BSAVA Scientific Newsletter

April 2023

Welcome to the latest edition of the scientific newsletter. This newsletter is intended to help support an evidence-based approach to veterinary medicine and includes details of recently published research and relevant scientific news and events, covering a range of subject areas and small animal species. Please note that access to the full articles featured is not provided via this newsletter (unless the article is already open access).

We really want to make sure that these newsletters and interesting and valuable to you, so if you have any suggestions for content or features, please do not hesitate to get in touch at [email protected]

Featured article

Periodontal disease in cats under primary veterinary care in the UK: frequency and risk factors

Read the full blog post here

Female vet inspects a cat's teeth

A new study has identified periodontal disease as the most commonly diagnosed specific disorder in cats in the UK. The research assessed the demographic risk factors of periodontal disease and associations with common comorbid disorders in cats. The results can enable vets to predict periodontal disease and target screening and dental care at cats most at risk.

O’Neill DG, Blenkarn A, Brodbelt DC, Church BC, Freeman A (2023) Periodontal disease in cats under primary veterinary care in the UK: frequency and risk factors Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1098612X231158154

Journal Watch

1) Assessing owners' readiness to change their behaviour to address their companion animal's obesity

Frey E, Kedrowicz M, Hedgpeth MW (from Journal of Small Animal Practice)

Female vet with stethascope ispects golden-lab on table

Owner behaviour change in relation to management is critical for successful pet weight loss. The stages of change (SOC) can be used to conceptualise the process of intentional behaviour change. Clients may be more likely to make successful changes when practitioners use communication techniques appropriate for a client's current stage. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to assess pet owners’ SOC in relation to managing the weight of their overweight or obese pet. An online questionnaire targeting dog and cat owners was distributed via snowball sampling. A total of 532 questionnaires were included in the analysis. Of these, 153 participants (28.8%) self-identified their pet's body condition score (BCS) as greater than 5 (on a nine-point scale). An adapted University of Rhode Island Change Assessment scale was completed by 119 of these participants (77.8%) to assess their readiness to change related to managing their overweight or obese pet. Most participants were scored in the precontemplation (52.1%) and contemplation (42%) stages, where readiness to change is low. Owner assessments likely resulted in underestimation of pets’ BCS. The results offer preliminary insight into the SOC of owners who identify their pets as overweight or obese. Developing tools to assess and understand owners’ readiness to change may be useful in informing veterinary professionals’ communication approaches when engaging in weight management conversations.

2) An investigation into the detection of the pulse in conscious and anaesthetized dogs

Dagnall C, Wilson H, Khenissi L (from Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia)


To record the success rate of veterinary professionals and students at identifying the pulse in conscious and anaesthetized dogs. To explore the influence of clinical experience, pulse location, anaesthesia and likely confounding variables on the success of pulse palpation.

Study design

Prospective, observational, randomized study.


A total of 54 client-owned dogs scheduled for general anaesthesia.


For each dog, three participants (senior anaesthetist, anaesthesia resident/nurse, veterinary student/animal care assistant) attempted pulse palpation at three locations (femoral, radial and dorsal pedal pulse) in conscious and anaesthetized dogs. The time to pulse palpation was measured with a stopwatch for each attempt and data were modelled using a multivariate Cox regression survival analysis (significance p < 0.05).


The overall success rate of pulse palpation was 77%, with a median time of 10.91 seconds (interquartile range 9.09 seconds). Success rate was lower in conscious dogs (67%) than in anaesthetized dogs (87%). There was a 77% lower likelihood of success at the radial than at the femoral pulse [hazard ratio (HR) 0.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38–0.69, p < 0.001]. Veterinary students/animal care assistants had a 71% lower likelihood of success than senior anaesthetists (HR 0.29, 95% CI 0.22–0.39, p < 0.001). Age, weight and American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status had no significant influence. Premedication/anaesthetic drugs, heart rate or mean arterial pressure had no significant influence on the time to pulse palpation in anaesthetized dogs. The median time to palpation was less than 10 seconds for all experience groups at the femoral location.


Palpation of the femoral location had the greatest likelihood of success with the least amount of time. Monitoring the femoral pulse during induction of anaesthesia is suggested as a method for confirming spontaneous circulation. Pulse palpation improves with clinical experience. .

3) Recurrence rate of intervertebral disc disease in surgically treated French Bulldogs: a retrospective study (2009–2019)

Leu D, Vidondo B, Stein V, Forterre F (Open Access, from Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica)


Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common diagnosis and well-investigated pathological condition in French Bulldogs with neurological deficiencies. However there is currently only one recently published retrospective descriptive study looking for recurrence rates of IVDD in French Bulldogs. Medical reports of French Bulldogs with a first episode of IVDD and surgical treatment were evaluated and reviewed for clinical signs of recurrence. Risk factors for Total-Recurrence, Cervical- and Thoracolumbar-Recurrence were evaluated by means of logistic regression models. The aim of this study was to assess frequency and risk factors associated with the recurrence of IVDD in French Bulldogs.


One hundred twenty-seven French Bulldogs with a first episode of IVDD and surgical treatment were evaluated. 52.7% (67/127) of these patients showed signs of recurrence. The recurrence rate in the cervical spine was slightly lower (47%) compared to the thoracolumbar spine (56.6%). A significant association with recurrence could be found for the factor age: French Bulldogs with a first episode of IVDD ≤ 3 years seem to be prone for Total-Recurrence (P = 0.002) and Cervical-Recurrence (with ORs ranging from 0.02 to 0.03 for patients older than 3 years). 50% of the recurrences (median) occurred within the first 12 month after the first episode of IVDD.


