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Previous Issue: Issue 14, August 2012
Evaluation of Levetiracetam as Adjunctive Treatment for Refractory Canine Epilepsy: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial.
Muñana, K., Thomas, W., Inzana, K., Nettifee-Osborne, J., McLucas, K., Olby, N., Mariani, C. and Early, P. (2012), Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 26: 341–348.
Levetiracetam is an anti-epileptic drug that is used in the treatment of epilepsy, as a sole agent or as a second or third-line medication. Limited studies have suggested it is efficacious, but there are no controlled trials regarding its use. This randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled crossover trial compared the efficacy of levetiracetam with placebo in 34 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy that was resistant to phenobarbital and bromide. Dogs were treated with levetiracetam or placebo for 16 weeks, and then after a 4 week washout period, the other treatment was given. Owners recorded the frequency of seizures as well as any adverse events. Regular blood tests for haematology, biochemistry, urinalysis and serum drug concentrations were performed.
Bottom line: The authors conclude that levetiracetam is a safe drug in the treatment of epilepsy, but its efficacy is not yet proven.
Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Study of Intravenous Levetiracetam for the Treatment of Status Epilepticus and Acute Repetitive Seizures in Dogs.
Hardy, B., Patterson, E. E., Cloyd, J., Hardy, R. and Leppik, I. (2012), Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 26: 334–340.
This study also investigated the use of levetiracetam for the treatment of epilepsy in dogs, this time in cases of status epilepticus (SE) and acute repetitive seizures (ARS). 19 dogs that had SE or ARS were enrolled into the study, which was randomised, placebo-controlled and double-masked. Patients were randomised to receive either intravenous levetiracetam or placebo, in addition to normal treatment such as diazepam. The rate of response to treatment, ie no additional seizures after administration of treatment, was 56% in the levetiracetam group and 10% in the placebo group. Dogs in the placebo group also required significantly more boluses of diazepam. No serious adverse effects of the levetiracetam were noted.
Bottom line: Levetiracetam appears to be safe and effective in the treatment of status epilepticus and acute repetitive seizures.
The use of megavoltage radiation therapy in the treatment of thymomas in rabbits: 19 cases.
Andres, K. M., Kent, M., Siedlecki, C. T., Mayer, J., Brandão, J., Hawkins, M. G., Morrisey, J. K., Quesenberry, K., Valli, V. E. and Bennett, R. A. (2012), Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, 10: 82–94.
The incidence of thymomas in rabbits has recently been reported to be more common than previously suspected, but surgical treatment has a high peri-operative mortality rate. In a multi-centre retrospective study, the records of 19 rabbits with suspected or confirmed thymoma that had been treated with radiotherapy were examined. The median survival time was 313 days for all cases. Excluding the 3 rabbits that died in the first 2 weeks, of treatment, the median survival time was 727 days. Low body weight was associated with a poorer prognosis. Complications were infrequent, and included myocardial failure, pneumonitis and alopecia.
Bottom line: Radiotherapy can be an effective and well tolerated treatment for thymoma in rabbits.
MRI FEATURES OF CERVICAL ARTICULAR PROCESS DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE IN GREAT DANE DOGS WITH CERVICAL SPONDYLOMYELOPATHY. Gutierrez-Quintana, R. and Penderis, J. (2012), Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 53: 304–311
Cervical spondylomyelopathy or Wobbler syndrome is a common myelopathy of large breed dogs. This study evaluated the MRI changes in 13 Great Dane dogs with cervical spondylomyelopathy. Degenerative changes affecting the articular process joints were common, usually evidenced by reduction of the synovial fluid signal on T2 images, with only 14% having no degenerative changes in these areas. C4-C5 and C7-T1 were the locations associated with the most severe changes. Degenerative changes of the articular process joints were associated with lateral spinal cord compression and vertebral foraminal stenosis. The presence of dorsal hypertrophic tissue was positively associated with dorsal spinal cord compression. Compression of the spinal cord due to disc disease was less commonly observed.
Bottom Line: This study describes the MRI changes in Great Danes with Wobbler syndrome.
The effect of neutering on the risk of mammary tumours in dogs – a systematic review.
Beauvais, W., Cardwell, J. M. and Brodbelt, D. C. (2012), Journal of Small Animal Practice, 53: 314–322.
One of the purported benefits of neutering bitches is a reduction in the incidence of mammary tumours. This systematic review, based on Cochrane guidelines, assessed the evidence base for this. 13 reports were found which assessed the association between neutering and/or age of neutering and mammary tumours. 9 of these were considered to have a high risk of bias and 4 to have a moderate risk of bias. One of these studies reported an association between neutering and a reduced risk of mammary tumours, one reported some protective effect of neutering, but did not present any numbers, and two found no evidence of an association between neutering and mammary tumours.
Bottom Line: This systematic review found only weak evidence that neutering and the age of neutering is associated with a decreased risk of mammary neoplasia, and the authors state that the current evidence is not a sound basis for firm recommendations.
Diagnostic performance of P wave duration in the identification of left atrial enlargement in dogs.
Savarino, P., Borgarelli, M., Tarducci, A., Crosara, S., Bello, N. M. and Margiocco, M. L. (2012) Journal of Small Animal Practice, 53: 267–272.
