Journal news

Obesity - learning from the crisis in people

Veterinary Record latest issue - 20 September 2019

I recently participated in a roundtable discussion organised by Vet Record, the BVA and Mars Petcare about obesity in pets. My perspective was unusual; I have no pets and I am a dietitian who has worked in primary care and public health, primarily in the field of human obesity. But, as I was preparing for the meeting, I started thinking about the overlap between obesity in animals and people.

Obesity has been a serious health concern in people for several decades, and the current statistics, in both children and adults, are depressing. Unfortunately, nowadays it is more common for people to suffer from obesity or being overweight than to be a healthy weight; healthy weight is no longer ‘normal’ in the sense of being usual for adults. I hadn’t realised, until the roundtable, that obesity was also such a concern in the animal world.

But as we talked,...

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Dawda Kairaba Jawara

Veterinary Record latest issue - 20 September 2019

The first vet to be elected head of state, he was democratically elected as the first leader of the Gambia and dedicated his life to serving his country and championing human rights.

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'As a self-confessed nerd, I wanted to work in academia

Veterinary Record latest issue - 20 September 2019

Bettina Dunkel completed internships and residencies in the USA before coming to the UK and settling into her role working with horses at the Royal Veterinary College.

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Telemedicine - are we reaching stalemate?

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

Like it or not, perception often matters just as much as reality.

As the governing body for the organisation that regulates the veterinary profession, RCVS council must not merely behave in a way that is beyond reproach, it must also be seen to be behaving in such a way.

That is particularly true when council is making decisions about controversial topics – and few would deny that remote prescribing is controversial.

At its most extreme, the nightmare vision is of vets dishing out last resort antibiotics ‘willy nilly’ to treat animals they’ve never even seen. Some critics of remote prescribing fear that relaxing rules around ‘under his care’ could open the way to the ‘Uberisation’ of the profession, whereby tech disruptor companies would do to vet practices what Uber has done to the licensed black cab trade. Basically, the fear is of a general loosening of prescribing rules.


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'Alarming drop in pet vaccinations

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

By Matthew Limb

Millions of animals are at risk from potentially fatal diseases as new figures show a ‘record decline’ in the number of pets being vaccinated in the UK.

The proportion of pet dogs, cats and rabbits receiving a primary vaccination course when young fell by 18 per cent over the past three years – from 84 per cent in 2016 to 66 per cent in 2019.

Also, nearly a third of pets are not receiving regular booster vaccines, according to the latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report, published last week.

Veterinary experts said the ‘worrying’ trend meant herd immunity was unlikely to hold, threatening greater exposure to diseases such as parvovirus, leptospirosis and distemper.

A loss of herd immunity could see a resurgence in preventable diseases

Sean Wensley, PDSA’s senior vet, said: ‘A resulting loss of herd immunity could see a resurgence in preventable diseases that...

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Female vets face 'outright discrimination

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

By Suzanne Jarvis

Female vets in the UK often face ‘outright discrimination’ from both colleagues and clients, research published online this week in Vet Record has shown.

The observational study found that women were not rising up the professional hierarchy, which, according to the researchers, raises questions about succession planning for the profession now that three-quarters of veterinary graduates in the UK are female.

The study comprised of semistructured interviews of 75 vets – 39 men and 36 women – of varying experience, aged between 25 to 63, and across small and large animal and equine practice. The interviews were designed to encourage the participants to talk about themselves and how they felt in regard to the veterinary profession.

The researchers also carried out observations in practices (both during consultations and surgery) and in staff interactions in less formal settings (eg, conversations in staff kitchens).

The researchers – David...

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Scotland 'leading the way with animal welfare pledges

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

The Scottish government has announced several key commitments to animal welfare in a programme of action for the coming years.

‘Protecting Scotland’s Future: The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2019-2020’ detailed measures such as recruiting members to its Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, which will provide advice on the welfare of sentient animals. It also called for secondary legislation on the compulsory introduction of CCTV to all abattoirs to be brought forward to make sure that slaughter is carried out safely and humanely.

It pledged to take a robust approach to licenses for the breeding of dogs, cats and rabbits, and it committed to several measures concerning sustainability and land use.

BVA president, Simon Doherty, said: ‘Scotland is taking the lead with a number of these pledges and we hope that England and other devolved nations will follow suit...we look forward to seeing these commitments put into action and are happy...

