Journal news

Making the move from clinical nursing to non-clinical leadership

Vet nurse Daniel Hogan is hospital director of Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Essex and is leading its move to new premises.

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Vet student research bursaries applications open

Vet students are being offered the opportunity to win a bursary to help finance a research project. MSD Animal Health’s 2020 Research Bursary for Veterinary Students will award £1000 to each of five students to support their research proposal. All bursary recipients will be invited to MSD Animal Health’s headquarters in Milton Keynes to present their research conclusions at the company’s annual research bursary award day.

The two best research projects presented on the day will be awarded a further £1000 top prize and a £500 runner-up prize, respectively. The winners will also be encouraged to present their findings at a relevant UK veterinary conference and provided with hotel accommodation, delegate registration and a further award of £500.

Research project applications will be judged on the quality and clarity of the research; the realistic aspirations of the proposed research project; its potential value in terms of clinical relevance; and...

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Cave Veterinary Specialists in Somerset is celebrating the achievements of three of its practitioners – Anna Nutt and Malcolm Jack have become European diplomates in small animal surgery, and Simon Bertram who is now a specialist in neurology. Co-clinical directors Tom Cardy and Nele Van den Steen believe the trio have done exceptionally well as the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) exams are extremely difficult, saying: ‘EBVS exams are very tough and challenging and the pass rate is notoriously low, so to have three of our team succeed at the first time of asking is terrific,’ they say. It takes at least three years to achieve diplomate status, so it has been a long haul for them all – but they’ve all done brilliantly.’

(from left) Simon Bertram, Anna Nutt and Malcolm Jack

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Good leadership will see vets through

A major crisis such as that engulfing our society right now brings with it many unwelcome guests – chaos, fear and panic, among them.

The fact that we are being barred from the very activity that could bring us comfort – human connection – makes the challenge of enduring this Covid-19 outbreak particularly tough.

We have seen three notable examples of strong and clear leadership

But history has taught us that crises also bring opportunities – to adapt, dig deep and build a better foundation for the future. They also require good leadership and this week we have seen three notable examples of strong and clear veterinary leadership.

First, the BVA and RCVS asked vet practices to adapt their business models quite dramatically – to remain open to deal with emergencies only. Even though vets working in fields that support the food supply chain – farm vets, for...

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RCVS allows remote prescribing in pandemic

By Adele Waters and Josh Loeb

Vets have been given the temporary go ahead to prescribe veterinary medicines remotely if the situation requires it.

The RCVS updated its advice this week in order to limit non-essential contact in a bid to reduce transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19).

In the current circumstances, RCVS council agreed there were ‘no other available options’.

Normally, the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct does not allow veterinary surgeons to prescribe veterinary medicines (POM-Vs) without a physical examination of the animal(s) having first taken place.

However, RCVS council has decided that there should be a temporary departure from this position under the current exceptional circumstances. This position will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and, in any event, no later than 30 June 2020.

Niall Connell, RCVS president, said: ‘In these unprecedented times we recognise that undertaking a physical examination of an animal may no longer be...

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Telemedicine services thrive during Covid-19

By Adele Waters

Not all veterinary businesses are suffering a downturn in demand – or their fortunes – during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quite the reverse for those offering the public access to telemedicine or remote first-line advice services – they appear to be positively thriving and competing for customers.

Last week, FirstVet, which provides on-demand video consultations with local, qualified vets throughout the UK, reported it has seen a 20 per cent week-on-week increase in pet owners using its video vet service between February and March due to self isolation and mandatory quarantine.

Meanwhile, Joii, a pet care app that offers video consultations with vets, said it had experienced ‘a substantial increase’ in users, with almost 30,000 people downloading or using the app in the past two months. The app has been trending at number 1 within the medical category in both Google Play and the Apple store.


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Stop routine work now, says BVA president

By Josh Loeb

Vets share a moral duty to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus – the cause of Covid-19 – by stopping all non-essential work and observing ‘vital’ rules on social distancing.

That was the uncompromising message delivered last weekend by BVA president Daniella Dos Santos in an emergency webinar about the crisis.

In a hard-hitting, hour-long talk, Dos Santos (pictured right) repeatedly drove home the message that it is the ‘duty’ of every small animal practice to now cease all but the most essential services.

