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RCVS recognises the best of the profession

18 July 2019

By Georgina Mills

The RCVS used the occasion of its annual Royal College Day last week to present awards to individuals who have far exceeded expectations in the veterinary profession.

This year’s recipient of the Queen’s Medal – the RCVS’s most prestigious honour, which recognises a vet who has had a highly distinguished career – was Lord Trees.

Lord Trees is an emeritus professor at the University of Liverpool and the only vet in parliament, sitting as a crossbench peer in the House of Lords. He is also veterinary editor-in-chief of Vet Record.

He has made world-leading contributions in the field of parasitology, including research into Neospora caninum – a global animal pathogen that causes abortion in livestock and paralysis in companion animals.

He is currently founding diplomate and vice president of the European College of Veterinary Parasitology and chair of the Moredun Research Institute. He was dean of...

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Medicines update

18 July 2019

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 June 2019 are listed in Table 1. Of those products listed, the VMD draws attention to:

  • Parofor Crypto 140, 000 IU/ml oral solution for sheep and goats is the first paromomycin-containing product authorised for sheep and goats, indicated for the ‘reduction of the severity and the duration of diarrhoea associated with Cryptosporidium parvum in individual animals confirmed to have cryptosporidial oocysts in their faeces. Paromomycin reduces faecal oocyst shedding.’

  • Baycox Iron 36.4 mg/ml + 182 mg/ml suspension for injection for pigs is a new fixed combination containing toltrazuril and iron, indicated for the concurrent prevention of clinical signs of coccidiosis (such as diarrhoea) in neonatal piglets on...

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    Steroids and laminitis - the value of evidence over anecdote

    18 July 2019

    LAMINITIS is one of the most common conditions treated in equine practice. For decades it has been common conjecture that the administration of exogenous glucocorticoids is a potential cause, or at least a risk factor, for the development of laminitis. However, laminitis following the administration of glucocorticoids is rare.1 In fact, in the initial case reports of laminitis following glucocorticoid administration, most of the horses had other risk factors for laminitis.2

    Why then is the view that steroids cause laminitis so widely held? Have high-profile legal cases distorted the scientific argument? Is there sufficient scientific evidence upon which to base an argument either way?

    In a paper summarised on p 82 of this issue of Vet Record, Potter and colleagues provide further evidence to help us determine whether there is indeed any link between glucocorticoid administration and laminitis.3 They performed both a retrospective...

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    Prevalence of and risk factors for acute laminitis in horses treated with corticosteroids

    18 July 2019

    A retrospective treated versus untreated study (study 1) and multicentre prospective cohort study (study 2) were undertaken to determine the prevalence of, and risk factors associated with, acute laminitis in horses treated with corticosteroids. All old treated with corticosteroids January–December 2014 (study 1) and January 2015–February 2017 (study 2) by two first opinion and referral hospitals in UK were included. Additionally, an untreated animal was identified for each treated animal (study one). Signalment, body condition (study 2 only), relevant medical history, primary condition, corticosteroid therapy prescribed and occurrence of acute laminitis during or within 14 days of cessation of corticosteroid treatment were recorded.

    For study 1, 205 cases and 205 controls were identified; two animals within each group (1 per cent) developed laminitis. In total, 1565 animals were included in study 2; laminitis period prevalence was 0.6 per cent (95 per cent CI 0.4 per cent to 1.2 per cent), with 10 cases in 1565 treated animals. There were significant associations between laminitis and breed (pony vs horse; p=0.01; univariable analysis only), the presence of a laminitis risk factor (history of laminitis or an underlying endocrinopathy; p<0.001; OR (95 per cent CI) 18.23 (5.05 to 65.87)) and body condition (overweight/obese vs not; p=0.04; OR (95 per cent CI) 4.0 (1.09 to 14.75)).

