Survey of the frequency and perceived stressfulness of ethical dilemmas encountered in UK veterinary practice

The scale of the ethical challenges faced by veterinary surgeons and their perceived stressful consequences were investigated via a short questionnaire, completed by 58 practising veterinary surgeons.

Respondents were asked to report how frequently they faced ethical dilemmas, and to rate on a simple numerical scale (zero to 10) how stressful they found three common scenarios.

Fifty seven per cent of respondents reported that they faced one to two dilemmas per week, while 34 per cent stated they typically faced three to five dilemmas per week. Continue reading Survey of the frequency and perceived stressfulness of ethical dilemmas encountered in UK veterinary practice

Attitudes towards perception and management of pain in rabbits and guinea pigs by a sample of veterinarians in New Zealand

AIMS: To determine the perceptions of a sample of veterinarians in New Zealand regarding pain and pain management in rabbits and guinea pigs.

METHODS: Questionnaires were distributed to all members of the Companion Animal Society, part of the New Zealand Veterinary Association. The questionnaire gathered information on the demographics of respondents, obtained an assessment by veterinarians of the level of pain associated with clinical procedures for rabbits and guinea pigs, established the willingness of respondents to perform these, obtained information on the anaesthetics and analgesics used during these procedures, and the factors associated with selecting different types of drug.

The level of knowledge of respondents and interest in continuing education regarding pain recognition and management in these species was also assessed. Continue reading Attitudes towards perception and management of pain in rabbits and guinea pigs by a sample of veterinarians in New Zealand

Massey vets on hand for oil spill response

New Zealand’s Massey University has led the wildlife response to the oil spill caused by the grounding of the Rena cargo ship on Astrolabe reef at the entrance to the port of Tauranga, in October.

The National Oiled Wildlife Response Team is trained, managed and co-ordinated by specialists at the university’s New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre in Palmerston North, under contract to Maritime New Zealand.

Its members include vets, pathologists and wildlife technicians. Regional councils around the country also contribute personnel.

Wildlife veterinarians Kerri Morgan and Helen McConnell co-ordinate the wildlife response and are assisted by other university veterinary staff, including Brett Gartrell and veterinary residents and technicians.

Gartrell, who manages the wildlife response facility, said staff have treated more than 400 animals at the centre.

“We have a three stage system to stabilise, clean and then rehabilitate animals,” he said. “All animals affected by the oil are washed but it takes a number of days for them to regain waterproofing.”

Birds with specific health issues are held in an intensive care unit led by one of four Massey vets. Massey wildlife veterinarian Micah Jensen said the birds the unit have treated have had a range of ailments.

“There are birds that have picked up respiratory infections, one had a cloacal prolapse, another had a corneal ulcer,” Jensen said. Continue reading Massey vets on hand for oil spill response

Source sought for Taronga’s TB

Pak Boon and Tukta in 2010 (Picture: Bobby-Jo Vial)An expert panel led by NSW Health is continuing work to determine the source of a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak at Taronga Zoo.

In February media reported the TB diagnosis of Pak Boon, one of Taronga’s elephants.

In September Taronga issued a statement on its website which said a male chimp with the disease had been euthanased.

There have been no public health warnings about the presence of the disease at Taronga, drawing criticism from NSW Greens MP John Kaye, who said potential visitors to Taronga were denied the right to evaluate the risk of infection.

“The elephants and the chimps are in enclosures that are 50 metres apart, and there are two public walkways in between,” Kaye said.

“It is possible there is a risk to humans; not a great risk, but I think NSW Health and the zoo are making it impossible for clients to make their own assessments.”

Kaye has called on Health Minister Jillian Skinner to force the zoo to warn visitors of the presence of TB in two species, and therefore the possibility that the infection spread from one to the other.

He added that he is particularly concerned about school groups.

“Teachers and principals have to sign off on the well-being of children without being given full information, so I will continue to put pressure on NSW Health,” Kaye said.

“Australia has an excellent track record for infection control regarding TB, and it would be a terrible thing to compromise that record to support the profitability of the zoo.”

Taronga Media Relations Manager, Mark Williams, denied that profits have been put before public health. Continue reading Source sought for Taronga’s TB

Call for new thinking on disease prediction and planning

A University of Adelaide scientist says much more could be done to predict the likelihood and spread of serious disease – such as tuberculosis (TB) or foot-and-mouth disease – in Australian wildlife and commercial stock.

Corey Bradshaw and colleagues have evaluated freely available software tools that provide a realistic prediction of the spread of disease among animals.

They used a combination of models to look at the possible spread of TB among feral water buffalo in the Northern Territory.

In the 1980s and 1990s the government of the time began a broad-scale culling program, culling tens of thousands of buffalo.

“The cull successfully reduced or eradicated buffalo from major pastoral lands in the Northern Territory, taking tuberculosis with it, but since then there has been no major follow-up culling. The buffalo population is re-invading the formerly culled areas,” Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute, said.

“Although Australia now trades its livestock under the ‘TB-free’ banner, the disease is prevalent throughout Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Realistically, it’s only a matter of time before it rears its ugly head again here. If it does, it could potentially cost our cattle industry billions of dollars.” Continue reading Call for new thinking on disease prediction and planning