Journal news

Webinar to explore how diet might offer a solution to pruritus in pets

Royal Canin is hosting a webinar on 23 July, which will explore pruritus, its causes and how to manage it.

Parasites, infections or allergic skin disease are all potential causes of pruritis, and require careful identification to ensure successful treatment.

The webinar ‘Pruritus – why blaming the food isn’t a solution, but changing it might be!’, will be led by veterinary dermatologist Sarah Warren (pictured). She said: ‘Many diseases that are primarily non-pruritic often become pruritic when the animal develops secondary bacterial or yeast infection. These cases require a thorough dermatological history and physical examination and successful treatment very often depends on identification of the underlying cause.

‘Providing the right nutrition should also be implemented to ensure optimal levels of nutrients required for skin repair, barrier function and health. I will be including a complete pruritus work up, discussing how diet can be part of the management of this...

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Combined coccidiosis and iron injection for piglets

Bayer has launched the first patented toltrazuril and gleptoferron combination for injection for piglets in the UK.

Baycox Iron, which contains 36 mg/ml toltrazuril plus 182 mg/ml gleptoferron, will help prevent coccidiosis and iron deficiency, two of the main conditions affecting piglets and a major concern for pig producers.

Administered in one intramuscular injection, it offers an added benefit to the farmer of reducing handling time and stress, the company says. Baycox Iron comes in 100 ml bottles and is available for farmers to purchase through their vet.

Bayer Animal Health, 400 South Oak Way, Green Park, Reading, Berkshire RG2 6AD, telephone 0118 206 3000

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Chlamydia abortus the most common finding in ovine abortions in early 2019

SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, March 2019

  • Chlamydia abortus diagnosed in 47 per cent of ovine abortions in the first quarter of 2019

  • Q fever (Coxiella burnetii) abortion in a beef herd

  • Mulberry heart disease causing multiple deaths in growing pigs

  • Avian tuberculosis in a tawny owl (Strix aluco)

  • The mean temperature for March in Scotland was 1.1°C above the long-term average. It was a wet month, particularly in the Borders, with 131 per cent of average rainfall overall. Sunshine was 106 per cent of average and it was a very sunny month in Aberdeenshire, but duller in parts of the west and south west.

    CattleToxic conditions

    Dumfries diagnosed chronic copper toxicity in a four-year-old Jersey cow with a 24-hour history of recumbency and pallor before death.

    The carcase appeared jaundiced and a large amount of blood was found in the abomasum. This...

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    Histophilus somni infection in cattle

    Histophilus somni (formerly Haemophilus somnus), a member of the Pasteurellaceae, is a common commensal organism in the upper respiratory tract of cattle.

    In Great Britain (GB), H somni is most commonly associated with the bovine respiratory disease complex, often along with other bacterial pathogens. The other main clinical presentations in cattle are the consequences of septicaemic localisation of H somni. These are well recognised in North America, particularly in feedlot cattle, but in GB this form of the infection is seen less frequently than respiratory manifestation.

    Although the numbers remain small, SRUC VS has seen a rise in the number of diagnoses of septicaemia in beef cattle aged between six and 20 months compared to previous years (Table 1).

    The clinical presentations of H somni septicaemia mainly relate to localisation in the brain, causing thrombotic meningoencephalitis, and the heart. The characteristic findings in the latter are...

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    Can we improve the diagnosis of early stages of acute kidney injury in hospitalised dogs?

    The concept of acute renal failure (ARF) has undergone significant re-examination in recent years. Practitioners traditionally used the term to refer to patients presenting with clinical manifestations of uremic syndrome and severe acute azotaemia, and it was often considered to be synonymous with acute kidney disease (AKD). However, it is now accepted that AKD is more than just ARF.

    AKD represents a spectrum of diseases associated with a sudden onset of renal parenchymal injury, which are clinically imperceptible at the earliest stages and often end in severe ARF requiring renal replacement therapy. As such, animals diagnosed with ARF represent only the subset of AKD patients with the highest morbidity and mortality.1, 2

    In an attempt to better reflect the broad spectrum of AKD, the term ‘acute kidney injury’ (AKI) was coined, first in human medicine and then in veterinary medicine. In order to define and...

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    Evaluation of urinary {gamma}-glutamyl transferase and serum creatinine in non-azotaemic hospitalised dogs

    Urinary and blood biomarkers for diagnosis of acute kidney injury (AKI) in hospitalised dogs were evalueted. This prospective study included 97 dogs, classified according to the International Renal Interest Society classification into no AKI and AKI grade 1 (48-hour increase in serum creatinine≥0.3 mg/dl and/or urinary production <1 ml/kg/hour for at least six hours). A total of 62 of 97 dogs (64 per cent) were classified as AKI 1. A statistically significant difference was found between no AKI and AKI 1 in urine protein to creatinine ratio, urinary -glutamyl transferase (uGGT) and uGGT/cu (P<0.0001). Thirteen of 97 dogs (13.4 per cent) that developed increased creatinine and change in AKI grade showed high mortality (n=9/13; 69.2 per cent). The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis of uGGT/cu index as a marker for AKI grade 1 had an area under the ROC curve of 0.78; optimal cut-off point was 57.50 u/g, with sensitivity and specificity of 75.4 per cent and 75.6 per cent, respectively. Overall intensive care unit mortality was 23.7 per cent (23/97), 13.4 per cent (13/97) of which died during hospitalisation and 10.3 per cent (10/97) within 28 days after discharge. uGGT is an acceptable marker for distinguishing between AKI 1 and no AKI.

