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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


Trueperella pyogenes is an opportunistic pathogen that causes suppurative infections in animals including humans. Data on phenotypic and genotypic properties of T. pyogenes isolated from ruminants, particularly goats and sheep, are lacking. We characterized, by phenotypic and genotypic means, T. pyogenes of caprine and ovine origin, and established their phylogenetic relationship with isolates from other ruminants. T. pyogenes isolates ( n = 50) from diagnostic specimens of bovine ( n = 25), caprine ( n = 19), and ovine ( n = 6) origin were analyzed. Overall, variable biochemical activities were observed among the T. pyogenes isolates. The fimbriae-encoding gene, fimE, and neuraminidase-encoding gene, nanH, were, respectively, more frequently detected in the large ( p = 0.0006) and small ( p = 0.0001) ruminant isolates. Moreover, genotype V ( plo/ nanH/ nanP/ fimA/ fimC) was only detected in the caprine and ovine isolates, whereas genotype IX ( plo/ nanP/ fimA/ fimC/ fimE) was solely present in the isolates of bovine origin ( p = 0.0223). The 16S rRNA gene sequences of all T. pyogenes isolates were clustered with the reference T. pyogenes strain ATCC 19411 and displayed a high degree of identity to each other. Our results highlight phenotypic and genotypic diversity among ruminant isolates of T. pyogenes and reinforce the importance of characterization of more clinical isolates to better understand the pathogenesis of this bacterium in different animal species.

Concepts: Phenotype, Ribosomal RNA, DNA, Gene, Species, 16S ribosomal RNA, Biology, Evolution


Eosinophils within the central nervous system are abnormal and are usually associated with fungal or parasitic infections in horses. Causative agents include Halicephalobus gingivalis, Sarcocystis neurona, and Neospora hughesi. Confirmation of these organisms via specific testing is typically not performed, and final diagnoses are often presumptive. With molecular technology, many of these organisms can now be confirmed. This is important for emerging and zoonotic pathogens, including Angiostrongylus cantonensis, an emerging parasite of interest in the southeastern United States. We retrospectively analyzed eosinophilic encephalitides in Floridian horses for H. gingivalis, S. neurona, and A. cantonensis, applied descriptors to equine eosinophilic encephalitides, and determined if a relationship existed between these descriptions and specific etiologic agents. In a database search for horses with eosinophilic and other encephalitides submitted to the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Anatomic Pathology Service, we identified 27 horses with encephalitis, and performed DNA isolation and rtPCR on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded blocks from these cases. Real-time PCR identified 6 horses positive for S. neurona and 4 horses positive for H. gingivalis; all horses were negative for A. cantonensis. All 25 control horses were negative for H. gingivalis, S. neurona, and A. cantonensis. Pattern analysis and eosinophil enumeration were not useful in differentiating among causes of eosinophilic encephalitides in horses in our study.

Concepts: Greek loanwords, Bacteria, Central nervous system, Immune system, Histology, Nervous system, Biology, Medicine


Nephroblastomas are uncommon embryonal tumors in dogs. We report herein a blastema-predominant nephroblastoma with gingival metastasis in an 8-y-old Miniature Pinscher dog. Histologically, the mass was composed mainly of blastemal elements with minor epithelial and mesenchymal differentiation. Metastatic masses in the gingiva had histologic and immunohistochemical features similar to those of the primary renal nephroblastoma. Neoplastic cells were extensively positive for both vimentin and PAX8, and scattered positive for cytokeratin. Using the clinical staging of human Wilms tumor, we staged our case as stage IV with <4 mo of survival time. We summarized previous studies of canine renal and spinal nephroblastomas, and analyzed the correlations among clinical staging, histologic classification, and mean survival time of dogs with renal nephroblastomas. Clinical staging was significantly correlated with survival time, as shown in humans. In dogs, however, additional factors can potentially influence the outcome of treatment and disease development.