    Categories: Journal news

    Faecal shedding of parvovirus deoxyribonucleic acid following modified live feline panleucopenia virus vaccination in healthy cats

    18 July 2019

    Positive canine parvovirus (CPV) faecal test results have been reported in dogs after modified live virus (MLV) vaccination. Thus, the aim was to investigate feline panleucopenia virus (FPV) shedding in recently vaccinated, adult, clinically healthy cats and to assess related factors. Forty cats were vaccinated with an FPV MLV vaccine. Faeces of cats were tested for presence of parvovirus DNA on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 by quantitative real-time PCR; DNA-positive samples were subjected to partial VP2 gene sequencing. Virus isolation was performed whenever sufficient amounts of faeces were available. Serum antibody titres were measured by haemagglutination inhibition on days 0, 7 and 28. Overall, 30.0 per cent (12/40; 95% CI 18.0 to 45.6) of cats shed parvovirus DNA. Sequencing revealed FPV vaccine virus DNA in three cats, FPV field virus DNA in four cats and CPV field virus DNA in one cat. Shedding was significantly associated with lack of prevaccination antibody titres (40) (P=0.016; OR: 6.44; 95% CI 1.44 to 28.89) and with postvaccination titre increases (fourfold) (P=0.029; OR: 5.00; 95% CI 1.17 to 21.39). Shedding of field or vaccine virus DNA seems to be common in healthy cats which can be a concern in shelters and catteries. Diagnostic tools should be developed to facilitate differentiation of vaccine and field virus shedding.

    Categories: Journal news

    Porcine circovirus type 3 detection in a Hungarian pig farm experiencing reproductive failures

    18 July 2019

    Porcine circovirus 3 (PCV3) infection has been reported in piglets and sows with porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome, reproductive failure, and cardiac and multisystemic inflammation. Few studies linked PCV3 infection to increased incidence of abortion and weak-born piglets. This is the first report of a detection of PCV3 Hungarian strain in several organs of aborted and weak-born piglets, including the thymus, lymph node, placenta, spleen, kidney and the liver. The tissue tropism of PCV3 in affected litters was analysed using real-time quantitative PCR, and the result showed the highest load of viral DNA in the thymus and lymph nodes. The ORF2 of Hungarian PCV3 strains was 524 nucleotides in length, and the sequence identity to GenBank sequences ranged from 98.5 per cent to 99.2 per cent. The results suggest that PCV3 may have a relevant role in reproductive failure in gilts.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    18 July 2019
    Characterising idiopathic peritonitis in horses

    E. Odelros, A. Kendall, Y. Hedberg-Alm and others

    Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica (2019) 61

    doi: 10.1186/s13028-019-0456-2

    • What did the research find?

    Horses that were diagnosed with idiopathic peritonitis presented with pyrexia (83 per cent), lethargy (80 per cent), anorexia (68 per cent) and abdominal pain (51 per cent). Microbial cultures were performed in 84 per cent of the diagnosed cases, but only 41 per cent of the samples tested were positive. The most commonly isolated bacteria were Actinobacillus species. All horses received antimicrobial therapy, and many responded to treatment with penicillin alone. Ninety-four per cent of horses survived until discharge.

    • How was it conducted?

    Medical records were obtained for 130 Swedish horses diagnosed with peritonitis without an identifiable cause between 2002 and 2017. The diagnosis was based on macroscopically abnormal peritoneal fluid with an elevated nucleated cell count or total protein. Data collected...

    Categories: Journal news

    Treating rheumatoid arthritis in dogs

    18 July 2019

    From my recent experience of the improved treatment available for rheumatoid arthritis in people, it prompts me to wonder whether similar advances have been made in the current rheumatoid arthritis treatment available to animals.

    As a non-practising member of the RCVS, as well as a dog owner, I hold a considerable interest in improvements to treatments for arthritis in dogs and the preventive actions being taken.

    Diagnosed osteoarthritis in ageing patients is common across many species and is progressive despite the use of NSAIDs and analgesics. In cats and dogs, the course of treatment over time may cease to improve health and as a result the quality of life is reduced – in such cases euthanasia is the kindest option.

    Previously, steroids were a common treatment for arthritis in animals and would have improved a patient’s condition; however, long-term side effects were high.

    More recently, improved treatment in people...

