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'I stepped out of my comfort zone and built a new career

Mark Little gained an interest in nutrition while working as a vet on farms. As technical manager for Trouw Nutrition, he is studying feeding livestock for good health, supported by a Nuffield Scholarship.

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People

Medivet has appointed Ciara McCormack as its new head of clinical operations; she also becomes a member of the Medivet Group Board. Her role will include shaping the clinical operations team and supporting practices as they integrate into the business, as well as being involved in overseeing further investment in and development of key business systems and processes.

Ian Cure has been appointed farm director of VetPartners, following the group’s acquisition of LLM Farm Vets. He said: ‘It wasn’t our plan to join a group, but we found that VetPartners shared our values and our vision for the future of the profession, which made us enthusiastic to be part of their journey.’ Another key factor in LLM’s decision was that VetPartners is part-owned and run by vets, he said. VetPartners says there will be ‘no slowing down’ of its expansion as it continues to look for new practices and...

Categories: Journal news

Is all non-stun slaughter the same?

The bva’s policy on non-stun slaughter is clear. The association is opposed to non-stun slaughter – full stop. Indeed, it believes non-stun slaughter should be banned.

That’s hardly surprising. In general, there is consensus among vets that non-stun methods of slaughtering livestock are worse for welfare than using a captive bolt gun, electrical waterbath or other means of rendering an animal insensible to pain before slaughtering it.

However, ‘in general’ is the operative phrase. In one specific area – namely, non-stun slaughter of poultry – that consensus appears less strong. Several vets who are implacably opposed to non-stun slaughter of cattle and sheep have acknowledged that the situation as regards birds is more complex.

Some senior vets have told me they ‘don’t really have a problem’ with the Jewish method of slaughter, known as shechita, in the specific case of poultry. They cite differences in the anatomy of birds...

Categories: Journal news

Is shechita really any worse than waterbath?

By Josh Loeb

There is ‘little, if any’ evidence that a widely used mechanical system employed to stun poultry is more humane than the non-stun religious method of slaughter used by observant Jews.

That is the view of two experts on welfare at slaughter to whom the BVA looks for advice.

Steve Wotton, who has worked extensively in the field of livestock welfare, said ‘very little’ research had been done comparing the shechita slaughtering method with the electrical waterbath system from the perspective of poultry welfare.

He said: ‘The fact that I am not aware of any scientific evidence to suggest that non-stun slaughter of poultry is not humane does not mean that it is humane, just that there is little if any scientific evidence.’

Without evidence it is difficult to argue the case

He added: ‘I base my observations on science, and without evidence it is difficult...

Categories: Journal news

Feline TB cases linked to raw pet food

By Kathryn Clark

‘Compelling’ – although circumstantial – evidence has emerged that a number of cats have acquired TB from eating a commercial brand of raw pet food.

In a study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, vets at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies describe five clusters of cases that came to light when individual cats with varying clinical signs were presented to different practices.

Six cats were found to be clinically affected and researchers found evidence of infection with Mycobacterium bovis in seven in-contact cats without clinical signs. All the cats lived exclusively indoors.

The only common factor between the cases was that they had all eaten the Wild Venison variety of raw pet food produced by Natural Instinct.

The researchers were not able to test samples of the food for M bovis so cannot definitively conclude that it was the source of...

Categories: Journal news

Gove leads talks on animal welfare at slaughter

Roundtable talks about welfare at slaughter, convened last week by Defra and chaired by environment secretary Michael Gove, have been hailed as ‘positive’ by the BVA.

Other participants at the meeting included meat industry groups, representatives from the two main halal assurance schemes (the Halal Food Authority and the Halal Monitoring Committee) as well as the charity Compassion in World Farming and Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA.

Shechita UK, which promotes awareness of the Jewish religious slaughtering method, was also part of the talks. Its campaign director, Shimon Cohen, called the meeting ‘constructive’.

