January 2020 Research Roundup

A look at some of the latest published research from the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.


Refining Canine Skin Allergy Treatment

The antihistamine oral cetirizine effectively prevents allergic skin reactions in dogs without adverse side effects, while oral diphenhydramine shows no inhibitory effects, according to a study co-authored by Mark Papich.

The research, published in Veterinary Dermatology, is the first to offer strong clinical evidence of whether or not diphenhydramine can help prevent mast cell degranulation and histamine release in immediate- and late-phase canine allergic reactions.

Read the study here.


Combating Equine Infectious Arthritis

Animal and human infectious arthritis is difficult to treat, but new research shows using platelet-rich plasma lysate holds significant promise in decreasing infection rates and death associated with the condition.

Using an in vitro equine model, researchers found that platelet-rich plasma lysate, or PRP-L, displays general antibiofilm properties and restores antimicrobial activity against biofilms in synovial fluids found in bone joints. The study concludes that PRP-L could be used to develop more effective antimicrobial treatment regimens for the disease.

Authors of the study, published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research, include joint senior author Lauren Schnabel, Jessica Gilbertie, Alicia Schubert and Megan Jacob..

Read the study here.


Antimicrobial Resistance in N.C. Farms

A study on pathogens found within North Carolina and Tennessee farms shows the potential of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli transmission between animal feeding operations and fresh produce.

The research, led by Sid Thakur and co-authored by Ayanna Glaize, found that 55% of detected E. coli on the studied farms were multidrug-resistant and transmission occurred primarily during summer months. It is the first published research of E. coli transmission on commercial sustainable farms in two states.

Ten isolates taken from samples of manure, the environment and produce sources were identified as E. coli serotype 045, frequently associated with foodborne outbreaks. Further research on farm pathogen interactions is needed to prevent transmission within sustainable farming operations.

The International Journal of Food Microbiology published the research.

Read the study here.

NC State University's Dr. Natasha Olby works with a colleage at the University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Photo by Marc Hall/NC State University

A new study from Natasha Olby, left, aims to standardize canine gait measurement.


Standardizing Canine Gait Measurement

Different types of gait scores assessing the movement of dogs with spinal cord injuries can be used reliably by international researchers, with certain types of standardized gait scales working more effectively than others, according to a study led by Natasha Olby.  

The research, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, compared gait assessment scales in dogs with injuries resulting from intervertebral disc herniation. The results showed that two types of scales — the Texas SCI Scale and Open Field Scale — better captured recovery rates of ambulatory dogs. The study concluded that a variety of scales can be used in multicenter trials to capture outcomes in different ways.

Naturally occurring thoracolumbar spinal cord injury is common in dogs and veterinary studies identify therapies for both animals and humans.

Read the study here.


Horse Breeds and Insulin Dysregulation

Compared with thoroughbreds, paso fino horses exhibit evidence of insulin dysregulation, a risk factor for developing equine endocrinopathic laminitis, according to a study authored by Betta Breuhaus and published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

The research noted higher serum insulin concentrations and greater insulin response to glucose in paso finos compared with thoroughbreds. Obesity exaggerated paso fino insulin dysregulation. Glucose dynamics were not different between moderate-weight paso finos and thoroughbreds.

The findings support the theory that certain horse breeds may be genetically predisposed to developing insulin dysregulation. Laminitis, inflammation of the hoof, is a common and painful condition in horses and leads to lameness. Conditions associated with endocrinopathic laminitis include equine metabolic syndrome and equine Cushing’s disease.

Read the study here.


Potential Pig Model for Human Esophagitis

A study has linked pigs with food allergies to esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophagus, suggesting that swine may be useful models to study the condition in humans.

Researchers observed esophagitis with components of eosinophilia, a high number of a type of white blood cells, in young pigs allergic to hen egg white protein. Esophagitis with eosinophilia, inflammation and fibrosis is a chronic condition for humans with food allergies.

Anthony Blikslager, Tobias Kaeser and Luke Borst contributed to the study, published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.

Read the study here.


Babesia Infection in a Polar Bear

For the first time, an infection with the parasite species Babesia has been reported in a polar bear.

The parasite was found in a blood sample of a euthanized 28-year-old polar bear that had been housed in a New York zoo, though it is not clear if the infection directly contributed to the polar bear’s declining health.

Researchers note that wildlife managers and zoos exhibiting polar bears in tick-endemic areas should be aware of the species’ susceptibility to Babesiosis. Tick-borne Babesia species impact livestock and wild animals and can cause a human disease similar to malaria.

Adam Birkenheuer and Brittany Thomas are among the authors of the study, published in Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports.

Read the study here.

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine