Quality of life measures in obese dogs before and after weight loss

Obesity predisposes to a number of canine disease conditions and is believed to have effects on the patient's quality of life, although there are few published data to support that link. Health-related quality of life assessment tools are used widely in human medicine and a version has now been developed for use in veterinary patients. The authors used this tool in investigating the effects of a diet programme on obese dogs which were assessed by their owners before and after reaching the target weight. Thirty of the 50 dogs that started the diet achieved the target. They were scored according to four factors – vitality, emotional disturbance, anxiety and pain.

Those dogs that failed to complete the programme had lower vitality and higher emotional disturbance scores than those that succeeded. In the latter group, losing weight resulted in increased vitality scores and decreased scores for both emotional disturbance and pain.

The Veterinary Journal 192[3]: 428-434. Alex German and others. University of Liverpool

Gender differences in communication styles within companion animal practices

Up to 80% of those students entering veterinary school are female and the veterinary workforce will be increasingly dominated by women. The authors investigated the likely effects this will have on communications with clients. Fifty clinicians were videoed during a series of six consultations and the interactions were then analysed. Female veterinarians conducted more relationship-centred appointments, provided more positive and rapport-building statements, talked more to the patients and were perceived to be less hurried than their male colleagues. Clients were more likely to provide information on lifestyle and social factors during discussions with female veterinarians than with males. 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241(1): 81-88. Jane Shaw and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

Factors affecting the registration of cats with UK veterinary practices

Cats are more likely to receive preventive medical care if they have been registered by their owners with a veterinary practice. However, the proportion of cats that are registered is unknown. The authors carried out a survey to estimate the numbers of unregistered cats and the factors associated with non¬registration. They calculate that about U% of cats in the study population were not registered. These animals were more likely to be entire and to have not been vaccinated within the previous year. Cats owned by households in Northern Ireland and those with an income below £10,000 a year were less likely to have been registered. 

The Veterinary Journal 192[3]: 461-466. Jane Murray & Tim Gruffydd-Jones, University of Bristol

Antimicrobial-resistant bacterial strains isolated in a veterinary teaching hospital

Companion animals may play an important role in the transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria to humans and other animals. The authors determined the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance patterns in enterococci and staphylococci found in the environment of a veterinary hospital over a three-year period. Fourteen of 75 enterococcal isolates and 17 out of 110 staphylococcal samples were resistant to more than five antimicrobials. There was an increase in resistance among Enterococcus faecium isolates over time. That finding may be significant in view of that organism's ability to transfer resistance to other pathogens.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240[12]: 1463-1473. Elizabeth Hamilton and others, Michigan State University

Risk factors for traumatic injury in the general horse population

Traumatic injuries are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in both the general purpose and competition horse populations. The authors investigated the factors associated with injuries in the general horse population in England and Wales, through a postal questionnaire sent to 953 owners which produced a 68% response rate. An increased risk of injury was associated with factors including short duration of ownership, being kept with increased numbers of other horses, wooden fencing and becoming distressed when left alone in the paddock. These findings may help in educating owners on measures to reduce injury risks. 

Equine Veterinary Journal 44[2]: 143-148. Kathryn Owen and others, University of Liverpool

Comparison of methods for achieving surgical hand antisepsis in veterinary practice

Surgical site infections are among the most common nosocomial infections in veterinary practice, although effective hand antisepsis can significantly reduce the risks. The authors compared the effects of medicated soaps and a hydro alcoholic gel on hand contamination. Sampling through finger printing on agar plates showed that the hydro alcoholic rub had a similar effect to a chlorhexidine gluconate-based soap in reducing surface contamination and the former produced a more sustained effect. Both were better than a povidone iodine-based soap. The gel is, therefore, a useful alternative to medicated soaps for hand asepsis.

