BSAVA Scientific Newsletter

BSAVA Scientific Newsletter

Welcome to the first scientific newsletter - a new initiative from the BSAVA to help support an evidence-based approach to veterinary medicine. Sent quarterly, the scientific newsletter will include details of recently published research and relevant scientific news covering a range of subject areas and small animal species. Each newsletter will also include one ‘featured’ paper which will be discussed in more detail in an associated blog article. Please note that access to the full articles featured is not provided via this newsletter (unless the article is already open-access).

To ensure that we cover a diverse range of subject areas, we are working closely with our volunteers and affiliate groups to identify relevant resources of interest to the veterinary community. Thank you to everyone involved for your help and contributions so far – it is much appreciated. We really want to make sure that these newsletters are 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]

Luisa Dormer, Scientific Editor

Featured article

The Incidence of Radiographic Lesions of Endodontic Origin Associated With Uncomplicated Crown Fractures of the Maxillary Fourth Premolar in Canine Patients

A. E. Goodman, B. A. Niemiec, D. T. Carmichael, S. Thilenius, K. E. Lamb and E. Tozer (2020) The incidence of radiographic lesions of endodontic origin associated with uncomplicated crown fractures of the maxillary fourth premolar in canine patients. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, 37 (2), pp. 71-76. 

Fractured maxillary fourth premolar teeth are commonly diagnosed in canine patients. These fractures are subdivided into uncomplicated and complicated, depending on absence or presence of pulp exposure, respectively. Pulp injury associated with fractures can lead to pulpitis, pulp necrosis, and “lesions of endodontic origin” (LEO) on intraoral radiographs. The incidence of LEO associated with uncomplicated crown fractures (UCFs) of the maxillary fourth premolar in canine patients is currently unknown. We hypothesized that a significant number of UCFs of the maxillary fourth premolar would have LEO evident on intraoral radiographs. The purpose of this article was to identify this incidence and to illustrate the importance of radiographing these teeth. This was a retrospective study of 111 UCFs and 500 nonfractured (control) maxillary fourth premolars in domestic canine patients. The frequency of LEO was 24.3% (27/111) in the UCF population and 0% (0/500) in the control population (P < .0001). These findings are important because UCFs are sometimes ignored or considered insignificant, when in fact a large proportion of them have LEO, indicating periapical pathology. These results suggest that all UCFs be radiographed, even if there are no other abnormalities noted on clinical oral examination.

A paper to get your teeth into: see Alix Freeman's blog post about this article.

Journal Watch

1) Companion animal veterinarians’ and veterinary clients’ perceptions of information exchanged while communicating about blood tests

Janke N, Coe JB, Bernardo TM, Dewey CE and Stone EA (from Veterinary Record)

Background: Blood tests play a vital role in veterinary medicine, as they enable veterinarians to make decisions about their patients’ medical care and provide opportunities to engage clients in veterinary care. The objective of this study was to explore perspectives of veterinary clients and veterinarians on current reporting practices for blood tests ordered in companion animal practice. The type of information communicated and client information seeking behaviours were examined.

Methods: Two online surveys were distributed using snowball sampling: one targeting veterinary clients and one targeting veterinarians.

Results: In total, 529 veterinary client and 416 veterinarian surveys were included in analyses. Significant differences were found between what blood test information veterinarian respondents felt they provided clients and what client respondents perceived they received with regard to their pet’s blood tests. Almost 60% of clients somewhat or strongly agreed that they search the Internet if they do not understand why a test was ordered or what the results mean. Half of clients reported that they never receive a written report of their pet’s blood work, 81% of whom were interested in receiving a copy.

Conclusion: Results of this research demonstrate opportunities to improve veterinarians’ and clients’ communication about blood tests.

2) Prevalence of commonly diagnosed disorders in UK dogs under primary veterinary care: results and applications

O’Neill DG, James H, Brodbelt DC, Church DB and Pegram C (from BMC Veterinary Research)

Background: Although dogs are a commonly owned companion animal in the UK, the species experiences many health problems that are predictable from demographic information. This study aimed to use anonymised veterinary clinical data from the VetCompass™ Programme to report the frequency of common disorders of dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK during 2016 and to explore effects associated with age, sex and neuter status.

Results: From an available population of 905,543 dogs under veterinary care at 886 veterinary clinics during 2016, the current study included a random sample of 22,333 (2.47 %) dogs from 784 clinics. Prevalence for each disorder was calculated at the most refined level of diagnostic certainty (precise-level precision) and after grouping to a more general level of diagnostic precision (grouped-level precision). The most prevalent precise-level precision disorders recorded were periodontal disease (prevalence 12.52 %, 95 % CI: 12.09–12.97), otitis externa (7.30 %, 95 % CI: 6.97–7.65) and obesity (7.07 %, 95 % CI: 6.74–7.42). The most prevalent grouped-level disorders were dental disorder (14.10 %, 95 % CI: 13.64–14.56), skin disorder (12.58 %, 95 % CI: 12.15–13.02) and enteropathy (10.43 %, 95 % CI: 10.04–10.84). Associations were identified for many common disorders with age, sex and neuter.

