Journal news

Disease and ticks on horses

Ticks on horses may transmit several diseases of clinical significance in the UK including equine granulocytic anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum),1 louping ill virus infection2 and Lyme disease (Borrelia species).3 The geographical range of Dermacentor reticulatus (the ornate cow tick or marsh tick), a known vector of equine piroplasmosis (Babesia caballi and Theileria equi), seems to be expanding within the UK.4

Veterinary professionals ... may be the first to spot ticks feeding on horses

Veterinary professionals play a key role in diagnosing such cases and may also be the first to spot ticks feeding on horses. Ticks found can be sent to Public Health England’s tick surveillance scheme (TSS) for identification. Previously published results show that horses travelling to or living in the UK can host unusual tick species of medical and veterinary significance, such as Hyalomma marginatum5 and Hyalomma...

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Less and better meat consumption

In response to Josh Loeb’s article ‘"Less and better" is the key to sustainability’ (VR, 20 April 2019, vol 184, p 490). While I am a member of BVA council and the British Cattle Veterinary Association board, I write this as an individual.

I was involved in the editing of the BVA position on sustainable agriculture and believe the ‘less and better’ principle is one to which we should all aspire. By maintaining proportional spend on meat, but paying a higher price per unit where welfare and environmental stability is exceptional, consumers will encourage more sustainable farming without the pressure on farmers of reducing good animal welfare because of cost.

However, I do have a couple of concerns. First, the route to achieving this is not clear for either consumer or producer. The premium required to encourage this is only available through clever marketing and luxury retailers, which do...

Categories: Journal news

Pros and cons of eating meat and dairy products

Reduced consumption of red and processed meat and dairy products is being advocated (VR, 27 April 2019, vol 184, p 511).

As well as sustainability issues, there are benefits and risks associated with eating an animal-based diet.

Colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer, rectal cancer or bowel cancer) is the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the UK.1 About one in 20 people develop colorectal cancer, most after the age of 60 years.2

Thirteen per cent of cases of colorectal cancer in the UK are attributed to consumption of red and processed meat.3 Every 50 g portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18 per cent.4 The evidence against unprocessed red meat is not so strong, but World Health Organization (WHO) data suggest a 17 per cent increase...

Categories: Journal news

Keeping snakes

The British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) would like to clarify its position with regard to snake enclosure size and the Animal Activities Licensing (AAL) Regulations, in response to the ongoing debate in the letters pages of Vet Record (20 April 2019, vol 184, pp 505-506; 4 May 2019, vol 184, p 560).

BVZS was disappointed that a lower standard was adopted for minimum enclosure length (ie, less than 1 x the length of the snake) in the final version of AAL standards.

During the consultation process BVZS consistently advocated the 1 x standard as the minimum acceptable for snake enclosures, and does not believe that the creation of loopholes in the standards is beneficial for good enforcement. The standards as currently adopted were modified by Defra, following discussions with various parties that did not include BVZS, after the conclusion of the formal consultation and without further reference to BVZS....

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Herriots way inspired a generation

I wholeheartedly support the sentiments expressed by Maureen Aitken in her recent letter (VR, 4 May 2019, vol 184, p 559). Not only did Alf Wight inspire a generation of UK veterinary surgeons, but he had an impact worldwide.

This was brought to my attention in the mid-1990s when I was showing a group of about 50 veterinarians from the USA around the Hawkshead campus of the Royal Veterinary College. I remember standing outside a line of loose boxes when I was asked by two of the group if I had read any of the James Herriot books, to which I replied ‘Yes, all of them.’

When I reciprocated the question, virtually all members in the group replied in the affirmative. One of them said that James Herriot had done more to enhance the US public’s opinion of veterinarians in the USA than the American Veterinary Medical Association. They...

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Paracetamol toxicity in dogs

I have recently treated a dog for hepatic necrosis. This was caused by the ingestion of a chocolate and paracetamol mixture deliberately scattered in a field, presumably to kill foxes.

Anecdotally, it appears that the practice of applying such a mixture to agricultural land is not uncommon practice.

I write to raise awareness, so that paracetamol toxicity may be considered and preventive treatment implemented if a dog is presented with a history suggestive of this.

Categories: Journal news

Herriots way inspired a generation

I write in support of Maureen Aitken (VR, 4 May 2019, vol 184, p 559). I am unashamedly one of those veterinary surgeons for whom James Herriot was a major inspiration.

In his books Alf Wight espoused the sort of selfless, compassionate, dedicated professionalism of which many non-veterinary business people involved in running our practices would do well to educate themselves. Of course the James Herriot stories were not complete, they were stories after all and to suggest that those of us who read them in our youth naively believed that they told the full story does slightly insult our intelligence.

As a practice owner I know only too well the need to keep the business financially healthy. However, to make the pursuit of money our number one priority rather than being one among those of service, sacrifice, compassion, caring and principles makes it very difficult to reap the...

Categories: Journal news

'Blurred lines on registering practice premises

In response to your request for comments on the news article ‘"Blurred lines" over practice premises rules’ (VR, 4 May 2019, vol 184, p 541).

