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Celebrating diversity and inclusion at Nottingham

27 February 2020

Staff and students from the University of Nottingham’s vet school have supported the unveiling of a new rainbow ‘zebra’ crossing, in support of its LGBT+ community.

The monochromatic zebra crossing has been given a colourful makeover by the university at its three UK campuses, to foster a welcoming atmosphere, demonstrate its strong commitment to inclusivity and celebrate the diversity of all its staff and students. The new crossings were launched to coincide with LGBT History Month, which takes place in February.

At the Sutton Bonington campus, students and staff from the vet school were joined by some four-legged friends last week to mark the occasion. The crossings feature the colours of the Pride flag, with the additional inclusion of black and brown stripes to recognise the intersectional relationship between the LGBT+ and black and multiethnic communities.

Ditching the monochrome: (from left) Hattie Foster, third-year student; James...

Categories: Journal news

Do birds need to fly?

27 February 2020

Josh Loeb and Alice Roberts report on new research that is aiming to assess whether preventing birds from flying in captivity is a welfare concern

Categories: Journal news

In brief

27 February 2020
Grant available for mental health research

Applications are now open for the 2020 RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant.

The grant, named after a former RCVS council member who passed away in 2017, is worth £20,000 and is awarded to fund research that focuses on mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary professions, including areas such as prevention, diagnosis, intervention and treatment.

Applications for the grant are welcome from individuals at all stages of their research careers, including those who have not previously been published. Researchers must be affiliated with a university and ethical approval must be in place.

The deadline for proposals is 30 April and applicants should send them to MMI officer Rachel Pascoe at r.pascoe@rcvs.org.uk.

Last year’s inaugural grant was awarded to Scotland’s Rural College. Kate Stephen, a behavioural scientist at the college’s epidemiology research unit, is leading a...

Categories: Journal news

Equine disease surveillance: quarterly update

27 February 2020

Equine disease surveillance headlines

  • Outbreak of neurological equine herpesvirus in the UK

  • Summary of UK disease surveillance for October to December 2019

  • Focus on equine infectious disease surveillance initiatives in the UK

  • Neurological equine herpesvirus outbreak

    On 7 January 2020, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) confirmed a case of equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) neurological disease on a premises in Hampshire. The disease report was released through the International Collating Centre (ICC).

    The affected horse was an unvaccinated thoroughbred cross mare that presented with pyrexia, lethargy, inappetence, lymphadenopathy, limb oedema and ataxia. The horse was subsequently euthanased after becoming recumbent.

    The decision-making process for confirming or ruling out cases of EHV-1 neurological disease is illustrated in Box 1 on p 238.

    Box 1:Decision making for confirming a case of EHV-1 neurological disease

    * The CF test is a serological test, measuring antibody...

    Categories: Journal news

    Equine infectious disease surveillance initiatives in the UK

    27 February 2020

    Fleur Whitlock of the Animal Health Trust takes a look at equine infectious disease surveillance initiatives in action in the UK

    Categories: Journal news

    Imported rescue dogs: lack of research impedes evidence-based advice to ensure the welfare of individual dogs

    27 February 2020

    If you are a veterinary professional working in general practice in the UK, you cannot have failed to notice the increase in the number of dogs originating from overseas being registered at clinics. Love it or hate it, the topic of importation of overseas rescue dogs to the UK is a hot topic that is attracting vibrant and heated debate.

    The number of dogs imported to the UK is growing rapidly. Under the EU Balai Directive, commercial imports of dogs from Romania – the most common country of origin for imported rescue dogs1 – alone increased from 3616 in 2014 to 19,487 in 2019.2 While these figures do not only include rescue dogs, and may underestimate the true number of rescue dogs imported due to illegal imports,1 they do give a broad indication that adopting an overseas dog is an increasingly popular choice...

