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Objective—To evaluate the potential utility of poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic)acid (PLGA) as a long-acting biodegradable drug delivery matrix for ivermectin used in the prevention of heartworm disease in dogs.

Animals—30 adult female dogs.

Procedure—Microparticle formulations containing 25 weight percent (wt%), 35 wt%, and 50 wt% ivermectin were prepared by an oil-in-water emulsion technique with solvent extraction into excess water. A fourth formulation, consisting of a mixture of 15 wt% and 50 wt% ivermectin microparticles, was blended in a 1:1 ratio to result in a 32.5 wt% ivermectin formulation. Formulations were administered once on Day 0 to groups of 6 dogs at a dose of 0.5 mg of ivermectin/ kg, SC. Half of the dogs in each treatment group and 3 untreated control dogs were infected with Dirofilaria immitis larvae 121 and 170 days after treatment. Six months after infection, dogs were euthanatized and necropsies were performed. Pharmacokinetics and efficacy were investigated.

Results—Analysis of pharmacokinetic data revealed sustained release of ivermectin during at least 287 days in 3 distinct phases: a small initial peak, followed by release of drug through diffusion, and polymer degradation. Untreated control dogs were all infected with heartworms. Heartworms were not found in any of the dogs in the ivermectin-PLGA treated groups. Adverse clinical signs were not observed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—All formulations were 100% effective in preventing development of adult heartworms. Results indicate that PLGA microparticles are a promising drug delivery matrix for use with ivermectin for the prevention of heartworm disease for at least 6 months after treatment. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:752–757)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To examine the effects of euthanasia rates, euthanasia practices, and human resource practices on the turnover rate among employees with euthanasia responsibilities at animal shelters.

Design—Cross-sectional original study.

Sample Population—36 shelters across the United States that employed at least 5 full-time employees and performed euthanasia on site.

Procedures—By mail, 1 survey was sent to each shelter. Surveys were completed by a senior member of management and were returned by mail. Questions assessed characteristics (eg, euthanasia rates) and practices of the animal shelter, along with employee turnover rates. By use of correlation coefficients and stepwise regression analyses, key predictors of turnover rates among employees with euthanasia responsibilities were investigated.

Results—Employee turnover rates were positively related to euthanasia rate. Practices that were associated with decreased turnover rates included provision of a designated euthanasia room, exclusion of other live animals from vicinity during euthanasia, and removal of euthanized animals from a room prior to entry of another animal to be euthanized. Making decisions regarding euthanasia of animals on the basis of factors other than behavior and health reasons was related to increased personnel turnover. With regard to human resources practices, shelters that used a systematic personnel selection procedure (eg, standardized testing) had comparatively lower employee turnover.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Data obtained may suggest several specific avenues that can be pursued to mitigate turnover among employees with euthanasia responsibilities at animal shelters and animal control or veterinary medical organizations.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify and evaluate coping strategies advocated by experienced animal shelter workers who directly engaged in euthanizing animals.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—Animal shelters across the United States in which euthanasia was conducted (5 to 100 employees/shelter).

Procedures—With the assistance of experts associated with the Humane Society of the United States, the authors identified 88 animal shelters throughout the United States in which animal euthanasia was actively conducted and for which contact information regarding the shelter director was available. Staff at 62 animal shelters agreed to participate in the survey. Survey packets were mailed to the 62 shelter directors, who then distributed them to employees. The survey included questions regarding respondent age, level of education, and role and asked those directly involved in the euthanasia of animals to provide advice on strategies for new euthanasia technicians to deal with the related stress. Employees completed the survey and returned it by mail. Content analysis techniques were used to summarize survey responses.

Results—Coping strategies suggested by 242 euthanasia technicians were summarized into 26 distinct coping recommendations in 8 categories: competence or skills strategies, euthanasia behavioral strategies, cognitive or self-talk strategies, emotional regulation strategies, separation strategies, get-help strategies, seek long-term solution strategies, and withdrawal strategies.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Euthanizing animals is a major stressor for many animal shelter workers. Information regarding the coping strategies identified in this study may be useful for training new euthanasia technicians.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Case Description—A 7-year-old Quarter Horse gelding was hospitalized in Ocala, Fla, because of lethargy, fever, anorexia, and swelling of distal aspects of the limbs. A tentative diagnosis of equine piroplasmosis (EP) was made on the basis of examination of a blood smear. The case was reported to the Florida State Veterinarian, and infection with Babesia equi was confirmed. The subsequent investigation included quarantine and testing of potentially exposed horses for B equi and Babesia caballi infections, tick surveillance, and owner-agent interviews.

Clinical Findings—210 horses on 25 premises were tested for infection with EP pathogens. Twenty B equi–infected horses on 7 premises were identified; no horses tested positive for B caballi. Seven horses, including the index case, had clinical findings consistent with EP Dermacentor variabilis was considered the only potential tick vector for B equi collected, and all D variabilis specimens tested negative for Babesia organisms via PCR assay. Results of the epidemiological investigation suggested that B equi was spread by use of shared needles and possibly blood transfusions. All horses that tested positive were involved in nonsanctioned Quarter Horse racing, and management practices were thought to pose substantial risk of transmission of blood-borne pathogens.

Treatment and Outcome—Final outcome of B equi–infected horses was euthanasia, death from undetermined causes, or shipment to a US federal research facility.

Clinical Relevance—This investigation highlights the importance of collaboration between private veterinary practitioners, state veterinary diagnostic laboratories, and regulatory officials in the recognition, containment, and eradication of foreign animal disease.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association