Open Veterinary Journal

Open Veterinary Journal

Peer-Reviewed Journal 
ISSN 2218-6050 (Online), ISSN 2226-4485 (Print) 

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor offering comment or useful critique on material published in the journal are welcomed. The publication of Letters to the Editor by the Open Veterinary Journal provides an opportunity for the exchange of information, for posing questions to authors of material published in the Open Veterinary Journal, or for noting alternative viewpoints or perspectives. It is hoped that the publication of such letters will permit an exchange of views which will be of benefit to both the journal and its readers, as well as provide an opportunity for the reader to respond to the contents of the Open Veterinary Journal. Letters to the Editor will be forwarded to authors for their possible response. Decisions on publishing a Letter to the Editor will be made by the Editor-in-Chief of the Open Veterinary Journal. Authors must provide full contact information including address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Authors who are willing to send Letters to the Editor, they should submit their Letters to the Editor as email attachment to the Editor-in-Chief or Journal's email.

Letters to the Editor
One health: economic and social analysis of Covid-19 worldwide

"Letter to the Editor"

One health: economic and social analysis of Covid-19 worldwide

Mourad Zeghdoudi(1,2*) and Mardja Tahri(3)

1- Veterinary Sciences Department, Chadli Bendjedid University, El Tarf-36000, Algeria

2- Laboratory of ESPRETCADE Chadli Bendjedid University, El Tarf-36000, Algeria

3- Department of Marine Science, Chadli Bendjedid University, El Tarf-36000, Algeria


In veterinary medicine, there is an analogy between epidemiological characteristics of emerging and re-emerging animal viral diseases (ex: avian infectious laryngotracheitis) and the Covid-19. These characteristics are represented by occurring and re-occurring of these diseases, cyclical emerging at intervals around 6 to 7 years and cross-border transmission (pandemic) by all mode of transmission (Agnew-Crumpton et al., 2016). In addition, these pathologies were manifested by their spontaneous disappearance after an evolution of a few months probably due to the progressive loss of their virulence and to a regressive viral pressure. The evolution of these pathologies with moderate mortality rates depends on the health barriers put in place around the disease outbreaks. The most serious cases of these emerging diseases are found in regions of high density of flocks and inefficient biosecurity (Hidalgo, 2003).

From December, the Covid-19 affected China then South Korea where the aggressiveness of the emerging virus have increased at the start of the disease then gradually decreased during the 3rdmonth in relation with the potential of virus contamination but also to the preventive measures instituted. We observed a proportional number of cases and deaths on a short course of the disease in both countries with the difference that China applied total confinement and South Korea has relied on more flexible but strict health barriers namely traffic restrictions, distancing measures and the wearing of medical bibs. The common factor in the evolution of the disease for these two countries is the climate, meaning that the disease occurred during the period from January to the end of March when the temperatures were low and not very variable.

The 2nd category of Covid-19 is represented by countries affected from March such as those in Europe, Oceania, America, Asian countries, the Middle East and Africa. These countries have recorded a more or less number of cases and deaths (JHU, 2020) which are being closely linked to environmental and economic factors like strong polluting economies where the movement of people and goods is intense but also to the density of populations and the non-respect of biosecurity.

In the majority of these countries, we observed an upsurge of Covid-19 after a relative lull between the end of May and the first half of June. The trigger would undoubtedly be climatic resulting in varying and irregular temperatures and the opening of borders. It should be remembered that the aggravating factors in the appearance of any respiratory disorder are represented by sudden climatic variations which lead to a state of paroxysm of the virus in an external environment, the reactivation of the virus in asymptomatic carriers and a release in biosecurity. This is why this period of upsurge is not considered a second wave but only a transitional stage. Other countries especially in Africa that the OMS and some western countries (WHO, 2020) predestined a health drama had unregistered a reduced number of cases of Covid-19. This situation is due to a decrease of the virus pathogenicity and viral pressure favored by a limited circulation of people and goods and a reduced density of populations.

In viral diseases, specific treatments do not exist and inter-media struggle to praise such or such treatment have become caricatured. All scientists know that respiratory disorders of viral origin are usually treated with drug support for respiratory and circulatory functions and the administration of an antibiotic depending on the underlying bacterial flora. In addition, each country should institute its own treatment protocol according to the epidemiological and pathological data recorded on the spot.

In emerging and re-emerging diseases, it is very improbable to find a vaccine given to the mutation of the virus in time and space and the risk that in this type of pathology vaccines can cause the disease (Neff et al., 2008) by virus mutation. Currently, we observe a decreasing curve of contaminations and mortality in the world and the disease will gradually disappear as it appeared spontaneously. Unfortunately, since the start of vaccinations, virus mutations emerged what complicated the course of the disease.

Finally, to better understand and have better control over these emerging diseases, research should focus on prophylactic biotechnological mechanisms during the latency phase of these diseases when viruses prepared their mutation but also should be geostrategic to mitigate the aggressiveness of the virus and viral pressure in external environment. Moreover, the probable re-emergence of a new coronavirus within 8 to 10 years is closely linked to the world economy which must be rethought so that it is egalitarian, more united, an economy at the service of man and not the reverse, an economy that reconciles global interest. Without economic compromises and the current geostrategic reconsideration, developed countries would going to confront of their own economic strength, which appears to be a factor contributing to the high incidence of these diseases.
*Corresponding Author: Mourad Zeghdoudi. Veterinary Sciences Department, Chadli Bendjedid University, El Tarf-36000, Algeria. Email:

Agnew-Crumpton, R., Vaz, P.K., Devlin, J.M., O’rourke, D., Blacker-Smith, H.P., Konzak-Ilievski, B., Hartley, C.A. and Noormohamedi, A.H. 2016. Spread of the newly emerging infectious laryngotracheitis viruses in Australia. Infect. Genet. Evol. 43, 67-73.

Hidalgo, H. 2003. Infectious Laryngotracheitis: a review. Brazilian J. Poult. Sci. 5, 157-168.

Johns Hopkins University (JHU). 2020. Coronavirus resource center. [Accessed 15 May 2020].

Neff, C., Sudler, C. and Hoop, R.K. 2008. Characterization of western European field isolates and vaccine strains of avian infectious laryngotracheitis virus by restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequence analysis. Avian Dis. 52, 278-283.

World health organization (WHO). 2020. Are there specific drugs to prevent or treat infection with the novel coronavirus? [Accessed 3 May 2020].
Further research into circumstances surrounding domestic cats getting lost and mitigating strategies

"Letter to the Editor"

Further research into circumstances surrounding domestic cats getting lost and mitigating strategies

Jelle Stans1* and Frauke Van Cauwenberghe

1- Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education, Beringen, Belgium


Domestic cats are among the most popular companion animals. Due to their free-roaming nature, they can become lost and separated from their owners (Lord et al., 2007). That this is a real problem is supported by the observation that around 15% of cat owners reported losing their pet in the last five years (Weiss et al., 2012). Being separated from their pet can have a strong emotional impact on owners, but can also burden animal shelters where these animals can end up. 
Apart from their free-roaming nature, several factors can contribute to cats becoming lost or not coming home. A common cause are traffic accidents (Wilson et al., 2017). Other kinds of trauma can originate from falls and dog attacks (Hernon et al., 2018). Profound changes in their living environment (such as introduction of a dog) are also sometimes mentioned as risk factors for cats not coming home. 
To mitigate the risk of a cat becoming lost, several actions can be taken. Certain measures can help to identify cats that are found. The main examples of such measures are microchipping and identification tags (Lord et al., 2010; Weiss et al., 2016). Other methods are used to find a cat that went missing such as searching the neighbourhood where the animal was last seen (Weiss et al., 2012). Social media are also used to reunite owners with their lost pets, both on a small scale (e.g. circulation a post among friends) and in dedicated communities (e.g. Facebook groups). A less commonly used, but possibly very effective, strategy is localization using trackers. These devices are usually attached to the animal’s collar and provide the location of the animal through a range of possible means, including GPS signals. However, there are also certain disadvantages. The trackers can be quite large and often require a paid subscription. Moreover, cats can get stuck when wearing a collar or lose the collars the trackers are attached to if those collars have a safety release. Apart from these measures, starting to look early and looking after cats that are obviously lost or hurt should be a first reflex. 
The success rate of reuniting cats with their owner is not fully clear. The percentage of cats that are eventually found ranges between 53 – 75% in the literature (Lord et al., 2007; Weiss et al., 2012; Huang et al., 2018). It can be expected that this percentage is highly dependent on several factors, such as the search methods used and the area where the animal went missing. Having a better understanding about the success rate of the different strategies can be a start to reuniting more owners with their pets. 
The amount of literature about factors surrounding cats getting lost or localization strategies is very limited. A systematic review could provide a structured overview of the current knowledge and provide a direction for further research. A subsequent cohort study could identify risk factors that are linked to a higher risk of cats getting lost and identify the most effective methods in locating lost cats. Due to the nature of the problem, prospective interventional studies are not feasible. 


