Read the outputs and publications from our funded studies

 

Closeup of a black cat's face, outside in the garden

Prevalence and risk factors for common respiratory pathogens within a cohort of pet cats in the UK

by Iris Chan and colleagues at the University of Bristol

Feline calicivirus (FCV) along with feline herpesvirus (FHV) and Chlamydia felis are highly contagious, common oral infectious agents of cats, and the main cause of upper respiratory tract disease in cats. However, little is known about their occurrence in the UK pet cat population and the risk factors for their oral carriage. New research, funded by BSAVA PetSavers, assessed the prevalence and risk factors for common respiratory pathogens in cats, using buccal swabs collected from 430 cats enrolled in the Bristol Cats Study. Feline calicivirus was identified as the most common upper respiratory tract pathogen in UK pet cats.

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“Just old age” – a qualitative investigation of owner and veterinary professional experiences of and attitudes to ageing in dogs in the UK

by Lisa Wallis and colleagues at the University of Liverpool

Dogs are living up to twice as long as they did 40 years ago which has implications for their healthcare and wellbeing, but it may be difficult for owners to distinguish between normal age-related changes and serious diseases that require veterinary treatment. To help address this, BSAVA PetSavers funded a major research project at the University of Liverpool – Old Age Pets – to help vets and owners provide the best care for their senior and geriatric dogs. This paper reports findings from the qualitative part of the project, which carried out in-depth interviews with owners and veterinary professionals about caring for senior dogs.

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Outcome of chronic inflammatory enteropathy in cats: 65 cases (2011-2021) and Characterization of intestinal fibrosis in cats with chronic inflammatory enteropathy 

by Yuvani Bandara and colleagues at the RVC

Dr Aarti Kathrani received our funding for a master’s degree by research characterising intestinal fibrosis in 65 cats with chronic inflammatory enteropathy and determining its clinical significance. The study found that physical and laboratory variables measured at the time of histopathological diagnosis of disease were not predictors of death due to gastrointestinal disease, or length of survival. However, the attainment of clinical remission reduced the likelihood of subsequent death due to gastrointestinal disease. This was published in the March 2023 issue of the Journal of Small Animal Medicine. Read our press release about this work here.

Intestinal biopsy specimens from these cats were stained with Masson’s trichrome stain and anti-vimentin and anti-collagen I antibodies to identify intestinal fibrosis, in addition to the routine haematoxylin and eosin staining. This additional staining was found to give better identification of intestinal fibrosis and prognostic information, with vimentin labelling and Masson’s trichome staining identifying additional cases of intestinal fibrosis in 65% and 58% of the duodenal biopsy specimens, respectively. Moreover, vimentin labelling detected intestinal fibrosis in 79% of the colonic biopsy specimens. Positive vimentin labelling and Masson’s trichrome staining of the colonic mucosa were associated with a significantly decreased likelihood of attaining clinical remission and increased risk of death because of chronic inflammatory enteropathy (p < 0.05). This was published in the April 2023 issue of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

 

Urinary extracellular vesicles as a source of protein-based biomarkers in feline chronic kidney disease and hypertension

by Jack Lawson and colleagues at the RVC and University of Cambridge

A paper in the January 2023 issue of JSAP reports on the successful isolation of extracellular vesicles from stored cat urine, and shows that the vesicles had differential protein expression between cats with normotensive chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hypertensive CKD. This project was awarded PetSavers funding to better understand the pathogenesis of feline CKD and hypertension as urinary extracellular vesicles, which originate from the kidney, are a potential source of biomarkers for CKD.

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Parallel roles of neuroinflammation in feline and human epilepsies

by Sophie Binks and colleagues at the University of Oxford

As part of their BSAVA PetSavers-funded clinical research project improving the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of cats with seizures due to autoantibodies of the central nervous system, a treatable cause of feline seizures and status epilepticus, Sophie Binks and colleagues were invited to submit a review on autoimmune encephalitis. This discusses the role of neuroinflammation and autoantibodies in human and feline epilepsy and limbic encephalitis.

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Approach to initial management of canine generalised epileptic seizures in primary-care veterinary practices in the United Kingdom

by Matt Green, Laurent Garosi and colleagues

Laurent Garosi received funding to investigate how primary care clinicians in the UK approach the initial management of canine generalised epileptic seizures including factors potentially associated with prescription and the choice of anti-seizure drugs.

