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01 March 2013, at 12:00am

Establishing guidelines on resuscitation following cardiac arrest in dogs Manuel Boller, University of Pennsylvania and Daniel Fletcher, Cornell University

Retaining full neurological function in patients resuscitated following cardiac arrest remains an elusive goal in both human and veterinary medicine. A special issue of JVECC is devoted to the results of the RECOVER (REassessment Campaign On VEterinary Resuscitation) project to develop guidelines on the clinical management of canine and feline patients.

Led by staff at two major US veterinary schools but involving more than 100 board certified clinicians from all around the world, the project reviews evidence on current practice and highlights gaps in understanding. Although contributors assessed evidence resulting from the long-established International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) guidelines developed by human cardiologists, they placed a high premium on species- specific studies in veterinary patients.

The authors emphasise that producing guidelines is only the first step, further work is planned in developing standardised training tools, creating registries and evaluating outcomes to address the many deficiencies in current knowledge.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 22 (1): special issue.

Safety and efficacy of an implantable defibrillator device in dogs Romain Pariaut and others, Louisiana State University

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators are programmed to detect ventricular arrhythmias in cardiac patients and to stop them by delivering an electric shock. The authors investigate the effects of such a device in canine patients and compare the results of different shock waveform configurations. The device reliably produced acceptable defibrillation threshold values, based on a 10 J safety margin below the maximum device output. There was no apparent benefit from using a fixed-pulse configuration compared with the standard fixed-tilt waveform. There was some evidence of myocardial damage from repeated shocks but this was not considered clinically significant.

Journal of Veterinary Cardiology 14 (3): 389- 398.

Screening for dilated cardiomyopathy in Great Danes Stephenson and others, Royal Veterinary College, London 

The Great Dane breed is known to be predisposed to dilated cardiomyopathy but there is little published data on the progression, clinical manifestations and inheritance in the UK population. The authors carried out echocardiographic studies in 107 client-owned dogs. The prevalence of DCM in this population was 35.6% although when different reference intervals were used for M mode left ventricular dimensions, the prevalence increased to 47%. There was also a 54% prevalence of ventricular arrhythmias. The findings support the view that this is a condition with an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 26 (5): 1,140-1,147.

Seasonal patterns in dogs presenting with congestive heart failure Gary Steinberg and others, University of Illinois

Studies from human hospitals around the world suggest that there are daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal patterns in the numbers of patients presenting with congestive heart failure. The authors examined the records at a veterinary teaching hospital to assess whether similar patterns occur in veterinary patients. They found that dogs presenting with congestive heart failure were more common on Mondays and Tuesdays, and between 9 am and 12 am, and during the months of September, October and November. These findings may be helpful in educating clients and in preparing staff to deal with variations in their caseload.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency Care 22 (3): 341-346.

Haemostatic and fibrinolytic markers in dogs with right- sided congestive heart failure Andrea Zoia and others, University College, Dublin

Many humans with cardiomyopathy will also have systemic hypercoagulability associated with platelet activation, increased prothrombin activity and endothelial dysfunction. The authors investigated whether similar changes occurred in dogs with ascites secondary to right-sided congestive heart failure. Affected dogs had higher levels of plasma fibrin-fibrinogen degradation products than healthy dogs or those with left-sided heart failure. Ten of the 18 affected dogs also had concurrent hypofibrinogenaemia, two of which also had clinical signs of bleeding.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241 (10): 1,336-1,343.

Pericardial autograft reconstruction following right atrial haemangiosarcoma resection Fei Verbeke and others, Ghent University, Belgium 

Haemangiosarcomas are highly malignant tumours originating from the vascular epithelium with predilection sites in the spleen, right atrium and skin. This abnormality was identified as the cause of a mass in the right atrium of a six-year-old intact male Bordeaux which presented with a history of lethargy, exercise intolerance, abdominal distension and partial anorexia. The authors describe how the mass was removed using total venous inflow occlusion and the defect restored with a non-vascularised pericardial autograft. The dog had a disease-free interval of seven months and was euthanased nine months post-operatively

Canadian Veterinary Journal 53 (10): 1,114- 1,118.

Effects of sedation on left atrial echocardiographic variables in healthy cats Jessica Ward and others, Ohio State University

Administration of sedatives is often required to ensure patient compliance when carrying out echocardiography procedures in cats. But there is little published information on the effects of such treatment on echocardiographic parameters in this species. The authors investigated the effects of two sedation protocols, using acepromazine and butorphanol or those two agents together with ketamine. Heart rate increased following administration of the three-component combination and non- invasive systolic blood pressure decreased following acepromazine and butorphanol only. However, those changes that were observed do not appear to be clinically significant.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 14 (10): 678-685.

Echocardiographic and tissue Doppler imaging in Sphynx cats Valerie Chetboul and others, Maisons-Alfort Veterinary School, France

The Sphynx or Canadian hairless breed first emerged in the 1960s and has become increasingly popular. The breed is susceptible to skin conditions and muscular dystrophy but there have been no reports of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in these cats. The authors carried out echocardiographic examinations of 114 Sphynx cats of which 39 (34.2%) showed evidence of either congenital heart defects or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. There was an increased prevalence of defects with age and evidence of a possible autosomal dominant inheritance with incomplete penetrance for HCM.

Journal of Veterinary Cardiology 14 (4): 497-509.

Radiographic findings in the diagnosis of pericardial effusion in dogs Carlo Guglielmini and others, University of Teramo, Italy 

Pericardial effusion can alter the shape and size of the cardiac silhouette on radiographic examination although the image may appear normal or only mildly abnormal in some cases. The authors investigated the accuracy of radiographic vertebral heart scores and the sphericity index in dogs with pericardial effusion. They found that the cardiac silhouettes were larger and more rounded compared with dogs with other cardiac disorders without pericardial effusion. However, objective radiographic indices of cardiac size and roundness were only moderately accurate at distinguishing dogs with this condition from other cardiac patients. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241 (8): 1,048-1,055.

Clinical findings in 31 cases of aortic thrombosis in dogs Geri Lake-Bakaar and others, University of California, Davis 

Aortic thrombo-embolism is common in cats, causing acute hind-limb paresis, pain, absent femoral pulses and nail- bed cyanosis. But there are few detailed reports of this condition in dogs. The authors examined records from 31 canine cases with a clinical or post- mortem diagnosis of aortic thrombosis. Their findings confirm that this is a rare condition in dogs, accounting for only 0.0005% of admissions during the study. The presenting signs appear to be different from those in cats, with 48% of cases involving chronic disease. These cases appeared to have a longer medial survival time than dogs with acute onset disease.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241 (7): 901-915.

Mitochondrial dysfunction in myocardial tissue from anaesthetised dogs Meg Sleeper and others, University of Pennsylvania

Studies in humans and laboratory animal species have shown that inhalation anaesthesia can depress mitochondrial function in cardiac tissue. The authors investigated whether similar effects were detectable in dogs, by examining mitochondrial complex I and IV activity in myocardial tissue from dogs given inhalation anaesthesia in comparison with samples from healthy dogs and those with juvenile-onset dilated cardiomyopathy. They found a significance decrease in activity in the anaesthetised dogs and this effect should be considered when preparing dogs with myocardial disease for surgical treatment.

American Journal of Veterinary Research

73 (11): 1,759-1,764.