Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and alimentary lymphoma (ALA) are common gastrointestinal diseases in cats. The very similar clinical signs and histopathologic features of these diseases make the distinction between them diagnostically challenging. We tested the use of supervised machine-learning algorithms to differentiate between the 2 diseases using data generated from noninvasive diagnostic tests. Three prediction models were developed using 3 machine-learning algorithms: naive Bayes, decision trees, and artificial neural networks. The models were trained and tested on data from complete blood count (CBC) and serum chemistry (SC) results for the following 3 groups of client-owned cats: normal, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or alimentary lymphoma (ALA). Naive Bayes and artificial neural networks achieved higher classification accuracy (sensitivities of 70.8% and 69.2%, respectively) than the decision tree algorithm (63%, p < 0.0001). The areas under the receiver-operating characteristic curve for classifying cases into the 3 categories was 83% by naive Bayes, 79% by decision tree, and 82% by artificial neural networks. Prediction models using machine learning provided a method for distinguishing between ALA-IBD, ALA-normal, and IBD-normal. The naive Bayes and artificial neural networks classifiers used 10 and 4 of the CBC and SC variables, respectively, to outperform the C4.5 decision tree, which used 5 CBC and SC variables in classifying cats into the 3 classes. These models can provide another noninvasive diagnostic tool to assist clinicians with differentiating between IBD and ALA, and between diseased and nondiseased cats.

Concepts: Gastroenterology, Artificial intelligence, Decision tree, Neural network, Supervised learning, Inflammatory bowel disease, Decision tree learning, Machine learning


Dogs with a 4-bp deletion in the MDR1 (or ABCB1) gene show intolerance to certain drugs routinely used in veterinary medicine, such as ivermectin, vincristine, and doxorubicin. The mutation leads to a dysfunctional P-glycoprotein drug transporter, which results in drug accumulation in the brain and severe neurotoxicity. A rapid and accurate in-house test to determine the genotype of patients in cases of acute neurotoxic signs or in tumor patients is desirable. We describe a cost-effective detection method with simple technical equipment for veterinary practice. Two allele-specific methods are presented, which allow discrimination of all genotypes, require little hands-on time, and show the results within ~1 h after DNA sampling. DNA from buccal swabs of 115 dogs with known genotype (no mutation, n = 54; heterozygous for the mutation, n = 37; homozygous for the mutation, n = 24) was extracted either by using a column-based extraction kit or by heating swabs in a simple NaOH-Tris buffer. Amplification was performed either by allele-specific fast polymerase chain reaction or by allele-specific loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). Analysis was done either on agarose gels, by simple endpoint visualization using ultraviolet light, or by measuring the increase of fluorescence and time to threshold crossing. Commercial master mixes reduced the preparation time and minimized sources of error in both methods. Both methods allowed the discrimination of all 3 genotypes, and the results of the new methods matched the results of the previous genotyping. The presented methods could be used for fast individual MDR1/ ABCB1 genotyping with less equipment than existing methods.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Evolution, Agarose gel electrophoresis, Zygosity, Molecular biology, Polymerase chain reaction, Genetics, DNA


Respiratory diseases in pigs are mostly polymicrobial, and the involved pathogens can vary from farm to farm. The impact ofPneumocystis carinii(P. c.) f. sp.suison respiratory disorders has not been comprehensively appraised because tests were limited to lung tissue samples and, for this reason, it was not possible to detect the fungus in living animals. In the present study, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from 12 pigs and oral fluid samples from 9 pigs were tested for the presence ofPneumocystisby quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The results from these 2 clinical specimens were compared withPneumocystisquantities in lung tissue samples.Pneumocystisquantities in BALF correlated significantly to those in lung tissue. BALF has proved to be an adequate specimen for detection of various respiratory pathogens in pigs, and the collection procedure directly on farms is also well established. In contrast to the BALF results, all oral fluid samples were negative. Thus, specimens from the lower respiratory tract should generally be preferred for the detection ofPneumocystis Additionally, under farm conditions, oral fluid is mainly collected in the form of collective samples per pen. In the present study, oral swab sampling of individual pigs was intended but failed in 3 of 12 pigs because they did not salivate sufficiently. As a conclusion, only BALF can be recommended as a useful tool forPneumocystisherd monitoring in vivo.

