Short Takes: June 2011

Study on Feline Intestinal Cancer

Based on data in the Veterinary Medical Database (VMDB), 1,129 feline intestinal tumor patients between 1964 and 2004 were evaluated for inclusion in an epidemiologic study. Cases were analyzed by breed, age, year of diagnosis, tumor type and tumor


location. (Note: Feline intestinal tumors are relatively uncommon and the incidence of all intestinal tumors for this 40-year time period was 0.4 percent.)

The study (“Recent trends in feline intestinal neoplasia: an epidemiologic study of 1,129 cases in the veterinary medical database from 1964 to 2004,” Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 2011) found the most common tumor was lymphoma, while the most common non-lymphoid tumor was adenocarcinoma (ACA). Small intestinal tumors predominated, with lymphoma being the most common intestinal tumor.

This study determined that the large intestine is the most common location for intestinal ACA. The diagnosis of intestinal neoplasia – especially intestinal lymphoma – appears to be increasing in the feline population in the United States. Researchers feel that this may be due to improvements in veterinary care and diagnostic capabilities in recent years.

The study did note that two high-risk variables for developing intestinal neoplasia include the Siamese breed and age after seven years. These epidemiological findings may aid veterinarians when recommending diagnostic tests, and also considering differential diagnoses in patients with gastrointestinal and non-specific signs.

Determining Feline Blood Types

The AB blood group system is the most clinically important blood group system in cats, and life-threatening hemolytic reactions can occur because of an A-B mismatched breeding or transfusion. It is crucial that veterinarians accurately determine a cats blood type.

The present study (“Comparison of five blood-typing methods for the feline AB blood group system,” American Journal of Veterinary Research, 2011) compared five feline AB typing methods for ease of use and accuracy. 490 anticoagulated blood samples from sick and healthy cats were submitted. The tube agglutination assay (TUBE) was compared against card agglutination (CARD), immunochromatographic cartridge (CHROM), conventional slide (SLIDE) and gel-based assays.

Point of care typing assays such as CARD had 91 percent agreement (53 of 58), and CHROM had 95 percent agreement (55 of 58). Laboratory typing assays such as GEL had 99 percent agreement (487 of 490), and SLIDE also had 99 percent agreement (482 of 487). Four discordant test results came from cats with FeLV-related anemia.

The results indicate current laboratory and in-clinic methods do provide simple and accurate typing for the feline AB blood group system with few discrepancies.

Still More on Feline Blood

The staff and clinicians in emergency room settings must frequently evaluate blood smears on site as part of a complete blood cell count in order to have timely results. The goal of this study (“Interpretation of canine and feline blood smears by emergency room personnel,” in Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 2011) was to compare results by emergency room personnel (ERP) with those received from trained clinical pathologists and automated assessment equipment.

Results of 155 blood smears collected at an emergency clinic were compared. Platelet counts had moderate agreement, but white blood cell counts displayed poor agreement. Changes in cellular morphology – such as toxic changes, blood parasites and blood progenitor cells – were not predictably recognized by ERP. The investigators concluded that interpretation of blood smears at emergency clinics can supplement, but should not replace, evaluation at a diagnostic laboratory.