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Diagnostic imaging: an essential tool in the successful management of canine dystocia

29 March 2019

Dystocia is relatively common in dogs, with an incidence of approximately 5 per cent of parturitions.1 The incidence of dystocia is highly variable between breeds, but it is extremely high for brachycephalic breeds, especially bulldogs.2 Because neonatal mortality can be high (upwards of 20 per cent in some cases), many breeders choose an elective caesarean section to help mitigate the risk to the pups.3 However, in all breeds, dystocia remains a common reason for evaluation at primary emergency care facilities, and caesarean section is often recommended to resolve these cases.

Dystocia can be due to either fetal or maternal factors. The most common reason for dystocia in all breeds appears to be uterine inertia – the failure for the uterus to appropriately contract. The exact aetiology of this condition is unknown, but associations have been made with a lack of circulating oxytocin, elevated...

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Canine dystocia in 50 UK first-opinion emergency care veterinary practices: clinical management and outcomes

29 March 2019

Canine dystocia is a relatively common veterinary presentation. First opinion emergency care clinical data from 50 Vets Now clinics across the UK were used to explore dystocia management and outcomes in bitches. Caesarean section (CS) was performed on 341/701 (48.6 per cent (95 per cent CI 44.9 to 52.4)) of dystocia cases. The bulldog (OR 7.60, 95 per cent CI 1.51 to 38.26, P=0.014), Border terrier (OR 4.89, 95 per cent CI 0.92 to 25.97, P=0.063) and golden retriever (OR 4.07, 95 per cent CI 0.97 to 17.07, P=0.055) had the highest odds of CS among dystocic bitches compared with crossbreds. Brachycephalic dystocic bitches had 1.54 (95 per cent CI 1.05 to 2.28, P=0.028) times the odds of CS compared with non-brachycephalics. Oxytocin was administered to 380/701 (54.2 per cent) and calcium gluconate was administered to 82/701 (11.7 per cent) of dystocic bitches. 12 of 701 dystocia cases (1.7 per cent) died during emergency care. These results can help veterinary surgeons to provide better evidence on the risks to owners who may be contemplating breeding from their bitches. In addition, the results on the management and clinical trajectory of dystocia can facilitate clinical benchmarking and encourage clinical audit within primary care veterinary practice.

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"I dont go to Meetings": understanding farmer perspectives on bovine TB and biosecurity training

29 March 2019

In 2016, a veterinary service company, XL Farmcare UK, was awarded a Defra contract to manage a series of on-farm demonstration workshops to raise biosecurity awareness. The workshops provided free training for cattle farmers in England on the practical measures that they could take to limit the threat of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Despite communicating these events to farmers, the number who subsequently attended them was low and the company decided to conduct research to seek explanation. Farmers were interviewed at agricultural shows, their comments analysed and the frequency of words in use were measured to produce a set of common themes. This thematic analysis provides an illustrative rather than representative picture of farmer opinions yet holds significant explanatory value for understanding the apparent lack of engagement with biosecurity training. Broad-ranging farmer perspectives can be understood through a ‘typology’ of feelings about bTB, particularly expressions of blame, loss, confusion, ignorance, resignation and fear. The cumulative effect amounts to one of overwhelming negativity, explaining why so many farmers disengaged from training provision; a finding with relevance and value for the way training providers plan future communication methods in relation to biosecurity risk mitigation.

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Clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of intravenous alfaxalone in young Thoroughbred horses premedicated with medetomidine and midazolam

29 March 2019

To investigate the clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of intravenous alfaxalone in young Thoroughbred horses, seven Thoroughbred horses were randomly anaesthetised twice with either 1 or 2 mg/kg of intravenous alfaxalone after premedication with medetomidine (6 µg/kg intravenous) and midazolam (20 µg/kg intravenous). Blood samples were collected at predetermined time points up to two hours after administration. Plasma alfaxalone concentrations were quantified by a liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry method and analysed by non-compartmental pharmacokinetic analysis. Induction and recovery qualities were good to excellent for both doses. Recovery time for the 2 mg/kg (median 90 minutes) was significantly longer than that for the 1 mg/kg (median 50 minutes). Respiratory rate for the 2 mg/kg was significantly lower than that for the 1 mg/kg, resulting in hypoxaemia. The median (range) elimination half-life, total clearance and volume of distribution were 58.2 (42.3–70.7) minutes, 11.6 (10.3–14.5) ml/minute/kg and 0.8 (0.7–0.9) l/kg for the 1 mg/kg and 59.8 (47.5–68.0) minutes, 14.7 (12.1–16.0) ml/minute/kg and 0.9 (0.9–1.2) l/kg for the 2 mg/kg, respectively. Alfaxalone is rapidly eliminated from the plasma in young Thoroughbred horses. Respiratory depression should be especially noted when alfaxalone is used in clinical practice.

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Preparing and training for CPR in small animal practice

29 March 2019
Introduction

With an increasing number of sick cats and dogs being presented to veterinary practices, witnessing cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA) is not uncommon. Veterinary practitioners and their support staff should be ready to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when these events occur.

In 2012, the RECOVER (REassessment Campaign On VEterinary Resuscitation) initiative1 presented a series of evidence-based consensus guidelines for veterinary CPR in cats and dogs.2 These guidelines, along with evidence from human medical literature, also highlight the importance of preparing and training for CPR.

Preparation for CPR is not only related to the process of having a ‘ready area’ where life support will be enacted, but also relates to personnel training and debriefing after any CPA or CPR effort (real or drill) has occurred. Optimising CPR outcome demands a coordinated team with in-depth knowledge of the CPR guidelines, as well as tidy, organised and functional equipment.

...
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Selected highlights from other journals

29 March 2019
Are fungi a risk factor for equine inflammatory airway disease?

J. Dauvillier, F. ter Woort, E. van Erck-Westergren

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (2019) 33, 968–975

doi: 10.1111/jvim.15397

• What did the research find?

A positive fungal culture was obtained from the tracheal wash (TW) of 55 per cent of the horses tested. Horses with fungal elements observed in their TW were twice as likely to have inflammatory airway disease (IAD) than horses with no fungal elements observed. Both the risk of being diagnosed with IAD and the likelihood of fungi being present in the TW were higher when horses were bedded on straw or fed dry hay.

• How was it conducted?

A total of 731 horses that had been referred to a specialised ambulatory practice with signs of respiratory disease or poor performance were included in the study. A clinical examination, airway endoscopy, TW and bronchoalveolar lavage...

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Antibiotic stewardship in UK farming

29 March 2019

The chief medical officer’s endorsement of the work being done by the UK farming industry to steward antibiotics (VR, 9 March 2019, vol 184, p 297) is welcome recognition for farmers and veterinary surgeons alike. Yes there is more to do, but a little praise from the right quarters goes a long way. Especially if it dispels any myths within the medical community about those in the farming industry’s commitment to ‘doing its bit’ in tackling such an important One Health concern.

Underpinning our industry’s success has been the voluntary partnership between farmer and veterinary surgeon in each sector, reconciling global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) concerns with the complexities of animal health and welfare to set meaningful, industry-led targets for appropriate antibiotic use.

That the further 25 per cent reduction in antibiotic sales the government aspires to in its new AMR strategy will be a direct outcome of achieving these...

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Selecting for future vets

29 March 2019

Lara Baker argues (VR, 9 March 2019, vol 184, pp 320-321) against metrics being used in the selection of veterinary students. However, it is likely that these or something similar will be foisted on the profession, unless it acts now.

There is currently a shortage of veterinary surgeons in the UK. Assuming that a significant fraction of the UK diet continues to come from production animals, veterinary surgeons working in abattoirs, on farms (aquatic and terrestrial), in related diagnostic laboratories, and government departments constitute a small but significant part of the national infrastructure. These men and women, on a national scale, safeguard human health by limiting the spread of foodborne zoonoses and they also safeguard production animal welfare. There is currently a very serious shortage of farm veterinary surgeons, particularly in mixed practice in rural areas.

The tax payer, who contributes to some of the subsidies given to veterinary...

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The value of the veterinary professional

29 March 2019

Anon’s timely letter (VR, 2 March 2019, vol 184, p 286) regarding locum fees touches on a subject much greater than its succinct and pertinent content.

Can the present pricing and staffing structure within our practices support the needs of demanding share-holders?

If these unexpectedly ‘high’ locum fees are given by Simon Innes as one of the reasons for poor profitability of a certain corporate group (VR, 2 February 2019, vol 184, p 137), then it raises the bigger question, can the present pricing and staffing structure within our practices support the needs of demanding shareholders, intent on ensuring their dividend yield or return on capital meets their expectations?

Raj Patel and Jason Moore highlight in their thought-provoking book1 how the capitalist world cheapens seven things essential in our lives, including care, labour, fuel, and even nature. Are the changes we are seeing, especially in the...

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Leprosy in red squirrels in the UK

29 March 2019

The presence of leprosy in Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) was first described in Scotland in 2014.1

Initially, the causative agent identified was Mycobacterium lepromatosis.1, 2 Consecutive studies demonstrated the presence of M lepromatosis in red squirrels in other areas, including the Isle of Arran, Isle of Wight and the Republic of Ireland. Additionally, an alternative causative agent, Mycobacterium leprae, was identified in red squirrels exclusively on Brownsea Island.3

While it is currently unknown whether M lepromatosis has ever caused human disease in Europe, the M leprae strain identified in the Brownsea Island squirrels is highly related to strains that caused leprosy in medieval Europeans.3, 4 Thus, a historical anthroponotic transmission of the bacteria to squirrels may have occurred, as is presumed for nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) in the Americas.5

As part of our ongoing...

