Journal news

Michael Joseph Day

A teacher, mentor, coworker, volunteer and friend who worked tirelessly to transform companion animal vaccination practice around the world and to champion companion animals within One Health.

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'As lead vet at British Quality Pigs, my role is fast-paced and varied

Martin Smith discusses his veterinary career journey, describes his current role and how he looks forward to engaging with the next generation of agricultural talent.

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Global online careers event

A global veterinary careers summit will bring together expertise from different continents to help vet professionals feel hopeful about their careers and find their ideal place within the profession. The event will take place online from 24 to 28 June. Interactive sessions and workshops, lectures offering practical strategies to support career growth, and innovative networking sessions – ‘Career campfire’ and ‘Career and a beer’ – will be combined with quick how-tos and careers stories.

The organisers are three female vet leaders from the UK, North America and Australia, who head communities dedicated to career growth in their respective regions. Career coach Emma Davis (Australia) helps vets invest in themselves and clarify what they actually want from their career. Ebony Escalona (UK) started the award winning Facebook group Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify? and Melanie Barham (North America) aims help people feel hopeful about their careers, and their ideal place within...

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An ordinary general meeting of the Sheep Veterinary Society will be held on Monday, 22 June 2020 at 19.30. The meeting will take place online and joining instructions will be sent to members. Further details may be obtained from the SVS Secretariat, email: or telephone 0131 445 5111., H. Stevenson, honorary secretary

The annual general meeting of Vet Trust will be held at 15.00 on Wednesday, 1 July. Virtual attendance details are available from Kathleen Robertson, email, Kathleen Robertson, secretary

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'Furloughing must be fair and reasonable

By Josh Loeb

The Veterinary Management Group (VMG) has produced a template ‘skills matrix’ for veterinary employers to use when furloughing staff.

The move comes after VMG president Richard Casey said it was important to be aware of the potential for discrimination claims to be made by furloughed staff if the correct processes were not followed.

Employees must be consulted and must agree to being furloughed – that’s absolutely essential

In a video message to remind members about the need for employers to make ‘objective, fair and reasonable’ decisions about which employees to furlough, Casey said: ‘Employees must be consulted and must agree to being furloughed – that’s absolutely essential. And that agreement should be signed and in writing.

‘As normal employment law such as the Equality Act 2010 applies when furloughing, I’m keen to talk to you about how we can all prevent discrimination and inequality...

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RCVS sees record year for council elections

By Georgina Mills

Record numbers of votes have been cast in the RCVS council elections this year.

Turnout rose to 26.2 per cent for the RCVS council election, compared with 25.5 per cent in the 2019 election and 22.7 per cent the year before.

Three new RCVS council members were elected from eight candidates. Kate Richards topped the poll with 4399 votes, ahead of Richard Stephenson (3943 votes) and Melissa Donald (3807 votes).

Former RCVS president Stephen May (3121 votes) was not re-elected; neither was the current treasurer Kit Sturgess (2816 votes), who earlier this year was elected junior vice president of the RCVS for 2020/21.

In this year’s veterinary nurses’ (VN) council election, the turnout rate was 17.1 per cent, up from 14.5 per cent in 2017 (there were no VN council elections held in 2019 and 2018).

The two newly elected VN council members, from 13 candidates,...

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Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and pneumonia in housed bullocks

Northern ireland disease surveillance headlines, January to March 2020

  • Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis in youngstock

  • Septic pulmonary thromboembolism in a heifer

  • Postinjection myositis in lambs

  • Periodontitis in ewes

  • Angiostrongylosis in a fox

  • CattleRespiratory diseases

    Respiratory disease was identified in 61 cattle postmortem submissions between January and March 2020. The most common pathogens identified included Mycoplasma bovis (16 cases), Mannheimia haemolytica (15 cases), Pasteurella multocida (10 cases), Histophilus somni (five cases), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (four cases) and Trueperella pyogenes (four cases).

    Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis

    Severe tracheitis due to infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and secondary pneumonia due to P multocida infection were diagnosed in a 12-month-old bullock, one of four to die out of a group of 30 being kept indoors on silage.

    On gross examination there was consolidation of the cranial lobes of the lung with around 20 per cent of the lung field...

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    Congenital sensorineural deafness in English setters in the United Kingdom: prevalence and association with phenotype and sex


    The English setter (ES) is predisposed to congenital sensorineural deafness (CSD). CSD prevalence and association with phenotype in the UK ES population are previously unreported.


    The database of the authors’ institution was searched for ES puppies undergoing brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing for CSD screening (2000–2018). Inclusion criteria were BAER performed at 5–10 weeks of age, testing of complete litters and available phenotypic data. The age, sex, presence of patches at birth, coat colour, iris colour, hearing status and BAER-determined parental hearing status of each puppy were recorded. Multivariable binary logistic regression was performed to determine the significance of these variables as predictors for the likelihood of puppies being unilaterally or bilaterally deaf.


