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  • Author or Editor: Paul D. Pion x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine the extent of use of cytology as a diagnostic method in veterinary practice and assess how veterinarians in practice communicate with veterinary clinical pathologists.

Design—Online survey.

Study Population—870 veterinarians.

Procedures—An online survey was made available to members of the Veterinary Information Network from October 1, 2004, through December 1, 2004.

Results—Respondents reported obtaining a median of 7 cytology samples weekly (range, 0 to 100). On average, respondents reported that 48.1% of the samples they collected were evaluated in-house, 29.5% were submitted to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory, and 21.6% were evaluated in-house and then submitted to a diagnostic laboratory. Most respondents (89.2%) reported using cytologic assessments to guide additional testing, and most (80.3%) indicated that they found the comments section of the cytology report to be the most important section. When asked to indicate the importance of various factors in their decision to use cytology as a diagnostic method, respondents overwhelmingly indicated that accuracy was very important. The most common reasons for consulting with a clinical pathologist were to discuss a discrepancy between clinical and cytologic findings, to clarify a diagnosis, and to ascertain the pathologist's confidence in a diagnosis. Respondents expressed more confidence in results when board-certified clinical pathologists were examining cytology samples than when others were.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that improving communication between veterinary practitioners and veterinary clinical pathologists could enhance the diagnostic value of cytologic examinations and improve clinical decision-making.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine taurine status in a large group of Newfoundlands related by environment, diet, or breeding to a dog with dilated cardiomyopathy and taurine deficiency.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—19 privately owned Newfoundlands between 5 months and 11.5 years old that had been fed commercial dry diets meeting established nutrient recommendations.

Procedure—Diet histories were obtained, and blood, plasma, and urine taurine concentrations and plasma methionine and cysteine concentrations were measured. In 8 dogs, taurine concentrations were measured before and after supplementation with methionine for 30 days. Ophthalmic examinations were performed in 16 dogs; echocardiography was performed in 6 dogs that were taurine deficient.

Results—Plasma taurine concentrations ranged from 3 to 228 nmol/mL. Twelve dogs had concentrations < 40 nmol/mL and were considered taurine deficient. For dogs with plasma concentrations < 40 nmol/mL, there was a significant linear correlation between plasma and blood taurine concentrations. For dogs with plasma concentrations > 40 nmol/mL, blood taurine concentrations did not vary substantially. Taurine-deficient dogs had been fed lamb meal and rice diets. Retinal degeneration, dilated cardiomyopathy, and cystinuria were not found in any dog examined for these conditions. The taurine deficiency was reversed by a change in diet or methionine supplementation.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate a high prevalence of taurine deficiency among an environmentally and genetically related cohort of Newfoundlands fed apparently complete and balanced diets. Blood taurine concentrations indicative of taurine deficiency in Newfoundlands may be substantially less than concentrations indicative of a deficiency in cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1130–1136)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association