BVA president Simon Doherty said in a tweet that the issues of non-stun slaughter, the relative effectiveness of different stunning methods, exports and opportunities for clearer labelling were ‘all on the table’ during the discussions.

Defra said it could not comment on what was a ‘private’ event. However, Vet Record understands Gove was keen...

Categories: Journal news

Vet suspended for taking newborn puppy

By Josh Loeb

A vet has been suspended from the register for six months for furtively taking a newborn puppy away from a litter shortly after it was born via an emergency caesarean.

Zahra Rafiq took the French bulldog puppy – apparently one of the weaker members of the litter of six – home without its owners’ knowledge because she said she wanted to care for it. It subsequently died while in her care.

Another puppy was taken away by an animal care assistant also present during the delivery but was returned to the owners.

The owners did not initially realise they were two puppies short because an entry in the clinical records for the bitch, Lila, stated that she had given birth to four live puppies, not six. The births were recorded by another vet, Oscar Perez.

A disciplinary hearing, which focussed on both Rafiq’s actions and Perez’s...

Categories: Journal news

Royal reopening for revamped RVC building

The Royal Veterinary College’s Hobday Building on its Camden campus was officially reopened by HRH the Princess Royal last week after several months of renovation work.

The building was constructed in the 1930s on the site of the original veterinary college founded in 1791. Its modernisation represented the most extensive redevelopment of the RVC’s Camden campus in more than 80 years.

The revamped building now offers students new teaching rooms, extra social learning spaces, an extended dining facility, larger common rooms and an improved social setting.

Staff have access to updated research laboratories and new open-plan offices.

With the investments we have made at Camden, we demonstrate the RVC’s commitment to science

RVC principal Stuart Reid said: ‘I am delighted to welcome our chancellor, the Princess Royal, to our refurbished campus. With the investments we have made at Camden, we demonstrate the RVC’s commitment to science in the...

Categories: Journal news

Calls to allow RVNs to inspect practices

By Josh Loeb

Senior nursing figures are demanding changes to the criteria for Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) assessors.

They would like RVNs to be able to apply to become assessors of the scheme run by the RCVS. Currently only vets are eligible.

Last week, at a meeting of RCVS veterinary nurses council, several council members suggested this restriction was unwarranted.

Liz Cox, vice-chair of council, said the possibility of allowing RVNs to become PSS assessors was an issue ‘that we keep talking about – and I’d like to see some action’.

Her fellow council member Andrea Jeffery asked: ‘Who is administering the Practice Standards Scheme in practices? I bet my bottom dollar it’s not veterinary surgeons.’

Who is administering the Practice Standards Scheme in practices? I bet my bottom dollar it’s not veterinary surgeons

She added: ‘I don’t think we’re having an evidence-based response to the question of...

Categories: Journal news

NOAH sets out 'high hopes and big ideas in EU manifesto

The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has set out a vision for animal health, welfare and sustainability in the UK and across Europe in a manifesto – #AnimalHealthMatters – for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament.

Noah says that it will remain a member of AnimalHealthEurope – which represents manufacturers of animal health products in Europe – after the Brexit negotiations conclude and that, with Europe being the second largest animal medicines market in the world, ‘we have high hopes and big ideas to contribute towards its future’.

The manifesto calls on the EU to:

  • Ensure timely and science-based implementation of the new veterinary medicinal products regulations

  • Support the scientific output of the European Medicines Agency

  • Prioritise investment in innovative early research at national and European levels

  • Stimulate a regulatory environment that encourages the latest scientific advancements in veterinary medicines to be brought to...

  • Categories: Journal news

    Millions recouped from tax-evading dog breeders in HMRC crackdown

    Georgina Mills reports on how HM Revenue and Customs has been clamping down on puppy farms

    Categories: Journal news

    In brief

    Lucy’s law laid before parliament

    Legislation that will ban third-party sales of puppies and kittens was laid before parliament on 13 May.