    Inclusion criteria were met for 447 puppies. Hearing was bilaterally normal in 427 (95.5 per cent) puppies. The prevalence of unilateral and bilateral CSD was 3.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively. Females were 3.3 times more likely to be deaf than males, and puppies with both parents of unknown hearing status were 4.6 times more likely to be deaf than those with at least one normal parent.


    The prevalence of CSD was 4.5 per cent, with female puppies and those with two parents of unknown hearing status at greatest risk.

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    Ultrasound of the normal canine supraspinatus tendon: comparison with gross anatomy and histology


    This study aimed to compare the ultrasonographic and histological features of the supraspinatus tendon (ST) and its peculiar appearance in contrast with the biceps brachii tendon.


    For this purpose, 19 non-lame dog cadavers were subjected to an ultrasonographic and histologic evaluation of both shoulders after postmortem examination.


    Close to their insertion on the greater tubercle, all STs displayed a widened portion with a deep central hypoechoic area lacking a fibrillar pattern, when compared with its more proximal aspect and adjacent biceps brachii. Histologically this deep portion corresponded to poorly organised collagen bundles interspersed within a myxoid substance mainly composed of mucopolysaccharides. This central myxoid area with collagen disarray was responsible for the reduced echogenicity on ultrasound.


    The focal widening of the ST insertion and its central mucopolysaccharidic composition could be an anatomical adaptation to marked forces specifically applied to this tendon. However, the ultrasound and histological appearances are very similar to those described in tendinosis, which represents a confounding factor in diagnosing tendonitis at the insertion of the supraspinatus. In the absence of other ultrasonographic criteria of tendinopathy, a hypoechoic central area in the ST near its insertion should be considered normal.

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    Hair arsenic level in rice-based diet-fed Staffordshire bull terriers


    There have been concerns related to inorganic arsenic (iAs) in rice and the risk of chronic toxicity in human beings, especially children. Rice is a common constituent of pet food, and dogs often eat the same food on a continual daily basis for long periods of time. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the risk of chronic iAs exposure in rice-based diet-fed dogs.


    Hair iAs level was measured in seven rice-based diet-fed dogs (mean age 3.8 years) and in nine dogs that did not consume any rice (mean age 4.4 years), using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.


    The hair iAs level was significantly higher (P=0.005) in dogs fed a rice-based diet (mean 0.143 µg/g) than in dogs that did not consume any rice (mean 0.086 µg/g), while age and sex did not show associations with hair iAs level.


    The results suggest that eating a rice-based diet for long periods of time represents a risk for chronic iAs exposure in dogs.

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    Anatomical ambiguity

    We would like to draw attention towards the inconsistent use of terminology to describe a part of the reproductive tract that was previously referred to as ‘oviduct’.

    In 1994, the World Association of Veterinary Anatomists (WAVA) approved replacement of the term ‘oviduct’ by the term ‘uterine tube’ in domestic animals.1 However, the term ‘uterine tube’ appears to have a poor universal acceptance and both terms continue to be used in the literature.

    We made a search of the literature published in the past five years across species listed in PubMed. Overall, the term ‘oviduct’ was mentioned in 335 papers and the term ‘uterine tube’ was mentioned in 109 papers. Both terms have been used across all species. A review of the latest editions of four textbooks commonly used in theriogenology teaching across veterinary schools around the world revealed similar results; both terms were used in the textbooks.

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    Hagen Gasse, chair of the International Committee on Veterinary Gross Anatomical Nomenclature, responds

    The term ‘tuba uterina’ was introduced in the first edition of the Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria and has remained in all subsequent editions (the current edition is the sixth, published in 2017). The term ‘oviductus’ has never been listed.

    Accordingly, there is no evidence supporting Firdous Khan and Afroza Khanam’s statement that the fourth edition ‘approved replacement of the term "oviduct" by the term "uterine tube".’

    The term ‘oviductus’ is used in avian anatomy. The use of the two different terms in birds and mammals is appropriate to stress the distinct functional differences of the respective organs.

    The Latin term ‘tuba uterina’ is linguistically and grammatically precise. If the structure was a part of the uterus, it would be called ‘tuba uteri’.

    The English translation (like translations and wordings in any other language) may be ambiguous, as shown in the example that Khan and Khanam mention: that the English terms...

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    Can cats become infected with Covid-19?

    Since the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan city, China, it has been reported in over 200 other countries and caused a global pandemic.

    Although some studies have suggested that bats and pangolins were potential hosts, the origin of SARS-CoV-2 remains unknown and the infection evidence of transmission from animals to people is not well established.1

    On 28 February and 19 March 2020, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of Hong Kong released two statements that two dogs had tested positive to SARS-CoV-2.2 The two dogs had not had any relevant clinical signs, but the dog owners both had Covid-19. This suggested potential transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from people to dogs.

