The research analysed data from 6,349 rabbits that attended 107 veterinary care clinics across the UK.
The researchers found that the most common causes of death recorded by veterinary surgeons were flystrike (10.9% of pet rabbits), anorexia (4.9%), collapse (4.9%) and gut stasis (4.3%).
The average lifespan of pet rabbits was 4.3 years, although survival up to 14.4 years had been recorded. Male rabbits tend to live longer at 5.2 years on average compared to the 3.7 years females live on average.
The most common medical issues are overgrown nails (16%), overgrown molars (7.6%), dirty bums (4.5%), overgrown incisors (4.3%) and gut stasis (4.2%). Many of these problems are associated with inappropriate housing or feeding. However, the researchers also point out that the fact rabbits evolved as a prey species has not helped owners and vets. Evolution has meant rabbits can disguise external signs of disease so that they are less likely to be targeted by predators but this also makes it harder for owners to spot that their rabbit is ill until it is often too late.
The researchers say that they hope this new study will help owners and vets prioritise what signs of illness need to be monitored.
Other findings included:
Male rabbits are more likely than females to have overgrown claws, overgrown molars, overgrown incisors and dental disease.
The average age of pet rabbits presented to vets is 3.2 years in this country.
The average adult bodyweight of rabbits presented to vets is 2.1kg.
Dr Dan O’Neill, VetCompass researcher and Senior Lecturer at the RVC, said: "For years, rabbits were considered as the perfect child’s pet: fluffy, cute, passive and only needing minimal care and handling while being fed muesli-type food in a hutch in the garden where it was generally kept on its own.
"We now know that this level of care is completely unacceptable from a welfare perspective. This new paper can further improve the lives of rabbits by helping owners and vets to recognise the common health problems of rabbits and therefore to prioritise the key management factors that will make our rabbits even healthier. Rabbits don’t exhibit their suffering like other species so it behoves all of us to be prevent and recognise their problems."
Dr Jo Hedley, VetCompass researcher and Lecturer at the RVC, added: "This study definitely highlights some of the most common presentations seen in pet rabbits. Unfortunately, due to the rabbit’s ability to hide disease, signs of a problem are often non-specific and recognised far too late, hence the causes of death recorded are in fact often just end-stage symptoms of underlying disease. Many of the key medical issues are still problems that we should be able to completely prevent by appropriate husbandry, diet and health checks. Better owner education is necessary if we are to improve rabbit health and welfare in future years."
In particular, the Association says that pet owner fears that their animals may transmit the disease could become a threat to companion animal welfare.
The guidelines, which are being updated as the situation evolves, are currently available in English and Portuguese, here: https://wsava.org/news/highlighted-news/the-new-coronavirus-and-companion-animals-advice-for-wsava-members.
Zoetis says Librela (bedinvetmab) and Solensia (frunevetmab) work differently from NSAIDs, the current standard of care, by specifically targeting NGF, a key player in OA pain1.
As monoclonal antibodies, they are eliminated by the body in the same way as naturally occurring proteins, with minimal involvement of the liver or the kidney2.
John Innes, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS (Small Animal Orthopaedics), Chief Veterinary Officer and Referrals Director at CVS said: “The potential for anti-NGF therapy to control OA pain is an exciting new development, representing a new therapeutic class, an innovative tool for clinicians working to alleviate OA pain, and a new medicinal innovation.
"NGF is one of the key factors mediating pain, inducing the release of both proinflammatory mediators and more NGF contributing to a cycle of pain and inflammation. I welcome this innovative tool for clinicians working to alleviate OA pain.”
In a field study (three-month placebo-controlled, followed by six months continuation therapy), Librela administered as monthly injections demonstrated a reduction in osteoarthritis pain as compared to placebo-controlled dogs.
According to the company, the pain reduction was maintained throughout the six-month continuation study, demonstrating sustained efficacy of Librela for at least nine months.
Solensia administered as monthly injections during two multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind field studies that enrolled a total of 360 cats demonstrated that in both studies, ≥76% Solensia-treated cats were considered a treatment success by the owners and veterinary-assessed joint pain scores decreased by >50% in these cats by study end2.
