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Time to unite behind BVA veterinary leaders

3 April 2020

I know people didn’t foresee how events with Covid-19 would unfold a few weeks ago when their letters aimed at the BVA and other veterinary leaders were written (VR, 14 March 2020, vol 186, pp 324–325), but maybe that makes the #bekind movement even more pertinent as we don’t know how our actions will later be perceived.

The BVA have really stepped up to lead the industry and help as much as possible to allay our fears and communicate ways forward

Daniella Dos Santos responded honestly and with great dignity at the time to some strong allegations against the BVA and the leadership team (VR, 14 March 2020, vol 186, p 325), but ultimately actions speak louder than words. In the past few weeks, I think our BVA leaders have shown real backbone. Far from being adolescent, aloof, arrogant, bullying, complacent, complicit, establishment, irrelevant, and so on, I...

Categories: Journal news

Is sheep scab underdiagnosed?

3 April 2020

We write to express our growing concern about sheep scab both in our local area and across the UK.

We provide veterinary care for over 50,000 breeding sheep across the south west and over the past two years the number of suspected and confirmed cases of sheep scab we are attending is dramatically escalating. These cases are likely to be an underestimate of the true picture as many will go undiagnosed as the disease is not notifiable in England and Wales.

We are working with farmers where resistance to macrocyclic lactones in active Psoroptes ovis mites is suspected and being investigated.1 One such outbreak occurred during lambing, which presented challenges for the use of organophosphate plunge dipping due to the young age of lambs.

The growing number of outbreaks may in part be linked with the multitude of store lambs brought onto winter dairy grazing, but in...

Categories: Journal news

Possible treatment of Covid-19 with a therapeutic vaccine

3 April 2020

Further to our recent letter ( VR, 28 March 2020, vol 186, p 388), readers may find the following of interest.

Avian coronavirus (a Gammacoronavirus) is a highly infectious avian pathogen which can infect the respiratory system, intestine, kidneys and reproductive system of birds. It is the cause of infectious bronchitis (IB), an important disease of poultry.

We used the technique described in our earlier letter to develop an IB vaccine, which we introduced successfully in Myanmar in 1994. We used bronchial tissue lysate from a pullet that had died of nephrogenic IB infection and serum from infected laying hens from the same farm. We transformed Pasteurella and produced an inactivated alum-precipitated vaccine within two weeks.

Over 9000 birds were then vaccinated. This not only reduced deaths in young birds but also increased egg production in laying birds within a few days.

The vaccine has proven to be very...

Categories: Journal news

Can companion animals become infected with Covid-19?

3 April 2020

Following previous reports of Covid-19 infection in two dogs in Hong Kong earlier in February and March,1-4 further test results have been released by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (GHKSAR), changing the serology interpretation previously reported (VR, 28 March 2020, vol 186, pp 388–389).3, 5

Despite several positive RT-PCR results suggesting a true infection in a Pomeranian dog, the dog had initially tested negative for antibodies specific to Covid-19 on a blood sample taken on 3 March 2020. Further serological testing of this sample at the WHO reference laboratory at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) was reported positive in late March.5

Antibody formation can take 14 days or more before it can be detected and this lag could explain why antibodies were not identified initially. However, a weak infection where...

Categories: Journal news

Treatment of Encephalitozoon cuniculi in rabbits

3 April 2020

As part of my final-year research project I am asking veterinary surgeons who have seen, diagnosed and treated cases of ocular Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection in rabbits (Fig 1) to complete an online survey.

As there is currently no single preferred treatment for ocular E cuniculi infections, I am interested in gathering data to find out what treatments are currently used most frequently in practice for this disease, and comparing the outcomes of these treatments.

Veterinary surgeons who have treated rabbits with this condition are asked to complete a short questionnaire which is available at https://surveyhero.com/c/bdf673a8. Please contact me at the details below for further information.