*Corresponding Author: Jelle Stans. Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education, Beringen, Belgium. Email:



Hernon T, Gurney M, Gibson S. A retrospective study of feline trauma patients admitted to a referral centre. J Small Anim Pract. 2018;59(4):243-7.

Huang L, Coradini M, Rand J, Morton J, Albrecht K, Wasson B, et al. Search Methods Used to Locate Missing Cats and Locations Where Missing Cats Are Found. Animals (Basel). 2018;8(1).

Lord LK, Wittum TE, Ferketich AK, Funk JA, Rajala-Schultz PJ. Search and identification methods that owners use to find a lost cat. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007;230(2):217-20.

Lord LK, Griffin B, Slater MR, Levy JK. Evaluation of collars and microchips for visual and permanent identification of pet cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2010;237(4):387-94.

Weiss E, Slater MR, Lord LK. Retention of provided identification for dogs and cats seen in veterinary clinics and adopted from shelters in Oklahoma City, OK, USA. Prev Vet Med. 2011;101(3-4):265-9.

Weiss E, Slater M, Lord L. Frequency of Lost Dogs and Cats in the United States and the Methods Used to Locate Them. Animals (Basel). 2012;2(2):301-15.

Wilson JL, Gruffydd-Jones TJ, Murray JK. Risk factors for road traffic accidents in cats up to age 12 months that were registered between 2010 and 2013 with the UK pet cat cohort ('Bristol Cats'). Vet Rec. 2017;180(8):195. 

COVID-19: are humans and wild animals a threat to each other?

"Letter to the Editor"

COVID-19: are humans and wild animals a threat to each other?

Andreia Garcês(1*), Justina Prada(2) and Isabel Pires(2)

1- Inno Serviços Especializados em Veterinária, R. Cândido de Sousa 15, 4710-300 Braga, Portugal

2- CECAV, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados 5000-801, Vila Real, Portugal


The world is facing the first pandemic of the century, which is having disastrous consequences and still seems far from over. Every day, the scientific community struggles to understand the disease, how prevent and treat it while also trying to understand its indirect consequences for man, animals and the environment. One of the great concerns of biologists and veterinarians is how human SARS-Cov-2 is going to affect wildlife and how this could impact COVID-19 dissemination. Could humans and wild animals be a threat to each other? It is important to reflect about three major possibilities:

  • A potential reverse zoonosis:

Although the virus came from a wild animal and some cases of transmission from human to wild animals in captivity have been described, a possible new route of transmission from wild animals (infected by humans) to humans has yet to be observed. This hypothetical transmission route could have disastrous consequences, and even without solid scientific evidence should be considered a threat, as a potential reverse zoonosis could difficult the control of the pandemic even more (Tiwari et al., 2020).

  • The decrease of wild populations:

Based on experimental infections studies and reported cases of natural wild animals’ infections by human SARS-Cov-2 (6 big cats in a zoo), (Wang et al., 2020) it is accepted that felines, raccoons, mustelids and monkeys are susceptible to the virus (Tiwari et al., 2020). A possible outbreak could lead to an increase of morbidity and mortality of wild populations, which could be catastrophic since many of susceptible species are already considered vulnerable or at risk of extinction, as is the case of the mountain gorillas. On the other hand, wild animals could become reservoirs of the virus. To prevent the spread of the disease, control measures such as the elimination of groups of wild animals could be imposed, similarly to what occurred recently in mink farms (Oreshkova et al., 2020) and for birds during the outbreak of avian influenza A (H5N1) (de Farias Brehmer et al., 2011).

  • The impact of the methods used to control human pandemic in the ecosystems:

The upsurge in the use and production of healthcare-related plastic products (especially single-use plastics) is already leading to destructive effects on ecosystems (particularly aquatic) and at ultimately on human health. Some examples of this are the accumulation of plastic in the environment; the dispersion of contaminants as polypropylene, polyurethane and polyacrylonitrile; the accidental entanglement of sea life in facial masks; and the toxic effects of quaternary ammonium and sodium hypochlorite used for the disinfection of public areas, including beaches (Silva et al., 2021).

Clearly, directly or indirectly, human COVID-19 will affect wild animals and a possible dissemination of the disease to wildlife could affect the human population. Therefore, some measures must be taken to minimize the consequences. These measures could include prevalence studies based on detecting viral RNA and antibodies in susceptible wildlife species (Konda et al., 2020); restrictions to the interactions between high-risk wild animals and infected humans, particularly in zoos, animal-holding facilities, and national wildlife parks; and well-defined procedures to the elimination of masks, gloves, and other disposables used during the pandemic or their replacement for sustainable alternatives.

Only with a global health approach, will we be able to fight the war against this virus without leaving an indelible mark on other species and the environment, and prevent the appearance of other pandemics arising from zoonotic diseases.  
*Corresponding Author: Andreia Garcês. Inno – Serviços Especializados em Veterinária, R. Cândido de Sousa 15, 4710-300 Braga, Portugal. Tel.: +351-918510495. Email:

de Farias Brehmer, L.C., de Lima Trindade, L., de Souza Ramos, F.R., de Pires, D.E., dos Santos, S.M.A. and Meirelles, B.H.S. 2011. Revisão integrativa da literatura sobre a influenza AH1N. Texto e Context. Enferm. 20, 272-277.

Konda, M., Dodda, B., Konala, V.M., Naramala, S. and Adapa, S. 2020. Potential Zoonotic Origins of SARS-CoV-2 and Insights for Preventing Future Pandemics Through One Health Approach. Cureus.

Oreshkova, N., Molenaar, R.J., Vreman, S., Harders, F., Oude Munnink, B.B., Van Der Honing, R.W.H., Gerhards, N., Tolsma, P., Bouwstra, R., Sikkema, R.S., Tacken, M.G.J., De Rooij, M.M.T., Weesendorp, E., Engelsma, M.Y., Bruschke, C.J.M., Smit, L.A.M., Koopmans, M., Van Der Poel, W.H.M. and Stegeman, A. 2020. SARS-CoV-2 infection in farmed minks, the Netherlands, April and May 2020. Eurosurveillance 25.

Silva, P., Prata, A.L., Walker, J.C., Duarte, T.R., Ouyang, A., Barcelò, W. and Rocha-Santos, D. 2021. Increased plastic pollution due to COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges and recommendations. Chem. Eng. J. 405, 126683.

Tiwari, R., Dhama, K., Sharun, K., Iqbal Yatoo, M., Malik, Y.S., Singh, R., Michalak, I., Sah, R., Bonilla-Aldana, D.K. and Rodriguez-Morales, A.J. 2020. COVID-19: animals, veterinary and zoonotic links. Vet. Q. 40, 169-182.

Wang, L., Mitchell, P.K., Calle, P.P., Bartlett, S.L., McAloose, D., Killian, M.L., Yuan, F., Fang, Y., Goodman, L.B., Fredrickson, R., Elvinger, F., Terio, K., Franzen, K., Stuber, T., Diel, D.G. and Torchetti, M.K. 2020. Complete Genome Sequence of SARS-CoV-2 in a Tiger from a U.S. Zoological Collection. Microbiol. Resour. Announc. 9, 1-3. 
Why should veterinarians be involved in the struggle against COVID-19?

"Letter to the Editor"

Why should veterinarians be involved in the struggle against COVID-19?

Mohamed Lounis*, DVM, Ph.D in epidemiology, Lecturer

Department of Agro-veterinary Science, Faculty of Natural and Life Sciences, University of Ziane Achour, BP 3117, Road of Moudjbara, Djelfa 17000, Algeria


Since December 2019, the world is undergoing an unprecedented mayhem. This situation is not due to a third world war or an economic crisis but to the fast spread of a novel virus called SARS-CoV2 (Yan, 2020). This virus is responsible of a respiratory illness named COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019). Since its first apparition in Wuhan (China), this disease is spiraling like wild fire and is now reported in 187 countries and regions in the world (Musinguzi and Asamoah, 2020). With more than 9 million COVID-19 positive cases and more than 450,000 deaths (JHI, 2020), most health systems are overpassed in different countries which are gathering their efforts to mitigate and flatten the epidemic curve. In this situation, the involvement of multidisciplinary professionals is crucial to properly and effectively handle this pandemic (Lorusso et al., 2020a). Indeed, veterinarians have a crucial role and central tasks in the struggle of this ‘human’ disease. We will describe here why and how can veterinarians be involved in the prevention of this viral disease:

First: All recent human health hazards were caused by zoonotic agents (Lorusso et al., 2020b) that originate from animals. It is reported that zoonoses constitute about 70% of all known emerging diseases (Volpato et al. 2020), and of which 71.8% originate from wildlife (Lin et al., 2020).

