Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs

Baby bat suckes from bottle3The detection of Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) in two horses on a Queensland property is a concern for veterinarians and horse owners alike, according to the Australian Veterinary Association.

Biosecurity Queensland quarantined a property in the Southern Downs last month after a horse tested positive for ABLV – the first known case of ABLV in this species.

According to a statement by NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth, the yearling was initially off-colour with subtle signs of dullness and ataxia. Its condition deteriorated over a period of days, demonstrating marked ataxia, head-pressing, dysphagia, hypermetria and a rectal temperature of 39°C. Within four days the horse struggled to stand. The animal drank but did not eat, and had a heart rate of 60 beats per minute. Hendra virus testing returned negative.

Five days after initial presentation the horse developed seizures and was euthanased by the veterinarian, who performed a necropsy. Histopathology of the brain revealed severe diffuse non-purulent encephalitis and myelitis. Because this finding can be seen with ABLV, testing was undertaken. Other differentials included Hendra virus, tetanus and flavivirus (thought to be possible due to a local surge of mosquitos in the preceding month). The animal tested positive for ABLV. Continue reading Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs

ATO announces $2k cap on self-education expenses

An Australian Government announcement that tax-deductions for work related self-education expenses will be limited to $2000 per person per year penalises well intentioned vets, according to the Australian Veterinary Association.

The cap, which comes into effect on 1 July 2014, is designed to yield savings to help fund the Government’s National Plan for School Improvement.

But AVA President Ben Gardiner said the $2000 figure did not make sense.

According to numbers provided by the AVA, in 2010 the average veterinarian claimed an estimate $2728 for self education, with some spending in excess of $5000 educating themselves and staff.

Gardiner said that the association, which represents approximately 7500 Australian veterinarians, was still seeking clarification about what educational expenses will fall under the proposed cap.

“The announcement was made in a media release without consultation,” he said. “It’s a poor way to introduce a new policy.” Continue reading ATO announces $2k cap on self-education expenses

Outcry over new Victoria dog laws

Veterinary groups have been highly critical of Victorian laws which led to two dogs being euthanased.

The dogs, named Bear and Kooda, were destroyed in June under Victoria’s new dangerous dog laws following a legal battle to save them.

The dogs had not engaged in antisocial behaviour, but were put down after an officer from Moira Shire Council identified them as pitbull crosses, despite the owners’ claim that they were bred from a Staffordshire-ridgeback cross and a bull mastiff cross American bulldog.

Victoria toughened its dog laws following the fatal mauling of a toddler last year.

The legislation has procedures for councils on how to identify pitbulls based on indicators such as build and head profile.

The RSPCA, AVA and ASAVA have expressed concerns that new laws could punish responsible dog owners, who follow the law and have their pit bull or pit bull crosses registered, and let irresponsible owners slip under the radar. Continue reading Outcry over new Victoria dog laws

Veterinarian support for O’Farrell’s national park hunting plan

The President of the AVA’s Conservation group, Geoff Dutton, has offered support for NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s decision to allow hunting in 79 of the state’s national parks, provided animal welfare is being carefully considered and a strict licensing system is imposed.

Under the changes, licensed shooters can apply to hunt feral animals including pigs, dogs, cats, . . . → Read More: Veterinarian support for O’Farrell’s national park hunting plan

First the floods, now animal welfare issues

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPA) and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) have advised flood-hit communities to be prepared for animal welfare issues.

DPI Bourke’s veterinary officer Charlotte Cavanagh, said a number of ailments become more prevalent in wet conditions.

“When the floods are on, a lot of animals are standing in water, so hooves become softened, which can lead the way to foot abscesses, especially when access to stock becomes limited due to the water,” she said.

Cavanagh said the combination of flooding and warm weather could also pose problems. Continue reading First the floods, now animal welfare issues