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'Engage with clients on BVD, says Boehringer

7 June 2019

Veterinary recommendation is one of the main reasons dairy producers vaccinate their stock against bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) virus.

That was one of the conclusions from the latest BVD survey, which is carried out by Boehringer Ingelheim every year.

Fifty-three per cent of dairy producers in England who responded to the survey said that veterinary recommendation was the main reason for vaccinating against BVD, with 42 per cent of Scottish farmers, 48 per cent of Northern Irish farmers and 38 per cent of Welsh farmers stating the same.

Boehringer’s Matt Yarnell, who coordinated the survey, said: ‘Reliance on veterinary input for this decision shows how valuable client discussion and guidance is.’

In other areas of BVD control, vet input could be extremely useful, he said, explaining that too many producers were holding onto persistently infected (PI) animals.

The survey found that while 43 per cent of...

Categories: Journal news

Clarity needed on Shortage Occupation List

7 June 2019

By Matthew Limb

Vet leaders want ministers to confirm soon that they will implement the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC’s) proposal to restore vets to the Shortage Occupation List to ease staff shortages.

Last week, the MAC recommended vets should be added to the list because of the difficulty filling such roles (VR, 1 June 2019, vol 184, p 660)

A BVA spokesperson said: ‘We don’t know timeframes yet for when the Home Office will make a decision on whether to accept the MAC’s recommendations (which they tend to do). But we think implementation would be in the autumn, depending on what happens in the next few months.’

The Home Office has said only that it will carefully consider the committee’s report and ‘respond in due course’.

Some have voiced concerns given that the MAC’s recommendations are only applicable under the current immigration system while EU free movement remains.


Categories: Journal news

New diagnostic test in development for sheep scab

7 June 2019

Scientists are working to bring to market a new rapid diagnostic test to combat sheep scab.

They say quicker diagnosis would allow for early interventions and treatments that would reduce spread of the disease.

The Moredun Research Institute and Global DX, a developer of point-of-care veterinary diagnostic tests, are collaborating to develop and validate the test.

They aim to enable vets to rapidly diagnose sheep scab infestation before the appearance of clinical signs and without the need to send blood samples to a laboratory for analysis.

Sheep scab, which is caused by infestation with the parasitic mite Psoroptes ovis, is a significant welfare problem and impacts on the productivity of sheep farms.

The disease is notifiable in Scotland, where Moredun is based.

During the early stages, infestations are not obvious and animals often appear clinically normal.

This subclinical stage can last for several weeks, during which time animals can...

Categories: Journal news

How feeding garden birds has changed the pecking order

7 June 2019

Bird feeding in gardens has increased over the past 40 years and, as Georgina Mills explains, this has had a huge impact on the diversity of birds visiting UK gardens

Categories: Journal news

In brief

7 June 2019
‘Euthanasia is a dignified end’

Performing gentle humane euthanasia is a defining experience for a small animal vet and is the source of the most heartwarming feedback from clients, wrote BVA past president Robin Hargreaves (pictured) in a letter to The Guardian last week.

His letter was a response to an article by journalist Chas Newkey-Burde entitled ‘How can we say we love our pets when we treat them so badly?’. In it, Newkey-Burde discussed circuses with wild animals, soaring demand for popular dog breeds and euthanasia for convenience rather than a medical reason.

Gene-edited chicken cells resist bird flu virus in the lab

Scientists have used gene-editing techniques to stop the bird flu virus from spreading in chicken cells grown in the lab, raising the possibility of producing gene-edited chickens that are resistant to the disease.

Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin...

Categories: Journal news

Submersible fish farm focuses on welfare

7 June 2019

The first-ever remote-controlled submersible salmon farm is to be located in the Norwegian Sea. The new concept is expected to boost Norway’s salmon production, while ensuring high standards of safety and quality – it will be in place by the third quarter of 2020.

According to a 2018 report by Research and Markets, the global market volume for salmon will hit 4.5 million tons by 2023. To meet demand, Arctic Offshore Farming looked for ways to farm fish in a more sustainable manner. It says that submerged fish pens are less prone to sea lice, which have been linked to a decline in salmon production.

The pens will be remotely controlled by a feed barge located 400 metres away. This will ensure fish welfare, traceability and food safety by reducing the need for human intervention, as well as cutting fuel and electricity consumption, it says.

Despite being more vulnerable...

Categories: Journal news

Veterinary Products

7 June 2019

Virbac has launched three new 3D training modules on equine worming, covering worming broodmares and foals, spring and summer worming and winter worming, which are Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority-approved. A total of 20 AMTRA CPD points are available. The webinars can be accessed on demand at

Barco Uniforms says its scrubs now feature antistatic properties, releasing animal hair quickly from the surface of the fabric. They also feature four-way stretch for comfort have moisture-wicking properties and a temperature-regulating component. Barco One scrubs are also made using recycled plastic bottles, says the company.

Categories: Journal news

Financial support for implant firm

7 June 2019

A Liverpool-Based firm that specialises in companion animal implants has secured investment from the government-backed Made Smarter pilot scheme for companies in the north west.