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Severe summer scour syndrome in recently turned out dairy calves

29 March 2019

We have become aware of a syndrome of diarrhoea and rapid loss of condition affecting dairy calves

Over recent years the farm animal disease surveillance systems in the UK and Ireland have become aware of a syndrome of diarrhoea and rapid loss of condition affecting dairy calves, typically up to 12 months old, as described in a letter last autumn (VR, 8 September 2018, vol 183, p 300).

We are investigating this syndrome, initially by building a case series.

We ask again, if you become aware of incidents that fit the case definition and wish to collaborate in this study please contact your local veterinary surveillance laboratory.

In England and Wales your nearest APHA veterinary investigation centre or partner postmortem provider can be found via the Vet Gateway at http://apha.defra.gov.uk/vet-gateway/surveillance/diagnostic/national-network.htm or by using the postcode checker at http://apha.defra.gov.uk/postcode/pme.asp

In Scotland your local SRUC veterinary...

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Keeping snakes

29 March 2019

In his letter, Tariq Abou-Zahr (VR, 2 February 2019, vol 184, pp 157-158) states that: ‘decisions in law regarding minimum acceptable standards for keeping animals should ideally be based on sound scientific evidence’.

Abou-Zahr and colleagues’ information to Defra was opinion, evidentially unsupported, and caused the deletion of a voluntary higher minimum standard of 1 x snake length enclosures from animal welfare guidance.

In contrast, information from a raft of published peer-reviewed materials, qualified herpetologists, specialist exotics veterinarians, and other impartial sources have long supported the minimum provision of 1 x snake length enclosures that allow animals to fully stretch as part of their wellbeing.

Abou-Zahr also makes a number of presumptuous and incorrect assertions regarding the integrity of our recent article on snake spatial considerations.1 The article is a review article with a research component, and includes approximately 100 references, of which approximately 10 per cent...

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Canine influenza in a pug in Hong Kong

29 March 2019

Canine influenza was first confirmed in greyhounds in Florida, USA in 2004, and was caused by an equine-origin H3N8 influenza A virus.1 H3N2 canine influenza virus (CIV), of avian origin, was first reported in South Korea in 2007.2 H3N2 viruses circulating among dogs in Guangdong, China in 2006-07 were also reported and sequenced.3

We report a confirmed case of H3N2 canine influenza in Hong Kong

Here, we report a confirmed case of H3N2 canine influenza in Hong Kong.

A two-month-old, male pug was illegally imported from mainland China into Hong Kong and subsequently seized by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in June 2018. During the quarantine period, the dog developed anorexia and mucoid nasal discharge. It was unresponsive to treatment with amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (Synulox RTU; Zoetis) and died eight days later. The carcase was subsequently submitted to the veterinary laboratory...

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Death notice

29 March 2019

Geddes On 7 March 2019, William Geddes, MRCVS, of Redditch, Worcestershire. Mr Geddes qualified from Edinburgh in 1949.

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A rallying call for a wilder Scotland

29 March 2019

Reviewed by Glen Cousquer lecturer in conservation medicine.

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Joanna Louise Aplin

29 March 2019

A much loved and highly valued colleague who was held in high esteem by those whose lives she touched through her kind and thoughtful gestures.

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Life is an endless set of possibilities for vets

29 March 2019

Being an RCVS Practice Standards Scheme assessor allows Samantha Scully the flexibility to work alongside being the mother of three young children. She is also a community first responder.

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Breeding problems for the future

29 March 2019

In a paper highlighted in this week’s Vet Record (p 409), a team of vets looked at cases of canine dystocia, its clinical management and outcomes.

The cases, over 700 of them, were seen in first-opinion emergency care practices in the UK. As with most studies, there were limitations, which are described, but it gives us a good starting point to look at how well – or otherwise – breeds are breeding.

Dystocia in dogs appears to be relatively common, with reported prevalence being around 4 to 5 per cent of entire bitches. It can also be serious, with reported mortality of over 20 per cent for puppies and 1 per cent for bitches.

The most common reason for dystocia is uterine inertia, but another common reason is anatomical incompatibility – this is when the head of the puppy is large in relation to the narrowness of the pelvis...

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No plan in place for 'dangerous Bsal fungus

29 March 2019

By Josh Loeb

Defra appears to have no plan detailing what actions it would take if the devastating chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) was to be detected in wild amphibians in the UK.

When Vet Record asked Defra what strategy it had for tackling the pathogen if and when any outbreak was to occur, the department provided no answer.

Defra is known to be overseeing surveillance schemes designed to monitor mortality in wild vertebrates and scan for diseases including Bsal, but the department’s apparent lack of a plan for a Bsal outbreak has worried conservationists.

Bsal is already present in the UK in privately owned captive amphibian collections, but there is no evidence that it is present in the wild in this country at this current time (see VR, 23 March 2019, vol 184, pp 366-367).

Jim Foster, from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, said: ‘Should the pathogen...

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News section PDF

29 March 2019
Categories: Journal news