BSAVA Scientific Newsletter

BSAVA Scientific Newsletter

Welcome to the final scientific newsletter of 2021! 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

"Dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel reduces fear and anxiety in dogs during veterinary visits: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical pilot study"

Despite recent increased attention to improving the experience for pets and their caregivers during visits to veterinary clinics, many dogs still show signs of being fearful and/or anxious when visiting the practice. Such behaviour by patients can impede a thorough veterinary examination and increase risk of injury to staff and owners. Furthermore, over time, if dogs have repeated exposure to fear- or anxiety-inducing experiences, their fear or anxiety is likely to worsen due to sensitisation. It has been suggested that prescribing anxiolytic medication may help to prevent or treat fearful or anxious behaviour in canine patients in a clinical setting.

Read the full blog post here

Korpivaara M, Huhtinen M, Aspegrén J and Overall K (2021) Dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel reduces fear and anxiety in dogs during veterinary visits: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical pilot study. Veterinary Record: e832.

Journal Watch

1) Prospective trial of different antimicrobial treatment durations for presumptive canine urinary tract infections

Allerton F, Pouwels KB, Bazelle J, Caddy S, Cauvin A, De Risio L, Swann J, Warland J and Kent A (from BMC Veterinary Research)

Background: Avoidance of unnecessary antimicrobial administration is a key tenet of antimicrobial stewardship; knowing the optimal duration of therapy obviates over-treatment. However, little research has been performed to establish course lengths for common canine infections. In clinical practice, antimicrobial therapy is frequently prescribed in dogs presenting lower urinary tract signs (haematuria, pollakiuria and dysuria/stranguria). The proposed length of treatment in International Consensus guidelines has decreased with each iteration, but these recommendations remain arbitrary and largely extrapolated from experience in people.

Methods: The objective of this prospective, multi-centre study is to find the shortest course duration that is non-inferior to the standard duration of 7 days of amoxicillin/clavulanate in terms of clinical outcomes for female dogs with lower urinary tract signs consistent with a urinary tract infection. An electronic data capture platform will be used by participating veterinarians working in clinical practice in the United Kingdom. Eligible dogs must be female, aged between 6 months and 10 years and have lower urinary tract signs of up to seven days’ duration. Enrolment will be offered in cases where the case clinician intends to prescribe antimicrobial therapy. Automatic pseudo-randomisation to treatment group will be based on the day of presentation (Monday-Friday); all antimicrobial courses will be completed on the Sunday after presentation generating different treatment durations. Follow-up data will be collected 1, 8 and 22–26 days after completion of the antimicrobial course to ensure effective safety netting, and to monitor short-term outcome and recurrence rates. Informed owner consent will be obtained in all cases. The study is approved by the Ethical Review Board of the University of Nottingham and has an Animal Test Certificate from the Veterinary Medicine’s Directorate.

Discussion: This study has been designed to mirror current standards of clinical management; conclusions should therefore, be widely applicable and guide practising veterinarians in their antimicrobial decision-making process. A duration-response curve will be created allowing determination of the optimal treatment duration for the management of female dogs with lower urinary tract signs. It is hoped that these results will contribute valuable information to improve future antimicrobial stewardship as part of a wider one-health perspective.

2) Frunevetmab, a felinized anti-nerve growth factor monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of pain from osteoarthritis in cats

Gruen ME, Myers JAE, Tena J-KS, Becskei C, Cleaver DM and Lascelles BDX (from Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine)

Background: Frunevetmab, a felinized antinerve growth factor monoclonal antibody, effectively decreases osteoarthritis (OA) pain in cats.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of frunevetmab given at monthly intervals in a randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, double-blind superiority study.

Animals: Two hundred seventy-five client-owned cats with naturally-occurring OA pain and associated mobility impairment and disability.

Methods: Randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, double-blind, superiority study. Following screening, cats received frunevetmab (nominal dose of 1.0 mg/kg, SC [effective dose range of 1.0-2.8 mg/kg]) or placebo on days 0, 28, and 56. Outcome measures were owner questionnaires and veterinary physical and orthopedic evaluations at days 28, 56, and 84. Success/failure rates (and numbers needed treat, NNT) and change in scores (and standardized effect size, ES) were analyzed.

