Why I don’t use artificial colloids…

Currently, veterinary emergency and critical care practitioners (diplomates, residents and emergency veterinarians) are divided into two camps: those that don’t use artificial colloids and those that do. Each camp has its own arguments in favor or against the use of synthetic colloids (hydroxyethyl starches, specifically). The objective of this blog post is NOT to convince the other party that he or she is wrong and I am right, but an attempt to find out what is true and what to do about it. The reader should understand that there will be a lot of personal opinions in this post, and, as always, I recommend to exercise your critical thinking before taking these statements for granted. Ray Dalio, one of the most successful investors of all times, called this process “thoughtful disagreement”, which is “the process of having a quality back-and-forth in an open minded and assertive way so as to see things through each other’s eyes. This is powerful because it helps both parties see things they’ve been blind to. It also helps to remind people that those who change their minds are the biggest winners because they learned something, whereas those who stubbornly refuse to see the truth are losers. With practice, training, and constant reinforcement, anyone can get good at this”.

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Hyperosmolar therapy in spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage

A 7 year-old female spayed Pembroke Welsh Corgi was presented to a veterinary teaching hospital for evaluation of acute onset generalized clonic-tonic seizures, obtunded mentation and petechiation. Her primary veterinarian previously saw the dog two days ago when she developed anorexia. Multiple petechiations were noted on her skin at that time. Her initial blood work revealed severe thrombocytopenia at 5-10 K/uL (RI, 190-450 K/uL). The rest of the work-up (thoracic/abdominal radiographs and tick-borne disease testing) was unremarkable, and she was prescribed prednisone for suspected primary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP). The following day, she developed two clonic-tonic generalized seizures that lasted 1-2 minutes each. Her mentation became progressively worse, and she had several seizures on the day of presentation to the teaching hospital. 

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Gas in the gastric wall: The Good and the Bad

A 15 year-old neutered male Chihuahua was presented to a university teaching hospital for further evaluation of acute vomiting, anorexia, hyperbilirubinemia and elevated liver enzymes. The abdominal ultrasound was suggestive of acute severe pancreatitis resulting in extrabiliary bile duct obstruction. In addition, the gastric wall contained intramural gas consistent with gastric pneumatosis (figure 1).

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Myth or Fact: “Idiopathic ARDS”

During the course of my emergency and critical care career I have seen a number of dogs that presented to the emergency room in acute respiratory distress and fulfilled almost all ARDS or VetARDS criteria (see below), however all of these patients were missing one important criterion that did not let me make a diagnosis of ARDS with confidence. This criterion is the presence of an underlying disease or risk factor predisposing them to the classic ARDS. In this article, I will discuss a so-called “idiopathic ARDS”, also known as an acute interstitial pneumonia (AIP). I will speculate that this pathologic condition remains underdiagnosed in veterinary medicine and its true prevalence in dogs and cats is unknown. 

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