Concepts: Molecular biology, Enzyme, Upper respiratory tract, Respiratory system, Real-time polymerase chain reaction, Bronchoalveolar lavage, Polymerase chain reaction, Pulmonology


Bovine respiratory disease continues to be the most important ailment of feed yard cattle. While the disease is multifactorial in nature, therapy continues to target the primary bacterial pathogens, Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, and Histophilus somni. A survey of records from a single diagnostic laboratory was conducted to evaluate the percentage of M. haemolytica isolates that were resistant to multiple antimicrobials and if coresistance patterns could be detected. All susceptibility test results for M. haemolytica recovered from lung tissues of cattle were eligible for inclusion in the survey. There were no isolates over the course of the analysis that were resistant to all 6 antimicrobials, primarily due to a lack of resistance to ceftiofur. In 2009, just over 5% of isolates were resistant to 5 or more antimicrobials (pan-resistant). In 2011, more than 35% of the M. haemolytica isolates were characterized as pan-resistant. Significant antimicrobial coresistance patterns were only seen with oxytetracycline and tilmicosin; bacterial isolates that were resistant to either oxytetracycline or tilmicosin were more likely to be resistant to at least one other antimicrobial. The mechanisms by which M. haemolytica is developing multidrug resistance warrant investigation if antimicrobial utility in the therapy of bovine respiratory disease is to be preserved.

Concepts: Medicine, Infection, Cancer, Pulmonology, Antibiotic resistance, Pathogen, Pasteurella multocida, Microbiology


Human cardiac troponin I (cTnI) assays have been used in equine medicine, often without prior analytical validation for equine use. In the absence of appropriate validation, the clinical significance of assay results is uncertain and can lead to misdiagnosis. We followed the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology guidelines and investigated linearity, precision, limit of quantification (LoQ), and comparative recovery for 6 commercial cTnI assays developed for use in human medicine. Clinically acceptable linearity was observed in assays A-D, whereas assay E did not detect equine cTnI in any sample. Comparative recovery revealed 1-3-fold differences between assay results, and low analyte recoveries (2.2-3.4%) were observed in assay F. Precision was investigated in assays A and B, and found to be within acceptable limits. The LoQ was 1.53 ng/L for assay A, and 0.031 µg/L for assay B. Assays A and B performed within clinically acceptable limits and were deemed suitable for use in equine medicine. Assays C and D did not undergo full validation but had acceptable linearity, which demonstrates their potential for use in equine medicine. Assays E and F are unsuitable for use in horses given issues with detection of equine cTnI. The variability in results between assays indicates that reference intervals and cutoffs for diagnostic decision-making are assay specific and should be established prior to adoption by diagnostic laboratories.


A 14-y-old bay Quarter Horse gelding was presented with progressive neurologic signs, elevated rectal temperature, and icterus for 3 d prior to death. Postmortem examination revealed icterus, large amounts of serosanguineous fluid in the abdominal cavity, widespread petechiae and ecchymoses in several organs, and a large, pale, and well-demarcated focus of necrosis in the liver. Histologically, there was coagulative necrosis surrounded by a rim of inflammatory cells and large numbers of gram-positive rods, which were identified as Clostridium novyi by immunohistochemistry. Liver samples tested by PCR were positive for C. novyi type B flagellin and alpha toxin genes, but negative for Clostridium haemolyticum and other clostridia. Based on postmortem findings and ancillary tests, a definitive diagnosis of infectious necrotic hepatitis (INH) was made. Mostly a disease of ruminants, also known as black disease, INH has rarely been reported in horses, and a definitive etiologic diagnosis has not been achieved previously; the etiology of all cases reported to date was identified as C. novyi but the type was not determined. Animals are predisposed to clostridial hepatitis when hepatic anaerobiosis is established. Such conditions allow germination and proliferation of bacterial spores, resulting in production and release of toxins. INH, caused by C. novyi type B, and bacillary hemoglobinuria, caused by C. haemolyticum, are mechanistically and pathologically almost indistinguishable. Because these 2 microorganisms are closely related, differentiation requires molecular tools.


