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New boost for zoos

Zoos and aquariums in England are set to receive up to £100 million to help mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The announcement, made late last month by animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith, is a major expansion of an initial £14 million relief fund for zoological collections and will run until the end of March 2021 in a bid to ensure such collections are buffeted from financial woes.

Zoos reopened in mid-June but many have faced challenges because the requirement to adhere to social distancing rules has meant fewer paying visitors can be admitted than would normally be the case.

‘This funding will be a lifeline for our zoos and aquariums and ensure the quality of animal care continues over the coming months,’ Lord Goldsmith said.

Categories: Journal news

End of the road for the AHT

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has announced it will be closing, having failed to raise enough money to secure its long-term future.

The charity had faced a period of ‘dire financial constraints’, which has been compounded by the economic implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The AHT has been a leading veterinary and scientific research centre since 1942.

In a statement on 3 July, the AHT said: ‘It is with deep regret that today we have announced to our colleagues that the AHT’s board of trustees have concluded that the trust needs to close and next week will formally begin the process to wind-up the AHT.

‘The decision to cease operations has been reached after several months of trying to secure funding.

‘Although substantial progress was made, the charity has been unable to secure the significant funds it needs to have a long-term viable future.

‘Further announcements will be made...

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Sustainability group launched

UK vets have formally launched a new group, Vet Sustain, that has been billed as the first sustainability support organisation for veterinary professionals.

The website of the group, which is dedicated to supporting the uptake of sustainable practices among vet professionals, went live this month complete with how-to guides, training resources and case studies designed to promote environmental goals.

Individuals and organisations interested in finding out more or supporting Vet Sustain are encouraged to visit www.vetsustain.org or contact its founder, Laura Higham, at laura@vetsustain.org

Higham said the social enterprise will provide a platform for the veterinary community to come together and take collective action.

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New virtual vet nurse roadshow conference

The Webinar Vet and Colourful CPD are delivering the first virtual vet nurse roadshow conference – ‘Making Nurse Consulting Work for You and Your Practice’ – this week.

The conference is for all vet nurses who are either considering consulting or seeking to increase their confidence when they consult, or those looking for inspiration to extend the clinics they run.

The one-day conference will cover:

• Explanation of legislation relevant to vet nurses, including Schedule 3.

• Veterinary Medicines Regulations and negligence and misconduct.

• How to approach any consultation to ensure it proceeds effectively, be that in-person or remotely.

• Opportunities for improving patient health through nutritional advice.

• How to overcome common challenges to nurse consulting services.

• A day in the life of a consulting nurse, from two nurses who do it.

Colourful CPD’s Brian Faulkner and Steph Writer-Davies will be joined by Clare Hemmings from...

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Practices needed to support vet nurse training in Scotland

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is introducing two new vet nursing courses and is now inviting practices to offer student placements.

Veterinary care assistant (VCA) and professional development courses are being introduced by SRUC’s Aberdeen campus, with the aim of widening participation and enabling student progression within the field of vet nursing.

The one-year VCA diploma course, which starts in September, is for anyone interested in working as a vet nurse. The students will be taught in a vet nursing skills hub, equipped to ensure ‘gold standard’ practical skills training, the college says.

As well as attending classes two days a week, students will spend a minimum of 600 hours gaining work experience in a practice with a registered veterinary nurse or a vet acting as their supervisor.

In order to provide its students with work experience, the SRUC is looking for vet practices that can offer paid or voluntary...

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Practice solutions during Covid-19

MWI Animal Health UK has expanded its range of technology-enabled practice management solutions to help remain operational during Covid-19 outbreak.

Its ‘Home Pharmacy’ product allows vet practices to place orders for medicines online for delivery directly to the client’s home. The service is integrated with the company’s practice management technology to allow auto-shipping options for preventive healthcare plans and is linked to patient records.

The company also offers a video telehealth platform. The service is integrated into Merlin, MWI’s cloud-based practice management system, and is designed to work alongside day-to-day business operations, allowing practitioners to focus on patient care. All video consultations can also be saved directly into the medical records of the patient.

Pet owners do not need to download additional software and can access telehealth consultations using any modern device and all major browsers. By offering video teleconsulting, practices can determine if in-person care is necessary or...

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Zoetis links up with telemedicine companies

Zoetis UK is working with telemedicine companies Video With My Vet (www.videowithmyvet.com) and Joii Petcare (www.joiipetcare.com) to offer special discount offers for Zoetis veterinary practices wanting to connect with pet owners remotely. Consultations over the phone, delivered in line with GDPR, and home delivery services such as VetPost can help to get revenue back into the practice, the company says.