Mike McFarland, DVM, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Zoetis said: “Globally osteoarthritis (OA) pain impacts nearly 40% of cats and dogs suffering from the condition2,4.
"OA pain is under-diagnosed as pet owners often think signs of pain are related to ‘normal’ signs of ageing.
"The most common medications used to treat OA pain today are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)1, While effective, current treatment choices can have limitations. Additionally, middle aged to senior pets may have other diseases that require multiple medications. Not all pets respond to NSAID therapy and some will not tolerate NSAIDs. This can lead to under-treatment today of OA pain.
“With Solensia for cats and Librela for dogs, veterinarians will now have access to once-monthly breakthrough solutions for the management of pain associated with osteoarthritis – offering a new alternative to veterinarians to improve the quality of life for pets and their owners.”
Librela (bedinvetmab) is launched today in the European Union, United Kingdom and Switzerland. Solensia (frunevetmab) will launch in Europe, United Kingdom and Switzerland in May.
Bayer Animal Health has announced changes to the product indications for Baytril 50mg/ml and 100mg/ml Solutions for Injection, which both contain enrofloxacin.
Baytril 50mg/ml and 100mg/ml Solutions for Injection, now have licensed indications for the treatment of sheep and goats.
Baytril 50mg/ml and 100mg/ml* Solutions for Injection are now licensed for the treatment of acute mycoplasma-associated arthritis due to enrofloxacin- susceptible strains of Mycoplasma bovis in cattle (*in cattle less than 2 years old.)
For the treatment of acute severe mastitis caused by enrofloxacin - susceptible strains ofEscherichia coli in cattle, the second injection of Baytril 100 mg/ml Solution for Injection may now be given subcutaneously, 24 hours after the first dose administered by intravenous injection. In this case, the withdrawal period following subcutaneous injection should be applied.
For more information, refer to the product data sheets at www.noahcompendium.co.uk and SPCs or speak to your local Bayer Animal Health representative.
Dechra Veterinary Products has launched two new antibiotics with a new tablet technology designed to encourage more responsible use of antibiotics in practice.
Metrobactin is the first veterinary licensed metronidazole tablet for the treatment of anaerobic infections in dogs and cats. Amoxibactin is the only flavoured, double-divisible amoxicillin tablet for the treatment of urinary, reproductive and airway infections in dogs and cats.
Metrobactin and Amoxibactin are presented in 'SmartTab' double divisible tablets which can easily be divided into equal halves or quarters to ensure accurate dosing and to avoid the risk of antibiotic resistance associated with under dosing. The tablets are meat flavoured to encourage animals to accept them, thereby helping to ensure the full course is completed. There are also multiple dose strengths per product.
Dechra says it hopes these features will help vets engage with responsible antimicrobial stewardship.
Larry King, Marketing Manager UK & Ireland, said: "Dechra is acutely aware of the importance of using antibiotics responsibly and we appreciate that antibiotics are an important but complex area of veterinary medicine.
"Each case should be judged on its merits and considered use of antibiotics should be the practice, rather than using antibiotics as a precaution. Dechra suggests that antimicrobials are only used when an infection has been documented and, if possible, choices made on the results of culture and sensitivity testing and/or cytology testing. We encourage clinicians to consider other treatment options before using systemic antibiotics, for example, cases of surface pyoderma can receive topical treatment.
"Using narrower spectrum antibiotics reduces the selection pressure for resistance in commensal bacteria and if antibiotics are not resolving an infection, the diagnosis may be incorrect or there may be an underlying disease process."
He added: "The launch of Metrobactin and Amoxibactin will support our existing Clavudale antibiotic that combines amoxicillin and clavulanic acid and is part of our commitment to improve the options for treatment and responsible management of antibiotics.
"SmartTab’s innovative features will play a large role in the effective and responsible use of antibiotics. Dechra will be progressively introducing further antibiotics featuring SmartTab technology to support practices when dispensing antibiotics."
For more information visit www.dechra.co.uk/responsible.
