Study identifies effects of Chiari malformation on the canine brain

GriffonA UK study has identified the specific effect Chiari malformation has on the shape of a dog’s skull and brain, laying the groundwork for early screening.

The prevalence of Chiari malformation (CM) has increased due to selective breeding of brachycephalic toy breeds including Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Griffon Bruxellois, Affenpinschers and Chihuahuas.

According to the authors of the study, CM is a complex abnormality characterised by overcrowding of the craniocervical junction and a disparity between the brain parenchyma (too big) and the skull (too small). This can result in obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid channels, leading to the spinal cord disease syringomyelia.

Chiari malformation can be described as trying to fit a big foot into a small shoe,” said lead author Clare Rusbridge from Surrey University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “It can be very painful, causing headaches and pressure on the brain and can result in fluid filled cavities in the spinal cord.”

In the study, published in PLOS ONE, researchers measured the brains, skulls and vertebrae of 155 Griffon Bruxellois and compared measurements of those with CM to those without.

They found that in Griffons, CM is characterised by a shortening of the entire cranial base, and possibly by increased proximity of the atlas to the occiput. They hypothesise that increased height in the rostral cranial cavity, lengthening of the dorsal cranial vault and considerable reorganisation of the brain parenchyma (including ventral deviation of the olfactory bulbs and rostral invagination of the cerebellum under the occipital lobes) are compensatory changes.

To date variations in morphology in animals with CM add to the difficulty in diagnosis. Early detection means that affected dogs can be desexed prior to breeding, preventing the condition being passed on to offspring. Continue reading Study identifies effects of Chiari malformation on the canine brain

The clinical utility of two human portable blood glucose meters in canine and feline practice

BACKGROUND: Portable blood glucose meters (PBGMs) are useful for serial measurements of blood glucose and creation of blood glucose curves in veterinary practice. However, it is necessary to validate PBGMs designed for people for veterinary use. OBJECTIVES: Our objective was to evaluate the accuracy of 2 PBGMs designed for people for use in dogs and cats. . . . → Read More: The clinical utility of two human portable blood glucose meters in canine and feline practice

Vet Ethics: The True Meaning of Welfare

“Bounce”, a healthy and well fed Golden Retriever, has an active and varied life. On most days she is able to leave her sleeping quarters and go for a much-anticipated outing for several hours. She shows much enjoyment and excitement on her daily romps, especially when she meets and plays with other dogs (and people too) – some of whom she has got to know and especially like. She loves to follow a scent, roll about in the dirt, run full pelt through the grass, and wade through water. Her escapades often leave her tired and sore, but she is just as happy to do it all again the next day.

“Loafer” the Labrador has a very different life. From a young age he has been kept in a small enclosure. In fact, he has never been exposed to the sort of activities Bounce looks forward to, and consequently does not miss them. Instead, his savvy owners (who are rarely home) have installed a machine that dispenses tasty food to him on a frequent basis. Actually, Loafer the Lab (unsurprisingly) enjoys eating very much; and his diet is so well formulated he is (surprisingly) not obese. He gets vaccinated and wormed and has ready access to veterinary attention, although he has never been ill. Though he is solitary and sedentary, Loafer seems perfectly content.

Perfectly content he may appear, but does he have a good life? Or is it the reverse: does Loafer’s life go badly for him? If you think it does not go badly, do you nonetheless think that his life is significantly worse than Bounce’s or, if you prefer, that Bounce’s life is significantly better than his?

The reason I am asking these questions is because, like many vets, I am interested in “animal welfare”. But more specifically, I want to know what constitutes good and bad animal welfare. Some people have thought that science is the method we should use to answer these basic questions. So, for example, we could run certain tests and make careful and repeated observations of Loafer and Bounce. Continue reading Vet Ethics: The True Meaning of Welfare

Multiple eccrine poromas in the paw of a dog

A 5-year-old, spayed female boxer dog presented to the referring veterinarian with a year-long history of swelling, ulceration and pain in the paw pad of the fourth digit of the right forelimb. Histologically, the paw pad was expanded by a mass composed of small polygonal cells forming broad bands and trabeculae within the lower epidermis that . . . → Read More: Multiple eccrine poromas in the paw of a dog

Essay: Decreasing undesired aggression in military working dogs and improving their welfare

This essay is one of a number selected for The Veterinarian magazine Prize for Written Communication for Sydney University third-year veterinary science students.

Military working dogs (MWDs) are employed worldwide to assist in law enforcement and military operations. They are trained to display controlled acts of aggression during defence situations, such as in the case of a serious threat or attack. However, some MWDs may direct aggression toward humans or animals outside the working context and this type of aggression is deemed undesirable (Haverbeke et al., 2004). Furthermore, MWDs are usually housed individually in kennels, an environment associated with high cortisol concentrations and stress-related behaviours such as stereotypies (Taylor & Mills, 2007). When under stress, dogs may react to otherwise neutral situations, showing fearful behaviour that can often lead to aggression (Rooney et al., 2009). Continue reading Essay: Decreasing undesired aggression in military working dogs and improving their welfare

Bleomycin/interleukin-12 electrochemogenetherapy for treating naturally occurring spontaneous neoplasms in dogs

On the basis of superior outcomes from electrochemogenetherapy (ECGT) compared with electrochemotherapy in mice, researchers from the  Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA,  determined the efficacy of ECGT applied to spontaneous canine neoplasms.

Study reveals EIV in dogs

A study led by Peter Kirkland of the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute at Camden, NSW, has revealed a number of Australian dogs kept near horses were affected by the equine influenza virus (EIV) during the 2007 outbreak of the disease.

The study said the first case occurred near a large stable, where a dog was reported as inappetant and lethargic with slight nasal discharge and a harsh, persistent cough.
In the following weeks, dogs in or near stables with infected horses, including dogs whose owners were handling infected horses or dogs that were only housed with infected dogs, were examined. Continue reading Study reveals EIV in dogs