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What about equine movement in a no-deal?

28 February 2019

Defra last week published fresh guidance on the movement of equids in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The guidance suggests it would be relatively straightforward for racehorses from EU member states to enter the UK to compete at major horseracing events such as the Grand National, but going home could become much more complicated.

This is because the UK has already committed to allowing continued movement of all equine animals from EU member states to support the industries that rely on horseracing, but the EU has not yet reciprocated.

Animal welfare minister David Rutley said that delivering a negotiated deal remained the government’s ‘top priority’ but that Whitehall was preparing for all scenarios, including no deal.

It is in the interest of the EU to reciprocate our commitment on the movement of horses

He added that ‘it is in the interest of the EU to reciprocate our...

Categories: Journal news

'Sheep farming needs to evolve post-Brexit

28 February 2019

By Josh Loeb

Farmers look set to be handed emergency subsidies to stop a mass cull of sheep in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Vet Record understands.

Defra has not explicitly confirmed the plan but has dropped hints that it would provide direct cash payments to protect the most vulnerable sectors, including sheep farming.

National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker said agriculture minister George Eustice had also given him a personal pledge.

He said Eustice had given ‘as strong a commitment as he could have done’ that Whitehall intends to provide financial support to tide farmers over in the event that a no-deal Brexit leads to a market crash.

Stocker praised this as a ‘huge breakthrough’ that gave farmers ‘confidence that we can enter this lambing period with a greater level of assurance than was previously the case’.

The length of any subsidy is expected to be...

Categories: Journal news

Top dairy vet is the creme de la creme

28 February 2019

Colin Buchan from Avondale Veterinary Group in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, has been awarded the ‘Dairy Vet of the Year’ award.

Buchan (pictured left) is the clinical director at Avondale Vets and his contribution was recognised at this year’s Cream Awards, which is specifically aimed at the dairy industry.

The judges noted his commitment to the profession, especially his ‘endeavour to get farms to look at presentation and not just fire-fighting as a strategy’. They felt strongly that Buchan really cared for his customers, for the animals and his colleagues at Avondale Vets and beyond.

Buchan said: ‘I owe this to so many people – my colleagues (past and present), my wife and family, and especially my clients who I genuinely think are the best in the country.

‘For me it is their enthusiasm to improve and trust in their vets that drives me forwards each day as a practitioner.’

Categories: Journal news

Is Wales ready for the reintroduction of eagles?

28 February 2019

Georgina Mills discusses research on Wales’ suitability as the home for golden and white-tailed eagles.

Categories: Journal news

In brief

28 February 2019
Scottie dog numbers fall to new low

The Scottish terrier has entered the Kennel Club’s list of ‘at watch’ dog breeds for the first time.

The breed has declined by 38 per cent in the past five years and only 438 dogs were registered with the Kennel Club in 2018, according to new registration statistics.

British and Irish breeds with fewer than 300 puppy registrations per year are entered onto the vulnerable breeds list and those with 300 to 450 registrations are closely monitored and put on the at watch list.

The old English sheepdog plummeted to its lowest ever level in 2018, with just 318 registrations, while the bearded collie and Irish wolfhound have re-entered the Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable breeds after hitting historic lows of 274 and 239 registrations, respectively.

The Irish red and white setter is another breed that has reached its lowest level since...

Categories: Journal news

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, February 2019

28 February 2019

APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Histophilus somni and other bacterial causes of pneumonia in cattle

  • Ovine pulmonary adenomatosis

  • Bracken poisoning in pigs

  • Causes of death in European brown hares

  • Differential diagnosis in negated cases of avian notifiable disease

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattleHistophilus somni infection

    In England and Wales, pneumonia associated with Histophilus somni infection is not uncommonly diagnosed by the APHA and its partner postmortem providers, although Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida and Mycoplasma bovis are the most prevalent bacterial causes (Fig 1).

    The APHA Thirsk Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC) reported two outbreaks of H somni pneumonia. Both were in fattening calves that had been bought in, in one case four months previously, while in the second herd the calves had been on the farm for six weeks.