Zoetis says the combined action of selamectin and sarolaner broadens the spectrum and extends the duration of protection so that the product kills fleas and ticks within 24 hours for five weeks, with no drop in efficacy at the end of the dosing period.
Specifically, Stronghold Plus is licensed:
Zoetis says Stronghold Plus is presented in an easy-to-use, low-volume dose that facilitates a gentle, complete application. It is indicated for use in kittens as young as eight weeks.
Alongside the new product, Zoetis has launched a support programme which includes a series of 'Good Medicine Good Business' workshops, designed to help practices grow their preventative health business.
Running throughout the summer months, the workshops will look at the contribution that preventatives make to practice growth and how increasing client engagement via enhanced preventative care can deliver greater medical value.
Scott Wheway, Zoetis product manager said: "Stronghold Plus offers vets a new topical choice that treats the parasites commonly presenting a threat to cats with one convenient monthly dose.
"What’s more, we are underpinning the launch with a practice support programme that will help practices maximise their preventative care by providing better patient outcomes and increased client value."
For further information on the Good Medicine Good Business workshops or an introductory offer on Stronghold Plus, contact your Zoetis account manager or telephone 0845 300 8034.
Paracetamol is one of the most commonly-used drugs worldwide, available to buy over the counter for humans, and for dogs (as Pardale-V tablets, which contain paracetamol together with codeine).
Andrea Tarr, Veterinary Prescriber’s founder and director said: "Pardale-V was licensed as an over-the counter medicine for dogs in 1993, and while it might have seemed appropriate then, it doesn’t really make sense now. The prescribing information doesn’t concur with the evidence and this creates a dilemma for vets who want to prescribe paracetamol for pain relief in dogs."
She added: "There is a lot of confusion about the efficacy and safety of paracetamol in dogs. For example, is it a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug? Is it safe to use with NSAIDs in dogs as it is in people?"
Veterinary Prescriber's paracetamol review was conducted in collaboration with Gwen Covey-Crump, RCVS Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia, EBVS European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, President, Comparative Medicine Network, Royal Society of Medicine.
The draft, produced after a thorough search of the published literature, was circulated unsigned to a wide range of commentators, including topic specialists and practising first-opinion vets who raise points about the interpretation of evidence, ask questions that are important to clinical practice, and present alternative viewpoints.
Veterinary Prescriber says there is a rigorous editing and checking process and the result is a module that is evidence-based, impartial and relevant to clinical practice.
Just the sort of information you need, in fact, to become a fully qualified paracetomologist.
Veterinary Prescriber modules are available by subscription: £9.95 per month for individuals (cancel anytime); £25 per month for practice subscriptions (for a 12-month contract). Practice subscribers also get 12 month's free access to https://cpd.veterinaryprescriber.org for their vet nurses, vet receptionists and SQPs.
In trials, Credelio killed more than 98% of ticks within 24 hours1, and more than 99% of fleas within 12 hours with all fleas killed within 24 hours, for one month2.
Credelio is available in two vanilla-yeast-flavoured tablet strengths and is approved for kittens and cats from 8 weeks of age and older and 0.5 kilograms or heavier.
The tablets are well-accepted by cats: in a three-month field study pet owners were 100% successful in administering the product, replicated each consecutive month3.
Elanco says the new product will be of particular interest to the one in three cat owners who currently use a topical spot on or collar that - according to its research - would prefer to give their cat a tablet when it comes to tick and flea control4.
Victoria Sumpter, Companion Animal Technical Marketing Manager at Elanco UK & Ireland said: "Not only can it be stressful to give a tick and flea treatment to a cat, it can completely disrupt a cat’s daily routine.
"With Credelio, treating a cat for ticks and fleas doesn’t have to be a big to-do. The chewable, vanilla-yeast flavoured tablets are widely accepted by cats, so owners have the flexibility to treat with or immediately after food in a way that suits their cat’s needs."
For more information, visit: www.credelio.co.uk
The VetCompass study, which was based on the records of over 900,000 Westies under the care of UK first opinion veterinary practices in 2016, also found that ownership of Westies has fallen dramatically, to just a quarter of what it was a decade ago. Researchers found that the breed comprised only 0.43% of puppies born in 2015 compared to 1.69% of puppies born in 2004.
