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Injectable treatment for mast cell tumours in dogs

Virbac has launched the first injectable solution for the targeted treatment of canine mast cell tumours (MCTs).

Stelfonta is licensed in dogs for the treatment of non-resectable, non-metastatic subcutaneous MCTs located at or distal to the elbow or the hock; and non-resectable, non-metastatic cutaneous MCTs, where tumours are less than 8 cm3 in volume and accessible to intratumoural injection.

The solution contains tigilanol tiglate – a compound extracted from the seed of Fontainea picrosperma, commonly known as the blushwood tree, which is found in the rainforests of North Queensland, Australia.

Virbac explains that the product works largely through specific protein kinase activation, which locally stimulates the immune system, destroying the tumour and the tumour’s blood supply; this is followed by rapid healing of the site with minimal scarring.

The company adds that a single treatment with Stelfonta is sufficient to destroy tumours completely in 75 per cent of cases...

Categories: Journal news

Test and trace response team to support practices

A Covid-19 response team of vets and vet nurses who can support practices that are short staffed because of test and trace is now available.

Zoetis has teamed up with Simply Locums to sponsor the set up of what the companies say is a ‘unique’ list of 300 vet professionals who are ready and willing to work anywhere in the UK at short notice.

The initiative offers practices an opportunity to get rapid access to locums who can help to deliver clinical services to their clients.

Simply Locums and Zoetis believe that small vet practices in particular may suffer if members of their staff are required to self isolate, potentially forcing them to close their doors for 14 days.

The practice will still be responsible for the locum staff professional fees, while the service fees associated with the delivery of the shifts will be sponsored by Zoetis to support...

Categories: Journal news

BVA goes live in 2021

The BVA has announced the launch of a major new conference and exhibition for the veterinary profession.

BVA Live will be the association’s first standalone conference for eight years since its congress became part of the London Vet Show in 2013. It will debut at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham, in June 2021.

BVA Live, which will be run with CloserStill Media, organisers of the London Vet Show, will initially cater for 1500 veterinary professionals and provide practical clinical and non-clinical CPD, careers advice and ‘big issue’ debates. It will also be an opportunity for veterinary suppliers to showcase their products.

The aim is to complement the London Vet Show, where the BVA will continue to host its annual congress and CPD.

The most important element of BVA Live is bringing the veterinary profession together to tackle the big issues we face

BVA president Daniella Dos Santos...

Categories: Journal news


Elanco Animal Health Incorporated in Indiana, USA, has finalised its acquisition of Bayer Animal Health, a transaction valued at $6.89 billion.

The acquisition strengthens Elanco’s innovation, portfolio and productivity strategy and expands its portfolio of animal health solutions for vets, farmers and pet owners.

Combining Elanco’s longstanding focus on veterinary products with Bayer’s direct-to-consumer experience, the transaction will allow Elanco to meet customer demand across multiple channels. Its pet business, which offers a portfolio of care for pets at all ages and stages, will increase to approximately 50 per cent of revenues and nearly triple its international pet health business, it says.

Where farm animals are concerned, the expanded portfolio will allow Elanco to serve a broader spectrum of the industry.

Bayer AG received $5.17 billion in cash and approximately 72.9 million Elanco shares. Additionally, under the European Commission’s competition policy, Elanco was required to divest itself of a...

Categories: Journal news

LWP update 3: revalidation and limited licensure

In this series, key recommendations by the RCVS Legislation Working Party (LWP) are explored by those directly involved in making them. Here, former RCVS council member Amanda Boag discusses proposals for revalidating vets and limited licensure.

Categories: Journal news

10 tips for sustainable procurement

With medical procurement having a large carbon footprint, organisations must review their buying practices and make them more sustainable. Here, Ellie West, environmental sustainability lead at Linnaeus, and Sylvie Gough, head of procurement at Linnaeus, suggest 10 ways to do this.

Categories: Journal news

Medicines update

The points below highlight changes in marketing authorisations (MAs) that may have a significant impact on veterinary surgeons’ prescribing decisions.

New marketing authorisations

New marketing authorisations relevant to veterinary surgeons in the UK that were issued or published in June 2020 are listed in Table 1.

