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Losing weight requires less calories

In their debate article addressing the classification of obesity as a disease (VR, 14 December 2019, vol 185, p 735) Alexander German, Ian Ramsey and Philip Lhermette state that there is a wealth of evidence that obesity is not a normal physiological response to excess calorie intake. I do not question their expert understanding of fat metabolism, but how do they explain my lifetime’s experience that the successful management of chronic weight gain and obesity always requires a reduction in calorie intake?

With regard to the way we approach weight management in the consultation room, stigmatisation is not dependent on whether obesity is classified as a disease. Indeed, the risk of stigmatisation may even be greater if we begin to tell clients: ‘If you don’t follow my advice you cause a disease, and will be making your animal ill.’

Arguments around insurance are a logical fallacy, insurance companies do...

Categories: Journal news

New trustee needed for Vetlife

The board of Vetlife is seeking a new trustee. The successful applicant must be a veterinary surgeon, a member of Vetlife, resident in the UK and possess a good working knowledge of the profession.

As well as board duties, a trustee’s role involves additional committee responsibilities (the majority done by telephone or email), so having the time to do this is essential.

Participation in professional disciplinary bodies, such as the RCVS preliminary investigation committee or disciplinary committee, is a disqualifying conflict of interest.

By putting their names forward, candidates are declaring that they are a ‘fit & proper person’ as defined in H M Revenue & Customs guidance for charities. Any trustee appointed will be required to undertake a standard level disclosure and barring service check.

Interviews will take place in London on 3 February 2020, and the successful applicant must also be available to attend our next board...

Categories: Journal news

Will Hong Kong ever have an ethical research system?

Research involving animals in Hong Kong is regulated by the Animals (Control of Experiments) Ordinance (Cap 340), and is enforced by the Department of Health (DoH). The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) enforces the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Ordinance (Cap 169). Cap 340 licences researchers to conduct experiments on vertebrate animals. Researchers may be prosecuted under Cap 169 if they do not adhere to the conditions of their DoH licence. To date there have been no prosecutions. Cap 340 also mandates that licensees accurately record the number of animals used in experiments and provide annual returns of the number of animals used in their licenced experiments.

Cap 340 does not provide for any ethical oversight or harm-benefit assessment. Hong Kong universities have animal ethics committees but standards of ethical review among the various committees are highly variable in their effectiveness. Since 1999, the DoH has become incrementally...

Categories: Journal news

Death notices

Grazebrook On 18 November 2019, Susan Mary Grazebrook (nee Outwin), BVSc, MRCVS, of Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Mrs Grazebrook qualified from Bristol in 1971.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m28

Mitchell On 14 December 2019, Ken Seymour Mitchell, MRCVS, of Usk, Gwent. Mr Mitchell qualified from Edinburgh in 1949.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m29

Ordidge On 22 December 2019, Robert Michael Ordidge, BVSc, CertES(Orth), MRCVS, of Malton, North Yorkshire. Mr Ordidge qualified from Bristol in 1969.

doi: 10.1136/vr.m30

Categories: Journal news

Keith Richard Gooderham

A vet with a special interest in ducks who used his diagnostic abilities, problem-solving skills and a common-sense approach to improve bird health and welfare.

Categories: Journal news

Standing on her shoulders: marking a centenary of women as vets

It’s 100 years since women were first allowed to register as vets. Nina Rossi, BVA Media Manager, explains how BVA marked this milestone.

Categories: Journal news

Seeking a new JVP - could it be you?

With only a few days left before the deadline for nominations for BVA’s next Junior Vice President, our current President, Daniella Dos Santos, describes what it’s like being on the BVA Officer team and explains why you might want to think about putting yourself forward.

Categories: Journal news

Engaging with MPs old and new following #GE2019

December’s General Election result means that there are many new MPs to engage with on the issues that matter most to BVA’s members, as Mandy Ryan, BVA’s Head of Media and Public Affairs, explains.

Categories: Journal news

Vet Futures news: trust in the profession remains high

As part of the original Vet Futures project back in May 2015, we commissioned a public omnibus survey to gauge levels of trust and perceptions of value for money. The results were positive: 94 per cent said they trusted the profession generally or completely and 70 per cent rated their vet positively (at least ‘fair’) for value for money.

The Vet Futures Action Plan built on this work recommending that BVA, RCVS and others continue to develop communications tools to improve customer understanding of veterinary costs and promote the value of veterinary care.

As we enter the final year of the Vet Futures Action Plan (2016–2020), RCVS commissioned follow-up research to determine whether anything had changed from the original results.

