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PubMed | VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital, Auburn University and Texas A&M University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of veterinary internal medicine | Year: 2015

Systemic aspergillosis is a manifestation of Aspergillus sp. infection that can result in central nervous system (CNS) involvement with marked alterations in CNS function. Information regarding the clinical presentation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in cases of aspergillosis with CNS involvement is lacking, resulting in a need for better understanding of this disease.The primary objectives were to describe the clinical features and MRI findings in dogs with CNS aspergillosis. The secondary objectives were to describe clinicopathologic findings and case outcome.Seven dogs with CNS aspergillosis.Archived records from 6 institutions were reviewed to identify cases with MRI of CNS aspergillosis confirmed with serum galactomannan enzyme immunoassay (EIA) testing, culture, or supported by histopathology. Signalment, clinical, MRI, clinicopathologic, histopathologic, and microbiologic findings were recorded and evaluated.Aspergillosis of the CNS was identified in 7 dogs from 3 institutions. The median age was 3 years and six were German Shepherd dogs. Five dogs had signs of vestibular dysfunction as a component of multifocal neurological abnormalities. The MRI findings ranged from normal to abnormal, including hemorrhagic infarction and mass lesions.Until now, all reported MRI findings in dogs with CNS aspergillosis have been abnormal. We document that CNS aspergillosis in dogs, particularly German Shepherd dogs, can be suspected based on neurologic signs, whether MRI findings are normal or abnormal. Confirmatory testing with galactomannan EIA, urine, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or tissue culture should be performed in cases where aspergillosis is a differential diagnosis.


Fitzgerald K.T.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital
Topics in Companion Animal Medicine | Year: 2013

Polar bears are one of the most iconic animals on our planet. Worldwide, even people who would never see one are drawn to these charismatic arctic ice hunters. They are the world's largest terrestrial carnivore, and despite being born on land, they spend most of their lives out on the sea ice and are considered a marine mammal. Current global studies estimate there are around 20,000 animals in some 19 discrete circumpolar populations. Aside from pregnant females denning in the winter months to give birth, the white bears do not hibernate. They spend their winters on the sea ice hunting seals, an activity they are spectacularly adapted for. Research on these animals is incredibly difficult because of the inhospitable surroundings they inhabit and how inaccessible they make the bears. For many years, the sum of our understanding of the natural history of polar bears came from tracks, scats, the remains of their kills, abandoned dens, and anecdotal observations of native hunters, explorers, and early biologists. Nonetheless, the last 40 years have seen a much better picture of their biology emerge thanks to, first, dedicated Canadian researchers and, later, truly international efforts of workers from many countries. Veterinarians have contributed to our knowledge of the bears by delivering and monitoring anesthesia, obtaining blood samples, performing necropsies, investigating their reproduction, conducting radiotelemetry studies, and examining their behavior. Recently, new technologies have been developed that revolutionize the study of the lives and natural history of undisturbed polar bears. These advances include better satellite radiotelemetry equipment and the development of remote-controlled miniature devices equipped with high-definition cameras. Such new modalities provide dramatic new insights into the life of polar bears. The remarkable degree of specialized adaptation to life on the sea ice that allowed the bears to be successful is the very reason that the bears are so vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Polar bears have few alternatives if their habitat (the sea ice) and their access to their ringed seal prey rapidly disappear. Predictions that polar bears may be able to adjust and sustain themselves on alternative food sources are not based on reality. Spring breakup of the sea ice is happening much earlier as well as fall freezeup is getting later, thereby prolonging the open water period that the bears are shore bound. If trends continue and the ice continues to disappear, the effect on polar bears would be devastating. Veterinarians must stay involved in polar bear studies and in multidisciplinary conservation studies dealing with threatened and endangered species worldwide. On account of their training, veterinarians can offer a unique skill set that can provide access to a number of technologies critical to conservation efforts. The oath veterinarians take on graduation from veterinary school charges them to be sworn to the "conservation of animal resources" and in the education of the public. We are only as good as the oaths we keep. © 2013.