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Views sought on agri-tech

Vets, farmers, consultants and researchers are being asked for their views on the use of modern agricultural technology.

Information collected through the new survey will be used to identify key areas where productivity, efficiency and sustainability in both beef and sheep production systems can be improved. Devices of interest include electronic identification tags/readers, weigh crates/platforms, feed monitoring systems and animal-mounted sensors.

The data will be used as part of a wider project funded by the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes and the project team includes Scotland’s Rural College, The Moredun Research Institute and Agri-Epi Centre.

The survey closes on 31 August; it can be found at www.sruc.ac.uk/agritechsurvey

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Vet product news

Dechra Veterinary Products has launched what it says is the first equine benzodiazepine licensed for the intravenous coinduction of anaesthesia in horses. Dormazolam which contains midazolam (5 mg/ml), works in synergy with other induction agents to provide an extended duration of anaesthesia without adversely affecting the quality of recovery, the company says.

Dechra Veterinary Products has launched a new antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and pyoderma in dogs, and upper respiratory tract infections in cats. Floxabactin, which has the active ingredient enrofloxacin, is indicated for use in dogs with lower UTIs, including those associated with prostatitis, upper UTIs caused by Escherichia coli or Proteus mirabilis, as well as superficial and deep pyoderma. In cats, the 15 mg dose can be used for treating upper respiratory tract infections. Produced in multiple tablet strengths – 15 mg for cats and dogs, and 50 mg and 150...

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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 May 2020 are listed in Table 1.

Table 1 also indicates where a public assessment report should become available for a product. Where available, links to these reports are accessible by clicking on the relevant product on the VMD’s Product Information Database www.gov.uk/check-animal-medicine-licensed

The European Medicines Agency publishes European Public Assessment Reports for every veterinary medicine that is authorised through a centralised procedure. Links to these reports are accessible at www.ema.europa.eu

There may be a delay between the issuing of a marketing authorisation to a company and the product being placed on the market.

Changes to marketing authorisations

Food-producing animals

Categories: Journal news

Disease surveillance in England and Wales, June 2020

APHA disease surveillance report headlines

  • Histophilus somni causing encephalitis, myocarditis and pneumonia in weaned dairy heifers

  • Chewing louse infestation of pygmy goats

  • Lactational osteoporosis in first-litter sows

  • Death of a ringed osprey following collision with a vehicle

  • Focus on disease considerations in backyard and smallholder poultry flocks

  • Highlights from the scanning surveillance networkCattleUncommon manifestations of Histophilus somni infection

    Histophilus somni is primarily recognised for causing outbreaks of pneumonia although it is also identified causing septicaemia, thromboembolic meningoencephalitis, myocarditis, polyarthritis, otitis media, mastitis and reproductive disorders.1,2

    The APHA Penrith Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC) investigated a disease outbreak in weaned dairy heifers that developed neurological disease.

    Three animals aged five to six months were affected in a group of 20 over a period of three to four weeks. Two of the calves were found recumbent, having previously not been ill,...

    Categories: Journal news

    Disease considerations in smallholder and backyard poultry flocks

    This focus article has been prepared by Adrienne Mackintosh, veterinary investigation officer, David Welchman, veterinary lead of the APHA Avian Expert Group, and Anna Brzozowska, data analyst in the APHA’s Surveillance Intelligence Unit

    Categories: Journal news

    'I thought working in industry might make me deskbound, but my job is so much more

    Felicity Caddick is a senior veterinary manager at a pharmaceutical company, as well as being the proud holder of a lesser-known Guinness World Record.

    Categories: Journal news


    Alan Wilson of the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has been elected a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), for his outstanding contributions to science. He joins an exclusive group of vets to be awarded FRS and is the only member of staff from the RVC to be granted this honour in the modern era.

    Wilson’s work is primarily focused on how the musculoskeletal system of athletic animals is configured and used to deliver economical and high-performance locomotion. His commitment to research has led him to build an aeroplane in his garden, obtain a pilot’s license and develop tracking collars, so that he was able to fly across Botswana to monitor cheetahs in the wild.

    He qualified from Glasgow vet school before undertaking a PhD in the anatomy department at the University of Bristol, where he studied the mechanical basis of tendon injury. In 1996, he joined the RVC where...