Conclusions: The overall findings can assist veterinarians and owners to prioritise preventive care and to understand demographic risk factors in order to facilitate earlier diagnosis of common disorders in dogs. The information on associations with age, sex and neuter status provides additional contextual background to the complexity of disorder occurrence and supports targeted health controls for demographic subsets of dogs.

3) A randomised controlled trial to reduce highest priority critically important antimicrobial prescription in companion animals

Singleton DA, Rayner A, Brant B, Smyth S, Noble P-JM, Radford AD and Pinchbeck GL (from Nature Communications)

Robust evidence supporting strategies for companion animal antimicrobial stewardship is limited, despite frequent prescription of highest priority critically important antimicrobials (HPCIA). Here we describe a randomised controlled trial where electronic prescription data were utilised (August 2018–January 2019) to identify above average HPCIA-prescribing practices (n = 60), which were randomly assigned into a control group (CG) and two intervention groups. In March 2019, the light intervention group (LIG) and heavy intervention group (HIG) were notified of their above average status, and were provided with educational material (LIG, HIG), in-depth benchmarking (HIG), and follow-up meetings (HIG). Following notification, follow-up monitoring lasted for eight months (April–November 2019; post-intervention period) for all intervention groups, though HIG practices were able to access further support (i.e., follow-up meetings) for the first six of these months if requested. Post-intervention, in the HIG a 23.5% and 39.0% reduction in canine (0.5% of total consultations, 95% confidence interval, 0.4-0.6, P = 0.04) and feline (4.4%, 3.4-5.3, P < 0.001) HPCIA prescribing consultations was observed, compared to the CG (dogs: 0.6%, 0.5-0.8; cats: 7.4%, 6.0-8.7). The LIG was associated with a 16.7% reduction in feline HPCIA prescription (6.1% of total consultations, 5.3-7.0, P = 0.03). Therefore, in this trial we have demonstrated effective strategies for reducing veterinary HPCIA prescription.

4) Factors affecting survival to discharge in 53 cats diagnosed with uroabdomen: a single-centre retrospective analysis

Hornsey SJ, Halfacree Z, Kulendra E, Parker S and Kulendra N (from Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery)

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess outcomes in cats diagnosed with uroabdomen at a single referral centre 

Methods: Fifty-three cats diagnosed with uroabdomen at a veterinary teaching hospital were identified between June 2003 and September 2016. Data collected included signalment, presenting signs, aetiology, location of rupture, presence of uroliths and packed cell volume (PCV)/creatinine/potassium levels at presentation. Cats managed medically and surgically were included, and the use of urinary catheters, cystotomy tubes and abdominal drains were recorded. It was determined if patients survived to discharge or if they were euthanized or died. 

Results: Seventy-four percent (n = 39) of cats survived to discharge. Elevations in creatinine (P = 0.03) were shown to be significantly correlated with survival to discharge. Sex, age, location of rupture, presence of uroliths, outcome of urine culture, presence of concurrent injury, potassium at presentation and PCV at presentation were not associated with survival to discharge. There was no difference in survival between cats that were medically or surgically managed.

Conclusions and relevance: Cats that develop uroabdomen have a good chance of survival. Electrolyte and biochemistry values should be assessed at the time of presentation, in addition to the presence of concurrent injury.

Other news/resources: 

Captive breeding of hedgehogs

A joint statement on captive breeding of hedgehogs in response to population decline has been developed by a number of organisations, including BVZS, RSPCA, BWRC and Secret World Wildlife Rescue. Further information can be found on the Secret World Wildlife Rescue website. Any questions relating to this position should be sent to BWRC’s steering committee.

‘Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist’ from Vet Sustain now available

If you want to take the first steps in becoming ‘green’ at your workplace then the GVP Checklist could be a good starting point. It outlines the fundamental principles for reducing the environmental impact of clinical work and promoting environmental and social sustainability for future success in an engaging, achievable and motivating approach. The Checklist is a downloadable resource available on the Vet Sustain website covering topics from resource efficiency to waste reduction, responsible medicines use, team engagement and staff wellbeing.

BSAVA PetSavers’ Master’s Degrees by Research: open for applications 

Applications have just opened for the next round of PetSavers’ Master’s Degrees by Research grants. Up to £40,000 of funding is available for a postgraduate student to work full-time for 1 year on a specific research project in companion animal health. The money includes a postgraduate student stipend at UKRI standard rates, payment of university fees, and equipment and consumables up to £10,000. 

Academic supervisors are welcome to apply for funding which either names the research student or before advertising for a prospective student. Projects should not include work on experimental animals and should be undertaken within the UK. 

The closing date is 31st August 2021. For further information, please visit the PetSavers website

BSAVA Research Board 

The BSAVA research 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 current projects and how to get involved here


The BSAVA Scientific Newsletter is sent quarterly by email to BSAVA members .

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