    Categories: Journal news

    Importing rescue dogs into the UK: reasons, methods and welfare considerations

    27 February 2020
    Background

    Rescuing dogs from overseas is increasing in popularity but has associated risks. This study is the first to investigate the reasons why people bring rescue dogs into the UK from overseas, the importation process, and potential welfare problems associated with this practice.

    Methods

    An online questionnaire was advertised on social media in 2017 and received 3080 responses.

    Results

    Participants primarily chose to adopt from abroad based on a desire for a particular dog they had seen advertised and on concern for its situation. However, some were motivated by previously having been refused dogs from UK rescues. Adopters reported that the EU Pet Travel Scheme was used to import 89 per cent of dogs, with only 1.2 per cent reportedly under the more stringent (and correct) Balai Directive. 14.8 per cent (79/533) of dogs reportedly tested for Leishmania infantum had positive results. Although sometimes severe, the prevalence of behavioural problems appeared comparable to that of other rescue dogs.

    Conclusion

    It is important that vets consider testing for exotic diseases, and the provision of behavioural support, when seeing imported patients. Our findings emphasise the importance of clear guidelines on travel laws, and stricter checks on animals imported as rescues, to ensure protection against the importation of diseases that pose a risk to animal and human health in the UK.

    Categories: Journal news

    Postanaesthetic effects of ketamine-midazolam and ketamine-medetomidine on gastrointestinal transit time in rabbits anaesthetised with isoflurane

    27 February 2020
    Background

    Gastrointestinal stasis is a common perianaesthetic complication in rabbits. The objective of this study was to assess the impact on gastrointestinal transit time of ketamine–midazolam (KMZ) versus ketamine–medetomidine (later antagonised by atipamezole) (KMT-A) in rabbits anaesthetised with isoflurane.

    Methods

    This was a cross-over, randomised, single-blinded, controlled, experimental trial. Seven healthy adult New Zealand White rabbits were used. Gastrointestinal transit time was assessed by contrast radiography in awake rabbits. Presence of contrast medium in the small intestine (gastric transit time), in the caecum (small intestinal transit time) and in faeces in the colon was assessed. One week later, 55 minutes isoflurane anaesthesia was induced with ketamine (15 mg/kg) and either midazolam (3 mg/kg) or medetomidine (0.25 mg/kg) by intramuscular injection. Thirty minutes after discontinuation of isoflurane, atipamezole (0.5 mg/kg) was administered only to rabbits in KMT-A treatment. Gastrointestinal transit time was then assessed in both treatment groups, beginning 30 minutes after cessation of isoflurane administration. Two weeks later, the treatment groups were interchanged.

    Results

    Gastric and small intestinal transit times were significantly longer with KMT-A (92±109 minutes and 214±119 minutes, respectively) than with KMZ (1±0 minutes and 103±6 minutes, respectively) and in the awake state (7±7 minutes and 94±32 minutes, respectively).

    Conclusion

    Clinicians should therefore be aware of the potential gastrointestinal side effects of KMT-A, particularly in rabbits at risk for gastrointestinal stasis.

    Categories: Journal news

    Conditioning equine athletes on water treadmills significantly improves peak oxygen consumption

    27 February 2020

    Equine water treadmills (WT) were initially designed for rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries, but are also commonly used for conditioning sport horses, however the effects are not well documented. The purpose of this study was to test the effect of an 18-day WT conditioning programme on peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak). Nine unfit Thoroughbreds were used in a randomised controlled trial. Six horses worked daily for 18 days in stifle-height water (WT group), while 3 control horses worked without water (dry treadmill group (DT)). Preconditioning and postconditioning maximal exercise racetrack tests (800 m) were performed using a portable ergospirometry system. Measured outcomes were VO2, tidal volume, minute ventilation, breathing frequency, heart rate, blood lactate and instantaneous and average speed. The workload as assessed by VO2 was 21.7 per cent of preconditioning VO2peak values for WT horses. VO2peak on the racetrack increased by 16.1 per cent from preconditioning to postconditioning in the WT horses (P=0.03), but did not change in the DT horses. Therefore, exercising horses in high water heights may improve conditioning.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    27 February 2020
    Prognostic indicators in cats with septic peritonitis

    K. Scotti, A. Koenigshof, L. Sri-Jayantha and others

    Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (2019)

    doi: 10.1111/vec.12896

    • What did the research find?

