OCTOBER IS NATIONAL ADOPT A SHELTER DOG MONTH
October is officially recognized as Adopt -a-Shelter-Dog Month and the ASPCA is leading the charge! The society is urging animal lovers across the country to commemorate the occasion by doing their part to help raise awareness for homeless animals. The purpose of this observed event is to call attention to the alarming statistics regarding homeless animals in your community. It is an unfortunate fact that only 20 to 30 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescue groups.
Speaking on the issue, Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center, said, “There are 3 to 4 million dogs living in shelters nationwide who would make a fantastic addition to anybody’s family, all they need is a second chance.” It is her hope that the annual observation of this month may help in part to curb this issue. “During Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, the ASPCA encourages everyone to visit their local shelter, adopt one of these amazing animals or help us spread the word to potential pet owners to make pet adoption their first option.”
There are many ways you can do your part as a member of a veterinary practice and an animal lover. From spreading awareness on social media and speaking with your clients and peers, to making the commitment to adopt.. you can make an impact.
Please visit the links below for more information and ideas to help you celebrate this important event:
FIRST GLOBAL VETERINARY DENTISTRY GUIDELINES BY WSAVA
WSAVA has launched the first set of Global Guidelines for veterinary dentistry, with the goal of supporting veterinarians around the world in improving recognition of dental disease and in providing a higher standard of dental care to patients. Through introduction of the Guidelines, WSAVA hopes to bring dentistry to the forefront in the veterinary curriculum.
The Guidelines were launched on September 24th, during WSAVA World Congress in Copenhagen. As described in a WSAVA press release, the Guidelines “Include information and images of oral anatomy and common pathology, as well as best practice recommendations for oral examinations and an easily implementable dental health scoring system. Evidence-based guidance on periodontal therapy, radiology and dental extractions is also included, together with details of minimum equipment recommendations.”
One of the key themes driving the Guideline’s agenda is vehement opposition of anesthesia-free dentistry (AFD), which it describes as “ineffective” while also subjecting patients to undue stress and suffering.
The Guidelines were the brainchild of WSAVA’s Global Dental Guidelines Committee (DGC), which includes veterinary dentists from five continents, working in conjunction with representatives from WSAVA’s Global Pain Council, Global Nutrition and Animal Wellness and Welfare Committees.
For insight from the co-chair of the WSAVA DGC, click here.
For more information on the Guidelines, click here.
STEM CELL TREATMENT FOR SPINA BIFIDA HELPS DOGS AND CHILDREN AT UC DAVIS
An innovative procedure has led to groundbreaking progress in spina bifida treatment in dogs and children. The unique therapy was developed at UC Davis by a team of veterinary and human medicine researchers and clinicians. It utilizes a combination of surgery and stem cells. A pair of English bulldog puppies were the first patients to be successfully treated.
A number of individuals had a hand in the treatment’s development, starting with Dr. Dori Borjesson, professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology and director of the Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures (VIRC) at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Aijun Wang, assistant professor of surgery and co-director of the Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory (SBL) at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Dr. Borjesson and Dr. Wang collaborated to “identify diseases that affect both people and animals in order to pioneer unique regenerative medicine cures for these diseases.” In the case of the bulldog puppies, Borjesson and Wang developed placental stem cells then characterized and combined them with a tissue-engineered scaffolding to optimize treatment by UC Davis veterinary surgeons.
Dr. Diana Farmer, professor and chief of surgery at the UC Davis School of Medicine, is credited with the development of the surgical techniques. She “pioneered the use of surgery prior to birth to improve brain development in children with spina bifida.”
These research developments are believed to be groundbreaking, giving new hope to dogs afflicted by the condition, while also providing a basis to inform human clinical trials for babies with the birth defect.
For an in-depth description of the surgical process, please click here.
COMPANIES EXPAND TERMS OF DIABETES PET CARE ALLIANCE PROGRAM
Exciting news has emerged regarding the ongoing fight against diabetes in pet care. According to Diabetes Pet Care Alliance, the number of veterinarians that can enroll in their annual educational program will no longer be capped. This announcement come at a good time, as both canine and feline diabetes diagnoses are on the rise.
For the last four years, the Diabetes Pet Care Alliance and its partners, Merck Animal Health, Purina, and Zoetis have helped veterinary practices “diagnose new canine and feline diabetes cases and jump-start management of the disease.” The program is timed around Pet Diabetes Month in November, facilitating the screening of thousands of pets since the program’s inception. In 2016 alone, an estimated 300 pets were diagnosed by veterinarians from participating practices.