Fitzgerald K.T.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital
Topics in Companion Animal Medicine | Year: 2013

Longline fishing utilizes monofilament lines that can be as much as 62 miles long. The line itself is buoyed by Styrofoam or plastic floats. Usually, at about every 100. ft, a secondary line is attached and hangs down from the mainline. The lines are baited with mackerel, squid, or shark meat and have as many as 10,000 hooks. Every 12-24 hours, the line is hauled in, mechanically rebaited, and set back into the water behind the vessel. The baited hooks can be seen by albatross and other seabirds as they are placed in the water or being hauled out. When the birds dive for the bait, they are hooked, dragged behind the fishing boat, and drown. Spectacularly nonselective, longline fishing techniques also hook many other forms of marine life-"bycatch" (sea turtles, seals, dolphins, penguins, sharks, and many other nontarget finfish). It is estimated that 300,000 seabirds (including 100,000 albatross) die on longlines each year. Albatross are among the longest-lived birds. They can live up to 60 years and some species do not start breeding until they are 10 years old. They have a low reproductive rate and many species only breed every other year. In addition, a species like the Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) rears its chicks for an average of more than 270 days. Albatross pair for life and may take years to find a new partner if their mate is killed. Owing to their incredibly low reproductive rate, albatross are particularly vulnerable to longline fishing. Currently, it is believed that 4 albatross drown per 100,000 hooks set. This is more than 400 birds a week. The current mortality rate for adult birds is not sustainable and for some species, the birds are dying faster that they can repopulate. Currently, 19 of the world's 22 albatross species are threatened with extinction. This year longline fishing ships will set 10 billion hooks worldwide. Various mitigation measures (bird-scaring lines, weighted, faster-sinking line, setting lines deeper out of the bird's sight, reduction in the amount of offal discarded from fishing boats, night fishing, and restriction of longline operations from areas where nesting and foraging birds are congregated during the breeding season, among others) have been proposed and attempted. There is no one panacea for the effects of longlining and mitigation efforts are most successful when used in combination. Some of these mitigation measures have shown very promising results. Some experts feel that government legislation, regulation, and enforcement in conjunction with incentives for the fishing industry to incorporate and implement mitigating techniques have the best chance in ameliorating the problem. The public is surprisingly unaware of this wanton and wasteful exploitation of the ocean's resources, and the worldwide demand for seafood continues to rise. Meanwhile, globally, fishermen voice the same complaints: fewer fish, smaller fish, shorter fishing seasons, bizarre developments in their seasonal appearance and dispersal, and fewer overall species seen. These are all the classic signs of overfishing. Each year it is estimated that some 90 million tons of wild fish are harvested from our planet's oceans. Nearly 30 million tons of this is discarded as the incidental bycatch of nontarget species. If international curbs are not placed upon wasteful fishing practices, we are doomed to learn a painful maxim. "The ocean is not infinite." Veterinarians must become involved in worldwide conservation efforts, acting locally, while thinking globally. © 2013.


Fitzgerald K.T.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital | Bronstein A.C.,Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center | Bronstein A.C.,University of Colorado at Denver | Newquist K.L.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital
Topics in Companion Animal Medicine | Year: 2013

