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Supporting the wellbeing of government vets

21 February 2019

Three-quarters of vets who work for or on behalf of the government feel that their workload is high or unacceptable, according to the results of a recent survey.

The survey, carried out by the Association of Government Veterinarians (AGV), was intended to examine whether there were specific issues affecting the wellbeing of vets undertaking work for government. It also sought to identify existing tools to promote wellbeing that are available to government vets and to identify areas where there was room for improvement.

A series of recommendations for supporting the wellbeing of government vets are made in a report of the survey findings, which was published last week.

More than 700 vets responded to the survey, carried out between March and June 2018. Most worked in private veterinary practices undertaking work for the government or for the APHA or a contractor supplying services to government.

Key factors identified as...

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Meet 'Britains most average dog - the miniature schnauzer

21 February 2019

Research suggests that the miniature schnauzer is a relatively healthy breed, meaning it could be a good choice for aspiring dog owners. Kathryn Clark explains

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In brief

21 February 2019
Protecting welfare during transport

The BVA is calling on the government to put welfare at the heart of any decision making with regards to moving livestock within and out of the UK.

Last week, the association published an updated position on the welfare of livestock during transport.

In the position, BVA emphasises its support for current legislation, but says it would like to see improved implementation of existing laws. It makes a number of recommendations intended to build on existing legal requirements.

It also points out that any movement of animals will have a potential impact on their health and welfare, and says that, whatever the type and scale of movement, the welfare of the animals involved must be prioritised and the impact of the movement reduced as far as reasonably possible.

The most important thing for government to do is to consider the evidence base

Simon Doherty,...

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E&J extends reach to Asia and Middle East

21 February 2019

The largest supplier of vets to UK government agencies is to expand its global reach into Asia and the Middle East by marketing its services in countries including Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Jason Aldiss, managing director of Eville & Jones (E&J) flew to Pakistan recently for discussions with officials there.

He described the talks as focused on assisting in a project to plan a ‘high-health herd of 1.8 million cattle in a biosecure area on the Indian border’.

He visited Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan’s two largest cities. The country, the world’s sixth most populous, is viewed by E&J as a key future market for veterinary services.

The Leeds-based company, which was founded in 1993, is also due to launch a new ‘strategic alliance’, aimed specifically at growing its business into Asian and the Middle Eastern countries, at a major food and beverage trade exhibition in...

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Joint veterinary services for the pig and poultry intensive livestock sector

21 February 2019

Cheshire-BASED poultry practice Avivets has joined forces with Evolve Pig Health, a newly formed pig practice.

The two businesses will operate under the buying group Acer Agri, the first of its kind to focus solely on intensive livestock pharmaceuticals and veterinary services.

In three years, Avivets has grown from a single-vet practice to a multivet consultancy service working with poultry farms nationwide. The joint venture with Evolve Pig Health will offer further growth, as well as access to additional supply chains and a consolidation of veterinary service provision to the intensive livestock sector.

Managing director of Avivets and poultry director of Acer Agri, William Garton, said: ‘The continuous growth seen for the two practices operating within Acer Agri is reflective of the industry’s want and need for independent veterinary services. All practices are independently owned with the primary focus of professional services and client relationships. Last year saw more...

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21 February 2019

Zoetis has announced that its equine viral arteritis vaccine Equip Artervac is back in stock. Email: or telephone 0845 300 9084 for further information.

Archer Daniel Midland Company Animal Nutrition (ADM) has successfully completed its 1.544 billion acquisition of Neovia, to create ‘a global leader in value-added products and solutions for both production and companion animals’. ADM develops and manufactures premixes, complete feeds, ingredients, pet care solutions, aquaculture, additives and amino acids. Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano said: ‘The addition of Neovia represents a major milestone in the execution of our strategic plan to become a global leader in nutrition.’

Newly formed public company Covetrus has been launched on the stock market following the merger of Henry Schein Animal Health with Vets First Choice. President and CEO Benjamin Shaw said launching Covetrus as a new listed company on the Nasdaq marked a new chapter in the world of...

