Microbiological hazards associated with feeding raw diets to domestic pets

Robert Davies and others, Animal and Plant Health Agency Weybridge

Feeding products containing raw meat to dogs and cats has become markedly more popular in recent years in the UK and other developed countries. The claimed benefits over conventional processed diets include improved dental and skin health, control over conditions affecting other major body systems and improved behaviour. Distrust of both conventional petfood manufacturers and the veterinary mainstream appears to be another powerful influence. The authors review the literature on the effects of raw meat diets and report evidence of changes in the gut microbiome of animals receiving this form of nutrition. However; they find "neither robust evidence nor identified plausible mechanisms” for many of the wide range of other claimed benefits. They also note the increased risk of exposure to important food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria and Toxoplasma species. Furthermore, they highlight the potential impact of other bacteria, such as Enterobacteriaceae, linked to the transmission of genes conferring resistance to critically important antibiotics.

Journal of Small Animal Practice 60(6), 329-339

Evaluation of a home urinalysis kit for dogs

Paula Krimer and others, University of Georgia, Athens

Urinalysis using a dry reagent strip is a simple, relatively inexpensive test for use in routine health screening and during investigations of systemic diseases. Urine samples should be tested within 30 minutes of collection but may be refrigerated for up to two hours. To enable immediate tests on fresh urine, a commercial test using a strip kit and smartphone app has been developed for use by dog and cat owners at home. The authors investigated the sensitivity and reliability of the test strip in comparison with standard reference methods. They found that the new commercial test demonstrated poor agreement with the laboratory test and therefore it cannot be recommended for use by owners or veterinarians.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 55 (3), 144-151

Complications associated with oesophageal feeding tube placement in 248 cats

Craig Breheny and others, University of Edinburgh

Oesophageal feeding tubes are useful in managing patients with various conditions resulting in anorexia. The tubes are relatively easy to insert and require no specialised equipment. The authors examined the clinical records of two veterinary referral centres to assess the prevalence of complications associated with enteral nutrition. In 148 cats that were tube fed for between one and 93 days there was a 35.8% incidence of complications, mainly tube displacement (14.5%) or stoma site infections (12.1%). Cats receiving systemic glucocorticoids or chemotherapy agents were at increased risk of developing stoma site infections.

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 33: 1306-1314 (Open Access)

Use of electronic health records to prioritise resources in small animal practice

Jennifer Summers and others, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire

Evidence-based comparisons of the burden associated with different canine conditions may better guide the use of veterinary resources to maximise welfare improvements. The authors used data collected through the Vet Compass initiative to compare the effects of eight common disease conditions in dogs. They found that dental disorders, osteoarthritis and overweight/obesity should be priority areas for health-related welfare interventions in the UK dog population. This study demonstrates to applicability of a standardised methodology in assessing the relative impact of different disorders using an electronic clinical record.

BMC Veterinary Research 15:163 (Open Access)

Recovery from general anaesthesia in dogs given different induction agents

Chiara Hampton and others, Oregon State University Corvallis

A good quality recovery from general anaesthesia in veterinary patients will involve coordinated movements in sternal recumbency with the animal able to stand at the first attempt. The authors compared the recovery in dogs which were induced with four different agents, tiletamine-zolazepam, alfaxalone, ketamine-diazepam or propofol before maintenance with isoflurane. They found that recovery with tiletamine-zolazepam was uncomplicated and similar to that with ketamine-diazepam. However those dogs given propofol or alfaxalone experienced the more predictable results in terms of extubation time and quality of recovery

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 254(12), 1421-1426

Vaporised hydrogen peroxide used to sterilise single-use laparoscopic surgery ports

Valery Scharf and others, North Carolina State University

Minimally invasive surgery offers significant advantages over traditional open surgical methods in terms of reduced pain scores and hospitalisation time. However laparoscopic surgery is generally more expensive and one of the main factors contributing to this discrepancy is the cost of single-use disposable medical devices. The authors investigated the possibility of reusing single-use, single incision laparoscopic surgery ports following repeated sterilisation with vaporised hydrogen peroxide. Their findings show that these devices can be effectively sterilised using this technique, which is a safe and effective method for reducing costs in veterinary practice.