Also, Pandemic/epidemic diseases outbroken in the 21st century, such as the SARS in 2003, H1N1 influenza in 2009, H7N9 influenza in 2013, the Ebola hemorrhagic fever in West Africa in 2014, MERS in 2014, the Zika virus epidemics in South America in 2016, yellow fever in Angola and Brazil in 2017 (Lin et al., 2019) and COVID-19 are all of animal origin. Furthermore, all the highly pathogenic HCoVs originate from animals (SARS-CoV and Civets, MERS-CoV and dromedary, SRAS-CoV2 and pangolins?) (Contini et al., 2020).

On the other hand, as certain studies demonstrated that domestic animals can get infected from COVID-19 infected humans or following experimental infection, this would involve veterinary virologists to try to understand SARS-CoV-2 virulence factors interactions between human and animals (Lorusso et al., 2020a).Their key role in the field of discovery, viral evolution, genome manipulation and pathogenesis studies of CoVs has been highlighted over recent years (Lorusso et al., 2020a).

Second: Veterinarians have an extensive knowledge and a historical relation with animal CoVs and related diseases since the early 1900. Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) of poultry, feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV), swine CoVs, canine coronavirus (CCoV), feline enteric coronavirus (FECV) and Bovine coronavirus are well-known and their evolution and pathobiology were well described serving as a model for human coronaviroses. Furthermore, some drugs such as protease inhibitors and nucleoside analogues have shown a promising antiviral activity against feline infectious peritonitis. Interestingly, a similar compound, the adenosine nucleoside monophosphate prodrug GS-5734, is the active molecule of remdesivir, largely employed as a potential antiviral against COVID-19 (Decaro et al., 2020). On the other hand, different vaccines have been developed for animal enteric CoVs (BCoV and swine CoVs) and respiratory CoV (IBV) which may represent excellent models for the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines (Charley and Audonnet, 2020). Recent trials of vaccination of animals against SARS and MERS diseases should also be of great interest in the COVID-19 vaccination trials (Charley and Audonnet, 2020)

Third: Veterinarians have certainly a large experience in handling outbreaks in fully susceptible population of livestock and poultry such as avian flu, bluetongue, foot and mouth disease, Pox virus diseases and BSE which are responsible for substantial economic losses (Lorusso et al., 2020a). Also, the veterinary sector has a skilled, well-developed and trialled emergency response in most countries (Foddai et al., 2020a) giving them the aptitude of being “ready to action” during a health emergency.

In this way, a variety of surveillance methods to understand the spread and to support effective control decisions in real time, have been successfully applied and resulted in elimination of the disease from the populations (Foddai et al., 2020a).

Public authorities may benefit from collaboration with veterinary epidemiologists, to build on their experience from epidemics in animals. The proposed protocols of Foddai et al. (2020a) could be very helpful in the control decision on the current COVID-19 outbreak (Foddai et al., 2020a, b).

Fourth: Even veterinarians are not included in public health system in most countries, their medical background could be very useful in an emergency health state as it is the case with the COVID-19. They could also very helpful for their notions in surfaces and materials disinfection (Lacamp, 2020).

In some countries, veterinarians are supporting core functions of the public health response, such as screening and testing of surveillance and diagnostic samples from humans. Veterinary laboratories are well adapted for massive screening with PCR or serological tests. Veterinary clinics in some countries are also supporting the public health response by donating essential materials such as personal protective equipments, ventilators, oxygen concentrators and essential drugs (Lacamp, 2020; OIE, 2020).

Fifth: Veterinary practitioners could also contribute to the information and the sensitization about the monitoring of the disease due to their contact with animal owners especially those of rural activity in developing countries where most of farmers and livestock breeders are generally of low income categories that most often live in rural areas and little informed about this disease.

In the light of the above, we confirm the crucial role of veterinarians in the prevention of infectious diseases which may push public and health authorities to involve them in the fighting against the current COVID-19 pandemic. 
*Corresponding Author: Mohamed Lounis. Department of Agro-veterinary Science, Faculty of Natural and Life Sciences, University of ZianeAchour, BP 3117, Road of Moudjbara, Djelfa 17000, Algeria. Email: 

Charley, B. and Audonnet, J.P. 2020. Veterinary vaccines against animal coronaviroses in the COVID-19 context-brief review. Bulletin de l’académie vétérinaire de France (in press).

Contini, C., Di Nuzzo, M., Barp, N., Bonazza, A., De Giorgio, R., Tognon, M. and Rubino, S. 2020. The novel zoonotic COVID-19 pandemic: An expected global health concern. J. Infect. Dev.Ctries. 14(3), 254-264.

Decaro, N., Martella, V., Saifb, L.J. andBuonavoglia, C. 2020. COVID-19 from veterinary medicine and one healthperspectives: What animal coronaviruses have taught us. Res. Vet. Sci. 131, 21-23.

Foddai, A., Lindberg, A., Lubroth, J. and Ellis-Iversen, J. 2020a. Surveillance to improve evidence for community control decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic – Opening the animal epidemic toolbox for public health. One Health 100130.

Foddai, A., Lubrothb, J. and Ellis-Iversen, J. 2020b. Base protocol for real time active random surveillance of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) –Adapting veterinary methodology to public health. One Health 100129.

JHI. 2020: Johns Hopkins University of Medecine, Coronavirus resource center. Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2020].

Lacamp, I. 2020. sante/orl/covid-19-quand-la medecine-veterinaire-soutient-la-medecine-humaine_143322.amp [Accessed 3 May2020].

Lin, S., Huang, J., He, Z. and Zhand, D. 2020.Which Measures are Effective in Containing COVID-19? Empirical Research Based on Prevention and Control case in china. medRxiv preprint. Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2020].

Lorusso, A., Calistri, P., Mercante, M.T., Petrini, A. Savini, G. and Decaro, N. 2020a. A “One-Health” approach for diagnosis and molecular characterization of SARS-CoV-2 in Italy. One Health 100135.

Lorusso, A., Calistri, P., Petrini, A., Savini, G. and Decaro, N. 2020b. Novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic: a veterinary perspective. Vet. Italiana 56(1), 5-10.

Musinguzi, G. and Asamoah, B.O. 2020. The Science of Social Distancing and Total Lock Down: Does it Work? Whom does it Benefit? Electron J. Gen. Med. 17(6), em230.

OIE (Office International des Épizooties). 2020. recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019 novel-coronavirus/ [Accessed 3 May 2020].

Volpato, G., Fontefrancesco, M.F., Gruppuso, P., Zocchi, D.M. and Pieroni, A. 2020. Baby pangolins on my plate: possible lessons to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. 16, 19.

Yan, Z.2020. Unprecedented pandemic, unprecedented shift, and unprecedented opportunity. Hum. Behav. Emerg. Tech. 2, 110-112.
The need for further research regarding treatment strategies for canine prostate cancer

"Letter to the Editor"

The need for further research regarding treatment strategies for canine prostate cancer

Jelle Stans*

Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education, Beringen, Belgium

