April 2019 Research Roundup

A look at some of the latest published research studies coming from the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine this month …


Improving the Health of Shelter Kittens

Treatment for diarrhea using vitamin and mineral supplements improves survival of orphan shelter kittens, according to a new study co-authored by Jody Gookin and Maria Correa.

Diarrhea is one of the most common health problems of kittens, with infectious causes of diarrhea accounting for more than half of shelter kitten deaths. The study, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, notes that applying the findings will help refine treatment interventions within shelter resources.

Read the study here.


Test Parameters for Dogs with SARDS

Research pinpoints significant factors that differentiate dogs with early sudden acquired retinal degeneration, or SARDS, from dogs with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism.

The study, published in Veterinary Ophthalmology, notes several test parameters for distinguishing between the two conditions. Dogs with SARDS all had absent vision, along with significantly thicker inner retinas, thinner outer nuclear layers and thicker photoreceptor inner/outer segment measurements than dogs with PDH.

The work could extend the potential window for treating SARDS, the leading cause of incurable canine loss, and may lead to early referral to an ophthalmologist before total vision loss. Study co-authors include Freya Mowat, Katharine Lunn and Annie Oh.

Read the study here.


Predicting Florfenicol in Cattle

A new model successfully predicts concentrations of the drug florfenicol and its residue following different types of administration in cattle, vital information that improves food safety for humans.

The model accurately predicts the concentration of florfenicol and it’s metabolic, florfenicol amine, in tissues, plasma and serum. Ronald Baynes co-authored the study.

Florfenicol treats respiratory diseases in cattle. Excessive antibiotic residues in animal tissue can impact human health, including effects such as allergic reactions and gastrointestinal disturbances. The research is published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Read the study here.


Communicating Updates with Pet Owners

Pet owners prefer more updates from their veterinarian when they have a pet in the hospital, according to one of the findings of a study looking into pet owner perceptions of veterinary communication practices.

Responding anonymously to an online survey developed by researchers, about 76% of owners report receiving updates from a veterinary clinic, with most getting updates once per day. The number of updates owners received, regardless of how long their animal was in the hospital, is lower than they would have preferred, the study notes. Most survey respondents prefer updates every two to three hours or four to six hours.

The study also finds that nearly 54% of respondents are willing to pay a premium for more updates, and many pet owners would prefer text messages over telephone calls for updates. Regina Schoenfeld co-authored the research, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

Read more here.


Vaccinating Breeder Hens for Enterococcus cecorum

Vaccinating breeder hens with a polyvalent-killed vaccine for pathogenic Enterococcus cecorum does not protect offspring from enterococcal spondylitis, a disease that’s devastating the worldwide broiler chicken industry, according to a new study.

The study’s findings, published in Avian Pathology and co-authored by Luke Borst, Mitsu Suyemoto, Lauren Chen and John Barnes, suggest that strains of E. cecorum possess virulence mechanisms that complicates vaccine development for the broilers pathogen.

Strains of E. cecorum cause outbreaks of spinal infection and paralysis. The disease it causes, enterococcal spondylitis, is known as “kinky-back” because it leads to free thoracic vertebra infections.

Read the study here.


A One Health Approach to Leptospirosis

An investigation into leptospirosis in Brazil showcases how a One Health approach to studying the bacterial disease furthers understanding of its distribution, can guide public health and help refine agricultural practices.

The study investigates serogroups of leptospira, the bacteria that causes the disease, and their distributions among humans and animals in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. It notes regions with large distributions of both animal and human cases in 22 different serogroups.

The work, co-authored by Gustavo Machado and published in Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, also suggest a need for a human vaccine in high-risk populations to complement control and prevention efforts.

One Health is the concept that the health of the environment, animals and people are intrinsically linked. Leptospirosis most commonly seen in rodents but can lead to infection in domesticated species such as dogs. It can lead to difficulty breathing and internal bleeding. It spreads to humans through direct contact with the urine of infected animals.

Read more here.


Adding Fatty Acids to Neonatal Pig Diets

Enriching neonatal pig diets with a type of fatty acid may enhance innate immunologic response to respiratory challenges, according to research co-authored by Tobias Kaeser.

The study, published in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, found that integrating arachidonic acid into piglet food helps trigger inflammatory mediation. Further study is needed on long-term safety and economic viability.

Despite the widespread use of vaccines and antibiotics, respiratory infections challenge the swine industry.

Read more here.


Treating Equine Fungal Keratitis

Treatment of equine fungal keratitis, an inflammatory eye disease, with antifungal agents likely requires accurate fungal species identification, new research finds.

The study used DNA sequence analysis of fungal isolates from multiple cases of equine fungal keratitis to identify species and determine associations with antifungal susceptibility, therapeutic response and clinical outcome. Multiple differing associations between fungal species and types of keratitis show the importance of identifying fungi on the species level rather than the genus level. Fungal keratitis, a severe disease resulting from invasive fungal growth into the cornea, can lead to blindness or eye loss in horses. Human fungal keratitis incidence has increased in recent decades.

PLoS One published the study co-authored by Brian Gilger, Megan Jacob and Megan Cullen.

Read the study here.