Fusion Implants specialises in the design, development and manufacture of veterinary implants and instrumentation. It is one of nine companies to benefit from the scheme, which aims to boost UK manufacturing productivity and growth through the adoption of advanced digital technology, including artificial intelligence, 3D-printing and robotics.

The company – formed as a spin-off from the University of Liverpool and consisting of engineers, scientists and orthopaedic veterinary surgeons – wants to further expand its range of additive manufactured implants to solve common orthopaedic problems in companion animals.

Dan Jones, managing director said: ‘The Made Smarter business support programme will aid research and development, while also giving a recent graduate an opportunity to develop skills in additive manufacturing and implant design and development. Our end...

Categories: Journal news

UKs first ankle replacement in a dog

7 June 2019

A North East referral centre has carried out the UK’s first commercial ankle replacement for dogs and is now championing what it says is ‘a revolutionary new procedure’.

Wear Referrals, which is part of the Linnaeus Group and based in Stockton-on-Tees, is one of just three clinics in the UK to have been chosen by American company BioMedtrix for a clinical trial of its new canine ankle replacement system.

The practice says Vinny, a three-year-old chocolate Labrador, is recovering well after becoming the first dog in the country to benefit from the state-of-the-art technique.

Neil Burton, a recognised specialist in small animal surgery and head of orthopaedic surgery at the practice said: ‘This was the first case of a BioMedtrix ankle replacement in the UK and we are delighted on two fronts. First of all, the operation went very well and Vinny is doing excellently at the two-month postoperative...

Categories: Journal news

Calfmatters website relaunched

7 June 2019

Boehringer Ingelheim has relaunched its #Calfmatters website (

The website is an educational resource for anyone dealing with calves.

The site includes a calf health and welfare blueprint, developed last year, which details the core aspects of successful calf rearing.

Boehringer Ingelheim, Ellesfield Avenue, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 8YS, telephone 01344 424600

Categories: Journal news


7 June 2019

Business & innovation: On demand video consultations (VR, 25 May, 2019, vol 184, p 638). There was an error in the third paragraph, which said: ‘Vets involved in the service will offer advice and prescriptions if needed, as well as referral to the nearest appropriate practice.’ It should have said: ‘Vets involved in the service will offer advice, as well as referral to the nearest appropriate practice.’ FirstVet regrets the error.

Categories: Journal news

Septic arthritis with different aetiologies diagnosed in beef youngstock in Scotland

7 June 2019

SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, February 2019

  • Septic arthritis due to Mycoplasma bovis in beef youngstock.

  • Attaching and effacing Escherichia coli in a dairy cross calf.

  • Congenital neurological disease in pedigree beltex lambs.

  • The mean temperature for February in Scotland was 2.5°C above the 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Both the mean temperature and the mean maximum temperature were the second highest in a series from 1910. Rainfall was 82 per cent of average overall, mostly near normal in the west and below normal in the east. Sunshine was 110 per cent of average, and it was a very sunny month in the south, but duller than average in the north west.

    CattleParasitic diseases

    A group of organic Aberdeen Angus cattle was reported to be losing condition and samples from two animals were submitted to Inverness for investigation of the problem. The affected cattle...

    Categories: Journal news

    Idiopathic necrotising enteritis in calves

    7 June 2019

    Idiopathic necrotising enteritis (INE) is a disease of spring-born suckled calves that usually occurs between the ages of six and 12 weeks.

    INE was first described in 19941 and the cause remains unknown. Clinical signs can range from diarrhoea, respiratory signs and pyrexia to sudden death. Ulcers may be seen on the gums, lips or tongue. Affected calves rarely respond to supportive treatment and have a poor prognosis, with death occurring after approximately two to 10 days.

    Confirmation of the diagnosis requires a postmortem examination, with gross pathology and histopathology demonstrating a multifocal necrotising enteritis orientated mainly on the mucosa and adjacent submucosa, with relative sparing of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue in areas unaffected by necrosis.

    Necrotising and ulcerative lesions are most commonly detected in the intestines (Figs A, B), but may also be present in the oropharynx, larynx, abomasum or oesophagus. A...

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    Stigma, coping, stress and distress in the veterinary profession - the importance of evidence-based discourse

    7 June 2019

    What you need to know

  • Discourse about mental health and wellbeing in the veterinary profession must be informed by critical consideration of appropriate evidence.

  • It is important that we do not normalise ill health or pathologise short-term stress. However, it should be recognised that chronic stress has negative implications for psychological and physical health.

  • Coping with stress requires both addressing the problem and managing the related emotions.

  • The coping circumplex model integrates a number of different stress management theories and may be a useful framework for conceptualising approaches to coping with stress.

  • Mental health stigma is a well-recognised and much discussed problem. Perceptions of public stigma – negative stereotypes and prejudice – contribute to the development of self-stigma (ie, the internalisation of these negative stereotypes), which can cause reduced self-esteem, wellbeing, health and self-efficacy, including belief in one’s own ability to cope. These,...

