Rough waters for AQIS as live export criticism continues

The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) has conceded a live exporter acted inappropriately when a stockman was not present on board a voyage from Fremantle to Singapore.

However, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) said the report by the AQIS Accredited Veterinarian (AAV), Lloyd Reeve-Johnson, demonstrated that he was able, in conjunction with the crew of the vessel, to deliver the level of care that a stockman would have delivered as well as perform his other responsibilities.

Vets Against Live Export (VALE) has accused AQIS of coming to an illegal informal agreement with International Livestock Exports to remove Reeve-Johnson from the 2008 voyage. Continue reading Rough waters for AQIS as live export criticism continues

Abstracts: Use of analgesic drugs for pain management in sheep

Awareness of pain and its effects is increasing within the veterinary profession, but pain management in food animals has been neglected. Sheep seldom receive analgesics despite various conditions, husbandry practice and experimental procedures being known to be painful, eg footrot, mastitis, vaginal prolapse, castration, vasectomy, penis deviation, and laparoscopy. The evidence supporting use of analgesic drugs in this species is reviewed here. Opioid agonists are of dubious efficacy and are short acting. α(2)-agonists such as xylazine are good, short-lived analgesics, but induce hypoxaemia. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ketoprofen provide long-lasting analgesia, but not as marked as that from α(2)-agonists; they should be more widely used for inflammatory pain. Local anaesthetics reliably block pain signals, but may also induce motor blockade. Balanced analgesia using more than one class of drug, such as an α(2) agonist (eg medetomidine) and N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist (eg ketamine), with the combination selected for the circumstances, probably provides the best analgesia for severe pain. It should be noted that there are no approved analgesic drugs for use in sheep and therefore the use of such drugs in this species has to be off-label. This information may be useful to veterinary practitioners, biomedical researchers, and regulators in animal welfare to develop rational analgesic regimens which ultimately may improve the health and welfare of sheep in both farming and experimental conditions. Continue reading Abstracts: Use of analgesic drugs for pain management in sheep

Accumulation of ammonia and other potentially noxious gases on live export shipments from Australia to the Middle East

Noxious gases on ships are irritant pollutants that have potential impacts on the comfort and health of both livestock and humans. Identification of environmental influences on the pollutants will assist live exporters to control them.

Ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide, as well as wet and dry bulb temperature, dew point, air speed and depth of faeces that the sheep stood in, were measured on two ship voyages in which sheep were transported from Australia to the Middle East. Continue reading Accumulation of ammonia and other potentially noxious gases on live export shipments from Australia to the Middle East

Atypical scrapie/Nor98 in a sheep from New Zealand

In a consignment of sheep brains from NZ, to be used in Europe as negative control material in scrapie rapid screening test evaluations, brain samples from 1 sheep (no. 1512) gave the following initially confusing results in various screening tests: the brainstem repeatedly produced negative results in 2 very similar screening kits (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]-1, ELISA-2), . . . → Read More: Atypical scrapie/Nor98 in a sheep from New Zealand

A genomics-informed, SNP association study reveals FBLN1 and FABP4 as contributing to resistance to fleece rot in Australian Merino sheep

BACKGROUND: Fleece rot (FR) and body-strike of Merino sheep by the sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina are major problems for the Australian wool industry, causing significant losses as a result of increased management costs coupled with reduced wool productivity and quality. In addition to direct effects on fleece quality, fleece rot is a major predisposing factor to blowfly strike on the body of sheep. In order to investigate the genetic drivers of resistance to fleece rot, researchers constructed a combined ovine-bovine cDNA microarray of almost 12,000 probes including 6,125 skin expressed sequence tags and 5,760 anonymous clones obtained from skin subtracted libraries derived from fleece rot resistant and susceptible animals. Continue reading A genomics-informed, SNP association study reveals FBLN1 and FABP4 as contributing to resistance to fleece rot in Australian Merino sheep