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Compendium September 2008 (Vol 30, No 9)

Abstract Thoughts — Chronic Carpal Sprains in Doberman Pinschers

by Joseph Harari, MS, DVM, DACVS

    Langley-Hobbs SJ, Hamilton MH, Pratt JNJ. Radiographic and clinical features of carpal varus associated with chronic sprain of the lateral collateral ligament complex in 10 dogs. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2007;20:324-330.

    Abstract: This review of cases from a veterinary school and referral practice in England describes the clinical and radiographic features of carpus varus in 10 mature dogs, eight of which were Doberman pinschers. Lameness was variable, progressive, and unrelated to a specific traumatic event. Eight of 10 cases were bilateral, and thickening of the carpus (especially laterally) was noted. Some dogs had pain on manipulation of the carpus, and some exhibited reduced flexion. Postural deformation during the stance phase was observed in all cases. The most frequent radiographic changes were degenerative joint changes (soft tissue swelling, enthesiophytes, osteophytes). Stress radiography revealed increased varus angles consistent with chronic lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprain. Four dogs were presented for other conditions and not treated for lameness, five dogs were given NSAIDs that reduced but did not resolve the lameness, and one dog underwent successful pancarpal arthrodesis.

    Commentary: This interesting review of cases from the United Kingdom highlights an unusual and uncommon (10 cases in a 10-year period) condition in large dogs, particularly, it seems, Doberman pinschers. While the diagnosis appears straightforward based on visual and radiographic observations, as described by the authors, the variable degree of lameness and incomplete response to NSAID therapy make selection of definitive treatment somewhat problematic. Is the LCL sprain injury a cause or effect of the postural deformity? More clinical reports, describing signalment and history, are needed to clarify this condition.

    Zinc Intoxication in Dogs

    Gurnee CM, Drobatz KJ. Zinc intoxication in dogs: 19 cases (1991-2003). JAVMA 2007;230:1174-1179.

    Clinical variables and outcomes in dogs diagnosed with zinc toxicosis were characterized via review of database medical records. A documented zinc source, an anemic animal, and resolution of clinical signs after removal of the source were inclusion requirements. Signalment, body weight, history, owner complaints, physical examination and clinicopathologic results, blood zinc levels, zinc source, treatment, duration of hospital stay, and outcome were evaluated.

    For 19 dogs, the most common initial owner complaint was vomiting, followed by pigmenturia, lethargy, decreased appetite or inappetence, and diarrhea. The most common physical examination abnormalities were pale mucous membranes, tachycardia, icterus, and heart murmur. Relevant clinicopathologic findings were moderate to severe anemia and leukocytosis, high serum liver enzyme activity, and high total bilirubin and blood zinc concentrations. The median age was 1.3 years; median weight, 12.3 lb (5.6 kg); and median hospital stay, 2 days. Endoscopy (15 dogs) and laparotomy and gastrotomy (two dogs) allowed removal of metallic foreign bodies (mostly coins). Common treatments involved the use of electrolyte solution and blood products; treatment variations precluded meaningful conclusions. The outcomes were favorable; 17 dogs survived to discharge.

    Hemolytic anemia in dogs with zinc toxicosis affected young, small-breed dogs more than older, large-breed dogs. The prognosis is good with short hospital stays.

    Trends in Feline Urolith Composition: 1985-2004

    Cannon AB, Westropp JL, Ruby AL, Kass PH. Evaluation of trends in urolith composition in cats: 5,230 cases (1985-2004). JAVMA 2007;231:570-576.

    Laboratory database records of urolith submissions were analyzed for patient age, sex, and breed and stone mineral composition and urinary tract location. Over a period of 20 years, 5230 uroliths were submitted for optical crystallographic analysis. Of those specimens, 13% consisted of calculi containing two or more mineral substances either combined within layers or in separate layers.

    The following trends emerged: a significantly increased ratio of calcium oxalate stones to struvite stones; an increase in calcium oxalate-containing stones in male cats compared with female cats; a significant decrease in struvite-containing stones in female cats; and a significantly greater number of struvite stones than calcium oxalate stones in younger cats. The most common location for both stone types was the bladder. In the last 3 years of the period studied, the percentage of struvite stones was higher than that of calcium oxalate stones. Other trends were significantly fewer apatite-containing stones and significantly more stones of dried solidified blood. No significant trends in urate-containing uroliths were found.

    The increasing proportion of calcium oxalate uroliths agreed with findings from other studies and may reflect changes in dietary intake, with more recent formulations seeking to reduce the risk of struvite urolith formation by increasing urine acidity. Evaluations of these trends as related to diet, medical management, and surgical techniques are warranted.

    Finding a Lost Dog: Search and Identification Methods

    Lord LK, Wittum TE, Ferketich AK, et al. Search and identification methods that owners use to find a lost dog. JAVMA 2007;230:211-216.

    This cross-sectional study used a telephone questionnaire to identify the processes owners used to search for lost dogs and the factors associated with recovery of the animal. Owners of 187 lost dogs were asked questions related to recovery and characteristics of the dog (e.g., the dog's sex, breed, age, and neuter status; how they were reunited with the dog) and identification and search methods (e.g., presence of identification tags, licenses, or microchips; calling or visiting animal agencies; placing neighborhood signs or newspaper ads; searching Web sites).

    Of the 187 dogs, 71% were recovered within a median of 2 days, primarily through calls or visits to animal agencies (34.8%), license tags (18.2%), and posting signs (15.2%). Only 41% of the dogs had a license (despite legal requirements), and 19% wore a personal identification tag; both were critical for recovery and contributed to faster recovery. Microchips had the lowest success rate. Placing neighborhood signs significantly increased recovery; use of Web sites was infrequent. Recovery was less likely for stolen animals.

    The methods with the highest recovery rates were ensuring that the dog wore a license and wore personal identification tags. Animal agencies and veterinarians can educate owners about various search methods, the need to have a search plan, and the importance of using identification tags, licenses, and microchips.

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    NEXT: Editorial — Thirty Years Since Graduation

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