Journal news

Does the addition of cannabidiol to conventional antiepileptic drug treatment reduce seizure frequency in dogs with epilepsy?

Bottom line

  • The current evidence on whether cannabidiol combined with conventional antiepileptic drugs can reduce seizure frequency in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is inconclusive. Larger studies using more sensitive measures of seizure frequency will be needed to fully answer this question.

  • Clinical scenario

    Bonzo is a five-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier that has been treated for idiopathic epilepsy with phenobarbitone and potassium bromide (KBr) – you had previously tried levetiracetam, but the combination of phenobarbital and KBr was more efficacious in Bonzo’s case. However, he is still having more than two seizures a month, despite achieving therapeutic levels of the drugs in his blood. You and the owner are keen to improve this if possible.

    There has recently been much news coverage regarding the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat epilepsy in people. So, you wonder if introducing CBD alongside the current treatment regimen would reduce the...

    Categories: Journal news

    Does the addition of cannabidiol alongside current drug treatments reduce pain in dogs with osteoarthritis?

    Bottom line

  • The current evidence suggests that adding a specific CBD oil alongside NSAID treatment may reduce owner-assessed pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. However, no changes were detected in vet-assessed pain. Better quality evidence is required to definitively answer this question.

  • Clinical scenario

    Alfie, an elderly golden retriever, developed osteoarthritis (OA) several years ago, and this is being managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). You have tried additional gabapentin and tramadol, but neither has had much impact on his pain-related behaviour. Alfie’s owner is keen to explore additional supplements or treatments that can be added in alongside the NSAIDs. She has read online about other owners using cannabidiol (CBD) oil and asks whether you think the addition of CBD to Alfie’s current medication would reduce his pain.

    The question

    In [dogs with osteoarthritis] does [cannabidiol in combination with current treatment compared with placebo plus current...

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    Detection of lameness in sheep using machine learning

    J. Kaler, J. Mitsch, J. A. Vázquez-Diosdado and others

    Royal Society Open Science (2020) 7

    doi: 10.1098/rsos.190824

    • What did the research find?

    Features extracted from the ear-based accelerometer and gyroscope signals were able to differentiate between lame and non-lame sheep while they were walking, standing and lying. Of all the algorithms evaluated, the random forest algorithm performed best for classifying lameness, with an accuracy of 84.9 per cent while lying, 81.2 per cent while standing and 76.8 per cent while walking. Its overall accuracy for classifying lameness was 80 per cent.

    • How was it conducted?

    Ear sensors with a sampling frequency of 16 Hz were attached to the existing ear tags of 18 sheep. The sheep were recorded for four to eight days, and lameness was scored visually by a trained observer. A set of feature characteristics was extracted...

    Categories: Journal news

    How related is SARS-CoV-2 to other coronaviruses?

    COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.1 By 6 April 2020, the pandemic had been reported in 209 countries causing 62,955 deaths, with over one million confirmed cases.

    The aetiological agent, SARS-CoV-2, belongs to the Betacoronavirus (β-CoV) genus in the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae within the family Coronaviridae, which also contains the other two highly pathogenic pathogens to people, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

    SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV are considered to have spilled over from bats, while masked palm civets and dromedary camels have been confirmed as the intermediate hosts, respectively. Resolving the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent need for helping in the control of the current outbreak.

    Several studies have reported that bats, snakes, mink and pangolins may serve as the potential viral reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2.2-4 Latest research suggests that ferrets and cats can also be efficiently infected by SARS-CoV-2.

    Categories: Journal news

    Ongoing TB testing during Covid-19 restrictions

    I thank Andrew Soldan, APHA veterinary director, for his reply to my previous letter, and agree entirely that the conditions, advice and practical approaches to minimise risk are continually evolving (VR, 18/25 April 2020, pp 456-457).

