Scientists and vets call for a labelling scheme for pets

May 21, 2018

A scientific report published in the new issue of the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour calls for a ‘pet-labelling scheme’ to enable informed decision-making by consumers about the types of animals they keep. The Brighton-based Animal Protection Agency supports the proposed scheme, which they say is much-needed to ensure people don’t acquire difficult or demanding pets. Authors of the report entitled, ‘Exotic pet suitability: understanding some problems and using a labeling system to aid animal welfare, environment and consumer protection‘, conclude that the more scientists learn about the needs of exotic animals, the more they appreciate their complexity and how generally unsuited they are to life as pets. Also, the time, money and expertise in keeping, particularly exotic, animals is commonly underestimated. In addition to many species being unable to adapt to captivity, the report highlights low quality care information given by animal dealers and hobbyists as a cause of animal suffering and premature mortality, for instance, at least 75% of reptiles die within their first year in the home. Many... ...

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Simplyhealth Professionals welcomes new Head of Vets Customer Service

May 21, 2018

Simplyhealth Professionals, the UK’s leading provider of preventive health plans for cats, dogs, rabbits and horses, has recruited Paul Cuglietta to be Head of Vets Customer Services. Paul will be looking for ways to both develop the existing customer service function and improve customer experience more generally. Despite having been in the new role for just a few short weeks, Paul has already been able to improve call waiting times in May to an average of just over 3 minutes, during the busiest time of the year. He says a focus on being agile, responsive and innovative will ensure that Simplyhealth Professionals continues to develop best in class service during a period of significant growth. Having gained experience on the dental side of the business, Paul says he was amazed at the rapid pace of change he sees in the veterinary sector, “We’re looking at products and services that will help practices evolve and keep pace with the growing number of clients using pet health plans. Tools that help businesses... ...

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Farewell, Inuka: Zoo staff surround polar bear to comfort him during his last moments as the animal passes away in Singapore

Apr 30, 2018

Inuka, born at Singapore Zoo, reached the age of 27 – into his 70s in human years But the polar bear, the first born in the tropics, suffered a rapid decline in health Pictures show zoo staff comforting the animal moments before he was put down His keepers had earlier said ‘it would not have been fair to prolong his suffering’ Lying on his side and surrounded by his heartbroken carers, these pictures show polar bear Inuka’s last moments before passing away at Singapore Zoo. The 27-year-old animal – the first polar bear born in the tropics – was comforted by vets and zoo keepers before being put down to end his suffering after a rapid decline in health. Inuka, whose name means ‘Silent Stalker’ in Inuit, was particularly popular with visitors due to his playful antics in his enclosure. But in recent years the animal had suffered age-related ailments, including arthritis, and an examination at the start of this month revealed his health was failing markedly. Images released by the... ...

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Vets Now launches £200,000 fund

Apr 20, 2018

The UK’s biggest out-of-hours veterinary provider has launched an “angel fund” to allow its clinicians to provide emergency care to critically ill patients. A £200,000 “angel fund” from Vets Now will help clinicians give emergency care to critically ill animals where treatment costs cannot be met. Each vet within the organisation will receive around £1,000 a year in a bid to save the lives of pets and strays who may otherwise face euthanasia. Vets will be given discretion over how they spend their allowance as long as the pets they choose have a good chance of recovery and owners meet certain financial criteria. Combating stress Vets Now chief executive Mark Ross said: “Our vets and vet nurses often express concern about having to put pets to sleep because no one is in position to pay for their treatment. “These are sometimes stray animals who have been brought in to our clinics by worried members of the public or pets whose owners are simply struggling to make ends meet, and perhaps... ...

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Pets Need Vets campaign launched

Apr 20, 2018

Initiative to promote benefits of registering with a vet The RCVS and the BVA have launched a social media campaign to highlight the benefits of registering pets with veterinary practices. The move comes as new figures show an estimated 3.1 million pets in the UK are not registered with a vet. The collaborative ‘Pets Need Vets’ initiative shares 11 benefits of registering pets with a veterinary practice. They include easier access to emergency care, regular weight checks and nutritional advice. The campaign also calls on pet owners to visit findavet.org.uk to find the right practice for them and their pet. “Pets need vets to ensure their lifelong wellbeing, which is why it is concerning that a large number of pet owners in the country have not registered their animals with a practice,” said BVA president John Fishwick. “It is important that owners have access to reliable advice and veterinary care to be able to best look after their pets, and so we are calling on the profession to get involved... ...