I treat non-surgical cases for four small charities, as well as my own animals. Until the autumn I was having medicines delivered to a local registered practice using my own account with the wholesalers so that the practice did not become involved with the money. However, they were told at a Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) inspection that they should not be doing this and I had to register my home with the VMD. I have recently had an inspection, which went well. However, the cost – £350 – is probably more than the profit I shall make in a year from the charities, as I do not charge for my time, so I am having to seriously think about continuing.

I can understand that...

Categories: Journal news

'Blurred lines on registering practice premises

I have had a similar problem in regard to medicines as reported in a news article (VR, 4 May 2019, vol 184, p 541).

I am a veterinary behaviourist and have just left general practice to solely do this. I contacted a wholesaler this week and was told I would have to be registered to obtain any products from them. Most of the products I want are pet supplies – muzzles, Adaptil (Ceva), and so on, although it would have been nice to obtain drugs for my own pets.

I have since found an online store and can buy most of the products much cheaper from them.

Categories: Journal news

Working together to promote the mental wellbeing of farmers

This month, Peter Hynes, a dairy farmer in Cork, discusses mental wellbeing in the farming sector

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Holding yourself in high esteem

Research has linked low self-esteem to issues including depression and anxiety. According to practising vet and trainer Charlotte Whincup, key to combatting it can be changing the way in which you speak to yourself – as Claire Read reports.

Categories: Journal news

Finding your power source

After a particularly difficult period at work, Charlotte Whincup found she was asking herself a very serious question: did she actually want to be a vet any more?

She approached a coach and a nuanced answer was revealed. Yes, she wanted to continue in clinical practice. But she did not want it to be the sole aspect of her working life.

‘I realised that when I have days when I’ve got loads of challenging medical cases, I’m exhausted. Actually it’s talking to people that gives me energy and inspires me.’

It means she now juggles life as a veterinary locum with time as a trainer, using support skills built through voluntary work and further study. ‘Having that balance just works a lot better for me.’

Which is not to say, she emphasises, that it is the correct recipe for every vet struggling with thoughts about whether to stay within...

Categories: Journal news

Evolve to thrive

‘The profession must evolve to thrive.’ That was the title of the editorial in a recent issue of Vet Record (6 April 2019, vol 184, p 423). It sends a clear message that the profession must evolve – fast.

Ten years ago I completed a doctorate, studying Vet Record, Equine Veterinary Journal, Equine Veterinary Education and the Journal of Small Animal Practice. One of the questions that I proposed to answer was: ‘Does the profession require a new peer-reviewed journal?’ My findings were definitely – no.

I’m sure, like me, all of your readers are bombarded by companies wanting feedback on their products and services. I would like to give Vet Record five stars. It has rapidly evolved over the past 10 years and scores highly on all aspects, particularly the content. It will in my opinion certainly thrive. My only sadness is that I will not read my...

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Death notice

Buck On 2 April 2019, Hugh Alan Buck, BVMS, MRCVS, of Keir, Dumfriesshire. Mr Buck qualified from Glasgow in 1967.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l1957

Categories: Journal news

Correction: Herriots way - not fit for modern practice

News and reports: Herriot’s way – not fit for modern practice (VR, 27 April 2019, vol 184, p 514). In one instance the name of the creator of James Herriot – Alf Wight – was incorrectly given. The error is regretted.

Categories: Journal news

Correction: Call for more regulation of wildlife traps

News and reports: Call for more regulation of wildlife traps (VR, 6 April 2019, vol 184, p 424). The evidence presented at the conference was from Sandra Baker from the University of Oxford – not the Humane Society as stated. The error is regretted.

Categories: Journal news

Assessing new grads - a good idea?

‘Success or failure sometimes arises neither from great skill nor from great incompetence but from ... fortuitous circumstances’.

This quote comes from Leonard Mlodinov’s book ‘The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives’. In the book, Mlodinov cited a case of the 16th century Italian student – Gerolamo Cardano. Unfortunately, upon graduation, Cardano’s medical registration body refused to admit him because, as a precocious undergraduate, he had written a paper titled ‘On the Differing Opinions of Physicians’, an article that questioned the fallibility of established doctors.

Criticising the elite of any club, while on the waiting list to enter it, is never conducive to gaining membership and Cardano was black-balled or ‘Cardanoed’.

No form of professional development phase (PDP) was available to Cardano, so he practised medicine on the fringes of legality. Fortuitously, circumstances conspired in his favour and he was ‘de-Cardanoed’ when a celebrity patient of his made...

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Hugh Alan Buck

A remarkable vet and adventurer, he spent much of his working life abroad. His interest in birds and mammals started early and developed into a lifelong obsession.

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Welfare at slaughter campaign picks up pace in Westminster

Mandy Ryan, BVA’s Head of Media and Public Affairs, reports on a parliamentary debate sparked by BVA’s non-stun slaughter campaign.

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'Fresh and modern - our new brand identity

Zoe Davies, BVA Head of Marketing, explains the thinking behind a recent refresh of BVA’s logo and visual identity.

Categories: Journal news
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