Journal news

AVMA president urges vets to protect the profession

The outgoing president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) delivered some ‘tough, honest truths’ about the veterinary profession during his farewell speech.

John de Jong urged the profession to be ‘intellectually honest’ about its problems if it wanted to address them and try to find solutions.

Speaking at the AVMA convention in Washington earlier this month, he spoke about workforce challenges, a lack of diversity in the profession and concerns about new graduates’ level of work preparedness.

‘We are facing workforce issues in that many practices cannot find associates to work in them. There are seemingly not enough full-time equivalent vets to meet the needs that are out there,’ he told delegates.

Increasingly vets wanted a better work-life balance and sought part-time over full-time hours, he said. But it was also worrying that three quarters of small animal practices in the USA are owned by vets aged over...

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BVA sets out tips for electric containment fences

By Matthew Limb

The BVA has launched safety tips on the use of electric fences to contain livestock and horses, while urging further research into ‘non-harmful alternatives’.

It said electric containment fences were a ‘necessary option’ for many vets’ clients allowing animals to graze safely and efficiently.

But in a new policy position, it warned of possible risks of injury and suffering to animals and people, especially if fences were incorrectly designed, installed or maintained.

The BVA has set out 13 recommendations, which cover how to limit potential harms, for example, through increased visibility and careful placement of fences.

It said electric containment fencing should be designed, selected and maintained so it ‘does not cause more than momentary discomfort to animals’.

The tips include:

  • Making sure the strength of electric current is ‘appropriate for the species’ to avoid severe shocks.

  • Carefully maintaining batteries used to power electric...

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    Complaint about ad for Boehringer BVD vaccine upheld

    The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has upheld a complaint by the veterinary pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health against its rival Boehringer Ingelheim concerning the latter’s promotion of Bovela, a vaccine for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD).

    NOAH said MSD had complained about a Boehringer print advertisement that appeared with the strapline ‘No contest – Bovela is knocking out BVD’.

    MSD also complained about a second Boehringer print advert that had the strapline ‘Bovela. Making BVD history.’

    NOAH said that its committee in charge of adjudicating on cases involving alleged breaches of its code of practice for firms advertising animal medicines had found that the first advert was ‘misleading by omission’ and that the second amounted to an exaggerated claim.

    The advert gave the impression that Bovela was by itself eradicating BVD

    According to a summary of the case, published by NOAH, MSD objected to the use of...

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    In brief

    Veterinary hub success for Inverness

    Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have made a successful bid to create a new data-driven innovation centre for veterinary science in Inverness.

    The £7 million project has been awarded over £4 million from the European Regional Development Fund Scotland Programme, and SRUC has committed to providing the remainder.

    The Rural Veterinary Hub will focus on animal health, using new technology and big data to research livestock, wildlife, marine mammals and aquaculture health. It will also create and support the development of new businesses, products and services.

    How well is the BCVA performing?

    Maintaining a work-life balance and a potential shortage of farm animal vets are seen as the biggest challenges facing cattle vets in the UK today.

    Those are the results to come out of the British Cattle Veterinary Association’s (BCVA’s) survey of the profession.

    With the exception...

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    Which bacteria are in the noses of healthy beef cattle?

    Georgina Mills discusses new research examining the bacteria that live in the noses of healthy calves

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    Bayer exits animal health market

    US-based company Elanco Animal Health has agreed to buy German company Bayer Animal Health, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The two companies have announced a cash and stock deal valued at US $7.6 billion. The transaction will involve a payment of US $5.3 billion in cash and US $2.3 billion in Elanco stock.

    The acquisition will make Elanco the second largest animal health business after Zoetis, enhancing the company’s portfolio of leading global brands, and bolstering its innovation capabilities and research and development pipeline, Elanco says.

    The acquisition is expected to be concluded in mid-2020, and Bayer says it intends to exit its stake in Elanco over time.

    Jeffrey N. Simmons, president and chief executive officer of Elanco, said: ‘Combining Elanco’s strong relationship with veterinarians and Bayer’s leadership in retail and e-commerce will ultimately benefit all our customers. We look forward to joining our complementary portfolios and capabilities to...

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    Hills launches treat range for dogs

    A new range of dog treats that offer ‘specific health benefits’ has been launched by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

    The range, which has no added artificial preservatives, flavours or colours, offers clinically proven benefits, the company says, and is designed to help manage specific health conditions in dogs such as weight, mobility, food sensitivities and dental concerns.

    The company claims the treats offer the following benefits:

  • Hill’s Healthy Weight Treats, which supports healthy weight loss and maintenance.

  • Hill’s Soft Baked Biscuits, which help support vital organs.

  • Hill’s Healthy Mobility Treats, which promote healthy mobility.

  • Hills Hypoallergenic Treats, which are formulated for dogs with food sensitivities.

  • Hill’s Dental Care Chews, which are clinically proven to help reduce plaque and tartar.

