Vets urged to remain vigilant with angiostrongylosis

Sep 18, 2018

Vets across Europe have been urged to be vigilant of Angiostrongylus vasorum in dogs following a sharp rise in the prevalence of the disease. Speaking the sixth European Dirofilaria and Angiostrongylosis Days meeting, Professor Eric Morgan of Queen’s University in Belfast said: “Angiostrongylus vasorum is most definitely spreading across Europe, but many factors will determine what happens next. Definitive and intermediate host distribution, as well as climate, are contributing factors, which are unfortunately all trending in favour of the parasite. “It is likely that we will continue to see an increase in distribution and prevalence; distribution in established areas is also anticipated to become less patchy.” Professor Morgan’s figures show that positive cases of the disease in dogs and foxes have risen from 12 in the years 2002-2006 to 426 from 2012-2016. This is further supported by data from Switzerland which found there had been a significant increase in the prevalence of A. vasorum in fox populations since 2003. In North-Eastern Switzerland, for example, zero-prevalence increased from under two per cent in the eighties to... ...

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RSPCA imposes new payment deadline

Sep 18, 2018

Vets who perform initial emergency treatment (IET) for the RSPCA will now be required to claim costs back from the charity within six months of the treatment, it has been announced. In a statement, the RSPCA – which spends £1 million per year on IET – said the move is part of an efficiency drive. It is hoped this will make the process quicker and more efficient, as the charity was receiving years-old claims, making it time consuming and expensive to investigate – and, therefore, creating delays in payments. RSPCA London veterinary director Caroline Allen said: “The national RSPCA will continue to subsidise initial emergency treatment for animals as part of our vital role in helping to treat animals in need. The work vets do in this area is greatly appreciated by the RSPCA and we appreciate IET is only a contribution towards the care given. “In the case of any ongoing assistance that may be offered by RSPCA branches, at their discretion, this is subject to those branches’ own... ...

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Vet concern over Brexit plans as report says Defra prevented from consulting by DExEU

Sep 18, 2018

A comprehensive report into Defra’s Brexit preparations by the National Audit Office (NAO) claims that Defra has been prevented from consulting with the veterinary profession over the shortage of vets by DExEU. The report, Progress in implementing EU Exit, states that Defra is one of the government departments most affected by EU Exit and looks in detail at four of Defra’s main workstreams, including ‘import of animals and animal products’ and ‘exports of animals and animal products’. The report notes that in a no-deal scenario there will be a significant increase in certificates needing to be processed by veterinary surgeons. It states: “Without enough vets, consignments of food could be delayed at the border or prevented from leaving the UK. Defra intended to start engaging with the veterinary industry in April 2018, but has not been permitted to do so and now plans to launch an emergency recruitment campaign in October to at least meet minimum levels of vets required. It plans to meet any remaining gaps through the use of non-veterinarians to check... ...

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Vets welcome recognition of animal health and welfare as public goods in new Agriculture Bill

Sep 18, 2018

BVA has welcomed Defra’s announcement that a system of public money for public goods will be at the centre of the new Agriculture Bill and that animal health and animal welfare will be considered as public goods that should benefit from this legislation. The Agriculture Bill, introduced into Parliament today, has set out policy to replace the current subsidy system of direct payments to farmers and the new system will be phased in over a transition period of seven years from 2020. On a timeline for the introduction of the new system, Defra has proposed that the definition of higher animal welfare within the new public goods framework and the leadership role for animal health and welfare will be agreed in 2020. BVA President John Fishwick said:  “We are very pleased to see the move from direct payments linked to land area to public money being used for public goods. For some time, we have been calling for animal health and animal welfare to be recognised as public goods to help guarantee that standards... ...

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BVA responds to new data from Defra on bovine TB

Sep 18, 2018

  Defra have released new data on the incidence of bovine TB and announced further measures they are planning to use to help control the disease. Commenting on Defra’s announcement, BVA President John Fishwick said: “We continue to support a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to tackling bovine TB, including the use of badger culling in a targeted, effective and humane manner. TB is a devastating disease and we welcome the positive results emerging in Somerset and Gloucestershire, where licensed culling has now been in place for four years. The recent results in Dorset, indicating a slight upward trend in the incidence of bovine TB, present some cause for concern and we would like to see further investigation of the cattle and wildlife situation in that area. “BVA supports the principle of badger controls within the Low Risk Areas (LRAs) of England where there is a demonstrated need and where it is done safely, humanely and effectively as part of a comprehensive strategy. We are largely reassured by the greater clarity provided on the... ...