Prostate cancer is a condition that is estimated to account for less than 1% of all canine cancers (Obradovich et al., 1987). The prognosis for canine prostate cancer is currently very poor (Griffin et al., 2018). Untreated animals have a life expectancy of around 1 month (Griffin et al., 2018).
Medicinal treatment, surgery and radiotherapy have all been mentioned as treatment strategies for canine prostate cancer (Leroy and Northrup, 2009). However, it does not seem that a first line standard of care has been currently established.
Dogs diagnosed with prostate cancer are now often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Meloxicam and Carprofen, and/or chemotherapy. In 2004, a retrospective study (Sorenmo et al., 2004) found that animals treated with Piroxicam or Carprofen lived significantly longer than those not treated. Another retrospective study (Hazzah et al., 2013) failed to show an objective response to a treatment regimen of Mitoxantrone and Piroxicam. A more recent study (Ravicini et al., 2018) suggested that a combination treatment of NSAIDs and chemotherapy could improve quality of life (QoL) and survival in dogs with prostatic carcinoma.
Prospective studies regarding the effectiveness of NSAIDs and chemotherapy in canine prostate cancer are rare. A randomized clinical trial comparing the effectiveness and complications of NSAIDs versus NSAIDs combined with chemotherapy could provide important insights. In case of positive results in one of the treatment arms, this trial could perhaps be used to formulate proposals for a standard first line treatment.
Prostatectomy is not usually seen as an appropriate treatment option for canine prostate cancer, in part because of the risk of urinary incontinence (Leroy and Northrup, 2009). Nevertheless, a 2006 prospective clinical study (Vlasin et al., 2006) showed that dogs that underwent subtotal intracapsular prostatectomy survived on average 112 days. Animals treated with total prostatectomy only survived for an average of 19 days. However, in 2018, a retrospective case series in 25 dogs whose treatment included total prostatectomy (Bennett et al., 2018) showed that the median survival time could be extended to 231 days. The authors reported that case selection could have influenced this outcome.
Despite these studies and other research, the efficacy and complications related to prostatectomy should be further elucidated. The effectiveness and complications of partial and total prostatectomy could be tested in more narrow indications. This will lead to a better understanding whether the risk/benefit balance of prostatectomy could be positive in certain settings. For example, a clinical trial could be performed to assess whether prostatectomy has an additional advantage in unmetastasized cancers. Its role in combination treatment with NSAIDs and chemotherapy should also be further investigated.
Radiation therapy has been proposed for pain management in case of skeletal metastasis and for tumor symptom relief (Leroy and Northrup, 2009). A study regarding therapeutic radiation was published in 1987 (Turrel, 1987). However, the achieved results were unsatisfactory while the side effects were severe.
In general, most of the current body of evidence regarding treatment strategies of canine prostate cancer consists of retrospective studies. Despite providing important information, these studies have some inherent drawbacks to their design and internal validity. As stated by several authors, prospective clinical studies should be performed to adequately assess the effectiveness of the currently available procedures. Based on the results from these trials, standard of care guidelines for this debilitating condition could be developed.


Bennett, T.C., Matz, B.M., Henderson, R.A., Straw, R.C., Liptak, J.M., Selmic, L.E., Collivignarelli, F. and Buracco, P. 2018. Total prostatectomy as a treatment for prostatic carcinoma in 25 dogs. Vet. Surg. 47(3), 367-377.

Griffin, M.A., Culp, W.T.N. and Rebhun, R.B. 2018. Lower Urinary Tract Neoplasia. Vet. Sci. 5(4), doi:10.3390/vetsci5040096.
Hazzah, T.N., Kass, P.H., Brodsky, E.M., Elpiner, A.K., Silver, M.L., Buote, N.J. and Post, G.S. 2013. Evaluation of mitoxantrone with piroxicam as first line therapy for carcinomas of the prostate in dogs. Intern. J. Appl. Res. Vet. Med. 11(1), 16-24.

Leroy, B.E. and Northrup, N. 2009. Prostate cancer in dogs: comparative and clinical aspects. Vet. J. 180(2), 149-162.

Obradovich, J., Walshaw, R. and Goullaud, E. 1987. The influence of castration on the development of prostatic carcinoma in the dog. 43 cases (1978-1985). J. Vet. Intern. Med. 1(4), 183-187.

Ravicini, S., Baines, S.J., Taylor, A., Amores-Fuster, I., Mason, S.L. and Treggiari, E. 2018. Outcome and prognostic factors in medically treated canine prostatic carcinomas: A multi-institutional study. Vet. Comp. Oncol. 16(4), 450-458.

Sorenmo, K.U., Goldschmidt, M.H., Shofer, F.S., Goldkamp, C. and Ferracone, J. 2004. Evaluation of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 expression and the effect of cyclooxygenase inhibitors in canine prostatic carcinoma. Vet. Comp. Oncol. 2(1), 13-23.

Turrel, J. M. 1987. Intraoperative radiotherapy of carcinoma of the prostate gland in ten dogs. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 190(1), 48-52.

Vlasin, M., Rauser, P., Fichtel, T. and Necas, A. 2006. Subtotal intracapsular prostatectomy as a useful treatment for advanced-stage prostatic malignancies. J. Small Anim. Pract. 47(9), 512-516.

Can pets transmit Covid-19 infection?

"Letter to the Editor"

Can pets transmit Covid-19 infection?

Angel Almendros*, DVM MVM MRCVS Dip ABVP (Canine and Feline)

City University of Hong Kong, Veterinary Medical Centre, 339 Lai Chi Kok Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong


In the past couple of months various reports of SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 infection in domestic animals has become a common concern for many veterinarians and their clients around the world. Most coronavirus infections in companion animals cause primarily gastrointestinal disease with few exceptions including infectious bronchitis virus in birds, hepatitis virus in mice and canine respiratory coronavirus in dogs (Erles et al., 2003). The mutation rate of coronaviruses (CoV) is higher than other single stranded RNA viruses (Su et al., 2016), and results in an increase of genetic recombination and the production of novel CoVs of high genomic diversity and unpredictable virulence (Su et al., 2016). Its potential for cross-species transmission and its variety in zoonotic reservoirs has already resulted in the emergence of highly pathogenic human SARS-CoV in 2020 and MERS-CoV in 2013 (Peiris et al., 2003; Raj et al., 2014) and it is a matter of time, not if but when there will be another interspecies transmission outbreak.

The first case in a domestic animal was a geriatric Pomeranian dog that tested positive to the SARS-CoV-2 or Covi-19 virus at the end of February 2020 (AFCD, 2020a). Later in mid-March a younger 2-year-old German shepherd tested positive too (AFCD, 2020c), and a third case was reported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (GHKSAR) at the end of March in a cat that tested positive to Covid-19 (GHKSAR, 2020a).

All these three cases reported in Hong Kong belonged to people that had tested positive to Covid-19 and as a consequence they were examined by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) but none of the three pets showed any clinical signs. Genetic sequencing similarities found by the AFCD and the School of Public Health of the HKU from infected pet owners and their pets further supported a human to animal transmission.

All pets tested at the AFCD had samples from oral, nasal and rectal origin as carried out routinely in human studies (W. Wang et al., 2020). The positive results reported were on a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, regarded the most sensitive test for the diagnosis of Covid-19 (Y. Wang et al., 2020).

Samples tested weak positive to Covid-19 in several separate tests over a period of time. The persistent positive PCR results confirmed and suggested true infection as contamination was avoided keeping the pets separated in government kennels.

Experts from the School of Public Health University of Hong Kong, the College of Veterinary Medicine City University of Hong Kong and the World Organization for Animal Health concurred these results were consistent with a true infection (AFCD, 2020b).

The GHKSAR confirmed in late March a positive serology at the WHO laboratory reference at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) on the first patient, the geriatric Pomeranian that had previously been negative (GHKSAR, 2020b).

Testing before the body has time to create antibodies since antibody formation may take 14 days to be present in serum. A weak infection can additionally cause a negative serology as seen with other CoV infections in humans. The creation of antibodies against the virus suggests an immune response from the dog and further supports a true infection caused by human to animal transmission. 

Culture testing results were negative in the Pomeranian but resulted positive in nasal swabs of the German Shepherd, however, there was no transmission from the positive dog to another dog that lived in the same household and was negative on RT-PCR.

All three Hong Kong reported cases eventually cleared the viral infection as suggested by negative follow up RT-PCR testing, meaning viral RNA copies were not identified above detection levels. Culture and serology tests for the positive cat in Hong Kong are pending. As for the 17th of April the AFCD had conducted test on 52 pets animals including 30 dogs, 18 cats and 2 hamsters of which only two dogs and one cat had tested positive on RT-PCR.

Another report was released in late March regarding an infection with Covid-19 in a cat tested at the University of Liege, Belgium. The cat was diagnosed positive after RNA was found in vomit and stool that was owned by a positive Covid-19 owner as in the cases reported in Hong Kong. The cat was reported to have clinical signs but it is unknown whether they were attributable to the virus itself or to a concurrent illness. No isolation of virus was reported and serology tests are pending. No conclusions can be made until more information is released.

Early in April a 4 year-old tiger was also reported to have tested positive to Covid-19 in New York, USA. Other wild felines in the same zoo were reported to show clinical signs but no RT-PCRs were conducted in the other tigers. It is feasible they might have also been infected with SARS-CoV-2, however without PCR testing or serology it is questionable, and it remains unconfirmed whether there was an association between the clinical signs observed and Covid-19 infection. All wild felines have been since reported to be improving.

The latest reported cases in animals are 2 cats that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in New York in late April, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cats were from different areas of the state and both had mild clinical signs but were expected to make a full recovery. A positive Covid-19 individual owned one of the cats but the other positive cat was not associated to an infected or ill individual. It was suggested that mildly ill or asymptomatic contact or household members might have transmitted the disease. The USDA still recommends against routine testing of animals, as the occurrence is rare(CDC, 2020).

Despite the positive natural infections reported now worldwide, a veterinary diagnostic company has conducted about 4000 tests in canine and felines that have tested all negative at the time they were reported (IDEXX, 2020). A possible reason might be that natural infection would not occur in these pets unless they had been in contact with infected humans as was the case in all other positive reported pets.

