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Should we be truly customer-centric?

3 October 2019

‘I promise and solemnly declare that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to the public, my clients, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and that, above all, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care.’

That’s the oath sworn by vets on admission into the profession.

It makes clear that, while vets have responsibilities towards clients, colleagues and the general public, their primary concern is with ensuring the health and welfare of the animals under their care.

What if there’s a clash between an animal owner’s wants and his or her animal’s needs?

‘Treat the animal in front of you’, as the saying goes. Sounds simple. But what if there’s a clash between an animal owner’s wants and his or her animal’s needs?

In such a scenario the...

Categories: Journal news

Why dont we feed cats raw mice?

3 October 2019

By Josh Loeb

There is a case for feeding cats raw mice, a vet and academic researcher specialising in infectious diseases has suggested.

Conor O’Halloran – a sceptic about raw feeding – told delegates at the official veterinarian (OV) conference last week that small rodents were the natural prey of cats and, therefore, might be considered a superior raw food source (compared with pork, beef and venison).

He was speaking at a presentation about so-called ‘biologically appropriate raw feeding’ (BARF) diets.

Such diets – which typically involve feeding cats and dogs raw meat, bones, skin and organs – are increasingly popular with owners who believe this constitutes a more ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ diet for their pets.

However, O’Halloran said this belief was not rooted in scientific proof, ‘especially when we’re talking about feeding cats species that they wouldn’t actually eat in the wild’.

Your domestic moggy is probably not...

Categories: Journal news

VMD is ready for Brexit, deal or no deal

3 October 2019

By Matthew Limb

‘Panic buying’ of vet medicines is one of the biggest risks being addressed in preparations for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, a government official has said.

Renee Sheehan, of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), said if panic buying occurred it could impact on medicines availability.

She said the VMD would be putting out balanced, ‘reassuring’ messages to vets and animal owners in the run up to Brexit.

We’re in control of it... and we are confident that supply will be maintained

‘We’re in control of it, we have taken contingency measures and we are confident that supply will still be maintained,’ she said.

Sheehan, from the VMD’s EU Exit and International Team, spoke at an open meeting for stakeholders and medicines industry figures last week.

The meeting heard about planning for the possibility of the UK exiting the EU this month without an agreement...

Categories: Journal news

'We can deal with prescription fraud, says VMD

3 October 2019

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has rejected claims that it is under-resourced to deal with prescription fraud after the issue was raised at a BVA council meeting earlier this year.

According to recently published minutes from the meeting on 24 July, prescription fraud was felt by attendees to be ‘an ongoing issue and, anecdotally, on the rise’.

The BVA minutes also state: ‘It was noted that VMD lacked the resources to address the problem.’

We do not know why the BVA believes the VMD to be under-resourced to deal with prescription fraud

However, the directorate rejected that suggestion, telling Vet Record: ‘We do not know why the BVA believes the VMD to be under-resourced to deal with prescription fraud. We deal with reports of alleged prescription fraud on a case-by-case basis in accordance with our enforcement strategy.’

Prescription fraud is the improper use of prescription forms to obtain...

Categories: Journal news

Route change for horses in no-deal Brexit

3 October 2019

By Josh Loeb

Horses from the UK will no longer be allowed to enter continental Europe through Dutch seaports after a no-deal Brexit, Defra has confirmed.

The department clarified the situation after discussion of the issue at the British Equine Veterinary Association congress last month.

Border inspection posts (BIPs) at Dutch seaports will not be allowed to accept UK horses, but the one at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will.

Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, told Vet Record: ‘They’ve [the Dutch authorities] stated they have no plans [to allow horses from the UK to enter through the Dutch seaports]. One can read between the lines about their motives for that, but an obvious one is the cost of creating new infrastructure.’

There are more declared movements of horses between the UK and the Netherlands than between any other two sets of countries, Owers said – but there are...

