Are puppies bought from pet shops more likely to develop behaviour problems?

Veterinary staff and dog trainers have long believed that dogs obtained from pet shops have a higher incidence of both medical and behavioural problems than puppies bought from non-commercial breeders. However, there is very little reliable evidence to support this claim. The authors compared the frequency of behavioural issues reported by the owners of 413 pet-shop puppies and 5,657 dogs obtained directly from the breeder. Dogs bought through pet shops were given significantly less favourable scores than those obtained from breeders for 12 of the 14 behavioural parameters examined. These puppies showed significantly greater aggression towards human family members, unfamiliar people and other dogs. They were also more likely to show fear towards other dogs or novel stimuli, show greater separation anxiety and were more likely to soil the house. So until the causes of these differences can be specifically identified and remedied, the authors say prospective dog owners should be discouraged from buying puppies from pet stores. 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 242( 10)

Franklin McMillan and others, University of Pennsylvania

Clinical and pathological effects of prolonged starvation in dogs

Intentional starvation is one of the commonest forms of animal abuse and a frequent reason for the seizure of animals by welfare organisations. The authors investigated the most frequent dinicopathological abnormalities seen in a retrospective study of 152 cases and assess the time scale for these abnormalities to resolve. The most common abnormalities seen in more than 25% of dogs which were at least 30% below their expected bodyweight were hypoalbuminaemia, thrombocytosis, anaemia, elevated blood urea nitrogen, elevated BUN/creatinine ratio and hypocalcaemia. There was some evidence that those dogs with anaemia and/or hypoalbuminaemia took longer to recover weight. 

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 49(2): 101 -107.

Emmy Pointer and others, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. New York

Prevention of infectious disease outbreaks in cat shelters

Overcrowding and the stress of being confined with other cats can have immunosuppressive effects on the inmates of cat rescue shelters, which may increase the likelihood of infectious diseases. The authors established guidelines intended to prevent disease transmission and to optimise the health and well-being of these animals. They emphasise the importance of appropriate quarantine facilities for new inmates, veterinary checks and immunisation against the most common infectious conditions. They also describe strategies that may help to reduce the effects of stress and highlight the importance of rehoming cats as soon as possible. 

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 15(7): 546-554.

Karin Mosti and others, European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases

Effect of age at neutering on the risk of subsequent weight gain in dogs

Neutering in dogs provides benefits both at an individual and a population level, but it does also have some negative effects, such as a heightened risk of obesity. The authors investigated whether the dog’s age at neutering has any influence on the likelihood of its gaining weight. Data on the body condition

changes in 1,930 gonadectomised and 1,669 intact dogs showed that neutering does, indeed, increase the risk of the dog becoming obese; but this was not influenced by the dog's age when the surgery was carried out Weight changes occur mainly during the first two years postoperatively – during which time, veterinary staff should try to counsel clients on the need for dietary management.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243(2): 236-243. 

Sandra Lefebvre and others, Banfield Pet Hospitals, Portland, Oregon

Complication rates in dogs being fed using naso-oesophageal or naso-gastric tubes

Feeding tubes are an important part of the critical care of hospitalised veterinary patients, but their use may give rise to range of different complications. These may include vomiting, regurgitation, diarrhoea, premature tube removal, clogged tubes, epistaxis, pulmonary aspiration, hyperglycaemia and the metabolic disturbances known as re-feeding syndrome. The authors compared the clinical findings in 28 dogs fed using naso-oesophageal tubes and 18 fed with a nasogastric tube. There were no significant differences between the two groups in their clinical response to assisted feeding or in their complication rates. 

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 23(3): 300-304.

Melissa Yu and others, Ohio State University

Relationship between behavioural and other welfare indicators in working horses

In countries such as Romania, a majority of the horse population is kept for working purposes rather than for sporting or leisure activities. The authors investigated the relationships between behavioural responses, health and welfare, and management conditions in 715 working horses. They found that aggression towards either their owners or to strangers were correlated with swollen tendons or joints and that inadequately shod animals showed avoidance or fear in almost all the behavioural tests used. Older horses were more likely than young animals to be indifferent to the owner’s approach, but they were still likely to show fearfulness in some other tests. 

