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FIRST GENOMIC BIOMARKERS IN EXTRACELLULAR VESICLES IN VETERINARY PATIENTS 

A new discovery has been made by researchers at Tufts University. “Important biomarkers have been found in extracellular vesicles in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease and congestive heart failure.” This is noted as the first biomarker discovery based on extracellular vesicles in a veterinary disease.

According to the report, “The genomic material (microRNA, or miRNA) were isolated in small extracellular vesicles called exosome, which circulate in blood.” This could prove as an important advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of myxomatous mitral valve disease in dogs. The study’s findings may provide benefits to the treatment of a similar disease in humans, mitral valve prolapse.

For a full summary and breakdown of the research, please click here.

VETERINARIANS URGING AVMA TO DISCUSS MARIJUANA IN ANIMALS

After a directive was put forth by the AVMA House of Delegates asking the Board to consider “pushing the federal government to reclassify cannabis as a way to facilitate research to understand its medical and therapeutic uses,” the issue has been added to an agenda for discussion. Without collective support within the profession, some vets fear human doctors will attempt to intervene.

The purpose of the discussion is to address the possibility of the AVMA joining advocates for human medicine by asking that marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule II drug. In order to decipher the effects and negate unregulated abuse of the drug, veterinarians hope the reclassification will pave the way for further research.

Michigan delegate Dr. Kathleen Smiler pointed to an unfavorable trend as further reason for the issue to be brought to the forefront of the AVMA. According to Smiler, “human neurologists are trying to peddle marijuana for problems in veterinary medicine.”

For more details on this developing story, please click here.

FIRST-EVER AIRPORT VETERINARY HOSPITAL OPENS AT JFK

On June 8th, history was made at JFK. Compassion-First Pet Hospitals opened AirHeart Pet Hospital at New York’s iconic airport. The hospital is located inside the ARK, “the world’s first privately owned, 24-hour animal terminal and airport quarantine center at JFK.” AirHeart Pet Hospital’s mission is to provide crucial medical care for animals making their way through and living around JFK.

 

As you may have guessed, “AirHeart” is indeed inspired by groundbreaking aviator Amelia Earhart. The hospital hopes to pay homage to the historic figure by becoming a pioneer in its own work, as the first “distinctly branded, ground-up hospital with the sole purpose to serve…veterinary medical needs in an airport setting.” John Payne, CEO of Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, confirmed his belief in this purpose-driven project, saying, “With more than two million pets and other live animals being transported annually in the U.S., veterinary medical care is critically needed. We strongly believe this will be a model to carry forward to other airports across the country and perhaps across the globe.”

Lauren Jordon, DVM of AirHeart, added, “Because of our location, we will face some of the most interesting medical challenges, so we have ensured our state-of-the-art facility and the professional staff are fully equipped to meet any issue that comes our way.”

AirHeart cut no costs in its efforts to provide first-class veterinary care to JFK patrons. The hospital is fully staffed with five veterinarians, 13 licensed veterinary technicians and 13 veterinary assistants. The staff is housed in a state-of-the-art facility, featuring “six exam rooms, two isolation wards, three patient wards, a radiology suite, a dental/special procedures suite, two operating rooms, an instrument and surgery prep area, a treatment room, pharmacy and a lab area.”

Initially, AirHeart will be open Monday through Saturday 8am-6pm, with hours expected to be extended beginning on July 31st to Monday through Saturday from 8am-12am and on Sundays from 8am to 6pm.

For more information, click here.


RED BANK VETERINARY HOSPITAL ELEVATES CANCER CARE WITH GROUNDBREAKING TECHNOLOGY AND NEW OPTIONS FOR CANCER PATIENTS

Red Bank Veterinary Hospital (RBVH) in Tinton Falls, NJ recently took a trailblazing step in the advancement of pet cancer care. It introduced the Varian Trilogy Linear Accelerator for Stereotactic Radiation as a new component of care in their practice. By becoming one of the first veterinary hospitals to incorporate Trilogy its practice, RBVH hopes to utilize the state-of-the-art technology to “compliment a wide range of supporting medical services to promote health, longevity and positive outcomes for pets.”

The Trilogy uses “sophisticated technology to map the shape of the cancerous tumors and deliver radiation treatments with extreme precision and dose control.” Its advanced technology allows it to assess and treat a multitude of tumor types, including: oral, nasal, bone, lung, spinal, heart base, and brain.

The excitement surrounding the Trilogy’s utilization at RBVH is clear.

“This amazing, advanced technology allows the delivery of higher doses of SRT with remarkable accuracy, reducing the number of treatment sessions and anesthetic episodes required, and virtually eliminating all side effects,” says Dustin Lewis, DVM, DACVR (RO), a Radiation Oncologist at RBVH. For more information about the Trilogy system and the great work being done at RBVH, click here.