The Veterinary Journal 190[3]: 372-377. Denis Verwilghen and others, University of Liege, Belgium

Introducing effective weight loss programmes for obese feline patients

Obesity is the most common nutrition-related condition in cats and may be associated with a range of other health problems. Simply recommending a weight loss diet to the client is usually ineffective in producing significant changes in the cat's body condition. The authors describe strategies which will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. These will require a more in-depth approach, centring on communication and commitment involving both the cat's owners and their veterinary advisers. The programme should involve feeding a pre-determined amount of a specific diet, together with exercise and attempts to enrich the cat's life.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 14[5]:327-336. Kathryn Michel* & Margie Scherk, University of Pennsylvania'

Effects of dietary supplementation with L-carnitine on weight loss in obese cats

L-carnitine is a nutrient that plays a pivotal role in fatty acid metabolism and has been marketed as a weight-loss supplement for people. The authors investigated the effects of dietary supplementation with this compound on metabolic rate, fatty acid oxidation, weight loss and lean body mass in obese cats undergoing a rapid weight reduction programme. Their findings suggest that L-carnitine may protect against a decrease in metabolic rate that may occur with a low calorie diet, and that this may be linked to an increase in fatty acid oxidation. They suggest that dietary supplementation with this compound may be beneficial for overweight cats undergoing rapid weight reduction. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 73[7]: 1002-1015. Sharon Center and others, Cornell University, New York

Perioperative risk factors in mares undergoing hospitalisation for dystocia

Mortality rates under general anaesthesia and in the immediate postoperative period are higher in horses than in other species. The authors investigated the risk factors associated with mortality and extended duration of hospitalisation in mares with dystocia that had undergone general anaesthesia. In a group of 65 horses, the mortality rate was 21.5% and the mean duration of hospitalisation for surviving mares was 6.3 days. Factors linked to an increased risk of p
erianaesthetic death included low peri-operative total protein levels, high temperature, severe dehydration on presentation, prolonged dystocia, intraoperative hypotension and the use of drugs during the recovery phase.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 53[5]: 502-510. Eva Rioja and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

Post release survival of hand-reared orphan bats

Rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wild animals back to their natural habitat is becoming an increasingly popular practice. However, little is known about the post-release survival of these animals. The authors followed a group of 10 hand-reared, orphaned common or soprano pipistrelle bats fitted with radio-tracking devices for between one and 10 days. Two of these bats became trapped within buildings and another became entangled with debris. These findings suggest that it is important to allow bats to identify and use small exit holes similar to those in buildings by keeping them in a large flight cage before they are released.

Australian Veterinary Journal 90[5]: 186-193. Georgia Webber and others. University of Queensland

Postoperative pain management for dogs in Australian small animal practices

Pain can have many adverse effects in the postoperative period, by prolonging convalescence, increasing the infection risk, delaying healing and reducing food and water intake. The authors examined the postoperative analgesia strategies used in their canine patients by 50 practitioners in Queensland. Only 20% of respondents used formalised pain scoring systems, 72% provided preoperative analgesia and only 24% discharged animals with ongoing analgesia, even though 38% agreed that pain was still present up to seven days postoperatively. These findings suggest that postoperative pain control is often suboptimal and sometimes inconsistent with the clinician's stated attitudes. 

Australian Veterinary Journal 90[5]: 186-193. Georgia Webber and others, University of Queensland

Pharmacokinetics, safety and efficacy of selamectin against fleas in rabbits

Rabbits have become an increasingly popular pet species but there are very few products licensed for their treatment. Selamectin is licensed for use in treating fleas and various endoparasites in cats and dogs, but is not authorised for use in rabbits. The authors tested the compound in this species and found that it was rapidly absorbed transdermally and rapidly eliminated. Their results suggest that topical administration at a dosage of 20mg/kg every seven days is efficacious for the treatment of flea infestations in rabbits. However, further studies would be required to evaluate its long-term safety following repeated applications. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 73[4]: 562-566. James Carpenter and others, Kansas State University

To cite this article use either

DOI: 10.1111/j.2045-0648.2012.00249.x or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 26 pp 460-461

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 27 • December 2012 •