Effects of an anti-inflammatory drug on dogs undergoing mast cell tumour surgery

Dr. Alex Valverde is investigating whether a common antihistamine used to treat allergies and other conditions is also helpful when given to dogs undergoing mast cell tumour (MCT) surgery. One of the most common types of malignant skin cancer in dogs and cats, MCTs release histamine, a compound produced by most cells in response to injury and in allergic and inflammatory reactions. The release of histamine causes the blood vessels to widen and lowers blood pressure (hypotension). This natural defence mechanism may put dogs at risk during surgery.

Effects of warmed carbon dioxide used during laparoscopy in dogs

Dr. Ameet Singh is refining minimally invasive surgical techniques such as laparoscopy that reduce post-operative pain and promote faster healing. In laparoscopy, carbon dioxide is in­jected into the abdominal cavity to expand the workspace and reduce obstructions for the sur­geon. Typically the gas is used at room tempera­ture, which is about 15 degrees cooler than a dog’s core body temperature. This may increase the risk of hypothermia during surgery that can lead to complications and prolonged recovery time.

Canine distemper virus strains in dogs and wildlife in Ontario

Dr. Claire Jardine is working to protect dogs from canine distemper, one of the most severe infectious diseases affecting dogs worldwide. A common cause of death in racoons and skunks, the virus that causes the disease appears to be changing and expanding its range, affect­ing some species not previously susceptible and posing a new threat to domestic dogs, even those that have been vaccinated.

Effects of blood thinners on cats

In the third part of an ongoing study, Dr. Tony Ogg will evaluate tests to determine the effects of blood thinners used to prevent dangerous blood clots in cats. Hypertrophic cardiomyop­athy (HCM) is a common disorder where a cat’s heart muscle becomes thickened and may result in a severe complication known as FATE (feline aortic thrombo-embolism), in which a blood clot forms and cuts off the blood supply to the back legs. At least half of cats with this condition die. In an effort to prevent FATE, cats are given the drugs Aspirin or Plavix used as blood thinners in humans.

Immunotherapy for dogs with melanoma

Pet Trust is supporting research that aims to fight cancer in dogs by directing their own immune system to attack cancer cells without the toxic side effects of standard treatments. Dr. Byram Bridle’s project is focused on melanoma, and the proteins called melanoma-associated antigens (MAAs) expressed by tumour cells. Us­ing melanoma samples from the OVC’s tumour bank, vaccines containing MAAs will be used to provoke the body’s cancer-killing immune response.

Preventing blood transfusion reactions in critically ill dogs

Blood transfusions save lives but are not without risk. Dr. Shauna Blois will test the effectiveness and safety of a blood filtration technique aimed at preventing transfusion reactions that occur in up to 13% of dogs receiving blood products. Leukoreduction (LR) removes white blood cells and some of their by-products from blood products using a special filtration set. Patients receiving LR blood transfusions may have fewer transfusion reactions including less inflamma­tion, possibly leading to improved outcomes.