    Postmortem examination of one calf from each herd, aged between four...

    Categories: Journal news

    Differential diagnosis of negated avian notifiable disease cases in Great Britain

    28 February 2019

    This focus article has been prepared by David Welchman, veterinary lead of the APHA Avian Expert Group, Rowena Hansen, veterinary lead for avian virology at APHA Weybridge, and Alex Schock, team leader of the diagnostic and consultant avian pathology services at APHA Lasswade

    Categories: Journal news

    Encouraging responsible dog ownership in Africa

    28 February 2019

    According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, responsible pet ownership entails 14 key responsibilities, one of which is recognising that owning a pet requires the investment of both time and money.1 Many studies have recognised that responsible dog ownership is key in the fight against rabies.2-5 To successfully eliminate rabies, it is vital to ensure that a sufficiently high proportion of dogs are vaccinated, and responsible dog owners are more willing to pay for rabies vaccinations.6-9

    A study by Mazeri and colleagues, summarised on p 281 of this issue of Vet Record, investigated the sociodemographic factors that predict low private rabies vaccination coverage in dogs in Blantyre, Malawi.10 Of the dogs recorded in this study, 99 per cent were owned, but only 3 per cent had been vaccinated independently at a private clinic. The study found that...

    Categories: Journal news

    Sociodemographic factors which predict low private rabies vaccination coverage in dogs in Blantyre, Malawi

    28 February 2019

    Although rabies kills approximately 60,000 people globally every year, vaccination of over 70 per cent of the canine population has been shown to eliminate the disease in both dogs and human beings. In some rabies endemic countries, owners are able to vaccinate their dogs through private veterinary clinics. However, uptake of dog vaccinations through private veterinary clinics is often low in many rabies endemic countries. In this study, the authors examined the sociodemographic factors which predicted low private rabies vaccination coverage in Blantyre, Malawi. Data on 23,205 dogs were recorded during a door-to-door rabies vaccination programme in 2016. A multivariable logistic regression model was built to identify factors associated with private rabies vaccination. Negative predictors of private vaccination included increasing poverty levels, higher housing densities, male dogs, pregnant or lactating dogs, and puppies and dogs allowed to roam. In contrast, neutered and healthy dogs had greater odds of being privately vaccinated. The present study demonstrated that low private rabies vaccination coverage can be accurately predicted by sociodemographic factors. This information may help inform public health interventions which deliver mass vaccination programmes in rabies endemic countries.

    Categories: Journal news

    Survey of husbandry practices for bovidae in zoos: the importance of parasite management for reintroduction programmes

    28 February 2019

    Animals from zoological institutions may be used for reintroductions. These individuals are considered healthy, but they are not necessarily free of parasites, despite the minimum husbandry standards required of zoological institutions as described in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria guidelines. In this sense, parasitism has been identified as the cause of failure, or has added difficulties, in some reintroduction programmes. Here the authors attempt to summarise the risk of parasitism to animals originating from zoological institutions by analysing a questionnaire about parasite prevalence, sampling methods, treatment and control in three ungulates in European zoos. Completed questionnaires were received from 38 institutions (58.5 per cent response rate). Most of the responding institutions (97 per cent) detected the eggs of endoparasites in faeces, but only one reported ectoparasites. Most institutions followed a similar preventive schedule, with ivermectin as the preferred prophylactic treatment for parasites, commonly administered in food every six months. The frequent use of concentrating flotation techniques as the sole method to evaluate the presence of parasite eggs in faecal samples is not recommended because it fails to detect trematode and lung nematode infections, so it would be better to use flotation techniques together with sedimentation procedures or serological and molecular tests. The results suggest that parasite control in zoological institutions can be complicated, indicating the need to implement a specific management schedule for institutions involved in reintroduction projects.

    Categories: Journal news

    Standard operating procedure reduces interoperator variation and improves accuracy when measuring packed cell volume

    28 February 2019

    To evaluate whether a standard operating procedure (SOP) for canine packed cell volume (PCV) measurement reduces operator-dependent variation and improves accuracy within a veterinary teaching hospital environment.

    Materials and methods

    Clinical staff and final-year undergraduate veterinary students were recruited to perform PCV measurements in blinded duplicate samples. Participants were randomly allocated to perform this with or without an SOP. Participants’ results were compared against a reference, generated by the authors following the World Health Organization guidelines.


    The study population comprised 18 clinical staff and 39 students. Three clinical staff and seven students displayed errors consistent with inaccurate reading, only one of whom had access to the SOP. Five students and two clinical staff had errors attributable to incorrect preparation, with only one having access to the SOP. Interoperator variation was significantly less using the SOP. Using the SOP, 95 per cent of the results were within 0.0125 l/l of the reference value, in comparison with within 0.09 l/l without SOP. Interoperator variation was significantly less in the SOP group (P=0.0025).

    Clinical significance

    Using the SOP resulted in less variation and more accurate results. This confirms that PCV measurement with an SOP can truly be a ‘waived’ test.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    28 February 2019
    Validating a respiratory function grading scheme for brachycephalic dogs

    J. Riggs, N. Liu, D. R. Sutton and others

    Veterinary Surgery (2019)

    doi: 10.1111/vsu.13159

    • What did the research find?

    The sensitivity of clinical examination for brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) diagnosis was 56.7 per cent at rest, 70 per cent after a five-minute walk test and 93.3 per cent after a three-minute trot test. The sensitivity of laryngeal stridor as a predictor of laryngeal collapse was improved after exercise.

    • How was it conducted?

    Clinical examinations were performed on 44 client-owned brachycephalic dogs at rest and after five-minute walk and three-minute trot tests. A grade from 0 to 3, reflective of BOAS severity, was then assigned. Whole-body barometric plethysmography (WBBP) was used as a comparative, objective measure of disease severity. In the second part of the study, the degree of laryngeal collapse present in 57 dogs undergoing BOAS surgery...

    Categories: Journal news

    Tuberculin testing of newly calved cows

    28 February 2019

    In 1946, it was reported that seven of 20 Mycobacterium bovis-infected cows did not give a positive response to intradermal tuberculin testing immediately after calving;1,2 tuberculin reactivity did not return until four to six weeks after calving.

    Cows give birth to calves at approximately yearly intervals. In many herds, autumn/winter calving, housing and annual tuberculin testing take place over this concentrated autumn/winter period. When I was a local veterinary inspector in the 1960s, I wondered if an infected cow could remain undetected over years if her annual calving and annual testing approximately coincided. I voiced my concern to the divisional Ministry of Agriculture but they were not worried. There was no presenting problem and testing strategy was very successful.

    The 1946 findings are still being quoted internationally,3,4 with the inference that the phenomenon is recognised, but no additional research is mentioned.

    Categories: Journal news

    Promoting a proactive approach to tackling bovine TB

    28 February 2019

    I am writing to congratulate Keith Cutler on his great letter in Vet Record (VR, 23 February 2019, vol 184, pp 258-259), and to ask our fellow clinicians to embrace his thinking and promote TB disease control along the first principles of basic disease control that we were all taught at college.

    I have always felt that we should try to be proactive rather than reactive, but unfortunately this is not always a view shared by our farmers.

    This was notably seen when Sarah Tomlinson wrote a forward-thinking piece in the NFU’s magazine British Farmer and Grower asking farmers to take ownership of the disease and treat it like funded disease control.1 The piece was written to stimulate a thought process, but I think the overwhelming conclusion was that it backfired, as the farmers who trolled her over social media felt that they did not have control...

    Categories: Journal news

    Excessive locum fees?

    28 February 2019

    On reading your editorial and news story on the current finances of CVS (VR, 2 February 2019, vol 184, pp 133, 137), I am surprised that £300 per shift for a locum vet is considered excessive.