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    Cross-sectional analysis of veterinary student coping strategies and stigma in seeking psychological help

    7 June 2019

    Veterinary education can result in high levels of academic stressors for students. Students are also susceptible to non-academic stressors, including relationship issues and financial concerns. These can all result in mental ill health, which may impair the student’s ability to complete their studies and go on to a successful professional career. Finding and using strategies early on to help alleviate mental health problems is critical to successful management of these problems, but seeking help may be impeded by the stigma associated with mental health problems. Using a cross-sectional online survey of a sample of Australian veterinary students, the aim of the current study was to investigate the type and frequency of their coping strategies as well as to explore relationships between self-stigma and coping strategies. Female veterinary students reported more use of instrumental and emotional support as coping strategies, while male veterinary students demonstrated more use of humour. Self-stigma was related to less instrumental support, greater self-blame and gender, while males who employed more humour as a coping strategy reported more self-stigma. Improving the coping strategies of veterinary students and reducing the self-stigma surrounding mental ill health is important to improve the wellbeing and resilience of the veterinary profession.

    Categories: Journal news

    On the origin of puppies: breeding and selling procedures relevant for canine behavioural development

    7 June 2019

    The success of the dog as a companion animal has undeniably led to a shift in dog breeding practices. While effects of inbreeding or large-scale breeding have given rise to numerous studies about potentially related health issues, it remains unclear to what extent behavioural development of dogs is influenced. By investigating the environment of puppies while at the breeder, the authors aimed to make an inventory of current practices regarding management, socialisation and environmental learning and subsequently to identify potential differences between breeder types. The cross-sectional study, conducted during 2016, revealed considerable variability in environment among dog breeders. Small-scale breeders, and especially occasional breeders (less than 10 adult dogs on-site) provided most enrichment, both social and non-social, by, for instance, providing more outdoor access for pregnant dams and puppies or by providing access to visitors more freely. Environmental stimuli were less controlled in occasional breeders, raising the debate about quantity versus quality of stimuli at a young age. Large-scale breeders declared to screen potential owners less intensely and time to advise them was limited. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that compares a large number of environmental factors between the different dog breeding categories.

    Categories: Journal news

    Mapping the global prevalence of bovine viral diarrhoea virus infection and its associated mitigation programmes

    7 June 2019

    The aim of this study was to collect information on the global distribution of the prevalence of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) and respective mitigation programmes, using a questionnaire and literature review to provide as complete a picture of the worldwide BVDV situation as possible. This study collated information on 107 countries with respect to mitigation activities and 88 countries regarding BVDV infections during the observation period (1960–2017). A heterogeneous epidemiological situation for both BVDV prevalence and the presence of mitigation programmes was observed. The results of this analysis could be used to increase the visibility of the distribution of BVDV, to provide supporting data for global animal disease databases and to assist veterinary public health authorities in the decision-making processes to establish mitigation activities.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    7 June 2019
    Reducing Taenia solium transmission by pigs

    I. Poudel, K. Sah, S. Subedi and others

    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2019) 13

    doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006838

    • What did the research find?

    At the start of the 12-month study period, the prevalence of porcine cysticercosis (caused by Taenia solium) was 23.6 per cent in the control area and 34.5 per cent in the intervention area. At the end of the study period, the prevalence of cysticercosis in pigs from the control area was not significantly different from baseline. However, no infection was detected in pigs from the intervention area. No adverse reactions to the intervention regimen were observed.

    • How was it conducted?

    The 12-month study was conducted in Udaypur (intervention area) and Hirminiya and Betahani (control area), in the Banke district of Nepal. Every three months, pigs in the intervention area were vaccinated with a TSOL18 recombinant vaccine and orally treated with...

    Categories: Journal news

    African swine fever epidemic in China

    7 June 2019

    African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease. Infection with ASF virus (ASFV) is reported to result in almost 100 per cent mortality in pigs.1

    Recently, an outbreak of ASFV in China caused serious concern for the government.2,3 We describe this epidemic of ASF in China between August 2018 and January 2019, based on the public data released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China (MARA), to add to the body of evidence on ASF outbreaks ( – available online at

    According to the data, 117 ASF cases occurred in China from August 2018 to January 2019. In addition, 10,398 of 268,698 pigs infected with ASFV died, the remainder were culled. Since the initial occurrence in Liaoning province in August 2018, ASFV has spread across 25 provinces in China (Fig 1). The main pig...

    Categories: Journal news

    Wellbeing of vets and farmers

    7 June 2019

    Although I do not work within the veterinary sector, my partner does, and so I have started to read Vet Record and I am particularly interested in recent articles regarding mental health.

    I work within mental health services so I am used to supporting people with anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts. I also have a personal interest in animals, having raised poultry and ducks and I own a beautiful dog, so it was of interest to read the article about the wellbeing of farmers (VR, 11 May 2019, vol 184, p 595). I realised that I had assumed that because farmers are working in outdoor spaces with animals, they live some kind of charmed life but having read the article, it has really made me think about the challenges that they face and how the pressures that they endure can become real mental health issues.

    Also, I am now...

    Categories: Journal news