Of the products listed:

• Optomease Vet 200 mg/ml concentrate for solution for fish treatment is the first product containing the active substance benzocaine for use in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. The product is indicated for the anaesthesia and sedation of salmon and trout. The product is not for use in open water and should always be used in an isolated treatment vessel.

• Musteligen D lyophilisate and solvent for suspension for injection for ferrets is the first vaccine containing distemper virus for ferrets.

Table 1 also indicates where a public assessment report should become available for a...

Categories: Journal news

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, July 2020

APHA disease surveillance report headlines

  • Pica in grass-based dairy herds

  • Botulism in sheep

  • Swine dysentery in sows and growing pigs

  • Mortality in turkey poults associated with unsuitable bedding

  • Focus on rabbit haemorrhagic disease

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattlePica in grass-based dairy herds

    During May and June, reports of pica (cows eating stones and other non-nutritive material) were received from about 15 grass-based, mainly spring-calving, dairy herds in west Wales. Similar reports, in smaller numbers, have been received in previous years, also in May and June.

    The onset of pica was in mid- to late April with 50 to 100 per cent of cows showing signs in affected herds. Commonly, cows were seen eating stones from cow tracks and were unwilling to move along the tracks. In some herds, consumption of plastic buckets and cubicle mattresses was also reported.

    Pica was sometimes...

    Categories: Journal news

    Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: a re-emerging threat to lagomorphs

    This focus article has been prepared by Paul Duff, Caroline Fenemore and Paul Holmes (APHA Wildlife Expert Group), with Beverley Hopkins (Wales Veterinary Science Centre), Jeff Jones (APHA Carmarthen Veterinary Investigation Centre), Maggie He and David Everest (APHA) and Mara Rocchi (Moredun Research Institute).

    Categories: Journal news

    The importance of educating prospective dog owners on best practice for acquiring a puppy

    The urgent need to reduce the number of dogs that are abandoned or relinquished to shelters is now widely recognised by the scientific community, veterinarians, dog trainers and breeders. The occurrence of problematic behaviours is the most common reason why dogs are relinquished, abandoned or, in countries where it is allowed, even euthanased.1 Such behaviours can be a significant source of distress for owners,2,3 and this may eventually lead to a breakdown in the dog-human relationship.

    Early separation of a puppy from its mother and littermates is a husbandry strategy that may increase the animal’s chances of exhibiting potentially problematic behaviours as an adult.4 The reason for this is rooted in a puppy’s ontogenetic dynamics.

    Dogs go through a socialisation period that ranges from the end of the neonatal period (ie, two-and-a-half to three weeks of age) to between 12 and...

    Categories: Journal news

    Puppy acquisition: factors associated with acquiring a puppy under eight weeks of age and without viewing the mother


    Puppy acquisition decisions may impact upon the health and behaviour of these dogs in later life. It is widely recommended by welfare organisations and veterinary bodies that puppies should not leave maternal care until at least eight weeks (56 days) of age, and that when acquiring a puppy it should be viewed with its mother.


    Owner-reported prospective data were used to explore risk factors for puppy acquisition age, and whether the mother was viewed during acquisition, within a cohort of dog owners participating in an ongoing longitudinal project.


    A quarter (461/1844) of puppies were acquired under eight weeks of age and 8.1 per cent were obtained without viewing the mother (n=149). Only 1.6 per cent of puppies were obtained under eight weeks of age and without the mother being seen (n=30). Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that owners who intended their puppy to be a working dog, visited their puppy prior to acquisition, and/or obtained a puppy of unknown breed composition had increased odds of acquiring a puppy under eight weeks of age. The odds also increased as the number of dogs in the household increased but decreased as annual income rose. Owners who visited their puppy prior to acquisition, obtained a Kennel Club registered puppy, viewed the puppy’s father, and/or collected their puppy from the breeder’s home had decreased odds of acquiring a puppy without viewing the mother.


    Targeting interventions towards identified owners who are more likely to acquire a puppy against current recommendations could help reduce these types of acquisitions.