Veterinarians who enroll in the Diabetes Pet Care Alliance program gain access to tools and resources related to diabetes awareness and screening. In addition, clients whose pets are diagnosed during the program period receive a free disease management kit from participating clinics. The kits include the following:
- One AlphaTRAK® 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System from Zoetis
- One 6-pound bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management® Feline Formula for cats or Purina® Pro Plan®Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Fiber Balance® Dry Formula for dogs
- One 10 mL vial of Vetsulin® (porcine insulin zinc suspension) from Merck Animal Health
Program enrollment is now open and closes on October 31st. To enroll, please visit usa.petdiabetesmonth.com.
COMPANION ANIMAL HEALTH JOINS ANIMAL HEALTH CORRIDOR
The renowned Kansas City Animal Health Corridor (KCAHC) has a new member. In a press release, Companion Animal Health® announced that with the opening of a regional office in Lee’s Summit, MO, the company has joined “the ranks of over 300 animal health companies, that together represent over half of the ‘total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales.’”
John Mercurio, Vice President of Companion Animal Health, commenting on the occasion, said, “This is an incredible opportunity for us here at Companion. The ability to collaborate with other members of this ever-changing industry will not only assist us in serving our own customers better, but also allow us to play a role in shaping the future of the industry itself.”
For more information, please click here.
WORLD RABIES DAY: SEPTEMBER 28th
Worldwide, more than 55,000 people are killed every year as a result of rabies infections. Here in the United States, there were more than 6,000 reported cases of animal rabies in 2014 and annually it kills one or two Americans.
World Rabies Day, launched in 2007 by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, is the first and only global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention. According to the GARC, the day “Focuses on rabies endemic countries, to increase community awareness of the disease and its prevention…[and] raises the profile of national and local control programs and acts as a springboard for year-round capacity building and awareness.”
The GARC urges the public to get involved in a variety of ways, including signing a pledge to end rabies by 2030, organizing an event for World Rabies Day, and creating a custom World Rabies Day poster to share and promote awareness.
So, what role do veterinarians play in the fight against rabies? A big one, according to Dr. Charles Rupprecht, former chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said, “Your local veterinarian plays a key role in controlling rabies.”
There are many resources veterinarians can utilize to promote awareness among clients and in turn, foster prevention. In addition to organizing an event for World Rabies Day, as urged by the GARC, veterinarians can spread awareness inside their practices. This can be achieved by: displaying World Rabies Day posters around their clinic; offering client brochures on the topics of rabies and dog bite prevention; and adding rabies prevention buttons to their clinic’s website. (Kudos to the AVMA for putting together this informative list!)
THE DEBATE OVER LIVE-OR-DIE TESTS CONTINUES
For many years, animal shelters have utilized various behavioral tests to determine whether a dog is fit for adoption. One example involves extending a plastic hand towards a dog’s bowl of food as it eats. Many dogs fail this test, lunging at the hand and biting instantly. Unfortunately, the results of these types of tests can determine a dog’s fate–life or death. Shelters are forced to euthanize a sizeable number of dogs if they are determined to be unfit for adoption by behavioral testing.
However, new developments have led researchers to question the reliability of these behavioral tests. Now, shelters are “wrestling with whether to abandon behavior testing altogether in their work to match dogs with adopters and determine which may be too dangerous to be released.”
To learn more about the ongoing debate over behavioral testing in shelters, please click here.
CANINE COUGH OUTBREAKS REPORTED IN MULTIPLE REGIONS
A severe (in some cases fatal) upper respiratory infection has increased in prevalence among dogs. The first reported cases of the infection came from Bozeman, Montana, where practitioners believed the transmission was slowing, but now appears to have not been contained to the city. According to VIN, “Reports from practitioners in Georgia, Missouri, Wyoming, and Billings, Montana…suggest the problem is not confined to Bozeman.”
The outbreak in Bozeman began late last spring, afflicting at least 1,000 dogs. Practitioners are still attempting to identify the source. Dr. Christian Leutenegger, director of molecular diagnostics at IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., offered, “We are frantically trying to identify the source–it is not the flu (influenza H3N2 or H3NE or any other type A influenza strain). We did find some other pathogens, bt they are not really frequent enough to make them responsible for the outbreak.”
While no clear source has been identified, extensive testing is ongoing. For more information, please click here.
THE PET NUTRITION ALLIANCE CALCULATOR: “A GREAT TOOL FOR VETERINARIANS AND PET OWNERS”
At the Pet Nutrition Alliance Board meeting, held in conjunction with AVMA Convention 2017, PNA revealed a newly revamped website. The AVMA has lauded the upgrade, saying it will make it easier for veterinary health care teams “to more effectively use the website’s nutritional calculator for dogs and cats.”
According to PNA President Dr. Lisa Freeman, “The calculator can help the veterinary team determine the right number of calories for an individual pet, and make nutritional assessments and recommendations to help their patients maintain or achieve their healthy weight.”
For more information on the calculator and it’s role in practice, please click here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.