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'Why poultry? - is the first question people ask when I tell them what I do

An interest in backyard bantams during her vet student days led Pippa Abbey to take up a year-long internship in poultry medicine. Just over halfway in, her experience and confidence are growing.

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Anna Meredith has been appointed head of the Melbourne Veterinary School, Australia, and takes over her new role next month. She is presently professor and chair of zoological and conservation medicine and associate dean international at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She is also director of postgraduate taught programmes, with responsibility for the strategy, growth and development of 57 postgraduate courses involving over 2000 students.

Ian Jones has achieved the diploma of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging. He is one of three specialists in this field at Pride Veterinary Centre. He graduated from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in 2004 and completed a rotating internship there in 2005. He returned to the RVC to complete a PhD in 2012 and did a senior clinical training scholarship in veterinary diagnostic imaging in 2016. Since qualifying, he has worked in a range...

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Offering pre-purchase clinics is a 'no brainer

This week a vet told me how she turned a difficult situation into a positive client experience – and, at the same time, won a prized bonded client for her practice.

A young couple were inconsolable – their precious pet Cairn terrier required euthanasing after it had inflicted a serious bite to a person who then required emergency care. Heartbroken at losing their sole dependent, they told her they wanted a replacement – a calm breed that would be good and relaxed with a young family.

The vet made some recommendations and even went the extra mile, introducing them to a dog-owning family that lived nearby. Soon afterwards, the couple had a new dog and the vet had secured them as valuable future clients.

This is a good example of the sort of pre-purchase advice that vets are being encouraged to offer potential new pet owners.

This week, the...

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Is pet insurance affecting quality of life?

By Josh Loeb

Pet insurance can end up compromising quality of life by facilitating potentially inhumane overtreatment, participants in a debate suggested this week.

Several vets taking part in the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) discussion forum called for a new ethical code to help prevent pets’ lives being prolonged in cases where extending life was not in an animal’s best interest.

‘We need some sort of objective measure to look at quality of life’, Sarah Wolfensohn, professor of animal welfare at Surrey university, who has designed a new tool called the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid (AWAG), told participants.

The grid gives a schematic representation of several domains of welfare, taking into account physical and psychological health, alongside the effect of interventions and the quality of the animal’s environment.

It might be usefully deployed as a routine tool to assess the ‘temporal component of suffering,’ Wolfensohn added.

She said it...

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New pet owner ignorance - still a problem

By Matthew Limb

Five million UK pet owners are ill-prepared to meet their animals’ needs through a lack of prior research, leading to welfare problems such as stress and obesity.

The warning comes in the eighth annual PDSA Animal Welfare (PAW) Report 2018, published this week by the UK veterinary charity.

PDSA senior vet Rebecca Ashman said ‘impulse buying’ of pets with varying knowledge of long-term animal welfare needs was a trend that showed no signs of abating.

‘Sadly this is inadvertently leading to pet’s five welfare needs not being properly met and by extension is causing an array of welfare issues from behaviour problems and chronic stress to inappropriate housing and obesity for the UK’s dogs, cats and rabbits,’ she said.

The PAW report is an insight into the wellbeing of the nation’s pets.

For the latest research, 4659 dog, cat and rabbit owners were surveyed online in...

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Government fails to ban UK fur imports

By Matthew Limb

An animal welfare charity has said it is disappointed that the government has made ‘no solid commitment’ towards a fur import ban, following a parliamentary debate on the topic last week.

Humane Society International (HSI) said that MPs had shown ‘impressive compassion’ during discussions, but said that the UK would never become a leader in animal welfare if it continued to accept fur imports.

MPs debated an e-petition in parliament on 4 June that called for a total ban of the sale of fur in the UK. At the time of closing, the e-petition had received 109,554 signatories.

Fur farming is banned in the UK; however, fur products can still be imported from other countries and sold in the UK, except that of cats, dogs and seals, whose fur is banned by the EU.

Campaigners argue that much of the fur that is imported into the...

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Queens honours: CBE awarded to principal of RVC

Stuart Reid, principal of the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), has been appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his contributions to the vet profession and higher education.

Reid is a leading vet in the UK and has had a respected career in research – he is recognised by the RCVS as a specialist in veterinary epidemiology, as well as an expert in veterinary public health by the European Board of Veterinary Specialists, and has published over 160 scientific papers.

A graduate of the University of Glasgow, he was previously dean of Glasgow’s vet school. He has been a member of RCVS council since 2005 and served as the college’s president in 2014/15. He currently chairs the Mind Matters initiative of the RCVS.

Reid has made significant contributions to public service too, having been a trustee of The Donkey...

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Vets need to deliver the 'truth on farming

By Josh Loeb

Vets can play a crucial role in helping moderate virulent disagreements between animal rights activists and farmers, speakers at a pan-European conference have suggested.

They says vets – with their experiences of seeing modern farming practices up-close – are well placed to deliver the ‘truth’ about politicised subjects.

Jan Venneman, director of the European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders, believes farm vets, with their more nuanced views about farm animal welfare, could be useful in countering negative views about livestock farming.

During his speech at the Animal Health Europe conference in Brussels last week, Venneman claimed young city dwellers were increasingly being ‘brainwashed’ into believing that all livestock farming was fundamentally cruel and should be abolished.

He reeled of a list of ills that some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) suggest originate from livestock farming, such as the rise in antimicrobial resistance among people and the destruction of...

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Criticism from MPs on Defras agricultural reform

Following proposals to reform the UK’s agricultural policy, influential MPs have reacted. Georgina Mills reports.

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In brief

Partnership to boost aquaculture research

The Universities of Stirling in the UK and Ningbo in China have joined forces to collaborate on aquaculture research and teaching projects.

Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture and Ningbo’s School of Marine Sciences officially launched the new partnership last week, after signing a memorandum of understanding last year.

The research element of the collaboration will initially focus on breeding, genetic improvement, nutrition and the health of commercially important aquaculture species in the Zhejiang province, including the swimming crab, large yellow croaker, pomfret and cuttlefish.

Staff and student exchanges will also play an important role in this collaboration.

Aquaculture is making an increasing contribution to global food security

Chun-Lin Wang, dean of the school of marine sciences and head of the genetic research group at Ningbo, said: ‘Food security is the common goal for people all over the world. As a food source, aquatic products...

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Mars Petcare expands into veterinary business in Europe

Mars Petcare has expanded its veterinary health group with two acquisitions in the European veterinary sector.

On 7 June it announced that it was purchasing the UK veterinary group, Linnaeus, from Sovereign Capital Partners. Four days later, it announced that it was in the process of acquiring European veterinary group, AniCura.

The company says that the acquisitions represent a strategic entry into the European veterinary care sector, bringing together its veterinary expertise with well-established European businesses.

Linnaeus Group, which has 87 practices, will become a unit within Mars Petcare’s Veterinary Health Group.

AniCura is a group of animal hospitals and clinics focused on primary and specialised care for companion animals in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

AniCura employs more than 4000 veterinary professionals in 200 animal hospitals, with its stated vision being ‘to provide a first-class customer experience for pet owners and referring veterinarians alike’.

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Street dogs to benefit from app that keeps canine health on track

Smartphones can now be used to monitor the welfare of street dogs, thanks to a new app developed at the University of Edinburgh.

The Dog Welfare Assessment app offers handlers somewhere to record welfare issues from the dogs they assess and find advice on signs of distress. It can also help them develop strategies to improve their care of the dogs.

The international team of animal welfare experts that developed the app was led by Heather Bacon, welfare education and outreach manager at Edinburgh.

She says it can improve the wellbeing of street dogs going through catch-neuter-return programmes – a commonly used public health strategy in countries with high numbers of stray dogs.

During this process – which is key to stabilising the number of strays – dogs are taken in by local animal clinics and sterilised before being released. However, vets say that previously the welfare of individual...

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Ice therapy for horses

A range of leg cooling products for horses from the USA is now available in the UK.

The products are designed to apply compression and long-lasting cold therapy to the limbs, feet and back to prevent injury or speed recovery in equine athletes.

The breathable non-neoprene material is easy to mould and helps ensure that compression is applied consistently. This is achieved through secure Velcro fastenings.

Ice Horse is distributed to the UK market through FMBs Therapy Systems.

FMBs Therapy Systems Pyatts Farm Lane, Lane End Buckinghamshire HP14 3NW telephone 01494 883433 www.fmbs.co.uk

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Global banking group BNP Paribas has launched a healthcare division, offering financing solutions in the healthcare sector, which includes veterinary. Details at https://leasingsolutions.bnpparibas.co.uk/our-expertise/healthcare-finance/

Researchers at the University of Surrey, Brunel University, Pirbright Institute and Lancaster University are developing a rapid smartphone diagnostic test to identify bacterial and viral pathogens in poultry using funding worth £615,000 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Ceva Animal Health has launched its first national summer TV advertising campaign with the aim of raising awareness of the ways in which its Feliway and Adaptil products can help pets with behavioural issues and drive customers to veterinary practices for further information and to purchase the product.

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Childcare facilities introduced at equine congress

Crèche facilities will be provided by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) at its congress for the first time this year to make the event more accessible to working parents. The new facility will be provided for children from under one year old to eight years of age.

This benefit builds on BEVA’s support for vets’ work-life balance, which began two years ago with the launch of MumsVet – online support for equine vets juggling work and parenthood.

This year’s congress will be held in Birmingham in September.

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Eye drop solution back on the market

Virbac has announced that its antimicrobial eye drop solution Tiacil is back on the market following the resolution of a supply issue that stopped its availability in 2016.

The solution contains the broad spectrum antimicrobial gentamicin sulphate, which is active against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, trometamol and disodium EDTA.

It is presented as a sterile, colourless solution, which is viscous for prolonged contact.

Tiacil is licensed for the treatment of eye infections that include blepharitis, conjunctivitis, keratoconjunctivitis (including postoperative keratitis) and anterior uveitis in dogs, cats and rabbits.

The drops come in a ready-to-use 5 ml vial with an applicator that is designed to help pet owners to apply the drops easily.

Virbac Limited Woolpit Business Park Windmill Avenue Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP30 9UP telephone 01359 243243 https://uk.virbac.com

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Correction: A progesterone breeding device for sheep

A progesterone breeding device for sheep (VR, 26 May 2018, 182, p 593, said CIDR OVIS could bring the ‘breeding season’ forward to late December or early January. It should have said the ‘lambing season’. The error is regretted.

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Intestinal atresia in suckler calves

SAC C VS disease Surveillance report for March 2018

  • Intestinal atresia in beef calves from three holdings

  • Illthrift due to Lawsonia intracellularis infection in weaner pigs

  • Multiple deaths due to lead poisoning in whooper swans (Cygnus cygnus)

  • The mean temperature in Scotland in March was 1.7°C below the long-term average due to easterly winds that brought significant snowfall to some areas at the start of the month. Rainfall was 70 per cent of average with a marked east-west split. Counties in the east recorded above-average rainfall, while central and western areas experienced below-average rainfall. Sunshine hours were typical for the time of year.

    CattleNutritional and metabolic disorders

    Inverness diagnosed hypomagnesaemia in a two-month-old Limousin cross bull calf that was found dead. The rib calcium:magnesium ratio was elevated at 100 (reference range 30 to 70). While this diagnosis is more commonly made in adult cattle,...

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