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Badgers and bovine TB

11 July 2019

Tom Langton (VR, 8 June 2019, vol 184, p 715) rightly takes issue with the modelled data from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT). However, he should have looked further back before declaring that the badger cull policy is not evidence based.

The several trials at Thornbury, Steeple Leaze, Hartland Point and the two trials in Ireland1 before the RBCT, provide ample evidence of the effectiveness of badger culling in the control of bovine TB (bTB).

In contrast with the RBCT, all five of these trials recorded culling rates in excess of 80 per cent and a dramatic reduction (80 to 100 per cent) in the incidence of bTB in associated cattle herds. The Thornbury trial in 1975 eradicated bTB in cattle for 10 years before the area was allowed to recolonise with badgers and the disease returned.

In contrast, the RBCT recorded hopelessly inadequate culling rates...

Categories: Journal news

Death notices

11 July 2019

O’Brien On 6 June 2019, Mark Alasdair O’Brien, BA, VetMB, PhD, MPhil, MRCVS, of Exeter, Devon. Dr O’Brien qualified from Cambridge in 1988.

doi: 10.1136/vr.l4600

Categories: Journal news

Do we need an evidence manifesto?

11 July 2019

In the first of a new evidence column, Rachel Dean and Carl Heneghan argue that while evidence-based veterinary medicine is not perfect we need to stop grumbling about the shortcomings and get on with it in practice

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Why its a bright idea to look on the bright side

11 July 2019

In the frequently stressful environment that is veterinary practice, it can be tricky to retain a positive outlook. But, as Penny Barker explains, there can be real benefits from a conscious effort to focus on the good.

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Charge towards the positive

11 July 2019

Need a little inspiration on how to tap into those positive emotions? Penny Barker offers five quick exercises which can help push you towards the positive.

Smile

Try smiling for at least a minute and you should feel your emotions change. If you can, smile at someone else for no reason (though perhaps not for a whole minute!). We are a social species and both smiling ourselves and seeing someone else smile has a positive impact on our physiology and emotional state, as well as that of others.

Focus on the positives of the day

Name five things that were good about today. This is particularly useful in helping you reframe a bad day and is a good exercise to do with your team. We are far more likely to focus on the negatives as often those emotions are more powerful, but drawing our mind to even the...

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Building blocks of a mentally healthy workplace

11 July 2019

As an employer, you have a legal duty of care to those you employ. But have you considered that that duty extends to supporting their mental health? Here Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, suggests some ways to go about building a mentally healthy working environment.

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Five ways to reinforce your mental wellbeing

11 July 2019

The often demanding nature of veterinary practice can have a negative impact on mental health. Rosie Allister, helpline manager at Vetlife, offers five top tips that can help reinforce your wellbeing.

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An interest in orthopaedics led me to sports medicine and rehabilitation

11 July 2019

Danae Charalambous is the first European resident in veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation.

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People

11 July 2019

Specialist dental vet Gerhard Putter qualified as a diplomat of the European Veterinary Dental College in 2018 and was presented with his diploma at the European Veterinary Dental Forum event in Utrecht in May. Having qualified from the University of Pretoria in 1984, he has been a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists since 2014. He is currently working with Independent Vetcare to develop Specialist Dental Vet, a new multisite practice that will operate from Mulberry Vets in Sudbury, Byre Referrals in Peterborough and Wood Street Vet Hospital in Barnet.

Jeremy Mantell has been appointed welfare consultant to Retraining of Racehorses, British horseracing’s charity for retired racehorses. He will be responsible for assessing former racehorses deemed ‘vulnerable or unwanted’ and monitoring their progress within the charity’s vulnerable horse scheme. A past president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, Mantell was also a managing partner...

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Making the evidence base more useful

11 July 2019

This week Vet Record launches a new column – The Evidence Base – which, over a series of eight articles, will aim to interrogate evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) and examine how it could be done better and be made more relatable for those in practice.

The first column is authored by vet Rachel Dean, director of clinical research and excellence in practice for VetPartners, and doctor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at the University of Oxford (pp 58–59).

Dean and Heneghan make the case that everyone should be involved in EBVM and they question whether the veterinary world should have its own version of the evidence-based medicine manifesto. Published in 2017, it was designed to reduce bias, wastage and error in research that informs patient care in human medicine.

The series will go on to look at elements of the manifesto from a veterinary perspective.

...
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'Shocking levels of discrimination found

11 July 2019

By Georgina Mills

Almost 30 per cent of vet professionals have experienced or witnessed some sort of discrimination in the workplace or in a learning environment.

Findings from a BVA discrimination survey found that of the incidents that have taken place, some 43 per cent have been related to sex discrimination, 26 per cent to race and 13 per cent to pregnancy/parental leave.

Other specific examples of discrimination include that of age, disability, sexual orientation and religion.

The survey, which was carried out earlier this year and received an unprecedented 2445 responses, aimed to capture the first-hand experiences of discrimination of vets, vet nurses, students and other veterinary team members.

Alongside the discrimination survey, the association also released figures from its spring Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey this week (1551 responses), which included questions on discrimination for the first time.

The Voice survey found that victims of discrimination...

