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Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats

M. Lowrie, C. Bessant, R. J Harvey, A. Sparkes, L. Garosi

REFLEX seizures are consistently precipitated by an external or internal stimulus. They differ from spontaneous epileptic seizures, in which precipitating factors cannot be identified. Audiogenic seizures are predominantly induced by sounds. This study aimed to better define feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS).

Letters were published in Veterinary Record, other press outlets and on the internet asking for veterinarians and owners to contact the authors if they knew of a case of audiogenic seizures in a cat. Owners were asked to describe the seizure, and, if it appeared to have been an audiogenic seizure, they were sent a questionnaire. Vets were asked to submit a full medical history for relevant cases.

Ninety-six cases were included in the final analysis. The mean age at which seizures first began was 15 years. All of the reported seizures occurred after the cats heard a noise and all of the triggering sounds were high-pitched. The sounds that triggered seizures were reported not to have caused seizures in the past and in one-third of the cats the sounds did not always cause seizures after the seizures had begun. In three-quarters of the cats, avoiding the triggering noises stopped the seizures from happening, but several of the owners said that the nature of the sounds made it difficult to completely stop their cats being exposed to them. Twenty-three per cent of owners said that the loudness of the sound increased the severity of the seizures. All cats had experienced generalised tonic-clonic seizures, with urination occurring in 74 and salivation in 83. Ninety of the cats had also showed signs of myoclonic jerks. Forty-four cats were treated for the seizures. Fifteen were given phenobarbital and 29 levetiracetam. Eleven of the 15 cats on phenobarbital were reported to have no change in the frequency of seizures. Levetiracetam was reported to provide good control for generalised tonic-clonic seizures in 20 of 29 cats and for myoclonic seizures in 27 of the 29 cats.

The authors note that geriatric nature of FARS is such that it may be overlooked in older cats that might suffer from other concurrent conditions.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (2015)

doi: 10.1177/1098612X15582080

Cattle management factors affecting the presence of starlings

G. A. Medhanie, D. L. Pearl, S. A. McEwen, M. T. Guerin and others

EUROPEAN starlings can cause problems on farms by consuming crops and livestock feed. They could also be associated with the transmission of pathogens to and between cattle. This study, conducted in Ohio, USA, evaluated the association between how cattle farms were managed and the density of starlings on the farms.

A total of 150 dairy farms were visited twice – once during the summer and once in autumn. On each visit, the number of starlings in barns, feed stores and manure stores were counted. The farm owners or managers completed a questionnaire about how the farm was run and the structure of the farm.

The number of starlings counted per visit ranged from 0 to 3000. Farms that removed manure from the cattle housing less than once per day were more likely to have no starlings present on the farms than farms that removed manure more regularly. The authors suggest that starlings are attracted to farms that regularly have fresh manure added to the manure pile, as the birds often search for food in manure. Bird density was higher on farms that fed cows outdoors and in open areas, such as pasture or bale rings, compared to farms that fed cows indoor in an aisle or feed bunk.

The authors conclude that reducing starlings' access to feed and fresh manure could discourage the presence of the birds on dairy farms.

Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2015) 120, 162-168

doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.04.016

Extent of infection of dogs with human norovirus

S. L. Caddy, A. de Rougemont, E. Emmott, L. El-Attar and others

THERE are an estimated 3 million cases of human norovirus each year in the UK. It has been suggested that dogs could be a potential source of zoonotic infection. This study aimed to investigate whether human noroviruses were capable of infecting dogs and whether this was occurring in a sample of dogs in the UK.

Stool samples were collected from dogs admitted to six veterinary clinics across England as well as from an animal shelter. Canine serum and saliva samples were also collected from a range of sources in England. Six canine tissue samples were donated from humanely euthanased dogs and analysed.

A total of 248 canine stool samples were analysed, using nucleic acid extraction and qPCR, for the presence of human norovirus; however, no positive samples were identified. Saliva samples from 26 dogs and duodenal scraping from six dogs were analysed in ELISA. All of the canine saliva samples were able to bind to the human norovirus virus-like particles and the canine duodenal scrapings were also found to bind to all the human norovirus genotypes that were tested. Fixed sections of duodenum from dogs were incubated with human norovirus virus-like particles, before immunochemistry was used to detect any binding of the virus into the tissue. The results showed that seven different genotypes of human norovirus were able to bind to canine gastrointestinal tissue. Finally, serological analysis of 325 canine serum samples showed that canine seroprevalence to different human norovirus genotypes mirrors the seroprevalence in the human population. Approximately 20 per cent of the dogs that were sampled had antibodies that could recognise human norovirus virus-like particles.

The authors conclude that the study reveals zoonotic implications for human norovirusbut at a low level; although dogs are susceptible to contracting the virus, it is at a much lower level than in people and the frequency with which this regularly takes place is low. They suggest that sensible hygiene precautions should be taken when either dogs or people in a household have gastroenteritis.

Journal of Clinical Microbiology (2015)

doi:10.1128/JCM.02778-14

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