Journal news

New pot of funding available for badger vaccination

The Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme has reopened for applications from groups wishing to carry out badger vaccination in the edge area of England, as part of the government’s strategy to eradicate the disease.

The aim of the scheme is to create a buffer zone of disease-resistant badgers between the high-risk and low-risk areas in England to prevent further spread of the disease. Government grants will be awarded to cover at least 50 per cent of the costs over a period of four years. The government has set aside £300,000 of funding for the scheme this year.

England is split into three management areas for bovine TB – high risk, low risk and the ‘edge’ – which reflect the amount of infection found in each area.

Vaccinating badgers plays an important role in preventing the spread of the disease

Farming minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘Vaccinating badgers has the potential...

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Raising eyebrows over the evolution of puppy dog eyes

Alexia Yiannouli discusses new research into the eye muscles of dogs and wolves

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In brief

Product recall alert

Jurox UK has issued a recall for selected batches of 10 mg/ml Alfaxan and Alfaxan Multidose 10 mg/ml Solution for injection.

This recall is necessary because particulates have been found in identified batches of product during routine stability testing.

The affected batches are:

  • Alfaxan Multidose 10 mg/ml Solution for injection for dogs, cats and pet rabbits, batch number 55523, expiry date 16 April 2021.

  • Alfaxan 10 mg/ml Solution for injection for dogs, cats and pet rabbits, batch number 48317, expiry date 22 January 2023.

  • Alfaxan 10 mg/ml Solution for injection for dogs, cats and pet rabbits, batch number 62816, expiry date 16 July 2023.

  • Vets are asked to examine their stock immediately and quarantine products subject to this recall. This issue only applies to the batches listed above – all other batches and the 20 ml pack size are unaffected.

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    Medicines update

    The points below highlight changes in marketing authorisations (MAs) that may have a significant impact on veterinary surgeons’ prescribing decisions.

    New marketing authorisations

    New marketing authorisations relevant to veterinary surgeons in the UK that were issued or published in May 2019 are listed in Table 1.

    Of those products listed, the VMD draws attention to:

    • Laxatract 667 mg/ml syrup for dogs and cats is the first veterinary-authorised product containing the active substance lactulose. The product is indicated for use in dogs and cats as follows: ‘For the treatment of constipation (eg, due to intestinal atony after surgery, hairballs, massive intestinal contents). For the symptomatic treatment of disease conditions which require facilitated defecation (eg, partial obstructions due to for example tumours and fractures, rectal diverticulum, proctitis and poisoning).’

    Table 1 also indicates where a public assessment report should become available for a product. Where available, links to...

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    Equine viral arteritis: not just a reproductive disease

    Following the recent confirmation of cases of equine viral arteritis in stallions in south-west England, James Crabtree of Equine Reproductive Services (UK) discusses the disease and its potential routes of spread into and around the UK.

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    Balancing conflicting demands: factors influencing vets choice of antimicrobial agent

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat to both human and animal health.1,2 Antimicrobial stewardship – also referred to as prudent or responsible antimicrobial use – by veterinary surgeons is a central strategy to prevent the development of AMR.3 In order to define responsible use, it is useful to identify the different stakeholder groups involved and their primary responsibilities in relation to antimicrobial use.

    The phrase ‘as little as possible, as much as necessary’ is frequently used to summarise the conflict between public and private interests that lies at the heart of efforts to combat AMR, and can refer to the choice of antimicrobial agent as well as the quantity used. The primary responsibility at a population level is to protect human and animal health by restricting the use of antimicrobial agents, and selecting lower priority drugs where possible, in order to minimise...

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    Factors influencing Danish veterinarians choice of antimicrobials prescribed for intestinal diseases in weaner pigs


    Antimicrobial resistance is a worldwide human and animal health problem, and there is an urgent need to promote prudent use of antimicrobials among veterinarians. In order to do so, it is important to understand the factors that determine their use of antimicrobials. This questionnaire-based study aimed to determine which factors that influence the Danish veterinarians’ choice of antimicrobials prescribed for intestinal diseases in weaner pigs.


    The survey was completed by 83.3 per cent (n=105) of all veterinarians accountable for a Veterinary Advisory Contract in Danish weaner pig herds (n=126). The participants scored to which extent 29 different factors influenced their antimicrobial choice on a five-point Likert scale (1-5).


