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In This Issue—July 15, 2009

JAVMA News

The Executive Board took action toward redeveloping the AVMA Web site and reinvigorating online discussion groups. A report indicates little recent progress has been made in reducing illnesses from nine food-borne pathogens.

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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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Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters

Little information is available as to how the microchip registration process relates to reunification of lost pets with their owners. In a cross-sectional study involving microchipped dogs and cats entering 53 animals shelters, owners of 2,489 of 3,425 (73%) stray animals for which information was available were reportedly found. Dog owners were 1.7 times as likely to be found as were cat owners, owners of purebred animals were 1.5 times as likely to be found as were owners of mixed-breed animals, and owners of spayed or neutered animals were 1.8 times as likely to be found as were owners of sexually intact animals. Owners whose information was in the microchip registry were 4.9 times as likely to be found as were owners that were not registered.

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Use of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor to treat episodic hypertonia and kyphosis in a Scottish Terrier

A 2.5-year-old Scottish Terrier was evaluated because of episodes of hypertonia and kyphosis. Pelvic limb hypertonicity and kyphosis without signs of pain were induced with minimal exercise, with ambulation returning to normal after a period of rest. Treatment with fluoxetine at a dosage of 1.2 mg/kg (0.55 mg/lb), PO, once daily, resulted in a substantial reduction in the severity and frequency of clinical signs. After 1 month, the dosage was changed to 0.8 mg/kg (0.36 mg/lb), PO, twice daily, with a continued response to treatment. The episodic motor dysfunction in this dog was attributed to Scottie cramp, which is suspected to be related to a disorder in concentration or function of serotonergic neurotransmission.

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Severe polymyositis and neuritis in a cat

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A young cat was evaluated for a 1-week history of shifting limb lameness progressing to tetraparesis. Physical examination revealed generalized muscle atrophy and discomfort when the muscles of the appendicular skeleton were palpated. Histologic examination of muscle and nerve specimens revealed severe myositis and neuritis. No etiologic disease process was identified, and a presumptive diagnosis of immune-mediated polymyositis and neuritis was made. Following physical therapy and long-term corticosteroid drug treatment, the cat recovered complete motor nerve function. Findings suggested that cats with immune-mediated polymyositis and neuritis may have an excellent prognosis with appropriate, long-term treatment.

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Factors predictive of abnormal results for computed tomography of the head in horses with neurologic disorders

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No studies have been conducted to define the neurologic indications that most warrant CT of the equine head. In a review of medical records of 57 horses that underwent CT imaging of the head because of neurologic disorders, horses with abnormal mentation were 30 times as likely to have abnormal results as were horses with normal mentation, and horses with cranial nerve deficits were 11 times as likely to have abnormal results as were horses without such deficits. In contrast, horses with seizure-like activity were substantially less likely (odds ratio, 0.05) to have abnormal results as were horses without seizure-like activity, suggesting that alternative diagnostic tests should be considered in horses with seizure-like activity.

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Pneumocephalus secondary to removal of an osteoma from the paranasal sinuses of a horse

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A 2-year-old horse evaluated because of a progressive left-sided facial deformity and unilateral nasal and ocular discharge was found to have an extensively mineralized mass occupying most of the left paranasal sinuses. The mass was surgically debulked, but complete removal was precluded because the mass was tightly adhered to the frontal and maxillary bones. Results of histologic examination of the mass were consistent with a diagnosis of osteoma. The horse developed transient pyrexia and colic following surgery, and postoperative radiography revealed gas opacities in the lateral ventricles of the brain, consistent with iatrogenic pneumocephalus. The horse did not develop any neurologic signs and was performing normally 2 years after surgery.

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Treatment of acute epistaxis with nitinol vascular occlusion plugs in three equids

Two horses and a pony were evaluated because of acute unilateral epistaxis of 1 day's to 1 month's duration. In all 3 animals, endoscopic examination indicated that hemorrhage originated from the maxillary or internal carotid artery, and mycosis of the auditory tube diverticulum (guttural pouch) was diagnosed. Transarterial placement of nitinol vascular plugs was used to occlude the affected bloods vessels. All 3 animals survived with complete regression of clinical signs associated with guttural pouch mycosis without additional medical treatment. Findings suggested that transarterial placement of nitinol vascular occlusion plugs may be a viable alternative to other techniques for treatment of epistaxis secondary to guttural pouch mycosis.

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Phlebotomy for treatment of iron overload in three Atlantic bottlenose dolphins

Three adult Atlantic bottlenose dolphins with chronic episodic malaise and inappetence associated with high serum alanine and aspartate aminotransferase activities, high serum iron concentration, and high transferrin saturation were evaluated. Histologic examination of hepatic biopsy specimens revealed hemosiderosis in all 3 dolphins, but no other abnormalities were identified. Treatment consisted of weekly phlebotomy procedures for 22 to 30 weeks until serum iron concentration and alanine and aspartate aminotransferase activities were within reference limits. Each phlebotomy procedure removed 7% to 17% (1 to 3 L) of estimated blood volume without adverse effects. Total amount of iron removed from each dolphin was 53 to 111 mg/kg (24.1 to 50.5 mg/lb).

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