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 33(1): 1-12.

Silvana Popescu and Eva-Andrea Diugan, Cluj-Napoca University, Romania

Comparison of epidural and systemic tramadol for analgesia following ovariohysterectomy

Epidural opioid drugs can provide effective and long-lasting analgesia in veterinary patients undergoing major abdominal surgery. Morphine is the most commonly used agent; but tramadol, a synthetic analogue of codeine, may offer potential advantages in reduced respiratory depression. The authors compared the effects of epidural and intramuscular tramadol administration before anaesthesia in 20 female dogs undergoing neutering procedures. Their findings confirm that epidural tramadol is a safe analgesic method; although it does not appear to have any superior effects compared with intramuscular administration, 

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 48(5): 310-319.

Sandra Mastrocinque and others. University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Efficacy of decontamination and sterilisation of a single-use laparoscopic surgery port

Financial considerations mean that surgical devices intended for single¬use may often be cleaned and re-used in human medicine. However, such practices are controversial because of the risk of cross-contamination and malfunction resulting from damage during the sterilisation process. The authors investigated the possibility of re-using laparoscopic surgery ports following decontamination and ethylene oxide sterilisation of equipment that had been experimentally exposed to three bacterial agents. Their findings show that standard decontamination and sterilisation procedures were effective at eliminating Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium fortuitum and so the re-use of such equipment is likely to be safe. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 74(6): 934-938.

James Coisman and others, University of Florida

Partial intravenous anaesthesia in cats and dogs

Balanced anaesthesia is a well- established concept – involving the use of drug comb
inations to reduce the doses needed of individual components and reduce the risk of harmful side effects. The author reviews the available data on the use of injectable agents in combination with inhalational anaesthetics in companion animals. Drugs suitable for use in partial intravenous anaesthesia include opioids, alpha-2 adrenergic agonists and lidocaine. This approach does appear to reduce the incidence of adverse events while providing superior quality of anaesthesia and analgesia, and is particularly valuable in dealing with patients with neurological conditions. 

Canadian Veterinary Journal 54(3): 276-282.

Tanya Duke, University of Saskatchewan

Role of shock wave therapy in enhancing wound healing in horses

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy has been used in equine medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions; although its exact method of action remains unclear. The authors examined the effects of this procedure on the expression of various cell signalling proteins. They measured the levels of transforming growth factor beta-1 and four other cytokines following the use of shock wave therapy on surgically created wounds along the equine neck and forelimb. Biopsy material demonstrated a significant reduction in TGF beta-1 expression. Suppression of this cytokine may decrease granulation tissue production and explain the apparent improvements in wound healing following shock wave therapy. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 74(2): 3243-3332.

Kaitlyn Link and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

Investigation of biochemical stress markers in dogs used in animal-assisted interventions

A considerable amount of published research has demonstrated the benefits of contact with dogs and other pet animals for people with a wide range of medical and psychological conditions. However, there are no published studies on the effects of these animal-assisted interventions on the animals themselves. The authors measured levels of salivary cortisol – a widely user biochemical marker of emotional stress – in dogs working as AAI dogs or in training for such a role. Their results show no evidence of stress during work or in training. However, cortisol levels were raised in dogs working or training on a lead compared to the levels in animals whose movements were not restricted. 

Animal Welfare 22(3): 369-378.

Lisa Glenk and others, Karl Landsteiner Research Institute, Vienna

Effects of oral distraction on cattle during a painful procedure

Methods for visually or aurally distracting the patient have been widely used in human medicine to reduce the perception of pain. Children, in particular, appear better able to cope and show fewer signs of distress. The authors investigated whether such techniques have any beneficial effects in beef cattle undergoing freeze branding. A metal probe was inserted into the animal's mouth to distract it during this management procedure which is known to be painful. Oral distraction had no significant effect on the animal’s heart rate but it did reduce the extent of its struggles during the branding process, 

Canadian Veterinary Journal 54(6): 588-590.

Brooke Aitken and others, University of Saskatchewan, Canada


To cite this article use either

DOI: 10.1111/vnj.12094 or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 28 pp 406-407

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 28 • December 2013 •