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Marking 40 years as a vet nurse

Vet nurse Deborah Holland, of Cave Veterinary Specialists near Wellington in Somerset, has been presented with a commemorative certificate by the RCVS president Niall Connell at a special ceremony marking her 40 years’ work in the profession.

Surprised and delighted by the award, she hopes her career will inspire young vet nurses who are just starting out: ‘It’s a job I love and I was proud to be presented with the award. I really hope my career can be an example and inspire younger nurses to stay in the profession for years to come.’

Deborah initially joined a practice in Barnet, Hertfordshire, in 1979, when she was an animal-loving teenager earning £10 a week. Since then she has been involved in the care of many patients including equine and farm animals, llamas, alpacas and even a scorpion. She has also seen many changes, and her tip to student vet...

Categories: Journal news

SPVS/VMg congress: focus on wellbeing in practice

Broadcaster, commentator and author Clare Balding is chairing the Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) talks on diversity and inclusion at this month’s Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) and Veterinary Management Group (VMG) congress.

The first talk, ‘LGBT+ in practice’, will be delivered by Dan Makin, president of the British Veterinary LGBT+ group, followed by a panel discussion entitled ‘Inclusion and equality in the workplace’. He will then join the panel discussion, alongside Partheeban Navaratnam, co-founder of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society; Ebony Escalona, founder of Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify and Penny Barker of the Veterinary Defence Society. Other talks include ‘Being the leader you and your team need’ by Caroline Pearson from Progressive Vet Consulting and presentations by the winners of the joint SPVS and MMI’s Veterinary Wellbeing Award. They will discuss current leadership thinking and challenge delegates to ask questions about the type of leader they...

Categories: Journal news

Looking beyond Brexit in 2020

A new year, a new decade and, soon, a new era and new challenges for the UK. As Brexit approaches, 2020 is set to be dominated by negotiations over the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

However, there will be plenty going on besides Brexit.

To start with, a small but significant win for animal welfare will be achieved, when a ban on using wild animals in travelling circuses in England comes into force on 20 January. A more substantial welfare benefit can be expected in April, when third-party sales of puppies and kittens will be banned in England. A similar ban in Wales may follow after ‘overwhelming’ public support was expressed in a consultation on the issue.

Sustainability and the environment are likely to receive increased attention in 2020. Consistent with wider society’s interest, the profession is keen to contribute – according to a BVA survey, 89 per...

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Vets are among UKs most trusted professionals

By Josh Loeb

A recent survey found the British public more likely to trust vets than members of seven other professions – including GPs and dentists.

Pollsters Walnut asked a nationally representative sample of 2000 UK adults about their views of vets and a range of other professionals.

A very high proportion said they either ‘completely trusted’ (34 per cent) or ‘generally trusted’ (60 per cent) vets, putting the profession at number three in a league table that was subsequently compiled of the ‘most trusted’ professions in the UK.

Only opticians and pharmacists were found to score more highly than vets on the metrics used. The ranking matches that which was determined in 2015 via a joint survey by the RCVS and the BVA as part of the Vet Futures initiative.

The survey, which was commissioned by marketing consultants Mo Gannon & Associates (MG&A) on behalf of the RCVS,...

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Resources to help change in CPD requirements

By Josh Loeb

This month new CPD requirements for vets come into force.

The RCVS is changing how it assesses CPD compliance, moving to a simpler annual CPD requirement of 35 hours a year for vets and 15 hours a year for registered vet nurses (RVNs).

This replaces the previous requirement of 105 hours and 45 hours of CPD over a rolling three-year period for vets and RVNs, respectively.

The college says this move, along with other changes, will enable it to measure CPD compliance and address any non-compliance in a more meaningful way by moving away from an ‘inputs-based model’ to a more ‘outcomes-based’ and reflective approach.

Spearheaded by RCVS past president Stephen May, who chaired the college’s CPD policy working party, the new approach has been under discussion for a number of years.

Speaking last year about the changes, May said they were needed because of ‘increasing...

