In This Issue—March 1, 2009

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JAVMA News
Transactions at small animal practices declined slightly from 2007 to 2008, according to the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues, and revenues increased only modestly with higher transaction charges.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners sent a delegation to see firsthand the conditions of two horse slaughter facilities in Mexico.See PAGE 576
Letters to the Editor
See PAGE 598
What Is Your Diagnosis?
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See PAGE 603
TIMELY TOPICS IN NUTRITION
Probiotics in veterinary practice
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have potential health benefits when administered in sufficient numbers. Commercially available probiotic products vary with regard to quality control, and safety is unknown. Nevertheless, use of probiotics enhances immune function in various species and appears to have a role in the treatment of certain gastrointestinal tract conditions.See PAGE 606
PUBLIC VETERINARY MEDICINE: PUBLIC HEALTH
Epidemiology of rabies in skunks in Texas
Rabies in skunks has important public health implications, and a greater understanding of the epidemiology of rabies in skunks will be useful in the planning and implementation of local, state, and national rabies control and prevention campaigns. Additionally, such information could be relevant to clinicians when discussing rabies prevention guidelines with their clients.See PAGE 616
Comparison of conventional and digital measurements of tibial plateau angle in dogs
As digital radiography has become more widely available, there has been an increase in the use of digital methods for measuring tibial plateau angle in dogs. However, there are no published data on the reliability of digital TPA measurements. In a study involving 37 dogs with stifle joint abnormalities, radiographs of both stifle joints were obtained by conventional and digital means, and TPA was measured by 2 viewers with different levels of experience on 3 occasions. For both viewers and both limbs, conventional TPA measurements were significantly correlated with digital measurements all 3 times. Conventional and digital measurements obtained by viewer 1 were significantly different from values obtained by viewer 2.See PAGE 622
Evaluation of noninvasive oscillometric blood pressure monitoring in anesthetized boid snakes
Monitoring of arterial blood pressure is an essential part of anesthetic monitoring, but is rarely performed in reptiles. In a study involving 4 boa constrictors, 2 carpet pythons, and 2 reticulated pythons anesthetized with isoflurane in which arterial blood pressure was measured directly (by means of an arterial catheter) and indirectly (by means of an oscillometric device and cuff placed on the tail), the oscillometric device consistently overestimated systolic arterial pressure and underestimated mean and diastolic arterial pressure. However, when systolic arterial pressure was > 100 mm Hg, the oscillometric device underestimated all 3 variables. Findings indicated that indirect measurements obtained with this device cannot substitute for direct measurements.See PAGE 625
Prevalence of intestinal nematode parasitism among pet dogs in the United States
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Prevalence of intestinal nematode parasitism among dogs in the United States has not been well described. Fecal flotation tests performed on 1,213,061 dogs examined at 547 private veterinary hospitals in 44 states between 2003 and 2006 indicated that prevalences of Toxocara, Ancylostoma, and Trichuris parasitism were 5.04%, 4.50%, and 0.81%, respectively. Dogs < 0.5 years old had higher odds of Toxocara and Ancylostoma parasitism, compared with dogs > 5.0 years old; sexually intact male and female dogs had higher odds of parasitism, compared with spayed female dogs; toy dogs and dogs living in the mountain region had lower odds of parasitism, compared with dogs in other breed groups and dogs living in other regions.
See PAGE 631
Outcome of permanent tracheostomy for treatment of upper airway obstruction in cats
Permanent tracheostomy is uncommonly performed in cats, possibly because of a belief that mucus will occlude the stoma after surgery, resulting in a poor outcome. A review of medical records for 21 cats that underwent permanent tracheostomy because of upper airway obstruction revealed high complication and mortality rates. Fourteen cats had dyspnea in the immediate postoperative period, most often as a result of mucous plugs. Eleven cats died; 7 cats were euthanized, most often because of progression of neoplasia; and only 2 were still alive at the time of the study. The remaining cat was lost to follow-up after discharge from the hospital.See PAGE 638
Use of kinetic gait analysis for differentiation of hind limb lameness and spinal ataxia in horses
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Differentiating between hind limb lameness and spinal ataxia in horses can be challenging, particularly in animals that are only mildly affected. To determine whether kinetic gait analysis could help in differentiating these conditions, force plate measurements were obtained from 12 clinically normal horses, 12 horses with unilateral hind limb lameness, and 12 horses with spinal ataxia. Kinetic variables were derived and compared among groups. Findings suggested that lateral force peak and the variation in vertical force peak could potentially be used to differentiate between hind limb lameness and spinal ataxia and to differentiate affected horses from clinically normal horses.
See PAGE 644
Effect of 2 methods of LDA correction on postoperative abomasal emptying rate in lactating dairy cows
Abomasal emptying rate decreases in cows with a left displaced abomasum and remains decreased immediately after surgical correction. In a clinical trial, 30 cows with an LDA were alternately assigned to undergo surgical correction by means of 2-step laparoscopy-guided abomasopexy or omentopexy via right flank laparotomy, with absorption of D-xylose solution injected into the abomasal lumen at the end of surgery used to assess abomasal emptying rate. Mean abomasal emptying rate was significantly faster and rumen contraction rate and milk yield increased faster after laparoscopy-guided abomasopexy, compared with values obtained following omentopexy. However, milk yield did not differ after the 2 procedures.See PAGE 652
A syndromic surveillance system for detecting disease in livestock entering an auction market
Syndromic surveillance is the practice of tracking disease trends in a population through clinical data that precede definitive diagnosis but signal the possibility of disease. In a study to determine whether a syndromic surveillance system based on visual inspection alone could be used to detect disease among livestock entering an auction market, all livestock entering a single auction market in Colorado during 30 business days were visually inspected for clinical abnormalities. For all species combined, the most common disease syndrome was respiratory tract disease (218.9 observations/10,000 animal observation days), followed by thin body condition and abnormal ambulation or posture (80.7 and 27.2 observations/10,000 animal observation days).See PAGE 658
Outcome of performance-based removal and replacement decisions in commercial swine herds
Sow removal can be considered a successful management strategy only if reproductive performance of replacement animals is greater than performance that could have been expected had removed animals remained in the herd. In a retrospective case-control study involving 3 commercial swine herds, reproductive performance was higher for replacement gilts than for control sows matched with case sows removed for reasons of fecundity. However, reproductive performance was higher for replacement gilts than for control sows matched with case sows removed for reasons of fertility in only 2 of the 3 herds, and in the 2 herds with case sows removed because of age, reproductive performance did not differ between replacement gilts and control sows.See PAGE 665
Nocardia arthritidis infection in the metatarsal III and IV bone of a heifer
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A 19-month-old heifer examined because of right hind limb lameness. A firm swelling in the distal portion of the metatarsal region was found radiographically to have a cyst-like lesion involving the distal metaphysis of the right metatarsal III and IV bone. Microbial culture of an aspirate from the lesion yielded moderate growth of branching, gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria identified as Nocardia arthritidis on the basis of sequence of the 16s rRNA gene. The lesion was debrided and lavaged, and antimicrobials were administered. The heifer had noticeable clinical improvement within 2 weeks and no evidence of lameness after an additional 3 months.
See PAGE 669

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