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Dealing with backyard poultry

21 February 2020

Reviewed by exotics and companion animal vet Fabian Rivers.

Categories: Journal news

Looking after the health of pigs

21 February 2020

This is a highly visual book with a huge range of pictures and diagrams that are relevant to pig health. It also comes with access to audio and video e-resources, which are referenced throughout.

The book has a logical layout, beginning with the clinical examination before going through disorders of specific systems, such as digestive and locomotor issues. The relationship between disease and productivity is well explored; for example in Chapter 3, where the effects of lung lesions on feed conversion and growth rates are discussed. Moving through the body systems, the book gives detailed protocols for investigation and control of disease; as well as descriptions of the most common diseases seen on farms.

Pig medicine is often complicated by environmental effects, and the chapter on environmental medicine is particularly useful. This covers aspects of temperature and ventilation through to observing pig behaviour. The book also covers basic nutrition...

Categories: Journal news

James Michael Evans

21 February 2020

After working in a successful small animal practice, he joined the pharmaceutical industry. He became an author of books for pet owners and the profession, and set up the Pet Health Counsellor programme.

Categories: Journal news

Henry Winton Pfaff

21 February 2020

A much-loved small animal practitioner in Glasgow, he was a character and a real advocate for animals – it was he that brought contagious leukaemia in cats to the attention of researchers at the vet school.

Categories: Journal news

'I love vet nursing, although working on an island is one of our biggest challenges

13 February 2020

After meandering through a number of roles, Shona Jack found vet nursing and now enjoys working in mixed practice in Shetland.

Categories: Journal news


13 February 2020

Veterinary specialists Wear Referrals, which is part of the Linnaeus Group, has appointed small animal surgery specialist Jon Hall. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, Hall initially worked in practice in Lincoln. He completed an internship at the Royal Veterinary College and a residency at Cambridge, passing his European College exams in 2015. He then spent two years as a lecturer at Cambridge, before joining the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies as a senior lecturer in small animal surgery.

Southfields Veterinary Specialists has recruited Fabio Stabile to join its neurology and neurosurgery unit. He graduated from Padova University, Italy, in 2003 before completing a three-year PhD in veterinary clinical sciences at the university. In 2009, he moved to the UK and started a residency in neurology and neurosurgery at the Animal Health Trust. He has been a diplomat of the European College of Veterinary...

Categories: Journal news

Driving improvement in practice

13 February 2020

The veterinary sector is some way behind human healthcare when it comes to the quality improvement (QI) agenda.

Traditionally, veterinary professionals have relied on ad hoc and informal improvement methodologies, for example training and mentorship.

The profession now needs to up its game

But according to Rand Europe, a consultancy firm commissioned by RCVS Knowledge to assess the veterinary QI landscape last year, the profession now needs to up its game and commit to QI work more formally, like the NHS.

Animal owners are more knowledgeable than ever before–- and also rather complaint-happy – so vet professionals need a more structured and systematic approach to driving improvement and heading off these complaints, consultants argue.

Their report and suggested QI roadmap (see p 173), which was published last month, found vet professionals broadly keen on the concept (they see it as a force for good) but they are poorly...

Categories: Journal news

African swine fever 'slowly spreading in EU

13 February 2020

By Josh Loeb

African swine fever (ASF) is spreading in the EU, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded in a new report.

In a report, published earlier this month, EFSA stated that ASF-affected areas in the EU are ‘progressively expanding’.

The disease is currently ‘spreading’, albeit ‘slowly,’ within the bloc, EFSA’s analysis concludes.

The finding is significant because the European Commission has previously stopped short of acknowledging that the virus is spreading inside of the EU. It has previously said only that the virus is ‘present’ in the EU.

Areas of the EU affected by ASF are ‘essentially contiguous, except for isolated introductions in Czechia [the Czech Republic] (now resolved), western Poland and Belgium,’ EFSA’s report highlighted.

It went on to add: ‘Backyard farms present particular challenges in an ASF eradication programme, including uncontrolled movements of pigs and people, poor biosecurity and the identification of holdings.


Categories: Journal news

News section PDF

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.


    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

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


    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.


    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.


    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