  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Guildford Business Park, Midleton Road, Guildford GU2 8JZ

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    Following the relaunch of its veterinary diets into one range – Veterinary Health Nutrition – Royal Canin has added Feline Skin & Coat to the range, which it says is recommended for cats with atopic dermatitis and other causes of skin irritation, such as flea-bite allergic dermatitis.

    Boehringer Ingelheim is running a number of practice meetings and CPD events on Arti-Cell Forte, the first stem cell-based veterinary medicine to receive marketing authorisation for the treatment of equine lameness or degenerative joint disease in horses. Further information is available from local territory managers or the company’s technical services team, telephone 01344 746957 or

    Zoetis has announced that Poulvac IB has been approved for used as a primer during the laying period, offering easier, more effective protection of laying flocks against infectious bronchitis (IB). Poulvac IB primer is the only bivalent live IB vaccine licensed for use in laying birds,...

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    Veterinary practices

    Scarsdale Vets (Derby) has joined Independent Vetcare. Scarsdale Group consists of Pride Referral Hospital, a farm and equine practice and 10 further veterinary practices in and around Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

    Cornish Paws Veterinary Practice is a new independent veterinary practice in Penryn in west Cornwall. Founded by husband and wife team Matt and Samantha Thomas, the practice will treat companion animals and exotic pets.

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    Prophylactic surgery in dogs

    Endoscopic-assisted gastropexy for the prevention of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) in dogs is now offered by Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists (SCVS).

    GDV is commonly encountered in practice and despite emergency surgery and intensive postoperative management, the reported mortality is 20 per cent.

    Additionally, patients often develop significant and potentially life-threatening complications that can require prolonged hospitalisation and significant expense.

    Performing a gastropexy is an essential part of the initial surgical intervention for GDV and without it, recurrence is reported in up to 80 per cent of patients. The most commonly performed technique for gastropexy is the ‘incisional’ technique and prophylactic gastropexy can be performed in high-risk breeds.

    Prophylactic gastropexy appears relatively safe and well tolerated and can be easily performed in female patients at the time of spaying. However, in patients where prophylactic gastropexy may be warranted, or desired by an owner, it may be more difficult to decide...

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    Sympathetic alternative antiemetic launched

    A sympathetic antiemetic for the treatment and prevention of vomiting and nausea in dogs and cats has been launched by Virbac.

    With the active ingredient maropitant, a 56-day broached shelf life and a benzyl alcohol excipient, Vetemex has benefits for both vets and their patients and can be used with confidence, the company says.

    Benzyl alcohol has shown a 78 per cent reduction in pain score immediately after administration and a 53 per cent reduction in pain score in the two-minute postinjection period, compared with an alternative excipient.

    Vetemex comes in a 20 ml bottle and is available from veterinary wholesalers.

    Virbac, Windmill Avenue, Woolpit, Bury Saint Edmunds IP30 9UP, telephone 01359 243243.

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    Fear Free and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) have joined forces to promote pets’ physical wellbeing. Fear Free provides education that focuses on emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. Both individuals and veterinary practices can become Fear Free Certified. More information can be found at

    Improve International has retained the Investors in People (IiP) Standard it first achieved in 2010. The company has retained the standard for a third time after a reassessment in which it scored 756 points, compared to the industry average benchmark of 699.

    Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has launched a business development initiative which aims to support practices wanting to implement evidence-based veterinary medicine through clinical audit to improve and optimise patient care.

    Pet insurance provider Bought By Many, has partnered with FirstVet to provide customers with free access to consultations using the FirstVet app....

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    Jimmy Park has been appointed general manager of Royal Canin UK and Ireland. He was previously general manager of Royal Canin Korea where he spearheaded a major strategy to penetrate the South Korean pet food market and played a pivotal role in securing investment to build Royal Canin’s Asia Pacific regional pet food manufacturing hub, which opened in September 2018.

    Stonehaven Incubate has appointed Gwynneth Thomas as its London-based investment manager. She has extensive scientific and commercial experience in the areas of pathology, genomics, digital health, medical devices and diagnostics. She holds a PhD in molecular pathology and a MBA.

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    Challenging the international residue limit concept for feed contaminants in equine doping analytics

    Last summer, the showjumper Le Vio tested positive for caffeine and theophylline after a competition at the Central America and Caribbean Games in Bogotá, Colombia. Due to their performance-enhancing actions, both substances are frequently found in positive doping samples from horses. In an attempt to explain the test result, the rider claimed that his horse had been fed with alfalfa – a well-known source of food contaminated with caffeine and theophylline.1

    This case highlights one of the major challenges in equine anti-doping regulations – deciding whether a pharmacologically active compound found in a doping sample was administered intentionally or represents accidental ingestion through contaminated feed.

    In 2014, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) recommended residue limits for feed contaminants and environmental substances in urine and plasma (Table 1).2 These so-called ‘international residue limits’ (IRLs) were widely adopted by the International Equestrian Federation...