    However, it puzzles me that the reply from the APHA is, on the one hand, correctly in my opinion, advising official veterinarians (OVs) that TB testing should only continue if, in the OV’s judgement, it can be done safely in accordance with current Covid-19 public health guidance, which includes 2 m social distancing. Then, at the same time, it is suggesting that this can be replaced by working side-by-side, or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face if possible, and keeping face-to-face contact to 15 minutes or less wherever possible. This, in my opinion, is totally unacceptable for work that carries no health and welfare benefits for the animals being tested.


    Categories: Journal news

    Is advice too much, too soon?

    The BVA guidance of 9 April 2020 on operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite a toning down on the 13 April, is still too much, too soon.

    The profession could be seen, with some justification, as being more interested in self-preservation and profit than personnel/community good. At the time of writing (mid-April), the UK Covid-19 infection rate had not yet peaked and another three weeks of lockdown had just been announced.

    No animal welfare crisis has built up after just a few weeks of lockdown. Of course there will be, in the weeks and months ahead, if working practices aren’t changed, but we really are not at that point yet.

    I accept that the BVA is trying to strike a balance and take on board all views, but a balance/compromise between moderate and extreme is always going to be moderately extreme and never extremely moderate.

    According to the BVA...

    Categories: Journal news

    Daniella Dos Santos, president of the BVA, responds

    The BVA does try to strike a balance, listen to feedback from the profession, and act on it where appropriate. As Michael Smalley says, there is potential for animal health and welfare problems to build up over the coming weeks and months and the BVA was keen to give practices the opportunity to prepare for the UK being under some form of restrictions for a longer period.

    Initial complaints that we had gone too far in the restrictions came from practices of all sizes and business structures. And, while we acknowledged their concerns, we took a view that restricting work to the urgent and emergency only in the first three weeks was entirely appropriate, even though we knew it would be very difficult.

    The guidance gives vets more opportunity to provide services that they consider to be essential for animal health and welfare ... but it does not mean...

    Categories: Journal news

    UK report of tapeworm Mesocestoides litteratus

    Tapeworms in the genus Mesocestoides infect wild carnivores and domestic dogs in many European countries but, as far as we are aware, the only record of these parasites in the UK is from a study on helminths of wild cats in Scotland almost 40 years ago.1

    We wish to report a case of recurrent infection with Mesocestoides litteratus, a species widespread in Mediterranean regions, in a gundog in Gloucestershire.

    The dog – a one-year-old untravelled female springer spaniel – was seen in early September 2018 at Stow Veterinary Surgeons. It had numerous tapeworm segments in the faeces, along with weight loss and compensatory feeding amounting to twice its normal food intake. As a working dog it picked up pheasant, duck, partridge, woodcock and pigeon and regularly scavenged gamebird carcases; feathers and small bones were noted in the faeces, which, on microscopic examination, contained eggs of Heterakis, oocysts...

    Categories: Journal news

    Send us your old clinical records

    If any vet practices are carrying out a spring clean and are thinking of disposing of any outdated clinical records, please contact the archives team at RCVS Knowledge.

    They are collecting clinical records and documentation relating to key historical figures from across the country, as part of their work to preserve the history of veterinary practice. For further details, please email

    Categories: Journal news

    Encouraging best practice during lambing

    In reply to Nick Hart (VR, 18/25 April 2020, vol 186, pp 458-459), Countryfile covers a range of rural issues and, as a factual and observational series, it aims to show the reality of life and work in the countryside. Approaches to almost every aspect of farming vary widely across the industry and may not necessarily be ideal. We don’t suggest that these observational features will always demonstrate essential best practice but they do reflect the reality of the farms we film on.