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    Are Trichostrongylus tenuis control and resistance avoidance simultaneously manageable by reducing anthelmintic intake by grouse?

    Benzimidazole-based anthelmintics bound to grit (medicated grit) are annually prescribed on request by veterinary practices to grouse managers to control Trichostrongylus tenuis an intestinal parasite of red grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica. Those prescribing medication typically do without knowledge of parasite loads and hence often prescribe when loads are low and unlikely to impact the host. Inappropriate use of anthelmintics in livestock has led to development of parasite resistance to anthelmintics. To encourage grouse managers to reduce anthelmintic use, the authors experimentally withdrew medication from parts of eight moors. The authors monitored parasite and grouse responses by counting eggs and adult worms and grouse mortality and breeding success. Rapid increases in parasite egg counts in early spring culminated in resuming medication at three wet, blanket-peat sites; one in the first spring and two in the second. Medication was restored, despite low parasite counts, at a fourth moor. On the remaining four moors, drier heaths in the east, parasite levels remained low, were not associated with grouse mortality, but breeding success was 16 per cent lower in years without medication. Better parasite monitoring by grouse managers and vets alike may reduce anthelmintic use, helping prevent drug resistance, but this may be off-set by reduced grouse productivity.

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    At the start of my career, my essential equipment included a map and some coins

    After 38 years in practice, Chris Parker is on the verge of retiring. Here, he reflects on his career, the advances in veterinary medicine and how working with students has benefited him as a practitioner.

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    Celebrating the contribution of young vets

    The BVA and Zoetis have launched a new award that celebrates the contribution of young vets. The award, which aims to highlight the ‘outstanding, everyday difference’ that young vets make to the veterinary profession, is open to all vets in the first eight years after graduation who are on the RCVS register.

    Three shortlisted finalists will be invited to attend the BVA Gala Dinner in London on 14 November and will also receive a free ticket to this year’s London Vet Show. In addition to being named ‘BVA Young Vet of the Year 2019’, the winner will receive £1000 prize money and a mentoring opportunity with Zoetis.

    The closing date for entries is 1 August. Further information and application forms can be found at

    Cynthia Courtney, a US veterinarian, wellness campaigner, entrepreneur and educator, is to receive the 2019 World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Next Generation...

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    Circus ban opens up can of worms

    In what ways are we morally entitled to make use of other animals for our own anthropocentric purposes? How, morally, can we justify the ways in which we use them?

    These questions are the philosophical starting point for grievances that some animal rights groups have with people involved in almost any kind of relationship with animals, from farmers through to pet keepers and vets.

    At the extreme end, their philosophy holds that no person should ever use any animal – full stop. For example, campaign group Peta believes that animals should never be experimented on, eaten, worn (including wool), used for entertainment or ‘abused’ in any other way.

    ‘Abuse’ includes pet keeping, since our ‘selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering.’ Peta believes that, in an ideal world, domesticated dogs would not exist. Is that a world you would want to live in?

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    Wild animals in circuses ban 'contentious

    By Josh Loeb

    Defra has confirmed that it will draw up clear guidance to help define the word ‘circus’ after peers warned of ‘unintended consequences’ arising from a nascent ban on using wild animals in circuses.

    Lord Gardiner, an under secretary of state at Defra, said the guidance would be published by 20 November this year – two months before the proposed ban on wild animals performing in travelling circuses comes into effect in England.

    The government is introducing the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, which last month passed its second reading in the House of Lords, on ethical grounds rather than because of any evidence of existing welfare harms that such a ban would remedy.

    Critics fear this could set a precedent, opening the door to future bans on other types of activities involving animals such as falconry displays or zoos.

    Labour peer Baroness Mallalieu called the proposed...

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    'Birds of prey should not be tethered

    By Josh Loeb

    An undercover investigation by an anti-captivity charity has found evidence of owls being tethered in birds of prey attractions – in contravention of Defra’s guidance for zoos, which specifically states that owls should not be tethered.

    Charity Freedom for Animals also found other birds of prey, such as eagles and falcons – which are allowed to be restrained in this way under Defra’s guidance – being tethered at premises where they are held captive for display.

    Freedom for Animals said its investigator had discovered birds tethered to perches in three quarters of 25 randomly sampled static attractions based predominantly around displaying predatory birds. Sometimes birds were tethered for long periods of time and in hot weather and, in some premises, birds were tied down ‘day and night’.

    It is unacceptable on welfare grounds to deny such birds the opportunity for flight

    Vet and welfare campaigner...

