New threat of avian influenza – human transmission

Nov 20, 2018

Bird flu viruses could escape vaccine immunity while increasing potential to infect humans, according to research led by The Pirbright Institute. Research led by The Pirbright Institute has shown mutant H9N2 bird flu viruses isolated from Pakistan are able to escape immune responses and adapt to infect humans. This could result in reduced vaccine efficiency and the possibility of human outbreaks. Published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Pirbright scientists carrying out surveillance research discovered small changes to a surface protein, called haemagglutinin, of the H9N2 influenza A virus enabled the mutated virus to enter human cells. Host cell receptors Influenza viruses that infect humans and chickens typically use different host cell receptors in the early attachment stage. Munir Iqbal, head of the avian influenza group at Pirbright, said: “In this study, we demonstrated the mutant can bind to human-type cell receptors, but its preference for avian-like receptors remains. “H9N2 viruses cause moderate illness and death rates in domestic poultry, and do not cause severe disease in humans, but the capability of an... ...

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Vets urged to apply professional judgement to make responsible antibiotic prescribing decisions under the cascade

Nov 20, 2018

For World Antibiotic Awareness Week (12-18 November) and ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November), the British Veterinary Association and Veterinary Medicines Directorate are highlighting that vets should continue to exercise their professional judgement when prescribing antibiotics under the cascade to minimise the risk of development of antimicrobial resistance. This renewed advice comes on the heels of figures from BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, which reveal that 6 in 10 (60%) vets across species felt that unquestioningly using the cascade could result in decisions that did not meet the criteria for responsible prescribing, such as using a licensed Critically Important Antibiotic (CIA) when a non-licensed alternative would have been more suitable. The survey shows that the perceived conflict is apparent across all major practice specialisms, though large (production) animal vets were significantly less likely to identify it, with only 41% observing the issue and 24% seeing it often or sometimes. In terms of the species most affected, companion animal vets observed the conflict most with prescriptions for dogs, rabbits and cats... ...

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Discovery offers hope for northern white rhino

Nov 12, 2018

Study shows proof of contact between northern and southern populations The northern white rhino could be saved from extinction by using the genes of its less-threatened southern cousin, according to new research. The discovery was made by researchers from Cardiff University and the University of Venda, South Africa, following a genetic analysis of 232 rhino samples. Researchers found that despite the northern and southern populations splitting around one million years ago, they have occasionally shared genes during cold and arid periods – as recently as 14,000 years ago when African grasslands expanded. “By looking at the white rhino’s population history we’ve been able to establish that there was contact between northern and southern rhino populations throughout history,” said Dr Isa-Rita Russo from Cardiff University. “This is an exciting find! Genetic proof of contact between the populations suggests it may be possible to successfully rescue the northern white rhinoceros using southern white rhinoceros genes to create embryos, although further data would need to be collected to confirm this.” There are currently... ...

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Calls to provide funding for sheep scab in Wales

Nov 12, 2018

Industry group responds to report on insidious disease. An industry-led group is calling on the government to provide funding to help eradicate sheep scab in Wales. The call from the Welsh sheep scab industry group comes in response to its report (published 7 November) which makes a number of recommendations for the control of the disease. Compiled by farming unions, veterinary practitioners and industry stakeholders, the report recognises the need for treatment to be coordinated across neighbouring premises. Sheep scab is an insidious disease that has serious welfare implications for infected sheep. Previous attempts to eradicate the disease have had limited success, in part due to treatment plans which have attempted to control the disease on a farm-by-farm basis. The group says that, if funded, it would put a sheep scab control programme in place which would increase the chance of neighbouring farms working together to eliminate this disease. The National Sheep Association, which helped compile the report, said: “It is this fresh perspective on the disease that makes the... ...

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Brexit poses ‘complex and unique’ challenges for vets in Northern Ireland, warns British Veterinary Association

Nov 12, 2018

British Veterinary Association (BVA) President Simon Doherty championed the vital work of vets in Northern Ireland across multiple areas and called for urgent action to guard against a serious shortfall in workforce capacity following Brexit. The call in his speech at BVA’s Annual Northern Ireland Dinner came amid growing concerns about how withdrawal from the European Union may impact on vets working in Northern Ireland, especially in the event of a no deal Brexit. If no agreement is reached, there could be a surge in demand for veterinary checks on animals and animal products at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and the workforce will be stretched further if more vets are required to carry out rabies vaccination and testing under more stringent pet travel requirements. Addressing over 90 guests at the dinner at Stormont, including MLAs, DAERA Permanent Secretary Denis McMahon, Northern Ireland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Robert Huey, key representatives from animal health and welfare organisations and colleagues from across the veterinary profession, BVA’s President said: “A no... ...