Categories: Journal news

Foreign certificates are fine for OVs to sign

3 October 2019

Official veterinarians (OVs) will not get into trouble post-Brexit if they put their signature on export health documents written in a language that they do not understand – provided there is a translation available, the accuracy of which is attested to by the government.

At last week’s OV conference some attendees voiced disquiet about the possibility that they may be compelled to sign certificates written in foreign languages after 31 October – when the UK is due to leave the EU – because of EU requirements.

Kulin Patel, a veterinary adviser at APHA’s veterinary trade facilitation team, said that in the case of a no-deal Brexit, it is likely that the EU would require that export health certificates accompanying products of animal origin or live animals being exported from the UK to the EU are written in the language of whichever EU country the consignment is due to arrive...

Categories: Journal news

Conservatives set out new plans for welfare

3 October 2019

By Georgina Mills

The Conservative Party has set out ambitious new proposals aimed at protecting animal welfare.

Announced at the start of the party’s conference in Manchester this week, the plans aim to protect companion animals, farm animals and animals in the wild.

The party is proposing to launch a consultation on compulsory microchipping for cats, to bring the species in line with dogs. Compulsory microchipping of dogs was introduced in 2016.

The party said compulsory microchipping should give cat owners ‘more peace of mind’ and ‘strengthen the measures we have to tackle cat theft’.

A second consultation will be held on improving livestock welfare during transport, including a proposal to ban long journeys to slaughter altogether.

The government issued a call for evidence on animal transport last year and invited the then Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) to conduct a review and make recommendations. These included minimising live...

Categories: Journal news

Villiers backtracks on non-stun labelling plans

3 October 2019

Labels that offer consumers the ability to choose meat from animals that were stunned before slaughter will not be introduced, according to environment secretary Theresa Villiers.

In an interview in Jewish News, Villiers said that while there had been tabled amendments to the Agriculture Bill in parliament recently – which included the introduction of stunning labelling – she would not have supported these and was keen to keep the status quo.

She said: ‘I don’t envisage changes...I wouldn’t accept labelling changes which could put up the costs of food for the community.’

Villiers, who was appointed environment secretary in July, pledged ‘to protect freedom of religious faiths at home and overseas to continue slaughtering both kosher and halal meat’. She said that slaughter across the board was heavily regulated and that religious communities have been subject to extra regulations, but that it was ‘very important for people to be...

Categories: Journal news

Word cloud prompts review of survey results

3 October 2019

By Josh Loeb

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has triggered a review of responses to a recent survey on recruitment and retention after analysis appeared to show that ‘clients’ are the thing that vets and vet nurses dislike most about their jobs.

Around 3000 vets and 1200 vet nurses responded to the survey, carried out jointly last year with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and promoted through online channels.

At BEVA congress last month, the association’s outgoing president Renate Weller showed delegates a ‘word cloud’ (pictured) based on the results, which indicated that, of all the different aspects of their work, clients are what vets and vet nurses like the least.

However, she later said that the data may not have been analysed correctly. BSAVA, meanwhile, did not provide any comment and appears to have distanced itself from the survey results.

Word clouds are a very...

Categories: Journal news

Cymorth TB uptake with farmers is 'very low

3 October 2019

Welsh farmers are not engaging with a government scheme to help them deal with bovine TB (bTB) breakdowns in their herds, a government adviser has warned.

Speaking at the official veterinarian (OV) conference last week, David Harris, veterinary adviser to the Welsh government, reported that uptake of Cymorth TB visits by farmers with breakdown herds had been ‘very low indeed’.

Under the Cymorth TB initiative, farmers who have a bTB breakdown in their herd, or whose herd is contiguous to a breakdown herd, can receive an advisory ‘keep it out’ visit from their own OV, paid for by the Welsh government. During the visit, the vet identifies potential risks for infection on the farm and provides advice on biosecurity and cleansing and disinfection.

However, Harris said that despite the visits being an opportunity for vets to get on to farms and be paid for doing so, the scheme ‘doesn’t...

Categories: Journal news

In brief

3 October 2019
Dog control laws in Scotland

The Scottish government has begun a review of dog control laws.