A recently published paper reports different species being inoculated with high viral loads resulting in both clinical lesions and infection of one control cat that was placed together with experimentally infected cats. Both inoculated cats and an exposed control cat had detectable viral RNA as well as antibodies detected on an ELISA and neutralization assay (Shi et al., 2020). The same experimental infection approach was used in dogs. Dogs were not able to transmit the disease when kenneled together with control subjects and did not seroconvert, indicating low susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 as it happened with ducks, chicken and pigs. Ferrets were however able to transmit the infection, developed lesions and all had antibodies. Although this is very important information, the results of this study should be carefully interpreted. The animals in this study were not naturally infected and received high viral loads so they do not reflect the naturally weaker infections so far seen in infected domestic animals were virus isolation was negative and transmission among same species has not been reported.

In another preprint, 15 cats were reported seropositive from 141 samples of cats from Wuhan of which 32 had been taken previous to the outbreak and 102 had been taken after the outbreak (Zhang et al., 2020). All the positive results were from the post-outbreak sampling suggesting a human to animal infection. Only 3 out of the 15 cats were owned by Covid-19 diagnosed infected patients and they had the highest neutralization titers. The other 12 positive cat samples were taken from cat hospitals or from stray cats. The source of infection for these cats is unknown and one could speculate whether other infected cats, infected people or fomites might have been the potential sources.

A more recent preprint has suggested that dogs and cats are more susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and that they could transmit the disease to other animals in contact with them specially cats (Shen et al., 2020). The authors based their statement based on their findings of high binding affinity of SARS-CoV-2 to ACE2 domain. According to their result the affinity for binding was highest in chimpanzees (even higher than humans), followed by cats, cattle, monkeys and dogs among other animals. They even speculated that considering the widespread of stray cats in Wuhan they could have served as intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2 (Shen et al., 2020).

Transmission from human to animals appears to occur in some viral infections like influenza and we have observed it happening with SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 too when close contact occurs between infected humans and their pets. Preventive measures when handling pets should be taken to avoid transmission if a human is diagnosed with Covid-19, similarly to what is suggested among humans. Despite the proved human to animal transmission, a cross-species jump is still a rare occurrence. Transmission among pets in a natural setting is unlikely and has yet not been reported. Further research will help us understand better the zoonotic risks of SARS-CoV-2. Although preventive measures to avoid contact between infected individuals are recommended, there is no evidence pets can infect humans and is yet to be proved that they can transmit the disease to other pets in natural occurring infections.  


*Corresponding Author: Angel Almendros. City University of Hong Kong, Veterinary Medical Centre, 339 Lai Chi Kok Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Email:



AFCD. 2020a. Detection of low level of COVID-19 virus in pet dog [Press release].

AFCD. 2020b. Low-level of infection with COVID-19 in Pet Dog. Wednesday, March 4, 2020 [Press release].

AFCD. 2020c. Pet dog tests positive for COVID-19 virus [Press release].

CDC. 2020. Confirmation of COVID-19 in Two Pet Cats in New York [Press release].

Erles, K., Toomey, C., Brooks, H. W. and Brownlie, J. 2003. Detection of a group 2 coronavirus in dogs with canine infectious respiratory disease. Virology 310, 216-223.

GHKSAR. 2020a. Pet cat tests positive for COVID-19 virus [Press release].

GHKSAR. 2020b. Pet dog further tests positive for antibodies for COVID-19 virus [Press release].

IDEXX. 2020. Leading Veterinary Diagnostic Company Sees No COVID-19 Cases in Pets [Press release].

Peiris, J., Lai, S., Poon, L., Guan, Y., Yam, L., Lim, W., et al. 2003. Coronavirus as a possible cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Lancet 361, 1319-1325.

Raj, V.S., Osterhaus, A.D., Fouchier, R.A. and Haagmans, B.L. 2014. MERS: emergence of a novel human coronavirus. Curr. Opin. Virol. 5, 58-62.

Shen, M., Liu, C., Xu, R., Ruan, Z., Zhao, S., Zhang, H., et al. 2020. SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Cats and Dogs? Preprints.

Shi, J., Wen, Z., Zhong, G., Yang, H., Wang, C., Huang, B., et al. 2020. Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals to SARS–coronavirus 2. Science.

Su, S., Wong, G., Shi, W., Liu, J., Lai, A. C., Zhou, J., et al. 2016. Epidemiology, genetic recombination, and pathogenesis of coronaviruses. Trends Microbiol. 24, 490-502.

Wang, W., Xu, Y., Gao, R., Lu, R., Han, K., Wu, G., et al. 2020. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Different Types of Clinical Specimens. Jama E1-E2.

Wang, Y., Kang, H., Liu, X. and Tong, Z. 2020. Combination of RT‐qPCR Testing and Clinical Features For Diagnosis of COVID‐19 facilitates management of SARS‐CoV‐2 Outbreak. J. Med. Virol. 1-2.

Zhang, Q., Zhang, H., Huang, K., Yang, Y., Hui, X., Gao, J., et al. 2020. SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing serum antibodies in cats: a serological investigation. bioRxiv.

Copper responsive wasting and diarrhoea in captive European bison (Bison bonasus) in UK
"Letter to the Editor"

Copper responsive wasting and diarrhoea in captive European bison (Bison bonasus) in UK

Clare Heap(1), Alex M. Barlow(2,3*), Scott D. Young(4) and Harriet Stacey(5)

1- Seadown Veterinary Services, Lymington Surgery, 4 Avenue Road, Lymington, Hants, SO41 9GJ, UK

2- APHA Wildlife Group, APHA Starcross VI Centre, Staplake Mount, Starcross, Devon, EX6 8PE, UK

3- Wildlife Network for Disease Surveillance, University of Bristol, School of Veterinary

Science, Langford, Somerset, BS40 5DU, UK

4- School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK

5- APHA Miscellaneous Species Group, APHA Starcross VI Centre, Staplake Mount, Starcross, Devon, EX6 8PE, UK

Severe diarrhoea, wasting and death were reported in a ten year old entire bull European bison in a wildlife park in England. Over two to three weeks its faeces had been become progressively more fluid and gradual weight loss had been noted. No pathogens were identified on faecal parasitology or bacterial culture, so more fibre was added to the diet, as this was thought to be beneficial. The bull would only eat browse (leaves from woody plants). This is unusual, as a report on range herbivores from Lyons et al. (2012) indicates the closely related American bison (Bison bison) usually eat mainly grass (81%), forbs (wildflowers, weeds, etc.) (12%) and browse only (7%). The bull then became acutely anorexic and died. An in situ necropsy was carried out by the private vet but there were no gross or subsequent histological findings of significance.

The bison enclosure is four acres and contained another European bison bull that had been bought in seven years previously with the affected animal from the same premises. The pasture is low lying with permanent grass, marsh grass and reeds and it is susceptible to poaching in the winter. The pasture has not changed over the last seven years. The bison had ad lib access to hay in a hay rack and were offered daily seasonal fresh leafy browse, in addition to daily hard feed (Monarch deer cubes).

Three months after the death of the affected bison, the remaining bison developed the same clinical signs. This animal was sedated to allow collection of samples including faeces, and a range of blood samples. There was no evidence from faecal examination of parasitic gastroenteritis, coccidiosis, liver fluke, salmonella infection or Johne’s infection by PCR. In addition, PCR testing of blood samples was negative for Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) and Malignant Catarrhal Fever Virus (MCFV) antigen. The serum copper level was 11.07 umol/l and the reference range for plasma copper in domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats and deer) is 9-19 umol/l with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) guide for clinical copper deficiency at levels below 6umol/l. Puls (1994) indicates that the serum reference range should be 17 to 24% less than the plasma reference range. The results do not indicate any direct copper deficiency. However, consultations with staff at other British wildlife parks, which keep European bison, revealed anecdotal evidence that these clinical signs might be due to a copper responsive disease. Foster et al. (2011) also reported a similar case of rapid weight loss and death in farmed American bison (Bison bison) where copper deficiency was diagnosed. On the basis of this information copper responsive disease could not be ruled out.

Copper treatment by intramuscular dart of 5ml Veticop (20mg/ml copper methionate, Bimeda) was given and an improvement was seen within 12 hours. The bison looked more alert and had an improved appetite (see before and after pictures). This improvement continued dramatically. No liver tissue was available from this animal but a sample had been collected from the first case for histopathology. Unfortunately the formalin fixed liver had by now been discarded and the histological wax block sample was all that remained. Bischoff et al. (2008) had previously carried out a limited study to show comparative trace element, including copper, analysis figures using formalin fixed and crucially wax embedded liver to fresh bovine liver studies. The wax block liver sample was therefore analysed for tissue copper levels. This gave a copper result of 11.85 mg/kg DM, which is equivalent to 186umol/kg DM. The APHA guide for copper deficiency is liver levels ≤300umol/kg DM. This supports a diagnosis of copper deficiency in the first case and response to copper treatment in the second cases suggested copper deficiency was also involved. However as these bison had been on the same pasture for seven years it is not obvious what factors precipitated the clinical changes at this time.

