In This Issue—January 1, 2010

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JAVMA News

The AVMA will fund a student leadership program for the next two years and, in another initiative, incorporate into the strategic goals a draft plan to increase diversity in the profession. Veterinary leaders exchanged ideas on challenges involving livestock housing, nonveterinarian care providers, and loan forgiveness programs.

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What Is Your Diagnosis?

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Diagnostic Imaging in Veterinary Dental Practice

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Pathology in Practice

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ECG of the Month

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What Is the Evidence?

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Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on osteoarthritis in dogs

Several studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects in humans. In a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving 127 client-owned dogs with osteoarthritis fed a standard commercial diet (n = 56) or a diet supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids (71) for 6 months, dogs fed the supplemented diet had significantly higher serum total omega-3 fatty acid concentrations and significantly lower serum arachidonic acid concentrations at 6, 12, and 24 weeks. In addition, these dogs had a significantly improved owner-reported ability to rise from a resting position and play at 6 weeks and improved owner-reported ability to walk at 12 and 24 weeks, compared with control dogs.

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Effects of dietary supplementation with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on weight bearing in dogs with osteoarthritis

A previous study found that feeding a diet supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids ameliorated the effects of osteoarthritis in dogs, as determined from owner assessments. In a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving 38 client-owned dogs with osteoarthritis fed a standard commercial diet (n = 16) or a diet supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids (22) for 90 days, mean peak vertical force on the most severely affected limb was significantly increased in dogs fed the supplemented diet, but not in control dogs. In addition, investigators' subjective assessments indicated that dogs fed the supplemented diet had significant improvements in lameness and weight bearing on day 90, compared with baseline values.

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Calorie density and feeding directions for commercially available diets designed for weight loss in dogs and cats

Obesity is one of the most common health problems of dogs and cats. However, nutritional information on pet food labels differs substantially from that given on human products, making it difficult for owners to select an optimal diet for weight loss. Analysis of 44 canine and 49 feline diets that had a stated or implied weight management claim revealed wide variations in calorie density (from 217 to 440 kcal/cup for dry canine diets and from 235 to 480 kcal/cup for dry feline diets), recommended calorie intake for weight loss (from 0.73 to 1.47 times resting energy requirement for dogs and from 0.67 to 1.55 times resting energy requirement for cats), and cost (from $0.04 to $1.11/100 kcal of diet).

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Evaluation of the diagnostic value of an implantable loop recorder in dogs with unexplained syncope

The infrequent and unpredictable nature of paroxysmal arrhythmias in dogs makes it difficult to differentiate benign causes of weakness and fainting from malignant cardiac arrhythmias. In 12 dogs with unexplained syncope, an implantable loop recorder was surgically inserted, with event analysis performed every 3 months and after each syncopal episode. The recorder was manually activated in 7 of the 12 dogs at least once between 45 and 218 days after implantation. Four dogs had syncopal episodes associated with sinus tachycardia followed by sinus bradycardia, 2 dogs had ventricular tachycardia, and 1 dog had sinus node dysfunction, confirming an association between syncope and rhythm disturbances.

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Association between outcome and organ system dysfunction in dogs with sepsis

Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome has been defined as altered organ function in an acutely ill patient such that intervention is required to maintain homeostasis. Although MODS has been recognized clinically in dogs, there are few studies documenting its existence in veterinary medicine. A review of medical records of 114 dogs treated surgically because of sepsis secondary to gastrointestinal tract leakage revealed that 89 (78%) had dysfunction of 1 or more organ systems, and 57 (50%) had MODS. Mortality rate increased as the number of dysfunctional organ systems increased. Mortality rate was 70% (40/57) for dogs with MODS, but only 25% (14/57) for dogs without.

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Risk factors for surgical site infection-inflammation in dogs undergoing surgery for CCL rupture

Medical records for 808 dogs that underwent surgery for correction of cranial cruciate ligament rupture (902 procedures) by means of an extracapsular lateral suture (496 surgeries) or tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (406) were reviewed for information related to postoperative infection-inflammation. Infection-inflammation developed within 6 months after 55 of the 902 (6.1%) procedures, with the rate significantly lower following the ECLS procedure (21/496 [4.2%]) than after TPLO (34/406 [8.4%]). Factors associated with a significantly lower rate of infection-inflammation included use of suture material other than stainless-steel staples for skin closure and postoperative oral administration of antimicrobials.

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