    Of the 83 cats that underwent surgery for septic peritonitis (SP), 58 (69.9 per cent) survived to discharge. The most common aetiology of SP was secondary SP due to gastrointestinal perforation (49.4 per cent), followed by primary SP (22.3 per cent). There was no difference in survival rate between aetiologies. Cats with a higher mean blood glucose concentration at admission were less likely to survive to discharge. Cats that received appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy were 4.4 times more likely to survive than cats that did not.

    • How was it conducted?

    The medical records of cats diagnosed with SP that underwent exploratory laparotomy at four university teaching hospitals in the USA between 2002 and 2015 were reviewed. Data...

    Categories: Journal news

    Value of using preventive pet parasiticides

    27 February 2020

    A recent letter, ‘Environmental pollution from pet parasiticides’ by Christopher Little and Alistair Boxall (VR, 25 January 2020, vol 186, p 97), raised concerns about the possible impact of medicines used for the treatment of endo- and ectoparasites in dogs and cats. The letter also questions and challenges the prophylactic use of antiparasitic medicines in companion animals.

    The animal health industry would like to draw readers’ attention to a previous letter in Vet Record detailing the environmental risk assessment (ERA) process, which has been part of the veterinary medicines legislation since 1992 (VR, 8 December 2018, vol 183, p 697). Furthermore, environmental safety of all authorised products continues to be monitored on an ongoing basis through pharmacovigilance processes. This involves not just the evaluation of any suspected adverse reactions but also a regular review of all relevant published literature.

    In relation to the criticism of prophylactic use, it should...

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    Is chronic parasiticide exposure a risk?

    27 February 2020

    I read with interest the letter by Christopher Little and Alistair Boxall discussing the potential environmental risks of parasiticide drugs used in companion animals (VR, 25 January 2020, vol 186, p 97). It seems bizarre that our pets are exempt from environmental safety testing considering that they live in our personal space as well as venturing out further afield.

    For some time I have been concerned about the use of the current depot products. When I review cases it is not uncommon to have animals concurrently receiving several products to cover the fleas, ticks, flies, nematodes, cestodes, and so on, that they may encounter – products from which their bodies never get a reprieve.

    My concern is the potential side effects of this chronic exposure, and, I suppose, we should logically extend that to the people who cuddle up with them every night. These toxins are massively more potent...

    Categories: Journal news

    Is new environment secretary informed on welfare legislation?

    27 February 2020

    I see that the BVA president, Daniella Dos Santos, has welcomed the appointment of George Eustice as environment secretary, noting that the BVA has had very positive and constructive dialogue with him over the years and that ‘we appreciate his understanding of the many complex issues we campaign on’ (VR, 22 February 2020, vol 186, p 201). One of the issues cited is animal welfare.

    During the referendum campaign, Eustice claimed, incorrectly, that EU legislation prevented him from taking further measures to improve pig welfare.1 In fact, Article 12 of Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs allows member states to maintain or apply stricter provisions for the protection of pigs than those laid down in the Directive.

    I hope [Eustice’s] under-standing of the issues has improved and I will follow his proposed measures to improve animal welfare with interest

    I hope...

    Categories: Journal news

    'I chose veterinary over human medicine

    21 February 2020

    Sarah Mason planned to be a scientist. Working as a researcher, her interest in clinical work was piqued and, as an animal lover, she chose veterinary medicine and swiftly found that she wanted to specialise.

    Categories: Journal news

    The trouble with vegan cats and dogs

    21 February 2020

    Would you feed your rabbit meat?

    A carnivorous rabbit is something out of a Monty Python film, but is it any weirder than a vegan dog? How about a vegan cat?

