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  • Author or Editor: Todd M. Thomas x
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OBJECTIVE To identify risk factors for mesenteric volvulus (MV) in military working dogs (MWDs).

DESIGN Retrospective case-control study.

ANIMALS 211 MWDs (54 with and 157 without MV [case and control dogs, respectively]).

PROCEDURES Medical records (cases and controls) and necropsy reports (cases) were reviewed. Signalment, pertinent medical and surgical history, behavior and temperament characteristics, feeding schedules, and training types were recorded. Weather patterns for regions where dogs resided were researched. Data were evaluated statistically to identify potential risk factors for MV.

RESULTS Risk factors significantly associated with MV included German Shepherd Dog breed (OR, 11.5), increasing age (OR, 2.0), and history of prophylactic gastropexy (OR, 65.9), other abdominal surgery (after gastropexy and requiring a separate anesthetic episode; OR, 16.9), and gastrointestinal disease (OR, 5.4). Post hoc analysis of the subset of MWDs that underwent gastropexy suggested that postoperative complications were associated with MV in these dogs but type of gastropexy and surgeon experience level were not.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Data supported earlier findings that German Shepherd Dog breed and history of gastrointestinal disease were risk factors for MV. The MWDs with a history of prophylactic gastropexy or other abdominal surgery were more likely to acquire MV than were those without such history. These findings warrant further study. Despite the association between prophylactic gastropexy and MV, the authors remain supportive of this procedure to help prevent the more common disease of gastric dilatation-volvulus.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare measurements obtained by use of a universal plastic goniometer (UG) and an electrogoniometer (EG) and from radiographs and to compare joint motion in German Shepherd Dogs and Labrador Retrievers.

Animals—12 healthy adult German Shepherd Dogs and data previously collected from 16 healthy adult Labrador Retrievers.

Procedures—German Shepherd Dogs were sedated. One investigator then measured motion of the carpal, cubital (elbow), shoulder, tarsal, stifle, and hip joints of the sedated dogs. Measurements were made in triplicate with a UG and an EG. Radiographs were taken of all joints in maximal flexion and extension. Values were compared between the UG and EG and with values previously determined for joints of 16 Labrador Retrievers.

Results—An EG had higher variability than a UG for all dogs. The EG variability appeared to result from the technique for the EG. German Shepherd Dogs had lower values in flexion and extension than did Labrador Retrievers for all joints, except the carpal joints. German Shepherd Dogs had less motion in the tarsal joints, compared with motion for the Labrador Retrievers, but had similar motion in all other joints.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A UG is reliable for obtaining measurements in German Shepherd Dogs. There was higher variability for the EG than for the UG, and an EG cannot be recommended for use.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine risk factors for lens luxation and cataracts in captive pinnipeds in the United States and the Bahamas.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—111 pinnipeds (99 California sea lions [Zalophus californianus], 10 harbor seals [Phoca vitulina], and 2 walruses [Odobenus rosmarus]) from 9 facilities.

Procedures—Eyes of each pinniped were examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for the presence of cataracts or lens luxations and photographed. Information detailing husbandry practices, history, and facilities was collected with a questionnaire, and descriptive statistical analyses were performed for continuous and categorical variables. Odds ratios and associated 95% confidence intervals were estimated from the final model.

Results—Risk factors for lens luxation, cataracts, or both included age ≥ 15 years, history of fighting, history of ocular disease, and insufficient access to shade.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Diseases of the lens commonly affect captive pinnipeds. Access to UV-protective shade, early identification and medical management of ocular diseases, and prevention of fighting can limit the frequency or severity of lens-related disease in this population. An extended life span may result from captivity, but this also allows development of pathological changes associated with aging, including cataracts.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association