BSAVA Scientific Newsletter

BSAVA Scientific Newsletter

Welcome to the September edition of the scientific newsletter. The scientific newsletter is an initiative from the BSAVA to help support an evidence-based approach to veterinary medicine and includes details of recently published research and relevant scientific news, 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).

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 for your help and contributions so far. 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

"Antimicrobial stewardship in companion animal practice: an implementation trial in 135 general practice veterinary clinics"

Antimicrobial stewardship programmes (ASPs) have been implemented in medical practice over the past decade to reduce selection pressure for the development of pathogens resistant to multiple drugs and improve antimicrobial prescribing. Large-scale implementation and assessment of antimicrobial stewardship programmes (ASPs) have not been reported. The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of implementation of a comprehensive antimicrobial stewardship package, compared with a control group (solely education), in 135 general veterinary practice clinics. Effectiveness was measured by comparison of total antimicrobial prescribing and high-importance antimicrobial prescribing pre-trial, during implementation period and post-implementation. A secondary aim of the study was to evaluate strategies to maximize implementation.

Hardefeldt LY, Hur B, Richards S, Scarborough R, Browning GF, Billman-Jacobe H, Gilkerson JR, Ierardo J, Awad M, Chay R and Bailey KE (2022) Antimicrobial stewardship in companion animal practice: an implementation trial in 135 general practice veterinary clinics. JAC -Antimicrobial Resistance , 4 (1).

Please read the full blog post here

Journal Watch

1) Diagnosis and management of nasopharyngeal stenosis in four guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus)

Knutson KA, Petritz OA, Sadar MJ, Cohen EB, Schachterle K and Chen S (from Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine)

Background: Respiratory disease is common in guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). As obligate nasal breathers, disease of the upper airway can result in significant dyspnea. Nasopharyngeal stenosis is defined as a luminal narrowing of the nasopharynx, which extends from the choana to the caudal margin of the soft palate. This condition can be acquired or congenital and has been diagnosed in other species. However, nasopharyngeal stenosis has not been previously described in guinea pigs.

Case descriptions: Four guinea pigs were presented with chronic, recurrent upper respiratory signs including stertor, oculonasal discharge, tachypnea, and dyspnea. All four animals had signs suggestive of upper respiratory tract disease on examination. Nasopharyngeal stenosis was identified at the rostral aspect of the nasopharynx at the level of the choana via computed tomography (CT) in all cases. Otitis media was also present in three of the four cases. Antibiotic therapy was instituted for all animals. Two of the four guinea pigs were treated with prednisolone and two were treated with meloxicam to control associated inflammation. One animal died 2 months after diagnosis due to complications from severe otitis media. One individual was euthanized due to progressive disease after a year and a half of treatment. One guinea pig was lost to follow up after 6 months. The remaining guinea pig was alive at the time this case series was written (11 months after initial diagnosis) but continues to have signs of upper airway disease.

Conclusions and case relevance: Nasopharyngeal stenosis is an important differential diagnosis for persistent upper respiratory signs in guinea pigs. CT was diagnostic in all cases, identifying nasopharyngeal stenosis at the level of the choana, and allowed identification of comorbidities (otitis media and rhinitis). Medical management resulted in survival times from 2 months to a year and a half following diagnosis. Further investigation into minimally invasive interventions such as balloon dilation and stent placement are warranted for future cases.

2) Demography, disorders and mortality of pet hamsters under primary veterinary care in the United Kingdom in 2016

O’Neill DG, Kim K, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, Pegram C and Baldrey V (from Journal of Small Animal Practice)

Background: Hamsters are popular pets worldwide but there is limited evidence on the overall health issues of pet hamsters. This study aimed to characterise the demography, disorder prevalence and mortality of pet hamsters in the United Kingdom.

Method: The VetCompass study included anonymised clinical records of 16,605 hamsters.