The average age of the Westies studied was a relatively elderly 7.8 years, suggesting an ageing population with fewer new puppies entering the population compared to other breed studies carried out by VetCompass.
The most common illnesses suffered by Westies were found to be dental disease (which affects 15.7% of Westies), ear disease (10.6%), overgrown nails (7.2%), allergic skin disorder (6.5%) and obesity (6.1%). Lower respiratory tract disease and cancer were the most common causes of death, with each accounting for 10.2% of deaths in the breed. Spinal cord disorders were the next biggest killer at 7.8%.
Dr Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer and VetCompass researcher at the RVC, who was the main author of the paper, said: "With the ascent of social media as a dominant influencer of public opinion, ownership preferences for dog breeds are becoming increasingly polarised and susceptible to the whims of internet celebrity endorsement and advertising.
"Previously, preferences for dog breeds used to wax and wane gently over time. But VetCompass breed data now show rapid changes in preferences among breeds that create bubbles and troughs of demand that can have far-reaching implications for these breeds.
"Flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds are currently the darling of the nation but this has created huge welfare problems for breeds such as the Pug and French Bulldog. And breeds such as the West Highland White Terrier and Cavalier King Charles have fallen sharply out of favour."
Camilla Pegram, Veterinary Epidemiologist and VetCompass researcher at the RVC, who co-authored the paper, said: "The most common disorders of Westies shown in this study are also common in the wider UK dog population. However, the breed does seem predisposed to lower respiratory tract disease which was a common cause of death in the Westie. Owners should be aware of this as their Westie ages.
"What is particularly interesting is the level of skin disorders, which although relatively high, are still lower than might have been predicted a decade ago. It is possible that the reduction in Westie ownership has relieved the pressure on breeders to breed from less healthy individuals to meet demand and therefore contributed to improved skin health within the breed. Paradoxically, reducing popularity may have led to better health in the Westies that are now being born."
The company says that until now, veterinary surgeons wanting to protect pets against both lungworm and ticks have had to prescribe multiple products, often with different methods of administration and/or treatment frequencies, leading to potential client confusion and issues with compliance. Being able to use one beef-flavoured chew will, it says, make things much simpler.
NexGard Spectra contains afoxolaner, an isoxazoline effective against ectoparasites, and milbemycin oxime for lungworm prevention and the treatment of GI roundworms, such as Toxocara.
Merial highlights data which indicates an ever-increasing threat to dogs in the UK from lungworm and ticks: Angiostrongylus vasorum is spreading across the UK, with prevalence in foxes rising from 7% in 2005 to 18% in 20141,2. The risk of exposure to ticks has increased, with a recent study showing that nearly 1 in 3 dogs were found to host ticks3, compared to around 1 in 7 dogs in a previous study4. Cases of the potentially fatal tick-borne disease Babesiosis (carried by the tick vector Dermacentor reticulatus) are also being diagnosed in un-travelled UK dogs5.
Lynda Maris, NexGard Spectra Product Manager, says that the changing patterns mean both parasites have become higher priority risks in many practices: "Until now vets have had to recommend combinations of products, or make a choice about which parasite represents the greatest risk in their area – ticks or lungworm. But as both parasites have changed their behavior, the risk of exposure has increased across the country.
"Now just one tasty chew will address both lungworm and ticks, meaning that pet owners don’t have to concern themselves with administering different products and vets know that in the face of a rapidly changing situation there is a simple way to make sure their patients are protected."
The company also highlights a recent vet practice sampling campaign5, in which 79% of dogs took NexGard Spectra readily or like a treat. More than 90% of respondents to the survey said they would be likely or very likely to recommend it to their clients.
NexGard Spectra can be used from 8 weeks of age in puppies weighing more than 2 kgs, and is very well tolerated, including by MDR-1 mutant collies, where studies showed no treatment-related changes even at five times the maximum dose. It is available in packs of three chews, with five different presentations to ensure accurate dosing according to bodyweight (2-3.5 kgs, 3.5-7.5 kgs, 7.5-15 kgs, 15-30 kgs and 30-60 kgs).