Measurements of waves in electrocardiographic (ECG) traces are sometimes used as a means of estimating cardiac chamber size. This study compared ECG findings with echocardiography to assess the sensitivity and specificity of the P wave duration as indicator of left atrial enlargement. 156 normal dogs and dogs with a variety of cardiac diseases were included in the study. The left atrial to aortic root ratio was used to estimate left atrial size. The sensitivity and specificity of various P wave durations were calculated, with results ranging from 100% sensitivity and 0% specificity at 20 milliseconds, to 40% sensitive and 93% specific at 50milliseconds. The authors conclude that the use of P wave duration to estimate left atrial enlargement has considerable limitations.
Bottom Line: This study shows that P wave duration is of limited use in estimating left atrial size.
Evaluation of cytologic findings in feline conjunctivitis.
Hillström, A., Tvedten, H., Källberg, M., Hanås, S., Lindhe, A. and Holst, B. S. (2012), Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 41: 283–290
This study investigated whether cytological examination of conjunctival smears from cats with conjunctivitis is useful in the detection of infectious causes of the condition. Conjunctival smears from 88 cats with conjunctivitis were compared with 10 healthy control cats, and evaluated for the presence of inflammation and infectious agents. PCR analysis was also performed for feline herpes virus (FHV-1), Chlamydophila felis and Mycoplasma felis. 10% of cats had FHV-1 detected by PCR, 9% had Chlamydophila felis and 7% had Mycoplasma felis. All smears from cats which had a positive PCR for Clamydophila felis had chlamydial inclusions, as well as in 3 cats that were negative on PCR. Inclusions consistent with Mycoplasma organisms were present in 3 out of 6 cats that test positive on PCR for Mycoplasma felis, and in 1 cat that was negative in PCR. FHV-1 inclusion bodies were not detected cytologically.
Bottom Line: Cytology can be useful in the diagnosis of Chlamydophila felis, but is unreliable for Mycoplasma felis and FHV-1 infections.
Frequency of urinary tract infection in dogs with inflammatory skin disorders treated with ciclosporin alone or in combination with glucocorticoid therapy: a retrospective study.
Peterson, A. L., Torres, S. M. F., Rendahl, A. and Koch, S. N. (2012), Veterinary Dermatology, 23: 201–e43.
Ciclosporin is an immunosuppressive drug used for a variety of immune-mediated disorders, particularly allergic and immune-mediated skin disease. This retrospective study investigated whether the long term use of ciclosporin in dogs increased the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTI). 87 dogs with inflammatory skin disease and 59 control dogs were included in the study. 30% of ciclosporin treated dogs had at least one positive urine culture. The authors recommend that urine cultures should be performed routinely in dogs being treated with long-term ciclosporin.
Bottom Line: This study shows that urinary tract infections are common in dogs being treated with long term ciclosporin.
Local airborne particulate concentration is associated with visible tracheal mucus in Thoroughbred racehorses.
M.L. Millerick-May, W.Karmaus, F.J. Derksen, B.Berthold, S.J.Holcombe and N.E. Robinson Equine Veterinary Journal
This study utilizes a new method of air quality analysis and compares the air quality to the level of tracheal mucus accumulation in Thoroughbred racehorses.
The study was performed at three training yards and the air quality assessed three times daily in every stall, with data being collected over three visits, spread throughout the racing season. 107 horses were analysed endoscopically, including tracheal lavage; the accumulation of mucus and presence of inflammatory cells in the tracheal lavage were analysed to assess for association with air quality. Air quality assessment measured concentration of particles and particle size within every stall to look for patterns of air quality associated with the stable design. It was found that the prevalence of increased tracheal mucus was 67%, the severity of which was significantly associated with stable design, individual stall (those in high traffic areas associated with increased mucus), time of year and air quality. Stalls where particulate matter reached high concentrations were at higher risk for increased tracheal mucus, in addition to those where the particulate matter did not drop to sufficiently low concentrations throughout the day.
Bottom Line: Stable construction and management is significantly associated with air quality, which in turn affects tracheal mucus accumulation; with the potential to affect racing performance.
Prevalence, risk factors and clinical signs predictive for equine pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction in aged horses.
McGowan TW, Pinchbeck GP and McGowan CM Equine Veterinary Journal
This study is the first epidemiological study of pars pituitary intermedia dysfunction (PPID) in an aged population of horses (>15yrs), The aim was to establish the prevalence, risk factors and predictive clinical signs for PPID in a group of aged horses using seasonally adjusted basal plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) concentrations for confirmation of diagnosis. Owner reported data were based on an initial postal questionnaire, and all aged horses were subsequently examined, and had samples taken for haematology, blood biochemistry, ACTH and alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). The prevalence of PPID was found to be 21.2% in aged horses. Previous studies have looked at owner-reported hirsutism as a means of diagnosis of PPID; in this study owner reported hirsutism was 16.7%. Despite analysis of numerous clinical and historical signs, and biochemical and haematological variables, the only finding found to be consistent with a diagnosis of PPID was owner-reported hirsutism.
There was also found to be in increasing incidence of PPID with every year of age over 15years. The high prevalence of this condition in aged horses and increasing risk with advancing age are consistent with a degenerative condition.
Bottom Line: Aged horses with consistent clinical and historical signs, especially those with owner-reported hirsutism should be candidates for further investigation of possible PPID.