ACVIM: Rendezvous With the Best in Veterinary Medicine

Montreal, Canada. Excellence in veterinary medicine knows no borders was the theme of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Convention, June 3 to 6 at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal. Presenters offered the latest news in veterinary medicine.

Here are just a few highlights:

Dr. Stephen Withrow, veterinary oncologist and director of the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University studies bone cancer, and increasingly he’s sharing his knowledge with human pediatric oncologists. That’s a good thing since bone cancer " which is common in larger dogs " is pretty much the same as bone cancer in children.

Withrow discovered that following a surgical procedure, called limb sparring, dogs who developed infections actually lived longer than those who had no infection following surgery. Alerting colleagues in human medicine, pediatric oncologists studied the issue and reported the same is true for children. Withrow says presumably it’s because infections stimulate the humane system to kick in. As a result of this research, children are given an immunostimulator drug following a limb sparing surgery, and lives are spared.

Several speakers addressed the increasingly controversial issue: What do I feed my cat? Many discussed the relationship of what people ultimately feed cats to a potential link to disease. Dr. Debra Zoran, an internal medicine specialist at Texas A & M University College of Veterinary Medicine, College Station, explained that cats don’t require any carbohydrates, dogs actually don’t either. Cats receiving carbs may potentially derive more energy than they produce, causing obesity. And obesity may cause diabetes and other problems. Rather than dealing with those problems, preventing obesity in the first place is the best course of action. She noted commercially canned diets generally are lowest carbohydrates. According to Zoran, most cats should be fed some (50 percent is a starting point) canned food as part of their diet throughout their lives " both to reduce the carbs in their diet, but also to better control calories (dry foods are very calorie dense), as well as to increase the amount of water consumed daily.

Furthermore, eating canned food is a learned behavior, Zoran noted. If canned food is part of a kittens’ diet, they will more readily eat canned food as an adult (for example, when they need canned food for a urinary disease or renal disease diet later in life). An important follow up point to remember about all diets is that calories count. You cannot free choice feed (leaving food out all the time) for most indoor cats " even with high protein diets " because they simply eat too much.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the approval of Palladia (toceranib phosphate) on the first day of the conference; this is the first drug developed specifically for the treatment of cancer in dogs. Palladia is approved to treat canine mast cell tumors, a type of cancer responsible for about 20 percent of canine skin tumors. The drug is approved to treat the tumors with or without regional lymph node involvement.

All other cancer drugs now used in veterinary medicine originally were developed for use in people. While canine mast cell tumors often appear small and insignificant, they can be a very serious form of cancer in dogs. Some mast cell tumors are easily removed without the development of any further problems, while others can lead to life threatening diseases. Palladia works in two ways: by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor.

Internal medicine specialists Dr. Cythnia Ward and Alexis Cistol, from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens are moving forward with development of a means to continuously track glucose in diabetic dogs and cats using a wireless sensor.

Feline Interstitial Cystitis (FIC) is among the most common explanation for cats “”missing their boxes,”” according to Dr. Tony Buffington, professor Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He notes that while the problem may resolve on its own within a few days, as many as half of these cats will have another episode within 12 months. It is not yet possible to determine which cats will relapse, but the best therapy seems to be enriching the cats environment, making life more interesting and at the same time lessening conflict with other cats (or any other pets) in the house.

Internal medicine specialist Dr. Carol Norris, assistant professor small animal medicine, University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Columbia, studied the possibility that Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can help cats with asthma. Her research shows there was no significant effect. Serotonin is an important mediator in the immediate type I hypersensitivity reaction in cats with asthma. A drug trial using a common dose of the serotonin antagonist cyproheptadine did not reduce airway eosinophilia (abnormally high amounts of eosinophils are found in asthma patients) compared with placebo; although overall airway hyperreactivity was not significantly reduced with treatment, individual cats (2 of 6) did have decreased airway hyperresponsiveness or less of an allergic response.

©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services


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