    Most veterinary shifts are 10 hours long, often with an expectation that overtime may be necessary for any late emergencies; even transferring or referring these on takes time. Locum income has no provision for holiday pay, sick pay, RCVS fees, CPD allowance or other professional subscriptions, or for pension contributions. Locums may be travelling considerable distances to work, or be expected to stay in practice accommodation away from home. So £30/hour seems a reasonable fee, especially in comparison with other professions and, indeed, with skilled trades.

    My understanding is that the government is unlikely to put vets on the Shortage Occupation List without evidence of salary inflation – this seems a reasonable approach....

    Categories: Journal news

    Looking after interns and residents

    28 February 2019

    We read with empathy the experience of Anon regarding internships and residencies (VR, 19 January 2019, vol 184, p 99). We are all current or previous farm animal interns or residents with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in association with Synergy Farm Health in Dorset, and we wish to share our experiences.

    Twelve interns have completed the junior clinical training scholarship (JCTS) that Synergy has been running for new and recent graduates in association with the RVC since 2011. The practice has also hosted one resident of the European College of Small Ruminant Health Management. Synergy has 33 vets and interns are taken on full time and placed under the supervision of senior vets, including recognised specialists, at the practice.

    Interns have the same working hours as senior vets and assist on fertility routines, in addition to having their own expanding caseload. They are also placed on an...

    Categories: Journal news

    Small animal vets needed for mental health research

    28 February 2019

    We are writing to ask practising small animal veterinary surgeons to helpus further our understanding of factors which influence their mental health by completing a survey for a new research project by the University of Southampton.

    Mental health . . . is currently an under-researched area

    Mental health has consequences for the individual vet and the veterinary profession as a whole and is currently an under-researched area. This piece of work has been approved by the University of Southampton’s ethics board (ethics ID 47600) and we have already notified both the BSAVA and BVA of this work, the latter noting that it is both an interesting and potentially useful project. We hope you can help and thank you in anticipation.

    Please be assured that all data collected will be anonymous. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and can be accessed at: It is available...

    Categories: Journal news

    Locomotion scoring in dairy cows

    28 February 2019

    I read with interest the recent research paper on locomotion scoring of dairy cows by Volkmann and others,1 which was summarised in the 16 February issue of Vet Record. As Lambertz commented in the associated research comment (VR, 16 February 2019, vol 184, pp 218-219), locomotion scoring is an issue that has been debated for a long time (to my knowledge almost 50 years), with a plethora of different descriptors now being reported in the literature.

    As he pointed out, the difficulty, whichever system is used, remains the same – just where does one draw the line when deciding whether to investigate the lameness further, and in particular lift the leg and examine the foot closely? As Lambertz discusses, this needs more objective methodologies, whether through the use of video analysis, accelerometers or force plate measurements, or even a combination of these. So far these technologies have...

    Categories: Journal news

    Death notice

    28 February 2019

    Aitken On 5 February 2019, Ian Douglas Aitken, OBE, BVMS, PhD, CBiol FSB, DVM&S, DUniv, FRAgS, Hon DipECSRHM, Hon FRZSS, MRCVS, Emeritus Professor, of Edinburgh. Professor Aitken qualified from Glasgow in 1957.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l893

    Categories: Journal news

    Hi-vis jackets - the antidote to panda love

    28 February 2019

    What’s the collective noun for a group of pandas?

    Now, I’ve sat in the Mastermind black chair, taken five Eggheads to a tie break and been chased penniless from a TV studio by the Governess and Bradley Walsh, but, trust me, there’s nothing more embarrassing than fluffing an animal question in your local pub quiz. After all, vets are meant to know all things animal, aren’t they?

    A wrong answer means you’ll have more in common with the cuddly black and whites than you realise – for a group of pandas is an ‘embarrassment’.

    Intriguingly, Edinburgh zoo has been trying to encourage their resident pandas, Sunshine (Yang Guang) and Sweetie (Tián Tián), to breed and produce a baby panda for seven years.

    On loan to the zoo, there’s a certain urgency about this particular ursine love match, as the pair are due to return home to China in 2021.

    Categories: Journal news