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13 February 2020
Categories: Journal news

Still no guarantee on welfare standards

13 February 2020

By Kathryn Clark

The government has again reiterated that it will not undermine the UK’s high animal welfare and environmental standards in pursuit of post-Brexit trade deals, but has stopped short of agreeing to enshrine this commitment in law.

In the House of Lords last week, crossbench veterinary peer Lord Trees asked how the government would safeguard animal welfare and environmental standards when negotiating trade deals on livestock products.

In response, Defra minister of state Lord Goldsmith referred to the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to not compromise on the UK’s high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards in trade negotiations.

He said: ‘We will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure that any future trade deals uphold the standards that farmers and consumers across the UK expect.’

Lord Trees then asked if the government would enshrine in law its manifesto commitment to require imported livestock products to meet...

Categories: Journal news

A Royal opening for Surreys new facilities

13 February 2020

HRH the Princess Royal has officially opened the large animal clinical facilities at Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

The Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities comprise state-of-the art teaching aids and simulation models providing students with the opportunity to refine their practical skills. This experience enables students to reach a high level of confidence and proficiency before working with real animal patients.

As part of the official opening, the Princess Royal toured the vet school where she viewed a demonstration of a new equine gut model developed by the Surrey team, which will help understand more about the gut microbiota of horses and how they are affected by diet, disease and medication. She also observed a postmortem examination of a horse.

Categories: Journal news

Celebrating the top veterinary innovators

13 February 2020

By Suzanne Jarvis

Three finalists – Carol Dobson, Fiona Lovatt and Alastair Mair – have been shortlisted for the Vet Record Innovation Award.

They will now have the opportunity to present their concepts to a judging panel, investors and industry experts at the Animal Health Investment Europe conference later this month, where the winner will be selected.

The aim of the award is to honour excellence and innovation within the veterinary world.

Judges will decide which of the finalists has brought about the most significant change or improvement in veterinary practice

The judges will decide which of the finalists they think has brought about – or has the potential to bring about – the most significant change or improvement in veterinary practice. Each finalist will have just five minutes to make their case.

Dobson’s innovation is VetCard – a combined savings plan, payment plan, debit and credit card...

Categories: Journal news

Coronavirus not to blame for recent supply problems

13 February 2020

The veterinary medicines supply chain appears for the time being to have escaped any possible impact from the coronavirus outbreak in China.

With the human death toll exceeding 1000 as Vet Record went to press, and some cities in lockdown, fears are growing about China’s outward supply chains and the potential impact on the global economy. However, pharmaceutical suppliers say the veterinary medicines market has not been affected.

But vets have been hit by supply problems in recent weeks due to other issues.

Shortages of some supplies of lactating cow intramammary antibiotic preparations – or ‘cow tubes’ – prompted the National Office of Animal Health to publish an advisory letter to cattle vets in this journal last week (VR, 8 February 2020, vol 186, p 160).

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has since listed seven affected products and specified an ‘anticipated resolution date’ of the end of this month for...

Categories: Journal news

Incorporating QI into veterinary practice

13 February 2020

By Adele Waters

Vet professionals are signed up to the concept of quality improvement (QI) to drive up standards of care, but lack of time is the chief reason they don’t implement or use systematic QI approaches.

These are among the main findings drawn from an analysis of the QI landscape across the veterinary sector, conducted last year by consultancy Rand Europe.

It found that, unlike in human healthcare, QI is not embedded into day-to-day veterinary practice and, where it does exist, it is a more informal arrangement.

QI is about reviewing an existing task or process and using a formal and explicit approach to improve it

QI is about reviewing an existing task or process and using a formal and explicit approach to improve it. While lack of know-how and organisational support are significant barriers to vet professionals undertaking QI activity, time pressures are seen as the...

Categories: Journal news

What is the make up of the vet professions today?

13 February 2020

The RCVS last conducted a major demographic survey of the vet professions in 2014 and 2019. Georgina Mills analyses the main findings

Categories: Journal news

In brief

13 February 2020
TB hub relaunched

A website described as the ‘go to’ place for the farming industry to find practical advice and information on dealing with bovine TB has been relaunched following a £25,000 redesign.