The plant Cannabis sativa has been used for centuries for the effects of its psychoactive resins. The term "marijuana" typically refers to tobacco-like preparations of the leaves and flowers. The plant contains more than 400 chemicals but the cannabinoid δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the major psychoactive constituent. "Hashish" is the resin extracted from the tops of flowering plants and generally has a much higher THC concentration. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Currently, several states have passed legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for both medical and personal use and several other states have similar legislation under consideration. The most common form of marijuana use in humans is inhalation of the smoke of marijuana cigarettes, followed by ingestion. In animals, although secondhand smoke inhalation is possible, the most common source of exposure is through ingestion of the owner's marijuana supply. The minimum lethal oral dose for dogs for THC is more than 3 g/kg. Although the drug has a high margin of safety, deaths have been seen after ingestion of food products containing the more concentrated medical-grade THC butter. There are two specific cannabinoid receptors in humans and dogs, CB1 (primarily in central nervous system) and CB2 (peripheral tissues). In animals, following oral ingestion, clinical effects begin within 60 minutes. All of the neuropharmacologic mechanisms by which cannabinoids produce psychoactive effects have not been identified. However, CB1 activity is believed to be responsible for the majority of cannabinoid clinical effects. Highly lipid soluble, THC is distributed in fat, liver, brain, and renal tissue. Fifteen percent of THC is excreted into the urine and the rest is eliminated in the feces through biliary excretion. Clinical signs of canine intoxication include depression, hypersalivation, mydriasis, hypermetria, vomiting, urinary incontinence, tremors, hypothermia, and bradycardia. Higher dosages may additionally cause nystagmus, agitation, tachypnea, tachycardia, ataxia, hyperexcitability, and seizures. Treatment of marijuana ingestion in animals is largely supportive. Vital signs including temperature and heart rate and rhythm must be continually monitored. Stomach content and urine can be tested for cannabinoids. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry can be utilized for THC detection but usually may take several days and are not practical for initiation of therapy. Human urine drug-screening tests can be unreliable for confirmation of marijuana toxicosis in dogs owing to the interference of a large number of the metabolites in canine urine. False negatives may also arise if testing occurs too recently following THC ingestion. Thus, the use of human urine drug-screening tests in dogs remains controversial. No specific antidote presently exists for THC poisoning. Sedation with benzodiazepines may be necessary if dogs are severely agitated. Intravenous fluids may be employed to counter prolonged vomiting and to help control body temperature. Recently, the use of intralipid therapy to bind the highly lipophilic THC has been utilized to help reduce clinical signs. The majority of dogs experiencing intoxication after marijuana ingestion recover completely without sequellae. Differential diagnoses of canine THC toxicosis include human pharmaceuticals with central nervous system stimulatory effects, drugs with central nervous system depressant effects, macrolide parasiticides, xylitol, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Anderson C.L.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital | Mackay C.S.,Colorado State University | Roberts G.D.,Washington State University | Fidel J.,Washington State University
Veterinary and Comparative Oncology | Year: 2015

Imaging studies in humans with anal and rectal cancer indicate that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a more sensitive technique than abdominal ultrasound (AUS) for the detection of abdominal lymphadenopathy. The purpose of this retrospective study was to directly compare the efficacy of these two techniques in detecting abdominal lymphadenopathy in dogs with apocrine gland adenocarcinoma of the anal sac (AGAAS). Six dogs with histologically confirmed AGAAS and histopathologic confirmation of metastasis to abdominal lymph nodes (LNs) had AUS and abdominal MRI. AUS identified lymphadenopathy in two of six dogs, whereas MRI identified lymphadenopathy in all the six dogs. Lymphadenopathy was predominantly sacral in location, with involvement of the medial iliac and hypogastric LNs in only two cases. These data suggest that MRI is more sensitive than AUS for detecting sacral abdominal lymphadenopathy in dogs with AGAAS. As such, MRI could be considered in any patient with AGAAS for initial staging of this disease. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Corbin E.E.,University of Minnesota | Cavanaugh R.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital | Fick J.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital | McAbee K.,VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital | Powers B.,Colorado State University
Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology | Year: 2013

A dog was presented with the complaint of an acute onset left pelvic limb lameness three years after a right tibial plateau level ling osteotomy had been performed. Radiographs taken at the time of presentation showed signs that were consistent with a diagnosis of an implant associated sarcoma. At revision surgery, a retained surgical sponge was identified, leading to a diagnosis of a gossypiboma. This is the first reported case of a gossypiboma as a complication of a tibial plateau levelling osteotomy surgery. © Schattauer 2013.


PubMed | VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Topics in companion animal medicine | Year: 2013

