Oct
1
2008
In 2006, a group of researchers trained dogs to detect gas compounds in the exhaled breath of humans that indicated the presence of lung and breast cancer. The dogs proved overwhelmingly correct in identifying vials containing breath samples from the cancer patients compared with samples from healthy people.

In July, a group of scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia published a study in the British Journal of Dermatology on the various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are present in healthy human skin, specifically on the forearm and back. The team used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to analyze the “odor profiles” of the skin of 25 people of different ages and sexes. ...more
Oct
1
2008
Hurricane Gustav’s arrival in the United States on Sept. 1 marked an important milestone in companion animal history. For the first time, pets and service animals were allowed to evacuate hurricane-threatened areas with their owners. And at least one group of veterinary technicians was an integral part of it.

The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, signed into law by President Bush in 2006, requires pets to be included in disaster evacuation plans.

OSU instructor Dana Call, RVT, VTS (ECC), was the leader of a team of technicians and students that were sent to the shelter to attend to the non-human evacuees. She received a call from Scott Mason, DVM, coordinator of the Oklahoma State Animal Response Team, putting her on alert that the evacuees were arriving Sept. 1. Call said about 1,800 people arrived at the Oklahoma shelter on Labor Day, along with about 30 cats and dogs, a cockatiel, a fish and two gerbils. ...more
Sep
17
2008
Turkish researchers released a study in which they concluded that a xenograft bone plate and screw system – similar to a metal plate-screw (MPS) system except made of machined cow bone – is effective for stabilizing a dog’s spine after the facets and lamina were removed.

Stiffness of cadaver dog vertebrae with varying degrees of stabilization was measured with a tensile compression testing machine to determine the stability of five test groups. The groups were tested under five types of load: flexion, extension, left and right bending and rotation.

Despite the group’s findings, however, academics and practitioners are skeptical, with one specialist calling it “a horrible idea.” ...more
Sep
17
2008
Compounding drugs for animal patients is regulated by 50 different state boards of pharmacy and murky federal laws. Although compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are allowed when approved drugs are not available or suitable for the intended use.

Veterinarians should remember a few key things in order to stay safe and on the right side of the law.

Potency, safety, efficacy and bioavailability are not guaranteedCompounding from bulk chemicals is in a “regulatory void”Compounds may only be distributed to the patient for which they were prescribedCompounding to make a cheaper version of an approved drug that already exists is illegal Use a PCAB-accredited compounding pharmacy when possible ...more
Sep
3
2008
Despite a withering economic climate, most veterinarians say they are growing financially, according to a recent American Animal Hospital Association survey.

Of the 550 hospital directors who responded to an AAHA economic impact survey in July, 55.5 percent said their revenues increased in the first six months of 2008, as compared with the first half of last year. More than a quarter (28.4 percent) said revenue decreased, and 16.2 percent indicated that their revenues remained level.

Most respondents took time to add comments on their survey forms, which Albers saw as a sign that people are at least watching the economy closely.

“To me, it indicated a high level of interest in the issue,” said AAHA executive director John Albers.

Of the nearly 500 practices that left comments, 25 percent said they had, or were planning to, increase prices to help get through the downturn. More than 12 percent said they were cutting staff, and 26 percent said they were increasing marketing. Nearly 10 percent were planning to add services or facilities, and 15 percent said they were not making any changes at all. ...more
Sep
3
2008
Look out Usain Bolt, here comes SeSe, the red-eared slider.

OK, it’s not a fair comparison. Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter, and SeSe is a Chinese turtle. But both are Olympians and both won gold medals in their respective events. While Bolt was breaking records in Beijing, SeSe, owned by Kitty Wong, took gold in the turtle crawl at the first-ever Pet Olympics, held in Hong Kong over the last 10 weekends.

The Olympets, as it is called, was sponsored by PetMAX, a 50,000-square-foot pet-oriented supermall located in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. Opened in 2007, PetMAX is the first Hong Kong mall in which pets are allowed. It is home to nine pet specialty stores including spas, training and grooming services, and even an American dog-treat bakery.

PetMAX owner Howard Cheung said the goal of the competition was to complement the Beijing Olympics and promote proper care of companion animals. Money from the event was also donated to charity. ...more
Sep
3
2008
The shortage of rabies vaccine in the United States continues, and manufacturers of the vaccine are now requiring pass codes for new orders.

The supply of human rabies vaccine for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is severely limited and is now only available through Sanofi-Pasteur, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC issued a notice on its website in late August saying that the supply of human rabies vaccine for PEP is “being used at a higher rate than expected, which may affect the near-term availability of [the] vaccine.”

Originally, Sanofi-Pasteur was out of the vaccine, and Novartis was the only company that had any of the PEP vaccine available. But Novartis now says it will not accept new orders for RabAvert except under certain conditions.

Although Sanofi Pasteur has resumed shipping its IMOVAX vaccine, it is requiring medical care providers get a “pass code” from their rabies state health official in order to secure an order. The code will ensure that adequate local exposure assessment has taken place. ...more
Aug
20
2008
An anesthesia technician at the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center felt she could predict a dog’s level of pain based on acute radiation effects. This hunch eventually led to a study on pain scores as related to acute radiation scores (ARS).

“When the skin has a specific change, we found that in general, it would predict that the animal’s pain level would be increased within a few days,” said Susan LaRue, DVM, DACVS, DACVR, one of the authors of the study. “One of the main principles of pain management is not to let the pain become bad before you start medicating.  So now we have enough data to know when to start pain medication.”

The team also found that one scoring system was more useful than another when measuring radiation therapy-related pain. ...more
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