Results: The most common hamster species were Syrian (golden) (Mesocricetus auratus) (n=12,197, 73.45%), Djungarian (winter white dwarf) (Phodopus sungorus) (2286, 13.77%) and Roborovski hamsters (Phodopus roborovskii) (1054, 6.35%). The most prevalent precise-level disorders recorded across all hamsters were a presentation categorised as ‘wet tail’ (n=293, 7.33%), disorder undiagnosed (292, 7.30%), bite injuries from other hamsters (235, 5.88%), overgrown nail(s) (165, 4.13%), overgrown incisor(s) (159, 3.98%) and traumatic injury (152, 3.80%). The most prevalent disorders groups across all species of hamster were traumatic injury (n=616, 15.41%), enteropathy (450, 11.26%), ophthalmological disorder (445, 11.13%), skin disorder (362, 9.05%) and mass (361, 9.03%). The median age at death across all hamsters was 1.75years (interquartile range: 0.83 to 2.20, range: 0.01 to 3.65). The most common causes of death at a precise level were wet tail (7.88%, 95% confidence interval: 6.35 to 9.66), abdominal mass (6.40%, 95% confidence interval: 5.01 to 8.03), neoplasia (5.38%, 95% confidence interval: 4.11 to 6.90) and dyspnoea (3.99%, 95% confidence interval: 2.9 to 5.34).

Conclusion: This study provides veterinary professionals, educators, welfare scientists and owners with an evidence base on pet hamster health. A greater understanding of the common disorders of pet hamsters can support veterinary professionals to communicate more effectively with owners on key issues and outcomes to expect from hamster ownership.

3) Prazosin administration increases the rate of recurrent urethral obstruction in cats: 388 cases

Conway DS, Rozanski EA and Wayne AS (from Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association)

Objective:To determine if prazosin administration decreased the rate of recurrent urethral obstruction (rUO) before hospital discharge and within 14 days.

Animals:388 cats with urethral obstruction.

Procedures:Veterinarians who either always or never prescribed prazosin (generally, 0.5 to 1 mg, PO, q 12 h for 14 days) were recruited to complete observational surveys. Patient data and characteristics of relieving the obstruction, including perception of a gritty feel within urethra or difficulty unobstructing the cat, were recorded. The rate of development of rUO before hospital discharge and by day 14 was compared between cats that received or did not receive prazosin with the Fisher exact test. Other variables were similarly compared between cats with and without rUO.

Results:302 (78%) cats received prazosin, while 86 (22%) did not. There was no association between prazosin administration and risk of rUO prior to discharge, with 34 of 302 (11.3%) cats receiving prazosin and 5 or 86 (5.8%) not receiving prazosin developing rUO. Within 14 days, a significantly higher proportion of prazosin-treated cats (73/302 [24%]) developed an rUO, compared with the proportion of non–prazosin-treated cats (and 11/86 [13%]). The perception of a “gritty feeling urethra” or difficulty of performing the catheterization was associated with increased risk of rUO.

Clinical relevance:Prazosin administration increased the likelihood of rUO by 14 days; ongoing investigation of other therapies to decrease rUO in cats is warranted. Without specific indications, the use of prazosin for the prevention of rUO should be discouraged.

4) 2022 ISFM Consensus Guidelines on Management of the Inappetent Hospitalised Cat

Taylor S, Chan DL, Villaverde C, Ryan L, Peron F, Quimby J, O’Brien C AND Chalhoub S (from Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery)

Practical relevance:

Inappetence may have many origins and, as a presenting sign or observation in the hospitalised patient, is common in feline practice. Nutritional assessment of every patient is encouraged, to identify the need for, and appropriate type of, intervention indicated. The impact of malnutrition may be significant on the feline patient, perpetuating illness, delaying recovery, slowing wound healing and negatively impacting gut health and immunity. Delayed intervention may result in the cat’s deterioration; hence prompt control of contributing factors such as the underlying illness, pain, nausea, ileus and stress is vital to optimise voluntary food intake. Management is multimodal, comprising reduction of stress, medications and assisted nutrition in the form of tube feeding or parenteral nutrition. Use of antiemetic, analgesic, prokinetic and appetite stimulant medications may restore appetite, but placement of feeding tubes should not be delayed. Feeding tubes are generally well tolerated and allow provision of food, water and medication with minimal stress, although clinicians must be aware of complications such as stoma site infections and refeeding syndrome.

Clinical challenges:Cats are vulnerable to malnutrition owing to their unique metabolism and specific nutritional requirements. Moreover, their nature as a species means they are susceptible to stress in the hospital environment, which may result in reduced food intake; previous negative experiences may compound the problem. In particular, an inappropriate clinic environment and/or handling may cause or exacerbate inappetence in hospitalised patients, with negative impacts on recovery. Postponing interventions such as feeding tube placement to await improvement, owing to clinician or caregiver apprehension, may hinder recovery and worsen nutritional deficits.

