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Updated: 14 min 48 sec ago

Where did SARS-CoV-2 come from?

27 February 2020

AT the end of 2019, a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was discovered in Wuhan city, Hubei province, central China.1 Due to the close genetic relationship with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV), it was renamed as SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Since the first case report in China, SARS-CoV-2 has, at the time of writing, also been reported in 28 other countries. Up to 22 February 2020, 76,396 case of infection and 2348 deaths have been reported, and continue to increase in China.2

SARS-CoV-2 might have originated from animals

The initial case report suggested that SARS-CoV-2 had transmission potential from animal to human.3 On 7 February 2020, a study suggested that the pangolin was a potential intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2.4 It further indicated that SARS-CoV-2 might have originated from animals.

In recent years, using an One...

Categories: Journal news

Is there a need for the term One Health?

27 February 2020

Am I alone in considering the constant repetition of the term ‘One Health’ in veterinary journals, publications and lectures to be both tedious and superfluous? Many of us have worked for years with members of the medical profession and/or linked our animal health and welfare responsibilities with concerns for the environment and wider global issues. Such a holistic approach has always been a feature of veterinary work in the tropics, as reference to older textbooks and publications (including many in Vet Record) will testify.

Claiming that a project is based on One Health principles may sound innovative and forward-looking – and perhaps prove useful in attracting funding. However, it does not recognise the fact that others have actually practised over the years what is, in effect, comparative medicine without feeling the need to give it a new label.

Categories: Journal news

Include animals in mental wellbeing

27 February 2020

I was encouraged to read the feature article ‘One Health: embedding it into your work’ (VR, 2 November 2019, vol 185, pp 526-527). It is a significant paradigm shift and corrective to the long historical legacy of anthropocentric medicine.

But I was surprised to not see any animal issues mentioned under the mental health and wellbeing section. The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative is helpful to the profession but the evident mental suffering of animals1 in many situations ought to be included from a One Health perspective.

Concerns over animals’ quality of life certainly affects the mental health of many involved who are trying to make a difference

Also, concerns over animals’ quality of life certainly affects the mental health of many involved who are trying to make a difference.

An overarching One Health principle, first proposed by oncology professor Van Rensselaer Potter, is founded on bioethics....

Categories: Journal news

Death notices

27 February 2020

Law On 16 February 2020, James Brown Law, BVMS, MRCVS, of Lanark, South Lanarkshire. Mr Law qualified from Glasgow in 1957.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m741

Phillips On 15 January 2020, James Edwin Phillips, BSc, DVM&S, MRCVS, of Edinburgh. Dr Phillips qualified from Edinburgh in 1948.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m730

Categories: Journal news

Tackling climate change by planting trees

27 February 2020

The UK needs to step up its tree-planting efforts to make a dent on climate change. Here, Keith Powell suggests that vets could bring clients together to provide the money and land for such projects.

Categories: Journal news

Robert Michael Ordidge

27 February 2020

An equine practitioner with a special interest in surgery, who enjoyed learning and keeping up to date. His interest in photography evolved from taking veterinary images to capturing stunning images of wildlife.

Categories: Journal news

Christopher James House

27 February 2020

Chris’ permanent smile revealed his enthusiasm at being a vet. He enjoyed being a ‘coalface’ practitioner as much his roles working with a range of equine organisations.

Categories: Journal news

Getting Vetfit

27 February 2020

Vet student Holly Sutton has found that exercise helps her mental and physical health, as well as giving her resilience and the strength to overcome worries and uncertainties.

Categories: Journal news

Diary of a parliamentary intern

27 February 2020

Parliamentary intern Catrina Prince considers what this year might bring.

Categories: Journal news

Why hide compassion?

27 February 2020

The RCVS is a regulator. Its duty is to protect public interest and safeguard animal health and welfare.

However, in recent years the college has also taken an interest in the wellbeing of vets and vet nurses – understandably, given concern about mental ill health.

It has consistently emphasised its desire not merely to regulate but to do so with compassion.

Hence the college’s introduction of innovations like the health protocol, whereby ‘out of court’ interventions can be used in certain cases where health problems, such as mental health issues, might affect individuals’ fitness to practise.

The health protocol allows for the management of some vets and vet nurses via a ‘supportive framework’ to oversee remedial steps. As such, it is an acknowledgment of the need to balance the college’s duty to the public with its duty to vet professionals.

Its introduction was a sensible, proportionate step, as well...

Categories: Journal news

Review recommends Scottish vet service

27 February 2020

By Josh Loeb and Georgina Mills

A Scotland-specific veterinary service could be set up amid concern that, as an executive agency of Defra, the APHA is too focussed on England.

The move – which insiders insist is not related to the governing Scottish National Party’s drive for independence – could set up an APHA rival north of the border.

The Scottish government is set to carry out a scoping exercise after the idea was proposed by Scotland’s former chief vet Charles Milne.

In a report released earlier this month, Milne concluded that the idea of a new Scottish veterinary agency, provisionally called the Scottish Veterinary Service (SVS), constituted an ‘exciting opportunity’.

Currently in Scotland the APHA’s functions are limited to animal health and welfare operations – this includes maintaining the infrastructure for dealing with notifiable diseases and surveillance for bovine TB (bTB). Since devolution in 2000, all policy and...

Categories: Journal news

News section PDF

27 February 2020
Categories: Journal news

{pound}70K - the cost of a minor disciplinary case

27 February 2020

By Josh Loeb

The RCVS spent hundreds of thousands of pounds dealing with minor cases against vets and vet nurses last year, an analysis by Vet Record suggests.

