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Vets in two minds about organic farming

22 March 2019

Sales of organic produce in the UK soared last year, mirroring trends in Europe and the USA. Research comparing the health and welfare of livestock on organic farms with those on conventional farms is thus relevant. As guardians of animal health and welfare, vets’ perceptions of organic farming are also worth capturing.

Organic farming can impinge on veterinary decision making – something that has been known to cause frustration. For example, the Soil Association’s organic scheme, the largest in the UK, restricts the use of some vaccines given to ewes before lambing. Some vets feel this restriction is unduly limiting.

Vet Record approached a number of UK vets to hear their thoughts on organic farming. Their answers were nuanced. Several were sympathetic towards the objectives underlying the organic movement, but at the same time said they viewed the organic label as essentially a marketing device.

Research published this week...

Categories: Journal news

We are ready for Brexit, say drugs companies

22 March 2019

By Josh Loeb

More pharmaceutical companies have gone public with their predictions that the supply of veterinary medicines will carry on as normal under any form of Brexit, including a no-deal Brexit, amid continuing uncertainty over the eventual outcome.

MSD Animal Health said it was ‘confident that our contingency plans across our business have been implemented effectively and will help to ensure that MSD’s supply will not be negatively impacted as a consequence of Brexit.’

Vet Mark Leddy, UK country manager for veterinary company TVM, also said he did not anticipate shortages.

We’re confident of supply at this point in time and don’t have any particular concerns for the foreseeable future

‘We’re confident of supply at this point in time and don’t have any particular concerns for the foreseeable future,’ Leddy told Vet Record.

Meanwhile Boehringer Ingelheim said it had procured additional warehouse space in the UK to...

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News section PDF

22 March 2019
Categories: Journal news

Will vets be put back on the Shortage Occupation List?

22 March 2019

By Josh Loeb

A report that could lead to vets being restored to the Shortage Occupation List looked set to be released imminently as Vet Record went to press this week.

The list stipulates which occupations the government officially recognises as suffering from a significant shortage of qualified personnel.

Vets were removed from the list in 2011, when the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) assessed that there were sufficient numbers of vets working in the UK to meet demand. This meant that, as of 2011, the government’s official view was that there were enough vets, or was sufficient access to immigrant vets, in the UK.

However, both the BVA and RCVS have since called for vets to be reinstated to the list, arguing that the MAC’s decision ‘did not anticipate’ a ‘possible loss of non-UK EU graduates from the veterinary workforce’.

If the MAC now agrees that there is...

Categories: Journal news

Using facial recognition to detect the emotional state of pigs

22 March 2019

Facial recognition technology is being used in an attempt to detect different emotional states of pigs.

Animal behaviourists from Scotland’s Rural College and machine vision experts at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE Bristol) have teamed up for the study, which it is hoped will lead to a tool that can monitor individual animals’ faces and alert farmers to any health and welfare problems.

Scientists are capturing images (see left) of breeding sows under various situations that are likely to result in different emotional states; such as, being given pain relief for lameness or being given food.

Images are then processed at UWE Bristol, where machine learning techniques are being developed to automatically identify different emotions conveyed by particular facial expressions. After validation, the team aims to develop the technology for on-farm use to allow individual sows to be continuously monitored.

Categories: Journal news

'Even one-off cattle purchases can be a big risk

22 March 2019

By Josh Loeb

Farms trading directly with only a few others could unwittingly be connecting themselves to thousands more via yearly ‘contact chains’ that may hasten disease spread.

So says Helen Fielding, a PhD researcher and vet studying bovine TB (bTB), who is one of the authors of a new study looking into the extent to which British beef and dairy farms are connected to one another via cattle movements.

As part of the study – published in the journal Royal Society Open Science – Fielding and her University of Exeter colleague Robbie McDonald analysed patterns of buying and selling cattle on British farms using official records of 75 million movements of cattle spanning a 15-year period.

The pair traced ‘contact chains’. These describe networks of farms linked together via sequential movements of cattle.

By looking at 12-month periods of trading they found that around half of all British...

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Application for UKs 'listed status to EU continues

22 March 2019

An extensive dossier of information on disease surveillance and veterinary involvement in the livestock sector has been shared with the EU by Defra in preparation for Brexit.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said the information was shared as part of the process of applying for post-Brexit listed status.

This status will be vital for the UK to obtain if Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal again fails to be approved by parliament and if no credible alternative plan is agreed.

As Vet Record went to press this week uncertainty and political deadlock meant a variety of outcomes remained theoretical possibilities, but the UK leaving the EU with no deal continued to be the legal default.