The good news is that trust remains extremely high: again, 94 per cent report that they completely (34 per cent) or generally (60 per cent) trust vets. Also mirroring...

Categories: Journal news

Register on our new website

We’re proud to announce that we’ve launched our new and improved BVA website, full of resources and content to support you at all stages of your career.

All BVA members need to register on the new website to keep their online benefits, including access to our flagship journals Vet Record and In Practice, and all of our resources and guides.

You will need your BVA membership number and the email address linked to your membership. As soon as you’ve created your myBVA account, you will be able to view your details and make changes if you need to.

Categories: Journal news

Its not about changing the world

Chloe Roberts, BVA recent graduate rep, discusses what it means to be a team player.

Categories: Journal news

Discounted CPD for BVA members

BVA’s CPD partner The Webinar Vet is offering members a 20 per cent discount on tickets for its 2020 Virtual Congress.

Virtual Congress 2020, going live on Saturday 1 February, offers 18 hours of high-quality cross-species CPD with unlimited accessibility whenever and wherever you like. It also includes keynote sessions from broadcaster, writer and adventurer Ben Fogle, mountaineer Kenton Cool and multimarathon-running emergency vet Rob Pope.

To receive your BVA member discount use the discount code ‘BVA2020’. As a BVA member, you can also access six hours of CPD for free. Topics include dental extraction, guinea pigs, rabbits, tortoises and osteoarthritis.

To book your ticket and register for your six hours of free CPD, visit https://virtualcongress.thewebinarvet.com

Categories: Journal news

Moving forward with detecting osteoarthritis in cats

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019

OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA) – otherwise known as degenerative joint disease – has historically been an overlooked disease in cats,1 although the number of reports published on feline OA has grown rapidly over the past 10 to 15 years. Radiographic studies have revealed that elderly cats are more likely to show joint changes consistent with OA.2-4 However, it has become clear that what is seen radiographically does not correlate well with the presence of joint pain or mobility impairment, and that even young cats can exhibit radiographic signs of OA.5

OA can lurk as an undetected disease, leaving cats to suffer long-term pain and disability. The lifestyle of a cat does not lend itself to an owner noticing something is wrong – few cats go for walks with their owner, and, even if they did, lameness is not a common sign...

Categories: Journal news

Evaluation and comparison of pain questionnaires for clinical screening of osteoarthritis in cats

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019
Background

Feline osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of long-standing pain and physical dysfunction. Performing a physical examination of a cat is often challenging. There is a need for disease-specific questionnaires or the so-called clinical metrology instruments (CMIs) to facilitate diagnosis and evaluation of treatment of feline OA. The CMI provides the owners an assessment of the cat’s behavioural and lifestyle changes in the home environment. The purpose of the study was to evaluate readability, internal consistency, reliability and discriminatory ability of four CMIs.

Methods

This is a prospective, cross-sectional study with 142 client-owned cats. Feline OA was diagnosed based on medical history, orthopaedic examination and radiography.

Results

The results indicate that all four instruments have sound readability, internal consistency, are reliable over time and have good discriminatory ability. Preliminary cut-off values with optimal sensitivity and specificity were suggested for each instrument. The osteoarthritic cats showed significant changes in behavioural response to pain during orthopaedic examination, compared with sound cats.

Conclusion

The results indicate that all four questionnaires make an important contribution in a clinical setting, and that the cat’s behavioural response to pain during physical examination should be a parameter to take into account as a possible indication of chronic pain.

Categories: Journal news

Lop-eared rabbits have more aural and dental problems than erect-eared rabbits: a rescue population study

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019

This research aimed to assess whether rabbits having lop ears, an artificially selected conformation, compromises welfare. We investigated the occurrence of aural and dental pathology in lop-eared compared with erect-eared rabbits. Thirty rabbits (15 lop-eared and 15 erect-eared) from a rabbit-only rescue shelter were examined. An otoscope was used to visualise the ear canals and mouth. Samples were taken from each ear to examine for mites, bacteria and yeast. Medical records were also examined. Lop-eared rabbits showed statistically significantly more frequent ear canal stenosis, higher scores of cerumen and erythema and more frequent potential pain response during ear examination, compared with erect-eared rabbits. We also found statistically significantly more frequent incisor pathology, molar overgrowth, molar sharpness, molar spurs and history of veterinary dental treatment in lop-eared compared with erect-eared rabbits. The effect sizes were often large. Age was not statistically significant between the lop-eared and erect-eared rabbit groups. Thus, lop-eared rabbits were at an increased risk of aural and dental pathology in this study. This brings into debate the ethics of breeding and buying lop-eared rabbits, as they are more likely to suffer conditions that negatively impact welfare, such as pain, and potentially deafness and difficulty eating.

