In This Issue—December 15, 2008

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JAVMA News

AVMA policy now opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done “solely for cosmetic purposes” and encourages elimination of these practices from breed standards. Some lenders have been targeting the veterinary market, saying practitioners are a good risk even in a tough economy.

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Letters to the Editor

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What Is Your Diagnosis?

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FOOD ANIMAL ECONOMICS

Farm-level economic analysis of the US National Johne's Disease Demonstration Herd Project

Costs and benefits of management-related practices to control Johne's disease were estimated on the basis of results for 40 dairy operations enrolled in the project. Management-related practices were typically found to be of marginal economic benefit when the costs of testing were not borne by producers.

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SPECIAL REPORT

Validity and client use of information from the World Wide Web regarding veterinary anesthesia in dogs

A review of Web sites that included information on veterinary anesthesia indicated that information that was available was generally not complete and may have been misleading, particularly in regard to risks of anesthesia in specific breeds. Veterinarians should appropriately educate clients regarding anesthetic risks in their particular dogs.

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Effects of dog-appeasing pheromones on anxiety and fear in puppies

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Dog-appeasing pheromone is produced by lactating bitches and serves to calm and reassure (appease) the offspring. In previous studies, DAP reduced anxiety and fear in dogs in other situations, such as when visiting a veterinary clinic or adjusting to a new home. In a randomized controlled trial involving 45 puppies between 12 and 15 weeks old, placement of a DAP-impregnated collar on puppies reduced degrees of excitability and fear during puppy classes and improved overall satisfaction of owners with their dog. Dogs that wore the collar were also better socialized and adapted faster in new situations and environments.

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Effects of preoperative administration of butorphanol or meloxicam on physiologic responses to surgery in ball pythons

Pain and pain management in reptiles remain poorly understood, and basic physiologic responses to painful stimuli have not been described. In a study of 15 healthy ball pythons that underwent a minor surgical procedure (ie, catheterization of the vertebral artery), heart rate was significantly increased during the first hour after surgery. Blood pressure and plasma epinephrine and cortisol concentrations increased transiently after surgery, but did not differ significantly from baseline values. There were no significant differences in values between snakes that received saline solution and snakes that received meloxicam or butorphanol, suggesting that these drugs, at the dosages used, may not provide analgesic effects in ball pythons.

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Risk factors associated with suture-nidus cystoliths in dogs and cats

Use of absorbable monofilament suture material is generally recommended for urinary tract surgery, because of concerns that nonabsorbable suture may promote calculogenesis. However, there has been little objective evaluation of suture-associated urolithiasis in companion animals. In a study involving 163 dogs and 13 cats with suture-associated cystoliths and 326 control dogs and 26 control cats, sexually intact and neutered males had an increased odds of suture-associated cystoliths, relative to spayed female dogs. Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Pomeranians were significantly predisposed to formation of suture-associated cystoliths. Dogs with suture-associated cystoliths had significantly shorter recurrence times than did control dogs.

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Use of ketoconazole to treat dogs with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism

Little is known about the effectiveness of ketoconazole, which interferes with synthesis of steroid hormones by the adrenal glands, in the treatment of dogs with PDH. A review of medical records of 48 dogs with PDH that were treated with ketoconazole revealed that 43 (90%) had evidence of clinical improvement during the treatment period. In all dogs, treatment with ketoconazole resulted in a significant reduction in serum cortisol concentration, with 33 (69%) dogs having serum cortisol concentrations after ACTH administration within reference limits. Serum alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase activities were significantly decreased after treatment with ketoconazole. Survival time ranged from 2 to 61 months.

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Use of trazodone as an adjunctive agent in the treatment of canine anxiety disorders

In human psychiatric medicine, it is common to combine drugs to improve response to treatment, and this practice is becoming increasingly widespread among veterinary behaviorists faced with cases in which treatment with a single agent has provided an inadequate response. A review of medical records of 56 dogs with anxiety and phobic disorders that were treated with trazodone because of inadequate relief of clinical signs following treatment with a tricyclic antidepressant or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor revealed that trazodone was well tolerated over a wide dose range and enhanced behavioral calming when administered on a daily or as-needed basis. Future studies of dose range, efficacy, and safety are needed.

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Poorly differentiated leiomyosarcoma of the urogenital tract in a horse

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A 2-year-old filly evaluated because of hemorrhage from the vulva and suspected hematuria of 5 days' duration was found to have a large bleeding mass in the bladder that extended into the vagina, causing marked obliteration of normal urogenital structures and difficulty in urination. The tumor continued to grow despite treatment with doxorubicin, and after 45 days, the horse was euthanized. The mass was identified as a poorly differentiated leiomyosarcoma on the basis of results of histologic examination and immunohistochemical staining for α-smooth muscle actin. Findings suggested that leiomyosarcoma should be considered in the differential diagnosis when examining horses with urogenital bleeding.

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Prevalence of anthelmintic resistance on sheep and goat farms in the southeastern United States

As the numbers of goats and sheep in the southeastern United States have grown, so have concerns that drug treatments for parasitism are beginning to fail because of development of anthelmintic resistance in parasites. In a cross-sectional study involving pooled fecal samples from 46 sheep and goat farms in the southeastern United States, Haemonchus contortus parasites from 45 (98%), 25 (54%), 35 (76%), and 11 (24%) farms were resistant to benzimidazole, levamisole, ivermectin, and moxidectin, respectively. Resistance to all 3 classes of anthelmintics was detected on 22 (48%) farms, and resistance to all 3 classes plus moxidectin was detected on 8 farms (17%).

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Progress made by dairy and beef herds enrolled in the Minnesota Johne's Disease Control Program

The Minnesota Johne's Disease Control Program was instituted in 1998 in response to concerns related to paratuberculosis in cattle herds. Analysis of data for participating dairy and beef herds revealed steady increases in program participation by cattle producers over time, with > 30% of dairy producers and 2% of beef producers in the state participating by the end of 2006. Participating herds reduced their on-farm risk assessment scores during the program. Dairy herds reduced mean within-herd seroprevalence 1.1% during the first year, 2.6% during the first 2 years, and 4.0% during the first 3 years of program participation. Seroprevalence also significantly decreased in beef herds that participated for at least 3 years.

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