October 15, 2015


 1975 - 1985

Posted Sept. 30, 2015

In the decade that saw the glitter fade from disco, JAVMA carried articles that were of practical value—reports of new techniques and procedures, drug and vaccine uses, and hitherto unknown hereditary components of various diseases. Much of what was published was of immediate clinical relevance and could be used or applied in clinics or in the field. Some of the reports broadened knowledge of wildlife or exotic species, whereas others provided information regarding hands-on medical practices for more familiar domestic species. Many of the articles were case reports from which it was obvious that clinicians were energetically engaged in veterinary medical exploration and keen to better the standard of care for their patients. Although there were no noticeable trends among the articles published, certain areas of investigation garnered widespread interest. Moreover, it was evident how the lines of research and progress were intertwined across species.

Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland (center) signs a document Jan. 31, 1978, officially
declaring the U.S. free of hog cholera.

One of these clusters of knowledge centered on avian species, with topics such as avian adenovirus infection, tuberculosis in captive exotic birds, and the use of ketamine and diazepam for anesthesia of raptors. Other advances in anesthesia included reports of new combinations of sedatives and anesthetic agents for a wide range of exotic animals, and research into the effectiveness of yohimbine to reverse xylazine-induced CNS depression in a variety of species. In exotic carnivores, clinical trials with canine distemper vaccines were conducted. The focus on wildlife also took in reports of eastern white-tailed deer as a vehicle for ruminant paratuberculosis; the hazards of disease transfer from marine mammals to terrestrial mammals including humans; and investigation of wildlife reservoirs of Chlamydia psittaci in an acute, highly fatal epornitic of chlamydiosis in domestic turkeys.

In this photo, tag lined “Veterinarians Teach the Laity During Livestock Symposium,” Dr. D.E.
Bailey (center) delivers a lamb by cesarean section at the 1977 California Livestock
Symposium. The photo ran in the Aug. 1, 1977, issue of JAVMA.

Many advances in procedures were reported in JAVMA during this decade. These diverse techniques included occlusion of the internal carotid artery in horses by means of a balloon-tipped catheter to prevent epistaxis caused by guttural pouch mycosis and the implantation of flexible carbon fiber constructs to provide functional replacements of damaged tendons or cosmetically acceptable restoration of facial contour in horses. Of particular note were two reports by Dr. Barclay Slocum and Theresa Devine. In the first, cranial tibial thrust was identified as a primary force in the canine stifle joint; this report became one of the seminal papers in our understanding of cranial cruciate rupture in dogs. Their subsequent report on cranial tibial wedge osteotomy was their first attempt to use this biomechanical knowledge of the joint to treat cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Eventually, this led to the development of the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, now one of the most common surgical methods for treating cranial cruciate ligament rupture.

In many veterinarian practices, vaccination-fee income is used to subsidize other important health care services which veterinarians provide at little more than cost because many animal owners are reluctant to pay for these services. Is that kind of fee structuring really sound, or should all procedures be made to pay their own way?”

"Mobile vaccination clinics” in the July 15, 1983, issue

Reports ranged the gamut from aardwolves to zoonoses. There was determination of the efficacy of an inactivated vaccine for the prevention of feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus disease, and panleukopenia in cats as well as the successful use of a modified live-virus intranasal vaccine or killed-virus adjuvanted parenteral vaccine in kittens with residual, maternally derived anti-feline viral rhinotracheitis antibodies. And there was the finding that a condition characterized by cerebellar cortical and extrapyramidal nuclear abiotrophy—first detected in Kerry Blue Terriers and subsequently in other dog breeds—had an autosomal recessive form of inheritance.

In addition, this decade brought forth numerous cautionary tales. They ranged from fatal toxicosis in pet birds caused by an overheated polytetrafluoroethylene-lined cooking pan to the association of stray voltage with an increased number of dairy cows with abnormal behavior in milking facilities and increased prevalence of clinical mastitis.

Furthermore, a daily dietary supplement of brewer’s yeast given to dogs does not repel fleas. Good to know, don’t you think?