    Known as ‘Lucy’s law’ after a cavalier King Charles spaniel that died in 2016 after being subjected to terrible conditions on a Welsh puppy farm, the new law will mean that anyone wishing to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten will have to deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehoming centre. Pet shops and commercial dealers will no longer be permitted to sell puppies or kittens unless they have bred them themselves.

    Animal welfare organisations have welcomed the new legislation, which was announced last year following a public consultation in which 95 per cent of respondents expressed support for a ban.

    This ban is a great step forward in improving animal welfare standards

    Caroline Yates, chief executive of the charity Mayhew, said: ‘This ban is...

    Categories: Journal news

    Dosing gun injuries result in deaths of cattle and sheep in Northern Ireland

    Northern Ireland disease surveillance headlines, January to March 2019

  • Dosing gun injuries reported in cattle and sheep

  • K99-positive colibacillosis in calves

  • Renal amyloidosis in a dairy cow

  • Fasciolosis in ewes

  • Actinobacillus suis infection in piglets

  • Cerebrocortical necrosis in a grey seal

  • CattleRespiratory diseases

    Respiratory disease was identified in 45 cattle postmortem submissions in Northern Ireland between January and March 2019. The most common pathogens identified included Mycoplasma bovis (14 cases), Pasteurella multocida (11 cases), Mannheimia haemolytica (10 cases), Haemophilus somni (three cases), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (two cases) and Trueperella pyogenes (two cases).

    Acute bovine respiratory disease was diagnosed in two four-month-old calves which had previously been vaccinated with a polyvalent intranasal respiratory virus vaccine at around 10 days of age.

    On gross examination there were lesions of severe pneumonia present, with deep purple-coloured consolidation of the cranial and cardiac...

    Categories: Journal news

    Can porcine circovirus type 3 cause persistent infection in pigs?

    Porcine circovirus type 3 (PCV3) is a recently described virus belonging to the family Circoviridae. It is related to porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) – one of the most economically important viruses for the pig production industry worldwide.

    PCV3 was originally identified by metagenomics analyses of tissues from pigs suffering from porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (Fig 1), reproductive failure, myocarditis and multisystemic inflammation.1,2 The absence of other common pathogens that could be causing these disease conditions prompted the suspicion that PCV3 might be involved in their aetiology. However, the virus has also been detected in clinically healthy pigs.3

    Although the virus primarily infects pigs, it has, somewhat surprisingly, also been detected in other animals such as dogs, mice, cattle and even ticks.4-7

    PCV3 has now been reported worldwide and has been detected in a diverse range...

    Categories: Journal news

    Infection dynamics of porcine circovirus type 3 in longitudinally sampled pigs from four Spanish farms

    Porcine circovirus type 3 (PCV-3) is a recently discovered virus in domestic pigs and wild boar. The virus has been described in pigs with different clinical/pathological presentations and healthy animals, but the dynamics of infection is currently unknown. The aim of this study was to longitudinally monitor PCV-3 infection in 152 pigs from four different healthy farms (A, B, C and D) by means of PCR in serum. The selected animals were sampled five (farm A) or six (farms B–D) times from weaning until the end of the fattening period. PCV-3 genome was found in pigs from all tested ages and farms; few animals had an apparent long-term infection (4–23 weeks). PCV-3 frequency of detection remained fairly uniform along tested ages within farms A and C, but was more variable among sampling times in farms B and D. Eight partial genome sequences were obtained from six different animals. Phylogenetic tree and pairwise distance analysis showed high similarity among sequences and with available genomes from different countries. This is the first study on PCV-3 infection dynamics in longitudinally sampled pigs. Most pigs got infection during their life, although PCV-3 did not appear to be linked with any specific age.