Concepts: Benign tumor, Miniature Pinscher, Tumor, Neoplasm, Cancer staging, Anatomical pathology, Oncology, Cancer


Hormone assays that use a solid-phase, automated, chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay (CEIA) with an alkaline phosphatase-tagged hormone or antibody as a reporter are performed on serum or EDTA plasma in our laboratory. CEIA cortisol results appeared to increase in the presence of excess EDTA. We investigated the effect of the addition of different amounts of EDTA on cortisol concentrations in pooled canine serum samples. The recommended EDTA plasma concentration of 4.1 mmol/L (1.8 mg/mL) did not alter cortisol concentrations when added to serum pools; however, the addition of ≥5.1 mmol/L (2.25 mg/mL) of EDTA increased apparent concentrations of cortisol. Supplementation of serum samples with MgCl2to 5 mmol/L reversed the effect of EDTA up to a concentration of ~8.1 mmol/L (3.6 mg/mL). Our findings show that CEIA cortisol results on EDTA plasma can be artificially increased if the EDTA concentration exceeds 5.1 mmol/L.

Concepts: Protein, Concentration, Chemical equilibrium, ELISPOT, Immunoassay, Assay, ELISA, Chemistry


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) was compared to conventional biochemical testing methods and nucleic acid analyses (16S rDNA sequencing, hippurate hydrolysis gene testing, whole genome sequencing [WGS]) for species identification of Campylobacter isolates obtained from chickens ( Gallus gallus domesticus, n = 8), American crows ( Corvus brachyrhynchos, n = 17), a mallard duck ( Anas platyrhynchos, n = 1), and a western scrub-jay ( Aphelocoma californica, n = 1). The test results for all 27 isolates were in 100% agreement between MALDI-TOF MS, the combined results of 16S rDNA sequencing, and the hippurate hydrolysis gene PCR ( p = 0.0027, kappa = 1). Likewise, the identifications derived from WGS from a subset of 14 isolates were in 100% agreement with the MALDI-TOF MS identification. In contrast, biochemical testing misclassified 5 isolates of C. jejuni as C. coli, and 16S rDNA sequencing alone was not able to differentiate between C. coli and C. jejuni for 11 sequences ( p = 0.1573, kappa = 0.0857) when compared to MALDI-TOF MS and WGS. No agreement was observed between MALDI-TOF MS dendrograms and the phylogenetic relationships revealed by rDNA sequencing or WGS. Our results confirm that MALDI-TOF MS is a fast and reliable method for identifying Campylobacter isolates to the species level from wild birds and chickens, but not for elucidating phylogenetic relationships among Campylobacter isolates.

Concepts: Red Junglefowl, Anas, Phasianidae, Mallard, Mass spectrometry, Chicken, Molecular biology, DNA


Corynebacterium ulcerans, an emerging pathogen related to C. diphtheriae and C. pseudotuberculosis, is able to cause disease in both human and animal hosts. C. ulcerans may harbor acquired virulence factors such as dermonecrotic exotoxin phospholipase D (PLD) and the prophage-encoded diphtheria toxin (DT). Infections typically occur in persons reporting close contact with animals. In pets, C. ulcerans has been isolated from both asymptomatic carriers and clinically affected dogs and cats. We describe the isolation and characterization of C. ulcerans strains from 2 pet dogs with ulcerative lesions in Italy. The 2 isolates tested negative for both DT genes, but were PLD-producers and belonged to sequence types (STs) 325 and 339. These 2 cases highlight that C. ulcerans cutaneous infections might be underestimated in pets, given that many veterinary laboratories do not routinely consider and/or identify Corynebacterium species from cutaneous samples. Early detection and molecular typing of C. ulcerans is essential in order to implement effective treatment and to prevent diffusion and possible zoonotic transmission of certain STs.

Concepts: Virulence, Dog, Zoonosis, Disease, Pet, Diphtheria, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Corynebacterium