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    Dog shampoos could cause reactions in people

    By Josh Loeb

    A lack of regulation around animal care products is exposing pets and their owners to potential allergens which would be banned in the equivalent products for people.

    The British Association of Dermatologists is concerned that a legal loophole means products such as canine shampoos and deodorants continue to have the potential to cause new allergies or to trigger pre-existing ones.

    At the association’s annual meeting this week, research was cited that surveyed 62 cosmetic products intended for use on dogs.

    In all, 27 of these products were classified as ‘leave-on’, meaning that they are not washed off after use, and 35 were classified as ‘rinse-off’.

    A total of 26 per cent of the leave-on products contained the preservatives methylisothiazolinone and/or methylchloroisothiazolinone.

    EU regulations ban these ingredients from use in leave-on products as they are well-known allergens, but this ban does not extend to cosmetics aimed at...

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    Last rinderpest samples destroyed at Pirbright

    Scientists at the Pirbright Institute have destroyed their final archive stocks of rinderpest virus.

    The samples were destroyed as part of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ‘sequence and destroy’ project, which aims to eliminate virus samples, reducing the risk of rinderpest re-emerging through accidental or deliberate release.

    Rinderpest virus caused the most lethal cattle disease ever known

    Rinderpest virus caused the most lethal cattle disease ever known, but, after a huge global campaign, it officially became the second disease to be eradicated, after smallpox in 2011. However, at that time, more than 40 laboratories across 36 countries still held samples of rinderpest. Therefore, the FAO and OIE designated some high-containment laboratories, including Pirbright, as Rinderpest Holding Facilities to hold virus stocks, and encouraged other labs to send their rinderpest samples to these designated holding facilities.


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    Johnson should not be PM, says Tory vet

    By Josh Loeb

    A high profile vet who serves as a deputy regional chairman for the Conservative Party has launched a caustic attack on Boris Johnson, saying he would be a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ as prime minister.

    Jason Aldiss, managing director of official veterinarian contractor Eville & Jones and Conservative deputy regional chairman in Yorkshire and Humber, said that in his party’s leadership election his vote would go to Johnson’s rival, Jeremy Hunt.

    Aldiss, an active member of the party who was awarded the British Empire Medal for political service in the 2017 New Year’s Honours, said: ‘Boris Johnson is not fit to be leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and should not be allowed anywhere near 10 Downing Street.

    He would be a disaster waiting to happen

    ‘Should he win, he would be a disaster waiting to happen. Given the omnipresent state of political instability...

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    Securing veterinary medicines in a no-deal Brexit

    The government has announced plans to secure freight capacity to bring veterinary medicines and other ‘critical’ goods into the UK from continental Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit this October.

    In a written statement to parliament, Theresa May’s de facto deputy David Lidington said capacity would only be paid for ‘as and when it is needed and used’.

    He said further information would be sent to industry stakeholders to explain more about the new preparations, which are expected to rely heavily on the Calais-Dover crossing but will cover the whole of the UK.

    Veterinary medicines have been classed as critical ‘category 1’ goods, alongside human medicines and medical products.

    Lidington stated: ‘The Department for Transport is putting in place a freight capacity framework agreement that will provide government departments with the ability to secure freight capacity for our critical supply chains as and when required.

    ‘This framework...

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    Should Europe take action to control exotic pet ownership?

    Is it time to identify which mammals make suitable pets? Josh Loeb and Alexia Yiannouli report

    Categories: Journal news

    In brief

    RCVS fellowship structure changes

    The RCVS has announced it is to make significant changes to the structure of its fellowship scheme.

    The title fellow of the RCVS (FRCVS) has been in existence for almost 150 years and is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession – specifically to knowledge, clinical practice or the profession.

    The fellowship board will now be expanded

    The fellowship board will now be expanded from seven members to 10 in order to allow it to better meet its three-year plan.

    The three-year plan includes objectives for promoting scientific excellence, furthering professional skills and practice, invigorating creativity, and promoting public awareness of veterinary science.

    It was also decided the chair and vice-chair positions should be filled by election within the fellowship, and that two new fellow members would be elected who are responsible for delivering projects and engagement.

    This year, elections will be...

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    Disease surveillance in England and Wales, June 2019

    APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Pestivirus infections in cattle

  • Copper toxicity in lambs

  • Combinations of pathogens in postweaned pigs with diarrhoea and wasting

  • Focal duodenal necrosis in layer chickens

  • Oral canker (trichomonosis) in a backyard chicken

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattleManifestations of pestivirus infections

    Mucosal disease was diagnosed at the APHA Shrewsbury Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC) on postmortem examination of a 20-month-old Holstein-Friesian heifer which was submitted from a 200-cow dairy herd. It was the second animal to die in a group of 60 pregnant heifers.

    A large ulcer was present in the greater curvature of the abomasum (Fig 1). Dark brown fluid contents filled the abomasum and the intestines. Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) type 1 was identified by PCR and immunohistochemistry on the brain confirmed labelling of BVDV which was characteristic of a persistently infected animal.

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