March 2019 Research Roundup

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



Pirfenidone, an antifibrotic used to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, has the potential to decrease fibrosis following canine glaucoma shunt surgery, according to a new study.

The study, published in Veterinary Ophthalmology, found pirfenidone resulted in thinner fibrous capsules in the eyes of beagles and found minimal side effects, suggesting it could potentially be used indefinitely as a treatment.

The findings also show pirfenidone may help decrease scar tissue formation after glaucoma shunt placement in dogs, potentially prolonging shunts’ lifespans.

Seven at the CVM co-authored the study, including Hans Westermeyer, Freya Mowat and Ronald Baynes.

Read the study here.


Canine Papiollomavirus

A study is the first report integration of a canine papillomavirus into the host genome, raising the possibility it may be a canine high-risk papillomavirus type.

Jennifer Luff and Michelle Mader were part of the research team that sequenced the viral genome of canine papillomavirus 16, from a pigmented viral plaque that progressed to metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in a dog. The sequencing method identified viral deletions, translocations and four sites of viral integration. Papillomavirus Research will publish the study.

Read the study here.



A type of interferon lambda type III, the antiviral agent IFN-λ3, is a key epithelial defense mechanism against Cryptosporidium parvum infection, according to new research.

The study, with authors including Jody Gookin, Sylvia Ferguson, Derek Foster and Barbara Sherry, found that priming intestinal epithelial cells with the interferon type promoted cellular defense against infection. It also halted the C. parvum-induced loss of barrier function by decreasing paracellular permeability to sodium.

Epithelial response is critical for intestinal defense against Cryptosporidium, but is not well understood. The parasite causes intestinal tract disease. The study is published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Read the study here.


Mcr-1-harboring Salmonella enterica serovar Schwarzengrund

A study co-authored by Sid Thakur is the first report of mcr-1-harboring Salmonella enterica serovar Schwarzengrund isolated from meat in Brazil.

Researchers screened samples of Brazilian poultry, an important reservoir of mobilized colistin resistance-1-harboring E. coli worldwide, though poultry associated mcr-1-positive Salmonella enterica is less frequently reported.

Colistin is an antibiotic used in human and veterinary medicine primarily to treat bacterial infections. A recent rise of colistin resistance and rapid spread of mcr-1-harboring pathogens from humans and animals are a major public health issue, according to the study.

Salmonella strain Schwarzengrund has been reported as an emerging pathogen in Asia, Denmark and the United States since early 2000. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease is publishing the research.

Read the study here.


Mitochondrial Arrhythmic Cardiomyopathy

Researchers have identified a new genetic variant associated with a mitochondrial arrhythmic cardiomyopathy in canines.

Kate Meurs, Natashia Olby and Julia Condit
are co-authors on the study, which located a variant in the QIL1 gene associated with familial cardiac arrhythmias in a Rhodesian ridgeback.

The research, published in Genes, provides a model to study the development and progression of the disease, as well as the impact of medical management on mitochondrial dysfunction.

Read the study here.


Body Temperature in Galapagos Land Iguanas

A non-invasive method has been proven useful for approximating body temperature in Galapagos land iguanas, important data for monitoring the health of the vulnerable animal and other similar-sized lizard species.

The study, co-authored by Greg Lewbart, is one of the few to evaluate the use of infrared temperature guns to measure body temperatures of reptiles. The infrared procedure quickly tests three areas of the animal’s body. The procedure was useful for approximating body temperature for the 52 land iguanas in the study.

Since cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic systems of reptiles are affected by temperature, accurate measurements are of great importance in both captive husbandry and research, according to the study published in PeerJ.

Read the study here.


Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography

Handheld spectral domain optical coherence tomography, or SD-OCT, is feasible to use for equine corneal disease imaging and may help determine the depth and extent of corneal lesions, according to new research.

The study, co-authored by Brian Gilger, Erin Barr and Allison Blanchard, used SD-OCT on 14 horses between 2013 and 2018. In horses with corneal ulcers, stromal abscesses and immune-mediated keratitis, SD-OCT helped determine the location of the disease in the cornea and if there was a disruption of Descemet’s membrane within the cornea.

In horses with neoplasia, SD-OCT helped determine whether the cornea has neoplastic invasion from anterior chamber masses.

Corneal diseases are the most common ocular diseases in horses, and it remains challenging in some cases to render an accurate diagnosis and determine the extent of the disease. Veterinary Ophthalmology published the study.

Read the study here.


Doxorubicin Infusion

Doxorubicin infusion duration did not influence the cardiotoxicity incidence, according to new research on the chemotherapy drug.

In the study of dogs who received Doxorubicin, or DOX, between 2006 to 2015, about 4 percent developed clinical cardiotoxicity.

A higher cumulative DOX dose, along with higher body weight, decreases in fractional shortening after five DOX doses and development of ventricular premature contractions were significantly associated with clinical cardiotoxicity.

The study, with co-authors including Steven Suter and Paul Hess and published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, noted that boxers and other breeds at high risk for dilated cardiomyopathy may be at an increased risk for cardiotoxicity.

Read the study here.