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Missed red flags with quick puppy purchases

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

By Josh Loeb

UK puppy buyers are all too frequently making snap decisions on impulse rather than thinking things through, the Kennel Club says.

The charity said it was alarmed by the findings of new research it commissioned that showed that one in four such buyers in the UK took less than two hours to choose a puppy.

Two in five chose a puppy purely because of how it looked, without taking time to understand its health, temperament or exercise needs, according to the research.

People who buy a puppy on a whim or because of its ‘cute’ appearance can end up inadvertently funding unscrupulous breeders, the Kennel Club said.

The organisation also warned that prospective dog owners who failed to take their time over their decision were less able to spot signs of a scam or illness in their future pet.

Owners who did little research – defined...

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No-deal Brexit could hamper zoo animal movements

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

Zoos will be prevented from bringing animals into the UK via the Channel Tunnel or through the port of Dover after a no-deal Brexit, the chief executive of the national zoo association has said.

Madelon Willemsen, chief executive of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), told Vet Record this meant such animals would have to be flown into Heathrow or come in via ports elsewhere in the country instead of coming in through Kent. She said she had welfare concerns about the prospect of wild animals being brought into the UK to be exhibited in zoos’ collections experiencing longer journey times as a result.

‘The tunnel may return as an option for us,’ said Willemsen.

‘We’re working with Defra and appreciate their difficulties...but the position currently is that, for animal transactions, we cannot use the tunnel [after a no-deal Brexit].’

One zoo, Shepreth Wildlife Park...

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In brief

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019
RCVS and BVA to co-host FVE assembly

The BVA and the RCVS will be co-hosting the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) General Assembly in June 2020.

The FVE General Assembly is a biannual event in which the organisation, an umbrella body for veterinary associations and regulators from 40 European countries, meets to hear reports from its various committees and working groups and makes recommendations on veterinary policy.

The 2020 event will be taking place from 4 to 6 June in London and will include a reception for delegates at the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Trees.

The UK last hosted the FVE General Assembly at its 2002 meeting in Belfast.

BVA president Simon Doherty said: ‘BVA is really looking forward to co-hosting this prestigious event.

‘It feels especially timely to be holding the assembly in the UK in 2020, highlighting that however things pan out politically over...

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What are the issues stalling telemedicine?

Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

By Josh Loeb

Few would deny that telemedicine and remote prescribing are controversial topics that have divided the profession.

Broadly speaking, vets fall into two camps – those that want change and those that don’t.

Members of the ‘change’ camp want faster progress on reforming the regulatory framework to enable more to be done from afar.

Meanwhile, members of the ‘no change’ camp want the status quo, if not a tightening of existing restrictions.

This chasm has resulted in difficulties in coming to a resolution, and now, more or less, a stalemate. This is evident from the way that the issues of telemedicine and remote prescribing have ping-ponged backwards and forwards between RCVS council and the college’s standards committee (see Box 1).

Box 1:

Chronology of the telemedicine debate

  • 2015 – Joint RCVS/BVA Vet Futures project recommends the RCVS reviews regulatory framework and explores implications...

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    Alleviating inflammation and pain in horses

    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    A new treatment for acute inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders in horses is being launched at the British Equine Veterinary Association congress in Birmingham this week.

    Bimeda’s Cronyxin Paste is an apple-flavoured paste contains 50 mg/g flunixin. It comes in a flexible-dose 33 g syringe to allow for ease of dosing, and has a 15-day meat withdrawal, which allows for use in animals that have not been signed out of the food chain.

    Bimeda marketing manager, Mary van Dijk, commented: ‘This product was developed following feedback from our customers who told us they wanted a single syringe to treat larger horses over consecutive days. We also took into account the request for apple flavouring, which we ensured was part of this new product development.’

    The launch is marked by a competition to win a trip the ‘Big Apple’, in which the lucky winner will win a four-night stay in New York...

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    Supporting digestive health in pets

    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    Hill’s Pet Nutrition has developed a range of diets that use pets’ own microbiome to support digestive health and wellbeing.

    Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome contains a proprietary blend of active fibre ingredients that are clinically proven to support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria to help restore the balance of pets’ microbiome, the company says. It adds that the ‘revolutionary diet’ addresses fibre-responsive digestive disorders in dogs and cats.

    The range includes ActivBiome+ technology to promote regular healthy stools and support digestive health in pets.