Results: Frunevetmab (182) and placebo (93) treated cats were enrolled and received at least 1 treatment. Significant improvement with frunevetmab over placebo occurred at days 28 and 56 for the client specific outcome measures (CSOM) questionnaire (success rates and total scores [NNT of 9 and ES of 0.3 at day 56]); at days 28 and 56 for owner-assessed global treatment response; and at days 56 and 84 for veterinarian-assessed joint pain (ES of 0.18 at day 56). Adverse events did not differ between groups, except skin disorders which collectively occurred significantly more frequently in frunevetmab treated (32/182 cats) vs placebo (8/93 cats).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Frunevetmab has the potential to address a critical gap in the treatment of pain because of osteoarthritis in cats.

3) Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs: Review on Biomechanics, Etiopathogenetic Factors and Rehabilitation

Spinella G, Arcamone G and Valentini S (from Veterinary Sciences)

Cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) rupture is one of the most common orthopaedic conditions in veterinary medicine. CrCL plays a fundamental role in the stability and biomechanics of the femoral-tibio-patellar joint, and its incorrect functionality severely impacts on the quality of life of patients. In dogs, the structural weakening of this joint due to the progressive degeneration of the ligament is the most accredited etiopathogenetic hypothesis in relation to the dog signalment (breed, sex and age) and the stifle joint conformation. In humans, this injury is often traumatic and generally occurs during sporting activities. CrCL rupture can be managed conservatively or surgically, and decisions regarding treatment are due to numerous factors: the patient’s age and health, the degree of stifle instability, and cost. Physiotherapy protocols play an important role in rehabilitation, with similar goals in humans and dogs: pain management, physiological articular range of motion recovery, periarticular and core muscle strengthening, and proprioceptive deficit correction. Physiotherapy, even if often neglected in veterinary medicine, is mandatory for the recovery of the correct functionality of the injured limb and for the return to normal daily and sporting activities. 

4) Reporting the epidemiology of aural haematoma in dogs and proposing a novel aetiopathogenic pathway

O’Neill DG, Lee YH, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, Pegram C and Halfacree Z (from Scientific Reports)

To evaluate the incidence and risk factors for aural haematoma in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK. A cohort study design. Dogs diagnosed with aural haematoma during 2016 were identified from the VetCompass database. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression modelling were used for risk factor analysis. There were 2,249/905,554 dogs diagnosed with aural haematoma during 2016. The estimated one-year incidence risk for aural haematoma was 0.25% (95% confidence interval 0.24–0.26). After accounting for confounding factors, 14 breeds showed increased odds and 20 breeds showed reduced odds of aural haematoma compared with crossbred dogs. Breeds with the highest odds included Bull Terrier (OR 7.42, 95% confidence interval 4.39–12.54), Saint Bernard (OR 7.28, 95% confidence interval 3.58–14.81) and French Bulldog (OR 6.95, 95% confidence interval 5.55–8.70). Increasing age, increasing bodyweight and breeds with V-shaped drop and semi-erect ear carriage also showed increased odds of aural haematoma. Associations between ear carriage within breeds and the risk of aural haematoma suggest that trauma along the line of cartilage folding within V-shaped and semi-erect ears may trigger aural haematoma. New knowledge of key breed predispositions will contribute to improved breed health control strategies.

Other news/resources: 

Early-career funding support from BSAVA PetSavers

The brand new BSAVA PetSavers’ Research Fellowship aims to support veterinary academics in the early stages of their research career. The funding targets the period immediately after gaining a postgraduate research qualification and will help individuals establish themselves as independent researchers and/or prepare for a research council fellowship application. It requires active mentorship from a senior scientist and guaranteed research time from the recipient's institution.

The Fellowship offers a grant of up to £35,000 to be spent over a maximum of two years. Funding can be used to support research costs and travel, but not for salary or stipend costs. Applicant suitability can be demonstrated by the following:

  • Possession of a veterinary qualification (veterinary surgeon or registered vet nurse)
  • Completion of a postgraduate research degree (PhD, MRes or MPhil)
  • In the early stages of a research career (less than 4 years of starting a research post)
  • Having received less than £50,000 of funding from external sources

Applications are now open and will close on 28th February 2022, with a funding decision made in early May 2022. For further details and to make an application, please visit the PetSavers website.

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 current projects and how to get involved here.

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

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