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Previous Issue: Issue 11
Hypovitaminosis D in dogs with inflammatory bowel disease and hypoalbuminaemia.
Gow, A. G., Else, R., Evans, H., Berry, J. L., Herrtage, M. E. and Mellanby, R. J. (2011) Journal of Small Animal Practice, 52: 411–418
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is often associated with low albumin, due to malabsorption and protein loss through inflammed guts. This is often accompanied by total hypocalcaemia, which is expected since low albumin levels will reduce the protein-bound calcium fraction. However, this study investigated calcium metabolism in these cases to see if there was more to the process than a simple hypoalbuminaemia-related hypocalcaemia. Vitamin D metabolites and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were measured in dogs with IBD and normal albumin, IBD and low albumin, healthy dogs, and ill hospitalised dogs with non-gastro-intestinal illness. The authors found that 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were lower in hypoalbuminaemic dogs with IBD than in healthy dogs, hospitalised ill dogs or normoalbuminaemic dogs with IBD. Dogs with IBD and hypoalbuminaemia were found to have a higher plasma concentration of PTH and a lower ionised calcium concentration than hospitalised ill dogs. The authors suggest that further studies are performed to establish both the pathogenesis of this disease complication, and the best treatment strategy.
Bottom line: This paper shows that dogs with inflammatory bowel disease and hypoalbuminaemia often have ionised hypocalcaemia, and changes in the concentrations of PTH and vitamin D metabolites.
Evaluation of immunosuppressive regimens for immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia: a retrospective study of 42 dogs.
Swann, J. W. and Skelly, B. J. (2011) Journal of Small Animal Practice, 52: 353–358
Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA) is a life-threatening and commonly encountered disease of dogs. It is generally accepted that immunosuppression is required in the treatment, but the optimal immunosuppressive regime has not been established. This retrospective study examined the records of dogs that presented to a veterinary hospital between 2002 and 2010 for treatment of IMHA. Patients were grouped according to which treatment regimen they had received, prednisolone plus cyclosporine, prednisolone plus azathioprine, or prednisolone alone. It was found that choice of treatment regimen had a significant effect on survival to discharge from the hospital, with mortality being significantly higher in the group receiving prednisolone plus cyclosporine, compared to the group receiving prednisolone plus azathioprine. Serum bilirubin and urea concentrations were negative prognostic indicators. The authors noted that confounding factors are possible in this study, and the findings should ideally be confirmed with a double-blinded prospective study. However, they conclude that these findings could potentially have major consequences for the treatment of IMHA.
Bottom line: This study shows significant differences in outcomes when different immunosuppressive regimens are used in the treatment of IMHA in dogs.
Influence of a high-protein diet on energy balance in obese cats allowed ad libitum access to food.
Wei, A., Fascetti, A. J., Liu, K. J., Villaverde, C., Green, A. S., Manzanilla, E. G., Havel, P. J. and Ramsey, J. J. (2011) Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 95: 359–367
This study aimed to examine the effect that a high protein diet would have on obese cats that were fed ad libitum. The authors measured energy intake, body weight, body composition, energy expenditure, and various hormones and biochemical parameters associated with carbohydrate and lipid metabolism such as glucose, insulin, triglycerides and leptin. Cats were randomised to receive either a moderate protein or high protein diet for 4 months. Resting and total energy expenditure was higher in cats fed high protein diets, but voluntary energy intake also increased in these cats, so no difference was found in body weight between cats fed the two diets. Glucose, free fatty acid and leptin concentrations were not significantly different between the groups. The authors concluded that feeding a high protein diet did not produce weight loss in ad libitum fed obese cats. However, they noted that the higher energy expenditure associated with the high protein diet may be of help if energy intake is restricted.
Bottom line: This paper shows that feeding a high protein diet ad libitum does not promote weight loss compared to a moderate protein diet.
Imprecision when using measuring cups to weigh out extruded dry kibbled food.
German, A. J., Holden, S. L., Mason, S. L., Bryner, C., Bouldoires, C., Morris, P. J., Deboise, M. and Biourge, V. (2011) Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 95: 368–373
It is common practice for dry kibbled food to be fed in proportions measured out using a measuring cup. However, previously it has not been studied whether this method is accurate. In this paper, the authors report the findings of studies in which the precision and accuracy of weighing out food portions of various dry kibbled foods by measuring cup was recorded. In all the studies, poor precision was noted, and variable accuracy, with between an 18% underestimate and an 80% overestimate of portion size. The degree of inaccuracy was negatively associated with portion size. The authors note that over time, these inaccuracies could contribute to insidious weight gain, and thereby contribute to the failure of weight management programmes for obese animals.