The TB hub, a joint industry-government initiative, has grown considerably since it was launched in 2015. The redesign, which was funded by Defra, aims to make the site easier to navigate and information easier to find. The improved site provides additional support on a broad range of issues, including biosecurity measures, TB testing and cattle trading rules.

James Russell, junior vice president of the BVA, said: ‘There are two key groups which the new TB hub aims to help – those who have had a TB breakdown and want to know what will happen next and how to work their way back to a clear herd status, and those who want to protect their herd from...

Categories: Journal news

Erysipelas septicaemia in piglets born to vaccinated gilts

13 February 2020

SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, November 2019

  • Lymphoid leukaemia in a Charolais cross stirk.

  • Suspected salt poisoning/water deprivation in newly housed lambs.

  • Erysipelas septicaemia in piglets born to vaccinated gilts.

  • Valvular endocarditis leading to cardiac failure in an alpaca.

  • Focus on ovine Johne’s disease diagnoses in Scotland between 2005 and 2019.

  • November 2019 was a cold month with the mean temperature 1.4°C below the long-term average. It was unusually dry with only 62 per cent of average rainfall overall, but there was a marked regional split, with eastern areas cloudier and wetter than average, while the west was generally sunnier and much drier than usual.

    CattleGeneralised and systemic conditions

    A group of 125 homebred suckled calves were weaned, housed and introduced to a total mixed ration comprising grass silage, biscuit meal and barley. An intranasal respiratory virus vaccine and autogenous vaccines targeting...

    Categories: Journal news

    Ovine Johnes disease diagnoses in Scotland, 2005-2019

    13 February 2020

    Ovine Johne’s disease is a granulomatous enteritis caused by infiltration of the intestinal tract with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP).

    SRUC VS recorded 837 diagnoses of Johne’s disease in sheep between 2005 and 2019, with wasting being the most common presenting sign. The condition was confirmed in 37 different breeds plus eight crosses.

    The number of diagnoses fluctuates throughout the year with few in the summer months. Peaks in February and September are associated with the investigation of thin ewes that are barren at scanning, and thin ewes that fail to gain condition after weaning.

    Advancing gestation, and seasonal nutritional constraints, may contribute to the higher number of diagnoses in late winter.

    Fig A summarises Johne’s disease diagnoses by age and sex for hill and lowland breeds and illustrates that it should be considered a potential differential diagnosis in all ages of illthriven ewes and tups.

    Just...

    Categories: Journal news

    Welfare issues associated with the transport of cull sows to slaughter

    13 February 2020

    What you need to know

  • Significant variability has been identified in the management of cull sows before transport for slaughter, with some farmers experiencing doubts concerning the fitness for transport of sows with clinical conditions. Veterinary advice on the evaluation of sows’ fitness for transport is, therefore, invaluable.

  • Treatment and care regimens, clinical endpoints and decision trees for cull sows that are not fit for transport should be developed and discussed with clients. It is vital that there is an on-farm euthanasia plan to prevent sows from suffering unnecessarily, with trained personnel available to perform appropriate euthanasia.

  • To reduce the risk of sows suffering from heat stress, it may be advisable to suggest to clients that they pay attention to the weather and provide sows with water during longer waiting periods before pick-up.

  • For production and welfare reasons, pig producers periodically cull a proportion...

    Categories: Journal news

    Significant variation in the management of cull sows before transport for slaughter: results from a survey of Danish pig farmers

    13 February 2020
    Background

    Approximately 50% of sows are slaughtered each year, but management of cull sows is not well described.

    Methods

    We aimed to describe how cull sows are sent to slaughter using a questionnaire survey emailed to 885 Danish pig farmers, including questions about the use of pick-up facilities (either a designated pen used for reasons of biosecurity and practicality, in a special part of the barn, where pigs are kept in the last hours before being loaded onto a commercial truck, or a stationary vehicle kept outside the buildings and used for the same purpose) and evaluation of fitness for transport.