    Categories: Journal news

    Treating injured hedgehogs

    18 July 2019

    We would like to thank Lynne Garner for raising the issue of veterinary care for hedgehogs (VR, 13 July 2019, vol 185, p 56) and would agree that this species, along with all British wildlife, does not always receive an acceptable standard of care. Additionally, we also agree that the work of rescue centres – particularly related to native patients returning to the wild – is vital, as their specialised training in wildlife animal care usually falls outside the remit of veterinary professionals.

    All veterinary surgeons should have working knowledge of the hedgehog species

    However, we do not accept the suggestion that a veterinary surgeon – not familiar with dealing with injured hedgehogs – should state that they are unable to help. This will not lead to improved veterinary care for these animals and it certainly does not fulfil our professional obligations. Under the RCVS Code of Professional...

    Categories: Journal news

    Correction: Coccidiosis in sheep

    18 July 2019

    Surveillance : Coccidiosis in sheep (VR, 4 May 2019, pp 549-550). One of the author’s names was given incorrectly. The correct name is Michele Macrelli. The APHA regrets the error.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l4711

    Categories: Journal news

    Trustees sought for Vetlife

    18 July 2019

    Vetlife is a charity that supports the veterinary community through the provision of multiple support services. It is currently seeking trustees, and members of Vetlife are invited to apply to serve on the board of trustees.

    Vetlife is independent from all other veterinary organisations and is managed by a board of 12 elected trustees, all of whom are veterinary surgeons. The charity employs a small team of staff and therefore trustees are frequently asked to undertake operational, as well as strategic, work. The role demands a substantial time commitment – including attendance at four annual board meetings in London. As a trustee you would act as an ambassador for Vetlife and represent the charity within the wider UK veterinary community.

    Vetlife is currently seeking trustees

    At the next annual general meeting (AGM) there will be an election for three trustees. Three of the current trustees are standing for...

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    Death notices

    18 July 2019

    Gardner On 24 June 2019, Robert Thorndike Gardner, BVetMed, MRCVS, of Llanddewi, Powys. Dr Gardner qualified from London in 1970.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l4708

    Kelly On 26 February 2019, Louise Ann Kelly, BA, VetMB, MRCVS, of Caton, Lancashire. Dr Kelly qualified from Cambridge in 2004.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l4709

    Owen On 10 June 2019, Anthony Owen, BVSc, MRCVS, of Bourn, Cambridge. Mr Owen qualified from Liverpool in 1953.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l4710

    Categories: Journal news

    Comparison of postmortem inspection procedures for detecting caseous lymphadenitis of Australian sheep and goats

    11 July 2019

    Alternative postmortem inspection procedures for the detection of gross abnormalities due to Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA) of sheep and goats were compared quantitatively against the current Australian Standard (AS4696). Studies on sheep and goats in Australia during 2016 addressed data gaps regarding current prevalence, combinations of multiple lesions within affected carcases and sensitivity of inspection procedures enabling a comparison of alternative with current procedures. Using these contemporary inspection data from 54 915 sheep and 48 577 goats a desktop study estimated the effect of implementing alternative procedures of reduced palpation from eleven carcase sites to the four sites most commonly affected. Under current procedures it was estimated that 86 sheep and 34 goat carcases with CLA lesions are missed per 10,000 carcases. Under alternative procedures it is estimated that an additional 48.4 sheep and 10.5 goat carcases with CLA lesions would be missed per 10 000 carcases. Of these, 38.2 sheep and 5.6 goat per 10 000 carcases would contain CLA only in routinely discarded, non-edible tissue sites. Hence, only an additional 10.2 sheep and 4.9 goat carcases per 10 000 inspected, with CLA in edible tissue sites are estimated to be missed. These alternative procedures have now been officially implemented in the Australian domestic standard.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    11 July 2019
    Quarantining infected bees reduces foulbrood outbreaks

    B. Locke, M. Low, E. Forsgren

    Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2019) 167, 48–52

    doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.03.023

    • What did the research find?

    Clinical signs of American foulbrood (AFB), caused by Paenibacillus larvae, were not observed after the first year of the management strategy being implemented. During the five years of the study, the proportion of apiaries harbouring P larvae spores decreased from 74 per cent to 4 per cent. The proportion of infected colonies with the highest spore counts disproportionately declined so that, by the end of the study, the only remaining infected apiaries had very low spore counts.