Polar bears are one of the most iconic animals on our planet. Worldwide, even people who would never see one are drawn to these charismatic arctic ice hunters. They are the worlds largest terrestrial carnivore, and despite being born on land, they spend most of their lives out on the sea ice and are considered a marine mammal. Current global studies estimate there are around 20,000 animals in some 19 discrete circumpolar populations. Aside from pregnant females denning in the winter months to give birth, the white bears do not hibernate. They spend their winters on the sea ice hunting seals, an activity they are spectacularly adapted for. Research on these animals is incredibly difficult because of the inhospitable surroundings they inhabit and how inaccessible they make the bears. For many years, the sum of our understanding of the natural history of polar bears came from tracks, scats, the remains of their kills, abandoned dens, and anecdotal observations of native hunters, explorers, and early biologists. Nonetheless, the last 40 years have seen a much better picture of their biology emerge thanks to, first, dedicated Canadian researchers and, later, truly international efforts of workers from many countries. Veterinarians have contributed to our knowledge of the bears by delivering and monitoring anesthesia, obtaining blood samples, performing necropsies, investigating their reproduction, conducting radiotelemetry studies, and examining their behavior. Recently, new technologies have been developed that revolutionize the study of the lives and natural history of undisturbed polar bears. These advances include better satellite radiotelemetry equipment and the development of remote-controlled miniature devices equipped with high-definition cameras. Such new modalities provide dramatic new insights into the life of polar bears. The remarkable degree of specialized adaptation to life on the sea ice that allowed the bears to be successful is the very reason that the bears are so vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Polar bears have few alternatives if their habitat (the sea ice) and their access to their ringed seal prey rapidly disappear. Predictions that polar bears may be able to adjust and sustain themselves on alternative food sources are not based on reality. Spring breakup of the sea ice is happening much earlier as well as fall freezeup is getting later, thereby prolonging the open water period that the bears are shore bound. If trends continue and the ice continues to disappear, the effect on polar bears would be devastating. Veterinarians must stay involved in polar bear studies and in multidisciplinary conservation studies dealing with threatened and endangered species worldwide. On account of their training, veterinarians can offer a unique skill set that can provide access to a number of technologies critical to conservation efforts. The oath veterinarians take on graduation from veterinary school charges them to be sworn to the conservation of animal resources and in the education of the public. We are only as good as the oaths we keep.


PubMed | VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Topics in companion animal medicine | Year: 2013

Longline fishing utilizes monofilament lines that can be as much as 62 miles long. The line itself is buoyed by Styrofoam or plastic floats. Usually, at about every 100ft, a secondary line is attached and hangs down from the mainline. The lines are baited with mackerel, squid, or shark meat and have as many as 10,000 hooks. Every 12-24 hours, the line is hauled in, mechanically rebaited, and set back into the water behind the vessel. The baited hooks can be seen by albatross and other seabirds as they are placed in the water or being hauled out. When the birds dive for the bait, they are hooked, dragged behind the fishing boat, and drown. Spectacularly nonselective, longline fishing techniques also hook many other forms of marine life-bycatch (sea turtles, seals, dolphins, penguins, sharks, and many other nontarget finfish). It is estimated that 300,000 seabirds (including 100,000 albatross) die on longlines each year. Albatross are among the longest-lived birds. They can live up to 60 years and some species do not start breeding until they are 10 years old. They have a low reproductive rate and many species only breed every other year. In addition, a species like the Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) rears its chicks for an average of more than 270 days. Albatross pair for life and may take years to find a new partner if their mate is killed. Owing to their incredibly low reproductive rate, albatross are particularly vulnerable to longline fishing. Currently, it is believed that 4 albatross drown per 100,000 hooks set. This is more than 400 birds a week. The current mortality rate for adult birds is not sustainable and for some species, the birds are dying faster that they can repopulate. Currently, 19 of the worlds 22 albatross species are threatened with extinction. This year longline fishing ships will set 10 billion hooks worldwide. Various mitigation measures (bird-scaring lines, weighted, faster-sinking line, setting lines deeper out of the birds sight, reduction in the amount of offal discarded from fishing boats, night fishing, and restriction of longline operations from areas where nesting and foraging birds are congregated during the breeding season, among others) have been proposed and attempted. There is no one panacea for the effects of longlining and mitigation efforts are most successful when used in combination. Some of these mitigation measures have shown very promising results. Some experts feel that government legislation, regulation, and enforcement in conjunction with incentives for the fishing industry to incorporate and implement mitigating techniques have the best chance in ameliorating the problem. The public is surprisingly unaware of this wanton and wasteful exploitation of the oceans resources, and the worldwide demand for seafood continues to rise. Meanwhile, globally, fishermen voice the same complaints: fewer fish, smaller fish, shorter fishing seasons, bizarre developments in their seasonal appearance and dispersal, and fewer overall species seen. These are all the classic signs of overfishing. Each year it is estimated that some 90 million tons of wild fish are harvested from our planets oceans. Nearly 30 million tons of this is discarded as the incidental bycatch of nontarget species. If international curbs are not placed upon wasteful fishing practices, we are doomed to learn a painful maxim. The ocean is not infinite. Veterinarians must become involved in worldwide conservation efforts, acting locally, while thinking globally.