    The veterinarian’s own experiences of clinical efficacy in the herd exerted the greatest influence (94.4 per cent scored ≥4). The Danish authorities have directed a threshold of the antimicrobial use and made some antimicrobials less favourable to use in pig production through The Yellow Card Initiative, and this influenced the choice of antimicrobials significantly (78.1 per cent scored ≥4). Microbiological laboratory diagnostics influenced the choice of antimicrobial for most veterinarians (78.1 per cent scored 4 or 5), and therefore the Danish statutory requirement of laboratory diagnostics before flock treatment was considered reasonable.


    The study concluded that many factors influenced the veterinarians choice of antimicrobials, and that statutory requirments can be used to support prudent use of antimicrobials.

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    Evaluation of tear production using the Schirmer tear test I in healthy cats; effect of age, life stage, sex, breed and neuter status


    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the values of Schirmer tear test (STT) and determine effects of age, life stage, sex, breed and neuter status on tear production in healthy cats.


    Three hundred and forty-three domestic shorthair (DSH) and Persian cats, 50 days through 18 years old, were examined in this study. STT I was used to measure tear production in both eyes of each cat.


    A mean STT 14.9±4.8 mm/min was calculated for the eyes of all cats. There was a significant difference between STT values in kittens (≤6 months old) and cats of other age groups (P<0.001). A substantial number of cats with clinically normal eyes had STT values less than 10 mm/min. No significant difference was found between males (14.7±5.0 mm/min) and females (15.1±4.5 mm/min) in STT values (P=0.46). Significant differences were found between entire (14.4±4.2 mm/min) and neutered (16.2±4.1 mm/min) cats (P=0.001), and between STT values of DSH (14.6±5.0 mm/min) and Persian (16.5±3.1 mm/min) cats in the study population (P=0.001).


    This study documents the average STT values for a sizeable feline population demonstrating that, in contradistinction to the situation in dogs, a number of cats with clinically normal eyes have STT values below 10 mm/min.

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    My route to specialisation

    Francesco Cian is a specialist veterinary clinical pathologist. Here, he describes his career path in order to help other vets better understand how they can become a specialist.

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    CPD by the sea in Wales

    Vets Cymru – a two-day CPD event for vets and nurses working in small and large animal practice – takes place in Aberystwyth on 28 and 29 June, organised by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and the Wales Veterinary Science Centre. Four streams of clinically led CPD, will be supported by a commercial exhibition and a social calendar that includes a traditional Welsh Twmpath, a dance night on the seafront. Vet David Church will give a lecture on small animal endocrinology and Sue Paterson will lecture on dermatology. Fyrnwy Equine Group will provide a half day of equine lectures in the large animal stream. Burtons Veterinary Equipment is sponsoring a practical endoscopy event and the BVA will lead discussions on antibiotic resistance and medicines control. The chief veterinary officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, will give a welcome address at a drinks reception on the Friday evening. More...

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    The Royal Veterinary College awarded an honorary fellowship to Michael Lairmore, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of California, Davis, in recognition of his outstanding leadership in veterinary medicine and One Health. Under Lairmore, UC Davis has grown as a leader in developing new veterinary medical practices and fostered new discoveries in veterinary and human health. It has also made major advances in student diversity, and has significantly expanded the number of women in leadership positions.

    MSD Animal Health has announced that Amie Wilson of Ashbrook Equine Hospital, Cheshire, has been awarded its 2018 veterinary surgeon research bursary in the companion animal sector. Her research proposal is on current equine vaccination practices and protocols used by vets in the UK. Applications for the 2019 vet surgeon bursaries will open in August and details can be found at

    Hamilton Specialist Referrals has announced that David Sajik...

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    To ban or not to ban - that is the question

    When it comes to the effects of African swine fever (ASF), China gets much attention. That is understandable. China is home to around half the world’s pigs, and the situation in China is grave.

    However, what is sometimes forgotten, at least by those not directly involved in work concerning transboundary animal diseases, is that ASF is also present on the UK’s very own doorstep.

    Within the EU, the disease has been endemic on the island of Sardinia for several decades, and in recent years it has been spreading in mainland sections of the EU too, following outbreaks in the neighbouring Caucasus region in 2007.

    There have been recurrent outbreaks in eastern EU member states since 2014 – suggesting possible gaps in biosecurity at the bloc’s easternmost fringe. Furthermore, last year the virus appeared (worryingly) to have ‘jumped’ within the EU when it was detected in wild boar in Belgium...

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    Defra to issue ASF warnings at UK airports

    By Josh Loeb

    Defra is stepping up efforts to protect the UK from African swine fever (ASF).

    The department is poised to launch a major new poster campaign at airports, ports and train stations to warn international passengers about the risk of ASF being unintentionally introduced into the UK via pork products brought in from affected countries.

