Testing for food-specific antibodies in blood and saliva of dogs with food allergies

Laura Udraite Vovk and others, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, Germany

An elimination diet followed by re-challenge with particular dietary components is the established method for diagnosing adverse food reactions in dogs but conducting such tests can be challenging. The authors examined the accuracy and practical value of a saliva-based test for canine adverse food reactions and a new commercial ELISA serum test for food specific immunoglobulins. Groups of healthy dogs, cases with diagnosed and controlled adverse food reactions, and patients with allergic dermatitis of unknown origin underwent saliva and blood tests and the results were compared with those from dietary re-challenge tests. There was no clear difference in the number of positive reactions between the allergic and healthy dogs. Hence the saliva test for food specific IgA and IgM and the ELISA serum test for food-specific IgE did not reliably identify adverse food reactions in dogs. Until more data are available, elimination diets will remain the reference standard.

The Veterinary Journal 245(1), 1-6

Qualitative study of owner perceptions of chronic pain in their dogs

Kelly Davis and others, Indiana University Indianapolis

The quality of communications between physicians and their human patients have been shown to strongly influence clinical outcomes, including the provision of better pain control. The authors carried out an observational study of 10 owners of dogs with conditions causing chronic pain to assess the owners' perceptions of their animal's experiences. Several of those interviewed referred to the empathy that they felt for their animal due to their own experiences of coping with chronic pain. They also explained the effects of dealing with the animal on their own daily schedule. Some owners suggested ways that veterinarians can support them during the period in which their animal is undergoing treatment for chronic pain. The authors note that by understanding the impact of a pet's pain on the owner and how owners perceive pain in their pets, veterinary staff can provide better care for their patients and clients. 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 254(1), 88–92

Owners’ attitudes to giving their dogs raw meat-based diets

Giada Morelli and others, University of Padua, Italy

Feeding pet dogs a raw meat-based diet has become increasingly commonplace in recent years. It has been claimed that raw diets may confer health benefits over processed pet foods but the evidence to support this position is largely anecdotal. The authors carried out an online survey completed by 218 owners who feed their dogs raw food on the reasons for their choice. The results showed that most owners are unaware of the potential risks to canine and human health from the bacteria commonly present in raw meat. Also the owners often relied on questionable sources of information on the claimed benefits of such diets, which they stated as being a shinier coat, greater muscle mass and cleaner teeth.

BMC Veterinary Research 15:74 (Open Access)

Outcomes in feline and canine patients with coma and stupor treated at emergency centres

Christopher Parratt and others, Vets Now Referrals, Glasgow

Coma and stupor are clinical manifestations of major brain injuries and are associated in human patients with high mortality. There is less information on similar conditions in veterinary patients other than a few individual case reports. The authors describe the presenting signs, clinical findings and short term outcomes in 168 dogs and 218 cats treated at a multi-centre out-of-hours emergency service provider Traumatic brain injury was the predominant aetiology in those cases where it was possible to determine a cause. Other causative factors included hypoglycaemia, renal or hepatic dysfunction, seizures, intoxication and shock. Except for cases of hypoglycaemia, the short-term prognosis in these animals is likely to be poor

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 28(6), 559-565

Influence of needle gauge used for venipuncture on haemostasis measures in cats

Susanna Solbak and others, University of California, Davis

When taking samples for the investigation of bleeding disorders in cats, a balance must be reached in choosing an appropriate needle size. Large diameter needles may increase the risk of post-venipuncture haemorrhage but smaller needles create high shear forces that may activate platelets and coagulation factors. The authors examined the effects of taking blood samples with different needle sizes on the Initial validation of a web-based feline quality-of-life analysis tool  test results. Their results indicate that using either a 25 G or 22 G needle for jugular venepuncture produced no clinically meaningful differences in routine coagulation variables or platelet count. 