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    Vet nurse Nicola Barrigan has been appointed head of vet nursing at Southfields Veterinary Specialists, in Essex. Barrigan, who also holds a diploma in leadership and management, joined the veterinary industry after volunteering at a rescue centre while she was working as an administrator for an advertising company. Her 12-and-a-half year veterinary career began as a student vet nurse; after qualifying and becoming a registered vet nurse, she worked in a number of roles, including as a surgical/orthopaedic nurse, and head vet nurse before her latest appointment.

    Away from work, she enjoys trips in her classic VW camper van, especially attending VW events and camping with friends and family. She has two dogs, a bullmastiff cross and a springer spaniel, and is learning to play the drums.

    Categories: Journal news

    Research grant applications open

    Applications for the 2020 Veterinary Management Group (VMG) research grants are now open. Practice staff, managers, clinicians and researchers are invited to apply for an award of up to £2000 to fund a research project to support the development of best practice in any area of veterinary business, leadership and management. The deadline for applications is 28 August.

    The VMG launched its research grant scheme last year, to encourage either research that enhances understanding of the contemporary veterinary sector, including strategy, people, finance and marketing, or how management and leadership theory can be applied to the sector’s everyday work. Topics being researched by the current grant holders include gender and entrepreneurship, corporatisation, and career pathways. Further information, including the call for proposals, application form, and guidance notes are available at https://vetmg.com/vmg-research-awards

    Categories: Journal news

    Pressure group demands action on race at RVC

    By Josh Loeb

    A group set up to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds into the vet profession has written an open letter to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) about racial discrimination.

    In the letter Animal Aspirations set out four recommendations that it would like to see the university adopt:

  • Introduce greater transparency about what is being done to encourage and support ethnic minority students.

  • Bring in effective systems to mitigate all forms of racial discrimination and to provide satisfactory resolution when incidents occur.

  • Reform the RVC’s equality and diversity committee so it ‘actively listens to the voices of students and staff and acts accordingly’.

  • Appoint an external auditor to track progress and ensure goals are met.

  • Animal Aspirations published its open letter – which was also addressed to the profession as a whole – after RVC principal Stuart Reid published some of his...

    Categories: Journal news

    Greenhouse gas emissions in UK agriculture

    Following a number of critical television programmes and adverse media comment with regard to the environmental damage caused by global agriculture, it stimulated me to seek information to determine what was the extent of the problem in the UK. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) has published its latest report on greenhouse gas emissions (GGE),1 which I found particularly helpful.

    The DBEIS reported that GGE, measured in millions of tonnes of CO2 or its equivalent (MtCO2e) had fallen between the years 1990 and 2010 from 793.8 to 600.9 MtCO2e (–24.3%) and between 2010 and 2018 from 600.9 to 451.5 MtCO2e, a further –24.9 per cent. So overall since 1990, a fall of –43.2 per cent, suggesting significant progress has already been made. In this time, emissions from agriculture fell from 54.0 to 45.4 MtCO2e or –15.9 per cent (Fig 1). Interestingly, in...

    Categories: Journal news

    Pets now much more likely to be fed homemade and raw foods

    By Suzanne Jarvis

    The number of pets being fed an exclusively commercial diet has dropped dramatically over the past 10 years, a new study has found.

    The research, published in Vet Record this week (doi: vetrec-2019-105828), compared the diets for pet cats and dogs in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand between 2008 and 2018.

    It found that pets being exclusively fed what is termed a ‘conventional’ diet (commercially available, heat-processed products) dropped from 65 per cent to 13 per cent in dogs and from 85 per cent to 32 per cent in cats.

    Although the study found that in 2018 most pets were still being fed conventional diets some of the time (79 per cent of dogs, 90 per cent of cats), many more were offered other types of food.

    Homemade diets were fed to 63 per cent of dogs and 46 per...

    Categories: Journal news

    'Combat structural racism in the vet profession

    By Josh Loeb

    A petition demanding that the RCVS launch an investigation into racism has garnered more than 1000 signatures, including from vets and prospective vets.

    The petition, launched on the website Change.org by Claire Burns, a campaigner from Sheerness in Kent, is addressed to RCVS president Niall Connell and calls on him to ensure that the college urgently investigates and combats ‘structural racism’ in the veterinary profession.

    It states: ‘In light of George Floyd’s recent murder, we the countersigned call upon the RCVS to take urgent action to tackle racism that is an unacceptable but real part of veterinary medicine.’

    It goes on to state that it is the profession’s ‘moral duty [to] denounce George’s death’ and stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

    We need action and not just words

    Earlier this month Connell described George Floyd’s death as a ‘terrible event’, but Burns and her...

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