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Insulin expression in β cells is reduced within islets before islet loss in diabetic cats

by Valeria Bergomi and colleagues at the University of Cambridge

Dr Kate Hughes received BSAVA PetSavers funding for a master’s degree by research to explore pancreatic islets in canine and feline diabetes. Her student, Valeria Bergomi, found a significantly reduced overall islet mass in diabetic cats (standard error=0.0389, t value=−4.490, P=0.0003) and significantly lower insulin expression from β cells prior to cell loss compared with control cats, suggesting reduced insulin expression occurs before islet loss in diabetic cats. The paper reporting this is published in the November 2022 issue of JSAP, and also shows the value of using the CUBIC method to render tissue transparent and investigate the 3D islet microanatomy of cats.

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Advances in the pharmaceutical treatment options for canine osteoarthritis

by Christine Pye and colleagues at the University of Liverpool

As part of her BSAVA PetSavers-funded master’s degree by research, Christine Pye reviewed the current evidence behind pharmaceutical treatment options for canine osteoarthritis, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, piprants, monoclonal antibodies, adjunctive analgesics, structure modifying osteoarthritis drugs and regenerative therapies.

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Erythrocyte recovery using a cell salvage device shown to be efficient, and as effective as manual swab washing in an ex vivo comparison

by Andrea Galliano, Ivan Kalmukov and colleagues at Fitzpatrick Referrals

A new BSAVA PetSavers-funded study showed that red blood cell recovery could be efficiently achieved using a cell salvage device, with higher volumes of blood retrieved by direct suction rather than rinsing blood-soaked swabs and salvaging the flush. Recovery was efficient by both manual agitation and filtration (>83%), with no significant difference between the two methods, while the potential for the automation of filtration swab-washing could have benefits in a clinical setting.

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Dogs fed raw meat diets are more likely to have a Salmonella and antimicrobial-resistant E. coli faecal carriage

by Ellyn Groat and colleagues at the University of Liverpool

Raw meat diets have become increasingly popular for dogs in recent years, but their health impacts continue to generate debate amongst the veterinary profession, pet owners, and commercial food producers. Newly published research from an undergraduate project funded by BSAVA PetSavers demonstrates that UK dogs eating raw meat diets are more likely to have Salmonella and antimicrobial-resistant E. coli in their faeces than those fed a non-raw diet.

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Assessment of the inter-rater agreement of corneal cytology and culture findings in canine ulcerative keratitis 

by Negar Hamzianpour and colleagues at the Eye Veterinary Clinic, Herefordshire

Little is known about the diagnostic value of corneal cytology and whether the level of training affects its reliability. This BSAVA PetSavers-funded study showed that appropriate training and expertise is required for the evaluation of corneal cytology for canine ulcerative keratitis cases to prevent misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment.

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Distinguishing between Mycobacterium infections causing feline tuberculosis lesions

by Jordan Mitchell and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh

Mycobacterium bovis and M. microti cause tuberculosis (TB) in a wide range of animals. Both produce identical macroscopic lesions, but they differ with respect to their zoonotic potential. This BSAVA PetSavers-funded study compared histological and immunohistochemistry patterns of feline TB granulomas to help differentiate between the two causes of TB in cats.

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Serum anti-GM2 and anti-GalNAc-GD1a IgG antibodies are biomarkers for acute canine polyradiculoneuritis

by Dr Angie Rupp and colleagues at the University of Glasgow

This study of a large geographically heterogenous cohort of dogs with acute canine polyradiculoneuritis (ACP) validated the use of anti-GM2 and anti-GalNAc-GD1a immunoglobulin G anti-glycolipid antibodies as serum biomarkers for ACP. Anti-GM2 AGAb measurement was identified as the most convenient single supportive biomarker for ACP.

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Use of acupuncture as adjuvant analgesic technique in dogs undergoing thoracolumbar hemilaminectomy 

by Hanna Machin and colleagues at the RVC

Acupuncture was found to help with the quality of pain relief associated with hemilaminectomy in dogs, reducing the need for opioid consumption.
The analgesic efficacy of preoperative acupuncture was assessed in 24 client-owned dogs undergoing thoracolumbar hemilaminectomy. Half of the dogs received acupuncture performed under general anaesthetic for 30 minutes before surgery, and the other half were the control group. Rescue intraoperative fentanyl was administered following a 20% increase in cardiovascular parameters compared to baseline values, measured before incision.

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Preliminary investigation of serum cardiac troponin I in dogs with acute ischaemic stroke 

by Rita Gonçalves and colleagues at the University of Liverpool

Serum cardiac troponin I levels were elevated in dogs with acute ischaemic stroke, although they had no prognostic value in this preliminary study. Cerebrovascular disease is a common cause of acute neurological dysfunction in dogs but no prognostic biomarkers have yet been identified. Cardiac troponins are routinely used as biomarkers for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction in humans, and increased troponin concentrations have been detected in both congenital and acquired heart diseases of dogs.

