VetRepro

Stories and thoughts about small animal reproduction and ultrasound


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Earth’s Top 10 Weirdest Animals, Part 1

Why? Because Science.

Our beautiful Blue Planet is home to a staggering variety of life that ranges from the simplest, single-celled amoeba to the most complex and advanced mammals. We interact with a variety of these species on a daily basis, whether its swatting away an annoying fly, taking your dog for a run or giving your husband a pat on the back for being civil to your mom, even when she chews him out for not being Brad Pitt.

Then of course there are those species we only get to see on the odd occasion – perhaps at the zoo, on safari or even in your own backyard if you’re lucky (or unlucky depending on your worldview). Bears, raccoons, porcupines, deer, wild cats, monkeys… the world is full of places where human and beast regularly brush shoulders with each other. Unfortunately, it’s rarely for the good of the beast or for your…

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Earth’s Top 10 Weirdest Animals, PART 2

Why? Because Science.

Welcome to the second installment of this two-part blog series on animals you’d likely encounter in a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not zoo if the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not franchise did indeed have a zoo. If you haven’t read Part 1 you can check it out by clicking the following link:

Read Part 1. I mean, who reads Part 2 before reading Part 1? Are you dyslexic? Are you an anarchist trying to upset world order? Or are you another hipster on yet another fruitless quest for originality?

Just kidding.

Here are the next 5 super strange critters on my list!

Deep Sea Pompeii Worm

Alvinella pompejana 

Deep sea pompeii worm

Image Source: news.sciencemag.org

Contrary to appearances, this is not some outlandish proctology case study. It’s a very special kind of deep-sea worm that belongs in the cool-sounding category of the “extremophiles,” which are organisms that thrive in extreme environments. The neighborhoods…

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Stories from Milan and thoughts about canine prostatic neoplasia…

One more time at Milan University! The Vet School still sitting there, full of veterinary histories as it was firstly established in 1791!  And always full of memories for me as I visited it for the first time back in 2004 in order to attend the 3rd ESAVS course of small animal reproduction. From that time till now a fruitful cooperation between the Clinic of Obstetrics & Gynecology and myself began…

Our latest research project is focused on the prostate of the dog. It may sound boring but it is not! Though the prostate is a well-studied gland, a lot of things have to be made clear yet. For example, a lot of discussion between breeders, dog owners and vets has been observed all these years, concerning the prevention of cancer of the canine prostate. Some claim that castration prevents cancer development while others don’t want to hear about it!  But the real question is “how common is neoplasia of the prostate of the dog?”. The correct answer to this could be something like “It depends”! In the following lines I will try to explain why.

During the 90’s and early 00’s it was believed that intact (= not castrated) male dogs have a high probability to develop prostatic neoplasia. So the common preventive practice was castration (orchiectomy in other words) which was performed at a very young age, even before puberty in some cases! Castration of course has some other strong benefits, such as prevention of development prostatic benign hyperplasia, prostatic cysts and other pathologies of the gland. Without a doubt castration is also a great “tool” for the control of stray dog population, that has to be combined with education of the owners.

These advantages are all true. Except one: prevention of neoplasia! In the (not so) recent literature it is well demonstrated that “neutered males had a significantly increased risk for each form of prostatic cancer. Neutered males had an odds ratio of 3.56 for urinary bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), 8.00 for prostate TCC, 2.12 for prostate adenocarcinoma, 3.86 for prostate carcinoma, and 2.84 for all prostate cancers.”(Bryan et al, Prostate, 2007).

And of one the Guru’s of small animal reproduction, Michelle Kutzler, makes things clear enough: “Not only does castration not protect against future development of prostatic neoplasia in dogs, but incidence of prostatic neoplasia is higher in castrated dogs” (Neoplasms of the Prostate in Small Animals, The Merck Veterinary Manual, 2013).

These infos also reflect my own feeling, deriving from my almost 20 years’ small animal practice experiences. The “true” and “real” cases of prostatic neoplasia that I have seen are less than 5 (3 as far as I remember). “True” and “real” mean “proven” by histologic or cytological examination of prostatic samples taken with biopsy or fine needle aspiration (FNA). On the other hand, diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, cysts, prostatitis (= inflammation of the prostate gland) are almost everyday practice to my experience…

But in several congresses and several discussions with vets from other countries, I realize that scientific community is really worried about prostatic neoplasia prevention and treatment! How can it be??? Am I missing cases? Or maybe vets from other countries are overestimating the frequency of prostatic neoplasia development? Well, none of these…it’s a matter of …let’s say… “culture”! And I will explain you what I mean: In countries of the southern Europe such as Greece or Italy, castration of the male dogs is not so familiar as in other countries such as Great Britain, USA, Belgium and maybe France. Castration is mostly performed in cases of prostatic disease (for example benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostatic cysts), very very rarely in young dogs and almost never in dogs before reaching puberty! As a result the incidence of prostatic cancer is low!

So when we are studying or discussing the epidemiology of prostatic diseases we also have to consider the possible differences between countries.

Also we have to keep in mind that early castration (despite what was common belief) increases the risk of development prostatic neoplasia! But on the other hand has many many many advantages – that will be fully discussed in the near future! In any case, your vet knows the pros and cons and always decides the best for your dog, depending the problem, the current health status, the age etc etc etc!

Merry Christmas to all!

Keep in touch!

 

 


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Roads…part 2

The destination of our journey is “Parturition”. The beginning is “Embryogenesis”. Embryogenesis of both female and male – we know that it takes two to tango!

The road that connects them is comprised by many segments, such as sex determination and differentiation, development of male and female genital systems, puberty, steroidogenesis and hormonal regulation, folliculogenesis, oogenesis and ovulation, spermatogenesis, fertilization, maternal recognition of the conceptus, placentation and pregnancy!

All these so different – but so closely related and sometimes so difficult to distinguish – events are the result of a sequence of several other facts which in their turn are analyzed in a even more complicated network of biochemistry interactions!

And at the end you realize that every little cell, every little protein or molecule is there for a very special reason!

Trying to follow the road to parturition is a real challenge…stay tuned!

 


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The New WordPress.com App for Windows Is Here

The WordPress.com Blog

You asked, and we answered—quickly! Just weeks after unveiling the all-new WordPress.com and desktop app for Mac, we’re thrilled to introduce our new Windows app.

07-laptopNow you can manage your sites, write and publish, and even customize your site and view stats from a dedicated app in your Windows Start Menu. Use it for your sites on WordPress.com, as well as for self-hosted WordPress sites. (For the latter, you’ll just need to have the Jetpack plugin installed to connect your site.)

And just like the rest of WordPress.com, the new Windows app is simple, seamless, and blazingly fast.

Download the app

06-desktop-with-appThe new Windows app includes:

  • The My Sites dashboard for managing multiple sites, whether WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress with Jetpack.
  • The new WordPress.com Editor, with in-app previewing and draft auto-saving.
  • The Reader, which lets you follow and read any of your favorite sites, and the all-new Discover, which…

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Roads …part 1

Roads in life can be steep or downhill, short or long, straight or full of turns, depending the destination.

You may think that you are in the middle of the road but you truly are on a road to nowhere. And the only think you can do is to go back… on the road again

All these thoughts, all these facts, were jumping in my mind when I was trying to decide if I should begin a ECAR approved residency program and become a specialist of small animal reproduction or not. Not an easy think to do when you are 43,  with a private practice, 2 children and you live in Athens of the big economic crisis…For sure not an easy road to follow…But “it’s not the destination, but the journey”( Cavafy, Ithaca).

And the journey began…