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    Systematic analysis to assess the scientific validity of the international residue limits for caffeine and theophylline in horse-racing

    Based on their performance-enhancing potential, caffeine and theophylline are prohibited substances in equine sports. Residues in horses can be caused by wilful application or by unintended uptake of contaminated feed. The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities recently introduced international residue limits (IRLs) to facilitate the discrimination between pharmacological relevant and irrelevant concentrations in doping samples. The objective of this study was to investigate the scientific validity of these IRLs. A systematic analysis was performed to assess the IRLs by different statistical approaches using published pharmacokinetic data. 31 out of 218 potentially relevant publications met the inclusion criteria. Thereby, both IRLs were found to be appropriate for the exclusion of the presence of a relevant pharmacological effect after a wilful application. The IRL of theophylline was also determined to be suitable for the prevention of positive doping tests caused by the ingestion of contaminated feed. In contrast, the IRL of caffeine is not suitable to prevent positive doping test caused by the ingestion of more than 10 mg caffeine per day per horse with contaminated feed. The lack of corresponding regulation for paraxanthine, a major active metabolite of caffeine and theophylline, was recognised as a substantial shortcoming of the current system, rendering both IRLs incomplete.

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    Investigation into clients perception of postoperative physiotherapy for dogs undergoing cranial cruciate ligament disease surgery


    To evaluate clients’ understanding, perception and experience of postoperative physiotherapy after undergoing an osteotomy technique for cranial cruciate ligament disease (CCLD).


    A retrospective questionnaire was sent to 202 owners of dogs that underwent CCLD surgery at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2017, with 63 responses obtained.


    Significant differences were found in choice of physiotherapy between clients recommended or not by their vets (p<0.01), and between those offered additional information and those who were not (p<0.01). Of those who chose physiotherapy, 85% had a satisfactory experience. No difference was found in choice of physiotherapy between clients aware of its availability and those who were not (p=0.069). No association was found between cost of the service and clients’ perception of cost-worthiness (p=0.169) or between cost-worthiness and recovery outcome (p=0.420). A correlation was found between clients' perception of cost-worthiness and satisfaction level (p=0.03). Clients’ knowledge was related to the choice of physiotherapy (p=0.01), but not to other investigated factors. A significant relationship was found between clients' age and choice of physiotherapy (p=0.01), with younger clients choosing physiotherapy more often.


    Veterinarians recommending physiotherapy and providing accurate information affect clients' decision to choose, and perception of, physiotherapy, in addition to clients’ own knowledge.

    Categories: Journal news

    Success in career transitions in veterinary practice: perspectives of employers and their employees

    This study qualitatively explored success factors across career transitions in veterinary practice. Semistructured interviews were conducted independently with pairs of veterinary employers and their recent graduate employees, focusing on success in gaining initial employment, their transition to practising veterinarian and longevity in the veterinary profession. The divergence and convergence of interviewees’ perspectives, the changing emphasis of capabilities over different career phases, and the meaning of success were explored. Overall, the perspectives of employers and employees were similar, and highlighted communication skills, confidence, diligence and reliability, and technical skills and knowledge as important themes for initial employment and transition to practice. Other important success factors for initial employment included interpersonal skills, teamwork and team fit, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and previous experience with the graduate. Support, resilience and work–life balance were important to the transition to practice phase. For career longevity, work–life balance remained an important theme, but also continual learning, business skills and goal-setting. Success was defined around enjoyment and personal satisfaction, developing proficiency, and maintaining passion for the profession. Job fit was a persistent theme throughout. This exploratory study highlights the capabilities and factors supporting success in veterinary career transitions, some of which may be inconspicuous in traditional competency-based frameworks.

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    Selected highlights from other journals

    Darkness increases the population growth rate of poultry red mites

    C. Wang, Y. Ma, Y. Huang and others

    Parasites and Vectors (2019) 12

    doi: 10.1186/s13071-019-3456-1

    • What did the research find?

    The number of adult poultry red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) and their eggs were 2.4- and 3.6-fold higher, respectively, under prolonged darkness than under conventional lighting conditions. The feeding rate of mites and the mean number of eggs per female were also significantly higher under prolonged darkness. However, mite survival rate and egg hatchability were not affected by the lighting conditions.

    • How was it conducted?

    A total of 36 chicks were placed in three cages under prolonged darkness conditions (one hour of light in every 24 hours), and 220 adult D gallinae mites were introduced to each cage. Traps were fixed around the bottom of the cages to collect mites. The number of mites and eggs in the...

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    Equine viral arteritis in the UK

    I would like to draw the profession’s attention to the following notice confirming the presence of equine viral arteritis (EVA) in a stallion:

    ‘In accordance with Article 7(1) (a) of The Equine Viral Arteritis Order 1995 (SI 1995/1755), the secretary of state for the environment hereby gives notice that, following a veterinary inquiry into the suspicion of the existence of EVA in the stallion "Lago Icon", the chief veterinary officer of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed, on the basis of the evidence available, that the virus of the disease has within 56 days prior to the completion of the inquiry existed in the stallion "Lago Icon" based at Stokelake, Chudleigh, Newton Abbot, Devon.’

    Further information is available via

    EVA is a notifiable disease in the UK in all stallions and in mares that have been mated or inseminated in the past...

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