Journal news

Clinical effects of epidurally administered dexmedetomidine with or without lidocaine in sheep


The aims of this study were evaluate cardiopulmonary, sedative and antinociceptive effects of dexmedetomidine–lidocaine combination via lumbosacral epidural injection in sheep.


Six Santa Inês breed sheep, 16±6 months old and weighing 42.2 ± 5.7 kg were used. Sheep were subjected to epidural anaesthesia with three treatments: L, lidocaine (1.2 mg/kg), D, dexmedetomidine (2.5 μg/kg) or DL, dexmedetomidine plus lidocaine (2.5 μg/kg + 1.2 mg/kg). Drugs were injected via pre-placed lumbosacral epidural catheters. Cardiopulmonary, arterial blood gases, electrolytes, degree of sedation and antinociceptive aspects were measured before drug administration (T0) and then at 15, 30, 60 and 120 min after drug injection (T15–T120) in all treatments and at T0 to T240 in DL.


There were significantly increases in PaCO2 at times T60 and T120 in D, and at T30–T120 in DL, compared to baseline. The antinociceptive effects were observed up to 240 min in DL and 60 min in L, and were more intense in DL. Treatment D provided analgesia only in the perineal region, and only at T15.


The combination of DEX with lidocaine produced similar cardiopulmonary changes compared with either drug alone, but with greater and more prolonged antinociceptive effects.

Categories: Journal news

Selected highlights from other journals

Assessing pain in growing pigs using the Piglet Grimace Scale

C. Vullo, S. Barbieri, G. Catone and others

Animals (2020) 10

doi: 10.3390/ani10030412

• What did the research find?

Surgical castration of cryptorchid pigs was completed without complications, and no pigs required postoperative rescue analgesia. However, the mean piglet grimace scale (PGS) score for the pigs increased from 1.02 before surgery to 2.16 six hours after surgery (P=0.02). This increase in PGS score correlated with a significant reduction in the pigs’ activity levels. The interobserver reliability of the PGS was excellent, with an overall interclass correlation coefficient value of 0.87.

• How was it conducted?

Ten mixed-breed cryptorchid pigs with a mean age of 73 days were filmed the day before undergoing surgical castration and six hours after surgery to evaluate their behaviour. Still frames of the face of each pig were also extracted from the videos every time...

Categories: Journal news

Using judgement to balance risks

In response to Michael Smalley’s letter (VR, 2/9 May 2020, vol 186, p 497), I would like to support the BVA’s stance on its guidelines to the profession.

One must remember these are guidelines, not law, and must be interpreted by individual practices and practitioners using their professional judgement and common sense, taking into account their regional situation. Where there is little disease at present, as in the south west of England, it makes little sense to stop all business activity. We will be more challenged by this virus when lockdown is eased, and will in future have to exercise even more caution than at present.

As a director of an independent practice myself, I have been faced with some staff who will not come to work at all, and a septuagenarian I cannot keep away. One must respect the individual and their wishes in each case I feel.

Categories: Journal news

Protocol for assessing imported cats

There has, rightly, been much focus recently on the risk of introducing foreign pathogens into the UK from imported rescue dogs and on protocols to limit this risk. One such example is the four pillars set out by the European Scientific Counsel for Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP) UK & Ireland, which encourages a thorough veterinary health check, screening for exotic parasites, tick and tapeworm treatment and physical screening for ticks. The aims of such protocols are to protect individual households into which these dogs are introduced, to make informed long-term medical decisions and to improve national biosecurity.

Although the numbers of cats being imported are smaller when compared with dogs, the RSPCA has been involved in a number of cases concerning imported cats and has sought advice from experts working in this field.

The following protocol has been used by the RSPCA for the assessment of cats with a...

Categories: Journal news

Could vets manage Covid-19 better?

Further to the two most interesting articles by Joe Brownlie and Dick Sibley (VR, 18/25 April 2020, vol 186, pp 446-448, 462-463), the second article in particular created an interesting debate between myself, my daughter and her partner – both medical doctors, each with some seven years’ experience.

We all agreed with Brownlie and Sibley’s remark about under-resourcing of the NHS.

We also all agreed on the basic application of the ‘four pillars’ of disease management described; namely biosecurity, biocontainment, surveillance and resilience. Like the authors, one worries that some of the models being used by the epidemiologists are inaccurate, especially when based on quite difficult data. As commented, similar projections were used in the 2001 UK foot-and-mouth disease outbreak to underpin government policy that was subsequently shown to be mistaken. No doubt in time we will see if this was also the case here.

However, on the matter...

Categories: Journal news

Could vets manage Covid-19 better?

I read the Editorial and the Debate article by Joe Brownlie and Dick Sibley in the same issue with some concern (VR, 18/25 April 2020, vol 186, pp 429, 462-463), which made me think about whether vets would manage the Covid-19 outbreak better.

First, Covid-19 is a human health problem.

Second, we are a profession deeply involved in a decades-old attempt to control a major – potentially zoonotic – disease caused by an infectious agent – bovine TB. In living memory we have also been involved in two large foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks. And there is no 100 per cent sure way to control Johne’s disease. So why should the government trust us?

Third, the matter of trust in partners you work with is crucial to government. For example, the government was told ventilators were needed, and lots of them, and now the clinical effectiveness of ventilators is being questioned....

Categories: Journal news

RCVS council vote an opportunity for change

I should like to thank everyone who voted for me in the 2020 RCVS council election. Despite members having to struggle with the day-to-day difficulty of continuing to care for animals during the Covid-19 crisis, there was a record turnout for an RCVS council election.

I am humbled by the level of support shown for my candidacy and delighted to have received an incredible 3943 votes. I would like to take this opportunity to commiserate with the unsuccessful candidates.

I believe that the high turnout and the fact that two new candidates have been elected demonstrates a desire for change

I believe that the high turnout and the fact that two new candidates have been elected demonstrates a desire for change in the manner in which council has recently conducted itself – particularly that members want more openness and to be involved in decision making.

I hope that...

Categories: Journal news

The ethics of culling badgers

I write in response to the Debate article by Alick Simmons on the ethics of badger culling (VR, 21 March 2020, vol 186, pp 357-358).

He lists questions on ethical wildlife control compiled by Dubois and others,1 who accept that culling can ‘be justified by evidence that significant harms are being caused to people, property, livelihoods, ecosystems and/or other animals’, and supplies his answers.

One question is ‘Are the decisions warranted by the specifics of the situation rather than negative labels applied to the animals?’.

To this, Simmons answers: ‘No they are not. While the badger enjoys comprehensive protection and is regarded fondly by a large proportion of the public, it has been characterised largely by farming interests as destructive, dirty, diseased and a threat to ground nesting birds and hedgehogs’.

But I would suggest the badger is a threat to ground nesting birds.2, 3

Categories: Journal news

Alick Simmons responds

I was pleased to see the response from Trevor Jones to the article about the killing of badgers to control bovine TB (bTB) (VR, 21 March 2020, vol 186, pp 357-358). The subject deserves vigorous debate.

The badger cull is solely a disease control measure

My original article considered the ethics of killing wildlife to control livestock disease. Jones seeks to add conservation to the debate. The badger cull is solely a disease control measure and the two issues should not be conflated.

There is no evidence that badgers affect the breeding success of ground nesting birds. Meta-analysis from 2005 concluded that the national impact of badgers on bird populations is likely to be low in the UK.1 However, Jones is correct when he states that badgers predate hedgehogs, although the extent to which the increased badger population has contributed to the decline in hedgehog populations,...

Categories: Journal news

Death notices

Day On 10 May 2020, Michael Joseph Day, BVMS, BSc, PhD, DipECVP, FASM, FRCPath, DSc, FRCVS, of Cheddar, Somerset. Professor Day qualified from Murdoch university and was admitted to the register in 1987.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1899

Jones On 15 April 2020, Elfed James Jones, BSc, MRCVS, of Wellington, Shropshire. Mr Jones qualified from Edinburgh in 1950.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1900

Oldham On 24 April 2020, John Godfrey Oldham, BVetMed, MRCVS, of Hedon, Hull. Mr Oldham qualified from London in 1949.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1901

Stanton On 15 April 2020, David Stanton, BVMS, MRCVS, of Heswall, Wirral. Mr Stanton qualified from Glasgow in 1966.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1902

Witos On 3 January 2020, Wojciech Tadeusz Witos, MRCVS of Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Mr Witos qualified from Warsaw university and was admitted into the register in 2006.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1903

Categories: Journal news

Time to rethink our lives and businesses

It’s been a stressful and, in some cases, tragic few months. While we’re not out of the woods yet, the prime minister has laid out a ‘sketch of a roadmap’ of how to unlock the UK from Covid-19.

As this strategy evolves, it’s clear vet practices must adapt to a new normal and accommodate different ways of working for the future.

I see Covid-19 as a ctrl/alt/del reset – a rare opportunity to rethink our lives and businesses

I see Covid-19 as a ctrl/alt/del reset – a rare opportunity to rethink our lives and businesses. Three clear themes are developing to support the objective of keeping R0, the basic reproductive rate of the virus, below 1.

First, fears about a persistent risk of infection. Social distancing is likely to continue for some time, restricting mass gatherings and travel to essential-only activities. The implications for companies are huge and...

Categories: Journal news

Is this the wake up call weve needed?

Have you ever tried eating insects? I can barely watch the bushtucker trials on ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!’ without gagging like a cat with a furball. I was once offered a mealworm while travelling in South Africa, but with its fat, wrinkly, squidgy body, I just couldn’t face it. I can imagine that eating a cricket might be alright, with a nice crunch to it, but to be honest I would rather have some pork scratchings. So, it is food for thought then (no pun intended) that insects are already being farmed for animal and human consumption, and are being promoted as a viable alternative protein source to help mitigate food insecurity.

I am no eco warrior but I do try to do my bit for the environment; I take shopping bags to the supermarket rather than buying new ones, occasionally ride my bike to...

Categories: Journal news

Maintaining connections

Furloughing is presenting new challenges for wellbeing within the veterinary team. Claire Read speaks to Brian Faulkner about how best to maintain team spirit during these strange times.

Categories: Journal news

Finding a new balance

As coronavirus changes the way we live our lives, clinical psychologists Matthew Whalley and Hardeep Kaur advise on managing wellbeing.

Categories: Journal news

Combining the role of paravet and practice manager

Jildou Kornelis works for a CVS practice in the Netherlands and recently won the group’s practice manager of the year award.

Categories: Journal news

WellVet Returns...Virtually this month

WellVet – ‘the mind, body, soul wellbeing event for vet teams’ – will be held virtually this year on 23 May. The day will begin with meditation and yoga sessions and include bootcamp-style workouts, crafting, a pub quiz and healthy cooking. Plenary sessions and workshops will be presented on topics such as change management, establishing a ‘new normal’ and dealing with anxiety. Co-founder of the event Liz Barton said: ‘The point of the WellVet initiative is to enable people to develop their own bespoke wellbeing toolkit – to help them live happier and healthier lives. We take a proactive and preventive approach in pet healthcare and we need to apply this methodology to our own wellbeing.’

In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown measures, the organisers are looking for volunteers and supporters to help them deliver a programme of support relevant for all members of the vet team. If...

Categories: Journal news

Ruminant wellbeing awards

The biennial Ruminant Wellbeing Awards highlight the important role played by vets in the continuous improvement of animal welfare for food-producing ruminants. They are organised by the World Association for Buiatrics (WAB) and sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Applications are open for two awards, which will be presented at the next WAB congress in Madrid, Spain (27 September – 1 October). Each award offers a prize of 10,000 plus reimbursement of the recipient’s travel expenses to attend the conference.

  • The Ruminant Wellbeing Research Award will be granted to a recent PhD graduate in veterinary science, animal science or related disciplines who has made an exceptional contribution to the scientific knowledge on ruminant wellbeing.

  • The Ruminant Wellbeing Achievement Award will reward a practising vet or a researcher in veterinary science, animal science or related disciplines to recognise his or her achievements in advancing the wellbeing of food-producing ruminants.

  • ...
    Categories: Journal news


    Eastcott Referrals in Swindon has recently welcomed a number of a new staff and recognises the achievement of others.

    Maria Valentina Carrozzo graduated with distinction from the University of Perugia in Italy in 2007 and is a residency-trained anaesthesiologist. After graduating, she initially worked in private practices in Italy for five years before gaining valuable experience at the National Veterinary School in Paris, and went on to spend a year at Liege University before becoming an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.

    Filippo Cinti has achieved specialised status having become a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS). He graduated from the University of Bologna in Italy in 2009, before working as a surgeon in the university’s teaching hospital while studying for his PhD. He completed a three-year ECVS-approved residency programme in small animal surgery in 2017, and achieved the certificate in small animal...

    Categories: Journal news

    Animal abuse could rise during lockdown

    By Matthew Limb

    Vets are being urged to be alert to new cases of animal abuse linked to rising levels of domestic violence under the national Covid-19 lockdown.

    The warning comes from the Links Group, which raises awareness of the connection between the abuse of people and animals.

    It says family pets are often ‘part of the domestic abuse cycle’ and harms against them could rise as households face escalating tensions because of restrictions on movement to defeat Covid 19.

    Links Group chair Paula Boyden said: ‘We need to raise awareness among the profession that sadly people will deliberately hurt pets and bring them to us to get them fixed.’

    Since the beginning of the lockdown on 23 March, calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline have risen by 25 per cent.

    Domestic homicides in England and Wales doubled (from two to four) in the two weeks up to...

    Categories: Journal news

    Depression, suicidal ideation and suicide risk in German veterinarians compared with the general German population


    Higher rates of depression, suicidal ideation and suicide risk have been reported for veterinarians in various studies worldwide. This study investigates whether this is also true for German veterinarians.


    A total of 3.118 veterinarians (78.8 per cent female, mean age 41.3 years) between 22 and 69 years were included and compared with two general population samples of the same age range using the Suicide Behaviours Questionnaire-Revised and Patient Health Questionnaire.


    Current suicidal ideation was found in 19.2 per cent of veterinarians, compared with only 5.7 per cent in the general population. 32.11 per cent of veterinarians were classified with increased suicide risk, compared with 6.62 per cent in the general population. 27.78 per cent of veterinarians screened positive for depression, compared with 3.99 per cent of the general population.


    The study shows that veterinarians have an increased risk of depression and suicidal ideation and suicide risk compared with the general population in Germany. Similar to previous findings, the level of depression was higher among veterinarians than in the general population. However, this study does not explore causes for higher rates in depression, suicide risk and suicidal ideation. Since other studies strongly suggest specific risk factors lead to higher suicide risk and consequently elevated numbers of completed suicides, future research should focus on identifying and preventing causes.

    Categories: Journal news
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