The money, estimated to be in excess of £620,000, was spent managing less serious cases such as minor convictions, failing to pay indemnity insurance and social media gaffes.

The figure is a rough estimate based on available college data (see box for full methodology).

The number of disciplinary hearings – which have an average cost of £47,000 – has been rising during the past five years, from eight in 2015 to 21 in 2019.

Charter cases have been rising year on year

Our analysis shows the number of minor cases – also known as charter cases – has also been rising, up from three in 2015 to nine in 2019, with an average cost of £70,000 (the best estimate based...

Categories: Journal news

Reassurance on use of reflective CPD notes

27 February 2020

By Josh Loeb

Written records containing vets’ personal reflections on their professional development will not be used against them by the RCVS, the college has made clear.

Its detailed assurances followed uncertainty outlined by the Veterinary Defence Society (VDS) about how the newly constituted continuing professional development (CPD) system for vets and vet nurses will operate.

In an email to Vet Record, the VDS said that it was not yet clear exactly how the new system would operate. It predicted some concerns among vets and pledged to monitor the situation before offering advice.

The RCVS CPD system was recently updated to include a reflective element for the first time (see VR, 4/11 January 2020, vol 186, p 5).

Some vets have since raised the prospect that vets’ private reflections could be leveraged against them in disciplinary hearings or court cases. Their disquiet mirrors concerns that have arisen among some...

Categories: Journal news

'Explore all options before castrating young rams

27 February 2020

Castration of ram lambs should be carried out only when there are no suitable alternative options available, the BVA has said.

In a new position statement launched this week, the association, in collaboration with the Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS), said that, in the absence of licensed local anaesthesia and analgesia products in the UK, efforts should be made to reduce the need for painful husbandry procedures, such as castration and tail-docking.

The organisations say that, to reduce the need for castration, farmers and vets should work closely and tailor their farm animal health and welfare plans where possible, to focus on getting the male flock to reach slaughter weight before sexual maturity and on preventive measures to separate young rams and ewes.

Castration has always been considered the go-to husbandry procedure to avoid unwanted pregnancies, ram taint (the tainting of meat which can cause an unpleasant taste) and aggressive...

Categories: Journal news

Vet students struggle to make ends meet

27 February 2020

By Georgina Mills

Almost half of vet students feel they have less money than they need for living expenses and one-third have a part-time job to help them cover costs, new research has found.

The findings come from the latest BVA/Association of Veterinary Students (AVS) survey, published last week. The survey aims to determine the issues and concerns of the current veterinary student body as the upcoming recent graduate professionals.

A total of 46 per cent of students stated that they usually had less money than they needed – with an average shortfall of £2000 per year – and one-third of students rely on a part-time job to help them with their living expenses. The number of students with a part-time job has increased by 8 per cent since the last survey in 2016.

Financial worries are also triggering mental health and wellbeing issues in vet students. Over two-thirds...

Categories: Journal news

Celebrating diversity and inclusion at Nottingham

27 February 2020

Staff and students from the University of Nottingham’s vet school have supported the unveiling of a new rainbow ‘zebra’ crossing, in support of its LGBT+ community.

The monochromatic zebra crossing has been given a colourful makeover by the university at its three UK campuses, to foster a welcoming atmosphere, demonstrate its strong commitment to inclusivity and celebrate the diversity of all its staff and students. The new crossings were launched to coincide with LGBT History Month, which takes place in February.

At the Sutton Bonington campus, students and staff from the vet school were joined by some four-legged friends last week to mark the occasion. The crossings feature the colours of the Pride flag, with the additional inclusion of black and brown stripes to recognise the intersectional relationship between the LGBT+ and black and multiethnic communities.

Ditching the monochrome: (from left) Hattie Foster, third-year student; James...

Categories: Journal news

Do birds need to fly?

27 February 2020

Josh Loeb and Alice Roberts report on new research that is aiming to assess whether preventing birds from flying in captivity is a welfare concern

Categories: Journal news

In brief

27 February 2020
Grant available for mental health research

Applications are now open for the 2020 RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant.

The grant, named after a former RCVS council member who passed away in 2017, is worth £20,000 and is awarded to fund research that focuses on mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary professions, including areas such as prevention, diagnosis, intervention and treatment.

Applications for the grant are welcome from individuals at all stages of their research careers, including those who have not previously been published. Researchers must be affiliated with a university and ethical approval must be in place.

The deadline for proposals is 30 April and applicants should send them to MMI officer Rachel Pascoe at

Last year’s inaugural grant was awarded to Scotland’s Rural College. Kate Stephen, a behavioural scientist at the college’s epidemiology research unit, is leading a...

Categories: Journal news

Equine disease surveillance: quarterly update

27 February 2020

Equine disease surveillance headlines

  • Outbreak of neurological equine herpesvirus in the UK

  • Summary of UK disease surveillance for October to December 2019

  • Focus on equine infectious disease surveillance initiatives in the UK

  • Neurological equine herpesvirus outbreak

    On 7 January 2020, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) confirmed a case of equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) neurological disease on a premises in Hampshire. The disease report was released through the International Collating Centre (ICC).

    The affected horse was an unvaccinated thoroughbred cross mare that presented with pyrexia, lethargy, inappetence, lymphadenopathy, limb oedema and ataxia. The horse was subsequently euthanased after becoming recumbent.

    The decision-making process for confirming or ruling out cases of EHV-1 neurological disease is illustrated in Box 1 on p 238.

    Box 1:Decision making for confirming a case of EHV-1 neurological disease

    * The CF test is a serological test, measuring antibody...

    Categories: Journal news