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  • Author or Editor: Sheila M. F. Torres x
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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.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


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.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine frequency of urinary tract infection (UTI) among dogs with pruritic disorders that were or were not receiving long-term glucocorticoid treatment.

Design—Observational study.

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)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


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 dogs.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

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 groups.

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)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


In collaboration with the American College of Veterinary Pathologists

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association