A public consultation, launched last week, is seeking views on practical measures to improve the operational effectiveness of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 to aid enforcement agencies.

Next year, there will be a further review of wider dog control legislation. This will look at how the law surrounding dangerous dogs and other associated dog control laws operate.

The Scottish Government’s public audit committee published a report in July that concluded that current laws were not fit for purpose and an urgent comprehensive review of all dog control legislation was required.

It made numerous recommendations, such as establishing a ‘Scottish Dog Control Database’, and requiring GPs, hospitals and local authorities to record and collect data on reported dog bite incidents.

Jenny Marra, convenor of the public audit committee, said this week in...

Categories: Journal news

Persian cats and their brachycephalic health issues

3 October 2019

Georgina Mills discusses new research that looks at health trends in Persian cats in the UK and shows that their flat faces are causing them harm

Categories: Journal news

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, September 2019

3 October 2019

APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Botulism being diagnosed more regularly in cattle

  • Duodenal sigmoid flexure volvulus in a ewe

  • Concurrent infection of pigs with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae

  • Histomonosis in chickens

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattleBotulism

    Having been a rare diagnosis in the past, more recently outbreaks of botulism have been regularly diagnosed in cattle herds, and occasionally in sheep flocks.1 The great majority of these have been due to animals contacting broiler manure, which has a recognised potential for causing botulism.

    Having been a rare diagnosis in the past, more recently outbreaks of botulism have been regularly diagnosed in cattle herds

    Botulism is diagnosed on the basis of typical clinical signs of progressive weakness and a lack of alternative disease on postmortem examination, as there are no pathognomonic gross pathological findings. In some...

    Categories: Journal news

    Cattle surveillance in the autumn months

    3 October 2019

    Arthur Otter, deputy lead of the APHA Cattle Expert Group, considers some of the most common diagnoses reached in cattle in autumn.

    Categories: Journal news

    Can oral group medication be improved to reduce antimicrobial use?

    3 October 2019

    Of the antimicrobials sold to treat food-producing animals in Europe in 2016, 90.1 per cent were designated for group treatment.1 Group treatment, administered through drinking water or feed, enables farmers to easily treat a large number of animals as soon as clinical signs of disease are observed in the group. This practice – referred to as metaphylaxis or control treatment – has the advantage of quickly treating many animals at the same time in order to slow the spread of disease.

    It has been shown that metaphylactic treatments are associated with higher cure rates than curative treatments administered when animals are already exhibiting clinical signs of disease.2,3 However, the European guidelines for the prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine4 highlight treatment via feed and drinking water as a major concern in the development of antimicrobial resistance.

    To help limit the...

    Categories: Journal news

    Oral group medication in pig production: characterising medicated feed and drinking water systems

    3 October 2019

    Despite common use of oral group medication in pig rearing, the homogeneity, stability and carry-over of frequently used medicinal products in feed and drinking water are largely unknown. Therefore, a field study was performed on 52 Belgian pig farms, characterising preparation and administration of medicinal products via these systems, and farmers’ user experiences with medicated feed and medicated drinking water. The study showed that medicated drinking water is more commonly used than medicated feed, since 90.4 per cent of the farms sometimes use medicated drinking water and 69.2 per cent of the farms sometimes use medicated feed. The drinking water quality is evaluated at least once a year on only 30.7 per cent of the farms. Separate pipelines for medicated and non-medicated circuits were not present in any of the farms using medicated feed and in 27.7 per cent of the farms using medicated drinking water. With drinking water medication, 63.5 per cent of the farmers reported encountering practical problems, often related to solubility issues and precipitation of the active compounds. In contrast, medicated feed is bought ready-to-use from the feed manufacturer in 68.2 per cent of the cases, thus reducing the number of practical problems experienced by the farmer. This study shows room for improvement of oral group treatment, developing appropriate pharmaceutical formulations for drinking water medication, quality control of drinking water, using separate pipeline circuits, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

