OBJECTIVE To identify historical and necropsy findings suggestive of neglect or abuse of dogs and cats by retrospective analysis of necropsy reports from a veterinary diagnostic laboratory.
DESIGN Retrospective cohort study.
SAMPLE 119 necropsy reports of dogs and cats.
PROCEDURES Necropsy reports from February 2001 to May 2012 were electronically searched to identify potential animal abuse or neglect cases. Cases were selected and categorized according to a previously proposed method for classification of animal abuse. Inclusion criteria included signs of neglect, nonaccidental injury (NAI; blunt-force or sharp-force trauma, gunshot, burns, drowning, asphyxiation, and suspicious intoxications), and sexual abuse. Poor preservation of cadavers, age < 6 weeks, and signs of chronic illness (eg, cachexia) or injuries consistent with history indicating natural or accidental causes resulted in exclusion. Variables of interest were compared between identified cases and a reference population.
RESULTS Prevalence of potential abuse cases, determined on the basis of all necropsies performed in the study period, was 73 of 8,417 (0.87%) in dogs and 46 of 4,905 (0.94%) in cats. Neglect and NAI were commonly identified in cats; NAI was most commonly found in dogs. Gunshot and blunt-force trauma were the most common NAIs in dogs and cats, respectively. Pit bull–type dogs (29/73 [40%]) were overrepresented in several abuse categories. Most cats (29/46 [63%]) were domestic shorthair, but no breed association was found. Most (41/71 [58%]) affected animals with age data available were ≤ 2 years old.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Approximately 1% of dogs and cats necropsied in the study period had signs suggestive of abuse. Medical findings alone are not necessarily indicative of abuse, but some findings can increase the index of suspicion.
Objective—To investigate the mechanisms by which corticosteroid administration may predispose cats to congestive heart failure (CHF).
Animals—12 cats receiving methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) for the treatment of dermatologic disorders.
Procedure—The study was conducted as a repeated-measures design. Various baseline variables were measured, after which MPA (5 mg/kg, IM) was administered. The same variables were then measured at 3 to 6 days and at 16 to 24 days after MPA administration. Evaluations included physical examination, systolic blood pressure measurement, hematologic analysis, serum biochemical analysis, thoracic radiography, echocardiography, and total body water and plasma volume determination.
Results—MPA resulted in a substantial increase in serum glucose concentration at 3 to 6 days after administration. Concurrently, RBC count, Hct, and hemoglobin concentration as well as serum concentrations of the major extracellular electrolytes, sodium and chloride, decreased. Plasma volume increased by 13.4% (> 40% in 3 cats), whereas total body water and body weight slightly decreased. All variables returned to baseline by 16 to 24 days after MPA administration.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These data suggest that MPA administration in cats causes plasma volume expansion as a result of an intra to extracellular fluid shift secondary to glucocorticoid-mediated extracellular hyperglycemia. This mechanism is analogous to the plasma volume expansion that accompanies uncontrolled diabetes mellitus in humans. Any cardiovascular disorders that impair the normal compensatory mechanisms for increased plasma volume may predispose cats to CHF following MPA administration.
Objective—To determine frequency of urinary tract
infection (UTI) among dogs with pruritic disorders that
were or were not receiving long-term glucocorticoid
Animals—127 dogs receiving glucocorticoids for > 6
months and 94 dogs not receiving glucocorticoids.
Procedure—Bacterial culture of urine samples was
performed in dogs receiving long-term glucocorticoid
treatment, and information was collected on drug
administered, dosage, frequency of administration,
duration of glucocorticoid treatment, and clinical signs
of UTI. For dogs not receiving glucocorticoids, a single
urine sample was submitted for bacterial culture.
Results—Multiple (2 to 6) urine samples were submitted
for 70 of the 127 (55%) dogs receiving glucocorticoids;
thus, 240 urine samples were analyzed. For
23 of the 127 (18.1%) dogs, results of bacterial culture
were positive at least once, but none of the dogs had
clinical signs of UTI. Pyuria and bacteriuria (present vs
absent) were found to correctly predict results of bacterial
culture for 89.9% and 95.8% of the samples,
respectively. Type of glycocorticoid, dosage, frequency
of administration, and duration of treatment were not
associated with frequency of UTI. None of the urine
samples from dogs not receiving glucocorticoids yielded
bacterial growth. The frequency of UTI was significantly
higher for dogs treated with glucocorticoids
than for dogs that had not received glucocorticoids.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that dogs receiving long-term glucocorticoid
treatment have an increased risk of developing a UTI.
On this basis, we recommend that urine samples be
submitted for bacterial culture at least yearly for such
dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:239–243)
Objectives—To compare serum concentrations of
total thyroxine (TT4), free thyroxine (fT4), and thyroid-
stimulating hormone (TSH), as well as measures
of thyroid follicular colloid and epithelium,
between groups of healthy dogs and severely sick
Animals—61 healthy dogs and 66 severely sick dogs.
Procedure—Serum samples were obtained before
euthanasia, and both thyroid lobes were removed
immediately after euthanasia. Morphometric analyses
were performed on each lobe, and serum TT4, fT4,
and TSH concentrations were measured.
Results—In the sick group, serum TT4 and fT4 concentrations
were less than reference range values
in 39 (59%) and 21 (32%) dogs, respectively; only 5
(8%) dogs had high TSH concentrations. Mean
serum TT4 and fT4 concentrations were significantly
lower in the sick group, compared with the
healthy group. In the healthy group, a significant
negative correlation was found between volume
percentage of colloid and TT4 or fT4 concentrations,
and a significant positive correlation was found
between volume percentage of follicular epithelium
and TT4 or fT4 concentrations. A significant negative
correlation was observed between volume percentages
of colloid and follicular epithelium in both
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—TT4 and fT4
concentrations are frequently less than reference
range values in severely sick dogs. Therefore, thyroid
status should not be evaluated during severe illness.
The absence of any significant differences in mean
volume percentages of follicular epithelium between
healthy and severely sick dogs suggests that these 2
groups had similar potential for synthesizing and
secreting thyroid hormones. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:1079–1085)