Risks of environmental contamination with cytotoxic drugs

Mary Lynn Higginbotham and Sara Fritz, Kansas State University Manhattan

In human medicine, accidental exposure of clinical staff to the toxic drugs used to treat neoplastic conditions may cause spontaneous abortion and chromosomal damage as well as a range of more minor effects such as vomiting, headaches and dizziness. Similar compounds are being used with increasing frequency in small animal medicine. The authors describe the potential routes of exposure to cytotoxic drugs in veterinary hospitals and the likely clinical effects, while assessing the available strategies for minimising such risks. The study also involved an evaluation of environmental contamination with the platinum-based chemotherapeutic drug carboplatin in a university veterinary clinic. They found detectable levels of platinum on the surface of the biological safety cabinet where drugs are transferred from the storage vial to the administration device. They note that these findings highlight the need for strict observance of protocols on the use of personal protective equipment and closed system drug transfer devices when handling cytotoxic agents. They also note a potential risk from contact with urine and faeces of patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 53(1), 32-37

Imepitoin in the management of fear and anxiety in dogs

Kevin McPeake and Daniel Mills, University of Lincoln

Fear and anxiety are two extremely common behavioural problems in dogs and while there are a number of medications used in treating such cases, improvements may only appear after several weeks treatment. Imepitoin is drug licensed for the treatment of epilepsy but there is anecdotal evidence of a beneficial effect on fear and anxiety. The authors investigated this potential application for the drug in 19 dogs diagnosed with behavioural problems.There was a significant reduction in fear and anxiety symptoms within the first week of treatment and further improvements at an 11-week review. Three quarters of the owners opted to continue imepitoin treatment at their own expense after the conclusion of the trial.

BMC Veterinary Research 13:173 (Open Access)

Review of the welfare implications of neutering in small animal practice

Kendall Houlihan, American Veterinary Medical Association, Schaumberg, Illinois

An estimated 86% of owned dogs in the United States that are not intended for breeding will undergo elective neutering. As well as rendering the animal infertile and reducing the numbers of unwanted puppies, this practice may also affect the incidence of disease by removing the influence of sex hormones. The author reviews the published literature on the impact of gonadectomy on the incidence of neoplastic and orthopaedic conditions, as well as on behaviour; longevity, etc. She notes that the policy of performing gonadectomies on all non-breeding animals is becoming increasingly controversial. She argues that it should be up to the practising veterinarian to decide on the risks and benefits of neutering for each individual patient and, when necessary, the appropriate age for such procedures.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250(10), 1155—1166

Risk factors for reflux, vomiting and diarrhoea during and after surgery

Carlos Torrente and others, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

General anaesthesia may predispose patients to gastrointestinal dysfunction that may result in reflux, vomiting and diarrhoea during surgery and through the recovery period. The potential risk of aspiration pneumonia may significant influence morbidity and mortality. The authors describe a prospective study of 237 dogs undergoing surgery to assess the prevalence of, and risk factors for such complications. They found that 33.4% of patients experienced a gastrointestinal disorder during the peri-anaesthetic period, namely reflux in 17.3% of cases, vomiting in 5.5% and diarrhoea in 10.5%. Risk factors associated with such events included intra-abdominal surgery, changes in body position during surgery, lengthy anaesthesia, rescue synthetic colloid support for hypotension, changes in ventilation mode and hypoxaemia.

Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 27(4), 397—408

Prevalence and consequences of thoracic vertebra malformations in brachycephalic dogs

Richard Ryan and others, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead

Congenital vertebral malformations are a common incidental finding in small breed dogs. The authors examined the records for 171 neurologically normal and 10 neurologically abnormal dogs from three screw-tailed brachycephalic breeds, the French bulldog, pug and English bulldog. The ‘normal' group underwent computed tomography (CT) scans for reasons unrelated to spinal disease and affected dogs had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) investigations. The scans revealed a high prevalence of vertebral malformations in the neurologically normal group. While hemivertebrae are often interpreted as incidental findings, they appear to have greater clinical importance in pugs than in the other two breeds.

The Veterinary Journal 221(1), 25—29

Efficacy of a transdermal lidocaine patch on pain indicators after neutering

Danielle Merema and others, University of Illinois, Urbana

Pain relief during surgery is both an ethical obligation and an aid to better clinical outcomes in small animal practice. The authors assess the efficacy of a transdermal lidocaine patch as an adjunct to conventional subcutaneous carprofen and intravenous morphine-based analgesia in female dogs undergoing ovario-hysterectomy. They found no significant differences in pain scores or serum cortisol concentrations during the 18 hours following surgery in patients given the lidocaine patches in addition to the two injectable analgesic agents.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250(10), 1140—1147

VOL 32 • November 2017 • Veterinary Nursing Journal