    Until recently the above suggestions belonged wholly in the realms of comedy.

    But now there seems to be growing interest in turning dogs and cats vegan. Numerous companies serving the UK pet food market have started catering for this demand.

    An internet search this week by Vet Record identified two brands of vegan cat food and more than 10 different brands of vegan dog food for sale in the UK. (Interestingly, there appears to be less in the way of commercially available vegetarian food for dogs and cats.)

    This should come as no surprise. According to the results of an Ipsos Mori survey commissioned by the Vegan Society, the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014...

    Categories: Journal news

    Is 'complete vegan pet food really vegan?

    21 February 2020

    By Josh Loeb and Emma Boxer

    Pet food companies marketing vegan dog food in the UK may be misleading customers or breaching legislation.

    Five different companies serving the UK pet food market appear to be advertising ‘complete vegan’ pet food that cannot be vegan, criminology lecturer Jessica Ritchie told delegates at an animal nutrition conference last week.

    By law, pet food marketed as providing a ‘complete’ diet for the species for which it is advertised must meet all that animal’s nutritional requirements. For dogs, that includes providing vitamin D.

    Ritchie researched what goes into vegan pet foods as part of a joint project with her colleague Wanda McCormick, an animal physiologist at the University of Northampton.

    The pair found that the only form of vitamin D currently legally approved in the EU and UK as an additive for pet food is D3 (cholecalciferol), which is derived from the lanolin...

    Categories: Journal news

    News section PDF

    21 February 2020
    Categories: Journal news

    Reforming the RCVS disciplinary process

    21 February 2020

    By Josh Loeb

    Fresh details have emerged of a package of measures to reform RCVS disciplinary procedures.

    Under the proposals, some minor cases of suspected misconduct – which include those involving minor convictions, failing to pay indemnity insurance and social media gaffes – could be dealt with outside of full disciplinary hearings for the first time.

    The idea is significant because the number of disciplinary hearings involving relatively minor matters has been rising year-on-year for the past four years.

    The RCVS is understood to be reviewing the full costs of cases, at various stages of the disciplinary process, with the intention of feeding data into a wider review that would also analyse outcomes.

    Early-stage proposals, so far only discussed by the RCVS council in private, could see ‘charter cases’ dealt with outside of full disciplinary hearings.

    These are cases that cross the threshold for a disciplinary hearing but where...

    Categories: Journal news

    Nurse wellbeing is a 'cause for concern

    21 February 2020

    By Josh Loeb and Shanin Leeming

    Vet nurses’ sense of wellbeing has slipped, with increasing numbers also harbouring doubts about whether they made the right choice of career.

    Those are among the findings from an RCVS survey of members of the veterinary nursing profession, published earlier this month.

    As part of a data-crunching exercise using information gathered as part of the survey, a sophisticated scale of mental wellbeing known as the ‘Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale’ was used to assign scores to respondents.

    This gave an overall wellbeing score of 46.2 – lower than the last time the survey was conducted in 2014, when the overall wellbeing score was 47.5.

    In addition, when asked if they would opt to become a vet nurse (VN) if starting their career again, half (50.8 per cent) of respondents said yes. This compares unfavourably with the situation in 2014, when a notably higher...

    Categories: Journal news

    Vets feel less supported the more support they have

    21 February 2020

    The more types of support vets have access to during their first year of practice, the less supported they feel.

    That was one of the more surprising findings contained within a report of data gathered via the 2019 RCVS survey of the veterinary profession.

    The report contained a breakdown of how positive vets felt about the support they received, modelled against the number of different types of support they had received.

    Vets who received one support type were the most positive

    Vets who received none of three ‘support types’ (training, a mentor and appraisals/performance reviews) felt the least supported of all.

    However, of those who received some support, the vets who felt most supported were the ones who received the fewest types of support.

    According to the report, those who received just one support type were the most positive about the support they received – with 83 per...

    Categories: Journal news