    Results

    A total of 360 farmers answered all questions, constituting a homogeneous group of middle-aged, experienced males. The management of the sows seemed rather variable, for example regarding choice of pick-up facility, its available resources, actions taken when sows were not fit for transport and sow conditions leading to doubt about fitness for transport. Special condition transport was only reported rarely, and rejection of sows due to lack of fitness for transport, by drivers or veterinarians at the slaughterhouse, was only rarely experienced.

    Conclusion

    These findings may be used for formulation of hypotheses for future studies in this area characterised by welfare challenges, potentially leading to science-based recommendations relevant for animal welfare, productivity and biosecurity.

    Categories: Journal news

    Sarcocystis rileyi in UK free-living wildfowl (Anatidae): surveillance, histopathology and first molecular characterisation

    13 February 2020
    Background

    Reports from UK hunters of ‘rice grains’ in muscles of shot wildfowl (Anatidae) coincided temporally with the finding of sarcocystosis in a number of ducks found as part of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust long-term general surveillance of found dead waterbirds. Sarcocystis rileyi has also been relatively recently confirmed in wildfowl in north-eastern Europe.

    Methods

    This study uses four approaches to investigate UK wildfowl sarcocystosis: first, through a hunter questionnaire that captured historical case data; secondly, through an online reporting system; thirdly, DNA sequencing to characterise UK cases; and fourthly, histological myopathy assessment of infected pectoral muscle.

    Results

    Our questionnaire results suggest Sarcocystis infection is widely distributed throughout the UK and observed in 10 Anatidae species, reported cases increased since the 2010/2011 shooting season, with the online reporting system reflecting this increase. DNA sequencing (18S rRNA gene and internal transcribed spacer-1 region) of UK isolates confirmed S rileyi in the five dabbling duck host species tested and the associated histopathological myopathy is described.

    Conclusion

    This work highlights an emerging issue to European wildfowl species and provides much opportunity for further research, including the impacts of S rileyi and the described myopathy on host health, fitness and survival.

    Categories: Journal news

    Contrast-enhanced ultrasound features of hepatocellular carcinoma in dogs

    13 February 2020
    Background

    This study aimed to describe the contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) features of canine hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in relation to cellular differentiation and lesion size.

    Methods

    Sixty dogs with a cytological diagnosis of HCC and that underwent a CEUS examination were retrospectively selected. The wash-in and wash-out patterns of contrast enhancement, along with the time to wash-in and the time to wash-out, of each lesion were recorded. A dimensional cut-off value of 3 cm was adopted for classification.

    Results

    Cellular differentiation had a significant influence on both wash-in (chi-squared=16.99; P<0.001) and wash-out (chi-squared=10.9; P=0.004) patterns of contrast enhancement. Lesion size had a lower, but still significant, influence on both wash-in (chi-squared=12.7; P=0.005) and wash-out (chi-squared=7.42; P=0.024) patterns. A homogeneous hyperenhancement in the arterial phase followed by homogeneous wash-out were suggestive of a well-differentiated HCC. The cellular differentiation of lesions with inhomogeneous hyperenhancement or hypoenhancement/no enhancement as well as an inhomogeneous wash-out or no wash-out could not be inferred.

    Conclusions

    No significant difference in the time to wash-in and the time to wash-out in relation to cellular differentiation or lesion size was evident. CEUS has the potential to improve efficiency in the diagnosis of HCCs in dogs.

    Categories: Journal news

    Comparing wound complications associated with midline and flank approaches for spaying cats

    13 February 2020

    Bottom line

  • There is no evidence that either a flank or midline approach for spaying cats is consistently associated with more wound complications, and, overall, complication rates appear to be low.

  • Clinical scenario

    Miss Tabby brings you a colony of feral cats she has trapped in her garden to be neutered. The cats cannot be handled and will be monitored postoperatively by visual inspection from at least 10 feet away. She asks you if they can be spayed via a flank approach so that she will be able to see the incision site more easily.

    However, as the cats can only be monitored from a distance, and re-trapping after surgery would be difficult, any postoperative complications would be very difficult to address and could potentially pose a serious welfare concern. You wonder if using a flank approach would lead to more postoperative wound complications than a...

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    13 February 2020
    Anxious rabbits are more likely to have intraoperative apnoea

    C. Krall, S. Glass, G. Dancourt and others

    Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2019) 221

    doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2019.104875

    • What did the research find?

