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No review for breed-specific legislation

31 January 2019

By Georgina Mills

The government has commissioned research to examine the effectiveness of current dog control measures, but says it will not entertain breed-specific legislation.

It announced its decision last week in its response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s (EfraCom’s) report ‘Controlling dangerous dogs’.

Last year, following its scrutiny of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the committee described the government’s policy on dangerous dogs as ‘incoherent’ and said that dogs that posed no threat were being euthanased every year because of their breed alone. Four breeds – the dogo argentino, fila brasileiro, pit bull terrier and Japanese tosa – are banned (named section 1 dogs) under the Act in the UK.

The committee, which heard evidence from animal organisations, charities and police forces, urged the government to conduct a full-scale review of existing dog control strategies. It also recommended that the government should remove a ban...

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Racism feature is something to be 'proud of

31 January 2019

Vets who spoke out in Vet Record to combat racism in the profession have received messages of support from colleagues.

More than a dozen vets from black and minority ethnic communities have come forward with their own stories of discrimination, following last month’s feature article (VR, 19 January 2019, vol 184, pp 81-84).

Members of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS) said the article – ‘It’s time to call out racism in the profession’ – had a ‘positive’ impact in enabling colleagues to voice their own concerns and feel supported.

In the feature, BVEDS warned about racist abuse being experienced by vets from black and minority ethnic groups and how it was harming vets’ mental health, confidence and wellbeing.

They highlighted the failure of tutors and employers to ‘call out’ racism and the fear among many vets of speaking up, especially those at an early stage in...

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CVS share fall prompts acquisitions rethink

31 January 2019

By Matthew Limb

Major vet chain CVS has issued a financial warning after a sharp fall in share price, as its boss signalled a slowdown in the corporate group’s expansion.

CVS Group plc chief executive Simon Innes said the company would be buying fewer practices for the time being because valuations were too high.

He told Vet Record: ‘We feel the enthusiasm for buying practices across the profession has probably gone a bit too far. I guess we’re just kind of getting off the carousel a bit.

We certainly won’t be paying top dollar

‘I think you will see a bit of a slowdown in our acquisition activity, we certainly won’t be paying top dollar.’

Shares in CVS Group plc slumped 39 per cent at one point this week, from 652.5p to 401p (last year it was regularly above 1000p).

It said in a City of London trading...

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In brief

31 January 2019
RCVS to regulate paraprofessionals

The RCVS has approved a pathway for veterinary and animal health paraprofessionals to become regulated by the college.

Two models will be used: associate and accredited. The type of model will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Those professions whose work will be underpinned by Schedule 3 reform would need to apply for the associate model as the college would be required to be directly responsible for the register of any individuals undertaking such minor acts of veterinary surgery.

The Association of Meat Inspectors and the Animal Behaviour and Training Council have already expressed an interest in being regulated by the college and will be invited to apply.

The RCVS is also in communication with other groups, such as equine dental technicians and animal musculoskeletal practitioners. However, the council agreed that before such groups can become regulated by the RCVS there would need to be...

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Recognising practices that promote wellbeing

31 January 2019

By Georgina Mills

Three practices that have proven they understand the importance of motivating and engaging their teams were recognised by Vet Wellbeing Awards last week.

The awards are run by the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) and the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative and are given to practices that strive to make their organisation a better place to work.

The winner of the small practice award was Westpoint Farm Vets in Chelmsford.

To improve wellbeing in the practice, the team has introduced a number of initiatives. These include recording positive feedback in a book and blackboard in the office, and providing fruit to promote a healthy lifestyle.

One initiative that the practice is particularly proud of is asking members of the team what works for them in maintaining personal wellbeing – and encouraging them to share this with the wider team. So far, the practice has delivered a...

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Containing and controlling antimicrobial resistance

31 January 2019

Matthew Limb reports on the government’s new strategies on reducing antimicrobial resistance

Categories: Journal news

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, January 2019

31 January 2019

APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Straw-based diet leads to impacted stomachs in fattening cattle

  • Zoonotic diseases at lambing time

  • Record number of avian botulism submissions to APHA’s Diseases of Wildlife Scheme

  • Preparing now for parasitic diseases in cattle after turnout

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattleRuminoreticular impaction leading to peritonitis in fattening cattle

    The APHA Penrith Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC) investigated the deaths of housed cattle on a fattening unit. The carcase of a 613 kg bull was received for postmortem examination, having been the fourth animal to die in a group of 50. The group was being fed a diet of straw and molasses, with water sourced from a spring.

    The carcase was in poor condition with no body fat and oedema in some of the muscle groups. A heavy infestation of Bovicola species biting lice was identified. The reticulum was markedly...

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    Correction: Disease surveillance in England and Wales, November 2018

    31 January 2019

    The headline on the APHA surveillance report published in VR, 5 January 2019 (vol 184, pp 13–17) was incorrect. It should have read ‘Disease surveillance in England and Wales, December 2018’.