    Hill’s Pet Nutrition says it uses the latest scientific research and clinical expertise to develop foods that address a range of health issues.

    The new range is available in kibble for both dogs and cats and as a stew for cats.

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


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    Blood test to diagnose small redworm in horses

    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    A blood test that can diagnose small redworm (cyathostomin) infections in horses is to be launched by Austin Davis Biologics this month.

    Developed by Jacqui Matthews’ group at the Moredun Research Institute, the new test enables detection of all stages of the small redworm lifecycle, including the encysted larval phase. Until now it has not been possible to test for encysted small redworm as faecal egg counts only detect the presence of egg-laying adult worms. This has meant that a routine winter treatment to target this life cycle phase has become the recommended practice.

    Matthews commented: ‘The test fills an important gap in our diagnostic toolbox and will enable horse owners to work with their veterinarians in targeting anthelmintic treatments against cyathostomin infections and hence help protect these important medicines for the future.’

    Veterinary practices can register their interest in the service by emailing:

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    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    BSB Products has been appointed the exclusive distribution partner for Canadian company Petcurean’s cat and dog foods in the UK and Ireland. Initially, the company’s ‘Now Fresh’ cat and dog foods and ‘Gather’ organic vegan dog food, will be available to UK retailers. ‘Go!’ dog and cat foods will be available in the autumn.

    Dechra Veterinary Products has added a new injectable acepromazine to its equine anaesthesia and analgesia range. Tranquinervin, which contains 10 mg/ml acepromazine, is indicated for anaesthetic premedication, tranquilisation and sedation. Tranquinervin is available in a 20 ml vial and has a 56-day broached shelf life. More information at

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    Foot-and-mouth disease vaccine licensed

    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    A new synthetic vaccine to protect livestock against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus is undergoing commercial development.

    The Pirbright Institute has granted MSD Animal Health an exclusive commercial licence for the production of the new vaccine, which the institute says is effective, affordable and more stable than the FMD vaccines currently available.

    The vaccine consists of ‘virus-like particles’ – small synthetic protein shells – that mimic the virus to stimulate an immune response.

    Unlike other inactivated FMD vaccines, this vaccine has been engineered to remain stable up to temperatures of 56°C and is therefore not reliant on cold-chain transport and storage. This characteristic gives it a much greater potential to relieve the problem of the disease in regions such as Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where the disease is endemic.

    FMD has extremely poor implications for animal welfare, but also impacts greatly on the people reliant on susceptible animals...

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    Eye ointment for cats, dogs and horses

    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    A treatment to tackle specific eye ailments in dogs, cats and horses has been launched in the UK by Dechra Veterinary Products.

    Ophtocycline, which has the active ingredient chlortetracycline hydrochloride, is a broad-spectrum ophthalmic antibiotic ointment in a paraffin base for the treatment of keratitis, conjunctivitis and blepharitis caused by Staphylococcus species, Streptococcus, Proteus, and/or Pseudomonas.

    Chlortetracycline hydrochloride works against both aerobic and anaerobic gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. The recommended dosage is four times a day for five days.

    The 10 mg/g ophthalmic ointment has a 14-day broached shelf life and a one-day withdrawal period for meat and offal.

    Dechra Veterinary Products, Sansaw Business Park, Hadnall, Shrewsbury SY4 4AS, telephone 01939 211200

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    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    Boehringer Ingelheim has opened a full service reference laboratory to provide comprehensive diagnosis of animal diseases in Shanghai. It is first of its kind established by a multinational animal health company in China, the company says. It is expected to have a total staff of 25.

    Bayer Animal Health has launched Drontal Plus Tasty in China, where it will be available from veterinarians and e-commerce platforms. Endoparasiticides represent about 20 per cent of the companion animal parasiticide market in China, the company says.

    Dutch company Hendrix Genetics ( and Plant and Food Research (a research and development company based in New Zealand) have signed a memorandum of understanding to co-develop underwater vision technology for measuring aquaculture breeding stock, using trout as a test case.

    A series of four e-books for first-year vet students have been published by emeritus professor of veterinary anatomy Donald R. Adams. The books...

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    Veterinary Record latest issue - 13 September 2019

    MWI Animal Health, a part of AmerisourceBergen, has announced that David Tinsley has been appointed the new managing director for MWI Animal Health in the UK. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his new role. Most recently, he served as a managing director of Movianto, a healthcare-dedicated logistics company, and has worked in various roles at DHL for over eight years.

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