The National Farmers’ Union had previously warned that the process of applying for listed status could take as long as six months and may not begin until the UK has already exited the EU....

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Preventing 'avoidable dog attacks on livestock

22 March 2019

By Georgina Mills

Almost a quarter of dog owners have reported their dogs have chased livestock or other animals, new research from the RSPCA has found.

Of these dog owners, just under a third had sought help for this behaviour.

The findings came from the RSPCA’s #DogKind campaign, which surveyed over 3000 dog owners to find out how in tune they were with the needs of their dogs.

The unwanted behaviours most commonly reported by dog owners were avoidance behaviour in response to loud noises (38 per cent), pulling on the lead when walking (25 per cent) and chasing livestock or other animals (24 per cent).

Of the owners who had reported their dogs had chased other animals, 29 per cent had sought help for this, and of these 47 per cent had gone to the vet. The most common reason why help hadn’t been sought for livestock worrying...

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RCVS heads to India again for accreditation talks

22 March 2019

The RCVS is seeking to ascertain whether vet schools around the world have an appetite to be accredited by the college.

Chris Tufnell, who leads on the RCVS’s ‘global strategy’, revealed that this question was at the heart of his discussions with veterinary leaders from India, Israel, Caribbean countries and others at the Commonwealth Veterinary Association conference in Bangalore earlier this month. RCVS policy manager Ben Myring also attended the conference.

At the event Tufnell met with top officials from Indian vet schools including the director of research at the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and the dean of the Rajiv Gandhi College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.

He also visited the veterinary college in Bangalore and met attendees from elsewhere in the Commonwealth, as well as those from countries outside of it, for conversations about veterinary education in their jurisdictions.

These conversations primarily focused on determining...

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Keeping the UKs newts free from chytrid fungi

22 March 2019

Josh Loeb discusses recent research on the devastating Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans fungus

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In brief

22 March 2019
‘Fashionable’ dogs on the rise for the RSPCA

In the past three years, the RSPCA has seen a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs coming into its kennels.

During this time, the charity has also seen a rise in other ‘fashionable’ breeds, such as dachshunds and Chihuahuas, and ‘designer’ crossbreeds.

In 2016, the RSPCA’s 17 national animal centres rescued no dachshunds, yet last year they took in 28. The number of rescued Chihuahuas also rose from 23 to 96.

However, the number of dogs coming into its centres overall has decreased, from 5640 in 2016 to 5056 last year. The number of Staffordshire bull terriers has also decreased by 29 per cent.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: ‘We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment,...

Categories: Journal news

Expanding in-clinic diagnostic services

22 March 2019

A novel way of screening animals for various diseases is now available to veterinary practitioners.

Speed Reader is a laser-induced, fluorescent reader that works by measuring common disease biomarkers in serum and plasma, its manfucturer, Virbac, says.

It can be used to test cortisol, thyroxine, progesterone and c-reactive protein. It is the only in-clinic biomarker test available to screen dogs for benign prostatic hyperplasia by testing for canine prostate specific esterase.

The benefits of using the Speed Reader include reducing reliance on external laboratories and having the ability to provide clients with faster results and reduced test costs. Other advantages include being able to treat the patient more quickly and being able to monitor the patient’s long-term health in more detail.

Tests can be performed in as little as 15 minutes using a simple step-by-step procedure displayed on the touch screen.

It also comes with ‘transparent and straightforward pricing,...

Categories: Journal news

Triple action pig vaccine offers herd protection and confidence for farmers

22 March 2019

A ‘new and unique’ triple action pig vaccine to control three of the biggest diseases causing reproductive failures in pigs has been launched by MSD Animal Health. Porcilis Ery+Parvo+Lepto offers protection for 12 months against erysipelas, porcine parvovirus and leptospirosis.

Alexandre Carvalho, business unit manager for pigs at MSD Animal Health, explained that the vaccine has the broadest protection against Leptospira on the market, offering protection against nine different serogroups. He said: ‘It’s important to note that Porcilis Ery+Parvo+Lepto can be used for mass vaccination and during pregnancy [in pigs], which hasn’t been possible with previous products.’

Categories: Journal news

Joint disease in horses found to be more common than previously thought

22 March 2019

A new survey has revealed that 66 per cent of horses have suffered from lameness as a result of joint disease, and that one-fifth of horses have been off work with the problem for a year or more.

The survey – by supplement brand Cavalor – was completed by 1339 horse owners and revealed that joint disease is not only found in older horses; 36 per cent of horses developed the condition by the age of eight years of age – with the average age of onset being 10 years.