For more information, contact your Merial Territory Manager, call Merial on 0870 6000 123, or visit www.nexgardspectra.co.uk.
This compared with 339 who were removed for non-payment last year.
A list of those who have not paid their fee has now been published and the College encourages practices to check the list (www.rcvs.org.uk/removals2018) to be sure that no employees are named.
Those who have been removed from the Register but have subsequently paid to be restored are not named on the list.
Anyone removed from the Register can no longer call themselves a veterinary surgeon, use the postnominals MRCVS or carry out acts of veterinary surgery – to do so would be in breach of the Veterinary Surgeons Act and therefore illegal.
The College says it would also like to remind veterinary surgeons that, although paying the fee is required to remain on the Register, to complete their registration in full they need to confirm they are compliant with the continuing professional development (CPD) requirement and complete the criminal disclosures form. Both of these are required by the Code of Professional Conduct and can be completed on the ‘My Account’ area.
Anyone with queries about completing the registration process should contact the College’s Registration Department on 020 7202 0707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new indication adds to the product’s existing claims for the treatment of respiratory disease in both cattle and swine.
The approval was based on data from a multi-centric field trial which enrolled more than 360 sheep on farms in the EU to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a single subcutaneous dose of gamithromycin to treat footrot. Study sites in the UK were included. Merial says the study demonstrated a statistically superior reduction in lameness and a numerically higher reduction in foot lesions versus tilmicosin. On day 21, 97.8% of Zactran treated sheep were no longer lame, compared to 93.3% of the tilmicosin group.
Sioned Timothy, Technical Manager UK and Ireland said: "This is an exciting development in the treatment of footrot throughout the UK and Europe.
"Footrot is an extremely painful disease and is recognised to have a significant impact on welfare and productivity. It can cause rapid weight loss and reduce reproduction rates, significantly impacting sheep farm profitability. Zactran is a highly effective, fast-acting, single shot injectable treatment, and provides a valuable tool for vets and farmers to use when implementing footrot control strategies.
Findlay MacBean, Head of Large Animal Business UK & Ireland, said: "Our goal at Merial is to improve the health and productivity of production animals through innovative solutions. We hope that the addition of this new indication for Zactran does just that, and gives us the opportunity to bring a cost-effective and practical solution for footrot in sheep to the marketplace.
"It also demonstrates our continued commitment to the sheep market and our ongoing investment in this sector. At Merial we always promote best practice, and believe that the addition of this product extension to our portfolio will help farmers achieve better health status in their flocks and ultimately improve farm profitability."
Zactran is available in the EU as a 150 mg/ml solution presented in 50ml, 150ml and 250ml bottles.
For further product information, see the SPC here.
According to the College, the increase in fees is needed primarily to develop its regulatory capacity for paraprofessionals. However it also says it needs to increase fees to pay for a new, Midlands-based headquarters designed by Foster and Partners, following the announcement last year about the sale of Horseferry Road.
Brexit is another significant factor in the decision to raise fees.
As has been widely reported, the College has already been on a number of fact-finding trips to India, with a view to making up the shortage of vets in the UK with graduates from Indian vet schools. But however forward-thinking these trips were, they have not borne fruit in time for Brexit.
For this reason, the College has announced that it has set aside an emergency contingency fund of £6M in order to fly as many as twenty veterinary surgeons from India and pay them to act as OVs on short term contracts in the event of a no deal Brexit.
An RCVS spokesperson said: "Brexit has dominated proceedings over the last two years, and we have been working collaboratively with our colleagues in Defra and the BVA to make appropriate plans to ensure that vital veterinary work will continue, whatever the outcome of Brexit. However, we have been unable to persuade the government to put veterinary surgeons on the Shortage Occupation List and our only alternative is to recruit from abroad."
Dr Frill Poao from the Indian Veterinary Association Kerala said: "We are standing by to help our British colleagues in their time of need".