Recent work by Durkalec et al. (2018) checking trace elements in livers of captive and free-ranging European bison in Poland suggested copper deficiency occurred in 85% of free-ranging animals and in 88% of the captive ones. This is important to consider as European bison have recently been re-introduced in some areas of Continental Europe such as the Southern Carpathians in Romania. Also they are being considered for re-wilding projects in Great Britain as well as for conservation grazing. Copper responsive disease may be a limiting factor in these schemes. However, the level of copper supplementation would need to be suited to each scheme, to prevent over supplementation that might lead to copper toxicosis. Soil and pasture biochemical analysis would be a useful guide in helping prevent over or under supplementation.
*Corresponding Author: Alex M. Barlow. APHA Wildlife Group, APHA Starcross VI Centre, Staplake Mount, Starcross, Devon, EX6 8PE, UK. Email:


Bischoff, K., Lamm, C., Erb, H.N. and Hillebrandt, J.R. 2008. The effects of formalin fixation and tissue embedding of bovine liver on copper, iron and zinc analysis. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 20, 220-224.

Durkalec, M., Nawrocka, A., Krzysiak, M., Larska, M., Kmiecik, M. and Posyniak, A. 2018. Trace elements in the liver of captive and free-ranging European bison (Bison bonasus L.). Chemosphere 193, 454-463.

Foster, A.P., Strugnell, B.W., Payne, J. and Schock, A. 2011. Bison and copper. Vet. Clin. Pathol. 40(2), 138-139.

Lyons, R.K., Forbes, T.D.A. and Machen, R. 2012. What Range Herbivores Eat— and Why. B-6037: Texas Agricultural Extension, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas.

Puls, R. 1994. Mineral Levels in Animal Health: Diagnosis Data. 2nd edition. Sherpa International, 1062 356th Street, Aldergrove, BC, V4W2J3, Canada.

Fig. 1.  Before copper treatment.
Fig. 2.  13 days later.
Glycosaminoglycans and their precursors in osteoarthritis

"Letter to the Editor"

Glycosaminoglycans and their precursors in osteoarthritis

Sergei V. Jargin*

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, 117198 Moscow, Russia

Chondroitin (Ch) is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG); and glucosamine (Ga) is an aminosaccharide acting as a substrate for biosynthesis of GAG. Ch undergoes hydrolysis in the intestine; being administered orally, it can also be regarded as a source of precursors for GAG. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a GAG used for intra-articular injections. These substances are applied for the treatment of osteoarthritis and named chondroprotectants or chondroprotectives. The oral GAG have been discussed within the group of Symptomatic Slow-Acting Drugs in Osteoarthritis (SYSADOA) (Bruyère et al., 2016), which is hardly justified: these drugs are supposed to act primarily not upon symptoms but upon the pathogenesis – to compensate for a deficiency of cartilage constituents. The evidence in favor of chondroprotective effectiveness of GAG and their components is conflicting. Despite the popularity of chondroprotectives, there is skepticism in the scientific community (Vista and Lau, 2011). For example, a meta-analysis concluded that “Ch, Ga, and their combination do not have a clinically relevant effect on perceived joint pain or on joint space narrowing” (Wandel et al., 2010). Another key remark: “Given that there is an effect, understanding the biochemical basis of this effect might lead to more useful supplements” (Wood, 2010). The point is that the biochemical basis is not readily understandable. GAG and their precursors are not irreplaceable; they are synthesized in the body. It appears doubtful that oral supplementation of precursors can shift an equilibrium between synthesis and degradation in the whole body to such extent that it would be significant for the joint cartilage. Furthermore, source materials such as shellfish chitin and fungi for Ga, or cartilage from mammals, birds or fish for Ch (Black et al., 2009), manufacturing methods and contaminants, can influence biological and pharmacological properties of preparations (Volpi, 2009).

With regard to intra-articular injections of HA, a meta-analysis concluded that “currently available evidence suggests that intra-articular GA is not clinically effective” (Arrich et al., 2005). The evidence remains inconsistent and controversial (Nguyen et al., 2016). Action mechanisms of intra-articular HA are hardly understandable, even the “lubrication at the joint surfaces” i.e. viscosupplementation used both in humans and animals (Lohmander et al., 1996; Goodrich and Nixon, 2006). Viscosity changes in consequence of HA injections can be measured e.g. adding HA to cadaverous synovial fluid. Both pre- and post-treatment viscosity values were reported to be within the range of normal values (Brandt et al., 2000). Analgesic effects lasting longer than the residence time of the injected HA in joints were reported both in humans and in horses with painful osteoarthritis. Furthermore, it was reported that viscous properties of HA solutions are the determining factors in reducing pains in cat and rat joints as well as promoting the healing of traumatic intra-articular wounds in animal arthritis models (Balazs, 2004). However, the lubrication effect cannot last long: no explanation has been found for the discrepancy between the short intra-articular half-life of injected HA and the reported duration of the clinical carry-over effect in humans. The intra-articular half-life of Hyalgan (sodium hyaluronate) is about 17 h; the low molecular weight component of Synvisc (Hylan G-F 20 constituting about 90% of the preparation) has an intra-articular half-life of 1.5 days; and the component with a higher molecular weight - 8.8 days (Brandt et al., 2000). Nevertheless, the carry-over effect after the treatment lasted from about 3 months with oral chondroprotectives to 6-9 months with intra-articular formulations (Uebelhart, 2008).

HA is a polymer; according to the law of mass action, its local enrichment would displace the chemical equilibrium toward low-molecular precursors, thus contributing to the reduction of viscosity. Therefore, suppositions about “induction of biosynthesis of endogenous HA” (Bruyère et al., 2016) by injections of the same substance are not substantiated. As for molecular mechanisms studied in vitro (Brandt et al., 2000), their clinical relevance is questionable because of higher concentrations of tested substances in vitro than in vivo (Black et al., 2009). Note that Ch, Ga and HA were chosen for supplementation therapy, and a probability of their specific e.g. anti-inflammatory effect (Altman et al., 2018) or “inhibition of chondrodegenerative enzymes” (Xing et al., 2016) would a priori be the same as for any substance taken at random.

It should be questioned in conclusion whether a diet rich in natural GAG: joints, tails, chicken legs etc. would be equivalent to a supplementation by drugs and dietary supplements. This idea is not new; it was discussed at conferences. Should randomized controlled trials on Ch and Ga be planned, a cohort of patients on a diet rich in natural GAG can be included for comparison. Effectiveness of a dietary supplementation of natural GAG versus Ch and Ga preparations can be tried for osteoarthritis in animals, particularly dogs, giving them food rich in cartilage. A recent review concluded that potential benefits from Gl and Ch in osteoarthritic canines can neither be confirmed nor denied (Bhathal et al., 2017). Some animal studies are at risk of funding bias due to a sponsorship. It might be also useful to check osteoarthritis prevalence in vegetarians, receiving no exogenous supply of GAG or their immediate precursors, compared to corresponding age groups in the general population. Considering the abundance of literature, quality of research and possible influence by the industry should be taken into account defining inclusion criteria for studies into meta-analyses and reviews.  

*Corresponding Author: Sergei V. Jargin. Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, 6, Miklukho-Maklay Street 117198 Moscow, Russia. Email:


Altman, R., Hackel, J., Niazi, F., Shaw, P. and Nicholls, M. 2018. Efficacy and safety of repeated courses of hyaluronic acid injections for knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review. Semin Arthritis Rheum. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2018.01.009.

Arrich, J., Piribauer, F., Mad, P., Schmid, D., Klaushofer, K. and Mullner, M. 2005. Intra-articular hyaluronic acid for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: systematic review and meta-analysis. CMAJ 172, 1039-1043.

Balazs, E.A. 2004. Viscosupplementation for treatment of osteoarthritis: from initial discovery to current status and results. Surg. Technol. Int. 12, 278-289.

Bhathal, A., Spryszak, M., Louizos, C. and Frankel, G. 2017. Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review. Open Vet. J. 7(1), 36-49.

Black, C., Clar, C., Henderson, R., MacEachern, C., McNamee, P., Quayyum, Z., Royle, P. and Thomas, S. 2009. The clinical effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements in lowing or arresting progression of osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and economic evaluation. Health Technol. Assess. 13, 1-148.