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Liquid metronidazole launched for dogs

21 February 2019

The first liquid metronidazole for dogs is now available.

Virbac has launched Eradia for the treatment of infections in both puppies and adult dogs. It is available in 30 ml and 100 ml packs and can be administered directly into the mouth or onto food.

Presented as a flavoured oral suspension, trials showed an acceptability of 100 per cent intake, which alleviates problems with administration, the company says.

The childproof packaging includes a ‘smart cap’ that offers flexible dosing options and prevents the person administering the product from coming into contact with the solution.

Virbac, Woolpit Business Park, Windmill Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP30 9UP, telephone 01359 243243

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New training for SQPs

21 February 2019

A fresh approach to training suitably qualified persons (SQPs) is being developed.

Vetpol has announced that it is in the process of gaining accreditation for its online training course.

SQPs have grown in number and there is a continuing need for the category of veterinary medicines they dispense, according to Vetpol director Caroline Johnson. ‘Our long-term vision is to establish a business of veterinary pharmacy professionals capable of delivering real value to the customers and businesses they serve,’ she said.

The course will focus on communication and making better recommendations with regard to animal health. It will offer clarity on the remit of the SQP role and working with other professionals – including the need to refer to a vet in appropriate circumstances.

The online nature of the course makes it accessible to people living in remote areas and means it can be updated regularly.

The sections of the...

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Parasitic gastroenteritis and pasteurellosis dominate Scottish surveillance diagnoses

21 February 2019

SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, November 2018

  • High losses as a result of parasitic gastroenteritis in easycare gimmers.

  • Bibersteinia trehalosi responsible for pasteurellosis cases in sheep.

  • Deaths due to ruminal acidosis in weaned beef calves following housing.

  • Focus on rumen fluke diagnoses in Scotland.

  • Fatal enteritis caused by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis in a red deer calf.

  • November 2018 was dry and sunny in north-west Scotland but wetter than average in the south west. The mean temperature was 1.3°C above the 1981–2010 long-term average; rainfall was 97 per cent of average and sunshine 121 per cent of average.

    CattleNutritional and metabolic disorders

    The carcase of a four-year-old Ayrshire cross cow was submitted to Ayr after two high-yielding cows from a group of 56 were found dead in a 48-hour period. A total mixed ration consisting of grass silage, barley, whole crop wheat, soya, beet...

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    Foot abscessation in horses

    21 February 2019

    Foot abscessation is an extremely common cause of acute, often severe, lameness in horses. Despite the frequency with which owners, farriers and veterinary surgeons are presented with horses with this problem, there is a surprising paucity of studies concerning foot abscessation in the veterinary literature, with much of what we ‘know’ being referenced back to textbooks and attributed to personal opinion and experience.

    An epidemiological study by Cole and colleagues1 is summarised on p 251 of this issue of Vet Record. In this paper, the authors aim to describe the clinical features of equine subsolar abscess cases from the clinical population of their practice and to determine the factors that are associated with increased number of veterinary visits, prolonged treatment and complications. This work is important for the equine practitioner, given how commonly we are presented with horses with this condition. It also is important to the...

    Categories: Journal news

    Factors associated with prolonged treatment days, increased veterinary visits and complications in horses with subsolar abscesses

    21 February 2019

    There is a lack of epidemiological studies about equine subsolar (hoof) abscesses even though they are among one of the most common causes of acute, severe lameness. The goals of this study were to (1) describe the equine subsolar abscess patient population of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center’s Field Service and (2) to determine the factors that are associated with increased veterinary visits, prolonged treatment and complications. Descriptive statistics were performed on data collected from 160 cases of equine subsolar abscess. Inferential statistics were performed on a subset of those cases. No significant results were identified in relation to an increased number of veterinary visits. Poisson regression of days of treatment revealed that abscesses diagnosed in the summer (incidence rate ratio (IRR)=9.42, P<0.001) and abscesses found at the coronary band (IRR=3.21, P<0.001) were more likely to be treated for longer. Presence of a draining tract (IRR=0.73, P=0.017) and a higher lameness (IRR=0.30, P=0.01 for grade 3, IRR=0.1, P<0.001 for grades 4 and 5) score at presentation resulted in shortened treatment times. Abscesses affecting multiple portions of the digit were associated with an increased chance of complication. The study presented here is the first retrospective study on subsolar abscesses to the authors’ knowledge.