Fig 1:

Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection in the eye of a rabbit

Categories: Journal news

Death notices

3 April 2020

Hartwright On 23 March 2020, Robert Michael Hartwright, BVSc, MRCVS, of Repton. Mr Hartwright qualified from Bristol in 1967.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1305

Hope On 15 March 2020, Henry Peter Hope, BVSc, MRCVS, of New Malden, Surrey. Mr Hope qualified from Liverpool in 1966.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1306

Jones On 5 January 2020, William Alun Jones, MRCVS, of Swansea. Mr Jones qualified from London in 1948.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1307

Soutar On 23 October 2019, Mark James Soutar, BVMS, CertCHP, MRCVS, of West Hill, Devon. Mr Soutar qualified from Glasgow in 1995.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m1308

Categories: Journal news

People have long memories

3 April 2020

We’re a few weeks into the Covid-19 crisis and we don’t yet know the shape of the curve in the UK. At the time of writing, the NHS Nightingale Hospital London is being fitted out at the ExCel Centre by military and NHS medical planners, ready to provide 4000 coronavirus beds in two wards and with two morgues.

That we know the size of this facility from happier times spent at the London Vet Show helps demonstrate the scale of the challenge we face. It will live long in the memory.

We won’t know how some of the decisions made or things that we’ve said or done during this crisis will look with the benefit of hindsight. What will we remember about how individuals, businesses and clients acted as the crisis developed, evolved and eventually resolved?

Already I know I’ll remember how hard the RCVS and the BVA have...

Categories: Journal news

Coping with Covid-19

3 April 2020

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard, ‘It doesn’t seem real.’ Yet, when we collected our children from school on 20 March as they closed for the foreseeable future, there was no denying that this is very real.

The veterinary profession has rallied to adapt and innovate to maintain a high level of service to clients and patients. Nonetheless, restrictions have tightened and the impact is palpable.

As a self-employed mum, wife of a production animal vet and daughter of septuagenarians, what lies ahead is uncertain. What will the financial impact be? Can we balance home working and home schooling? How will we stop the bickering? What if...? Each of us will have individual worries, but to protect our health, both physical and mental, I believe that now is a time for self leadership. We have little control over Covid-19, but we can control our reaction to...

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BVA is here for you in these difficult times

3 April 2020

BVA President Daniella Dos Santos says that in these challenging and unpredictable times BVA is working hard to make sure members feel informed and supported.

Categories: Journal news

Looking out for yourself and those around you

3 April 2020

The coronavirus outbreak is having a profound impact on society, including the veterinary industry. As we meet the challenges the outbreak poses, Rosie Allister, Vetlife Helpline Manager, reminds us to look after ourselves and those around us.

Categories: Journal news

Join us in showcasing the best of our profession

3 April 2020

It’s likely that over the coming weeks the workforce will be stretched even further due to self isolation or social distancing measures. BVA is encouraging members to help it showcase the positive role being played by the veterinary professions, as Girija Duggal, BVA Media Officer, explains.

Categories: Journal news

Making the move from clinical nursing to non-clinical leadership

27 March 2020

Vet nurse Daniel Hogan is hospital director of Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Essex and is leading its move to new premises.

Categories: Journal news

Vet student research bursaries applications open

27 March 2020

Vet students are being offered the opportunity to win a bursary to help finance a research project. MSD Animal Health’s 2020 Research Bursary for Veterinary Students will award £1000 to each of five students to support their research proposal. All bursary recipients will be invited to MSD Animal Health’s headquarters in Milton Keynes to present their research conclusions at the company’s annual research bursary award day.

The two best research projects presented on the day will be awarded a further £1000 top prize and a £500 runner-up prize, respectively. The winners will also be encouraged to present their findings at a relevant UK veterinary conference and provided with hotel accommodation, delegate registration and a further award of £500.

Research project applications will be judged on the quality and clarity of the research; the realistic aspirations of the proposed research project; its potential value in terms of clinical relevance; and...

Categories: Journal news

People

27 March 2020

Cave Veterinary Specialists in Somerset is celebrating the achievements of three of its practitioners – Anna Nutt and Malcolm Jack have become European diplomates in small animal surgery, and Simon Bertram who is now a specialist in neurology. Co-clinical directors Tom Cardy and Nele Van den Steen believe the trio have done exceptionally well as the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) exams are extremely difficult, saying: ‘EBVS exams are very tough and challenging and the pass rate is notoriously low, so to have three of our team succeed at the first time of asking is terrific,’ they say. It takes at least three years to achieve diplomate status, so it has been a long haul for them all – but they’ve all done brilliantly.’

