The conventional wisdom among hobbyist tortoise- keepers has been to place
their shelled wards in a shoebox
and store them in a dark place
However, more than half of
U.K. veterinarians surveyed reported that pet tortoises coming out of hibernation presented
with inappetance or anorexia.
The British Veterinary Association, the British Veterinary Zoological Society and the British
Small Animal Veterinary Association are teaming up on an
awareness effort to ensure that
tortoises emerge healthier from
The groups are urging tor-toisekeepers to start the hibernation later in November or December by using heat lamps to
keep the pets warm longer. A
delayed hibernation, they stated, allows the animal to bulk
up and reduces the chances of
depleted energy stores, dehydration or toxin accumulation.
The experts offered several
n Young tortoises should not
be hibernating until their sec-
ond, third or fourth winter, and
only for six weeks.
n Very young tortoises or
those with health issues should
n Tortoises should be taken
to a veterinarian for a prehiber-
nation checkup and weigh-in.
n Gradually cool a tortoise’s
environment in the weeks lead-
ing up to hibernation.
n Tortoises should be
checked weekly to ensure
weight loss doesn’t exceed 5
percent of their starting weight.
John Chitty, BVetMed, Cert-
ZooMed, urged owners to seek
the counsel of their veterinarian
before hibernation season.
“Veterinary surgeons and
nurses have a greater under-
standing of exotic pets now
thanks to an increase in edu-
cation and resources,” said Dr.
Chitty, vice president of the
British Small Animal Veterinary
Not all tortoises need to be
hibernated in the northern latitudes. Species requiring hibernation include Hermann’s,
Russian and marginated.
Changes urged in tortoise hibernation practices
www.VeterinaryPracticeNews.com NewsLine 18 l Veterinary Practice News l December 2016
Monoclonal antibody therapy is the fastest
growing therapeutic area in human medicine.
In recent years, research has focused on how
these therapies can be translated to animal
health. Specifically, Zoetis has invested in
bringing an innovative biological therapy to
the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis.
While many therapeutic options are available
for canine atopic dermatitis, there is room for
improvement. Dog owners are seeking treatments
that allow greater flexibility to suit their needs and
lifestyles—and with few side effects. Treatment
protocols may need to be customized for dogs
suffering from an acute condition compared to
dogs with seasonal allergies or those affected
year-round. Special consideration may need to
be given to dogs with atopic dermatitis that
are under 12 months of age, those already on
medications (such as NSAIDs) that limit additional
therapies or those with co-existing diseases
(such as neoplasia or serious infections) that may
impact therapeutic options.
Harnessing the power
of the immune system
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are developed
in a laboratory from a single cell line and, when
administered to patients, target and neutralize
specific antigens. Unlike some biological therapies
such as vaccines, mAbs mimic the activity of the
animal’s own naturally produced antibodies without
provoking an immune response from the host.
Stopping the itch cycle before it starts
To create an effective mAb therapy, you first have to
determine the specific target(s) of most relevance to
the disease process. Research over the past decade
has shown that cytokines play an important role in
the cycle of itch and inflammation in canine atopic
dermatitis. Cytokines are proteins produced by cells
that act as messengers between cells to promote
and drive allergic inflammation.
Research at Zoetis has focused on the pruritogenic
cytokine interleukin (IL)- 31. A key function of IL- 31 is
to stimulate the neuronal itch pathway by activating
peripheral sensory nerves in areas of allergic
dermatitis. Additionally, the most recent research
would suggest that IL- 31 may have effects on the
immune functions and its possible role in other
inflammatory diseases. 1
A study has shown that IL- 31 can be identified in
the serum of dogs with atopic dermatitis, but not
in healthy dogs; and when IL- 31 is injected into
laboratory dogs, pruritic behaviors are induced. 2
Through this research, Zoetis has discovered and
manufactured an anti-IL- 31 monoclonal antibody that
will target and neutralize only this cytokine to rapidly
and effectively help reduce clinical signs of canine
atopic dermatitis. Because of the exquisite specificity
in the targeting of IL- 31, other cellular functions and
immune responses are not adversely affected.
Introducing Canine Atopic Dermatitis
A conditional license from the USDA was granted
to Zoetis in August 2015 for Canine Atopic
Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic*, a new treatment for
canine atopic dermatitis. Veterinary dermatologists
across the United States have since been using this
product—an injectable monoclonal antibody that
aids in the reduction of clinical signs associated with
atopic dermatitis in dogs.
“This is a first-of-its-kind antibody therapy in
veterinary medicine to help break the itch cycle
and provide relief for dogs that suffer from atopic
dermatitis. It also helps pet owners enjoy their
pets and avoid daily medications for itch relief,”
said Andrew Hiller, BVSc, MANZCVS, Dipl ACVD,
Veterinary Specialty Operations and Medical Lead
Allergy, Dermatology at Zoetis. This anti-IL- 31 mAb
was initially developed in the mouse. However, mouse
A New Treatment Option For Canine Atopic Dermatitis
52354 IL- 31 Advertorial-VPN.indd 1
Veterinarians and techni- cians scrambling for con- tinuing education credits
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