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Puppy undergoes world-first combination surgery

Sep 18, 2018

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has carried out a world-first combination surgery to repair a complex combination of heart defects in a dog. Eleven-month-old labrador Lottie was found to have a very loud heart murmur during a routine check-up at her local vets. An ultrasound revealed that she had several congenital heart defects. Two were a malformation of her tricuspid valve and the other was a large defect of the common atrium. Lottie was referred to the RVC’s cardiothoracic department for further analysis. Led by small animal surgeon professor Dan Brockman, the team is renowned for its cutting-edge surgeries, including a world-first treatment to save a dog with a malformed tricuspid valve. Repair of the tricuspid valve has only been performed a few times and has never been carried out at the same time as the repair of a common atrium. Lottie’s owners decided to proceed with surgery to improve her quality of life. The operation took place in July and Lottie has her heart stopped to perform the surgery.... ...

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ASF spreads to Belgium

Sep 18, 2018

African swine fever has been detected in Belgium for the first time since 1985, prompting concerns that the virus is moving closer to the UK. The virus was confirmed in four wild boar in Etalle, Luxembourg. Commenting on the outbreak, Zoe Davies, chief executive of the UK’s National Pig Association, said: “We are very concerned as this was a big jump geographically for the virus. It brings ASF closer to the UK and highlights how the virus can be moved long distances to reach new pig populations. “We are doing everything we can to ensure the virus does not reach the UK pig herd. ASF was recently reported in China and Bulgaria for the first time and there has been an increase in outbreaks on commercial pig farms in Romania and Poland. Experts say the virus will ‘almost certainly’ spread to other Asian countries. As a result, the risk of the virus entering the UK via contaminated pig products has been raised from ‘low’ to ‘medium’. Davies added: “Our focus... ...

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Made for the long jump: RVC study reveals how frogs use their unique skeletal anatomy to improve their jumping capabilities

Sep 18, 2018

As well as their long legs, a particularly striking feature of a frog’s skeletal anatomy is a sharp bend in their lower back. Underlying this bend is the ilio-sacral (IS) joint – a hinge-like pivot which allows the frog to control the angle between its upper and lower body. The IS joint is folded when a frog is sitting at rest to allow the frog to crouch closely to its perch. During the explosive early moments of a jump, a frog’s muscles extend the IS joint to rapidly straighten the back. Until now, biologists believe the IS hinge was an essential part of the anatomy, allowing a force transfer between the upper and lower body of the frog which enabled the jump. However, a recent study conducted by the Royal veterinary College (RVC) was able to find that, contrary to prior understanding, this IS extension is not required for jumping but more of an evolutionary innovation for fine-tuning a frog’s jump performance. The research team, which consisted of Dr Christopher... ...

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Veterinary runners triumph in Simplyhealth Great North Run

Sep 18, 2018

The Simplyhealth Great North Run took place last weekend in Newcastle. It’s a half marathon and part of the Simplyhealth Great Run series which includes the Great South Run and Great Runs in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester. Simplyhealth Professionals supports some of the vets and RVNs in practices that use its preventive healthcare plans to take part in the Great Runs and this year 28 took part in the Great North Run. Holmefield Veterinary Clinic in Selby sent a team of five to the event – three vets, a receptionist and the practice manager, Helen McHugh who said they had a fantastic weekend, “We were so well looked after. We were driven to the starting line while our partners enjoyed the hospitality. When we arrived we were all really nervous but we were able to take the edge off by celebrity spotting and had selfies taken with Olly Murs and Dame Kelly Holmes. We all ran together as a team and took it steady which meant we didn’t have a fast time... ...

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Scientists map primate electrocutions in Kenya

Sep 11, 2018

Findings could inform conservation efforts in high-risk areas. Scientists have created a map of primate electrocutions in Diani, Kenya, to show where animals are most at risk from power lines. The findings, published in the International Journal of Primatology, could help to inform conservation efforts in parts of the world where electrocutions are particularly common. Electric shocks threaten a wide range of primate species around the world and this issue could become more problematic as humans increasingly dominate the landscape. Researchers from the University of Bristol investigated electrocutions that occurred along power lines, which threaten five out of six primate species in Diani. Working with Colobus Conservation, they mapped 329 incidents. Dr Katy Turner, a reader in infectious disease epidemiology, said: “Electrocution is an issue for many threatened primate species, yet the development of effective evidence-based mitigation strategies is limited. “This study provides a framework for systematic spatial prioritisation of power lines that can be used to reduce primate electrocutions in Diani and other areas of the world where primates are... ...

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