Brandt, K.D., Smith, G.N. Jr. and Simon, L.S. 2000. Intraarticular injection of hyaluronan as treatment for knee osteoarthritis: what is the evidence? Arthritis Rheum. 43, 1192-1203.

Bruyère, O., Cooper, C., Pelletier, J.P., Maheu, E., Rannou, F., Branco, J., Luisa Brandi, M., Kanis, J.A., Altman, R.D., Hochberg, M.C., Martel-Pelletier, J. and Reginster, J.Y. 2016. A consensus statement on the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO) algorithm for the management of knee osteoarthritis-From evidence-based medicine to the real-life setting. Semin. Arthritis. Rheum. 45(4 Suppl.), S3-11.

Goodrich, L.R. and Nixon, A.J. 2006. Medical treatment of osteoarthritis in the horse - a review. Vet. J. 171(1), 51-69.

Jargin, S.V. 2012. Supplementation of glycosaminoglycans and their precursors in osteoarthritis versus diet modification. Int. J. Rheum. Dis. 15(3), e45-6.

Lohmander, L.S., Dalén, N., Englund, G., Hämäläinen, M., Jensen, E.M., Karlsson, K., Odensten, M., Ryd, L., Sernbo, I., Suomalainen, O. and Tegnander, A. 1996. Intra-articular hyaluronan injections in the treatment of osteo-arthritis of the knee: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled multicentre trial. Hyaluronan Multicentre Trial Group. Ann. Rheum. Dis. 55, 424-431.

Nguyen, C., Lefèvre-Colau, M.M., Poiraudeau, S. and Rannou, F. 2016. Evidence and recommendations for use of intra-articular injections for knee osteoarthritis. Ann. Phys. Rehabil. Med. 59(3), 184-189.

Uebelhart, D. 2008. Clinical review of chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 16(Suppl. 3), S19-21.

Vista, E.S. and Lau, C.S. 2011. What about supplements for osteoarthritis? A critical and evidenced-based review. Int. J. Rheum. Dis. 14, 152-8.

Volpi, N. 2009. Quality of different chondroitin sulfate preparations in relation to their therapeutic activity. J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 61, 1271-80.

Wandel, S., Jüni, P., Tendal, B., Nüesch, E., Villiger, P.M., Welton, N.J., Reichenbach, S. and Trelle, S. 2010. Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. BMJ 341, c4675.

Wood, M.J. 2010. Conclusion not consistent with results. BMJ Rapid Response, 24 September 2010 (accessed 5 July 2018).

Xing, D., Wang, B., Liu, Q., Ke, Y., Xu, Y., Li, Z. and Lin J. 2016. Intra-articular hyaluronic acid in treating knee osteoarthritis: a PRISMA-compliant systematic review of overlapping meta-analysis. Sci. Rep. 6, 32790.
Alliance between veterinarians and information specialists

Letter to the Editor

Alliance between Veterinarians and Information Specialists

Nader Naghshineh, PhD

Department of Information Sciences and Knowledge Studies, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Niloofar Solhjoo*, MSLIS

Department of Information Sciences and Knowledge Studies, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Fatima Fahimnia, PhD

Department of Information Sciences and Knowledge Studies, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Many organizations all around the world try to help veterinary profession in understanding, using and extending the practice of information science and technology. Since 1995 The Association for Veterinary Informatics (AVI), a non-profit international organization comprised of individuals involved in biomedical informatics research, education and advocacy within the domain of veterinary medicine, started the Talbot Informatics Symposium, in memory of Dr. Richard Talbot, a pioneer in veterinary informatics. “Better Data Saves Pets” is AVI 23rd Annual Symposium motto which is held in Kansas City in August 2018. It gives opportunity to share informatics expertise from libraries to veterinary practice.

Moreover, the Animal Health Information Specialists (AHIS) group has been active for over 20 years and collaborates between veterinary librarians and veterinary information specialists in Europe, North America, and other countries. AHIS attempts to bring together all those who are employed or interested in the dissemination of animal health information, to foster co-operation and resource sharing, and to stimulate interest in related matters.

As the same, in Africa and Asia we need to give rise to opportunities to promote animal health information and evidence-based veterinary medicine. Paying attention to the wellbeing of companion animals has increasingly been growing in Islamic countries such as Iran in the past decade (Grisoni and Mashkour, 2016). According to the news based on numbers of hospitals offering services to pets and sales of veterinary vaccination, the number of domestic animals in Iran is increasing (Biazar, 2015; Hashemzadeh, 2017). Afro-Asian veterinary science, just as medical science, is constantly adapted to new technologies. Some veterinarians professionally are using tools of Web 2.0 to seek and share health information about animals, interact with pet owners, contact with other partners, and promote research and marketing. As the same, veterinarians’ clients use the internet, especially social media to find health information about their pets, express their experiences and describe the events related to their pets' disease process. So, as the same projects and researches in America (Kogan et al., 2010; Dinkelman et al., 2011) we need a relation between veterinarians and information specialist to provide services and materials that could identify high quality sources for animal health information.

As one of the early works in this field in Iran, we, researchers at the faculty of Information Sciences and Knowledge Studies of Tehran University, have been conducting a study on veterinarians prescribed information as a tool to guide pet owner’s health information behavior (Solhjoo, 2017). We explored the role of pet owner’s health literacy in the application of the veterinarian’s prescribed information and emphasized on veterinarians collaboration with information specialists and librarians to perform education efforts to raise awareness on animal health information quality and impact of veterinarian directed information prescription especially among low health literate owners.  As it is the initial alliance between Afro-Asian animal health professionals and information specialists, studying the impact of such a cooperation, as well as more general research into information and the impact on animal health and on the veterinary-client relationship for pet owners, is sorely needed. Future research on this topic would no doubt benefit from collaborative efforts across information science and animal health researchers. 

*Corresponding Author: Niloofar Solhjoo. Department of Information Sciences and Knowledge Studies, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Tel.: 989127164536. Email:


Biazar, Y. 2015. Perspective of pet keeping in Iran. (in Persian). Moshavereh Dampezeshk [Veterinarian Consultant]. Spring and Summer (15), 21-23.

Dinkelman, A.L., Viera, A.R. and Bickett-Weddle, D.A. 2011. The role of veterinary medical librarians in teaching information literacy. J. Vet. Med. Educ. 38(2), 141-149.

Grisoni, A. and Mashkour, M. 2016. Every Dog Has Its Day: New Patterns in Pet Keeping in Iran. Anthropology of the Middle East 11(1), 112-126.

Hashemzadeh, M. 2017. ME largest veterinary hospital opens in Tehran. Mehrnews Agency. Retrieved from

Kogan, L.R., Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., Simon, A.A. and Viera, A.R. 2010. The Internet and pet health information: perceptions and behaviors of pet owners and veterinarians. Int. J. Vet. Med. 8(1), 1-19.

Solhjoo, N. 2017. The association of information prescriptions in veterinary clinic on pet owner’s health information seeking behaviour and health literacy (Master dissertation). University of Tehran, Iran.

Obituary - Prof. Ramadan Omer Ramadan

Prof. Ramadan Omer Ramadan, a member of the Editorial Board of the Open Veterinary Journal and Professor of surgery at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, passed away on Thursday the 21st of September, 2017, after suffering with the disease at the Prince Sultan Center for Cardiac Surgery in Saudi Arabia.

All Editorial Board members of the Open Veterinary Journal are sending their sincere condolences to his family, relatives and his colleagues and ask Allah to accept him with mercy. He will be fondly remembered. He will be sadly missed. May his soul rest in peace.

Ramadan, Ramadan Omer was born on January 1, 1945 in El Obied, Sudan.

BVS, Cairo University, 1968. DVR, Guy Medical Hospital, London, 1976. Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Veterinary College, University London, 1977.

Veterinary, assistant researcher Minister of Animal Resources, Food & Fisheries, Khartoum, Sudan, 1968-1970. Research assistant Khartoum University, 1970-1973. Assistant professor College Veterinary Medicine & Animal Resources, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia, 1977-1983, associate professor Saudi Arabia, 1983-1992, professor Saudi Arabia, since 1992.

Member EAVDI, IVR, New York Acd. Sciences, Goat V.S., Saudi Biological Society, Sudan Veterinary Association. 

By: Ibrahim Eldaghayes (Editor-in-Chief)

Dear Reader,

I would like to thank and express my gratitude to all members of the Editorial Board for providing the support and feedback necessary to find, develop, and publish material of such consistent high quality. All papers are peer-reviewed. Moreover, with the presence of international reviewers and referees, the process of publication will be and has been done rapidly and to the highest standards. (Special thanks to all reviewers and referees who supported the journal by reviewing and evaluating all submitted manuscripts to the journal on a voluntary basis. Here's the list of all names of: Reviewers and Referees).

