Abdominal and thoracic focused assessment with sonography for trauma, triage, and monitoring in small animals

Gregory R. Lisciandro, DVM, DABVP, DACVECC
Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 21(2) 

Objectives – To review the nonradiologist use of ultrasound (US) in the setting of emergency and critical care, the development, clinical applications, and standardization of veterinary abdominal and thoracic focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) techniques.

Etiology – Since the 1990s, the 4-point FAST US technique has been used for injury surveillance in people with blunt and penetrating trauma. FAST screens for free fluid in the abdominal, pleural, and pericardial cavities with high sensitivity and specificity. More recently, an extended FAST scan was developed for the rapid detection of pneumothorax. These techniques and newly created scans have been applied to other critically ill, nontraumatized, subsets of human patients. As a result, the terminology related to this field, eg, extended FAST, HHFAST, FFAST, FAFF, BOAST, SLOH, bedside US, ‘$ Approach,’ protocols, and objectives have become convoluted despite having similar goals.

Diagnosis – The importance of US in the setting of emergency medicine is highlighted by the fact that this diagnostic modality has become an integral part of the core curriculum for nonradiologists including the American College of Surgeons, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Board of Emergency Medicine, Society of Academic Emergency Medicine, and all United States Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Emergency Medicine residency programs.

Therapy – Veterinary applications of FAST techniques include an abdominal FAST technique with an abdominal FAST applied fluid scoring system, and a thoracic FAST technique. In an attempt to avoid the creation of numerous acronyms, veterinarians would be well served by making the ‘T’ in ‘FAST’ stand for ‘Trauma,’ ‘Triage,’ and ‘Tracking.’ Prognosis – These veterinary FAST techniques provide an extension of the physical examination for the emergency and critical care veterinarian potentially expediting diagnosis, prompting life-saving maneuvers, and guiding patient management. Further clinical research to determine sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for specific conditions is warranted.

Enteropathogenic Bacteria in Dogs and Cats: Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Treatment, and Control

S.L. Marks, S.C. Rankin, B.A. Byrne, and J.S. Wee
J Vet Intern Med 2011;25:1195–120. 

This report offers a consensus opinion on the diagnosis, epidemiology, treatment, and control of the primary enteropathogenic bacteria in dogs and cats, with an emphasis on Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., and Escherichia coli associated with granulomatous colitis in Boxers. Veterinarians are challenged when attempting to diagnose animals with suspected bacterial-associated diarrhea because well-scrutinized practice guidelines that provide objective recommendations for implementing fecal testing are lacking. This problem is compounded by similar isolation rates for putative bacterial enteropathogens in animals with and without diarrhea, and by the lack of consensus among veterinary diagnostic laboratories as to which diagnostic assays should be utilized. Most bacterial enteropathogens are associated with self-limiting diarrhea, and injudicious administration of antimicrobials could be more harmful than beneficial. Salmonella and Campylobacter are well-documented zoonoses, but antimicrobial administration is not routinely advocated in uncomplicated cases and supportive therapy is recommended. Basic practices of isolation, use of appropriate protective equipment, and proper cleaning and disinfection are the mainstays of control. Handwashing with soap and water is preferred over use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers because spores of C. difficile and C. perfringens are alcohol-resistant, but susceptible to bleach (1:10 to 1:20 dilution of regular household bleach) and accelerated hydrogen peroxide. The implementation of practice guidelines in combination with the integration of validated molecular-based testing and conventional testing is pivotal if we are to optimize the identification and management of enteropathogenic bacteria in dogs and cats