    Nine of the 31 rabbits in this study exhibited behavioural signs of anxiety. These rabbits were significantly more likely to experience intraoperative apnoea (P=0.01) than rabbits that did not exhibit behavioural signs of anxiety. Anxious rabbits also tended to have a higher heart rate and greater cardiac instability during anaesthesia. In addition, irrespective of anxiety, rabbits that experienced preoperative apnoea were found to be significantly more difficult to intubate (P=0.001).

    • How was it conducted?

    A total of 31 singly-housed female rabbits that were scheduled for a brief experimental ophthalmic surgery were included in this study. Before surgery, the rabbits were assessed for anxiety using behavioural observations and a modified intruder test – both of which were performed...

    Categories: Journal news

    Prolific vomiting in dogs

    13 February 2020

    Vomiting is a frequent reason why dogs are brought to the veterinary practice, and it is often mild and self-limiting.1 However, recently the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) has become aware of reports from veterinary surgeons of acute-onset prolific vomiting in dogs in various parts of the UK. We are working to investigate this potential outbreak.

    Affected dogs are described as vomiting prolifically (five or more episodes in a 12-hour period) with prolonged lethargy and inappetence, and they can sometimes have diarrhoea. Affected dogs usually make a full recovery with routine symptomatic veterinary therapy. There is no known risk to people or other animals, including cats. There is some anecdotal evidence that affected dogs can transmit the disease to other dogs with which they have close contact. Therefore, it makes sense for owners and vets to handle suspect cases carefully, and limit contact between affected and...

    Categories: Journal news

    Bovine TB in Dyfed

    13 February 2020

    According to the AHPA’s response to a Freedom of Information request, 8995 cattle TB reactors from farms in Dyfed were slaughtered during 2018 and up to the end of June 2019 (VR, 25 January 2020, vol 186, p 81). Only six (0.067%) were found to have TB lung lesions postmortem, while 1019 (11.3%) showed other lesions. It is not clear if all reactors were examined postmortem, or how comprehensibly. Neither the location of lesions within lungs nor the sites of ‘other lesions’ are specified. Nor is there reference to results of mycobacterial culture of specimens confirming Mycobacterium bovis infection.

    Bovine TB (bTB) lung lesions in cattle can result from M bovis being orally ingested or inhaled. Lesions in anterior lobes indicate blood borne infection via lymph from gut mucosa; those in diaphragmatic lobes from inhaled infection.1 The former can progress to resemble the latter.1

    Postmortem...

    Categories: Journal news

    Corrections: Wales criticised for its bovine TB approach

    13 February 2020

    NEWS & REPORTS: Wales criticised for its bovine TB approach (VR, 25 January 2020, vol 186, p 81). It was stated that Labour currently governs alone in Wales, whereas Labour currently governs in Wales in a minority coalition with the sole remaining Liberal Democrat in the Welsh Assembly, Kirsty Williams, and an independent assembly member, Dafydd Elis-Thomas. The article also stated that, of 8995 reactors from farms in Dyfed that were slaughtered during breakdowns, six cattle were found to have TB lung lesions postmortem, and that this equated to ‘0.6 per cent’ of that total. The correct percentage is 0.067 per cent. The errors are regretted.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.m271

    Categories: Journal news

    The profession has a duty to support its farmers

    13 February 2020

    I was filled with great shame after reading the article ‘Climate change: "no get out of jail free card"’ by Pete Smith and Andrew Balmford (VR, 18 January 2020, vol 186, p 71).

    The veterinary profession has evolved in harmony with the agriculture sector. Since the very beginning, vets have built their livelihoods based on the trust bestowed upon them by farmers, to support farmers in their efforts for healthy livestock and a sustainable future. In the 21st century, those of us working in the farm sector still pride ourselves on the strength of the relationships we develop with our farm clients. Many clients, who we work alongside daily, become lifelong friends and mutual confidants. I wonder what they would make of this blame-ridden article.

    With Veganuary growing every year and TV programmes misrepresenting British farming in the most infuriatingly biased broadcasts, livestock farmers have become the nations’ favourite...

    Categories: Journal news