    The error is regretted.

    Categories: Journal news

    Plan ahead to control parasitic gastroenteritis, husk and fluke

    31 January 2019

    This focus article has been prepared by Arthur Otter, deputy lead of the APHA Cattle Expert Group.

    Categories: Journal news

    Stewardship of veterinary medicines on dairy farms

    31 January 2019

    On 4 November 1922, after a systematic search, Howard Carter and the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon finally discovered the actual tomb of Tutankhamun, hidden deep in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. There is a joke that discovering a farmer’s medicine cupboard can be a similar experience. Every farm has one; the real medicine cupboard, not just the sanitised one on show for the farm assurance inspector. But they might not be easy to find, and they might contain all sorts of surprises.

    Gwen Rees and colleagues1 documented the findings from a cross-sectional study of the storage of veterinary medicines on 27 UK dairy farms. The paper is summarised on page 153 of this issue of Vet Record. For those of us that know dairy farms well, their findings would probably not be surprising. Yet we should still allow ourselves to be shocked. The study effectively holds a...

    Categories: Journal news

    Storage of prescription veterinary medicines on UK dairy farms: a cross-sectional study

    31 January 2019

    Prescription veterinary medicine (PVM) use in the UK is an area of increasing focus for the veterinary profession. While many studies measure antimicrobial use on dairy farms, none report the quantity of antimicrobials stored on farms, nor the ways in which they are stored. The majority of PVM treatments occur in the absence of the prescribing veterinarian, yet there is an identifiable knowledge gap surrounding PVM use and farmer decision making. To provide an evidence base for future work on PVM use, data were collected from 27 dairy farms in England and Wales in Autumn 2016. The number of different PVMs stored on farms ranged from 9 to 35, with antimicrobials being the most common therapeutic group stored. Injectable antimicrobials comprised the greatest weight of active ingredient found, while intramammary antimicrobials were the most frequent unit of medicine stored. Antimicrobials classed by the European Medicines Agency as critically important to human health were present on most farms, and the presence of expired medicines and medicines not licensed for use in dairy cattle was also common. The medicine resources available to farmers are likely to influence their treatment decisions; therefore, evidence of the PVM stored on farms can help inform understanding of medicine use.

    Categories: Journal news

    Systematic review of the factors affecting cat and dog owner compliance with pharmaceutical treatment recommendations

    31 January 2019

    The aim of this systematic review is to describe and assess the quality of the existing evidence base concerning factors that influence the compliance of cat and dog owners to pharmaceutical and specifically polypharmacy treatment recommendations. PubMed, CAB Abstracts and Google were searched to identify relevant literature and search results were filtered according to predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Standardised data extraction and critical appraisal were carried out on each included study, and a Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine level of evidence grading was applied. Of the 8589 studies, eight studies were included in the review. Majority (five of eight) of the included studies were examining compliance with short-term antimicrobial therapies and none examined polypharmacy. Multiple definitions of compliance, methods of measurement and different factors potentially affecting compliance were used. Factors reported to have affected compliance in at least one study were dosing regimen, discussion of dosing regimen in light of owners’ circumstances, consultation time, disease, month of consultation/treatment, physical risk, social risk and method of administration. The evidence available regarding factors affecting client compliance with pharmaceutical treatment recommendations in cats and dogs is scarce and of poor quality.

    Categories: Journal news

    Buffering mepivacaine with sodium bicarbonate speeds and potentiates analgesia of median and ulnar nerve blocks performed on horses

    31 January 2019

    The objective of this study was to determine if buffering mepivacaine HCL (mepHCl) with sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) would significantly decrease the time to onset of analgesia when performing median and ulnar nerve blocks in naturally lame horses. Median and ulnar nerve blocks were performed on the naturally lame limb of nine horses during two separate study periods, with a minimum washout period of three days between study periods. Nerve blocks were performed by administering mepHCl alone or mepHCl mixed with NaHCO3 (nine parts 2 per cent mepHCl to one part 8.4 per cent NaHCO3). Lameness was evaluated objectively using a wireless, inertial, sensor-based, motion analysis system (Lameness Locator) prior to the high regional nerve block and every five minutes following administration of the nerve block for 75 min. Resolution of lameness occurred earlier and was more profound for horses administered median and ulnar nerve blocks performed with mepHCl and NaHCO3 than when these nerve blocks were performed using only mepHCl.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    31 January 2019
    Assessment of acute kidney injury in canine parvovirus infection

    M. F. van den Berg, J. P. Schoeman, P. Defauw and others

    The Veterinary Journal (2018) 242, 8–14

    doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.10.002

    • What did the research find?

