In This Issue—May 1, 2007

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The next AVMA executive vice president talks about shortages in the veterinary workforce and other issues facing the profession. Morris Animal Foundation officially launches the Canine Cancer Campaign. Court rulings lead U.S. facilities to halt horse slaughter for human consumption. The massive recall of pet food broadened as the investigation continued.

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Letters to the Editor

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What Is Your Diagnosis?

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Veterinary accreditation and national preparedness

In the first of a 5-part series of articles examining the role of the veterinary profession in national preparedness, the authors examine the skills, knowledge, and aptitudes expected of accredited veterinarians and discuss additional skills and knowledge likely to be expected in the future.

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Evaluation of point-of-care meters for blood lactate concentration in dogs

Previous studies have shown that measurement of blood lactate concentration in sick dogs can provide useful information regarding prognosis and adequacy of treatment. However, the inconvenience and costs associated with obtaining test results have limited the use of lactate measurements in critically ill dogs. Recently, several handheld, point-of-care lactate meters have become available. When 4 of these meters were used to analyze blood samples from 50 dogs brought to a veterinary emergency service, values were generally in agreement with values obtained with a reference laboratory blood analyzer, suggesting that these meters may be useful for quickly measuring blood lactate concentrations in dogs.

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Serologic evaluation and fungal culture for diagnosis of nasal aspergillosis in dogs

Aspergillosis is a common cause of nasal discharge in dogs, but establishing a diagnosis of nasal aspergillosis in dogs with nasal discharge can be difficult. Examination of the medical records of 58 dogs with nasal discharge and 26 healthy dogs revealed that sensitivity and specificity of an agar gel immunodiffusion assay for anti-Aspergillus antibodies in serum were 67% and 98%, respectively, whereas sensitivity and specificity of fungal culture of tissue specimens were 81% and 100%. Results suggested that for both diagnostic methods, positive test results were highly suggestive of nasal aspergillosis, but negative results did not rule out the condition.

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Surgical correction of brachycephalic syndrome in dogs

The term brachycephalic syndrome refers to any combination of abnormalities of the upper respiratory tract in dogs (ie, elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal ventricles, laryngeal collapse, and hypoplastic trachea) that results in upper airway obstruction. Treatment generally involves a combination of medical and surgical approaches. A review of the medical records of 62 dogs with brachycephalic syndrome revealed that surgical treatment was associated with a favorable long-term outcome, regardless of age, breed, specific abnormalities present, or number of abnormalities present. Results were similar regardless of whether staphylectomy was performed with a laser or by means of sharp resection.

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Differentiation of gastrointestinal stromal tumors from leiomyosarcomas in dogs

Leiomyosarcoma has been reported to be the most common sarcoma of the intestinal tract in dogs. However, the recent development of immunohistochemical staining techniques has resulted in the reclassification of certain gastrointestinal tract leiomyosarcomas in humans as gastrointestinal stromal tumors. When these immunohistochemical staining techniques were used to re-examine 42 canine tumors previously identified as gastrointestinal tract leiomyosarcomas, 28 were reclassified as gastrointestinal stromal tumors and 4 were reclassified as undifferentiated sarcomas. The biological behavior of gastrointestinal tract leiomyosarcomas appeared to be different from the biological behavior of gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

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Evaluation of lidocaine treatment in dogs with gastric dilatation and volvulus

The most serious complications of GDV in dogs are associated with ischemic reperfusion injury and the consequent systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Recently, IV administration of lidocaine has been suggested to be useful in preventing IRI and SIRS in humans and laboratory animals. A review of the medical records of 98 dogs with GDV revealed that there were no significant differences in mortality rate or postoperative complications between dogs that were treated with lidocaine IV prior to surgery (n = 51) and dogs that were not (47). Risk factors for death included a long delay prior to admission, low rectal temperature, acute renal failure, and gastric wall necrosis.

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Transfixation casting of third metacarpal, third metatarsal, and phalangeal fractures in horses

Transfixation casting (ie, insertion of transcortical pins proximal to the fracture site and incorporation of the pins into a cast that encases the foot) is used to treat third metacarpal and metatarsal and proximal and middle phalangeal fractures in horses. Improvements in casting materials, pin technology, and surgical methods have led to broader acceptance of the technique; however, current estimates of success and complication rates are lacking. Examination of medical records revealed that fractures healed in 27 of 35 (77%) horses treated by means of transfixation casting. Four horses had a fracture through a pin hole, and 25 had evidence of pin loosening.

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Fractures of the greater tubercle of the humerus in horses

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Fractures involving the greater tubercle of the humerus are apparently uncommon in horses. A review of the medical records of 15 horses with such fractures revealed that all had a history of acute, unilateral lameness. Nine were reported to have had a substantial improvement in the degree of lameness within 7 days after onset. In 6 of 8 horses, the fracture could be seen on a cranioproximal-craniodistal oblique radiographic projection, and in 2 horses, this was the only projection on which the fracture could be seen. Eleven horses returned to athletic use, including 9 of 10 treated surgically and 2 of 5 treated without surgery.

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Analgesic efficacy and respiratory effects of butorphanol and morphine in turtles

Methods for safe and effective pain management in reptiles have not been widely studied, and published information is primarily anecdotal. Although butorphanol tartrate is the most widely used opioid in reptiles, results of a study of 37 adult male and female red-eared sliders suggested that it had no apparent antinociceptive effects. Morphine sulfate, on the other hand, provided antinociception in this species. Both opioids caused moderate to marked respiratory depression. On the basis of these results, morphine sulfate is recommended for antinociception in turtles, although respiratory depression must be monitored.

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