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  • Author or Editor: Raegan J. Wells x
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Objective—To determine the frequency of canine and feline emergency visits with respect to the lunar cycle.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—11,940 dogs and cats evaluated on an emergency basis during an 11-year period.

Procedures—Date of emergency visit, signalment, and chief complaint were retrieved from a medical records database. Emergency type was categorized as animal bite, cardiac arrest, epilepsy, ophthalmic, gastric dilatation-volvulus, trauma, multiple diseases, neoplasia, or toxicosis. The corresponding lunar phase was calculated and recorded as new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, or waning crescent. The effect of lunar phase on the frequency of emergency visits was evaluated by calculating relative risk.

Results—Of 11,940 cases, 9,407 were canine and 2,533 were feline. Relative risk calculations identified a significant increase in emergencies for dogs and cats on fuller moon days (waxing gibbous to waning gibbous), compared with all other days.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that more emergency room visits occurred on fuller moon days for dogs and cats. It is unlikely that an attending clinician would notice the fractional increase in visits (0.59 and 0.13 more canine and feline visits, respectively) observed in this study at a facility with a low caseload. If the study is repeated at a facility with a robust emergency caseload, these results may lead to reorganization of staffing on fuller moon dates. A prospective study evaluating these findings under conditions of high caseload is necessary to determine the clinical relevance.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Case Description—A 6-year-old castrated male Llewelyn Setter was evaluated because of an acute onset of myalgia and respiratory distress.

Clinical Findings—Physical examination revealed a stiff stilted gait, swollen muscles that appeared to cause signs of pain, panting, and ptyalism. The dog had a decrease in palpebral reflexes bilaterally and a decrease in myotatic reflexes in all 4 limbs. The panniculus reflex was considered normal, and all other cranial nerve reflexes were intact. Serum biochemical analysis revealed markedly high cardiac troponin-I concentration and creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase activities. Urinalysis revealed myoglobinuria. Results for thoracic and abdominal radiography, blood pressure measurement, and an ECG were within anticipated limits. Echocardiographic findings were consistent with secondary systolic myocardial failure. Arterial blood gas analysis confirmed hypoxemia and hypoventilation. The dog had negative results when tested for infectious diseases. Examination of skeletal muscle biopsy specimens identified necrotizing myopathy.

Treatment and Outcome—Treatment included ventilatory support; IV administration of an electrolyte solution supplemented with potassium chloride; administration of dantrolene; vasopressor administration; parenteral administration of nutrients; use of multimodal analgesics; administration of clindamycin, furosemide, mannitol, and enrofloxacin; and dietary supplementation with L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10. Other medical interventions were not required, and the dog made a rapid and complete recovery.

Clinical Relevance—Necrotizing myopathy resulting in rhabdomyolysis and myoglobinuria can lead to life-threatening physical and biochemical abnormalities. Making a correct diagnosis is essential, and patients require intensive supportive care. The prognosis can be excellent for recovery, provided there is no secondary organ dysfunction.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate use of crotalid antivenom, frequency of hypersensitivity reactions, and risk factors for hypersensitivity reactions and death in envenomed cats.

Design—Retrospective multicenter case series.

Animals—115 envenomed cats treated with antivenom and 177 envenomed cats treated without antivenom.

Procedures—Medical records from 5 institutions were searched by means of a multiple-choice survey with standardized answers for patient data including signalment, diagnosis, antivenom administration criteria, premedication, product, dose, administration rate, hypersensitivity reactions, and mortality rate.

Results—95 of 115 (82.6%) cats received whole IgG antivenom, 11 (9.57%) received F(ab′)2 antivenom, and 4 (3.48%) received Fab antivenom. The majority (101/115 [878%]) of cats received 1 vial of antivenom. In all cats, the median dilution of antivenom was 1:60 (range, 1:10 to 1:250) administered over a median period of 2.0 hours (range, 0.3 to 9.0 hours). There was no mortality rate difference between cats that did (6.67%) or did not (5.08%) receive antivenom. A type I hypersensitivity reaction was diagnosed in 26 of 115 (22.6%) cats. The use of premedications did not decrease type I hypersensitivity or improve mortality rate. Cats that had a type I hypersensitivity reaction were 10 times as likely to die as were those that did not have such a reaction.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The mortality rate of cats treated with antivenom was low. The administration of premedications did not improve mortality rate or prevent hypersensitivity reactions. The only variable associated with mortality rate was development of a type I hypersensitivity reaction. The rate of antivenom administration should be further evaluated as a possible risk factor for type I hypersensitivity reactions.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association