In This Issue—August 15, 2009


Primate veterinarians care for the animals used in scientific discoveries while dealing with misperceptions of the public they are trying to help. In equine news, a survey shows the nation faces staggering problems with rising numbers of unwanted horses.

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Letters to the Editor

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What Is Your Diagnosis?

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Pathology In Practice

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Food animal medicine in crisis

The shortage of food animal veterinarians was originally acknowledged 20 years ago, but until recently, there was limited discussion regarding the origin of this shortage or possible solutions for it. A review of the literature suggests that the shortage of food animal veterinarians has been compounded by an identity crisis among food animal veterinarians in the profession.

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Prevalence of lymphoplasmacytic synovitis in dogs with naturally occurring CCL rupture

Immunopathologic mechanisms have been proposed to play a role in cranial cruciate ligament rupture in dogs. In a cross-sectional study involving 110 dogs with naturally occurring CCL rupture, 56 (51%) were found to have histologic evidence of LPS. There were no significant differences in age, body weight, duration or severity of lameness, severity of radiographic signs of degenerative joint disease, extent of CCL rupture, or gross appearance of the medial meniscus between dogs with and without LPS. Mean tibial plateau angle was significantly lower in dogs with LPS than in dogs without LPS, and dogs with LPS were significantly more likely to have neutrophils in their synovial fluid. Lymphocytes were seen in synovial fluid from a single dog with LPS.

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Use of hormone receptor expression to predict survival time in dogs with malignant mammary gland tumors

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Many tumor markers have been investigated as prognostic indicators in humans with breast cancer. In a cohort study involving 89 female dogs with malignant and 24 female dogs with benign mammary gland tumors, 68 (60.2%) had tumors that expressed estrogen receptor A and 88 (77.9%) had tumors that expressed the progesterone receptor. Expression of ERα and PR was more common in benign (23/24 and 24/24, respectively) than in malignant (45/89 and 64/89) tumors. Only PR expression was significantly associated with likelihood of survival 1 year after surgical removal of the tumor. Dogs with malignant tumors that expressed ERα and PR had a significantly higher 1-year survival rate than did dogs with malignant tumors that expressed ERα but not PR.

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Topical application of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment for treatment of perianal sinuses in dogs

Perianal sinuses are challenging to treat in dogs. In a non-controlled clinical trial, 19 dogs with perianal sinuses were treated for 16 weeks with the topical immunosuppressive agent tacrolimus, a tapering dose of oral prednisone, and a novel protein diet. Lesions resolved completely in 15 dogs and were markedly improved in 4 dogs (3 of which had anal sac involvement). Two years later, follow-up information was obtained for 13 dogs, and all were free of perianal sinuses. During the 2-year period, all dogs were maintained on intermittently applied tacrolimus ointment, 11 remained on a novel protein diet, and 4 received prednisone every other day. Cost savings associated with this protocol were considerable when compared with a typical cyclosporine protocol.

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Evaluation of vehicular trauma in dogs

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Identifying variables associated with outcome for dogs that have sustained vehicular trauma may be beneficial in determining appropriate treatments and treatment goals. A review of medical records of 239 dogs examined at a university-based referral hospital because of vehicular trauma revealed that 206 were eventually discharged, 26 were euthanatized, and 7 died. Dogs that died or were euthanatized had significantly higher animal trauma triage scores than did dogs that survived. In addition, the ATT score was significantly associated with overall cost of care. Dogs with multiple injuries had significantly higher ATT scores and higher costs of care and were significantly more likely to die or be euthanatized.

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Computed tomography and low-field magnetic resonance imaging in dogs with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism

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Currently, it is unclear whether CT or low-field MRI is preferable for imaging of the pituitary gland in dogs with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism. Medical records of 11 dogs with PDH that underwent CT and low-field MRI followed by transsphenoidal hypophysectomy were reviewed. An abnormal pituitary gland was found in 7 dogs by use of MRI and in the same 7 dogs by use of CT. Significant differences were found between postcontrast CT and MR images with regard to height, width, and length of the pituitary gland; brain area; and thickness of the sphenoid bone. Findings indicated that dynamic CT imaging and low-field MRI of the pituitary gland provided comparable information on the presence of pituitary adenomas in dogs with PDH.

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Plasma fibrinogen concentration as an indicator of physeal or epiphyseal osteomyelitis in foals

Physeal and epiphyseal osteomyelitis are important problems in foals because they are often associated with a guarded prognosis, increase the severity of illness and risk of death, and can adversely affect future athletic performance. Thus, a screening test to identify affected foals would be a useful diagnostic tool. A review of medical records revealed that foals with physeal or epiphyseal osteomyelitis had higher plasma fibrinogen concentrations than did foals with septic arthritis alone, foals with non-Rhodococcus equi pneumonia, and healthy foals. Sixteen of 17 foals with osteomyelitis had values ≥ 900 mg/dL, and positive and negative predictive values for plasma fibrinogen concentrations between 900 and 1.500 mg/dL were 84.2% and 98.2%, respectively.

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Subtotal or partial unilateral arytenoidectomy for treatment of arytenoid chondritis in five calves

In 5 calves evaluated because of abnormal respiratory noise associated with variable degrees of respiratory distress, endoscopic evaluation revealed enlarged and immobile arytenoids, and a presumptive diagnosis of arytenoid chondritis was made. Unilateral arytenoidectomy via a laryngotomy was performed in all 5 calves. Dysphagia and coughing were the more frequent postoperative complications. Three calves survived at least 6 months after the procedure. One calf died of a perforated abomasal ulcer 3 months after surgery. The remaining calf died suddenly 1 month after surgery, and the cause of death was not determined. Findings suggested that unilateral arytenoidectomy may be a viable surgical treatment in calves with arytenoid chondritis.

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Hematologic and plasma biochemical findings in cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles

Juvenile Kemp's ridley turtles frequent the northeastern coast of the United States during the summer. Turtles leave for warmer waters in the autumn, but in some instances, turtles fail to migrate and may become cold-stunned as water temperatures fall below 50°F. A review of medical records for 176 stranded, coldstunned Kemp's ridley turtles revealed that turtles that died had significantly higher plasma sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and uric acid concentrations than did turtles that survived. For survivors, BUN and plasma calcium concentrations were significantly higher during convalescence than during the initial evaluation, and plasma glucose, sodium, and uric acid concentrations were significantly lower.

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