    Categories: Journal news

    Topics discussed, examinations performed and strategies implemented during canine and feline booster vaccination consultations

    21 February 2019

    Vaccination consultations account for a large proportion of the small animal veterinary caseload. The aim of this study was to determine the content of canine and feline booster vaccination consultations and gather opinions on strategies used to optimise these consultations. An online survey of UK veterinarians was conducted. Respondents were asked about the clinical examination performed and the topics discussed during vaccination consultations, as well as any strategies used to optimise these consultations. Finally, respondents were asked about the practicality and effectiveness of various potential strategies. A total of 662 responses were received. Most respondents always auscultated the chest during vaccination consultations (n=603/621, 97.1% canine consultations; n=587/610, 96.2% feline consultations). Microchipping was discussed more frequently during canine versus feline consultations (P<0.001). Over half of respondents (n=323/597; 54.1%) had tried strategies to optimise consultations, with supplementary reading material tried most frequently (n=203/597; 34.0%). There were a range of opinions around practicality and effectiveness of these strategies. The results from this novel study suggest that vaccination consultations vary in terms of the clinical examination performed, topics discussed and strategies used to optimise the consultation. This study has implications for practice by identifying potential ways to maximise the benefits of vaccination consultations.

    Categories: Journal news

    Absence of hantavirus in water voles and Eurasian beavers in Britain

    21 February 2019

    Hantaviruses are RNA viruses (order Bunyavirales, family Hantaviridae) found in rodent, bat and insectivore reservoir-hosts and have been reported as an emerging significant zoonotic risk in Europe. As part of two native semiaquatic rodent restoration projects, tissue and urine samples were tested for hantavirus from water voles (Arvicola amphibius) (n=26, in 2015) and Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) (n=20, covering 2010–2015) using a pan-hantavirus nested real-time PCR test. Kidney and lung samples were also analysed by light microscopy after haematoxylin and eosin staining of formalin-fixed paraffin wax sections. Individuals selected included those forming the source of release animals and from those already free-living in Britain in areas targeted for release, to identify existing reservoirs. For water voles all tested individuals were from Britain (n=26); for beavers some were from Britain (Scotland) (n=9) and some were samples from wild Norwegian (Telemark region) (n=6) and German (Bavaria region) animals (n=5) that formed the source of accepted wild populations currently present in Scotland. All samples tested from both species were negative for hantavirus RNA and showed no significant histopathological changes suggesting that reservoir infection with hantavirus in water voles in Britain and Eurasian beavers present in Britain, Norway and Bavaria, Germany, is unlikely.

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    Dealing with leishmaniosis in dogs and cats

    21 February 2019

    Canine leishmaniosis (CanL) is caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. It is a zoonosis and is endemic in the Mediterranean basin, Portugal, Latin America and southern Asia. However, the infection is spreading to non-endemic areas, such as north America and northern Europe, probably due to wider distribution of its vector and especially to larger numbers of dogs travelling from/to endemic countries.

    Life cycle and transmission

    Leishmania species completes its life cycle in two hosts, a phlebotomine sandfly vector, which transmits the flagellated infective promastigote form, and a mammal, where the amastigote form develops and replicates inside the host’s macrophages. Other modes of transmission are possible. In utero transmission from an infected dam to its offspring and venereal transmission from infected males to healthy bitches have been documented. Transmission by haematophagus arthropods has been suspected, but is not yet proven to have an epidemiological significance. Rhipicephalus sanguineous...