(from left) Simon Bertram, Anna Nutt and Malcolm Jack

Categories: Journal news

Good leadership will see vets through

27 March 2020

A major crisis such as that engulfing our society right now brings with it many unwelcome guests – chaos, fear and panic, among them.

The fact that we are being barred from the very activity that could bring us comfort – human connection – makes the challenge of enduring this Covid-19 outbreak particularly tough.

We have seen three notable examples of strong and clear leadership

But history has taught us that crises also bring opportunities – to adapt, dig deep and build a better foundation for the future. They also require good leadership and this week we have seen three notable examples of strong and clear veterinary leadership.

First, the BVA and RCVS asked vet practices to adapt their business models quite dramatically – to remain open to deal with emergencies only. Even though vets working in fields that support the food supply chain – farm vets, for...

Categories: Journal news

RCVS allows remote prescribing in pandemic

27 March 2020

By Adele Waters and Josh Loeb

Vets have been given the temporary go ahead to prescribe veterinary medicines remotely if the situation requires it.

The RCVS updated its advice this week in order to limit non-essential contact in a bid to reduce transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19).

In the current circumstances, RCVS council agreed there were ‘no other available options’.

Normally, the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct does not allow veterinary surgeons to prescribe veterinary medicines (POM-Vs) without a physical examination of the animal(s) having first taken place.

However, RCVS council has decided that there should be a temporary departure from this position under the current exceptional circumstances. This position will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and, in any event, no later than 30 June 2020.

Niall Connell, RCVS president, said: ‘In these unprecedented times we recognise that undertaking a physical examination of an animal may no longer be...

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News section PDF

27 March 2020
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Telemedicine services thrive during Covid-19

27 March 2020

By Adele Waters

Not all veterinary businesses are suffering a downturn in demand – or their fortunes – during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quite the reverse for those offering the public access to telemedicine or remote first-line advice services – they appear to be positively thriving and competing for customers.

Last week, FirstVet, which provides on-demand video consultations with local, qualified vets throughout the UK, reported it has seen a 20 per cent week-on-week increase in pet owners using its video vet service between February and March due to self isolation and mandatory quarantine.

Meanwhile, Joii, a pet care app that offers video consultations with vets, said it had experienced ‘a substantial increase’ in users, with almost 30,000 people downloading or using the app in the past two months. The app has been trending at number 1 within the medical category in both Google Play and the Apple store.

As...

Categories: Journal news

Stop routine work now, says BVA president

27 March 2020

By Josh Loeb

Vets share a moral duty to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus – the cause of Covid-19 – by stopping all non-essential work and observing ‘vital’ rules on social distancing.

That was the uncompromising message delivered last weekend by BVA president Daniella Dos Santos in an emergency webinar about the crisis.

In a hard-hitting, hour-long talk, Dos Santos (pictured right) repeatedly drove home the message that it is the ‘duty’ of every small animal practice to now cease all but the most essential services.

All nail clipping appointments, weight clinics and puppy parties must stop immediately, while neutering must be ‘risk assessed’ on a case-by-case basis and booster vaccination delayed.

‘If you are talking about an adult animal that has been routinely vaccinated, what is the real risk of disease outbreak if the booster were to be delayed for three months?’ she said. ‘We...

Categories: Journal news

Vet practices to remain open during lockdown

27 March 2020

Vet practices should remain open during the Covid-19 lockdown – but only to deal with emergencies and any work relating to maintaining the food supply chain.

On 25 March, the government updated the list of premises that can remain open during the lockdown – a period of at least three weeks during which only essential services will be open and members of the public are being told to stay at home – to include veterinary surgeries, following lobbying by the BVA.

As Vet Record went to press, the BVA and RCVS issued guidance on changes to veterinary work during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown (see box).

What should vet practices be doing in lockdown?

  • Do not carry out routine treatments until further notice.

  • Offer your clients advice and consultation services via remote means, including prescribing POM-V medicines where appropriate (see RCVS FAQs for details:

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