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Asking trolls to be 'kind is pointless

12 March 2020

I write in response to the letter ‘No place for abuse of vet leaders’ (VR, 22 February 2020, vol 186, p 220).

If two decades of frustration and disappointment spill over a little too strongly on occasion I apologise, but I can assure your concerned writers I have never hidden my identity, nor cared less for someone’s identity or genetics. Those few establishment names I still recognise on the signatory list of the letter might also acknowledge that I have not changed my convictions in that time either – on the contrary, time and evidence have only strengthened them.

To see a vocation that is frankly an integral part of my DNA so wilfully destroyed by a self-obsessed cabal is more than one can often bear, and of course I hold the establishment – not the individuals – responsible and will criticise loudly and often.

Asking the anonymous trolls...

Categories: Journal news


5 March 2020

In January Peter Roeder travelled to Stockholm to receive the Bertebos Prize, conferred by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. The award recognises his outstanding achievements in developing and improving the control of transboundary animal diseases and new diseases around the world. Roeder was secretary of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome for seven years. A major part of his work related to the global eradication of rinderpest (cattle plague), which was achieved officially in 2011. He retired in 2007 and is now an independent veterinary consultant.

Dominic Wells of the Royal Veterinary College has been presented with the Individual Award for Outstanding Contribution to Openness in Animal Research. Hosted by Understanding Animal Research (UAR), the award recognises Wells’ outstanding work in promoting the responsible use of animals. He was nominated for his numerous contributions to...

Categories: Journal news


5 March 2020

Barbara Gomes has joined Wear Referrals as a clinician in diagnostic imaging. She graduated from the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, in 2009, and recently completed a four-year residency in diagnostic imaging at the University of Glasgow’s Small Animal Hospital. During her residency, she obtained the RCVS certificate in advanced veterinary practice (CertAVP) in diagnostic imaging in 2017, and a master’s degree investigating canine oesophageal diseases in 2019. Her specific interests include all aspects of abdominal ultrasonography and MRI.

Harry Swales is the second new recruit at Wear Referrals. He graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2014, initially undertaking a rotating internship in north-west England before working in mixed practice in Wales and the north east. He undertook a residency in internal medicine at the University of Liverpool, during which he taught the nephrology and blood transfusion courses and was awarded the RCVS CertAVP in small animal medicine....

Categories: Journal news

Why is the animal health market so buoyant?

5 March 2020

In recent years the animal healthcare market has shown strong growth and investors predict this will continue. Last week McKinsey management consultants declared it an ‘attractive and dynamic’ industry for investment. Speaking at the Animal Health Investment Europe conference, the consultancy said it anticipated the global market to grow by about 5 per cent each year to $10 billion by 2024. So what do investors see as the key drivers for this market?

1. Pet services industries are ‘enormously attractive’ to investors, according to Todd Richter, an investment banker at Guggenheim Partners. Not only because they offer multiple levers to improve revenue and profitability, but also due to the sector’s financial resilience following the 2008 global crash. Investors regard the consolidation trend as very much in its infancy. ‘Anyone who thinks this game is over, it’s not even close to being over,’ said Richter.

Investors also predict further consolidation...

Categories: Journal news

African swine fever vaccine on the horizon

5 March 2020

By Adele Waters

A vaccine to protect pigs against African swine fever (ASF) is likely to be available by 2025 – possibly even within the next two years, at a push.

That was the one hopeful message that came out of a discussion about the impact and management of the disease at last week’s Animal Health Investment Europe conference, in London.

Linda Dixon, who leads the ASF virus team at the Pirbright Institute, told the audience of vets, scientists, academics, venture capitalists and investors that various scientific centres were currently working on the vaccine.

I think there is a very good chance a vaccine will be developed within five years

‘I think there is a very good chance a vaccine will be developed within five years. There are already some promising candidates,’ she told a panel discussion. ‘It’s possible that we could have a vaccine earlier than that...

Categories: Journal news

News section PDF

5 March 2020
Categories: Journal news

Vet app takes home VRs innovation award

5 March 2020

By Suzanne Jarvis

An app that helps vets and vet nurses capture anaesthetic details has won the Vet Record Innovation Award.

Vetnapp is the brainchild of Alastair Mair, a veterinary specialist in anaesthesia, who currently works at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Solihull.

It was developed after Mair investigated and published a study reviewing the completeness of handwritten preanaesthetic records at two referral institutions, one in the UK and one in Australia.

The results showed that record completeness was poor at both centres.

Mair’s app allows vet professionals to easily record the physiological parameters of animals undergoing anaesthesia on any mobile device, such as a tablet, using a series of sliders and drop-down boxes. Any complications encountered can also be recorded and, after surgery, staff can generate a PDF to attach to patient records.