Photo: Could the new RCVS headquarters look something like this? Foster and Partners also designed London City Hall. Gary Knight / Wikipedia CC BY-SA 2.0
The study, which was conducted in in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and Nottingham Trent University, looked at the relationship between the owners of over 2000 Pugs, French and English Bulldogs and their pets.
The researchers found that while 20% of the brachycephalic dogs in the study had undergone at least one corrective surgery, only 6.8% of owners consider their dog to be less healthy than average for their breed.
Furthermore, despite 17.9% of owners reporting breathing problems and 36.5% reporting overheating, a staggering 70.9% of owners still considered their dog to be in ‘very good health’ or ‘the best health possible'.
The average age of the dogs in the study was a youthful 2.17 years, which suggests a particularly steep and recent increase in ownership, and points towards a looming health crisis as they age and their disorders worsen.
Furthermore, the study revealed that the dog-owner relationship is influenced by expectations in advance of owning a short-muzzled dog.
Dogs whose behaviour, maintenance and veterinary costs were worse than expected prior to ownership led to owners reporting ownership of their dog to be a greater burden.
With more brachycephalic dogs being relinquished to rescue centres across the UK, the researchers say realistic expectations of ownership are crucial to maintaining long-lasting relationships between owners and short-muzzled dogs.
Dr Rowena Packer, Research Fellow at the Royal Veterinary College and leader of the study, said: "With the UK experiencing a brachycephalic crisis, a greater understanding of the relationships between owners and dogs of these breeds is vital.
"Emotional forces may trump rationality, with owners clearly loving their dogs but considering high levels of disease as healthy for these breeds. With the welfare of many thousands of dogs at stake, along with emotional and financial burdens on their owners, research that unravels these complex relationships is much needed."
Dr Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College and Chairman of the UK Brachycephalic Working Group, said: "After almost a decade working on brachycephalic dogs, I have come to realise that the issue is as much a human problem as it is a dog problem.
"As humans, we design, breed and choose the dogs we own but our dogs have to live, for better or worse, with those outcomes. With such great power comes great responsibility. Deeper understanding of the human reasons for our choices can help us make better decisions and to improve the welfare of our ‘best friend’."
Bill Lambert, Senior Health and Welfare Manager at the Kennel Club, said: "By contrasting perception and reality, this research provides vital insights which can help advance practical tools and resources to enable better understanding of the health conditions these popular breeds can suffer from and inform puppy buyers’ and owners’ decisions. Similarly, it highlights how crucial it is that all those who care about dog welfare continue to work collaboratively to raise awareness of brachycephalic-related conditions, and encourage puppy buyers to do thorough research and go to a responsible breeder who prioritises health. This is the remit of the Brachycephalic Working Group, made up of vets, welfare organisations and breed clubs, who will no doubt use the insight from this paper to inform future work."
Photo: Charles Bradbury
The study also found that those who believe that gender discrimination is a thing of the past are also most likely to discriminate against women, regardless of their own sex.
For the study, which was designed by Dr Chris Begeny and Professor Michelle Ryan at the University of Exeter, 260 UK-based veterinary employers, partners, and managers were asked whether they thought women in the profession still face discrimination. They were also invited to review a recent performance evaluation of a vet. For half of the participants, the performance evaluation was labelled as being about a vet called "Mark". For the other half, the report was labelled as being about "Elizabeth".
(You know what's coming now, don't you)
44% of the respondents said they think gender discrimination is a thing of the past, and yet when asked: "If Elizabeth/Mark was employed in your practice, what salary do you think would be fitting for her/him?", the very same people offered "Mark" a significantly higher salary than "Elizabeth", ranging from £1,100 to £3,300 more (av. £2438.50). Strikingly, the more strongly respondents believed that gender discrimination is a thing of the past, the more they discriminated.
Interestingly, whilst the pay disparity was most pronounced amongst those who think gender discrimination is no longer a problem, even those who were generally indifferent or uncertain about the issue tended to pay "Mark" more than "Elizabeth".
A belief that gender discrimination is no longer a problem was associated with a number of other discriminatory traits.
The 44% also rated "Mark" as significantly more competent than "Elizabeth". Specifically, that they would be more likely to let "Mark" take on more managerial responsibilities, more strongly encourage him to pursue promotions and be more likely to advise other vets to look to "Mark" as a valuable source of knowledge.