Evidence base:The 2022 ISFM Consensus Guidelines on Management of the Inappetent Hospitalised Cat have been created by a panel of experts brought together by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM). Information is based on the available literature, expert opinion and the panel members’ experience.

Other news/resources: 

BSAVA PetSavers to offer increased grant funding

Next month sees the reopening of the BSAVA PetSavers clinical research project (CRP) grant call - with a difference!

PetSavers has increased the value of CRP grants, which now provide funding of up to £20,000 to cover a project lasting 1-3 years. These funds can be used to pay for research expenses and consumables, and as part of a new decision by the PetSavers management committee, up to 30% can now be used for research-specific staffing costs.

As part of the CRP grant portfolio, PetSavers is also delighted to offer a new grant specifically to support research into gall bladder mucoceles in Border terriers. Gall bladder mucoceles are characterised by the deposition of thick, gelatinous bile in the gall bladder lumen. Left undetected they can lead to rupture of the gall bladder, causing biliary peritonitis which can be fatal. This grant, of up to £30,000, is made possible by the very generous donation of £17,000 from Andrew and Wendy Mooney with additional funding from BSAVA PetSavers.

The grant call for joint-funded research in specialist areas of veterinary science also reopens next month. PetSavers offers grants of up to £10,000 for research in the fields of veterinary cardiovascular health (jointly funded by the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society), feline and/or canine medical conditions (jointly funded with SAMSoc) and pain management in companion animals (jointly funded by The Debs Foundation).

All of the above grants open on 1st October 2022 and will close on 31st January 2023, with a funding decision made in autumn 2023. Projects must not include work on experimental animals and should be undertaken within the UK.

For further information and to apply, please visit the PetSavers website

WSAVA to launch updated global pain guidelines

An updated version of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s (WSAVA’s) Global Pain Guidelines will be launched at the WSAVA World Congress 2022 (please see below for congress details). The Guidelines for the Recognition, Assessment and Treatment of Pain is undergoing peer-review prior to publication by the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP), the WSAVA’s official scientific journal. Post-congress, the guidelines will be made available for free download from the JSAP website once they have been accepted, as well as from the WSAVA website.

New RCVS guidance for routine veterinary practice 

On 1 July 2022 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) introduced new guidance for routine veterinary practice (RVP). The guidance introduces an obligation, to take effect from 1 September 2022, to obtain ethics review for all studies where one would be expected to obtain permission from the owner/keeper of an animal prior to being enrolled, or when consent is needed for use of previously collected samples or the use of data from an animal.

Please visit: the RCVS website.

For further advice please contact the Standards and Advice team via [email protected] or the Secretary to the RCVS Ethics Review Panel via [email protected]

The new guidance is highly relevant to applications for BSAVA PetSavers’ grants and has been incorporated in the Guidance for Grant Applicants of the website

New RCVS Knowledge Awards: Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) and Canine Cruciate Outcomes

Both awards are open for applications until the 13 January 2023. Further information can be found here and here.

RCVS Practice Standards Scheme – new sustainability requirements

The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) has published new environmental sustainability requirements, updates to current standards to incorporate sustainability and a new Environmental Sustainability Award, with the aim of encouraging and supporting the professions to lead the way in addressing the global climate crisis. These changes will be introduced on the following dates to allow time for implementation in veterinary practice:

  • The new Environmental Sustainability Award is available to apply for now with assessments starting from January 2023.
  • The social sustainability changes and other minor clarifications are effective immediately and will be assessed from October 2022
  • The new and amended Core Standards and General Practice level environmental sustainability standards will be effective from June 2023

Questions related to the updates can be sent to the PSS team at [email protected]

Upcoming Events: 

International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication

In September, Nicola Di Girolamo, Editor of the Journal of Small Animal Practice, will be attending the ninth International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication between September 8th – 10th 2022. He will be presenting a research study he has done on honorary authorship. Further information found here.

WSAVA World Congress 2022

The WSAVA World Congress 2022 is taking place between 29th and 31st October 2022. Please visit https://wsava2022.com/register/ for further information

European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic (British and Irish Division) Imaging Autumn Meeting

The Autumn Meeting of European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging - British and Irish Division (EAVDI-BID) will take place on Saturday 12th November 2022 at the Radcliffe Conference Centre, Warwick University. The programme will feature an interesting mix of lectures, clinical cases and abstracts on a mix of diagnostic imaging topics. Further information found here

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

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