Maintenance energy requirements in cats following controlled weight loss

Alex German and others, University of Liverpool

As in other species, cats that have lost weight through a controlled dietary plan will often regain weight in the long term. It is believed this may be due to a reduction in the maintenance energy requirement (MER) following weight reduction, but there is no conclusive evidence for this from nutritional trials in this species. The authors investigated the post-weight reduction energy requirements of 19 client-owned cats. They found that the MER following the period of controlled weight loss fell close to the lower limit of normal MER recommendations for pet cats and so this may predispose them to regaining weight during the maintenance phase. 

The Veterinary Journal:

Impact of food toys on owner perceived quality of life in cats on a weight-loss diet  

Lauren Dodd and others, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg

Food dispensing toys may have potential benefits when used by cats undergoing a weight control programme, by slowing food consumption, prolonging feeding time, increasing activity and decreasing the time between meals. As owner compliance is important to the success of dieting regimens, the authors investigated the perceptions of owners on the effect of these toys on their pets’ quality of life. They found that most owners rated their pets’ quality of life higher at the end of the study. Among 48 cats on the dietary trial, 28 could be encouraged to eat vegetables when a palatability additive was used.  

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

Effect of intraoperative glove changes on bacterial contamination during surgery  

Deepinder Sidhu and others, University of Missouri, Columbia

Intraoperative glove changes may be recommended on occasions when there is a disruption in sterile management of the patient or after exposure of a tumour, to avoid seeding cancerous cells. The authors investigated the influence of intraoperative glove exchange during clean-soft-tissue surgeries and whether gown cuffs become contaminated after wear. Cultures were taken from the gloves and gowns used in 50 procedures. They found that glove exchange did not increase the risk of bacterial contamination and that the outside of the gown cuff does not seem to represent a major source of contamination during clean procedures. 

Veterinary Surgery:

‘Glove exchange did not increase the risk of bacterial contamination’  

Negative effects of pet ownership on owners’ mental health during the Covid-19 crisis

Andrea Phillipou and others, Swinburne University, Melbourne  

Owning a pet has often been associated with improved mental health for owners. The authors investigated whether this claim applied to the owners of cats or dogs during a strict lockdown period enforced by the Victoria state government. Comparisons of 138 pet owners and 125 non-pet owners suggested that having a pet was associated with a poorer quality of life. Contrary to expectations, their data indicate that, in the specific situation of a major disease epidemic, pets may contribute to the increased burden felt by owners and contribute to a poorer quality of life. 

Australian Veterinary Journal:

Effect of the owner’s presence and scent on stress resilience in cats  

Alexandra Behnke and others, Oregon State University, Corvallis

The Secure Base Effect refers to the ability of humans and animals to fi nd comfort and relief from stress, as a result of the presence of a caregiver or some other familiar stimulus. The authors investigated the effects of the presence of the owner, or of their scent, for a cat in an unfamiliar environment. Their findings suggest that the owner’s presence did indeed produce a Secure Base Effect, lowering signs of stress in their cats. However, the presence of an object impregnated with their owner’s scent did not diminish the signs of stress. So the practice of encouraging owners to leave behind a familiar object when a cat goes into a cattery may have no basis in science.

Applied Animal Behaviour Science:

Effect of fibre content on the metabolisable energy levels of food given to arthritic dogs

Zachary Traughber and others, University of Illinois, Urbana

Accurate measurements of metabolisable energy will be important for the success of weight control programmes in dogs with osteoarthritis. The authors analysed the crude and total dietary fibre content, together with a range of other nutritional parameters, in 51 food products given to client-owned dogs with osteoarthritis. Their findings show that crude fibre is the most variable of the macronutrients in dog food. They conclude that crude fibre is an incomplete and inaccurate measurement of dietary fibre content and its use may lead to variable and inaccurate measurements of metabolisable energy.

American Journal of Veterinary Research:  

Electrical stimulation for nervous system modulation in companion animals 

Angela Martins and others, Lusófona University, Lisbon

Techniques such as functional electrical stimulation (FES), transcutaneous electrical spinal cord stimulation (TESCS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) have been shown to benefit human patients with no deep pain sensation following spinal cord injuries. The authors review the potential applications of these methods in cats and dogs with spinal damage. They suggest that small animal patients can respond to these neurorehabilitation treatments, which may allow some animals to regain an ability to ambulate with only mild proprioceptive deficits.

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica:

Use of medicinal leeches in treat
ing upper airway obstruction in a dog

Nicole Trenholme and others, University of Missouri, Columbia

Hirudotherapy, or the application of medicinal leeches, has a long history in human medicine. One use during the modern era has been treating respiratory distress caused by trauma-induced macroglossia or lingual haematoma. The authors investigate this technique in treating a 10-month old neutered female mastiff with acute respiratory distress related to a 10cm soft tissue swelling in the right cervical region. Radiology and cytology revealed this to be sublingual haematoma and tissue oedema. Medicinal leeches were applied to the sublingual and cervical regions and the swelling reduced, allowing the patient to be extubated after 44 hours.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care:  

Use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in managing wounds in small animal practice

Diane Levitan and others, Long Island University, Brookville, New York

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is widely used around the world in human medicine but is significantly underutilised in the veterinary sphere. The authors review the underlying science behind this form of therapy and offer advice on its application in small animal practice. They consider that the technique is likely to prove useful in the management of a wide range of injuries, including traumatic wounds, ischaemia reperfusion injuries, burns, venomous or infected bites, concussive or crush injuries, and surgical graft and flap healing.

Journal of Small Animal Practice:

Role of local emergency services in dealing with incidents involving large animals

M. Stanley and others, University of Liverpool

Fire and rescue service personnel are regularly required to attend at emergencies involving horses and other livestock. To date, the only publications that have analysed these events have come from the US and Australia. The authors investigated the frequency and nature of call-outs involving large animals by FRS staff in the north-west of England. Most incidents took place in the summer months and occurred on farmland. A typical emergency would involve animals becoming entrapped and, in most cases, the animals concerned were horses. The details obtained through this analysis may be helpful for both FRS and veterinary staff for rescue incident preparation.

Equine Veterinary Journal 53 (S55), 23 (Presented at conference – no link available)  

Influence of musical preferences and intraoperative questions on suturing speed

Jennifer Peterson and others, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Background music is known to have both beneficial and detrimental effects on a surgeon’s performance in the operating theatre. Some studies have shown it can be relaxing for surgical staff, but other evidence suggests that it may also be a distraction. The authors investigated the effects of both music and being asked questions unrelated to the surgical procedure on the speed that surgeons performed a standard suturing procedure. They found that music favoured by the surgeon reduced the times needed for closure while being asked questions tended to slow down the suturing process. These influences were more pronounced during tasks carried out by an inexperienced surgeon. 

Veterinary Surgery:

Daily activity patterns in four populations of domestic dogs

Silja Griss and others, University of Berne

Free-roaming domestic dogs constitute the majority of the canine population around the world but many aspects of the ecology of these animals are still unclear. The authors collected data on the daily activity patterns of four different groups of dogs in Guatemala, Indonesia, and both farm dogs and family pets in Switzerland. The three free-ranging groups of dogs showed diurnal peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon while the activity of the family pets was much more dependent on their owners’ daily routines. The pet dogs spent more time resting and less time undergoing moderate activity than the others, and also spent more time carrying out vigorous activities. 

Applied Animal Behaviour Science: