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Pseudopregnancy in goats - an important cause of subfertility

20 June 2019

Pseudopregnancy – also called pseudocyesis or false pregnancy – is a very common condition of goats that, in some herds, can significantly reduced fertility. The condition occurs in goats of any breed and in any management system, but it is perhaps more thoroughly studied in dairy goats. It is typified by an aseptic accumulation of clear fluid in the uterus, termed hydrometra, and a persistent corpus luteum (Fig 1). It is thought that the accumulation of fluid is caused by the persistent corpus luteum, rather than the reverse.

Pseudopregnancy is usually first detected between days 29 and 38 of the luteal phase (ie, after oestrus).1 Progesterone levels are similar to those observed during normal pregnancy (ie, serum levels greater than 1 ng/ml). However, these levels decline over time, eventually resulting in the spontaneous evacuation of the uterus.2 The duration of pseudopregnancy is quite...

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Incidence, possible risk factors and therapies for pseudopregnancy on Dutch dairy goat farms: a cross-sectional study

20 June 2019

Pseudopregnancy is a frequently diagnosed reproductive disorder in (dairy) goats. This cross-sectional study evaluates the incidence, possible risk factors and therapies for pseudopregnancy on Dutch dairy goat farms. Two questionnaires, one for farmers and one for veterinarians, were designed and included questions about general farm demographics, breeding management, hormonal oestrous induction, treatment, measures for reduction and stress moments in dairy goats in the period June 1, 2016–May 31, 2017. In total, 43 farmers (21.5 per cent response rate) and 27 veterinarians (22.5 per cent response rate) completed the questionnaire. The annual incidence of pseudopregnancy varied between 1 and 54 per cent per farm, with a mean annual incidence of 17 per cent (95 per cent CI 0.14 to 0.21). In this study, we found a significant association between incidence of pseudopregnancy and a higher percentage of goats with an extended lactation (p<0.0001) and between incidence of pseudopregnancy and the number of ultrasound examinations per year (p<0.0001). The recommended therapy in literature consists of two administrations of prostaglandins. This was only correctly applied by 10 per cent of the farms. On 52 per cent of the farms, an overdose was used comparing to the recommended dose in literature.

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Randomised controlled trial of fractionated and unfractionated prednisolone regimens for dogs with immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia

20 June 2019
Methods

A randomised non-blinded non-inferiority trial was conducted to determine whether treatment with an unfractionated regimen of oral prednisolone was inferior to a fractionated regimen for dogs with primary immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia. Dogs received the same total daily dose of prednisolone as unfractionated (group 1, starting at 4 mg/kg orally once daily) or fractionated (group 2, starting at 2 mg/kg orally twice daily) doses. Questionnaires were administered to owners to assess adverse effects and quality of life (QoL). End points included survival to eight weeks, and changes in QoL and clinicopathological parameters over time.

Results

Thirty-nine dogs were enrolled in the study, of which 5 were withdrawn and 17 were assigned to each group. The number of cases recruited was insufficient to determine whether unfractionated treatment was inferior to fractionated. Total serum bilirubin decreased more rapidly in dogs in group 2, whereas polydipsia improved more rapidly in group 1. Blood pressure and score for polyuria were higher in dogs in group 2 over time, whereas lymphocyte concentration was lower.

Conclusion

Administration of the same total daily dose of prednisolone as an unfractionated dose resulted in fewer adverse effects but the effect on survival could not be assessed in this study.

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Characteristics of Northern Irish cattle herds without bovine tuberculosis infection

20 June 2019
Background

Despite ongoing eradication efforts, bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is endemic in cattle herds in Northern Ireland (NI). This disease has serious implications for the economy, farming and animal welfare. Previous research identified a population of herds which have remained free from bTB infection for 10 years (2004–2014). Understanding the characteristics of these herds may have important implications for eradication efforts, such as spatially targeted interventions.

Methods

A cluster analysis and a retrospective case–control analysis was conducted to compare bTB- free herds with herds which experienced prolonged infection (ie, bTB breakdowns lasting more than ≥ 365 days).

Results

Only small, localised clusters of herds which have remained free from bTB were revealed, thus limiting the potential for spatially targeted interventions. The results illustrated the importance of herd size to disease status; over 27 per cent of the bTB-free herds had up to 10 animals. However, the data also showed that there were no inward movements in the year before the bTB skin test in those herds which remained free from bTB.

Conclusions

Attention should therefore be given to the cattle movement network in NI to better understand the risk associated with cattle purchasing.

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Selected highlights from other journals

20 June 2019
Antimicrobial resistance is prevalent in healthy pigs

M. Pirolo, A. Gioffrè, D. Visaggio and others

BMC Microbiology (2019) 19

doi: 10.1186/s12866-019-1422-x

• What did the research find?

Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was found on 22 of the 32 pig farms tested, with an average prevalence of 46.1 per cent. MRSA colonisation was significantly higher in the intensive farms. All MRSA isolates were found to be resistant to tetracycline. High resistance rates were also found for clindamycin (93.1 per cent), trimethoprim (68.4 per cent), fluoroquinolones (47.9 to 65.3 per cent) and erythromycin (46.1 per cent). Overall, a multidrug-resistant phenotype was observed in 88.6 per cent of isolates.

• How was it conducted?

A total of 475 healthy pigs from 32 farms in the Calabria region of Italy were sampled by nasal swabbing. Of the farms included in the study, 25 were intensive. The samples were screened using selective culture to...

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Badgers are part of the TB picture

20 June 2019

I write in response to the debate article ‘The badger cull policy is not evidence based’ by Tom Langton (VR, 8 June 2019, vol 184, p 715).

There is a lot of fact presented in this article and there is a temptation, therefore, to read some of the interpretation as fact too. For example, the fact that there is no more up to date science on badger culling than the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) is true, but it is also true that independent, well-qualified experts have supported the idea that there is a transfer of the disease between badger and cattle. For example, the third paragraph of the summary of the report by Charles Godfray and colleagues1 states ‘... the presence of infected badgers does pose a threat to local cattle herds’.

Given that Judge et al reported in 2014 an increase of 103 per cent...

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Badgers are part of the TB picture

20 June 2019

I read with interest the debate from Tom Langton ‘The badger cull is not evidence based’ (VR, 8 June 2019, vol 184, p 715), where he considers that the lack of ‘blindness’ in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) design might have influenced the behaviour of participating farmers and this could in some way have influenced the results of the trial. Precisely what the farmers might have done is not stated, and I would find it very difficult to see how they might have caused a bias in their subsequent herd TB testing results.

Langton states that ‘... there needs to be far stronger basic evidence that badger culling is appropriate’, and yet for some reason he fails to even mention the published data from Brunton et al,1 who showed that after just two years of culling, there was a 58 per cent reduction of herd TB...

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Ethics of small animal orthopaedics

20 June 2019

I feel compelled to write a response to Nigel Taylor on his article ‘Being cutting edge – always right for patients?’ (VR, 15 June 2019, vol 184, p 745), in order to provide reassurance to those who may be concerned.

I understand that one clinician’s innovation is another’s over treatment

Taylor expressed reservations about the standard and ethics of small animal orthopaedics in UK practice, which I am happy to say do not fit my experience of working in this field. I understand that one clinician’s innovation is another’s over treatment; however, I am not sure that these concerns are well founded.

I can’t see that a ‘remorseless quest for a newer, more effective repair for (an) age-old challenge’ can be considered anything other than positive. In fact, this is what inspires me most about orthopaedics in both the veterinary and human fields.

Interventional radiology, minimally invasive stent...

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Badgers are part of the TB picture

20 June 2019

Tom Langton’s claim that ‘The badger cull policy is not evidence based’ (VR, 8 June 2019, vol 184, p 715) regarding the role of badgers in bovine TB (bTB) depends largely on the results of a single trial, and is, in my opinion, flawed.

The badger cull policy was based on evidence. In all previous culls, whether it be the very efficient Thornbury cull in the 1970s when there was a 100 per cent reduction in the incidence of bTB in cattle or subsequent ones, the success rate has been directly proportional to the efficiency of the cull.

Langton quotes the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) as his evidence. It was not even a trial. Krebs initially planned triplets – a proactive, a reactive and a control. The reactive cull had to be curtailed prematurely and the control cull never even commenced.1 Only 30 per cent of...

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Euthanasia should not be considered negative treatment

20 June 2019

In response to the Young Vet Network article ‘Remembering the successes’ which questions ‘successful’ treatment (VR, 1 June 2019, vol 184, p 687).

I felt profound sympathy for Grace Harman as she described the two harrowing cases she had experienced at work the previous week. Her writing saddened me as she appears to regard the two euthanasia cases with nothing but a sense of failure.

It struck me that what she had experienced was probably symptomatic of the feelings of many young vets as they strive to achieve success for their patients. After 44 years, I can still remember the desire to save every case that came through my door. Therefore, I would like to extend a hand of support. Both cases described had no other treatment available and Harman provided the unpalatable but necessary solution.

From her telling of these events, she approached a very difficult task with...

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Correction: Allowing RVNs to inspect practices

20 June 2019

Letters: Allowing RVNs to inspect practices (VR, 25 May 2019, vol 184, p 655). The authors name was incorrectly stated, the correct name is Deidre Carson.

In addition, the following ‘... I can assure her that there are practices where veterinary surgeons and other non-registered veterinary nurse (RVN) staff administer Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) assessments’ should have read ‘... I can assure her that there are practices where veterinary surgeons and other non-registered veterinary nurse (RVN) staff administer the Practice Standards Scheme (PSS)’ and the following ‘There are some ... who are barely capable of administering their own time sheets let alone the onerous requirements of the PSS assessment’ should have read ‘There are some ... who are barely capable of administering their own time sheets let alone the onerous requirements of the PSS.

The errors are regretted.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l4275

Categories: Journal news

Death notices

20 June 2019

Bygrave On 11 June 2019, Andrew Charles Bygrave, BVSc, DTVM, MRCVS, of Kenton, Exeter. Mr Bygrave qualified from Liverpool in 1957.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l4273

Waterworth On 13 June 2019, Hazel Waterworth, BVSc, MRCVS, of Dorcester, Dorset. Mrs Waterworth qualified from Liverpool in 1958.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l4274

Categories: Journal news

What can we learn from optometrists?

20 June 2019

We often compare the veterinary and optometry worlds as some of the key figures leading today’s veterinary businesses were previously at the heart of changes to the optometry profession.

There are lessons that we can learn from optometrists. But, we should interpret the comparisons carefully, as not all of the changes to their profession have been successful.

Seventy per cent of clinical examinations performed by optometrists are funded by the NHS. In fact, due to the evolution of minor eye conditions services commissioned by local NHS clinical commissioning groups, if you have one of these conditions (eg, conjunctivitis, sticky or wet eyes and floaters) you’re more likely to see an optometrist than your GP.

In practice, the average optometrist sees as many patients for clinical disease as for testing eyesight, all at a price fixed by the NHS. They are well placed to triage eye disease, refer to NHS...

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Biology and pathology of gorillas

20 June 2019

Reviewed by Ghislaine Sayers head of veterinary services at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park.

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Practical sheep husbandry

20 June 2019

This book provides a detailed, practical resource on sheep husbandry, both for new owners or more experienced animal keepers. The content is informed by the latest evidence-based practices and can be enjoyed either as a sit-down read or as a field guide offering answers to specific questions.

The first few chapters of the book explore the husbandry, behaviour and day-to-day management of sheep. The authors’ interest in the species leaves the reader well informed on the relevant anatomy and physiology. The practical step-by-step guides on ageing sheep, how to body condition score and turn a sheep are very helpful.

Lambing time has its own extensive chapter, with lots of information on housing, equipment, normal lambing, dystocias and how to assist a ewe during lambing. There is lots of veterinary advice about caring for newborn lambs and the complications that can occur.

A triumph of this book is the good...

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Lack of knowledge is top welfare concern

13 June 2019

By Matthew Limb

Researchers have identified the top animal welfare priorities for managed animals in the UK.

In an ambitious project for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), they obtained expert consensus for 11 cross-cutting priorities across a range of species.

Lack of knowledge among both vets and owners of the welfare needs of species and a lack of species-specific behavioural knowledge were the concerns that occurred most frequently across all groups.

Other priority issues identified were: social and problem behaviour, lack of health or veterinary care, delayed euthanasia, poor diets and inappropriate breeding decisions (see box).

Poor recognition and treatment of pain, chronic/endemic health issues, lack of appropriate environments and neonatal morbidity/mortality also feature.

The findings, which have yet to be published in full, will inform future AWF policy, funding and research.

They follow extensive survey work by a team led by Cathy Dwyer, director of the Jeanne Marchig...

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'UK - dont let your standards slip, warns US animal welfare expert

13 June 2019

By Matthew Limb

The UK should hold on to its high animal welfare standards and not join ‘a race to the bottom’ in pursuit of a transatlantic trade deal, a leading US veterinary academic has warned.

Jim Reynolds told the Animal Welfare Foundation Discussion Forum: ‘The US is looking desperately to export low-value products, that’s how we make money. So keep your high-value welfare because that becomes something we can attain – our welfare programmes stem from Europe.’

Reynolds, who is professor of large animal medicine and welfare at Western University, California, said US agriculture had become a ‘commodity system’ in which profit margins were low, so farm businesses had grown larger ‘to sell more products’ and were looking to expand markets.

‘When a food product becomes a commodity, it can become a race to the bottom,’ he said.

He said some farms in the Mid West kept cattle...

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'Advise clients of no-deal pet travel rules

13 June 2019

By Georgina Mills

Vets are being reminded that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will no longer be part of the pet passport scheme and they must advise pet owners on what steps to take to prepare their pets for travelling abroad.

The message came from UK chief vet Christine Middlemiss in a recently published video on Twitter. Along with the video for vets, a video for pet owners was published on Facebook.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, pet owners will need to contact their vets at least four months before travelling to have adequate time for the additional health preparations required.

As the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, this means that those wishing to travel to the EU on 1 November 2019 should discuss requirements with their vet by 1 July at the latest.

Vets should...

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Travelling fellowships awarded for One Health projects

13 June 2019

Three research projects with One Health principles at their core are set to benefit from funding from the Soulsby Foundation.

Fellowships totalling more than £25,000 have been awarded to three researchers to help them to travel to progress their understanding in their research areas.

Harriet Auty, from Scotland’s Rural College in Inverness, will use her fellowship to travel to Tanzania to investigate how research into animal and human African trypanosomosis can inform evidence-based policy on controlling the pathogen.

Meanwhile, Lorena Sordo, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, will travel to the USA to learn a methodology that will allow her to further her studies of cats with an Alzheimer’s-like disease.

The third researcher to receive a fellowship is Lian Thomas from the University of Liverpool. She will travel to Nairobi in Kenya to investigate and quantify the risk to consumers from multiple potential hazards in pork supplied...

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Will there be a fall in pet vaccination figures?

13 June 2019

By Josh Loeb

New figures on the proportion of pets receiving primary vaccinations and boosters are being hotly anticipated after a concerning dip in the UK vaccination rate over recent years.

Data from the 2018 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report appeared to suggest there may have been a very recent levelling off of the vaccination rate following an overall decline since 2013.

However, it is expected that when the most up-to-date figures are published this summer in the 2019 PAW report they will show the rate is still below the level needed to be confident of achieving herd immunity across the UK.

The expense involved and a notion that vaccination is ‘not necessary’ are among the top reasons cited by pet owners for not getting their animals vaccinated, according to the last report.

PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan warned low levels of vaccination uptake could ‘absolutely’ affect herd immunity, risking...

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