    The posters will aim to warn passengers arriving from all ASF-affected countries – including China, Russia, Romania and Poland – about the dangers.

    The move follows warnings from some senior UK vets that the government has not been sufficiently proactive in protecting the UK from ASF.

    National Pig Association (NPA) chief executive Zoe Davies said individuals at Defra had been put under pressure during meetings with the pig industry about their apparent lack of urgency.

    However, she welcomed what she described as a fresh ‘escalation’ of the issue up the government’s ‘risk...

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    What is the risk to the uk?

    An ASF outbreak in the UK could cost the UK economy £45 million.

    The figure – an estimate by Defra – is calculated as the cost of a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ based on an outbreak affecting 20–30 farms.

    In addition, recovery of the pig industry would be compromised because of the expected need to cull British rare breed pigs for disease control purposes, heavily compromising genetic pools.

    Richard Pearson, president of the Pig Veterinary Society, said incursion of the ASF virus would be ‘absolutely devastating’.

    ‘The ASF virus is hardy and is able to survive in an infective state in pork and pork products for a considerable time,’ he said. ‘Previous spread of ASF has been attributed to people carrying infected pork products, which are then eaten by pigs, possibly by careless disposal of food waste.’

    He added: ‘This is a particular risk with wild boar gaining access...

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    Is Europe doing enough to tackle ASF?

    By Josh Loeb

    Support is growing for introducing a UK-wide ban on all pig products originating from countries affected by ASF – including those in the EU.

    The National Pig Association (NPA) has said it supports UK pig farmers’ calls for an all-out ban.

    ‘As a trade association representing the British pig industry we would dearly love to keep pork products from affected countries out,’ the NPA told Vet Record, ‘but EU rules on trade mean legally we cannot stop it.’

    A core part of the bloc’s ‘regionalisation’ approach entails shutting down the pig meat trade from particular areas within affected EU countries, rather than stopping the trade from such countries wholesale.

    ‘Restricted’ areas within affected EU countries are categorised using several different tiers, ranging from the least serious (stage 1) to the most serious (stage 4), when the disease is considered ‘endemic’.

    Currently only Sardinia is at stage...

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    RCVS pushed to defend telemedicine decision

    By Georgina Mills

    The BVA has expressed disappointment at the RCVS making a decision about telemedicine and remote prescribing behind closed doors.

    In a press release issued this week, the RCVS said that council members had unanimously given the go-ahead for a ‘wide-ranging review’ of a number of key provisions of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct. This includes the interpretation of ‘under his care’, which would have to be changed if vets were allowed to prescribe remotely via telemedicine.

    The move follows previous council discussions about a potential trial to develop telemedicine in the veterinary sector, including remote prescribing. The RCVS said any trial of this kind would be postponed ‘for the foreseeable future and certainly until the conclusion of this review’.

    Despite stating that the review would require wide engagement from all relevant sectors, the decision was made in a closed session at a...

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    RCVS to charge vets for not doing CPD

    By Josh Loeb

    Vets who refuse to respond to repeated RCVS enquiries about their continuing professional development (CPD) could in future be billed for the cost of the time and effort spent chasing them.

    Serially non-compliant vets and registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) look set to be charged a new administration fee after 32 council members voted 31 in favour (with one abstention) to accept the plan in principle.

    The level of fee and other details are yet to be determined, but RCVS council member Sue Paterson described the move as constituting a ‘stick’ rather than a ‘carrot’ approach to the problem.

    ‘I don’t want to stereotype, but there’s a group of veterinary surgeons who feel that they don’t need to do CPD because they’ve been qualified for a certain length of time and they know everything there is to know,’ said Paterson, the incoming chair of the RCVS education...

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    Action to halt a swift decline

    Efforts to boost the numbers of swifts in the UK are increasingly needed as the birds face growing challenges from nature and people. Kathryn Clark explains

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    Flexible payments for pet owners

    Pet owners are being offered a new method of flexible payment that promises they will be able ‘to make the best treatment options for their pets’.

    Swedish payment company Klarna has joined forces with healthcare payment specialist Finance 4 Group to revolutionise payments in the veterinary, optical and dental industries.

    The new partnership means practices that are signed up to Finance 4 Group will now have access to Klarna’s ‘Slice it’ credit account solution.

    ‘Slice it’ allows pet owners to slice their bills into monthly instalments, to make treatments more accessible and affordable. The new partnership will help consumers who need to pay for significant work, where cost could be a barrier to making the best decisions for their pet, the companies say.

    The collaboration is the first step in a wider partnership, which will be looking to add innovative payment options in the future – recognising the demand...

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