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Achievements recognised in the New Year Honours

Veterinary adviser to the Scottish Government Martyn Blissitt was among those recognised in the 2020 New Year Honours list.

Blissitt, who was awarded an OBE for his services to animal health, was appointed as veterinary adviser to the Scottish Government in 1997, having previously worked as a veterinary officer in Taunton, Ayr and Edinburgh.

During his career as a government vet, Blissitt has been involved in several high-profile initiatives, including the control of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in South West England and Scotland during the 1990s, and foot-and-mouth disease eradication in 2001. He was also central to Scotland’s application for Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free status, which was granted in 2009.

Claire Horton, chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, was recognised with a CBE for her services to animal welfare. Horton has led Battersea since 2010 and has transformed the charity – securing year-on-year growth, increasing its income, profile...

Categories: Journal news

Disciplinaries on the rise in recent years

By Josh Loeb

The past two years have seen a rise in the number of disciplinary hearings against veterinary professionals.

Last year 21 individuals (20 vets and one registered veterinary nurse [RVN]) were the subject of hearings relating to their conduct. In 2018 the tally was higher still, with a total of 25 individuals (23 vets, 2 RVNs) facing RCVS disciplinary panels.

The figures for 2018 and 2019 compare with an annual average (mean) of 11 cases per year across all years for which figures are available (going back to 2007).

The high number of cases in 2018 was attributed to a rise in the number relating to criminal convictions that had been referred to the RCVS (VR, 19 January 2019, vol 184, p 75). During 2019, however, the number of cases involving criminal convictions was down (there were three such cases, compared with six in the previous year).

Categories: Journal news

In brief

BVA announces new board chair

The BVA has announced that Steve Anderson-Dixon has become its new board chair.

Anderson-Dixon (pictured above), who has served as a BVA board director since 2017, has nearly 40 years of experience in publishing and has spent the past five years engaged in the migration of print to digital publishing.

Until recently, he was the chief operating officer of the Trinity Mirror Regionals group following its acquisition of Local World Media Group. Before this, he was the managing director of Trinity Mirror Regionals from November 2014 and was responsible for brands such as The Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo.

He is currently the chief executive officer of JBP Associates, a national communications agency and is a non-executive director on several other boards.

The BVA board manages the business of the association and is responsible for corporate and financial governance and for setting BVA’s...

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How likely is bovine TB to spread between species?

Josh Loeb discusses new research that looks at the transmission of bovine TB from one species to another

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2019: a veterinary year in review

From an EU exit that didn’t happen, to positive moves for animal welfare, 2019 certainly kept the news pages of Vet Record full. In this round up, Kathryn Clark looks back

Categories: Journal news

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, December 2019

APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Uncommon presentation of Salmonella Dublin infection in calves

  • Monepantel resistance in a sheep flock

  • Fowl cholera in geese

  • Focus on small-scale pig producers and disease surveillance

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattleSalmonella Dublin osteomyelitis

    An uncommon manifestation of an infectious disease was investigated at the APHA Shrewsbury veterinary investigation centre (VIC). Two euthanased male suckler calves were submitted a few weeks apart from unrelated Powys herds for postmortem examination. They were three and four months old and from herds of 60 and 70 animals, respectively.

    Over a period of several weeks, each calf first became slightly lame on one foreleg, followed by increasing weakness of both forelegs. They spent more time lying down and had difficulty rising on their forelegs. The hindlegs were unaffected, with normal strength and tone. They remained bright and continued to suckle their dams...

    Categories: Journal news

    Small-scale pig producers and disease surveillance: key threats

    A series of meetings for small-scale pig producers raised awareness of surveillance for pig diseases in Great Britain and highlighted different types of disease threat. This focus article summarises some key messages from those meetings and two of the threats discussed.

    Categories: Journal news

    Dietary therapy as a treatment option for dogs with chronic enteropathies

    Chronic gastrointestinal (GI) signs result in high rates of morbidity in dogs, with mortality ranging from less than 20 per cent to greater than 50 per cent,1-4 depending on the disease process. After excluding aetiologies such as extra-GI disease, GI parasites, infiltrative fungal disease and neoplasia, the majority of dogs fall under the umbrella diagnosis of ‘chronic enteropathy’ (CE).

