reversed by identification and elimination of suspect products from the diet.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association