    • How was it conducted?

    The five-year study was conducted within a commercial beekeeping operation in central Sweden that had previously experienced reoccurring AFB outbreaks. Colonies were regularly monitored for clinical signs of AFB, and any affected colonies were burned. Samples were taken from adult bees...

    Categories: Journal news

    Feeding garden birds

    11 July 2019

    The recent report from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)1 presented scientific evidence that providing garden birds with supplementary diets supports and augments the numbers of garden birds in Britain.

    The findings detailed in the BTO study are to be welcomed. For years there has been debate, sometimes a degree of acrimony, regarding the pros and cons of garden bird feeding. The British have long been enjoying the company of birds in their gardens by providing them with food; however, the real pioneer and initial proponent of the practice was the eminent naturalist (and MI5 agent), Maxwell Knight. Knight was a great friend of the veterinary profession and author of the book ‘Bird Gardening. How to Attract Birds’2. Knight emphasised that putting out food for garden birds appeared to cause no harm as it probably did a lot to help birds during the winter months,...

    Categories: Journal news

    Treating injured hedgehogs

    11 July 2019

    I have rescued hedgehogs for approximately 25 years and in that time I have found that a number of veterinary practices provide incorrect information to the public when contacted about a sick or injured hedgehog. I appreciate that the people taking these calls are simply trying to help; however, the wrong advice can be fatal to the hedgehog.

    So, here is my small plea. If you have never dealt with an injured hedgehog in practice or simply don’t know the answer, please refrain for giving advice which may prove harmful to the animal. There is nothing wrong with admitting you are unable to help – after 25 years, I still rely on the expertise and experience of larger rescue centres.

    If you wish to help support the hedgehog, whose population is declining in the UK, then please contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk) who hold a...

    Categories: Journal news

    What price cheap food?

    11 July 2019

    In June I attended a seminar at the University of Glasgow’s veterinary school given by Jim Reynolds of Western University, California, speaking on farm animal welfare.

    He was also the primary subject of a news piece on the Animal Welfare Foundation discussion forum (VR, 15 June 2019, vol 184, p 727), on the same topic.

    In the seminar, I was able to hear a more nuanced view with regard to any national comparisons. However, what did appear from our discussion was that the forces for ‘cheap high-quality animal protein’ is forcing farmers, in the USA, UK and elsewhere, to increase their economies of scale in their livestock management, leading to veterinarians doing their best to mitigate some of the welfare consequences when this goes wrong.

    In my opinion, we are all guilty of not articulating our worries sufficiently and the unpalatable truth is that until the consumer is prepared...

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    Correction: Raising eyebrows over the evolution of puppy dog eyes

    11 July 2019

    News and reports: Raising eyebrows over the evolution of puppy dog eyes (VR, 29 June 2019, vol 184, pp 786-787). An incorrect paper was cited. The correct paper is www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/06/11/1820653116.short. The error is regretted.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l4601

    Categories: Journal news

    Correction: Medicines update

    11 July 2019

    Medicines update (VR, 29 June 2019, vol 184, pp 789-790). In Table 1, the active ingredient for Merial’s Afoxolaner products should have been stated as afoxolaner. The VMD regrets the error.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l4602

    Categories: Journal news

    Changes to meat consumption

    11 July 2019

    I loved seeing the editorial title ‘Is the end of eating meat in sight?’ (VR, 15 June 2019, vol 184, p 725).

    Although I see an endless stream of memes and articles on social media foreseeing the end of the carnivore age (perhaps down to targeted ads), I did not expect to see this in Vet Record.

    What a great read, and just what I was hoping to see acknowledged within the veterinary profession – a positive response to the dietary changes taking place in the wider world.

    Awareness of the climate crisis and animal welfare conditions – as mentioned in ‘US professor slams American farm vets for "not speaking out" on welfare’, a news article in the same issue (p 272) – and the health benefits of a plant-based diet, means an increasing number of people are turning away from meat.

    The profession needs to be open to...

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