Veterinary Surgery 47: O59-O65 (Open Access)

Prescribing practices of US veterinarians dealing with cats with musculoskeletal pain

Derek Adrian and others, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

The ability of veterinarians to assess and treat chronic pain in domestic cats has lagged behind that in dogs due to various factors, including the difficulties in identifying cats suffering chronic pain and the paucity of analgesics licensed for use in this species. The authors circulated a questionnaire survey completed by 1056 general practitioners on their prescribing habits. They found that there was a contrast between the therapies prescribed by practitioners and the options supported by evidence-based literature. They highlight a need for further research on the safety and efficacy of gabapentin.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 21 (6), 496-506

Effects of storage on coagulation factors in canine plasma derived by plasmapheresis

Margret Donahue and Alberto Fernandez, Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists, Massachusetts

Plasmapheresis is a process used in human medicine to extract the plasma component of blood for use in treating patients with conditions such as severe haemorrhage. The cellular material is returned to the donor's circulation which allows more frequent donations. The authors investigated the effects of plasmapheresis on the quality of canine plasma. Samples were stored for up to 36 months and tested at six monthly intervals. Their results showed that the coagulation factors degraded over time at variable rates but that all labile factors retained at least 50% of their activity for longer than one year.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 80(6), 578-585

Oral cannabidiol reduces seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic

Stephanie McGrath and others, Colorado State University Fort Collins

Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common canine neurological condition, occurring in up to 5.7% of the dog population. A medication containing the non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD) component of the cannabis plant has recently been approved for use in treating human epilepsy in the United States. The authors examined the effects of this medication on seizure frequency in 26 dogs with intractable epilepsy They found that there was a significant reduction in seizure frequency in dogs in the treatment group although the actual proportion of responders in the treatment and placebo groups was similar. The reduction in the frequency of seizures was correlated with the plasma CBD concentration.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 254(11), 1301-1308

Rabies titres in street dogs imported into Finland from Eastern Europe

Marianne Kaila and others, Finnish Food Authority Helsinki

There has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of street dogs imported into Finland over the past decade, up from 289 in 2010, to 2454 in 2017. The authors compared rabies antibody titres of 36 dogs imported from the Russian Federation or Romania with those of indigenous dogs vaccinated in Finland. In the imported dogs, 39% had no detectable antibodies against rabies while a further 52% had a low titre below the internationally accepted threshold of 0.5 lU/ml. These findings raise concerns over the import of dogs with inadequate antibody levels for international travel and suggest that many did not receive the treatment claimed in the accompanying documentation.

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 61:15 (Open Access)

How happy is your pet? The problem of subjectivity is assessing animal welfare

James Serpell, University of Pennsylvania

The ability to evaluate the welfare of non-human animals is influenced by a number of factors, particularly the relationship between the observer and the animal concerned. Subjective biases can have both positive and negative effects. Moreover, many of the physical and behavioural attributes that owners find appealing may be inherently detrimental to their welfare. The author highlights some of the complex ways in which anthropomorphism and subjectivity cloud our ability to make reliable judgements on the welfare of companion animals, even in the face of seemingly obvious indicators of pain and suffering.

Animal Welfare 28(1), 57-66

Characteristics of pet hoarding cases referred to an Australian welfare charity

Rosemary Elliott and others, Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics, Oatley New South Wales

Animal hoarding is receiving increasing interest from welfare organisations as a source of both human and animal suffering, as the problem appears under-reported and poorly understood. The authors investigated the characteristics of 48 cases referred to the RSPCA in New South Wales over a three-year period. The accumulation of animals was attributed to unplanned breeding in 60% of cases and collecting strays in another 38%. The authors highlight the need for closer links between animal welfare organisations and mental health services.

Australian Veterinary Journal 97 (5), 149-156

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 34 • August 2019