    Categories: Journal news

    Randomised trial of perioperative tramadol for canine sterilisation pain management

    3 October 2019

    Surgical sterilisation to manage free-roaming dog populations is widely used in many countries. However, few studies have examined optimal postoperative pain management regimens at low-resource, high-throughput veterinary clinics. The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of two intravenous analgesic regimens, preoperative administration of meloxicam and tramadol, or meloxicam alone, in free-roaming dogs undergoing sterilisation. A total of 125 dogs were included, with 64 dogs in the meloxicam-tramadol arm and 61 dogs in the meloxicam-only arm in a non-inferiority study design. Pain levels in sterilisation surgery patients were assessed at four time points after surgery using the Colorado State University Canine Acute Pain Scale, a Visual Analogue Scale and a modified version of the Glasgow Composite Measure Pain Scale – Short Form. Non-inferiority was supported for each of the main scoring outcomes using non-inferiority margins of 0.5, 5 and 0.8, respectively. One dog from the meloxicam-tramadol group and four dogs in the meloxicam-only arm required rescue analgesia, with no difference between groups (P=0.21).The study demonstrated that meloxicam was effective in controlling postoperative pain in a high proportion of dogs. The addition of tramadol alongside meloxicam treatment was not found to be of clinical benefit.

    Categories: Journal news

    Gendered practices in veterinary organisations

    3 October 2019

    As a result of scandals concerning sexual harassment in Hollywood and in the media, as well as questions regarding the size of the gender pay gap, considerable attention has recently been paid to questions of gender diversity and discrimination in organisations. Gender issues would appear particularly salient within the veterinary profession, not least because women are beginning to outnumber men as practitioners. While this research on veterinary surgeons was not initially focused on gender, as the study progressed gender became an issue of such importance that it could not be ignored. Although ‘feminized in numerical terms’, the veterinary profession and ‘its professional structure and culture remains gendered masculine’. Translated into practice, this means that although 76 per cent of vet school graduates are currently female, disproportionately few have risen or are rising through the hierarchy. On the surface it is easy to rationalise this away partly by simply stating how many female vets appear to sacrifice career for family, but the authors’ aim is to go beyond merely repeating and reinforcing the common sense view of female reproduction and parenting as the sole explanation for gender inequality within this and other professions.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    3 October 2019
    How prevalent are bacterial infections in guinea pigs?

    S. Roberts-Steel, J. A. Oxley, A. Carroll and others

    Animals (2019) 9

    doi: 10.3390/ani9090649

    • What did the research find?

    In total, 39.3 per cent of owners reported that their pet guinea pig(s) had been clinically diagnosed with a bacterial infection. Upper respiratory tract infections were the most commonly reported (47 per cent), followed by urinary tract (15.5 per cent) and gastrointestinal (11.7 per cent) infections. Owners generally had good knowledge of husbandry practices, and there was no significant effect of owner knowledge on the occurrence of bacterial infection.

    • How was it conducted?

    An online questionnaire, consisting of 30 questions, was completed by 524 guinea pig owners between October 2016 and January 2017. Participants were asked to provide information on the clinical history of their guinea pig(s), particularly regarding any diagnoses of bacterial infection. In addition, participants were asked to...

    Categories: Journal news

    Incentivising public health work

    3 October 2019

    The Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) would like to respond to the comments made by Jonathan Lee and Stephen May in a recent news article (VR, 21 September 2019, vol 185, p 318) about incentivising vets to enter public health work.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) defines veterinary public health (VPH) as ‘the sum of all contributions to the physical, mental and social wellbeing of humans through an understanding and application of veterinary science’. This definition encompasses all activities carried out by veterinarians with all animal species, as well as human interactions, in the context of the environment they live in and share. Therefore, every veterinarian, one way or another, contributes to VPH.

    Undeniably, the current Brexit situation raises more questions than answers among the veterinary profession and its role in society at the national and international level.

    The VPHA has raised concerns that, with no deal, or with...

    Categories: Journal news