    Although the pathogenesis of CE is currently unknown, it is likely to be multifactorial – including the interaction of the enteric immune system with normal or pathogenic GI microbiota, by-products of GI microbiota metabolism or dietary antigens, as well as genetic factors.

    GI biopsies are required to confirm the presence of inflammation and reach a diagnosis of CE. However, the type of inflammation visualised on biopsy samples does not predict response to treatment,1 and obtaining GI biopsies may be cost-prohibitive...

    Categories: Journal news

    Investigation of the efficacy of a dietetic food in the management of chronic enteropathies in dogs


    Chronic enteropathies (CEs) are a common cause of morbidity in dogs. CEs are diagnosed in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal clinical signs (>3 weeks), inflammatory changes on intestinal biopsies and where no other underlying cause is determined based on a thorough, standardised diagnostic work-up. Based on response to therapy, CEs are subclassified into food-responsive, antibiotic-responsive or steroid-responsive enteropathies. A significant proportion of dogs with a CE are food-responsive; however, there are limited peer-reviewed publications describing the clinical efficacy of the commercially available diets used to treat CE.


    In this study, the authors evaluated the response of 15 dogs with a CE to a commercially available dietetic food (Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Sensitive Canine Dry). The dogs underwent a standard diagnostic evaluation and did not receive concurrent anthelmintic, antibiotic, glucocorticoid or gastroprotectant therapies. The clinical efficacy of the dietary treatment was assessed by comparing the Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease Activity Index (CIBDAI) before and a median of 13 days after dietary therapy.


    The authors found that the CIBDAI significantly decreased following the introduction of the dietetic food (median CIBDAI score pretreatment 9, post-treatment 2; P<0.0005).


    This study demonstrates that this dietetic food can be used to successfully manage CE in dogs.

    Categories: Journal news

    Detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in nasal and laryngeal swab specimens in endemically infected pig herds


    Apparently, laryngeal swabs (LS) are more sensitive than nasal swabs (NS) and allow earlier detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae by PCR. However, antecedents about the compared detection of M hyopneumoniae with NS and LS in growing pigs, from naturally infected herds, are lacking in the literature. Thus, this study compared the PCR detection of M hyopneumoniae from NS and LS in pigs of various ages.


    A longitudinal study was performed at two farms where NS and LS were collected from three consecutive groups of 20 pigs at 3, 6, 10, 16 and 22 weeks of age. All samples were analysed by nested PCR for M hyopneumoniae detection.


    The probability of PCR detection of M hyopneumoniae was higher in LS for pigs of all ages (odds ratio (OR)=1.87; 95 per cent confidence interval (CI) 1.31–2.67) and in 22-week-old pigs (OR=4.87; 95 per cent CI 2.86–8.30). The agreement between both sample types was low to moderate (kappa 0.087–0.508), highlighting that M hyopneumoniae does not appear to colonise the respiratory tract in a generalised and consistent fashion.


    The results suggest that LS could be employed at different ages to achieve greater bacterial detection. Considering that LS is a minimally invasive, highly sensitive sample compared with the traditional NS, it could be suggested to employ this sample type for M hyopneumoniae detection in naturally infected pigs.

    Categories: Journal news

    Retrospective review of neoplasms of captive lizards in the United Kingdom


    Neoplasia has historically been regarded as an unusual occurrence in reptiles. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of neoplasms in routine diagnostic samples submitted to a specialist exotic animal laboratory.


    Over a 10-year period, 690 lizard samples were submitted for histopathological or cytopathological examination by Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons specialists in Veterinary Pathology (Zoo and Wildlife). Records were reviewed retrospectively and non-neoplastic diagnoses excluded from further analysis.


    158 neoplasms were diagnosed in 149 lizards, with 22.9% of submissions resulting in a diagnosis of neoplasia. The skin was the most commonly affected organ, and squamous cell carcinomas were the most common neoplasms identified (17.7% of all neoplastic diagnoses).