All nail clipping appointments, weight clinics and puppy parties must stop immediately, while neutering must be ‘risk assessed’ on a case-by-case basis and booster vaccination delayed.

‘If you are talking about an adult animal that has been routinely vaccinated, what is the real risk of disease outbreak if the booster were to be delayed for three months?’ she said. ‘We...

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Vet practices to remain open during lockdown

Vet practices should remain open during the Covid-19 lockdown – but only to deal with emergencies and any work relating to maintaining the food supply chain.

On 25 March, the government updated the list of premises that can remain open during the lockdown – a period of at least three weeks during which only essential services will be open and members of the public are being told to stay at home – to include veterinary surgeries, following lobbying by the BVA.

As Vet Record went to press, the BVA and RCVS issued guidance on changes to veterinary work during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown (see box).

What should vet practices be doing in lockdown?

  • Do not carry out routine treatments until further notice.

  • Offer your clients advice and consultation services via remote means, including prescribing POM-V medicines where appropriate (see RCVS FAQs for details:

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    Looking after yourself and others

    The global Covid-19 outbreak is having a profound impact on everyone, including people in the veterinary profession. Public health and government advice for some to self isolate and for all of us to increase social distancing poses huge challenges for the industry and its people, as well as clients and patients. Here, Vetlife Helpline manager

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    No suspension of bovine TB testing, yet

    By Kathryn Clark

    Statutory TB surveillance is set to continue during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, but the UK’s chief vet is keeping the situation under constant review, according to the APHA.

    On March 24, in advice to official veterinarians (OVs) undertaking TB testing during the Covid-19 outbreak, the APHA said there had been reported shortages of staff to complete testing and refusals from farmers to test due to self isolation.

    It said testing should only go ahead if all involved could maintain adequate social distancing.

    TB testing visits should continue where possible

    ‘TB testing visits should continue where possible providing, in the OV’s judgement, they can conduct the test in line with government advice on social distancing...this might mean the farm has good handling facilities to minimise vet-farmer contact; that the minimum number of persons are present at the test while maintaining safe handling; and keeping to advice...

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    In other Covid-19 news

    • Vet practices are putting aside human-compatible ventilators, oxygen supplies and personal protective equipment such as surgical masks, as well as anaesthetic machines and monitors, for use in saving human lives. The scheme has been promoted by the RCVS, the BVA and several other veterinary associations and businesses.

    Practices can register their interest in the scheme at:

    Vet Record has asked Defra and the Department of Health whether the government will be requisitioning such equipment from practices and, if so, when, but had received no response at the time of going to press.

    • The government has postponed the introduction of its IR35 tax reforms until next April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The new rules, affecting locums, had been due to come into force next month.

    They would have meant that locums could no longer be hired through personal service companies or private limited companies,...

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    Clinical database of ruminant conditions

    The National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) has launched a comprehensive clinical database of ruminant conditions aimed at practising vets and veterinary students.

    The teaching and reference resource, called ‘The Cattle and Sheep Clinical Library for Vets’, contains over 300 searchable cattle and sheep conditions. These are illustrated with more than 2000 clinical videos and images. Each entry comprises a brief description of the condition, clinical signs and clinical imagery (often with accompanying case notes), and cross-referencing to differential diagnoses. The library contains antemortem and postmortem media including videos, pictures and diagnostic ultrasound recordings.

    The search function allows conditions to be identified by species, body system and presenting clinical signs, or they can be accessed by an alphabetical disease index. NADIS says this resource is ideal to help experienced vets and new graduates with difficult or novel cases. It can generate a differential diagnosis list and guide viewing of...

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    Best UK vet awards

    Solihull-based Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service has won gold in the Best UK Vet Awards 2020. The awards, organised by, are based on more than 11,000 pet owner reviews submitted to the platform over the past 12 months. The reviews cover 2500 UK veterinary practices and the practices with the highest number of four and five-star reviews from customers are rewarded. The silver award went to St Anne’s Veterinary Group in East Sussex and the bronze went to Mayow Veterinary Surgery in Sydenham

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    Skilled vets use 3D implant to save pup

    Vets from Hamilton Specialist Referrals have used a 3D implant to help a paralysed puppy.

