In This Issue—February 15, 2008

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A changing of the guard has occurred at the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine, with the former director now overseeing food safety for the FDA and the former deputy director moving up a rank.

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Letters to the Editor

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What Is Your Diagnosis?

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ECG of the Month

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Pathways for release of Rift Valley fever virus in the United States

Rift Valley fever is an important foreign animal disease that would have devastating effects on domestic cattle, sheep, and goat production if it were to enter the United States. Feasible pathways for entry of RVFV into the continental United States include importation of RVFV-infected animals, entry of RVFV-infected people, mechanical transport of RVFV-infected insect vectors, and smuggling of the live virus.

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Impact of the owner-pet and client-veterinarian bond on the care that pets receive

A survey of dog and cat owners in the United States revealed that owners with the strongest bond with their pets took their pets to the veterinarian more often, were more likely to follow veterinarian recommendations regardless of cost, and were more likely to seek preventive care for their pets. Overall, study findings indicated that clear and thorough communication could increase owner compliance by as much as 40%.

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Canine and human factors related to dog bite injuries

Dog bites continue to be an important public health problem in the United States. Analysis of licensed dog and dog bite data for Multnomah County, Oregon, revealed that biting dogs were more likely to be from certain breed groups (terrier, working, herding, and nonsporting breed groups), sexually intact males, and purebred. Biting dogs were also more likely to live in lower income neighborhoods, and male children between 5 and 9 years old had the highest rate of injury. Results suggested that dog bite prevention programs should target owners of purebred and sexually intact male dogs and owners who live in lower income neighborhoods.

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Hemodynamic variables in anesthetized dogs undergoing laparotomy

Arterial blood pressure is often monitored as an indicator of circulatory status in anesthetized dogs. However, because mean arterial blood pressure depends on both cardiac output and systemic vascular resistance, measurement of mean arterial blood pressure alone does not provide complete information about circulatory status. In a study of 8 dogs undergoing exploratory laparotomy, for instance, arterial blood pressures and systemic vascular resistance index were highest shortly after surgery began, and cardiac index and stroke volume index did not change significantly during surgery but increased significantly after surgery ended. Overall, changes in arterial blood pressures were not necessarily indicative of qualitatively similar changes in cardiac index.

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Prevalence of hemangiosarcoma in anemic dogs with a splenic mass and hemoperitoneum

In dogs with hemoperitoneum without any history of trauma or coagulopathy, the most common cause is rupture of a splenic mass. However, benign splenic masses are grossly indistinguishable from splenic tumors, making it difficult for owners to decide whether to pursue treatment. A review of medical records of 71 dogs with a splenic mass and hemoperitoneum severe enough to warrant transfusion revealed that 54 (76%) had malignant splenic neoplasia (including 50 with splenic hemangiosarcoma) and 17 (24%) had a benign splenic lesion. Dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma had significantly lower total solids concentrations and platelet counts at admission than did dogs with other splenic masses.

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Accuracy of the withdrawal reflex for localization of cervical disk herniation in dogs

Thoracic limb reflexes have been used to localize the site of the lesion in dogs with cervical disk herniation, with depressed reflexes considered an indication of a lesion involving C6-T2. When results of neurologic examination of 35 dogs with cervical disk herniation were compared with results of magnetic resonance imaging, however, agreement between methods was only 65.8%. Specifically, results of clinical neuroanatomic localization were incorrect in 11 of 14 dogs with a lesion at C2-C3 or C3-C4 and in 1 of 12 dogs with a lesion at C5-C6 or C6-C7. Results suggested that a decreased withdrawal reflex was not always associated with a lesion of the caudal cervical region.

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Necropsy findings in sled dogs that died during Iditarod Trail sled dog races

Descriptions of the causes of exercise-related death and associated lesions in working dogs are needed to facilitate recognition of dogs affected with life-threatening conditions and to investigate preventative measures. Aspiration pneumonia, aspiration of gastric contents, acute blood loss secondary to gastric ulceration, and sled dog myopathy were identified as potentially fatal exercise-associated conditions in 23 dogs that died during or following competition in Iditarod Trail sled dog races between 1994 and 2006. Other lesions that were common among the study population included rhabdomyolysis, enteritis, gastritis, and centrilobular hepatocellular necrosis. A cause of death was not established in 7 dogs.

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Cecal bypass without ileal transection in three horses with cecocolic intussusception

In 3 horses examined because of signs of colic, cecocolic intussusception was identified at laparotomy. An intraluminal anastomosis stapler device was used to perform cecal bypass by means of sideto-side ileocolic anastomosis without ileal transection. All 3 horses recovered rapidly and reportedly were normal > 12 months after surgery. Use of this surgical method decreased the risk of abdominal contamination, in that colotomy was not necessary and the ileum was not transected. In addition, the technique was technically simple, because there was no need to oversew the ileal stump, perform a cecal resection, or close the mesenteric space created by relocating the jejunal stump to the right ventral colon.

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Evaluation of iron status in lemurs

Lemurs are thought to be particularly susceptible to iron overload, with hemosiderosis being an important concern in captive lemurs. However, evaluating the iron status of lemurs is difficult, and hemosiderosis is most often diagnosed at necropsy. Evaluation of blood and hepatic biopsy samples from 33 lemurs of 3 genera revealed that serum ferritin concentration was the only variable consistently correlated with hepatic iron content in all 3 genera, although transferrin saturation and serum iron concentration were correlated with hepatic iron content in ring-tailed and ruffed lemurs. Mean hepatic iron content varied across genera, suggesting that the propensity for lemurs to develop iron overload in captivity may vary across taxa.

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Salmon poisoning disease in two Malayan sun bears

Salmon poisoning disease is a trematode-borne rickettsial infection that can be fatal in untreated dogs, although recovery is possible if the disease is diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Two captive sun bears fed trematode-infected fish contracted salmon poisoning disease, with clinical signs similar to those seen in dogs; both bears responded to treatment. Findings suggested that salmon poisoning disease may occur outside its expected geographic range when infected fish are transplanted for sport fishing. Veterinarians working in areas where infected fish are transplanted should be alert to the possibility of salmon poisoning disease when evaluating dogs and bears with signs of gastrointestinal tract disease and a history of exposure to fish.

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