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Transverse sectioning in the evaluation of skin biopsy specimens from alopecic dogs 

by Professor Ross Bond and colleagues at the RVC

This study showed that transverse sectioning confers significant benefits and complements traditional vertical sectioning in the histological assessment of canine hair follicle diseases.
Skin biopsy specimens were taken from skin lesions in 31 alopecic dogs clinically suspected of having a range of atrophic, dysplastic and inflammatory diseases of hair follicles and/or adnexal glands. Fixed samples were bisected vertically and one half was embedded in the traditional vertical orientation, whilst the other half was sectioned transversely. Sections were reviewed independently and the kappa statistic was used to assess the agreement between histological findings from both section types.

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The effect of myxomatous mitral valve disease severity on packed cell volume 

by Professor Adrian Boswood and colleagues at the RVC

This work identified an inverse relationship between packed cell volume (PCV) and the severity of myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in dogs. The study was a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data selected from a large population of dogs (n=289) on more than one occasion (n=1465 visits) between 2004-2017 at a research clinic conducted by the RVC in two primary-care practices in London. A control population of normal, unaffected patients seen at the same research clinic was included in the study. Appropriate statistical techniques were used to account for repeated measures from the same individual.

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Associations between neutering and early‐onset urinary incontinence in UK bitches under primary veterinary care 

by Camilla Pegram and colleagues at the RVC

This research as part of a master’s degree identified neutering itself and early-age neutering as major risk factors for early-onset urinary incontinence (UI) in bitches.
A retrospective cohort study design was used to explore associations between neuter status and age at neutering with early-onset UI (defined as <8 years of age) in 72,971 bitches, accounting for other demographic risk factors, using clinical data from the VetCompass Programme.

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Randomised controlled trial of fractionated and unfractionated prednisolone regimens for dogs with immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia 

by James Swann and colleagues

A single daily dose of prednisolone resulted in fewer adverse effects than a split dose (twice daily regime) in the treatment of dogs with immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA).
IMHA is thought to be the most common autoimmune disease in dogs, but little is known about treatments and there is no consensus about the use of glucocorticoids such as prednisolone. This randomised, non-blinded, non-inferiority trial compared a fractionated (2 mg/kg twice daily) versus an unfractionated (4 mg/kg once daily) regimen of oral prednisolone in 34 dogs with primary IMHA.

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Thyroid and renal function in cats following low‐dose radioiodine (111Mbq) therapy

by Dr Natalie Finch and colleagues at the University of Bristol

Low‐dose radioiodine is an effective treatment for hyperthyroidism in most cats but overt hypothyroidism may develop in some. Total thyroxine and thyroid stimulating hormone monitoring should be performed post-therapy, and glomerular filtration rates (GFR) should be measured in non‐azotaemic cats to detect early declines in renal function.
Radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment is widely considered the gold standard treatment for hyperthyroidism, which is the most commonly diagnosed endocrinopathy in cats. This study assessed the effect of low‐dose (111MBq) radioiodine therapy on thyroid and renal function in hyperthyroid cats over a 12‐month follow‐up period.

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Risk indicators in cats with preclinical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: a prospective cohort study 

by Vicky Ironside and colleagues at Hallam Veterinary Centre

Increased left atrial sizes and higher baseline NTproBNP concentrations were found to help identify cats with preclinical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which go on to develop cardiac-related events.

This prospective study followed 47 cats diagnosed with preclinical HCM for a median period of 1135 days. At baseline and during repeat visits, they underwent physical examination, blood pressure measurements, blood sampling, and echocardiography. Fifteen cats (31.9%) experienced at least one cardiac-related event during this time: six with congestive heart failure, five with arterial thromboembolisms, and five with sudden death.

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Prospective evaluation of an extra-anatomic ureteric bypass device for management of cats with ureteric obstruction 

by Zoe Halfacree and colleagues at the RVC

Use of a subcutaneous ureteral bypass (SUB) to overcome ureteral obstructions in cats was found to be associated with a high prevalence of complications but a median survival time exceeding 2 years. Ultrasonography was useful in the initial assessment of SUB usage and fluoroscopy was essential in identifying leaks, blockages or SUB displacement, and for guiding surgical treatment.Ureteral obstructions are becoming increasingly diagnosed in cats, and are commonly caused by calcium oxalate kidney stones. An SUB consisiting of an extra‐anatomic device consisting of a locking loop nephrostomy catheter connected to a cystostomy catheter via a subcutaneous port was retrospectively assessed in cats treated for benign ureteral obstruction.

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