    On 31 March 2020, a case of a cat with SARS-CoV-2 was reported in Hong Kong, but the cat did not show any clinical signs of disease.3 Similar to the two earlier dog...

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    Susceptibility of felids to coronaviruses

    Recently, two cats from Belgium and Hong Kong tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.1, 2 During the 2003 SARS-CoV outbreak, cats living in close contact with people with SARS were found to be positive for SARS-CoV.3, 4 The susceptibility of domestic cats (Felis domesticus) to SARS-CoV infection was then studied.4, 5 Experimental inoculations resulted in infection and viral shedding, although without clinical signs. The infected cats were also found to transmit the disease to susceptible animals living in close contact with them.4

    The pathological changes induced by the experimental inoculation of SARS-CoV in cats were similar to those found in people except for the absence of syncytia and hyaline membranes in infected cells.5

    In the current coronavirus outbreak, researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China found that experimental inoculation of SARS-CoV-2 in cats...

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    The Lords must reject Agriculture Bill

    Is the government intent on selling UK agriculture down the proverbial creek without a paddle?

    The Agriculture Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons earlier this month and now passes, unamended, to the Lords for its second reading on 10 June.

    An amendment to get cast iron assurances written into the Bill that would prohibit imports of food produced to lower animal health and welfare standards than in the UK failed to win sufficient support (see p 552).

    So despite continual assurances from Defra that the government will not sell out UK farming in any future trade deal, there is increasing disquiet about the reluctance to put that assurance in writing. As a result, many in the vet and farming communities are pinning their hopes on the Lords rejecting the Bill in its current form.

    Among them is Jonathan Hobbs, a practising vet in Devon, who writes...

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    Evidence for mask wearing 'very compelling

    By Adele Waters and Georgina Mills

    Vets are being encouraged to wear face masks at work and also ask their clients to cover their faces before entering practices.

    These recommendations follow growing evidence that wearing face coverings is an effective measure in preventing the transmission of Covid-19.

    BVA president Daniella Dos Santos issued new advice (see box) during a webinar to the profession on 17 May.

    She said: ‘The wearing of a face mask is optional, but veterinary practices may want to consider asking staff to wear cloth face coverings within the practice – this will serve as a reminder that we are not working as normal and role model good behaviour, including to clients.

    ‘If clients are entering the practice, they should be asked to wear cloth face coverings too. This should be discussed during triage or in the appointment booking process so clients know what to expect.’

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    Ensuring safe working for the vet team

    By Georgina Mills

    AS the Covid-19 lockdown begins to relax, what does this mean for the veterinary profession?

    On 11 May, the UK government produced information on how to keep businesses safe as lockdown is eased, and the BVA has now published updated guidance on how to transition from providing essential veterinary care only to providing a more normal range of veterinary services while working safely.

    In addition to advice on face coverings (see p 548), BVA president Daniella Dos Santos summarised the main points in her Covid-19 webinar on 17 May, see below:

    Risk assessments

    A 2 metre social distance should be maintained, where possible. This includes while arriving and leaving work, while in work and travelling between various sites.

    Where social distancing cannot be followed, practices should carry out a risk assessment to decide if the activity needs to take place, taking into account all the mitigating...

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    Emerging ideas on changes to 'under our care

    By Matthew Limb

    Vets are being invited to consider a new notion of what ‘under our care’ means for the profession which could be an enabler for safe delivery of remote services and technologies.

    Current professional regulations are widely seen as failing to keep pace with changes such as the use of telemedicine and remote consultations that have accelerated under the Covid-19 crisis.

    Experts on a BVA working group are now warming to the UK incorporating a more flexible foundational concept that recognises the different ways vets operate and is ‘fit for purpose’ in the longer term.

    The approach goes beyond stipulations around vets’ prescribing to stress wider responsibilities under a vet-client-patient relationship (VCPR) – a model promoted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (see box).

    What would the new model demand from vets?

    To establish a vet-client-patient relationship, the vet must:

    1. Assume responsibility for...

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    Protecting vaccinated badgers from culling

    ‘No-cull’ zones could be established around badger vaccination sites in England under plans drawn up by Defra.

    Setting out its proposals in a consultation document on 15 May, Defra explained that current guidance on licensed badger control does not describe in detail how badger vaccination and culling should be deployed in a complementary manner, particularly when they take place on adjacent land.

    To reduce the risk of vaccinated badgers being killed if they subsequently enter a cull zone, Defra is proposing that no-cull zones are used to protect active vaccination sites in the edge area of England. However, it says that not all vaccination sites will warrant no-cull zones and sets out minimum criteria that must be met before a no-cull zone will be considered for a vaccination site (see box).

    No-cull zone criteria

    Defra’s proposed minimum criteria for a no-cull zone indicate:

  • Only vaccination...

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