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Dietary hyperthyroidism in dogs

Köhler, B., Stengel, C. and Neiger-Casas, R., Journal of Small Animal Practice(2012),53: pages 182-184.

Raw food diets for dogs have a vociferous following, with various claims for their benefits, while others warn of potential risks. This paper studied thyroxine levels in dogs that were fed raw food diets. All dogs between 2006 and 2011 that presented to the authors with an elevated plasma thyroxine concentration and a history of feeding raw food were included in the study. Thyroxine, and in some cases thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) were measured before and after diet changes. Twelve dogs were included in the study, with thyroxine levels ranging from 156 to 390 nmol/l (reference range 19-52nmol/l). TSH levels were low in the 6 dogs in which it was measured. Six dogs were noted to show signs typical of hyperthyroidism such as weight loss, aggression tachycardia and restlessness. Six dogs were asymptomatic. Following diet changes, eight dogs were re-examined, and it was found that the thyroxine concentration normalised and clinical signs resolved. The authors recommended that where increased plasma thyroxine is discovered, with or without associated clinical signs, a thorough dietary history should be obtained.

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Inflammation and Cancer: A Comparative View

Wallace B. Morrison,Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine(2012),Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 18-31.

Rudolph Virchow first speculated on a relationship between inflammation and cancer more than 150 years ago. Subsequently, chronic inflammation and associated reactive free radical overload and some types of bacterial, viral, and parasite infections that cause inflammation were recognized as important risk factors for cancer development and account for one in four of all human cancers worldwide. Even viruses that do not directly cause inflammation can cause cancer when they act in conjunction with proinflammatory cofactors or when they initiate or promote cancer via the same signaling pathways utilized in inflammation. Whatever its origin, inflammation in the tumor microenvironment has many cancer-promoting effects and aids in the proliferation and survival of malignant cells and promotes angiogenesis and metastasis. Mediators of inflammation such as cytokines, free radicals, prostaglandins, and growth factors can induce DNA damage in tumor suppressor genes and post-translational modifications of proteins involved in essential cellular processes including apoptosis, DNA repair, and cell cycle checkpoints that can lead to initiation and progression of cancer.

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Radiotherapy-induced myelosuppression in dogs

Clermont, T., LeBlanc, A. K., Adams, W. H., LeBlanc, C. J. and Bartges, J. W. (2012), Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, 10: 24-32.

Definitive radiotherapy refers to delivery of large doses, typically 48-62 Gray, of ionizing radiation over several weeks using a daily or alternate-day fractionation schedule. The impact of definitive radiotherapy alone on haematopoiesis in tumour-bearing dogs is unknown. Medical records from 103 dogs receiving definitive 60Cobalt teletherapy for cancer over a 5-year period were reviewed for signalment, tumour type and location, total radiotherapy dose and fractionation scheme. Complete blood count data were collected before, halfway through, and at the end of radiation treatment, and analysed for changes associated with patient variables. The results demonstrate significant reductions in haematocrit, total white blood cell count, neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes, lymphocytes and platelets occurred during definitive radiotherapy but remained within laboratory reference intervals. These data are important for anticipation of toxicity associated with combinations of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in dogs but do not support the routine monitoring of haematology parameters during definitive radiotherapy.

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When Normal Is Abnormal: Keys to Laboratory Diagnosis of Hidden Endocrine Disease

Thomas K. Graves, Topics in Companion Animal Medicine(2011), Volume 26, Issue 2, Pages 45-51

Although veterinary clinicians commonly rely on panels of laboratory tests with individual results flagged when abnormal, care should be taken in interpreting normal test results as well. There are several examples of this in evaluating patients with endocrine disease. The finding of a normal leukogram (absence of a stress leukogram) can be indicative of adrenal insufficiency in dogs, and this disorder can be especially elusive when there are no overt indicators of mineralocorticoid deficiency. Cats with hyperthyroidism can have normal serum thyroid hormone concentrations, normal hematocrits, and normal serum concentrations of creatinine despite the presence of disease that affects these parameters. A normal serum phosphorus concentration, in the face of azotemia, isosthenuria, and hypertension can point a clinician toward a diagnosis of primary hyperaldosteronism rather than primary renal disease. A normal serum parathyroid hormone concentration in the face of hypercalcemia is inappropriate and can indicate the presence of primary hyperparathyroidism. Similarly, hypoglycemia accompanied by a normal serum insulin concentration can be found in cases of hyperinsulinism. These normal findings in abnormal patients, and their mechanisms, are reviewed

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Laboratory Tests for Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Diseases

Olivier Dossin, Topics in Companion Animal Medicine(2011), Volume 26, Issue 2, Pages 86-97

The panel of laboratory tests available for diagnosis of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases in dogs and cats is wide, and, recently, several new tests have been developed. This article will focus on advances in laboratory tests that are available for the general practitioner for diagnosis of GI diseases. Laboratory tests for diagnosis of gastric and intestinal infectious diseases include fecal parasite screening tests, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for parvoviral enteritis, and some specific bacterial tests like fluorescent in situ hybridization for identification of specific bacteria attached to the intestinal epithelial cells. Serum concentrations of folate and cobalamin are markers of intestinal absorption, but are also changed in exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Hypocobalaminemia is common in GI and pancreatic disease. Decreased serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity is a very sensitive and specific test for the diagnosis of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in dogs and cats. Serum pancreatic lipase is currently the most sensitive and specific test to identify pancreatic cell damage and acute pancreatitis. However, serum canine pancreas-specific lipase is less sensitive in canine chronic pancreatitis. Increased serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity is also specific for pancreatic damage but is less sensitive. It is very likely that further studies will help to better specify the role of these new tests in the diagnosis of canine and feline pancreatic diseases.

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