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News section PDF

11 July 2019
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Identifying preslaughter stress in cattle

11 July 2019

By Suzanne Jarvis

Work by researchers in Northern Ireland has shown the potential for gathering information on animal welfare using temperature data collected regularly by farmers.

Results from the project, which were presented at the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare conference last week, showed boluses in cattle can successfully identify stress-induced hyperthermia during the preslaughter period.

The work was presented by Gareth Arnott from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast and was coauthored by Naomi Rutherford, also of the Institute for Global Food Security, and Francis Lively from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.

Stress-induced hyperthermia is a common phenomenon identified in many animals. A number of different potential stressors – including transport, handling and mixing – are known to affect cattle during the preslaughter period, and these would be likely to induce this stress response.

The research team hoped to demonstrate a way of flagging...

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'Dont pick up lab mice by their tails, researchers say

11 July 2019

Laboratory mice should no longer be picked up by hand because it causes them stress.

Instead, researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience recommend using a less popular ‘tunnel handling’ technique to move them from a ‘home cage’ to an apparatus for a procedure (and vice versa).

Tunnel handling entails allowing a mouse to crawl into a small plastic tunnel (it can be clear or opaque) in which the animal is then transported – thus avoiding the need for handlers to interact directly with it.

The method has been shown in several studies from around the world to reduce anxiety in mice, yet, despite that, it is not widely used in laboratories – apparently because researchers regard it as essentially pointless to employ a less aversive approach towards an animal that is about to undergo an aversive procedure anyway.

Institute researcher Lindsay Henderson compared the technique with the standard...

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Lab mice are not 'little furry test tubes

11 July 2019

By Josh Loeb

Laboratory animals should be viewed as patients to improve the reliability of scientific work.

That is the view of Joseph Garner, associate professor of comparative medicine at Stanford, who argues that many features of the standard lab environment make animals iller than they would otherwise be and this skews scientific outcomes.

He urged a shift away from viewing animals as ‘tools’ or ‘reagents’ towards viewing them as patients – something that would entail more ‘personalised’ care and perhaps the provision of a more natural habitat.

During his keynote speech at the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare symposium in Bruges last week, he said the sterile environment in standard laboratory facilities had led to immunosuppressed mice.

He also said that mice housed singly, as sometimes happens in laboratory conditions, had ‘about 100 times the tumour burden’ compared with their group-housed equivalents.

‘We’ve kept the environment too clean....

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Celebrating veterinary leaders

11 July 2019

Georgina Mills discusses how the RCVS is furthering its commitment to inspiring leadership in the profession

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Owners and vets view pet obesity differently

11 July 2019

By Georgina Mills

While vets are concerned about pet obesity, only a third of owners feel the same, new research has found.

Vets say around half of the dogs they see, 40 per cent of cats and 20 per cent of small mammals are overweight, and this tendency has increased over the past five years. In contrast, 68 per cent of owners believe their pet is exactly the right size, with almost half admitting to judging their pet’s weight by just looking at it.

The findings come from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), which released its third pet obesity report at a House of Commons event last week. The report surveyed almost 300 vets and 8000 UK households to better understand professional and owner perceptions of obesity levels and differing levels of awareness.

Owners and vets seem to have a difference of opinion on many aspects of obesity....

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Celebrating the Pride of the veterinary profession

11 July 2019

The British Veterinary LGBT+ group took to the streets of London last weekend to celebrate Pride.

The group was one of 600 marching through central London for the annual event, which aims to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues and campaign for equality.

Following a reception at BVA HQ, members of the group marched with BVA senior vice president John Fishwick and Australian vet Bronwyn Orr, a member of the Rainbow Vets and Allies group in Australia.

BVLGBT+ president Dan Makin said: ‘It was a day of joy and celebration, as well as one of reflection. We are thankful that we are lucky enough to be able to march without persecution.’

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In brief

11 July 2019
Vigilance for bluetongue in NI

Farmers in Northern Ireland are being encouraged to increase their vigilance for signs of bluetongue in cattle and sheep, and to follow the guidelines in place to prevent the virus spreading.

The call – from chief veterinary officer Robert Huey and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) – reminds farmers of the risks associated with sourcing animals from areas of mainland Europe known to be affected with the virus, or those that are considered to be at risk.

Farmers have also been reminded that any imported animals found to be infected will be slaughtered, with no compensation and movement restrictions put in place around the farm.

Northern Ireland is officially bluetongue free and the risk status is currently low. Last year, as part of the DAERA’s routine postimport testing regimen, the disease was detected in a heifer imported from France.

DAERA’s...

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Veterinary Practices

11 July 2019

Hamilton Specialist Referrals now offers routine appointments on Saturdays for both neurology and orthopaedic cases so that clients can book appointments six days a week, from Monday to Saturday.

Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service has invested more than £400,000 in a new state-of-the-art CT scanner, which will enable its team of six specialist radiologists and clinical staff to access real-time images from anywhere in the hospital building. The cutting-edge technology is believed to be the first of its kind to be used in a UK veterinary environment.

Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield, Yorkshire, which opened in February 2018, has received official recognition as a fully-accredited small animal hospital and emergency services clinic under the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme.

Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists now provides on-site housing for its interns in a newly refurbished house.

Chantry Vets is transforming a former office block in Brindley Way, Wakefield, into a...

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