So far, the app has been downloaded nearly 1000 times

The app...

Categories: Journal news

Top of the crop: world university rankings revealed

5 March 2020

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has been ranked as the top vet school in the UK and Europe, and the world’s number 2 vet school in the QS World University Rankings 2020.

The rankings – which cover 1368 institutions from 83 locations ranked across 48 subjects – are determined by a range of criteria, such as academic reputation, research impact and number of citations, as well as employer reputation per subject. Responses from over 94,000 academics and 45,000 global employers were used to calculate the results.

The RVC received a perfect score for the academic reputation indicator (100) and the university’s outstanding contributions to research were recognised in a high citations per paper metric (98.4), which evaluates research impact.

In last year’s rankings, the RVC was voted the top vet school in the world, but this year the University of California, Davis took the top spot.

Edinburgh vet school...

Categories: Journal news

Locums stung by IR35 rule change

5 March 2020

By Josh Loeb

Major employers are gearing up for new tax changes that will affect the way they manage payments to locums.

Vets Now and IVC are among the first to announce changes to their employment policies with others, including Medivet, expected to follow.

This week Vet Record contacted all major veterinary employers to ask them how they plan to accommodate the IR35 changes – new rules that will apply to some private sector organisations from next month.

Both IVC and Vets Now said that, from April, locums can only work off payroll only if they do so via an umbrella company or agency.

The change means locums will no longer be hired through personal service companies (PSCs) or private limited companies – set-ups that can prove more tax efficient for locums.

Samantha Prentice, Vets Now’s people director, said: ‘We would prefer all limited company locums to join us...

Categories: Journal news

Pet dog confirmed to have coronavirus

5 March 2020

By Josh Loeb

Dogs can become infected with the new coronavirus, known as Covid-19, international veterinary authorities confirmed this week.

Late on Wednesday night, the BVA confirmed that a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong that repeatedly tested positive for the virus had a low level of infection.

Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) had agreed that ‘it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission’.

At the time of going to press, it was understood that Defra had also confirmed this.

BVA president Daniella Dos Santos said: ‘The OIE and Hong Kong government have unanimously agreed that the ongoing test results of the Pomeranian dog suggest that the dog has a low-level of infection and that this is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission. The dog has not shown any clinical signs of disease and is still...

Categories: Journal news

New opportunities to protect animal welfare

5 March 2020

Blue Cross has launched a new manifesto calling on the government to better protect animal welfare.

The charity wants the government to, among other things, repeal the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, introduce a system of licensing for all who breed pet animals and commit to the compulsory microchipping of cats.

With a new parliament now in place, the manifesto asks not only for strong legislation to protect pets, but also robust enforcement.

It says that a lack of local authority resources is making it difficult to properly enforce animal welfare legislation. Considerable cuts to budgets in recent years are likely to have had a significant impact on local authorities’ ability to effectively investigate and enforce, it says. The charity is calling for increased local authority resources and training to ensure officers have the required knowledge to apply all relevant pet welfare legislation.

It also discusses the regulation of animal...

Categories: Journal news

Dental disease and obesity cause problems in Chihuahuas

5 March 2020

Georgina Mills discusses new research from VetCompass, which examines the disorders most likely to affect Chihuahuas

Categories: Journal news

Aberystwyth launches a new vet school

5 March 2020

By Georgina Mills

Wales’ first vet school was launched last week at Aberystwyth University.

The new Aberystwyth School of Veterinary Science will welcome its first cohort of 25 students in September 2021 and will offer a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) degree in conjunction with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

The five-year degree will see students spend two years at Aberystwyth University followed by three years’ study at the RVC’s Hawkshead campus in Hertfordshire.

Elizabeth Treasure, vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth, said: ‘Agriculture and its related industries play such an important part in the Welsh economy and it is incumbent on us as universities to provide the people and the skills that will contribute to ensuring they thrive for years to come.

‘The new School of Veterinary Science adds a vitally important new piece to the jigsaw, one that will build resilience in the rural economy through education and research at...

Categories: Journal news

Rates of CPD compliance on the rise, says RCVS

5 March 2020

CPD compliance for vet nurses was the highest ever recorded

CPD compliance has risen significantly for both vets and vet nurses, according to the most recent RCVS audit.

In 2019, 81 per cent of vets audited met the annual requirement of 35 hours per year – an increase of 13 per cent on 2018 figures.

For vet nurses, 79 per cent met the annual requirement of 15 hours a year. This represents a 7 per cent increase on 2018 and is the highest rate ever recorded for nurses.

In all, the RCVS audited 1010 vets and 1077 vet nurses, and included a random sample of 658 vets covering all UK postcode areas. Given a decline in compliance rates in recent years, from 82 per cent in 2014 to just 68 per cent in 2018, the college described the increase for vets as ‘very positive’.