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Weather takes costly toll on animal health – Vets report big increase in pneumonia, mastitis and milk fever

Apr 9, 2018

  Vets are encountering a big increase in animal health problems on farms with a rise in mastitis, milk fever, viral pneumonia and joint-ill being reported. The poor weather conditions are piling pressures on farmers and animals with delayed turnout having a major impact on health issues. Macroom vet Pat Bourke said there were definitely more casualties on the farm due to cows being kept indoors due to sodden pastures and lack of grass growth. “There are a number of problems from increased mastitis due to longer housing and a big increase in injuries from slips and falls. We are also encountering a lot of scour in calves, especially suckler calves as they can’t put them out. Delayed turnout is having a big impact,” he said. Mr Bourke from Coolcower Veterinary Clinic said they had also found more pneumonia in calves this year as farmers were overstocked as they were unable to bring them to sales due to the snow. “That has relieved a bit,” he said. However, he also... ...

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Vets urge responsible antibiotic use by pet owners

Apr 9, 2018

British Veterinary Association has joined Defra, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) in launching the Trust Your Vet campaign today, urging pet owners to follow veterinary advice and trust their vets on the use of antibiotics. Findings from BVA’s latest Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey reveal that nearly two-thirds of vets (66%) feel their clients are not aware of the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Also, almost 90% of vets say that clients come to appointments, at least sometimes, with an expectation they will provide antibiotics for their pets. AMR poses a global threat to human and animal health and requires concerted efforts across the medical and veterinary professions to steward responsible use, as recognised in the UK Government-commission global Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, chaired by Lord O’Neill (May 2016). BVA is a member of RUMA and has been working closely with stakeholders in government and industry to develop appropriate and evidence-based targets across the livestock sector. These concerted efforts have led to... ...

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Pain and behaviour

Apr 9, 2018

Pain should always be high on the list of a vets diagnosis Pain is an unpleasant, emotional and sensory experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. How it is recognised varies from country to country and culture to culture. In her lecture at BSAVA Congress (7 April), behaviour specialist Kersti Seksel spoke about how we recognise pain especially in cats and what we can do about it. There have been all kinds of attitudes towards pain, from ‘pain is good because it stops the animal from moving too much’ to ‘animals feel less pain than humans’. The inability to communicate negates the possibility that an individual is feeling pain. Pain can be classified as physiologic, pathological, acute, chronic and physiological. There is also adaptive pain – a normal response to pain – and maladaptive pain, which is the inadequate management of adaptive pain leading to physical changes in the nervous system. When behaviour changes, our first thought should be that the animal is in pain. However, behaviour can be... ...

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Study finds ‘sing-song’ talk helps human-dog interaction

Mar 19, 2018

University of York researchers, who conducted a series of scientific speech interaction experiments between adult dogs and humans, say vets should adopt “baby talk” when interacting with canines. Vets should be using “baby talk” with unfamiliar canine patients to make them relax and comfortably interact in the practice, according to research. Previous studies on communicating with dogs had suggested talking in a high-pitch voice with exaggerated emotion, just as adults do with babies, improved engagement with puppies, but made little difference with adult dogs. Now, researchers at the University of York, who conducted a series of scientific speech interaction experiments between adult dogs and humans, believe sing-song “baby talk” works for older dogs too, when combined with dog-related phrases such as “good boy”. The work, published in Animal Cognition, saw scientists monitor the varying reactions of canine subjects when humans (who were completely unfamiliar to them) addressed them in different modes of speech – from infant-directed speech to dog-directed speech. One of the authors, Katie Slocombe from the University of... ...

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Vets urged to do more to tackle obesity crisis

Mar 19, 2018

The growing crisis of UK pet obesity is being compounded because vets do not find it “an interesting enough topic”, it has been claimed. Weight management expert Alex German told an audience of veterinary professionals, at what is believed to be the UK’s first weight management congress, obesity did not “pique the interest” of graduate vets more interested in “complex and exciting” areas, such as internal medicine and surgery. Addressing delegates at the Royal Canin Weight Management Congress, Prof German said the problem of, and prejudice around, obesity was ingrained and suggested the focus should shift to vets of the future and vet nurses, “who really do get the topic of obesity”. Prof German said: ”Quite frankly, vets still don’t find [obesity] an interesting enough topic. “So, when vets develop a clinical interest when they graduate, it has to be things that pique their interest, such as internal medicine and surgery. All of these things are interventions: they are complicated and exciting. “If you contrast that with obesity, which is... ...

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