Categories: Journal news

Hypervitaminosis D has no positive effects on goat tuberculosis and may cause chronic renal lesions

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019
Background

There is evidence for a link between vitamin D deficiency and active tuberculosis (TB). In human beings, several trials have evaluated the role of vitamin D supplementation in TB treatment with conflicting results. However, the role of vitamin D supplementation in animal TB control has received less attention. The authors evaluated the benefit of vitamin D supplementation for preventing mycobacterial infection or reducing TB lesions (TBL) in a controlled trial with goats naturally exposed to Mycobacterium caprae.

Methods

Two groups of goats, a vitamin D-supplemented group and a non-supplemented control group, were housed for 10 months in direct contact with M caprae-infected adult goats. Upon contact with the infected adult goats, all animals were TB-tested every two months.

Results

No experimental evidence of a protective effect of vitamin D supplementation based on M caprae culture prevalence, TBL prevalence, median TBL score or the proportion of single versus multiple organs presenting TBL was observed.

Conclusion

The results indicate that, in the conditions used in this study, vitamin D supplementation in goats does not reduce TB infection risk nor the diffusion and severity of TBL. In addition, vitamin D-supplemented goats presented hyperphosphataemia and renal injury with calcifications suggestive of vitamin D intoxication.

Categories: Journal news

Selected highlights from other journals

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019
Do carcase assessments reflect the welfare status of cattle?

M. Knock, G. A. Carroll

Animals (2019) 9

doi: 10.3390/ani9110959

• What did the research find?

For beef cattle, lameness score, cleanliness score and age were found to be associated with carcase bruising, while lameness score, body condition and sex were associated with hot carcase weight. For dairy cattle, sex and slaughter day were found to be associated with carcase bruising, while skin lesion score, body condition, age, slaughter day and the number of moves were associated with hot carcase weight.

• How was it conducted?

A total of 123 beef cattle and 182 dairy cattle processed at a single UK abattoir were included in this study. Cattle were scored for lameness as they were unloaded from the lorries, and each animal was then scored for cleanliness, body condition, hair loss and the presence of skin lesions. Breed, sex, age,...

Categories: Journal news

Are we missing infected cattle?

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019

Members of the Animal Welfare Group read with interest the letter from the chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, and other Defra personnel (VR, 30 November 2019, vol 185, p 664) in response to a recent news article on undetected bovine TB cases (VR, 26 October 2019, vol 185, p 492).

We were somewhat surprised at Defra’s reaction

We were somewhat surprised at their reaction, as the data, analysis and extrapolation, on which the article was based, had already been submitted to Defra in March of this year and no response had been received from the department in the intervening eight months.

It is regrettable that in their critique of our analysis they did not provide any figures of their own to give context to the actual numbers of false positives that they say would have arisen within the 4898 interferon-gamma (IFN-) test-positive reactors1, 2...

Categories: Journal news

Are we missing infected cattle?

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019

We welcome the well-reasoned response by the chief veterinary officer (CVO), Christine Middlemiss, and others (VR, 30 November 2019, vol 185, p 664) to the recent news article on undetected bovine TB identified by the interferon-gamma (IFN-) test (VR, 26 October 2019, vol 185, p 492). But the question that members of the Animal Welfare Group (AWG) and now also Christianne Glossop, the Welsh CVO (VR, 9 November 2019, vol 185, p 574), should ask themselves is: Are these animals infectious for other cattle? The answer is almost certainly not.

Cattle are simply sentinels for the ever-increasing and widespread infection in badgers. They are not the problem per se since the disease does not readily transmit horizontally in cattle until it becomes advanced and the animals are in close confinement.1 Of those reactors to the tuberculin test showing visible lesions, the great majority are in the early...

Categories: Journal news

BVA has role in taking a stance on political decisions

Veterinary Record latest issue - 19 December 2019

The letter from Bridget Gregory (VR, 26 October 2019, vol 185, p 513) raises some interesting questions around whether the BVA should take a stance on Brexit.

Joseph Woods also states that the BVA should not take a stance on a no-deal scenario (VR, 2 November 2019, vol 185, p 543). Woods makes the valid point that over the past 25 years, many of our colleagues from the Continent have come to work in the UK and must have justifiable misgivings over their future here’. Many of these individuals are members of the BVA and many occupy posts in both public and animal health positions that would be extremely difficult to fill should they no longer feel welcome in the UK and leave.

The BVA has a responsibility to express a view on current issues surrounding our profession, such views being formulated after due consideration with the BVA council,...

Categories: Journal news
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