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    ABSTRACT: In people, abnormalities in vertebral column conformation, such as kyphoscoliosis, induce degenerative changes in adjacent intervertebral disc (IVD) structure and composition. It was hypothesised that canine IVDs adjacent to a vertebral malformation undergo early degeneration. In a blinded retrospective study, thoracic IVD degeneration was evaluated in 14 dogs on magnetic resonance images using Pfirrmann’s grade. IVDs adjacent to a vertebral malformation had higher grades of degeneration than non-adjacent IVDs (P<0.0001). There was an age-dependency, with dogs between 1 and 4 years showing higher grade of degeneration in adjacent than non-adjacent IVDs (P<0.0001). Conversely, in older dogs, all IVDs - including the non-adjacents - showed degenerative signs, possibly due to normal aging. These results suggest that congenital vertebral malformation results in early degeneration of adjacent IVDs.
    The Veterinary Journal 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective-To evaluate a modified proportional margins approach to resection of mast cell tumors (MCTs) in dogs. Design-Retrospective case series. Animals-40 dogs with subcutaneous and cutaneous MCTs undergoing curative intent surgery. Procedures-Medical records were searched to identify dogs with a cytologically or histologically confirmed diagnosis of MCT that had not previously been treated surgically and that had undergone full oncological staging. In those dogs, tumors were resected with lateral margins equivalent to the widest measured diameter of the tumor and a minimum depth of 1 well-defined fascial plane deep to the tumor. Surgical margins were evaluated histologically. Cutaneous tumors were graded by use of the Patnaik system and the 2-tier system described by Kiupel et al. The prognosis for subcutaneous tumors was assessed in accordance with published recommendations. Follow-up information on dog health status was obtained through clinical examination, the dog owners, and the referring veterinarians. Results-The 40 dogs had 47 tumors. Forty-one (87%) tumors were cutaneous, and 6 (13%) were subcutaneous. On the basis of the Patnaik system, 21 (51%) cutaneous tumors were considered grade I, 18 (44%) were considered grade II, and 2 (5%) were considered grade III. On the basis of the Kiupel system, 37 (90%) cutaneous tumors were considered low grade, and 4 (10%) were considered high grade. The prognosis for the 6 subcutaneous tumors was classified as likely resulting in a shorter (2) or longer (4) survival time. Forty tumors were deemed to have been excised with clear margins and 7 with incomplete margins. Local recurrence was not recorded for any dog but was suspected for 1 (2%) tumor, although not confirmed. Interval from tumor excision to follow-up ranged from 30 to 1,140 days (median, 420 days). Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-The modified proportional margins system resulted in satisfactory local disease control in dogs with MCTs.
    Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 11/2013; 243(10):1436-41.
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    ABSTRACT: Cruciate ligaments (CLs) are primary stabilisers of the knee joint and canine cranial cruciate ligament disease (CCLD) and rupture is a common injury. Elastin fibres, composed of an elastin core and fibrillin containing microfibrils, are traditionally considered minor components of the ligament extracellular matrix (ECM). However, their content and distribution in CLs is unknown. The purposes of this study were to determine the elastin content of canine CLs and to ascertain its relationship to other biochemical components and histological architecture. Macroscopically normal CLs were harvested from Greyhounds (n=11), a breed with a low risk of CCLD. Elastin, collagen and sulfated glycosaminoglycan content were measured and histological scoring systems were developed to quantify ECM changes using a modified Vasseur score (mVS) and oxytalan fibre (bundles of microfibrils) staining. Elastin contents were 9.86±3.97% dry weight in the cranial CL and 10.79±4.37% in the caudal CL, respectively, and did not alter with advancing histological degeneration. All CLs demonstrated mild degenerative changes, with an average mVS score of 11.9±3.3 (maximum 24). Increasing degeneration of the ligament ECM showed a positive correlation (r=0.690, P<0.001) with increased oxytalan fibre staining within the ECM. Elastin is an abundant protein in CLs forming a greater proportion of the ligament ECM than previously reported. The appearance of oxytalan fibres in degenerative CL ECM may reflect an adaptive or reparative response to normal or increased loads. This finding is important for future therapeutic or ligament replacement strategies associated with cranial CL injury.
    The Veterinary Journal 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: To assess whether obesity has any association with objectively measured physical activity levels in dogs. Thirty-nine dogs wore Actigraph GT3X accelerometers (Actigraph) for 7 consecutive days. Each dog was classified as ideal weight, overweight or obese using the 5-point body condition scoring system. Total volume of physical activity and time spent in sedentary behaviour, light-moderate intensity physical activity and vigorous intensity physical activity were compared between body condition categories. Valid accelerometry data were returned for 35 of 39 dogs recruited. Eighteen dogs were classed as ideal weight, 9 as overweight and the remaining 8 as obese. All dogs spent a significant proportion of the day sedentary and obese dogs spent significantly less time in vigorous intensity physical activity than ideal weight dogs (7 ±3 minute/day versus 21 ±15 minute/day, P=0·01). Obesity is associated with lower vigorous intensity physical activity in dogs, as is also thought to occur in humans. These preliminary findings will help inform a future, larger study and may also improve our understanding of the associations between obesity and physical activity in dogs.
