March 2020 Research Roundup

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


Effectively Fighting Biofilm Infections

Using an expanded set of chemical compounds with common antibiotics significantly reduces bacterial load in biofilm infections, according to research co-authored by Lauren Schnabel and Jessica Gilberte.

The research, published in ChemBioChem, shows that 5-benzylidene-4-oxazolidinones works synergistically with antibiotics to eradicate Staphylococcus aureus biofilms that are seen in chronic and recurring infections.

There are increasing numbers of bacterium showing resistance to antibiotics, and there is a lack of effective treatment options for many biofilms. The research is a first step in the development of novel treatments for types of biofilms in both humans and animals.

Read the study here.


Identifying Risks for Fatal Spine Disease

A study published in BMC Veterinary Research pinpoints risk factors for dogs developing progressive myelomalacia (PMM), an often fatal condition associated with intervertebral disc extrusion (IVDE).

The retrospective study of 197 dogs shows that disc herniation at the level of lumbar swelling is significantly connected to the development of spinal cord PMM, for which there is currently no effective treatment. The study also found that the use of corticosteroids and prompt surgical decompression may be protective against the condition.

The research’s authors include Peter Early, Karen Muñana, Christopher Mariani and Natasha Olby.

Read the study here.


Evaluating Joint Disease in Cats

A checklist devised by Margaret Gruen, Duncan Lascelles and Masataka Enomoto provides a new clinical approach to identifying cats likely to have pain associated with degenerative joint disease (DJD).

Using data from cats with and without DJD, researchers designed and tested a first-of-its-kind set of six behavioral and mobility questions, easily answered in cooperation with pet owners, to screen for the highly prevalent condition.

DJD is associated with pain, impaired mobility and decreased quality of life. It remains underdiagnosed and undertreated in cats. The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery published the research.

Read the study here.

Gregory Lewbart (third from left in khaki hat) with CVM students in the Galápagos in 2018.


Setting Health Parameters for Galápagos Birds

For the first time, general health data for the Galápagos shearwater seabird has been established in a study co-authored by Greg Lewbart and Diane Deresienski.

The research, published in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, outlines hematology, blood chemistry and basic health parameters for the species, which is endemic to the Galápagos archipelago. The results provide baseline information that can be used for comparisons among populations and in detecting changes in health status among shearwaters.

Read the study here.


Categorizing Disease Infection Recurrence in Dogs

Recurrent infection with chronic Bartonella spp. is possible after Rickettsia rickettsia infection in dogs, according to a new study exploring the dynamics of exposure to the vector-borne diseases in a controlled setting for the first time.

The research also supports the possibility of direct-contact transmission of infection between dogs. The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published the study, with authors including Ed Breitschwerdt, Gabriel McKeon, Keith Linder, Ricardo Maggi and Erin Lashnits.

Read the study here.


Outlining Global Threat of Multidrug-resistant Disease

A study identifying Salmonella isolates from chicken farms in Uganda highlights the risk of the growing occurrence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) forms of bacterial diseases.

The research, published in PLoS One with authors including Paula Cray, Sid Thakur, Hongyu Ru and Takiyah Ball, outlines Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli serovars carrying resistant genes in dairy cattle farms in the Wakiso District of Uganda. It also presents the sequence types of 51 Salmonella isolates recovered from 379 environmental samples.

The study is another reminder that multidrug-resistant Salmonella poses risks to animals and humans and notes that a robust surveillance system will aid in monitoring MDR zoonotic threats.

Read the study here.


~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine