Do you – or should you – tattoo?

DOG TATTOOThe Brooklyn tattoo artist who reportedly tattooed his dog must now wish he hadn’t exposed his proud deed on Instagram. Mistah Metro – aka Orangutan Joe, aka Alex – is supposed to have tattooed the “zonked out” Zion after the patient had undergone a splenectomy. Mr Mistah Metro has prompted a public backlash and raised the strange question of whether it is acceptable to decorate animals in this way. To flesh out this tattooing question, let’s imagine two veterinarians who have different takes on what is and what isn’t acceptable treatment.

FIRST VET: The public reaction to the tattooed dog may well have been unnecessarily vitriolic and indeed excessive at times. However, it is true that the adornment of animals with tattoos is unethical, and this action sets a bad precedent that others may want to follow. Sure, it is not wrong to tattoo an animal for certain reasons, such as for identification and neutering. But in these cases there are real interests being served, including the interests of the animals themselves. Even here there may be limits – for example, the permanent ink mark should perhaps be discrete, as it is in the case of neuter tattoos. But the Brooklyn dog’s tattoo was both prominent and unnecessary.

As far as we know in the Brooklyn case the patient may not have been fully anesthetised at the time of the tattooing. Now it is clearly unacceptable to submit a sentient animal to a potentially painful procedure without adequate control of pain and discomfort. Those of us in the veterinary profession know well that a dog may be sedated yet still capable of feeling pain and fear. But it would also be wrong to give an animal a general anaesthetic, or significantly extend the length of one, knowing the risks (however small) that a GA carries, simply in order to decoratively tattoo that animal. Continue reading Do you – or should you – tattoo?

Man inks dog

A tattoo artist has raised the ire of veterinary groups, animal protection agencies worldwide – and his boss – by tattooing his American pit bull while it was out to it.

The dog was under sedation having its spleen removed when the curiously named Mistah Metro posted a picture on his Instagram page with the caption: “One . . . → Read More: Man inks dog

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

Early canine cancer succes

IMG_1169A University of Queensland trial of a new injectable treatment for canine cancer has shown early results in slowing down and ultimately reversing the growth of a tumour.

UQ PhD candidate and veterinarian Moira Brennan said the vaccine was in the early stages of testing and had apparently worked for its first patient, a dog with an inoperable terminal mast cell tumour.

The treatment, which stimulates an immune response in the tumour, has been tolerated exceedingly well in the first dog trialled – a rottweiler named Jackson,” Brennan said.

We were pleased that Jackson’s tumour, which had failed to respond to traditional chemotherapy, appears to have disappeared as a result of this experimental treatment.”

The long-term effects of the treatment are unknown, and Brennan is recruiting other dogs with untreatable mast cell tumour or malignant melanoma to join this trial. Continue reading Early canine cancer succes

Nonsurgical fertility control for managing free-roaming dog populations: a review of products and criteria for field applications

About 75 per cent of dogs worldwide are free to roam and reproduce, thus creating locally overabundant populations. Problems caused by roaming dogs include diseases transmitted to livestock and humans, predation on livestock, attacks on humans, road traffic accidents, and nuisance behavior.

Nonsurgical fertility control is increasingly advocated as more cost-effective than surgical sterilization to manage dog populations and their impact.

The aims of this review were to 1) analyze trends in numbers of scientific publications on nonsurgical fertility control for dogs; 2) illustrate the spectrum of fertility inhibitors available for dogs; 3) examine how differences between confined and free-roaming dogs might affect the choice of fertility inhibitors to be used in dog population management; and 4) provide a framework of criteria to guide decisions regarding the use of nonsurgical fertility control for dog population management. Continue reading Nonsurgical fertility control for managing free-roaming dog populations: a review of products and criteria for field applications