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British Veterinary Association warns that no deal pet travel arrangements will impact on vets and owners

Nov 12, 2018

BVA has warned that pet owners must start preparing now if they want to take their pet to the EU after Brexit, in case a no deal situation leaves them facing long waits to get them cleared for travel. If the UK has “unlisted” third country status following withdrawal from the EU, dogs, cats and ferrets would need to prove they have been effectively vaccinated against rabies by undergoing a rabies antibody titration test at least thirty days after vaccination and no fewer than three months before their travel date.  Pets would need to travel with an animal health certificate issued by an Official Veterinarian, which would then be valid for ten days from the date of issue until entry into EU member states. BVA has warned that the changes could lead to a surge in demand for vets to carry out testing and vaccination, at a time when the workforce is also experiencing shortages and recruitment problems. Simon Doherty, BVA President, said: “Vets are urging pet owners to start... ...

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Breakthrough in hunt for R. equi vaccine

Nov 12, 2018

Disease causes severe pneumonia and can affect other organs. US researchers have made a significant breakthrough in the pursuit of a vaccine against Rhodococcus equi. A study published in PLOS One describes the trial of a vaccine, which scientists say has the potential to save thousands of foals every year. The research was carried out by researchers at Texas A&M University and Harvard Medical School. Senior author Dr Noah Cohen said: “After many decades of efforts, our research, funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, has led to the first effective vaccine protecting folks against infection with R.equi, considered the most common and important form of pneumonia in foals older than a few weeks of age.” R. equi is a deadly disease that causes severe, insidiously progressive pneumonia. With a 20 to 40 per cent fatality rate, the condition can also affect the bones, abdominal lymph nodes, joints, eyes and brain. In the trial, Dr Cohen and his team set out to see if vaccinating mares at three and six weeks prior to the birth of... ...

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Boehringer Ingelheim becomes an official partner to CatCareforLife

Nov 12, 2018

The CatCareforLife program is a new worldwide initiative set up by the International Society of Feline Medicine It aims to encourage cat owners to work with their veterinary clinics to maintain cats in the peak of health through all their life stages Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to further improving the health and well-being of cats and helping educate veterinarians and cat owners Ingelheim, Germany, 7 November 2018 – Boehringer Ingelheim is proud to announce its new partnership with the CatCareforLife  program. The program was set up in April 2018 by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of the UK-based charity International Cat Care (ICC). Both Boehringer Ingelheim and ICC share a common commitment in providing support for veterinarians and cat owners alike to ensure cats enjoy longer, happier and healthier lives, through an effective and tailored preventive healthcare approach. The CatCareforLife program sits alongside the Cat Friendly Clinic program which offers internationally-recognized standards to help reduce stress of cats during veterinary visits. It is a lifelong partnership of care between cat owners and veterinary clinics... ...

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The OIE Rinderpest Challenge: the winners

Nov 12, 2018

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has officially closed the OIE Rinderpest Challenge. For the duration of four weeks, players across the globe competitively diagnosed patients in order to find the outbreak of Rinderpest and win points for their country. On Nov 7th 2018, the OIE announced the winner country, as well as the player with the highest score from this country. Paris, 7 November 2018 – Rinderpest is the first animal disease to have been declared eradicated by the OIE and the FAO but a resurgence is still possible. In the Rinderpest Vigilance Serious Game, the disease returns from the past and players must find the source of the outbreak. This past October, players from around the world participated in the OIE Rinderpest Challenge by playing the game to learn how to diagnose Rinderpest, how to handle potentially dangerous material in laboratories with caution, and to win points for their country. The challenge lasted for four weeks between October 4th and November 1st and gathered over 1200 participants from 89 different... ...

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Veterinarians Asked to Contribute to WSAVA Global Wellness Initiative

Nov 12, 2018

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is urging companion animal veterinarians globally to complete a multi-lingual online questionnaire from its newly formed Professional Wellness Group (PWG). Data from the survey will help the PWG to establish a benchmark for veterinary wellness in different regions of the world and inform its work to create tools and resources to support the health and wellbeing of all veterinary professionals. There is increased recognition that stress and their demanding workplace environment are adversely affecting the mental well-being and physical health of many veterinarians. A study* estimates that the incidence of suicide in the veterinary profession in countries such as the USA, UK, Australia and Norway is double that of other healthcare professionals and four times that of the general population. The WSAVA PWG has embarked on a three-year project to review state-of-the art thinking on this issue and aims to provide a uniquely global perspective that recognizes the regional, economic and cultural aspects that may affect the prevalence and impact of veterinary wellness... ...

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