In This Issue—July 15, 2007

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JAVMA News

A proposal in the New Jersey legislature would allow owners of pets harmed by adulterated food to sue for loss of companionship and claim damages of up to $15,000. In Iraq and Afghanistan, veterinarians with the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force continue to perform crucial duties.

See PAGE 184

Letters to the Editor

See PAGE 196

What Is Your Diagnosis?

See PAGES 203, 205

ECG of the Month

See PAGE 209

Theriogenology Question of the Month

See PAGE 213

COMMENTARY

The veterinary profession's duty of care in response to emergencies

What, if any, is the veterinary profession's obligation to participate in the response to epidemic disease during state, regional, or national disasters? From where does this obligation arise? What are the obstacles to and benefits of participation?

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DISASTER MEDICINE

Dirofilariasis and FeLV and FIV infection among dogs and cats exported from the Gulf Coast in 2005

Thousands of dogs and cats that were not reunited with their owners after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 were sent to animal welfare groups throughout the United States and Canada. A survey of 141 animal welfare groups found that dogs and cats exported from the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricane disaster area had disease rates similar to those for animals in the region prior to the hurricanes.

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REFERENCE POINT

Causes, prevention, and welfare of nonambulatory cattle

A major animal welfare issue facing the livestock industry is the care, handling, and transport of nonambulatory cattle. Sufficient peer-reviewed information exists for development of recommendations regarding on-farm management practices that could result in a decrease in the incidence of, an improvement in the prognosis for, and a benefit to the well-being of nonambulatory cattle.

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ORIGINAL STUDY

Behavioral alterations in cats following elective neutering

Behavioral symptoms are common in human patients recovering from anesthesia and surgery and are thought to reflect the effects of surgery-induced neuroendocrine and inflammatory responses, perianesthetic medications, and postoperative pain on mood, appetite, and demeanor. Similarly, a study of 145 client-owned cats undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy (n = 80) or castration (65) at 4 veterinary clinics in Finland revealed that owners could detect alterations in their cats' behavior during the days after surgery, when cats were recovering at home. The most commonly reported alterations were a decrease in overall activity level, an increase in the amount of time spent sleeping, a decrease in playfulness, and an altered way of movement.

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ORIGINAL STUDY

Follow-up findings following medical or surgical treatment in Doberman Pinschers with CSM

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Magnetic resonance imaging is a highly sensitive diagnostic technique but has rarely been used to determine the long-term effects of medical or surgical treatment of cervical spondylomyelopathy in dogs. Examination of initial and long-term (≥ 1 year) follow-up magnetic resonance images from 12 Doberman Pinschers with CSM treated medically (n = 9) or surgically (ventral slot procedure; 3) suggested that surgical treatment may have hastened the development of additional areas of spinal cord compression and parenchymal lesions in dogs with preoperative cord changes. However, the clinical importance of these changes could not be determined, as clinical condition was unchanged or improved in most dogs, regardless of treatment.

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RETROSPECTIVE STUDY

Canine and feline emergency room visits and the lunar cycle

The lunar cycle has long been credited with influencing various medical conditions, although information on possible underlying mechanisms is lacking. A review of medical records of dogs and cats evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital on an emergency basis over an 11-year period revealed a small, but significant, increase in the number of emergency visits (0.59 and 0.13 canine and feline visits, respectively) on days when the moon was full or nearly full. However, the types of emergency cases seen did not vary significantly with phase of the moon in either dogs or cats.

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ORIGINAL STUDY

Dorsal approaches for arthrocentesis of the distal interphalangeal joint in horses

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Although various techniques for arthrocentesis of the distal interphalangeal joint in horses have been described, the importance of choosing a technique that is easy to perform and well tolerated and that reliably results in advancement of the needle into the joint space should not be underestimated. When 3 arthrocentesis techniques (dorsal perpendicular, dorsolateral, and dorsal inclined) were performed on the forelimbs from 17 equine cadavers by an experienced individual (14 limbs) or 10 veterinary students (2 limbs/ student), the number of attempts needed to enter the joint space was significantly lower for the dorsal inclined technique than for the other 2 techniques.

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RETROSPECTIVE STUDY

Traumatic brain injury in horses

Although head trauma occurs commonly in horses, there is little published information on TBI in horses. Results of a review of medical records for 34 horses with TBI suggested that the prognosis for survival in horses with acute TBI may be more favorable than previously reported, with 21 of the 34 (62%) horses surviving to discharge from the hospital. Persistent recumbency and fractures involving the basilar bones were associated with a poor prognosis. Median age of affected horses was 12 months, and 15 (44%) horses had a history of sustaining injury to the poll subsequent to rearing and falling over backwards during halter training or restraint.

See PAGE 259

RETROSPECTIVE STUDY

Clinical and clinicopathologic variables in adult horses receiving blood transfusions

In horses, the decision to perform a transfusion is made on the basis of a holistic evaluation of the animal, including history and clinical and clinicopathologic abnormalities. In a study of 31 adult horses that received a total of 44 transfusions, transfusions were found to have been administered because of hemorrhagic anemia (n = 18), hemolytic anemia (8), or anemia attributable to erythropoietic failure (5). Abnormalities in clinical and clinicopathologic variables differed depending on the type of anemia. Colic, cold extremities, signs of depression, lethargy, tachycardia, tachypnea, low PCV, low hemoglobin concentration, and hyperlactatemia were commonly detected before transfusion and resolved afterwards.

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ORIGINAL STUDY

Antimicrobial susceptibility of Escherichia coli isolated from pigs reared under conventional or antimicrobial-free production methods

Because antimicrobials can exert selective pressure to promote development of antimicrobial resistance, it has been suggested that withdrawal of antimicrobial agents would lead to a reduction in the rates of antimicrobial resistance. Examination of fecal E coli isolates from swine farms that used conventional or antimicrobial-free production practices revealed that cessation of antimicrobial use did not appear to result in an immediate reduction in the rate of antimicrobial resistance. Prospective studies are needed to determine the extent to which food animal production may be contributing to antimicrobial drug resistance and the reversibility of antimicrobial drug resistance when antimicrobial use is curtailed.

See PAGE 275

RETROSPECTIVE STUDY

Tooth root abscesses in llamas and alpacas

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Treatment of tooth root abscesses in camelids may include surgery or medical management. A review of medical records for 123 camelids with tooth root abscesses indicated that the most common surgical treatments were tooth extraction and apicoectomy. Postoperative complications were reported in 42 of the 84 animals for which follow-up information was available. A significantly higher proportion of camelids that were in good or obese body condition at the time of surgery were alive at the time of follow-up, compared with camelids that were in poor body condition at the time of surgery. A higher number of teeth affected was not associated with a poorer outcome.

See PAGE 284

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