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    Selected highlights from other journals

    21 February 2019
    Characterising and managing pain in dogs with osteosarcoma

    B. P. Monteiro, L. de Lorimier, M. Moreau and others

    PLoS ONE (2018) 13

    doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207200

    • What did the research find?

    Healthy dogs had responsive conditioned pain modulation (CPM), where one stimulus inhibits the perception of a second stimulus applied to a remote area of the body, but CPM was deficient in dogs with appendicular osteosarcoma (OSA). Dogs with OSA also had a high asymmetry index. CPM in dogs with OSA improved significantly 14 days after treatment. When compared with baseline, dogs with OSA were more mobile at all time points after treatment. Except for tactile threshold and actimetry, all outcomes worsened when gabapentin was administered in addition to cimicoxib and amitriptyline.

    • How was it conducted?

    The pain profile of 13 client-owned dogs with OSA was compared with that of seven healthy dogs. Outcome measures included: primary and secondary...

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    Aelurostrongylosis in a young kitten in the UK

    21 February 2019

    We would like to bring to the attention of readers a case of fatal lungworm infection in a very young kitten in the UK.

    In December 2018, postmortem lung samples from an 11- to 12-week-old male kitten were submitted for histopathological assessment. The clinical history was of sudden dyspnoea and death. Microscopic examination of the lung revealed numerous metastrongyloid lungworms within the majority of alveolar spaces and smaller airways (Fig 1). Quantitative PCR (CTDS Laboratories) analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues confirmed the diagnosis of Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (with a very low cycle threshold level, ie, extensive infection). The severity of the infection and the young age of the kitten prompted a request for further history.

    The kitten was one of six from a feral colony in Wales. The kittens were removed by a rescue charity on 31 October 2018, at approximately six weeks of age, and treated with...

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    Releasing grey squirrels into the wild

    21 February 2019

    The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 created a bombshell when it was sent to wildlife rescue centres by Defra a few weeks ago. Out of the blue, they were told that their licences to release grey squirrels would not be renewed after 28 March 2019.

    Other species are also included in this order but grey squirrels are by far the most frequently treated and released and therefore attention has been focused on them. The reasons given for this Order are that grey squirrels are responsible for the decline in red squirrel populations and that they destroy trees and other wildlife. These opinions are opposed by many experts on the subject.

    Landowners receive a bounty from the government of £100 per hectare if they actively trap and kill grey squirrels. This may be a contributory factor to some land-owning charities (the Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust, the...

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    Tackling bovine TB

    21 February 2019

    I qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1990 and have spent my time since then working as a farm animal vet in the central south of England. During this period I have seen the TB testing requirements for cattle on farms within our practice area change from adults only every four years to all animals every six months (with premovement testing required before an animal is sold if it has not undergone a routine test within the previous 60 days), and the anticipation of a clear test, with the identification of an inconclusive reactor being a noteworthy event, changing to the frequent identification of infected animals. I have therefore taken great interest in the government’s plans to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and in the debate about whether culling badgers can have any meaningful role in achieving this aim.

    Irrespective to the answer to this debate it seems to me...

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    Correction: Human toxocariasis and neutering cats

    21 February 2019

    Letters: Human toxocariasis and neutering cats (VR, 16 February 2019, vol 184, pp 224-225).

    The signatories were incorrectly stated. Ian Wright’s affiliation is ESCCAP UK and Ireland, and a second signatory – Jane Clements, Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath RH17 7TT – was missing.

    The error is regretted.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l770

    Categories: Journal news

    Transparent RCVS voting

    21 February 2019

    I write in response to your recent news story ‘RCVS delays vote on voting’ (VR, 26 January 2019, vol 184, p 111).

    Why do RCVS council members wish their votes to be secret? Can someone please explain why anonymised voting is better for the image of the council and our profession? In this era when we are all encouraged to be open and transparent, is this not a retrograde step?

    If members do vote for this, can I ask that in future elections they state clearly on their profiles that they do not want anyone to know how they vote once elected?

    Categories: Journal news