Risk factors for race-associated sudden death in thoroughbred racehorses in the UK (2000-2007)

Reasons for performing study: sudden death adversely affects racehorse welfare, jockey safety and the public perception of horseracing. Objective: to describe the risk of racing-associated sudden death in thoroughbred racehorses in the UK from 2000 to 2007, to identify whether there were risk factors uniquely associated with sudden death and to improve the understanding of the . . . → Read More: Risk factors for race-associated sudden death in thoroughbred racehorses in the UK (2000-2007)

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

The British pig health schemes: integrated systems for large-scale pig abattoir lesion monitoring

Pig health schemes based on abattoir inspections provide an integrated system to optimise the postmortem detection and the reporting of pathological lesions.

In Great Britain, two initiatives have been implemented by the pig industry: Wholesome Pigs Scotland (WPS) and the BPEX Pig Health Scheme (BPHS). These schemes record the presence of a range of pathological lesions detected by means of detailed inspection of the pluck and the skin of the slaughtered pigs. Continue reading The British pig health schemes: integrated systems for large-scale pig abattoir lesion monitoring

Welsh vet becomes new BVA President-Elect

Peter Harlech Jones.

In late September, Peter Harlech Jones was elected President-Elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) for 2011/2012. The ceremony took place during the Annual General Meeting of the BVA at the close of its Annual Congress, held in London.

Harlech Jones, an international consultant on veterinary medicines, was born and raised in North Wales, and has a working history throughout the UK and Canada. He spent 20 years in the animal health business in the UK and overseas working in the fields of research and development and regulatory affairs.

In 1995 he was appointed the first head of the Veterinary Division at the newly created European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) in London, playing a leading role in the creation of the new European regulatory system and working at the centre of European institutions. Continue reading Welsh vet becomes new BVA President-Elect

Avian pox on the rise in Britain

Photo by Luc Viatour

Alarm bells have been raised in Britain over the health of the country’s great tits, following a confirmed case of avian pox virus in a great tit population in Oxfordshire. Although the disease has previously been found in house sparrows and wood pigeons in Kent, Sussex and Surrey, the spread to great tit populations is of great concern to researchers, since tits are among a number of wild bird species that are known to be less resilient to the disease.

The first confirmed case of AVP in a British great tit occurred in 2006, but the latest incident was found in a great tit population that has been continuously monitored by scientists from the University of Oxford, and the Zoological Society of London, since 1947.

When the presence of AVP was confirmed Professor Ben Sheldon from the University of Oxford’s Edward Grey Institute said researchers were: “using our detailed observations to try to understand how this new form of pox affects survival and reproductive success.”

Historically AVP is known to affect bird species worldwide, but it is more commonly found throughout temperate regions. Transmission occurs either through mosquito or other insect bites, or by direct contact with infected birds. Infection is also possible via contaminated communal food and water sources.

Symptoms include weakness, emaciation, soiled facial feathers, reduced egg reduction, and the growth of warty lesions on unfeathered areas of birds’ bodies, particularly the eyes and beaks.

AVP is a slow-developing disease that ultimately affects the birds’ ability to see and fly, causing them to gradually weaken until they become more susceptible to predators. Continue reading Avian pox on the rise in Britain