Journal news

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.

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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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Fulfilling practice needs in the Highlands and Islands

In regard to Josh Loeb’s news article ‘Vet schools are focusing on widening participation’ (VR, 17 August 2019, vol 185, p187), I would like to comment on the widening access programme at Edinburgh vet school, and I believe this will also apply to Glasgow vet school, as this is a Scottish government policy that has been forced upon them.

It may well increase the number of candidates from ‘areas of deprivation’, but will also inevitably reduce the number of candidates from other areas of Scotland, as the number of Scottish candidates chosen is unlikely to increase. The SNP government have a vested interest in the ‘postcodes defined by government data as being areas of deprivation’ as these tend to be the areas where they have their greatest support, along with the rest of the central belt of Scotland.

In recent years, the practices in the Highlands and Islands area...

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Correction: Building a veterinary evidence manifesto

Conference report: Building a veterinary evidence manifesto (VR, 3 August 2019, vol 185, pp 128-131), Sally Everitt’s affiliation should have been given as the BVA policy committee, not as the BSAVA policy committee. The error is regretted.

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Death notices

Evans On 2 August 2019, Edward Donald Evans, DipAH, BVetSts, MRCVS, of Weswall, Merseyside. Mr Evans qualified from London in 1955.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l5153

Jenkerson On 7 August 2019, Paul Richard Jenkerson, BVetMed, MRCVS, of Bicester, Oxfordshire. Mr Jenkerson qualified from London in 1958.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l5142

Robinson On 11 August 2019, Craig Robinson, BVMS, MRCVS, of Carlisle, Cumbria. Mr Robinson qualified from Glasgow in 1964.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l5150

Categories: Journal news

Supporting mental health across the practice

An alternative view can be given in response to Henry Lamb’s letter (VR, 17 August 2019, vol 185, p 211).

Most veterinarians in the UK are not trained, qualified or insured to give professional mental health advice to anyone, including clients.

Veterinarians’ responsibilities under One Health are primarily to identify, report, treat, conduct research and prevent zoonotic disease. Our secondary responsibility is to liaise with those medically qualified to ensure that there is a joined-up approach to any outbreak where man and beast are both affected by the same condition (usually a contagious or infectious condition).

Veterinarians belong to a group with a known high per capita suicide rate. They are, on a daily basis, challenged with significant mental stresses, and many find it difficult to maintain a good standard of mental health. This probably makes vets not the most suitable individuals to advise or take responsibility for any...

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Lets stop wasting time - and research

In this month’s evidence column Rachel Dean argues that not only does veterinary research have to be replicable, it also must be relevant and accessible to clinicians

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Being a vet receptionist is much more than checking in clients

Kendall Clee worked as a legal secretary before finding her dream job as a receptionist in a small animal practice. She is the first British Veterinary Receptionist of the Year.

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Young vets finish graduate academy with a conference

Independent Vetcare recently held its first conference for its young vets, at the end of their structured two-year support package, known as Graduate Academy.

The three-day event included CPD, careers advice and a graduation dinner with the presentation of certificates marking completion of the programme. The young vets heard from keynote speaker, British adventurer Miles Hilton-Barber, who described some of the extreme events he has participated in across the world, despite being blind. His aim was to inspire them with the idea that anything is possible.

The conference also offered a full day of CPD with sessions on exotics, farm, internal medicine, neurology and oncology, as well as advice on career options within the group. Other sessions heard vets describe their career journeys and the lessons they had learned, and veterinary management consultant Dave Nicol offered practical tools, tips and techniques to help the graduates to ‘be the best...

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Getting to grips with the challenges of leadership

At the end of June, 14 vets began their journey on the XLVet leadership programme, equipping themselves with the skills and insight they need to develop their capacity for leadership. The approach uses experiential learning, awareness of self and visualisation techniques to create leaders who will be able to steer their practices to success.

The course is run in partnership with the Brathay Trust. Course participants work closely together to create trusted groups, with the bonds that are formed extending beyond the course and helping to create a supportive network for leaders throughout the XLVet community.

XLVets people enabling manager, Jane Simpson, says the programme is designed to help leaders understand what kind of messages they communicate to their teams based on their behaviour. ‘We’ve been running and refining this programme for several years now and have seen the impact it has on workplaces. Our leaders are now both...

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Quality and quantity in veterinary education

It wasn’t so very long ago – six years to be precise – that concern was being expressed about a potential oversupply of veterinary graduates emerging from the UK’s vet schools.

That concern, widely expressed at the time, was prompted by the University of Surrey’s announcement of its intention to establish a new veterinary school.

Now, following the first cohort of graduates from the Surrey vet school this summer, the picture has changed. A ‘workforce crisis’ has been a key concern for some time, bringing recruitment and retention of vets to the fore.

Although the Home Office recently accepted a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee to return vets to the Shortage Occupation List, increasing the numbers of ‘home-grown’ vets will also help ease the situation.

The capacity for training new vets will expand next year, when the UK’s ninth vet school opens its doors. The school is a...

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Threats to farming in a no-deal Brexit

By Matthew Limb

More than half of UK farms could go out of business by the mid 2020s if Britain leaves the European Union on 31 October without a deal, new analysis shows.

Séan Rickard, a leading sector economist, has set out the economic shock facing agriculture under a crash-out Brexit in a report published this week.

Farmers would be left reeling from tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed on their exports while the UK government would largely remove tariffs on imports from third country farmers.

‘British farmers will be caught between increased competition from third countries importing produce to the UK and increased difficulty and cost when exporting to our biggest market, the EU,’ he said.

Rickard said it would take many years to reduce barriers in future free trade agreements (FTAs) and any government compensation would go nowhere near to offsetting the negative impacts.

He warned there...

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