As well as the welfare implications for horses, joint problems involved veterinary care. Over two-thirds (69 per cent) of horses required up to five vet visits for treatment, while 21 per cent needed as many as 10 visits. Horse owners reported spending an average of £2104 treating their horse’s joint condition while 5 per cent paid more than £7500.

Categories: Journal news

Mortgages for practice personnel

22 March 2019

Obtaining a mortgage can be difficult for some veterinary practice staff, especially those that are self-employed or do locum work, as lenders are often unfamiliar with the way veterinary staff are paid.

Independent mortgage broker ReSource Mortgages says it can provide a solution because of its experience in arranging mortgages for veterinary personnel.

Alan Holmes, managing director of ReSource Mortgages said: ‘We have the experience and expertise to source lenders that understand the profession and are more likely to offer preferential terms and lending criteria’.

‘For locums, we work with lenders who understand this type of work and will accept shorter periods of income history. If you’re new in practice, we could arrange lending within your first 12 months in the role – rather than you having to wait two years.’

‘Ultimately, we’ll ensure you get the lender that best suits your circumstances at the best possible price’.


Categories: Journal news

Small animal premedication

22 March 2019

A new premedication for general anaesthesia or neuroleptanalgesia that can be used in combination with a neuroleptic drug has been launched.

Chanelle Animal Health has introduced Insistor 10 mg/ml solution for injection for dogs and cats. The active ingredient is methadone hydrochloride.

Insistor can also be used for analgesia in animals experiencing postoperative pain or pain caused by trauma.

It is available in the UK in a 10 ml bottle.

Chanelle Animal Health, Lower Unit, 1 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 0DN

Categories: Journal news

Green practice adopts reusable sharps containers

22 March 2019

A referral practice has become the first to work with the ‘safest, and most environmentally responsible, sharps and clinical waste management company’.

As the first veterinary practice to achieve accreditation with ‘Investors in the Environment’, Davies Veterinary Specialists has joined forces with Sharpsmart in a bid to further reduce its environmental footprint.

It does this by using reusable sharps containers, which means that less plastic is needed to make the containers, and fewer carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released through incineration.

The Sharpsmart system is marketed, among other things, to reduce sharps injuries, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 95 per cent, and reduce sharps disposal costs by approximately 30 per cent.

The company also says that the Sharpsmart container costs less than other container safety devices on the market.

Davies Veterinary Specialists says it hopes to inspire and support the UK veterinary industry to work...

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22 March 2019

Tracey Morley Jewkes has been appointed hospital director of Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull, after spending four years as managing director of Blacks Vets, in the West Midlands. Her experience includes business ownership and international management consultancy. As well as leading Blacks Vets to a number of industry awards during her time there, Morley Jewkes also appeared on the Channel 4 show ‘The Job Interview’.

Categories: Journal news

Bovine TB infection status in cattle in Great Britain in 2017

22 March 2019

Key points

  • In Great Britain (GB) overall, approximately nine new incidents of bovine TB (bTB) were detected in 2017 for every 100 herds that underwent a full year of surveillance, a slight increase from the 2016 figure of 8.4.

  • There was substantial variation across GB at country, surveillance risk area and county level.

  • Despite a slight increase in the number of incidents per 100 herd-years at risk in 2017 (0.9, up from 0.6 in 2016), Scotland remained Officially TB Free. A reduction in the number of herds undergoing a full year of surveillance contributed to the observed increase in rate.

  • In the Low risk area of England in 2017 the incidence was unchanged from 2016 (one TB incident per 100 herd-years at risk).

  • There has been a steady decline in bTB incidence in Wales since 2012, and in 2017 just over seven incidents of...

  • Categories: Journal news

    Understanding why inaccuracies happen when drilling bone

    22 March 2019

    Orthopaedic surgery may be reduced to three key factors: knowledge, understanding and accuracy. It is essential that surgeons both know and understand the rules when investigating a problem and when formulating a treatment plan. However, the most perfect plan can fail because of inaccuracies in effecting that plan in theatre. ‘Measure twice, drill once’ is the mantra to improve accuracy. Yet, no matter how careful the surgeon, inaccuracy can arise due to variations in equipment and technique. The more we understand these variations, the more accurate we can be.

    Sequential drilling is considered to be the standard approach to creating a large diameter hole in bone, into which a large diameter (more than 3.5 mm) screw may be placed. This involves the creation of a pilot hole with a small diameter drill bit and then, using this as a guide, increasing diameter drill bits in order to reach the...

    Categories: Journal news