    Dogs with canine parvovirus (CPV) infection had significantly higher concentrations of urinary immunoglobulin G (uIgG), C-reactive protein (uCRP), retinol-binding protein (uRBP) and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) compared with healthy dogs. In contrast, serum creatinine (sCr) was significantly lower in dogs with CPV infection compared with controls, while serum urea was not significantly different. Urinary protein:creatinine ratio (UPC) and urine specific gravity were both significantly higher in CPV-infected dogs.

    • How was it conducted?

    Routine haematology, serum biochemistry assays and urinalysis were performed in 22 dogs with CPV infection and eight clinically healthy control dogs. Measurement of uIgG, uCRP, uRBP and uNGAL was performed using commercial ELISA kits.

    • Why is it important?

    Dogs with...

    Categories: Journal news

    Risks of xylitol poisoning in dogs

    31 January 2019

    We are writing to raise awareness of xylitol toxicosis in dogs.

    Xylitol exists naturally in low concentrations in fruit and vegetables and is a normal intermediary in glucose metabolism. For people, it is used as a sweetener in many products, particularly sugar-free chewing gums and some chewable medications, where it will be listed as an excipient rather than active ingredient. It is also available as granules for home baking. It contains 40 per cent fewer calories than sugar and has the food additive code E967.

    However, in dogs xylitol is a potent stimulator of insulin release. Only a small dose can cause clinical hypoglycaemia. Large doses can cause liver failure, sometimes leading to coagulopathies and haemorrhage.

    A recent, well-publicised case of Ruby, a seven-year-old Hungarian vizsla, who died after eating two homemade chocolate brownies containing xylitol, raises concerns that some owners and veterinary surgeons are not aware of the...

    Categories: Journal news

    Keeping snakes

    31 January 2019

    In response to Phillip Arena and others’ letter on snake enclosure sizes (VR, 1 December 2018, vol 183, p 661) and subsequent articles elsewhere in the veterinary press on this issue, I am firmly in agreement that decisions in law regarding minimum acceptable standards for keeping animals should ideally be based on sound scientific evidence. As an exotics vet, I welcome any research that helps to improve the welfare of captive exotics and am always keen to adapt my client advice/husbandry practices based on the latest scientific advances.

    However, I do have concerns that the paper by Warwick, Arena and Steedman,1 purported to support the opinion that captive snakes have an essential requirement for enclosures which are at least 1 x the length of the snake, has some significant limitations.

    The article is a review article, rather than an original research paper, which references no fewer than...

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    Tackling bovine TB

    31 January 2019

    We have noted Mark Jones’ and colleagues repeated concerns on the evidence of the effect of our badger control policy on TB incidence in cattle (VR, 26 January 2019, vol 184, p 129). A further publication on the effects of culling has been submitted for peer review with the intention to publish this as soon as possible.

    This builds on previous work.1 That analysis compared culling in the initial two areas, for the first two years, against matched comparison areas. It found that culling was associated with a 58 per cent reduction in disease incidence in cattle in the Gloucestershire badger control area and a 21 per cent reduction in Somerset after two years of badger control. A rise in incidence was seen in the Somerset but not the Gloucestershire buffer.

    The recently published independent Bovine TB Strategy Review,2 chaired by Charles Godfray, described these...

    Categories: Journal news

    Looking after interns and residents

    31 January 2019

    I read with considerable interest the letter on interns and residents (VR, 19 January 2019, vol 184, p 99).

    While there are, no doubt, many who have enjoyed their internships/residencies, I agree with Anon and my impression is that this does not seem to be the norm. Many, such as myself, who might have gone on to pursue a residency and a career in specialist medicine, did not do so because of the very negative experience during the internship. I know I am very far from being alone in this. The account given by Anon about their experience, and the negative effect of the behaviour of senior staff, completely parallels my own experience and that described by many others I have met.

    How many careers that might have prospered have been ruined in this way?

    How many careers that might have prospered have been ruined in this way?...

    Categories: Journal news

    What did vets achieve last year?

    31 January 2019

    The article reviewing the veterinary year (VR, 5 January 2019, vol 184, pp 6-9) prompted me to write in.

    It might be of interest to readers to know that there were two veterinary surgeons – one Australian and one British (me) – closely involved in the rescue of 13 people trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand last summer.

    Categories: Journal news

    Death notices

    31 January 2019

    Annat On 7 January 2019, Allan Christie Annat, BVM&S, MRCVS, of Kirkton Vet Centre, Stonehaven. Dr Annat qualified from Edinburgh in 1971.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l1450

    Codner On 21 December 2018, John Charles Codner, BVSc, MRCVS, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Dr Codner qualified from Liverpool in 1971.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l1451

    Henderson On 5 June 2018, Allan Henderson, BVSc, MRCVS, of Peterlee, County Durham. Dr Henderson qualified from Liverpool in 1954.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l1452

    Sayle On 4 January 2019, Bryan Sayle, BVetMed, MRCVS, of Royton, Oldham. Dr Sayle qualified from London in 1959.

    doi: 10.1136/vr.l1454

    Categories: Journal news