    Categories: Journal news

    'I wish I was someone else: complexities in identity formation and professional wellbeing in veterinary surgeons


    There is widespread concern surrounding veterinarians’ mental health. Upon entering the profession, early career veterinary surgeons encounter colleagues with diverse and conflicting identities, manifesting in their differential prioritisation of definitive clinical treatment, interpersonal interactions or the commercial success of the practice. In other professions, poor wellbeing arises from confusion between these conflicting identity discourses, as new professionals attempt to identify role models aligned with their own identity beliefs. New veterinarians’ wellbeing may thus depend on their negotiation of different identities, as they construct their own sets of professional values and determine the type of veterinarian they wish to become.


    Identity formation was explored narratively using veterinarians’ social media stories.


    Poor professional wellbeing appeared to arise from identity confusion: failure to consistently commit to either the dominant diagnosis-focused discourse valued by academic role models, or a relational discourse, emphasising working through contextual challenges such as varying client needs. Workplace stress appeared to magnify the dominance of academic priorities in self-identity understanding, worsening identity confusion. Also concerning was the positioning of the client ‘as enemy’, obstructive to veterinarians’ identity goals. Social dialogue, intended to provide support during veterinarian–client conflict, potentially reinforced rejection of the client from the veterinary professional identity, strengthening a context-inappropriate, non-relational identity. This worsened identity confusion between the prized ‘diagnostic identity’ and the locally valued relational identity and was detrimental to wellbeing.


    Interventions are required, within veterinary education and postgraduate continuing professional development, that encourage reflection on identity and reinforce the value of relational identity attributes.

    Categories: Journal news

    Self-reported snake management practices among owners in Victoria, Australia


    A large number of snakes are kept as pets in Western societies. Few studies have been undertaken to assess keeping practices of snakes by private owners in Australia. Therefore, there is concern that some owners may not understand even basic husbandry requirements. The aim of this preliminary study was to identify the most common practices used by snake owners in Victoria, Australia.


    An online survey asked 251 snake owners to describe ways in which they attempt to meet their snake’s environmental, behavioural, dietary, social and health needs.


    Fewer than half of participants had an enclosure large enough for the snake to fully stretch out, and just over half had an enclosure large enough to meet the requirements in the Victorian Code of Practice. Only 60 per cent of owners correctly identified their snake’s activity patterns based on information about wild snakes of the same species.


    Educational campaigns may help improve outcomes for snakes in the future, but more research is needed about captive snake husbandry, to provide an evidence base for informing snake management recommendations.

    Categories: Journal news

    Are copper sulfate footbaths as effective as formalin footbaths in reducing clinical signs of digital dermatitis in dairy cattle?

    Bottom line

  • There is currently insufficient evidence to conclude whether treatment with formalin or copper sulfate footbaths is more effective in reducing clinical signs of digital dermatitis in dairy cattle.

  • Clinical scenario

    One of your dairy clients, Mr Jordan, asks you for advice on the footbathing regimen used for his cows. Digital dermatitis is endemic in the herd, and he currently footbaths his cows three or four times per week using a solution of approximately 5 per cent formalin. However, the farm’s new herdsman is asthmatic and complains that handling the formalin exacerbates his condition. Mr Jordan has also heard that formalin may be banned in the future because of its carcinogenic effects. As such, he wants to know if there are any effective alternatives to formalin for the treatment of digital dermatitis.

    Some of your other clients use copper sulfate footbaths rather than formalin, and...

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    Heat stress increases the risk of clinical mastitis in dairy cattle

    A Vitali, A Felici, AM Lees and others

    Journal of Dairy Science (2020)

    doi: 10.3168/jds.2019-17748

    • What did the research find?

    A total of 1086 clinical mastitis (CM) cases were identified from 677 cows. Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis and other Streptococcus species were the pathogens most frequently isolated from milk samples from affected cows. Cows were found to be at a significantly higher risk of CM when they were exposed to a greater heat load (P=0.007). Higher milk yield, later stages of lactation and higher parity were also associated with an increased risk of CM under high heat load conditions (P<0.05).

    • How was it conducted?