    Journal of Small Animal Practice 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Cystic lesions affecting the vertebral canal or spinal cord have rarely been reported in cats. A 3-year-old female neutered domestic longhair cat presented for evaluation of a 2-year-history of episodes of ataxia and paresis affecting all limbs. Neurological examination was consistent with a lesion in the C1-C5 spinal cord segments. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed a fluid-filled lesion at the occipito-atlanto-axial region causing dynamic spinal cord compression on flexion of the neck. The imaging characteristics were compatible with a juxta-articular cyst. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a fluid-filled lesion causing dynamic cervical spinal cord compression in a cat and highlights the importance of performing flexion-extension MRI views in diagnosing cases with dynamic spinal cord compression.
    Journal of feline medicine and surgery. 10/2013;
  • The Veterinary record. 10/2013; 173(13):314-315.
  • The Veterinary record. 10/2013; 173(13):323-324.
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    ABSTRACT: Cavernous sinus syndrome is characterised by internal and external ophthalmoplegia and sensory deficits over the head due to combined deficits of the three cranial nerves (CNs) responsible for the eye movements and pupil function (CN III, IV, VI) and at least one branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V). It has rarely been described in cats and may occur secondary to inflammatory, infectious or neoplastic lesions within the region of the cavernous sinus on the ventral aspect of the calvarium. This report describes the clinical and magnetic resonance imaging findings in a 14-year-old domestic shorthair cat with neurological deficits compatible with cavernous sinus syndrome caused by presumptive extranodal lymphoma. Treatment with chemotherapy resulted in clinical and imaging remission. Identification of the neurological deficits in cavernous sinus syndrome allows accurate neuroanatomical localisation in order to target diagnostic imaging studies.
    Journal of feline medicine and surgery. 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Pituitary metastases have rarely been recorded in dogs, and to date, none of those reported have been of pancreatic origin. MRI findings are available for only one of those cases. Herein the authors present an 11 yr old English springer spaniel diagnosed with pituitary metastasis of pancreatic origin with a 24 hr history of blindness and only a single lesion on MRI. Neurologic and ophthalmologic examinations localized the lesion to the optic nerves, optic tracts, or optic chiasm. MRI showed a single lesion characterized by a well-circumscribed pituitary mass with extrasellar extension, causing compression of the optic chiasm. Signal intensity was unusual as enhancement could not be appreciated after contrast administration. The dog was euthanized without further diagnostic tests. Histopathologic examination revealed a poorly differentiated exocrine pancreatic carcinoma with widespread metastasis involving the pituitary gland. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first such case reported in a dog. Pituitary metastases should be included as a differential diagnosis for dogs presenting with acute-onset blindness and for single brain masses affecting the pituitary gland.
    Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 09/2013; 49(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic spinal cord dysfunction occurs in dogs as a consequence of diverse aetiologies, including long-standing spinal cord compression and insidious neurodegenerative conditions. One such neurodegenerative condition is canine degenerative myelopathy (DM), which clinically is a challenge to differentiate from other chronic spinal cord conditions. Although the clinical diagnosis of DM can be strengthened by the identification of the Sod1 mutations that are observed in affected dogs, genetic analysis alone is insufficient to provide a definitive diagnosis. There is a requirement to identify biomarkers that can differentiate conditions with a similar clinical presentation, thus facilitating patient diagnostic and management strategies. A comparison of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein gel electrophoresis profile between idiopathic epilepsy (IE) and DM identified a protein band that was more prominent in DM. This band was subsequently found to contain a multifunctional protein clusterin (apolipoprotein J) that is protective against endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated apoptosis, oxidative stress, and also serves as an extracellular chaperone influencing protein aggregation. Western blot analysis of CSF clusterin confirmed elevated levels in DM compared to IE (p < 0.05). Analysis of spinal cord tissue from DM and control material found that clusterin expression was evident in neurons and that the clusterin mRNA levels from tissue extracts were elevated in DM compared to the control. The plasma clusterin levels was comparable between these groups. However, a comparison of clusterin CSF levels in a number of neurological conditions found that clusterin was elevated in both DM and chronic intervertebral disc disease (cIVDD) but not in meningoencephalitis and IE. These findings indicate that clusterin may potentially serve as a marker for chronic spinal cord disease in the dog; however, additional markers are required to differentiate DM from a concurrent condition such as cIVDD.
    Cell Stress and Chaperones 08/2013;
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