    Categories: Journal news

    Death notices

    Davies On 12 April 2020, Thomas Hicks Roberts Davies, BVSc, MRCVS, of Hinchley Wood, Surrey. Major Davies qualified from Bristol in 1959.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.m1691

    Eaton On 21 July 2019, Michael Robert Eaton, BVSc, MRCVS, of Crawley, West Sussex. Captain Eaton qualified from Bristol in 1958.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.m1692

    Lee On 18 April 2020, Robin Lee, BVSc, PhD, DVR, DipECVDI, MRCVS, of Dingwall, Ross-shire. Professor Lee qualified from Liverpool in 1964.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.m1693

    Ormiston On 13 April 2020, Helen Elizabeth Ormiston (nee Fleming), BVM&S, MRCVS, of Saskatoon, Canada. Mrs Ormiston qualified from Edinburgh in 1952.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.m1694

    Pinsent On 16 February 2020, Connie Pinsent, of Bristol and wife of the late Jim Pinsent (VR, 21 April 2007, vol 160, p 559).

    doi: 10.1136/vr.m1695

    Sheridan On 18 April 2020, John Phillip Sheridan, BVetMed, MRCVS, of Storrington, West Sussex. Mr Sheridan qualified from London in 1960.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.m1696

    Williams On 19 October 2019,...

    Categories: Journal news

    A glimpse into a post-Covid vet future

    So, here I am, living la vida lockdown – an endless Sunday afternoon – and suddenly my whole world has gone virtual.

    Coronavirus came, the university closed and, while a dedicated team of animal technicians made sure our animals were more than well cared for, I found myself ‘Zoomed’ adrift on a sea of laptop meetings with myriad computer-generated mosaics of my colleagues. And, to be fair, give or take the odd ‘Can you hear me now mother?’ moment, the meetings have worked very well. On one afternoon, we even managed a virtual leaving drinks party for a member of the team – a first for me!

    All this virus-induced social distancing has made the day-to-day work of veterinary practice particularly challenging. After all, we all rely on getting up close and personal with our patients while their owners hover nearby, with all the aerosol challenges that brings. We’re...

    Categories: Journal news

    The whys and wherefores of One Health

    Reviewed by Richard Kock, professor of wildlife health and emerging diseases.

    Categories: Journal news

    Arthur Ramsden Jennings

    A pathology lecturer, he taught generations of vet students as well as being an active collaborator in research. He died three months after his 100th birthday following a short illness.

    Categories: Journal news

    An update on our response to Covid-19

    BVA is working hard to keep the veterinary profession informed and supported during these challenging and unpredictable times.

    Categories: Journal news

    Vetlife Financial Support grant

    Members of the veterinary community may be finding it tough to make ends meet as the social restrictions imposed to help combat Covid-19 affect their ability to earn a living. Vetlife Honorary Secretary Elaine Garvican explains that Vetlife Financial Support can provide assistance to veterinary surgeons experiencing financial hardship.

    Categories: Journal news

    Thank you #TeamVet

    The past month has seen unprecedented changes to the way in which veterinary teams function and the range of services they are able to offer clients. The financial and emotional toll has been huge, too, but the efforts being made by vets and vet nurses to support each other, their clients and the health and welfare of the animals under their care have not gone unnoticed.

    Categories: Journal news

    London Vet Show Academy access

    We know it’s important that our members are able to access high-quality CPD during this challenging time, so we’ve teamed up with the London Vet Show to make all of our content from last year’s event available online.

    Categories: Journal news

    Council business continues virtually despite Covid-19 lockdown

    BVA Council met via online video conferencing to discuss BVA’s ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic and how veterinary work might need to change in the medium to long term as restrictions ease.

    Categories: Journal news

    Changes ahead?

    Council members were invited to consider how veterinary work might have to adapt in the medium term as part of a Covid-19 exit strategy.

    One area, suggested BVA President Daniella Dos Santos, was vaccination. The veterinary profession had ‘for years’ been stressing how important vaccination was for protecting animal health, yet during the Covid-19 lockdown, vaccination was deemed not immediately essential in many situations. There might be a future need for public-facing communication around this issue to ensure the importance of vaccination continued to be voiced by the profession.

    Nick Perkins (Goat Veterinary Society) commented that saying vaccination could be delayed for a short period in support of an overwhelming human health need did not equate to a message that regular vaccination was unnecessary. ‘We are in the midst of a viral pandemic without a vaccine yet, and therefore we can see the huge benefit vaccines can bring,’ he...

    Categories: Journal news
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