Bovine actinobacillosis is typically characterized by pyogranulomatous glossitis (wooden tongue). The involvement of other tissues, generally the skin or lymph nodes, has been regarded as atypical or cutaneous. We describe herein 2 outbreaks of actinobacillosis affecting primarily the lymph nodes of the head and neck. The disease affected 40 of 540 lactating cows in a dairy herd and 5 of 335 two-y-old steers in a beef herd. Multiple or single, occasionally ulcerated nodules were observed in the region of the mandible, neck, and shoulder, including the parotid, submandibular, retropharyngeal, and prescapular lymph nodes. The histologic lesions were multifocal pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis, dermatitis, and cellulitis with Splendore-Hoeppli material. One steer had an exophytic pyogranuloma in the gingiva and another died because of ruminal tympany secondary to oropharyngeal and esophageal obstruction by a pyogranulomatous mass. Actinobacillus lignieresii was isolated from the lesions and identified by amplification, sequencing, and analysis of the 16S ribosomal ®DNA gene. Seven of 8 cows recovered after treatment with sodium iodide. Lymphatic actinobacillosis is a frequent disease in Uruguay, southern Brazil, and Argentina. Morbidity is 1-50%; mortality is <1%. A. lignieresii apparently penetrates the intact oral and pharyngeal mucosa, infecting primarily the regional lymph nodes. Later, lesions may extend to the subcutaneous tissue and the skin, causing ulceration. Affected cattle with draining pyogranulomas contaminate the environment, favoring disease transmission, and should be treated with sodium iodide or antibiotics and isolated from the herd in order to control the disease.


Canine anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease of dogs that results following infection with Anaplasma phagocytophilum or Anaplasma platys. The SNAP 4Dx Plus test (IDEXX Laboratories) and the VetScan Canine Anaplasma Rapid test (Abaxis) are commercial in-house rapid tests for the detection of antibody to these 2 antigenically related Anaplasma species. We evaluated 2 tests using serum and whole blood samples obtained from reference laboratories and veterinary hospitals. Samples were obtained from regions of the country known to be habitats of the primary tick vectors. The A. phagocytophilum sample set comprised 236 dog sera from the northeastern and midwestern United States; the A. platys sample set comprised 179 sera from dogs living in the southwestern United States. An indirect immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) test and an A. platys species-specific ELISA were used as reference assays for the A. phagocytophilum and A. platys samples, respectively. The SNAP test demonstrated significantly higher sensitivity (84.7% for A. phagocytophilum and 83.1% for A. platys), compared to the VetScan test (39.0% for A. phagocytophilum and 57.6% for A. platys). The specificity of the SNAP test (95.8% for A. phagocytophilum and 99.2% for A. platys) was significantly greater than the VetScan test (85.6% for A. phagocytophilum and 82.5% for A. platys). In a separate clinic study, conducted within an A. phagocytophilum-endemic state (Minnesota) using 154 whole blood samples from client-owned dogs, the VetScan test was negative for 22 of 39 SNAP and IFA seropositive samples.


Solanum glaucophyllum, a toxic plant known for its calcinogenic effects, causes enzootic calcinosis in ruminant and monogastric animals. We describe an outbreak of enzootic calcinosis that occurred in a herd of 110 horses grazing pastureland heavily contaminated with S. glaucophyllum in Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Ten horses developed clinical signs, and 6 horses died. Clinical signs included abnormal gait (stiff-legged action, short strides), stiffness, thoracolumbar kyphosis, reluctance to move, wide stance, chronic weight loss, weakness, recumbency, and difficulty standing. Autopsy of 2 horses revealed severe mineralization of the aorta, pulmonary arteries, heart, and lungs, consistent with enzootic calcinosis. Although horses usually have very selective grazing behavior, under food restriction conditions, they can ingest the toxic plants and can develop the disease. Enzootic calcinosis should be considered as a differential diagnosis in horses grazing S. glaucophyllum-invaded pasturelands with compatible clinical signs and lesions.


Astroviruses are small, nonenveloped RNA viruses that have been linked to numerous diseases in a variety of species, including enteric disease in humans and cheetahs. Species Mamastrovirus 2, previously known as feline astrovirus, has been isolated from the feces of domestic cats and cheetahs. A total of 122 cat fecal samples from Alachua County, FL Animal Services and the Veterinary Community Outreach Program at the University of Florida were analyzed, and 35 contained astroviral RNA that was amplified and identified using consensus RT-PCR and sequence analysis. Using phylogenetic analysis, 19 of the astroviral sequences were identified as Mamastrovirus 2, making it the most prevalent astrovirus in this population. Three samples were identified as an astrovirus similar to viruses previously identified in foxes in The Netherlands and a cat in California, and one was similar to a bat astrovirus. One astroviral sequence was identified as an Avastrovirus. Although a causative relationship between mamastroviruses and enteric disease in cats has yet to be established, it is clear that mamastroviruses are prevalent, and an understanding of prevalence of astroviral types may help direct future test development.