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Dog owners are increasingly interested in using commercially available testing panels to learn about the genetics of their pets, both to identify breed ancestry and to screen for specific genetic diseases. Helping owners interpret and understand results from genetic screening panels is becoming an important issue facing veterinarians. The objective of this review article is to introduce basic concepts behind genetic studies and current genetic screening tests while highlighting their value in veterinary medicine. The potential uses and limitations of commercially available genetic testing panels as screening tests are discussed, including appropriate cautions regarding the interpretation of results. Future directions, particularly with regard to the study of common complex genetic diseases, are also described.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To evaluate the clinical features and pathological joint changes in dogs with erosive immune-mediated polyarthritis (IMPA).

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 13 dogs with erosive IMPA and 66 dogs with nonerosive IMPA.

PROCEDURES The medical record database of a veterinary teaching hospital was reviewed to identify dogs with IMPA that were examined between October 2004 and December 2012. For each IMPA-affected dog, information extracted from the medical record included signalment, diagnostic test results, radiographic findings, and treatments administered. Dogs were classified as having erosive IMPA if review of radiographs revealed the presence of bone lysis in multiple joints, and descriptive data were generated for those dogs. All available direct smears of synovial fluid samples underwent cytologic evaluation. The synovial fluid total nucleated cell count and WBC differential count were estimated and compared between dogs with erosive IMPA and dogs with nonerosive IMPA.

RESULTS 13 of 79 (16%) dogs had erosive IMPA. Dogs with erosive IMPA had a mean ± SD age of 7.1 ± 2.4 years and body weight of 8.3 ± 3.4 kg (18.3 ± 7.5 lb). All 13 dogs had erosive lesions in their carpal joints. The estimated median synovial fluid lymphocyte count for dogs with erosive IMPA was significantly greater than that for dogs with nonerosive IMPA. All dogs received immunosuppressive therapy with leflunomide (n = 9), prednisone (3), or prednisone-azathioprine (1).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated erosive IMPA most commonly affected the carpal joints of middle-aged small-breed dogs. Further genetic analyses and analysis of lymphocyte-subsets are warranted for dogs with erosive IMPA.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To determine whether walking at specific ranges of absolute and relative (V*) velocity would aid efficient capture of gait trial data with low ground reaction force (GRF) variance in a heterogeneous sample of dogs.

ANIMALS 17 clinically normal dogs of various breeds, ages, and sexes.

PROCEDURES Each dog was walked across a force platform at its preferred velocity, with controlled acceleration within 0.5 m/s2. Ranges in V* were created for height at the highest point of the shoulders (withers; WHV*). Variance effects from 8 walking absolute velocity ranges and associated WHV* ranges were examined by means of repeated-measures ANCOVA.

RESULTS The individual dog effect provided the greatest contribution to variance. Narrow velocity ranges typically resulted in capture of a smaller percentage of valid trials and were not consistently associated with lower variance. The WHV* range of 0.33 to 0.46 allowed capture of valid trials efficiently, with no significant effects on peak vertical force and vertical impulse.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dogs with severe lameness may be unable to trot or may have a decline in mobility with gait trial repetition. Gait analysis involving evaluation of individual dogs at their preferred absolute velocity, such that dogs are evaluated at a similar V*, may facilitate efficient capture of valid trials without significant effects on GRF. Use of individual velocity ranges derived from a WHV* range of 0.33 to 0.46 can account for heterogeneity and appears suitable for use in clinical trials involving dogs at a walking gait.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To evaluate outcomes in cats undergoing subtotal colectomy for the treatment of idiopathic megacolon and to determine whether removal versus nonremoval of the ileocecocolic junction (ICJ) was associated with differences in outcome.


166 client-owned cats.


For this retrospective cohort study, medical records databases of 18 participating veterinary hospitals were searched to identify records of cats with idiopathic megacolon treated by subtotal colectomy from January 2000 to December 2018. Data collection included perioperative and surgical variables, complications, outcome, and owner perception of the procedure. Data were analyzed for associations with outcomes of interest, and Kaplan-Meier survival time analysis was performed.


Major perioperative complications occurred in 9.9% (15/151) of cats, and 14% (12/87) of cats died as a direct result of treatment or complications of megacolon. The median survival time was not reached. Cats with (vs without) a body condition score < 4/9 (hazard ratio [HR], 5.97), preexisting heart disease (HR, 3.21), major perioperative complications (HR, 27.8), or long-term postoperative liquid feces (HR, 10.4) had greater hazard of shorter survival time. Constipation recurrence occurred in 32% (24/74) of cats at a median time of 344 days and was not associated with retention versus removal of the ICJ; however, ICJ removal was associated with long-term liquid feces (OR, 3.45), and a fair or poor outcome on owner assessment (OR, 3.6).


Results indicated that subtotal colectomy was associated with long survival times and a high rate of owner satisfaction. Removal of the ICJ was associated with less favorable outcomes in cats of the present study.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association