Linda Prescott-Clements, RCVS director...

Categories: Journal news

In brief

5 March 2020
Roslin head resigns

Eleanor Riley has resigned as director of the world-renowned Roslin Institute.

She had been head of the institute – which is part of the University of Edinburgh – since September 2017.

Confirming her departure, a University of Edinburgh spokesperson said Riley was taking up a position in the School of Biological Sciences at the university.

Melanie Welham, executive chair of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which grants millions of pounds of funding to the Roslin, said: ‘On behalf of BBSRC, I would like to thank Eleanor for her outstanding leadership of the Roslin Institute, reflected in the continuing world class performance of the strategic research programmes BBSRC funds.

‘I wish her the very best for the future and look forward to working with her successor to continue building our excellent partnership.’

Last week The Sunday Times reported allegations that Riley felt undermined and ignored...

Categories: Journal news

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, February 2020

5 March 2020

APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Lysosomal storage disease in a Galloway calf

  • Plant poisoning in lambs

  • Coal tar toxicity in grower pigs

  • Non-notifiable low pathogenicity avian influenza in poultry

  • Focus on animal health risks associated with flooding

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattleLysosomal storage disease

    A Galloway calf had a history of being recumbent from birth, with an overshot lower jaw and a tremor when the head was manipulated. It was euthanased and examined postmortem at the APHA Shrewsbury Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC). Other similarly affected calves were reported to have been born previously in the herd of 30 cows.

    The calf weighed only 19 kg and was thought to have been born approximately four to six weeks prematurely. In addition to the overshot jaw, postmortem examination identified a domed skull, the eyes were smaller than normal and the brain had a...

    Categories: Journal news

    Medium- to long-term endemic disease risks associated with flooding events

    5 March 2020

    This focus article has been prepared by members of the APHA Surveillance Intelligence Unit and the Veterinary Risk Group.

    Categories: Journal news

    Impact of husbandry on the welfare of pet guinea pigs in the UK

    5 March 2020

    Based on pet ownership statistics, an estimated 0.4 million guinea pigs are currently owned in the UK.1 While the number of guinea pigs kept as pets is only slightly lower than for rabbits (0.6 million), comparatively little research has been conducted to investigate the health and welfare of this species in the domestic environment.

    There are a number of factors that may have an impact on the health and welfare of pet guinea pigs.2 For example, a recent study identified that dental disease was the most common problem observed in guinea pigs presented to a veterinary practice,3 confirming that diet is paramount in maintaining good health and welfare in this species. In addition to requiring a constant supply of hay to promote tooth wear4 and maintain gastrointestinal health,5 guinea pigs also require a dietary source of vitamin C to...

    Categories: Journal news

    Current welfare state of pet guinea pigs in the UK

    5 March 2020

    Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting data on the extent to which these are each met by a sample of UK guinea pig owners.


    A survey of 4590 owners was conducted.


    Guinea pigs were housed in a variety of ways, but a hutch or cage, with no attached run, was the most common enclosure. The majority reportedly lived with a conspecific, although some lived on their own, or with a rabbit. Significant associations between aspects of housing and husbandry, and behaviour and health were found, for example, the frequency of positive behaviours displayed was higher in those guinea pigs housed with a conspecific and those in larger enclosures, while the number of reported health issues was lower in animals receiving green vegetables more often.


    This study has identified common practices, and highlighted some potential welfare issues, which would benefit from further research. The authors suggest improved availability of targeted information may enable owners to improve issues identified here.

    Categories: Journal news

    Ropinirole eye drops induce vomiting effectively in dogs: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study

    5 March 2020

    There is a need for an effective and safe emetic agent that dog owners could easily administer to their dogs following veterinary advice in cases of potential poisoning. As a response to this need, a randomised, double-blind, multi-site, clinical field study was performed to assess the efficacy, safety and usability of ropinirole eye drops to induce vomiting in dogs. Ropinirole (target dose 3.75 mg/m2) was applied to eyes of 100 dogs, and 32 dogs received placebo. The drug was administered by the dog owner at a veterinary clinic under the supervision of a veterinarian and led to vomition in 95% of the ropinirole-treated dogs within 30 min. The median time to first vomit was 10 min (range: 3–37 min). None of the dogs receiving placebo vomited in this time period. All owners were able to administer the product and 96% of them assessed the administration to be very easy or easy, which was confirmed by the observing veterinarian. Some ocular signs were seen both with ropinirole and placebo, hyperaemia being the most common. All observed signs were transient and in most cases mild. Ropinirole eye drops provided an effective, safe and reliable means to induce emesis in dogs.

    Categories: Journal news