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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To identify risk factors for episodes of status epilepticus (SE) in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and determine how SE affects long-term outcome and survival time.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—32 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

Procedure—Information on signalment, seizure onset, initiation of treatment, anticonvulsants administered, number of episodes of SE, overall seizure control, and long-term outcome was obtained from medical records and through telephone interviews. Differences between dogs that did and did not have episodes of SE were evaluated statistically.

Results—19 (59%) dogs had 1 or more episodes of SE. Body weight was the only variable significantly different between dogs that did and did not have episodes of SE. Thirteen dogs (9 that did not have episodes of SE and 4 that did) were still alive at the time of the study and were ≥ 10 years old. Six of the 19 (32%) dogs that had episodes of SE died of causes directly attributed to the seizure disorder. Mean life spans of dogs that did and did not have episodes of SE were 8.3 and 11.3 years, respectively. Survival time was significantly different between groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that a substantial percentage of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy will have episodes of SE. Dogs with greater body weights were more likely to have episodes of SE, and early appropriate seizure treatment did not appear to decrease the risk that dogs would have episodes. Most dogs with idiopathic epilepsy had an expected life span, but survival time was shorter for dogs that had episodes of SE. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:618–623)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To develop a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the detection of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum DNA in canine and feline biological samples.

Sample Population—Biological samples from 7 cats with systemic (n = 4) or CNS (3) toxoplasmosis, 6 dogs with neospora- or toxoplasma-associated encephalitis, and 11 animals with nonprotozoal disease.

Procedure—Primers for T gondii, N caninum, and the canine ferritin gene (dogs) or feline histone 3.3 gene (cats) were combined in a single PCR assay. The DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded brain tissue, CSF, or skeletal muscle. The PCR products with positive results were cloned, and sequence identity was confirmed.

Results—Of 7 cats and 4 dogs with immunohistochemical or serologic evidence of toxoplasmosis, PCR results were positive for all cats and 3 dogs for T gondii, and positive for T gondii and N caninum for 1 dog. Another dog had negative PCR results for both parasites. Of 2 dogs with immunohistochemical or serologic evidence of neosporosis, PCR results were positive for 1 for N caninum and positive for the other for T gondii. All negative-control samples yielded negative results for T gondii and N caninum on the PCR assay.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Standard tests for toxoplasmosis or neosporosis associated with the CNS rely on serologic, histologic, or immunohistochemical analysis and can be difficult to interpret. The multiplex PCR assay with built-in control reactions could be a complementary clinical tool for the antemortem diagnosis of toxoplasmosis or neosporosis associated with the CNS. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1507–1513)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To identify predictive factors of long-term outcome after dorsal decompressive laminectomy for the treatment of degenerative lumbosacral stenosis (DLSS) in dogs.

Design—Retrospective study.

Sample Population—69 client-owned dogs.

Procedure—Medical records of dogs that had undergone dorsal laminectomy at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee between 1987 and 1997 were reviewed. Dogs with diskospondylitis, traumatic lesions, or neoplasia of the lumbosacral region were excluded. All dogs had evidence of cauda equina compression on myelography, epidurography, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging, along with subsequent confirmation of the lesion at surgery. Follow-up was performed by telephone inquiries to the referring veterinarian, the owner, or both, using a detailed questionnaire.

Results—The outcome was excellent or good in 54 of 69 (78%) dogs over a mean follow-up period of 38 ± 22 months. Five of these 54 dogs had been incontinent for a median of 2 weeks prior to surgery. Six of the 15 dogs with a poor outcome had been incontinent for a median of 8 weeks before surgery. A significant correlation was detected between the presence of urinary and fecal incontinence prior to surgery and outcome. When duration of signs was considered, urinary incontinence was the only variable that significantly affected outcome.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Decompressive laminectomy is an effective treatment for DLSS, although dogs with urinary or fecal incontinence have a worse prognosis than dogs that are continent before surgery. Chronic urinary incontinence is a predictor of poor outcome for dogs with DLSS. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:624–628)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate safety and efficacy of vagal nerve stimulation in dogs with refractory epilepsy.

Design—Placebo-controlled, double-masked, crossover study.

Animals—10 dogs with poorly controlled seizures.

Procedure—A programmable pacemaker-like device designed to deliver intermittent stimulation to the left cervical trunk of the vagus was surgically implanted in each dog. Dogs were assigned randomly to two 13- week test periods, 1 with nerve stimulation and 1 without nerve stimulation. Owners recorded data on seizure frequency, duration, and intensity, as well as adverse effects.

Results—No significant difference in seizure frequency, duration, or severity was detected between overall 13-week treatment and control periods. During the final 4 weeks of the treatment period, a significant decrease in mean seizure frequency (34.4%) was detected, compared with the control period. Complications included transient bradycardia, asystole, and apnea during intraoperative device testing, and seroma formation, subcutaneous migration of the generator, and transient Horner's syndrome during the 14-day period between surgery and suture removal. No adverse effects of stimulation were detected, and most owners were satisfied with the treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Vagal nerve stimulation is a potentially safe approach to seizure control that appears to be efficacious in certain dogs and should be considered a possible treatment option when antiepileptic medications are ineffective. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:977–983)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association