    Bearded dragons and panther chameleons had a statistically significant higher proportion of neoplasia diagnosis than the lizard population as a whole, and geckos had a statistically significantly lower proportion.

    Several neoplasms identified in this study have not been previously reported in lizards, including a testicular Sertoli cell tumour, testicular granulosa cell tumour, splenic haemangiosarcoma, gastric adenocarcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.


    The results suggest that the prevalence of neoplasia in captive lizards may be higher than previously reported, and that there is variation in prevalence between different lizard species and families. It is unclear whether these differences relate to genetic or management factors.

    Categories: Journal news

    Selected highlights from other journals

    What influences owner adherence to elimination diets for their dog?

    M. R. Painter, T. Tapp, J. E. Painter

    Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (2019) 255, 446–53

    doi: 10.2460/javma.255.4.446

    • What did the research find?

    Of the 192 dog owners in this study, 77 (40.1 per cent) reported that they adhered completely to elimination diet trial (EDT) recommendations, while 115 (59.9 per cent) reported lower levels of adherence. The odds of owners reporting complete adherence were significantly decreased by a perception of barriers to performing EDTs. The odds were significantly increased by owner knowledge regarding diets and cutaneous adverse food reactions (CAFRs) in dogs and by confidence in performing an EDT as directed.

    • How was it conducted?

    Owners of dogs prescribed an EDT to diagnose CAFRs were identified through the review of medical records from a specialist veterinary dermatology practice and invited to complete an online survey....

    Categories: Journal news

    Thank you to our reviewers


    Turi Aarnes, Tariq Abou-Zahr, Jens Frederik Agger, Karin Allenspach, Rosie Allister, Lorenzo Alvarez, Mohammad Amal, Hermann Ammer, Kerstin Amort, David Anderson, Kevin Anderson, Debra Archer, Christine Arhant, Elizabeth Armitage-Chan, Elpida Artemiou, Jonathan Arzt, Vanessa Ashall, Owen Atkinson, Nili Avni-Magen, Babafela Awosile


    Jan-Peter Bach, Sarah Baillie, Barry Ball, Olivier Balland, Tommaso Banzato, Dominic Barfield, Alex Barlow, Andy Bathe, Ellen Behrend, Chris Bell, Alexandra Belotta, Boyd Berends, Benjamin Berk, Gina Bertocci, Giovanna Bertolini, Caroline Betbeze, Nicholas Bexfield, Ezio Bianchi, Evelien Biebaut, Alexis Bilmont, Edith Bishop, Barbara Bockstahler, Francesca Bonelli, Adelle Bowden Carl Bradbrook, Rachel Bragg, Sabine Brandt, Emily Bray, Jackie Brearley, Fraser Broadfoot, Sabrina Brounts, Matt Brunke, Roxanne Buck, Louise Buckley, Sébastien Buczinski, Eric Burrough, Rachel Burrow, Barbara Byrne


    Deirdre Campion, Maria Grazia Cappai, Jacqueline Cardwell, Tom Cardy, James Carmalt, Ines Carrera, Elena Carretón, Jim Carter, Joseph Cassidy, Boudewijn Catry, Sebastien Caure, Beniamino Cenci-Goga, Metha Chanda,...

    Categories: Journal news

    Euthanasia: doing our best for animals

    The recent discussion around euthanasia and the concern for veterinary wellbeing and empathic distress1, 2 shows a shift in focus, whereby it is not only the welfare of animals being considered but also the emotional impact on those responsible for their care.

    There are many aspects around the decision to euthanase an animal.

    Owners might be unable to afford the appropriate care or might find it difficult emotionally or practically to care for their animal. However, having to kill an otherwise healthy animal, with a good prognosis, where appropriate treatment is available, can take its toll on all those involved.

    Peter Clark’s letter, ‘Should we be euthanasing cancer patients?’ (VR, 26 October 2019, vol 185, p 514), raises a related ethical dilemma of keeping companion animals that have cancer, who might endure prolonged suffering if kept alive. Instances where an owner’s sentimental attachment might be...

    Categories: Journal news
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