CANINE INFLUENZA OUTBREAK: SOUTHEAST U.S. ON ALERT

H3N2, the viral influenza strain that afflicted dogs in the Chicago area back in March 2015, has reappeared in a number of areas in the southeastern United States. The outbreak two years ago spread through Chicago-area animal shelter where dogs affected by the virus exhibited a sickness marked by fever, coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory ailments. In addition to decreased appetites, some dogs even progressed to secondary pneumonia. “The virus is highly contagious, and dogs seem to be able to spread it even before they are clinically ill.”

Warning signs began to spread throughout the southeastern United States after the AKC issued a statement in early June regarding reports of sick dogs from Georgia and Florida dog shows. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida confirmed this viral strain to be the same H3N2 strain that afflicted the Chicago area two years ago. Later, in mid-June, reports of canine influenza began surfacing in a number of other southeastern states, including North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Some dogs in Texas and Illinois were also reportedly affected by the virus.

Central Florida media outlets are reporting that more than 82 dogs have been infected in the state, killing at least four of them. In addition, the outbreak in the state has led to the temporary closures of both a leading Orlando shelter and an Orange County boarding facility.

For prevention and treatment tips, click here.


STATE OF PET HEALTH 2017 REPORT

Banfield Pet Hospital recently released their 2017 edition of the State of Pet Health Report. This year’s report focuses its attention on alarming statistics associated with a marked increase in overweight pets in our country. The report analyzes medical data gathered from pets at 3 million Banfield hospitals across the United States, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Two key takeaways: One in three pets that visited a Banfield hospital in 2016 was diagnosed as overweight or obese. In addition, over the past 10 years, Banfield witnessed a 169 percent increase in overweight cats and a 158 percent increase in overweight dogs.

The purpose of the report, according to Banfield president Brian Garish: “We saw an opportunity to highlight this growing problem in our profession, as well as educate pet owners on the signs of overweight/obesity, the costs associated with these extra pounds and what they can do at home and in partnership with their veterinarian to keep their pets at a healthy weight.” For the first time, the report is available for viewing in its entirety online.


RECALL ALERT

Multiple Rawhide Chew Products Being Pulled from Shelves

According to Petful.com, “A substantial amount of products have been added to an existing rawhide chew recall.” The recall stems from the inclusion of an unapproved additive (quaternary ammonium compound mixture) in the products, made by United Pet Group.

According to the recall report, “Exposure to quaternary ammonium compounds through direct ingestion may cause the following symptoms in dogs: reduced appetite, and gastric irritation including diarrhea and vomiting. These symptoms may require treatment by a veterinarian depending on severity.” For the full list of products included in the recall, click here.


CONTINUING EDUCATION

Liver Enzyme Interpretation and Liver Function Tests

Early detection is vital for the effective treatment of liver disease. Diagnosis often relies on serum biochemical testing and possible liver function testing. This article reviews the interpretation and limitations of serum liver enzyme activity and liver function tests. View full article.


NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE RESEARCH

ALS Test Proves Useful in Canine Neurodegenerative Disease Research

Researchers at the University of Missouri have discovered that the same biomarker test applied for the diagnosis of ALS in humans may also be used on canines who show symptoms of degenerative myelopathy (DM). A disease that presents itself in the spinal cord of older dogs, most canines begin showing symptoms between the ages of 8 and 14. Most notably, DM has been confirmed in purebred breeds such as Gernam Shepherds, Boxers, and Pembroke Welsh Corgis. With no definitive test diagnostic test available, veterinarians are forced to play a game of elimination to determine if a dog is afflicted by DM. Even after ruling out all other possibilities, the only way to confirm the existence of the disease is through an autopsy.

Similar to the development of ALS, early indicators of DM include dimished coordination in the hind limbs, eventually leading to full paralysis. This progression is caused by degeneration of matter in the spinal cord. Eight years ago, a team of researchers at the University of Missouri led by veterinary neurologist Joan Coates identified a genetic link between DM in dogs and ALS in humans. Building on this connection, Coates and her team have found a dual-acting biomarker test that helps in the diagnosis of ALS and assists in producing a conclusive diagnosis of DM. View full story.


POTENTIAL SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH

Genetic Conservation

The field of assisted reproduction in horses saw a breakthrough as a result of the work of scientists at a Belgium university. A foal was born using a vitrified immature oocyte. The stallion, named VICSI, was born at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Ghent University, Belgium earlier this month. It’s name stems from the two key techniques utilized to achieve its birth–Vitrification and ICSI.

Vitrification and ICSI are crucial to the process due to the extreme sensitivity of oocytes to low temperatures in comparison to other embryos. According to Science Daily, this development yields a number of opportunities, especially for the conservation of genetics of rare or endangered horse breeds like zebras. View full story.


FOCUS ON PHARMACOLOGY

Behavior Medications: Which Medicine, Which Patient?

Multimodoal treatment is the preferred approach in veterinary behavioral medicine. At the core of state-of-the-art multimodal treatment is smart, rational, and effective use of behavioral medication. This article offers helpful tips to gain a better understanding of this process, so you can make smart and effective decisions when choosing behavioral medications. View full article.

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