Bottom line: This paper highlights large potential inaccuracies when measuring food portions for dogs, which could have an important effect over time on weight management plans.
Serum C-reactive protein concentrations in healthy Miniature Schnauzer dogs.
Wong, V. M., Kidney, B. A., Snead, E. C., Myers, S. L. and Jackson, M. L. (2011) Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 40: 380–383
Serum C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein which has been found to be a sensitive marker of inflammation in people and dogs. CRP has also been noted to be elevated in atherosclerosis in humans. The miniature Schnauzer has a breed predisposition to elevated serum triglyceride levels and may have a tendency to atherosclerosis, despite this being a rare condition in dogs. This study firstly validated an automated human CRP assay, and then examined the CRP concentrations in the blood of 20 healthy Miniature Schnauzers, and 41 healthy dogs of other breeds. The authors found that the CRP concentration in Miniature Schnauzer dogs was slightly higher than in other breeds. They suggest that possible associations between increased CRP and pancreatitis, idiopathic hyperlipidaemia and atherosclerosis need to be determined.
Bottom line: This paper shows that Miniature Schnauzers have a tendency to a higher C-reactive protein level than other breeds.
Prospective Randomized Clinical Trial Assessing the Efficacy of Denamarin for Prevention of CCNU-Induced Hepatopathy in Tumor-Bearing Dogs.
Skorupski, K., Hammond, G., Irish, A., Kent, M., Guerrero, T., Rodriguez, C. and Griffin, D. (2011) Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 25: 838–845
CCNU (also called lomustine) is an important chemotherapeutic which is used in the management of lymphoma, mast cell tumour, histiocytic sarcoma and brain tumours. However, among its side effects is a tendency to hepatotoxicity, with 86% of treated dogs showing increases in liver enzymes. This study investigated the use of Denamarin, a drug containing S-adenosylmethionine and silybin, to prevent hepatoxicity in dogs with normal ALT levels, which were commencing treatment with CCNU for lymphoma, mast cell tumour or histiocytic sarcoma. In a prospective trial, the dogs were randomised to receive either CCNU plus Denamarin, or CCNU alone. Increased liver enzyme activity was noted in 84% of dogs receiving CCNU alone, and in 68% of dogs receiving Denamarin and CCNU. The authors also found that dogs receiving CCNU alone were significantly more likely to have treatment delayed or discontinued because of increased ALT levels, compared to those that received concurrent Denamarin. The authors noted that dogs given concurrent Denamarin had an increased likelihood of completing their prescribed course of CCNU.
Bottom line: This study suggests that Denamarin is a useful treatment to reduce the increase in liver enzyme activity associated with administration of CCNU.
Morphological changes in the small intestinal smooth muscle layers of horses suffering from small intestinal strangulation. Is there a basis for predisposition for reduced contractility?
De Ceulaer, K., Delesalle, C., van Elzen, R., van Brantegem, L., Weyns, A. and van Ginneken, C. (2011) Equine Veterinary Journal, 43: 439-445
Intestinal strangulation often leads to enterectomy, after which ileus can develop. This has prompted research to look into possible pathophysiological processes triggering equine ileus. However, morphological changes of the small intestinal smooth muscle in relation to equine colic have not yet been studied. The presence of some smooth muscle proteins was morphologically assessed and quantified in control and colic horses. In addition, the up- or down-regulation of heat shock proteins (HSP20 and HSP27) influencing the contractility of smooth muscles was studied.
Cranial resection margins of 18 strangulated small intestinal samples were collected. Small intestinal control samples were collected from 11 horses subjected to euthanasia for other than gastrointestinal-related reasons. Formaldehyde-fixed tissue was paraffin-embedded and processed for conventional staining and immunohistochemistry. Snap-frozen full-thickness biopsies were collected for western blot analyses.
Evaluating the muscle layer microscopically, colic samples showed significantly more signs of degradation than controls (P = 0.026) of which vacuolar degeneration was most prominent (P = 0.009). In colic samples, myosin protein levels were decreased (P = 0.022) whereas desmin (P = 0.049) and HSP20 protein levels (P = 0.005) were elevated.
In colic samples, microscopic lesions at the level of the muscle layer indicate a stress response. In addition, modified amounts of structural proteins such as myosin and desmin together with increased HSP20 levels could perhaps provide a basis for explaining the malfunctioning of the intestinal muscle layer. Post operative ileus, following small intestinal strangulation and resection, could be related in part to a dysfunctional muscle layer. In addition to microscopic signs of degeneration, myosin and HSP20 were affected. Pharmacological interventions might alter HSP20 expressions and thus serve a protective effect.