Recurrence of IVDD can be expected in more than half of French Bulldogs affected by IVDD. Especially young French Bulldogs are prone for recurrence in cervical spine. Almost every fourth patient with IVDD suffers from a recurrence within 12 months. Future dog owners should be informed about the risk of IVDD and the early onset of recurrences in French Bulldogs.

4) Marsupialisation of 12 odontogenic cysts in Boxer dogs: Retrospective case series

Hasler J, Tundo I, Southerden P (Open Access, from Frontiers in Veterinary Science)

Boxer dog sat prudly on grass

Marsupialisation of odontogenic cysts is a minimally invasive treatment method used in human dentistry. Marsupialisation decompresses the cyst and promotes remodeling of alveolar bone and shrinkage of the cyst. In this retrospective study we look at the effectiveness of marsupialisation at reducing the size of odontogenic cysts in dogs. The case series consists of six Boxer dogs with 12 odontogenic cysts. Each case underwent a high resolution CT scan prior to treatment and at follow-up. Each CT scan was reviewed, the volume of each cyst calculated using manual segmentation and the reduction in cyst volume calculated. There was a marked reduction in cystic volume of 66.6% over a mean of 138 days. This shows that the use of marsupialisation effective method of reducing cyst volume.

Other news/resources

New Scientific Information Document on Brucella canis

BSAVA has produced a new Scientific Information Document on Brucella canis. Canine brucellosis is an emerging infectious disease in Europe. It is of particular concern in the UK where increasing numbers of dogs are imported from the EU, but it also has zoonotic potential. The new document provides relevant and easily accessible information to veterinary staff in small animal practice including transmission, diagnosis, management, public health implications and legislative requirements. You can read the document in the BSAVA Library.

Did you know that we have a selection of Scientific Information Documents on a range of other diseases and products?

You can read them here.

BSAVA PetSavers grant funding available

Woman holding cat with petsavers logo

Applications are open all year for student research project grants to support undergraduate student vets, vet nurses and bioveterinary students. Grants include a stipend of £200 per week for 6-10 weeks for projects undertaken outside of term time, up to £1200 for consumables, a student ticket and up to £100 travel bursary to attend a subsequent BSAVA Congress to present an abstract of the project. Find out more and how to apply here.

Newly awarded BSAVA PetSavers grants 

The following projects were awarded funding by the PetSavers grant awarding committee:

  • Master’s degree by research grant to SRUC/Edinburgh University for a project entitled Is IgA deficiency a feature of canine atopic dermatitis in small and medium sized dogs? (total funds = £39,365).
  • Undergraduate student research project grant to Cambridge University for the project Evaluation of plasma and urinary nucleosomes in dogs with urothelial carcinoma (total funds = £3,200).
  • Undergraduate student research project grant to Liverpool University for the project Validation and pathway analysis of biomarkers of canine cruciate ligament disease (total funds = £2,600).

PetSavers in print

These papers deriving from PetSavers-funded studies have recently been published:

  • A study by Dr Yuvani Bandara and colleagues investigated whether clinicopathological variables were associated with death due to gastrointestinal disease in cats with chronic inflammatory enteropathy (CIE). The research concluded that physical and laboratory variables measured at the time of histopathological diagnosis of CIE were not predictors of death due to gastrointestinal disease or length of survival, however, the attainment of clinical remission reduced the likelihood of subsequent death due to gastrointestinal disease. Outcome of chronic inflammatory enteropathy in cats: 65 cases (2011-2021). was published in the March issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP).
  • Research by Dr Jack Lawson and colleagues has successfully isolated feline urinary extracellular vesicles from store cat urine, and showed that the vesicles had differential protein expression between cats with normotensive chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hypertensive CKD. Urinary extracellular vesicles as a source of protein-based biomarkers in feline chronic kidney disease and hypertension. was published in the January issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP).

WSAVA’s Oncology Working Group creates Veterinary Oncology Glossary

WSAVA’s Oncology Working Group has created a glossary of terms commonly used in veterinary oncology, to give owners a clearer understanding of the diagnosis and management of their pet’s disease and to help them discuss it with their veterinarian from a more informed perspective. You can view the glossary here .

2023 WSAVA Awards Open for Nominations

The WSAVA is now accepting nominations for its 2023 Awards. These prestigious Awards recognise veterinary professionals from any background, generation or region of the world, who are creating positive change for companion animals and people. Nominations will close on 8th May 2023. To find out more and to nominate someone, see here.

BSAVA Research Notice Board

The BSAVA Research Notice Board is an area of the website which lists ongoing clinical research projects from BSAVA members. Projects are in-line with BSAVA values and mission to promote excellence in small animal practice through science. You can find details of how to get involved in current projects and how we can help you to promote your own research project here.

Upcoming Events

Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists

The AVA autumn meeting will be held in Warsaw, Poland, on 7th – 9th September 2023.

British Veterinary Dental Association

The BVDA Scientific Day and AGM will be held at Pool House Equine, Lichfield, on 19th May 2023.

The BVDA Practical Course 'Introduction to Composites', will be held at IM3 ACE Facility, Dublin, Ireland, on 28 – 29th July 2023.

British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association

The BVOA 60th anniversary autumn scientific meeting will be held on 12th-14th October 2023 at the Tower Hotel, London, with a theme of ‘Back to the future orthopaedics”.

British Veterinary Zoological Society

BVZS Conference 2023 will be in Aston, Birmingham, 3rd – 5th November 2023.

European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging

EVRA EVDI Joint Conference will be held in Dublin, Ireland, from 18th - 23rd June 2023.

VetEd 2023

VetEd 2023 will take place at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, on 6th – 7th July 2023.

World Small Animal Veterinary Association

48th WSAVA World Congress will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 27th – 29th September 2023.

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