I also would like to thank the publisher of the journal: "Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tripoli". 

I also would like to extend my thanks to the University of Tripoli, the Libyan National Center of Animal Health and the Libyan Authority for Research, Science and Technology for supporting Open Veterinary Journal by covering the expenses of the good quality printing of the previous issues of the journal.

It has been and still a real pleasure and certainly a rewarding experience serving as Editor-in-Chief of Open Veterinary Journal. Editorial obligations have not been a simple task and it is a time consuming, and I hope that you have enjoyed and benefited from all the published articles in Open Veterinary Journal at least as much as I did.

I consider it a great honor being as an Editor-in-Chief of Open Veterinary Journal, and I will do my best to face all challenges that confront the journal and striving to increase the quality and impact of the journal's content.

All Researches within the aim and scope of the journal can be submitted and considered for publication. We highly appreciate our readers’ feedback, so please share your ideas and thoughts with us on Twitter and Open Veterinary Journal page on the Facebook.

The life of our Journal proceeds very well (First publication in the journal was in January 2011) in term of its popularity within our scientific community, given the number of submissions that we receive and the level of citations which we are achieving and hoping it will increase by time.

It is my pleasure to invite all researchers especially in the veterinary sciences to submit scientific articles to Open Veterinary Journal.

Ibrahim Eldaghayes


Open Veterinary Journal 

By: Chengming Wang (Member of the Editorial Board)

Dear Readers and Authors,

It gives me a great pleasure to serve on the editorial board of the Open Veterinary Journal (OVJ). This is a peer-reviewed open-access journal offering a unique platform for veterinary practitioners, veterinary scientists and others with relevant interest. Since its foundation in 2011, the OVJ has made exceptional progress and is now included in many international indexing services such as PubMed Central, Scopus, EBSCO, and African Journals OnLine etc.  Under the leadership of the OVJ Editor-in-Chief, efforts from the editorial board members and supports from you as readers and authors, I am confident that the OVJ will soon reach the goal of being included in the Science Citation Index with a Journal Impact Factor. The OVJ will go on to establish its international reputation as a highly respected journal for accessing high-quality manuscripts.

I would like to thank all those who contributed manuscripts to the OVJ and others who have given their precious time to review and edit the submitted manuscripts. I wish all our readers and members of the editorial board a happy and prosperous new year 2016, and look forward to a bright and successful future for the OVJ.

Chengming Wang DVM, MS, PhD

Member of the Editorial Board


Open Veterinary Journal

By: Whitney M. Kistler (Member of the Editorial Board)

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to serve on the editorial board of the Open Veterinary Journal (OVJ).  This journal is keeping up with the times. It allows authors to publish quality research in an open format. In addition, our journal has an excellent editorial staff that ensures the work published is conducted scientifically sound and ethical manner. We pride ourselves on the rapid turnaround of articles for publication and are able to get articles turned around quickly for publication.

Although the OVJ began in 2011, it continues to gain traction within the scientific community. This is apparent by the increase in websites that index OVJ and the steady increase in our impact factor. Furthermore, the journal continues to receive submission from prominent authors conducting amazing research in their fields.

I would like to thank the editorial board, the reviewers, and scientists who have provided this opportunity for me to work with such an exciting journal in its infancy. I look forward to watching the OVJ grow and create a bigger impact on the scientific community.


Whitney M. Kistler M.S., PhD

Member of the Editorial Board 


Open Veterinary Journal

By: Richard G. Lea (Associate Editor)

Dear readers,

It is an honour to be asked to write this short editorial about the Open Veterinary Journal. The “publish or perish” pressure is on all of us and it is refreshing to serve on a journal that publishes on a diverse range of veterinary topics encompassing original research papers, reviews, short communications and case reports.

Despite the inevitable push towards publishing in the highest impact factor journals possible, the other side of the coin is ensuring that your work is easily accessible to a relevant readership whilst maintaining the highest quality and rigour of the peer review process. This is where the Open Veterinary Journal excels since each year clinical reports and laboratory based but clinically relevant studies are published side by side. The Open Access policy of the journal ensures that the high quality papers have maximum accessibility world-wide, and the lack of page charges, including colour, facilitates the process of paper submission.

As a relatively new journal about to enter its 5th year, I feel that the OVJ will go on to achieve greater things in terms of its international reputation as a highly respected free forum for accessing excellent quality manuscripts. I would like to offer my sincere thanks all those who have contributed to the journal from the successful authors through to those who have given their time to review, edit and enhance submitted manuscripts.

I look forward to a bright and successful future for the OVJ.

Richard G. Lea

Associate Editor


Open Veterinary Journal

By: Mark Fife (Former Associate Editor)
Dear Readers and Contributors to Open Veterinary Journal,

The Open Veterinary Journal, a peer reviewed open access journal focussing on veterinary science, has made outstanding progress made by since its foundation in 2011. The quality and diversity of the papers published in OVJ offers a unique platform for veterinary science which is reflected in its increasing popularity. Online alone there have been over 45 000 views of since its launch. Readers are from diverse sectors of veterinary science, located in over 140 different countries.

Many research funding bodies throughout the world are now demanding free access to scientific publications that are funded through their support. Publication in OVJ does just that. OVJ operates under an open access publication model, meaning that all interested readers are able to freely access the journal online without the need for a subscription fee. All papers are meticulously peer-reviewed by international referees to the highest standards. To enable OVJ to gain further credibility and impact, we invite all researchers in the veterinary sciences to submit research articles, reviews, short communications and case reports for publication.

We would like to thank all authors who have contributed manuscripts OVJ and those who are awaiting their manuscripts publication in subsequent issues.

Mark Fife

Associate Editor


Open Veterinary Journal

By: Abu-Bakr Abu-Median (Associate Editor)
Dear authors and readers,

I am extremely privileged to be offered the opportunity to communicate with you all through this page. 

It is not an easy task to write about something that is yours as everyone of us will be biased. However, I find it different when it comes to the Open Veterinary Journal (OVJ)! As a reader, I have been following the remarkable progress made by OVJ since its foundation.

The quality of the papers published tells the nice story. OVJ offers a unique platform for veterinary practitioners, veterinary scientists and others with relevant interest. Personally, I have enjoyed editing and reviewing the broad-range articles, which I found very refreshing for someone like me as a researcher and a former practitioner. This is very different from reviewing an article for a specialised journal.

As a member of the OVJ family, I have been promoting the Journal to my colleagues in the UK and elsewhere. They were impressed by the quality of the Journal, but the first question they ask is about Impact Factor. Here comes the mission of the authors and readers – the more we publish in and cite OVJ the higher the impact factor.

I would like to thank everyone who supported OVJ with time, money, articles, editing…etc. Success of OVJ is the responsibility of all. Please keep promoting OVJ.

Abu-Bakr Abu-Median

Associate Editor


Open Veterinary Journal

By: Salah M. Azwai (Senior Editor)
Dear readers,

It is mandatory for a scientist or researcher to publish a quality paper in a quality journal which has creditability.  I do understand that every paper cannot be published in journals like “Nature or Science”.  However, there are number of journals which publish quality papers.  This is where Open Veterinary Journal (OVJ) comes in my thoughts.

When it was launched, its future, at least in my view, was uncertain. 

Now, having written that, OVJ has met several criteria of a good journal and   the standards of its peers. Scientists from different parts of the world have contributed their papers for this journal, which were referred and reviewed by top scientists in their fields. I am sure that OVJ will go a long way in serving the scientific community.

I would like to thank all authors who contributed manuscripts for this issue and other authors who are waiting patiently to get their manuscripts published in subsequent issues.

I wish all our readers and members of the editorial board a happy and prosperous new year 2014.

Salah M. Azwai

Senior Editor


Open Veterinary Journal


Dr Mohamed Abdelhafid Hamid Al-Arbi, BVSc, MVSc, PhD.  1945-2011.

After a remarkable career with the Department of Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at University of Tripoli, that spanned 27 years and which ended with his passing on 15/03/2011 in Tripoli, Dr. Mohamed A. H. Al-Arbi will be fondly remembered as a respected teacher, Head of Department, avian pathologist and skilled veterinarian.

He was instrumental in developing strong and lasting linkages between the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tripoli and sectors of livestock and industries in Libya. He was the founder and Head of the Libyan Veterinary Poultry Association and an Associate Editor at the Open Veterinary Journal.

He published a number of journal articles, mainly on Infectious Bronchitis and Newcastle disease, undertook several consultancies, and produced several international conference papers. He was a member of many professional associations, councils, committees and boards in the fields of veterinary sciences. He will be sadly missed by his family and many friends in Libya and elsewhere, and remembered with much respect and appreciation by his peers and colleagues within the veterinary services. May his soul rest in peace.