Human health risks in giving dogs raw meat-based diets

Increasing numbers of dog owners have been choosing in recent years to feed their pets on raw meat.

The authors examine the reasons for this trend and the possible implications in terms of both animal and human health. They highlight the lack of proper large scale studies to evaluate the risks and benefits. However, they warn that there is enough evidence of potential human health risks from Salmonella sp and other bacterial infections to compel veterinary staff to discuss these issues with any clients who are considering changing to a raw food diet for their animals. 

Canadian Veterinary Journal 52(1), 50-54 Daniel Schtessinger and Daniel Joffe, University of Calgary. 

Unusual complication of endotracheal intubation in a dog

Endotracheal intubation is an easy and safe way to maintain a patent airway during anaesthesia. However, a number of complications have been associated with the procedure and the authors describe an unusual incident during surgery on a neutered female Kerry blue. A 12mm inside diameter silicone tube was inserted, but when this was deflated, it became lodged in the larynx and could not be removed. After gentle manipulation the tube eventually emerged and it was found that an annulus had formed in the distal part of the cuff, preventing easy passage through the arytenoid cartilages.

Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 38(2), 158-159. Sandra Sanchis Mora and Chris Seymour, Royal Veterinary College. London 

Analysis of the factors associated with interdog household aggression

Aggression between dogs living in the same home is a frequent reason for owners seeking advice from veterinary staff. The authors examine the features associated with aggression in 38 households and the efficacy of different approaches to treatment. Problems were more common in pairs of dogs of the same sex and the instigator was usually the younger dog or the more recent addition to the household. Various approaches to treatment were found to be effective, but the authors highlight the importance of consistency and predictability of social interactions.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238(6), 731-740. Kathryn Wrubel and others. Tufts University. Massachusetts E

Risk factors influencing survival in dogs following gastrointestinal surgery

While gastrointestinal surgery is a routine part of small animal practice, it carries considerable risks of postoperative complications, notably leakage of ingesta and septic peritonitis. The authors examined records from 225 surgical cases treated over 10 years at a university hospital to try to identify possible risk factors. There was pre-existing septic peritonitis in 45 cases, of which 33 per cent died. Fatal peritonitis occurred after surgery in 11 per cent of the others.

A low pre-operative serum albumin concentration was one of the risk factors associated with a fatal outcome and so it is suggested that efforts before and after surgery to increase serum protein concentrations may aid survival. 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238(4), 486-494. Janet Grimes and others, University of Georgia. S

Comparison of absorbable and non-absorbable sutures for intradermal skin closure

Continuous intradermal closure methods have become increasingly popular in small animal surgery and the introduction of absorbable suture materials has eliminated the need for a second procedure to remove the sutures. The authors report the first published trial comparing the macroscopic and histological appearance of experimental wounds in cats closed with absorbable copolymer or non-absorbable polypropylene sutures. They found that the results with the non-absorbable sutures compared favourably with those with the newer material. 

Canadian Veterinary Journal 5117). 770-772. Lysimachos Papazoglou and others, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. 

Relief of malignant urethral obstruction in a cat with a fluoroscopic stent

Tumours of the urinary tract are not a common finding in cats but those that have been reported tend to be aggressive. The authors describe a case in a 17-year-old female domestic shorthair causing urethral obstruction and dysuria. This was treated by the introduction of a self-expandable metallic stent made from a novel composite material and placed fluoroscopically, the first use of this technology in this species. The results suggest that palliative stenting of the female urethra is a valid therapeutic intervention in malignancies but further studies are needed to find the optimal size for the stent.

Australian Veterinary Journal 88112), 478-482. Neil Christensen and others. Veterinary Specialist Centre. Sydney.

Advances in the management of chronic pain in small animal practice

Patients treated in companion animal practice are enjoying increasingly long life spans but that has been accompanied by a rise in the numbers of animals suffering from conditions such as osteoarthritis that cause chronic pain. Managing these patients presents a considerable challenge because the response to commonly used analgesic drugs is often unsatisfactory. The author reviews current knowledge on the control of chronic pain and reviews the options for its treatment with established drugs, experimental analgesia strategies and the use of adjuvant therapies.

European Journal of Companion Animal Practice 2111), 62-67. Delphine Holopherne- Doran, Nantes National Veterinary School, France. 

Postoperative butorphanol and firocoxib in dogs undergoing ovariohysterectomy

Opioids and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs are the two main options in providing postoperative analgesia in small animal surgical cases. The authors compare the pain scores achieved in dogs undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy when given postoperative doses of the opioid butorphanol or the Cox-2 inhibitor N5AID firocoxib. They found that firocoxib provided more effective analgesia than butorphanol although it may be necessary to use the former as part of a multimodal analgesia protocol along with standard doses of morphine. 

Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 3813), 252-259. Janaina Camargo and others, Sao Paulo State University, Brazil 

Evaluation of a body condition scoring system for physically inactive cats

Practical methods of measuring body fat are necessary for monitoring progress in weight control programmes. Body weight measurements are used widely in small animal practice but they have limitations in providing an accurate guide to the ratio between fat and muscle tissue. The authors describe a nine-point body condition scoring system and compare the results in 72 neutered, indoor cats with those from dual energy X-ray absorbiometry, the gold standard method for analysing body composition. They found a good correlation between the percentage body fat and condition scores. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 72(4), 433-437. Charlotte Bjornvad and others, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Multimodal programmes for treating obesity in canine patients

In common with their owners, increasing numbers of dogs are overweight or clinically obese.

In the first of two articles, the authors review the causes and consequences of obesity in canine patients. In the second they consider the range of therapeutic options for a condition which they say should be considered as a form of chronic inflammatory disease resulting
from the physiological activity of adipose tissue. They also highlight the crucial role played by the partnership between the owners and their veterinary advisers in any successful intervention.

Veterinary Medicine 106(4) 184-192 and 193-200. Christopher Byers and others. VCA Veterinary Referrals. Gaithersburg. Maryland

Chromium supplements in the management of diabetes mellitus in dogs

Dietary supplements containing chromium have been used in the treatment of diabetes in human patients and appear to increase glucose tolerance and improve lipid metabolism. The authors describe the clinical features of diabetes mellitus in dogs and assess the effects of bioactive chromium supplementation in 17 canine patients that were already receiving insulin treatment. They report a statistically significant effect in reducing blood glucose levels. This may be explained by elevated insulin activity or through a reduction in insulin resistance. 

European Journal of Companion Animal Practice 21(11, 62-67. (Originally published in Veterinarm Lekar 8(1), 14-19. Pavel Muzik and others, Vedilab Ltd, Pilsen, Czech Republic. 

• VOL 26 • September 2011 • Veterinary Nursing Journal