PubMed | VCA Firehouse Veterinary Hospital, VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital and Denver Zoological Gardens
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Topics in companion animal medicine | Year: 2013

On account of their unique anatomy, physiology, natural history, ecology, and behavior, rattlesnakes make ideal subjects for a variety of different scientific disciplines. The prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) in Colorado was selected for investigation of its relationship to colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) with regard to spatial ecology. A total of 31 snakes were anesthetized and had radiotransmitters surgically implanted. In addition, at the time of their capture, all snakes underwent the following: (1) they had bacterial culture taken from their mouths for potential isolation of pathogenic bacteria; (2) similarly, they had cloacal bacterial cultures taken to assess potentially harmful bacteria passed in the feces; and (3) they had blood samples drawn to investigate the presence of any zoonotic agents in the serum of the snakes. The results of the study and their implications are discussed here. Traditionally, a low incidence of bacterial wound infection has been reported following snakebite. Nevertheless, the oral cavity of snakes has long been known to house a wide variety of bacterial flora. In our study, 10 different bacterial species were isolated from the mouths of the rattlesnakes, 6 of which are capable of being zoonotic pathogens and inducing human disease. More studies are necessary to see why more rattlesnake bites do not become infected despite the presence of such pathogenic bacteria. The results of fecal bacteria isolated revealed 13 bacterial species, 12 of which can cause disease in humans. Of the snakes whose samples were cultured, 26% were positive for the presence of the pathogen Salmonella arizonae, one of the causative agents of reptile-related salmonellosis in humans. It has long been reported that captive reptiles have a much higher incidence than wild, free-ranging species. This study shows the incidence of Salmonella in a wild, free-ranging population of rattlesnakes. In addition, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia was isolated. This bacterium is associated with wound and soft tissue infections that can lead to sepsis, endocarditis, meningitis, and peritonitis. In addition, this bacterium has been increasingly implicated as an opportunistic pathogen to humans during pregnancies, hospitalizations, malignancies and chemotherapy, chronic respiratory diseases, and presurgical endotracheal intubation. Furthermore, S. maltophilia has an intense resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics, the results of our study showed the bacterium was resistant to multiple antibiotics. Our results indicate that anyone working with snake feces, dead skin, or their carcasses must follow reasonable hygiene protocols. Rattlesnakes tested for West Nile antibodies had positive results but these were invalidated owing to possible cross-reactivity with other unknown viruses, interference with snake serum proteins, and the fact that the test was not calibrated for rattlesnake serum. Still, the interesting implication remains, should we be regularly testing these animals as sentinels against potentially zoonotic diseases. The results of this study clearly show the value of veterinarians in a multidisciplinary study of this sort and the particular skill set they can offer. Veterinarians must get involved in conservation studies if the biodiversity of the planet is to be preserved.


PubMed | Washington State University, VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital and Colorado State University
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: Veterinary and comparative oncology | Year: 2015

Imaging studies in humans with anal and rectal cancer indicate that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a more sensitive technique than abdominal ultrasound (AUS) for the detection of abdominal lymphadenopathy. The purpose of this retrospective study was to directly compare the efficacy of these two techniques in detecting abdominal lymphadenopathy in dogs with apocrine gland adenocarcinoma of the anal sac (AGAAS). Six dogs with histologically confirmed AGAAS and histopathologic confirmation of metastasis to abdominal lymph nodes (LNs) had AUS and abdominal MRI. AUS identified lymphadenopathy in two of six dogs, whereas MRI identified lymphadenopathy in all the six dogs. Lymphadenopathy was predominantly sacral in location, with involvement of the medial iliac and hypogastric LNs in only two cases. These data suggest that MRI is more sensitive than AUS for detecting sacral abdominal lymphadenopathy in dogs with AGAAS. As such, MRI could be considered in any patient with AGAAS for initial staging of this disease.

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