    The records of CM cases occurring in a large dairy herd in Italy between 2014 and 2015 were reviewed. Data extracted included the milk yield, days in milk and parity...

    Categories: Journal news

    Is it time to stand united?

    Speaking as a graduate of 40 years’ standing who has held several officer posts in one of the smaller specialist divisions of the BVA, the Society of Greyhound Veterinarians (SGV), I would suggest that if, as my anonymous colleague suggests (VR, 27 June/4 July 2020, vol 186, p 649), we need ‘a more agile and flexible approach to our representation’ then perhaps we first need to agree among ourselves what functions such divisions should fulfil.

    Over the years I have been an ordinary member of a number of specialist divisions. My prime motivation for joining them was educational; feeling the need to enhance my knowledge of areas in which I had either developed a particular interest or discovered a particular deficiency. A society with a half-decent journal and reasonably frequent meetings held within handy driving distance had great appeal.

    Prospective members of today’s divisions probably expect a regularly updated...

    Categories: Journal news

    Is it time to stand united?

    There are many important and pressing issues facing the profession. The Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) considers that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK exit transition period ending at the end of this year, and the challenges emerging in teaching future generations are likely to be the most important.

    Therefore, in relation to the recent correspondence on the structure of the veterinary profession (VR, 27 June/4 July 2020, vol 186, pp 649-650), the VPHA would like to propose that the BVA take an enhanced and increasingly active approach in leading the profession to achieve a satisfactory level of sustainability in its delivery and performance, and it should do so by working closely and cooperatively with all of its divisions.

    The BVA [must]take an enhanced and increasingly active approach in leading the profession

    Any real-life partnership, whether business or personal, has its ups and downs. The infrequent...

    Categories: Journal news

    Does wearing masks offer protection against viruses?

    There seems little doubt that the dispersion of Covid-19 droplets is reduced when people wear masks or face coverings. However, what is controversial is whether masks, of which there are many types, will protect wearers against the inhalation of the virus. Experiments performed at the Animal Virus Research Institute, Pirbright, Surrey (now The Pirbright Institute), many years ago are relevant to the debate.

    The effectiveness of masks was tested by allowing a group of volunteers, either wearing or not wearing a mask, to spend time in an isolation room containing animals with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). The air was contaminated with FMD virus because FMD-infected animals excrete the virus in their breath, with particles ranging in size from droplet nuclei to large droplets.1

    After exposure to the animals, the nostrils of the volunteers were swabbed and tested for the presence of FMD virus. The amount of virus recovered...

    Categories: Journal news

    Taking action on UK welfare priorities

    It was excellent, and poignant, to see that the results from the Animal Welfare Foundation-funded study of UK animal welfare priorities had been published in a peer-review paper in Vet Record.1 Among the four distinguished authors was lead author Fiona Rioja-Lang; a good friend and colleague who tragically died in 2019, before she could see the fruits of her labours.

    In a recent editorial (VR, 11/18 July 2020, vol 187, p 3), Adele Waters conveyed that the project was a phenomenal undertaking – seeking to identify and rank the most pressing welfare issues affecting the UK’s farmed and companion animals. A total of 117 experts were recruited and divided between eight species groups. Consensus on priority problems, from an initial list of over 650 welfare issues, was established using rounds of online surveys, with a workshop held for a subset of 21 experts finalising the priorities.


    Categories: Journal news

    EMS placement for vet students at the VMD

    The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is launching an opportunity for veterinary students to take up an extramural studies (EMS) placement at the VMD. These will be fixed two-week placements, available to up to six veterinary students who are in their final two years of study.

    This initiative aims to give students a comprehensive overview of the work of the VMD with a focus on areas of clinical relevance, and will also allow students to explore other career opportunities within the profession.

    The placement will run from 5–16 July 2021. Please only apply if you are available for the full two weeks of the placement.

    The weeks will be structured with lectures and workshops, as well as a student-led journal club. Topics that will be covered include:

  • Introduction to the VMD;

  • Insight into the work of the different VMD teams: pharmaceuticals, biologicals, legislation, enforcement, residues, pharmacovigilance, antimicrobial resistance...

  • Categories: Journal news
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