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 21(2), 143–147

Initial validation of a web-based feline quality-of-life analysis tool

Cory Noble and others, NewMetrica, Glasgow

Instruments for measuring health-related quality of life in companion animals involve the use of questionnaires that are designed to detect subtle changes in the pet's behaviour, attitude and demeanour The authors investigated the reliability of such an instrument in measuring the impact of conditions including chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, osteoarthritic and cognitive decline in cats. Owners of sick and healthy cats answered questions that assessed three domains; vitality comfort and emotional wellbeing. The results provide initial evidence of the usefulness of this instrument in differentiating between sick and healthy animals and further research will assess its sensitivity to clinical changes following treatment.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 21 (2), 84-94

Use of essential oils to manage malodourous skin in bloodhound dogs

Courtney Meason-Smith and others, Texas A&M University, College Station

Malodours emanating from the action of skin bacteria in dogs have received less attention in the veterinary literature than the related issues of flatulence and halitosis but can equally affect the relationship between the pet and its owners. The authors used next generation sequencing technologies to investigate the bacterial species responsible for skin odour in bloodhounds. They found that the more malodorous dogs tended to be colonised by Psychrobacter and Pseudomonas species bacteria. Those dogs receiving treatment with a topical essential oil-based product showed changes in the skin microbiota that were correlated with improvements in skin odour

Veterinary Dermatology 29, 465-el58

Metabolic inflexibility to food intake in overweight Labrador retrievers

Josefin Sodor and others, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala

Obesity in dogs may be linked to a range of comorbidities, a shortened life span and a poorer quality of life. Obese dogs show abnormally high blood lipid levels shortly after eating, indicating some form of dysregulation in lipid metabolism. The authors compared the lipid metabolism responses of lean and overweight dogs to a standard meal. Most of the parameters teste
d increased after feeding but fasting plasma acetylcarnitine was lower in the overweight than the lean dogs and did not change in response to feeding. The acetylcarnitine response in overweight dogs is evidence of decreased fatty acid oxidation at fasting, and metabolic inflexibility to food intake.

BMC Veterinary Research 15:96 (Open Access)

Survival of Streptococcus equi subspecies equi in the environment

Andy Durham and others, Liphook Equine Hospital, Hampshire

Streptococcus equi is the bacterium responsible for strangles, an important infectious disease in horses worldwide and a rare but serious zoonotic condition. Environmental contamination with bacteria shed by infected horses may be a significant source of contagion. The authors investigated the factors determining the duration of survival of bacteria on different surfaces in stables and veterinary clinics. They found there was enhanced bacterial survival in wet environments and during the winter period with viable bacteria present at up to 34 days after inoculation on to surfaces in optimal conditions. Veterinary staff and personnel handling horses should be aware that Streptococcus equi may be present far longer in the environment than previously assumed.

Equine Veterinary Journal 50(6), 861-864

In vitro haemolysis of stored units of canine packed red blood cells

Rui Ferreira and others, University of Porto, Portugal

Haemolysis is an important factor determining the quality and clinical value of stored red blood cells. In human centres, haemolysis should not affect more than 1% of cells at the end of the storage period in order to maintain the effectiveness of the transfusion and prevent life-threatening reactions. The authors examined units of canine packed red blood cells stored for up to 42 days. The initial number of haemolysing cells was less than 0.1% but increased during storage, particularly in the final week. They therefore recommend the routine testing of units stored for more than 35 days to ensure that haemolysis remains below the standard safety threshold of 1%.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 28(6), 512-517

Green tea extract as a treatment for emotional stress in cats

Valerie Dramard, Veterinary Behaviour Referral Clinic, Lyon, France

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea which has relaxing effects in humans and has been shown to offer benefits in dogs that are fearful of people or thunderstorms. The authors investigated the effects of an L-theanine based oral supplement (Anxitane; Virbac) on client-owned cats with presenting signs of stress or fear; such as aggression and inappropriate elimination. There was an improvement in 20 parameters assessed after 30 days of twice daily treatment with 25mg L-theanine in 30 out of 33 cases. Ease of administration of the product was considered to be either good or very good by 31 owners.

Irish Veterinary Journal 17:21 (Open Access)

Animal welfare implications of treating wildlife in Australian veterinary practices

Bronwyn Orr and Andrew Tribe , University of Sydney New South Wales

Private veterinary practices play a key role in the rehabilitation of injured wildlife in Australia. The authors carried out a questionnaire survey to assess the extent, costs, demands and expectations of practices involved in treating wildlife. Most practices saw less than 10 cases a week with road traffic injuries and predation the main cause of injury In the majority of cases, the practice never or rarely received reimbursement for the work. Usually the animals were not seen immediately upon presentation, with most cases treated later when the clinician has some spare time. The study highlighted the need for better educational resources to aid the assessment of injured wildlife.

Australian Veterinary Journal 96(12), 475-480

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 34 • June 2019