Assessment of tests for adverse food reactions in companion animals

Ralf Mueller and Thierry Olivry Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany

Elimination diets with subsequent challenge (or provocation) trials are the recommended method for identifying the cause of adverse food reactions in companion animals. However; these studies are labour intensive and time-consuming, and compliance from both pet and owner may be unsatisfactory The authors investigated the reliability of various in vivo and in vitro diagnostic tests for this condition in cats and dogs. After searching three main scientific archives, they performed a meta-analysis of 22 papers and conference abstracts that reported usable data on adverse food reaction tests. These included serum tests for food-specific IgE and IgG, intradermal testing with food allergens, lymphocyte proliferation tests, faecal food-specific IgE, patch, gastroscopic and colonoscopic testing. Their results suggest that patch testing with food ingredients might be useful in some selected dogs to choose the ingredients for an elimination diet, but none of the other methods could be recommended for use in the clinical diagnosis of AFRs in dogs and cats. The most reliable method for diagnosing these disorders remains the elimination diet with subsequent challenge tests.

BMC Veterinary Research 13: 275 (Open Access)

Relationship between brachycephalic head features and hydrocephalus in Persian cats

Martin Schmidt and others, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

The Persian is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world but it is only in recent years that an extreme brachycephalic ‘peke-faced' head has become popular. A high frequency of hydrocephalus has been recognised in the breed although it has been claimed that this malformation is unrelated to the skull shape. The authors carried out computerised tomography examinations of 92 Persians and 10 domestic short hairs to examine the connection between skull shape, skull bone abnormalities and hydrocephalus. Their findings confirm that there is an association between a brachycephalic head morphology and severe skull and brain abnormalities. They say that selecting for extreme brachycephalic traits compromises the welfare of affected cats and should be discouraged.

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 31, 1487-1501

Testing the value of pets in promoting positive attitudes towards other animals

Beatrics Auger and Catherine Amiot, University of Quebec, Montreal

The ‘pets as ambassadors’ hypothesis proposes that contact with pet animals can serve to encourage more humane attitudes towards non-pet animal species. The authors conducted two parallel studies assessing the opinions of university students, their moral concerns towards animals and their expression of ‘species-ist' views. Their findings suggest that contact with pet animals does indeed influence attitudes towards other non-pet species and that pet ownership may be important "in shaping both who we are and how we relate to our environment more broadly’ ’ in terms of other animal species and the natural world.

Human Animal Interaction Bulletin 5(1), 1-25

Continuous body temperature monitoring in horses with a telemetric pill device

Elisabeth-Lidwien Verdegaal and others, University of Adelaide, Australia

The effects of exercise on body temperature in horses have mainly been studied indoors, under experimental conditions on a treadmill. However, to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms that horses use to control body temperature, it may be necessary to carry out experiments under field conditions. The authors monitored internal temperatures in horses at rest and during exercise using a telemetric device called a resistance temperature detector as it passed through the gastrointestinal tract. Their findings show that this technology was a reliable and practical method for real-time monitoring of gastrointestinal temperature in horses.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 78(7), 778-784

Effect of a synthetic feline pheromone on stress scores and respiratory disease in shelter cats

Robin Chadwin and others, University of California, Davis

Upper respiratory tract disease is the most common condition affecting cats in welfare shelters and is often exacerbated by stress and overcrowding. The authors investigated whether the use of a synthetic feline facial pheromone product can reduce stress scores and help in controlling upper respiratory tract in these cats. A total of 336 animals at two premises were kept for 21 days in rooms with a diffuser releasing pheromone or placebo. Their results showed no difference in either stress scores or disease incidence for group housed cats in these shelters. Therefore, other established methods for controlling stress would be better employed in this particular situation.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251 (4), 413-420

Biochemical markers as prognostic indicators in canine gastric-dilatation volvulus

Joyce Verschoof and others, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

Gastric dilatation-volvulus is a common gastrointestinal disorder in larger breed dogs in which biochemical changes have been detected that appear to be associated with an increased mortality risk. The authors characterised a range of haemostatic variables in dogs with GDV before and after corrective surgery They found that measurements of coagulation variables could help identify dogs that survive to discharge but only when samples were taken immediately after surgery The only preoperative test that showed prognostic value was for plasma lactate concentrations, which were significantly higher in dogs that died during the postoperative period.

European Journal of Companion Animal Practice 271(1), 51-62 (First published in Tierarztliche Praxis Kleintiere 2015, 43(k), 389-398)

VOL 33 • January 2018 • Veterinary Nursing Journal