In This Issue•January 15, 2016

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More pet owners are embracing preventive dental care, but veterinarians still fight negative perceptions about its need, difficulty, cost, and risk. In other news, the AVMA is stepping up its support of the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.

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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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Reference Point

A review of medically unnecessary surgeries in dogs and cats

Most surgical procedures performed on dogs and cats in North America are performed for therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive purposes; that is, they are medically necessary. In contrast, procedures that are not necessary for maintaining health or that are not beneficial to the animal can be classified as medically unnecessary surgeries.

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Small Animals

Integration of a physical training program in a weight loss plan for overweight pet dogs

Adding physical training to a weight loss program for pet dogs can more effectively preserve lean body mass, compared with dietary restriction alone, according to results of a new study. In the study, 16 client-owned overweight or obese dogs were fed a calorie-restricted diet rationed to achieve a weight loss rate of 1% to 2%/wk for 12 weeks. Half were enrolled in a training program that included underwater and land-based treadmill exercise 3 times/wk; the other half had no change in exercise routines. Mean weight loss did not differ between groups (13.9% and 12.9%, respectively, for the fitness-and-diet and diet-only groups), but lean body mass was preserved in the fitness-and-diet group and lost in the diet-only group.

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Effects of processing delay, temperature, and transport tube type on results of quantitative bacterial culture of canine urine

For quantitative bacterial culture of urine samples, optimal results are obtained when samples are inoculated onto agar plates immediately after collection, but immediate inoculation may not always be practical. Results of a study in which pooled urine samples were spiked with Escherichia coli and transferred to plain silicone-coated tubes or urine transport tubes that were stored at 4°C (39°F) or 25°C (77°F) for 0, 8, or 24 hours before quantitative bacterial culture indicated that for both tube types, storage for 8 hours did not result in significant changes in bacterial concentration, regardless of storage temperature. However, with 24-hour storage at room temperature, urine transport tubes appeared to be a better choice.

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Risk factors for the development of aspiration pneumonia after unilateral arytenoid lateralization in dogs with laryngeal paralysis

Reported incidence of postoperative aspiration pneumonia following unilateral arytenoid lateralization in dogs with laryngeal paralysis ranges from 5% to 24%, but limited information is available on factors associated with development of this complication. In a review of medical records of 232 dogs that underwent unilateral arytenoid lateralization, 1-, 3-, and 4-year rates of aspiration pneumonia were 18.6%, 31.8%, and 31.8%, respectively. Postoperative megaesophagus and administration of opioid analgesics prior to discharge were significant risk factors for long-term development of aspiration pneumonia. Perioperative metoclopramide administration did not significantly decrease the risk for development of aspiration pneumonia.

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Clinical signs associated with ingestion of black walnut tree wood, nuts, and hulls in dogs

Black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) are commonly found in parks and forests throughout eastern North America, and the wood and nuts may be available to dogs. A review of records for 93 dogs with a history of oral exposure to black walnut wood (ie, shavings, chips, branches, or sawdust; n = 28) or to nuts or nut hulls (65) indicated that vomiting was commonly observed (13/28 [46%] and 31/65 [48%], respectively). Neurologic or musculoskeletal signs were significantly more common in dogs that ingested wood (26/28 [93%]) than in those that ingested nuts or hulls (15/65 [23%]). Relative risk of developing neurologic signs after ingestion of wood was approximately 4 times that after ingestion of nuts or hulls.

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Evaluation of coagulation and fibrinolysis in horses with atrial fibrillation

Human patients with atrial fibrillation are in a hypercoagulable state. In contrast, in a case-control study involving 25 horses with atrial fibrillation and 17 without cardiovascular or systemic disease, horses with atrial fibrillation did not have clinical evidence of a hypercoagulable state. However, significantly higher proportions of horses with atrial fibrillation, compared with control horses, had abnormal plasma D-dimer concentrations (10/25 vs 2/17), test results indicative of subclinical activated coagulation (18/25 vs 6/17), and abnormal coagulation test results (25/121 vs 7/85). Thus, the possibility of subclinical activated coagulation should be considered when assessing horses with atrial fibrillation.

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Special Report

Survey of occupational hazards in Minnesota veterinary practices in 2012

Results of a survey of licensed veterinarians and veterinary staff in Minnesota illustrate the extent of occupational hazards in veterinary practice. Overall, 831 individuals responded to the survey, representing approximately 10% of Minnesota veterinary personnel. A greater proportion of veterinarians (93%; 368/394) reported having received preexposure rabies vaccinations than did veterinary technicians (54%; 198/365). During their career, 226 (27%) respondents had acquired at least 1 zoonotic infection and 636 (77%) had been injured by a needle or other sharp object. A greater proportion of technicians (42%; 155/365) than veterinarians (21%; 81/394) indicated working in an environment in which employees experienced some form of workplace abuse.

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