May 2019 Research Roundup

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


Equine Asthma Syndrome in Southeastern U.S. Adult Horses

A study from Katie Sheats and Kaori Davis is believed to be the first to use bronchoalveolar lavage cytology to diagnose and monitor the equine asthma syndrome phenotype in pastured adult horses.

The research, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, used BAL cytology to explore the prevalence of the condition in a herd of teaching horses with no history of respiratory disease. The research also took note of how seasonal changes impact EAS rates. EAS, a non-infectious, common inflammatory respiratory disease takes mild and moderate forms.

The results will help inform discussions about EAS in pastured adult horses in the American Southeast.

Read the study here.

Treatment Approaches for Canine Vertebral Osteosarcoma

Definitive radiation therapy has significant potential to improve survival rates of dogs treated with palliative decompressive surgery for vertebral osteosarcoma, according to research co-authored by Peter Early.

The study, published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, aimed to determine survival time for dogs with vertebral OSA, the most common canine primary vertebral tumor, after decompressive surgery alone and combined with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. The results suggest that radiation, possibly with concurrent chemotherapy, should be the treatment of choice in selected cases. Data on survival and treatment of vertebral osteosarcoma is extremely limited.

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in dogs, making up about 80 to 85% of all primary malignant bone tumors.

Read the study here.


Mastering Ophthalmoscopy Techniques in Veterinary Education

A new, versatile ophthalmoscopy teaching model developed at the NC State College of Veterinary of Medicine led to noticeable gains in student proficiency in the important examination technique, according to a study co-authored by Hans Westermeyer, Gail Druley, Kenneth Royal and Freya Mowat.

Researchers constructed a simple, inexpensive ocular fundus model for first-year students to practice ophthalmoscopy, a common examination vital to evaluating the health of various parts of the eye. Students who used the model reported it as both easy and enjoyable to use and eventually led to discernable increases in proficiency in exam techniques.

The study, published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, notes that learning to perform ophthalmoscopy is difficult, with previous studies suggesting that less than half of medical students are confident in ophthalmoscopy skills. Ophthalmoscopy aids in early diagnosis of diseases, including fungal infections, systemic hypertension and tick-borne illnesses.

Read the study here.


Vector-Borne Pet Diseases in Latin America

A review on the occurrence of companion vector-borne diseases in pets in Latin America finds a wide distribution of such diseases in the region, suggestion the strong need for pathogen transmission prevention approaches.

Ricardo Maggi led the comprehensive look at the CVBDs, which have a major impact on pet welfare and represent a risk to humans because they are transmitted from animals to people. They cause conditions such as cat-scratch fever, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Information on the occurrence of CVBDs in Latin America, which has one of the largest biodiversities in the world, is often limited or non-existent. The study, published in Parasites & Vectors, suggests that a multi-pronged treatment approach, including implementing ectoparasiticide drugs and ingraining behavioral changes, is vital to addressing the problem.

Read more here.


Eye Lesions in Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles

Sea turtles that are cold-stunned, a hypothermic reaction to prolonged cold water exposure, commonly have ocular lesions, according to a study of 164 turtles between 2016 and 2018.

The study, co-authored by Hans Westermeyer, Craig Harms, Emily Christiansen and Melissa Lively, found that 47.5% of turtles examined had ocular or periocular lesions. The most common ocular lesion was superficial corneal ulceration. All of the sea turtles in the study were evaluated in North Carolina rehabilitation centers over two cold stun seasons.

Some of the lesions may lead to blindness or require appropriate care, according to the research published in Veterinary Ophthalmology. Researchers recommend that evaluations of cold-stunned turtles should include complete ophthalmic exams.

Read the study here.