    Categories: Journal news

    Splenic mass diagnosis in dogs undergoing splenectomy according to breed size

    Various splenic diseases can result in a splenic mass and necessitate splenectomy. The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of malignant and benign splenic diseases, and type of malignant disease, in dogs categorised by breed size. It was hypothesised that the prevalence of splenic disease would be significantly different in small versus large-breed dogs. All dogs had a splenic mass identified with ultrasonography or CT, and had a confirmed diagnosis. Dogs were categorised as small, medium and large breeds according to breed standards. There were 54 small, 139 medium and 41 large-breed dogs; 129/234, 55% (95% CI 49% to 61%) had malignant disease versus 105/234, 45% (95% CI 39% to 51%) with benign disease (P=0.117). The prevalence of malignant versus benign disease was not significantly different for small (P=0.276), medium (P=0.074) or large-breed dogs (P=0.080). Small-breed dogs were 2.3 times more likely than large-breed dogs to have benign disease. Small-breed dogs with malignant disease were one-third as likely as large-breed dogs to have haemangiosarcoma. In conclusion, the overall prevalence of malignant and benign diseases was 50:50; however, compared with large-breed dogs, small-breed dogs are more likely to have benign disease. When small dogs do have malignant disease, they are, however, less likely to have haemangiosarcoma. This information is important to consider in early discussions with owners of dogs of various breed sizes.

    Categories: Journal news

    Bluetongue virus detection in new Culicoides species in Sardinia, Italy

    Bluetongue is an infectious disease transmitted by Culicoides biting midges. Culicoides imicola is considered the main vector in the Mediterranean basin but other species have been implicated in the Bluetongue virus (BTV) transmission. During 2017, BTV serotype 4 re-occurred in Sardinia causing outbreaks in sheep farms. A survey was carried out on affected farms with the aim to detect the virus in field-collected Culicoides. Biting midges were morphologically identified, pooled and then assayed with a real time RT-PCR. To evaluate BTV dissemination, some Culicoides were dissected and head, thorax and abdomen were tested singly by PCR. A total of 173,738 Culicoides adults were collected. Viral RNA was detected in 68 out of 77 pools and all species analysed resulted positive. Detection of BTV in parous female body regions (head, thorax and abdomen) confirmed the full dissemination of BTV in all species analysed. During this study, the vector competence of C imicola, C newsteadi s.l. and Obsoletus complex was confirmed. The authors found two new Culicoides species BTV positive, C paolae never associated with BTV transmission and C circumscriptus only recently found BTV positive in Turkey, which could be considered potential vectors.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    Resistant bacteria persist in soil for over two years

    G. Morelli, S. Bastianello, P. Catellani and others

    BMC Veterinary Research (2019) 15

    doi: 10.1186/s12917-019-1824-x

    • What did the research find?

    Higher bacterial concentrations and an increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) were found in the farm areas where cattle spent the most time, such as the feeding area. Although the bacterial concentrations and ARG prevalence were significantly reduced two years after the removal of the cattle, they were still much higher than those observed in control areas. It is not clear how long it would take for the ARG prevalence to reduce to control area levels.

    • How was it conducted?

    The study was conducted on a beef cattle farm, on which cattle were kept for seven years before all animals were removed. Soil samples from 26 georeferenced locations on the farm were collected before the cattle were...

    Categories: Journal news

    Reporting suspected adverse reactions

    We ask that colleagues please report cases of suspected poisoning following use of veterinary medicines to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) pharmacovigilance team as adverse events. If we are not informed, we are unable to take any necessary regulatory action – for example, strengthening warnings on the packaging or suspending/withdrawing the product.

    Vets or members of the practice team often contact the Veterinary Poisons Information Service for advice on suspected poisonings, but don’t always remember to report them to the VMD.

    The VMD’s pharmacovigilance team monitor the safety and effectiveness of veterinary medicines as, sometimes, they can cause an adverse reaction or they don’t work as expected. The pharmacovigilance data that vets and others provide allow us to take action to protect the health and welfare of animals.

    Sometimes veterinary medicines can cause an adverse reaction or they don’t work as expected

    If an animal appears to be...

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