British Vets Resist “Political Measures” to Restrict Veterinary Use of Antibiotics

By Miroslav Djuric, DVM

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) marked the 5th European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November 2012) by releasing a statement in which it reaffirms its commitment to promoting responsible use of antibiotics, but also warns that political measures to reduce antimicrobial resistance in Europe and the UK are not based on sound science.

 

Pigblog

 

The statement lists activities undertaken and measures implemented by the BVA to promote responsible use of these medicines, including the BVA’s poster campaign for responsible use of antibiotics and the BVA’s membership of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance, which contributes significantly to European-wide guidance on antimicrobial use. The BVA also successfully lobbied for responsible use of medicines to be enshrined in the new Code of Professional Conduct to which all vets in the UK must adhere.

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Veterinarians Target Next Virus for Eradication

 
Following the recent eradication of rinderpest virus in cattle (see blog), the veterinary profession is contemplating which viral disease of animals should be targeted for eradication next. This is not an easy task considering the vast number of viral diseases that plague livestock animals and have devastating effects on animal health, public health and people’s livelihoods.

Sheep

According to the authors of a scientific editorial (1) and a review article (2) that appeared in the recent issue of Veterinary Record published on 1st July 2011, the next livestock virus targeted for eradication could be peste des petits ruminants (PPR) virus.

Dr Michael Baron and colleagues from the Institute for Animal Health (IAH), Pirbright, UK said in their review that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) should focus on PPR virus as the next livestock virus for eradication.

PPR virus affects sheep and goats and is closely related to the recently eradicated rinderpest virus. Cattle can also be infected with PPR virus but they do not show obvious signs of disease. PPR is circulating on the edges of the European Union, on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. Outbreaks were reported in Morocco and Tunisia in 2008 and there is evidence for its presence in Algerian sheep this year. It has also been present in Turkey for many years. PPR is the fastest growing and one of the most economically important diseases of sheep and goats, the animals that play a very important role in sustainable agriculture and development in Africa and Asia. Mortality in infected animals ranges from 10 to 90%, depending on age, breed and secondary infectious agents. Animals that survive become anorexic, their milk yield is reduced, and they are susceptible to secondary infections and abortions.

Baron and colleagues are already working on the development of a “smart” vaccine for PPR, one that leaves an antibody signature different from that created by infection with the virulent virus, so that vaccinated animals can be distinguished from animals that have been infected by virulent virus, and vice versa. They are also working on a "dip stick" test for PPR virus, similar to the one that IAH developed for the rinderpest eradication programme.

There are good reasons to believe that the eradication of PPR is an achievable goal, because the PPR virus shares a number of properties with rinderpest virus that contributed to the successful campaign to eradicate the latter, i.e. there is a safe and reliable vaccine; simple and effective diagnostic tests are available; the virus has a short infectious period, with no carrier/persistent state; transmission occurs only by close contact; and there is an economic incentive to eradicate it.

However, before a massive commitment of national and international resources for a successful eradication campaign, which would require surveillance and monitoring over a long period, a thorough evaluation of the likelihood of success of an eradication campaign, as well as its costs and benefits, is of utmost importance. Potential for eradication of other diseases such as foot and mouth disease (FMD) or rabies virus, for example, also needs to be evaluated.

CAB Direct database offers an excellent source of scientific information and is a very useful tool for evaluating potential for eradication of any viral disease of animals. It comprehensively covers world’s scientific literature from over 150 countries and in over 50 languages on all the viral diseases of animals, including PPR, FMD and rabies. CAB Direct database contains over 17000 records on rabies, over 13000 records on foot-and mouth disease and over 800 records on peste des petits ruminants.

References:

1. Anderson J., Baron MD., Cameron A., Kock R., Jones B., Pfeiffer D., Mariner J., McKeever D., Oura, CAL., Roeder P., Rossiter P. and Taylor W. (2011): Rinderpest eradicated – what next? Veterinary Record, 169: 10-11, doi: 10.1136/vr.d4011.

2. Baron MD., Parida S. and Oura CAL. (2011). Peste des petits ruminants: a suitable case for eradication? Veterinary Record, 169: 16-21 doi: 10.1136/vr.d3947.

Veterinary Medical Profession Is Preparing to Celebrate its 250th Anniversary

The world's first veterinary school was officially established 249 years ago in Lyon, France in 1761.  

The slogan for World veterinary anniversary is "Vet for health, Vet for food, Vet for the Planet!" suggested by Dr Jacques Bruhlet of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing. Even without mentioning animals, this particular slogan reveals so much to professional veterinarians about their role in human health (who invented slogans, anyway?).

Event highlights include an opening ceremony in Versailles, France, organized by the French Veterinary Academy and the National Veterinary School of Alfort on 24 January 2011. The second World Conference on Veterinary Education is scheduled for 12 to 16 May in Lyon. Another ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 30th World Veterinary Congress in Cape Town, South Africa from 10 to 14 October 2011.

Veterinary organizations from 78 countries have already confirmed to observe the 2011 milestone with special events throughout the year. Te European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have also signed on to highlight the many achievements of veterinarians in protecting human health and advancing veterinary medicine over the past 250 years.

CAB International will undoubtedly continue to support the international veterinary community, as it has been doing for the past 100 years (yes, it is CABI's 100th anniversary this year), through providing scientific information to both veterinary academics and practitioners. 

To learn more about Vet 2011, visit www.vet2011.org/index.php

The First European Veterinary Week, 10-16 November 2008

European vets are gearing up for their first veterinary week, which will be held from 10-16 November in various locations across Europe. This is a joint initiative organised by the European Commission and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE). The organising team is also supported by an advisory group of stakeholders (farmers’ organizations, industry and other stakeholders) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The initiative is aimed at promoting the Community Animal Health Strategy,  "Prevention is better than cure", as well as the "One Health" concept. It will also focus on biosecurity, and in particular biosecurity on farms and at country borders.

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Is Your Dog Over 60?

Dogs age more rapidly than humans, especially large breed dogs, and it is thought that one year to a human can be as many as seven years biologically for a pet dog. For example, if your dog is eight years of age, in “human years” your pet is approaching his sixties.

The life expectancy of a dog is highly dependent on its breed with most large breed dogs having a life-span of approximately 10 years (although in some breeds it is as few as five years), while smaller breeds may live for 20 years or more. However, most dogs are considered senior at seven years of age, while most 10 year old dogs can be considered to be in old age.

Pets go through different life stages, from being a puppy through a juvenile to adult, and their needs change as they age. Dogs grow up at different rates and some breeds stay puppies for a long time whilst others mature quickly, but all dogs should be mature by two years of age.

Each stage of a dog’s life requires regular veterinary check-ups and consultations regarding vaccinations, nutrition and exercise.

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