Effectiveness of breeding guidelines for reducing the prevalence of syringomyelia

Several toy breed dogs are predisposed to syringomyelia (SM), a spinal cord disorder, characterised by fluid-filled cavitation. SM is a complex trait with a moderately high heritability.

Selective breeding against SM is confounded by its complex inheritance, its late onset nature and high prevalence in some breeds. This study investigated the early outcome of existing SM breeding guidelines. Continue reading Effectiveness of breeding guidelines for reducing the prevalence of syringomyelia

Progress with AMRRIC animal management worker program

John Skuja and Emma Kennedy in Townsville with the East Arnhem Shire agreement.

An AMRRIC program to recruit Indigenous animal management workers in several Northern Territory shires has progressed with the appointment of a project manager, whilE East Arnhem Shire has also formally confirmed its involvement in the program.

Veterinarian John Skuja has taken up the position of Project Manager with AMRRIC. Skuja has a background in emergency veterinary hospitals, as well as community development programs overseas with Vets Beyond Borders.

The agreement with East Arnhem Shire was signed by East Arnhem Shire veterinarian and Animal Management Officer Emma Kennedy, along with AMRRIC’s Executive officer Julia Hardaker, and Project Manager John Skuja in Townsville at AMRRIC’s recent annual conference.

AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) is a not-for-profit organisation set up by veterinarians which aims to improve the health and welfare of companion animals and improve the overall health and wellbeing of people in Australia’s Indigenous communities. Continue reading Progress with AMRRIC animal management worker program

Javan rhino confirmed extinct in Vietnam

The Vietnamese subspecies of the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) was declared extinct in a report critical of Vietnam’s ‘poor protection and law enforcement’ that was jointly produced by the International Rhino Foundation and World Wildlife Fund.

Although widely believed to have perished during the Vietnam War, a rhino was hunted in the Cat Loc region of southern Vietnam in 1988, which led to the discovery of a small population of about 15 animals. The area was subsequently designated protected in 1992 and eventually incorporated into Cat Tien National Park, but despite conservation attempts by several organisations, the results of a 2004 survey identified only two individuals remained.

Further survey work by a research team from WWF and Cat Tien National Park, conducted between October 2009 and April 2010, involved the collection of 22 dung samples from the park’s core rhino area.

They were sent to Canada’s Queen’s University for genetic analysis, together with the skin and teeth samples from the mutilated body of a female Javan rhino, that was found soon after the official survey ended. The results confirmed that all the samples were from one individual. According to the WWF report the dead rhino was the probable victim of poaching: ‘a common problem in most protected areas in Vietnam that threatens the survival of many other species’.

WWF’s species program manager in the Greater Mekong Nick Cox said the report showed actions to save the Javan rhino in Vietnam were inadequate, and this continued situation would undoubtedly lead to the extinction of many more species from the country. Continue reading Javan rhino confirmed extinct in Vietnam

New digs for all creatures great and small

Veterinary teaching, research and practice at James Cook University is about to be transformed with state-of-the art new facilities soon to be constructed at the Townsville campus.

The $10 million development of the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences School precinct will provide a new administration building, and a new pathology building, including a world-class necropsy facility.
Head of the school and Veterinary Science Dean Wayne Hein said the project would change the face of veterinary studies at the university.

“As long as people and animals have worked and lived together, veterinary medicine has been an essential part of life,” he said.

Hein said advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques had transformed the industry in modern times.

For example, animals may now receive advanced medical, dental, and surgical care and JCU needs to ensure its facilities are keeping pace with modern advancements, he said.

“This is a very exciting project, and will cement JCU’s reputation as one of Australia’s premier veterinary schools.” Continue reading New digs for all creatures great and small

Deadly tick season threatens pets

Vets are warning pet owners to be vigilant as an explosion of tick paralysis cases in Australia’s eastern states leaves a trail of casualties.

Perfect breeding conditions have created huge numbers of paralysis ticks this summer, according to Australian Veterinary Association spokesperson Jodie Wilson.

“The tick season is usually at its height in eastern states from spring through to autumn, but about 700 cases have already been logged in Queensland and NSW, which is extremely high for so early on in the season,” Wilson said. Continue reading Deadly tick season threatens pets