    Ping, a five-month-old male Chihuahua, needed life-saving surgery after suddenly becoming paralysed. Neurologist John Parker used MRI to diagnose atlantoaxial subluxation in Ping’s neck. However, the puppy was so small – weighing barely 1 kg – that traditional orthopaedic implants would have been too large to place safely.

    CT images were used to design bespoke 3D printed guides to enable precise placement of 1 mm diameter screws. In the meantime, Ping was hospitalised in a neck brace with nursing care to keep him comfortable and to prevent further damage to his spinal cord. Six days later, Parker and surgery specialist Michael Hamilton operated to stabilise the neck using the guided screws and encasing them in bone cement. Ping made a good recovery and one week later he was able to walk out of the...

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    Animalcare has set out plans to support its customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company will cease practice visits by its field sales team with immediate effect in order to minimise the risk of spreading the virus to veterinary teams or their clients. It will, instead, increase the level of support it provides to practices via the telephone, email and, where possible, video calls.

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    New intramammary treatment introduced

    Ubropen is a new addition to Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health’s Ubrocare range of mastitis products.

    For use as an intramammary suspension in lactating cows, the company says Ubropen offers a number of benefits including:

    • Once-a-day dosing to reduce the risk of infection;

    • Treatment duration of three to five days;

    • A special cap that reduces risk of damage to the teat canal;

    • No need for refrigeration;

    • A milk withholding period of six days;

    • A meat withholding period of three days.

    Containing 600 mg of procaine penicillin, the suspension offers targeted treatment of penicillin-sensitive Gram-positive mastitis pathogens.

    This dose size also results in a concentration well above the minimum inhibitory concentration for Streptococcus uberis and Staphylococcus aureus for 24 hours, even after milking, the company says. It also means it only needs to be administered once a day.

    The product’s formulation consists of micronised particles...

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    Giving calcium can boost lambing results

    A trick borrowed from dairy farmers – giving an oral calcium supplement at the onset of labour – can help ewes and lead to fewer dead or orphaned lambs, according to Flor Ryan, a sheep specialist with Animax. His advice is based on his experience with his own Texel flock.

    Ewes, like dairy cows, can become calcium deficient in the hour or so before giving birth, he said: ‘Unlike cows, which may become recumbent and die from acute milk fever, the condition in sheep is usually subclinical and hard to spot. The typical consequence is delayed onset then slow labour.’

    Other factors that make calcium supplementation advisable include ewes carrying twins or triplets, being too fat or thin, older ewes and those with a difficult previous lambing.

    One dose of Animax’s Easycal provides 14 to 18 g of easily absorbed calcium over 12 to 15 hours, the company says....

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    Bovine TB infection status in cattle inGreat Britain in 2018

    Key points

  • In Great Britain (GB), the herd incidence of bovine TB decreased in 2018 to its lowest level since 2014. Approximately eight new incidents of TB were detected for every 100 herds that underwent a full year of surveillance in 2018, compared to 9.4 in 2017 and 7.7 in 2014.

  • There was substantial variation across GB at country, surveillance risk area and county level. Differences in surveillance and control policies make it inappropriate to directly compare TB in cattle between the countries of GB and therefore these are best considered separately.

  • Scotland remained Officially TB Free, with 36 incidents (0.7 TB incidents per 100 herd-years at risk [HYR]) detected. This was a slight decrease on 2017 (40 incidents, 0.9 incidents per 100 HYR).

  • There has been a steady decline in TB incidence in Wales since 2012, and, overall, in 2018 seven incidents of TB...

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    Harnessing technology to control lameness in sheep

    Lameness is a significant production-limiting health issue in the sheep industry and is thought to account for between £24 million and £84 million in lost income each year in the UK.1 It is also considered to substantially impair the welfare of affected animals.2,3

    In 2004, the estimated incidence of lameness in the UK national flock was approximately 10 per cent,4 with 90 per cent of cases being attributable to footrot. In 2011, the Farm Animal Welfare Council set targets to reduce the incidence of lameness in sheep to 5 per cent by 2016 and to 2 per cent by 2021.5 Subsequently, the recommended on-farm control measures for footrot were revised based on expanding knowledge of the aetiology and epidemiology of footrot in sheep,6 with Dichelobacter nodosus now recognised as the causative agent of this disease.7

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