Efficacy of nutraceuticals in alleviating signs of osteoarthritis in domestic animals

Various nutritional products with claimed pharmaceutical activity have been promoted as having value in the treatment of osteoarthritis in animals.

The authors carried out a systematic survey of the effects of these products on function and signs of pain in horses, dogs and cats. They found that with the exception of omega-3 fatty acids in dogs, there were was little evidence of any beneficial response. Among the 22 studies examined, the numbers of animals involved was often inadequate and there is a need for more rigorous, random, controlled trials. There should also be internationally agreed standards on the reporting of this type of study.

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 26(3): 448-456. Jean-Michel Vandeweerd and others, University of Namur, Belgium

Evaluation of a quality of life tool for dogs with diabetes mellitus

Assessing the quality of life of a veterinary patient with chronic disease is important in making decisions on current and future treatment options. The authors describe the development and use of a tool for assessing the psychological and social effects of diabetes on dogs and their owners. Tested on 101 owners of insulin-dependent dogs, the questionnaire proved to be a robust and effective tool for examining the effects of the condition on the quality of life of both the dog and its owners. They suggest that it could be used as an additional assessment parameter in both clinical and research settings.

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 26(4): 953-961. Stijn Niessen and others, Royal Veterinary College, London

Medical evaluation of dogs displaying ‘fly-biting’ behaviour

Fly biting is a phenomenon – also known as fly snapping, air biting or jaw snapping – in which a dog appears to be watching some airborne object which it then attempts to bite. Although the problem is well recognised, having been variously categorised as a hallucinatory, locomotory or obsessive-compulsive behaviour, there do not appear to have been any attempts at a full medical work up. The authors describe the clinical findings in seven cases of fly biting in dogs. Video analysis of their behaviour showed that the jaw snapping motion was preceded by head raising and neck extension. These findings suggest that the underlying cause of this problem may be gastrointestinal discomfort.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 53(12). Diane Frank and others, University of Montreal, Quebec

Effects of different sterilising agents on the bioadhesive properties of surgical materials

Bacterial contamination of biomaterial surfaces during surgery is the primary cause of implant-related infections.

The authors compare the effects of sterilisation with hydrogen peroxide gas, plasma ethylene oxide and steam on the bioadhesive properties of nylon and polyethylene lines used for the stabilisation of canine stifle joints. All three sterilisation procedures reduced bacterial adherence on the materials used but hydrogen peroxide gas plasma was the most effective in preventing contamination. Also nylon may be a more suitable material for stabilising joints than ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, based on its resistance to bacterial contamination.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 73(10): 1665-1669. Matthew Gatineau and others, University of Montreal, Quebec

Hair balls in cats – normal nuisance or a sign that something is wrong?

Vomiting of hair balls is commonly seen in cats and will often be regarded by owners as a normal behaviour, which is not worthy of veterinary attention. Although this may be a natural process for eliminating fur accumulated in the stomach during grooming, it may also be an indication of excessive grooming, or the result of an underlying gastrointestinal disease. The author examined the literature on the causes and prevalence of hair ball elimination and finds that there have been few relevant studies on this behaviour. A survey conducted among clients at her practice suggested that around 10% of otherwise healthy short-haired cats regularly bring up hair balls, at least twice a year, and the incidence in long-haired cats is roughly twice that in shorthairs. She suggests that diet-responsive gastrointestinal disease is a common cause of hair ball vomiting in otherwise healthy short-haired cats and preventive treatment is indicated where an underlying cause cannot be identified or eliminated.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 15(1): 21-29. Martha Cannon, Oxford Cat Clinic, Oxford

Alfaxalone as an anaesthetic induction agent in cats less than 12 weeks old

Although it is widely believed that very young animals are at increased risk of anaesthetic accidents, there are few published data on the relative morbidity and mortality during surgery for these patients. Alfaxalone is an anaesthetic agent which has been shown to be safe in puppies and so the authors investigated its effects in kittens under 12 weeks old. Their findings show that alfaxalone is suitable for use as an injectable induction agent in young kittens. It is also suggested that supplemental doses of the agent may be used for maintenance of anaesthesia in cases where the use of inhalant agents is not feasible.

Australian Veterinary Journal 90(10): 395-401. Brad O’Hagan, jurox Pty. Ltd., Rutherford, New South Wales

Attitudes of breeders and welfare charities to early castration in cats

Castration before puberty is the only effective means of ensuring that a male kitten does not contribute to the overpopulation problem. Yet it has been suggested that early castration of pedigree cats before the age of four months may lead to the depletion of gene pools. The authors investigated the neutering policies of pedigree cat breeders and cat rescue organisations. Only about 55% of pedigree kittens were neutered before rehoming and only 21% of the welfare organisations carried out early neutering. However, the authors suggest that there is not necessarily any conflict between maintaining genetic variation and limiting the population of homeless cats.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 14(2): 849-856. Karin Pernestal and Eva Axner, University of Uppsala, Sweden

Common dental disorders of the degu (Octodon degus)

The degu is a rodent, native to the scrublands of central Chile. In recent years it has become a popular pet because of its inquisitive personality, relative longevity and gentle nature. The author describes a survey investigating the frequency and types of dental disorders seen in this species. Among 137 cases of dental disease, the most common presentation was molar malocclusion which was found in 42% of cases. Other conditions included enamel discoloration, molar elodontoma, enamel hypoplasia, incisor tooth fracture, incisor malocclusion, oral abscesses and impacted molars. There was no apparent correlation between dental disease and age.

Journal of Veterinary Dentistry 29(3): 158-165. Chloe Long, Degutopia, Milton Keynes

Domestic violence and companion animal welfare

Domestic violence is traditionally understood to involve incidents between intimate partners; but the definition has now been broadened to include other members of the household. The authors investigated the effect of such behaviour on the welfare of companion animals. In a survey of 26 women who had experienced violence from their partners, each reported that their pets, usually dogs, had also suffered verbal or physical abuse. Of these women, 24 had been unwilling to discuss these incident
s with veterinary staff. Most were unaware of any animal accommodation services for those fleeing from domestic violence.

Australian Veterinary Journal 90(1 -2): 48-53. Catherine Tiplady and others, University of Queensland

Comparison of techniques used to obtain samples for bacterial culture in pneumonia cases

Transoral tracheal wash and bronchoalveolar lavage are techniques commonly employed to obtain samples for bacterial culture in canine pneumonia cases. However, a general anaesthetic may be necessary to perform these procedures in puppies because of their small size and lack of co-operation. The authors investigated whether deep oral swabs were a satisfactory alternative to a tracheal wash. They found that deep oral swabs were not an appropriate alternative to the standard method in puppies with pneumonia. The method could be suitable in adult dogs with hospital- acquired infections but tracheal washes would still be the gold standard.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 21(5): 515-520. Catherine Sumner and others, Tufts University, Massachusetts

Hind limb kinematics during therapeutic exercise in dogs with osteoarthritis

Hip dysplasia – and the osteoarthritis that often accompanies it – are among the most common orthopaedic disorders in dogs. The authors used joint kinematic techniques to analyse joint function in dogs being exercised up or down an incline. This method involves reflective markers on the limbs and high speed cameras to record the dog’s movements. Their findings show that osteoarthritis of the hip joints leads to complex changes in the gait of dogs, involving more joints than the affected ones alone. Each exercise had specific effects on joint kinematics that must be considered when planning any rehabilitation programme.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 73(9): 1371-1376. Barbara Bockstahler and others, Veterinary University of Vienna, Austria

To cite this editorial use eilher

DOI: 10.1111/vnj.12026 or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 28 pp 134

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 28 • April 2013 •