By comparison, those who said they believe gender discrimination still exists also showed little to no difference in how they perceived or treated "Mark" versus "Elizabeth."
Candice Buchanan BVMS GPCert SAM&ENDO MRCVS resigned from her position at a large corporate just last week after discovering a seemingly gender-based disparity in pay. She said: "I think this study shows that it's more complacency than conspiracy that leads to men being offered better salaries than women. As a profession, we aspire to practice evidence-based medicine and that means reflecting on current practices and making a conscious effort to challenge habits and behaviours that are outdated. We must now look at the way we recruit and develop staff in the same critical way."
British Veterinary Association President Simon Doherty said: "We have been aware for some time that a stubborn pay gap exists between men and women in the profession but there has been a pervasive feeling that this will rectify itself as the large number of young female vets progress further in their careers. This report shows that this will not happen automatically. It is unacceptable that in 2018, when everything about two vets is equal, their gender can still have a significant impact on how they are perceived, treated, and paid."
There seems to be a very clear message coming out of this study. It is this: if you think gender discrimination is not happening, then you're not just wrong, you're very likely part of the problem. It also presents a strong argument for greater transparency over pay, one of the reasons VetSurgeon Jobs encourages veterinary employers to advertise either a pay range or a minimum offer.
A full copy of the report is available at: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/policy/future-of-the-profession/workforce-issues-and-careers-support/
The protesters, which VetSurgeon.org understands comprise six veterinary surgeons and 30-40 pet owners, started their march in Parliament Square and are now bearing down on the RCVS Headquarters in Horseferry Road.
The campaigners are, we are told, protesting against the RCVS position statement on complementary and homeopathic veterinary medicines.
No word yet on how the College proposes to defend itself from the hoard; certainly no sign of any cauldrons of boiling oil atop the battlements, nor any riot police yet in evidence.
More news as it happens. VetSurgeon.org has a photographer on the ground ...UPDATES
1:00pm: The protesters have arrived at Belgravia House. A couple of protesters are armed with umbrellas, presumably to guard against the ever-present risk of overdose. It's getting messy: we're hearing that they've blocked the pavement. Wait up. Someone has emerged from the College to speak with them. Well hello, Mr President.
1:01pm: We were hoping that some of the protesters might, I dunno, handcuff themselves to Belgravia House or something. But after a tense standoff lasting over 36 seconds, it looks like the protest is petering out already. Apparently they've started dispersing to the park opposite.
1:02pm: Yup, they've all gone off to the park now. This may go down as one of the shortest protests in history.
1:16pm: Word has it they've headed off to the White Horse and Bower.More photos of this momentous occasion to follow ...
1. The seasoned campaigner is always careful to choose any banner that appears over their head with great care.
2. It was a beautiful march. A big march. The bigliest. Haven't seen that many people on the street since Donald Trump's inauguration.
3. The RCVS headquarters under siege.
4. Millie the dog (perhaps better called 'Millie the anecdote') illustrates the flawed thinking behind homeopathy.
5. Nobody told this campaigner than homeopathy wasn't banned in the first place. You can get it from any tap.
6. RCVS President, Professor Stephen May, presumably wishing he'd taken the day off work.
7. It took some hours moments before the crowd dispersed fully and life in London was able to return to normal.
3.43pm: The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has issued a statement following the march, which says:
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons today met a delegation of around 40 animal owners and veterinary surgeons who wished to voice their concern about a recent position statement by RCVS Council on the use of complementary and alternative medicines, including homeopathy.
President Stephen May and CEO Lizzie Lockett received a copy of an online petition that was set up following the statement, which has since received around 15,000 signatures, including around 11,000 from supporters in the UK.
Stephen and Lizzie also took time to hear accounts and stories from the supporters, and to listen to the points they wished to raise.
In view of the cold, wet weather, the College had laid on some hot drinks for all the visitors, and invited the delegation inside, but these were declined.
Stephen said: "We were pleased to be able to meet our visitors today and to receive their petition, although it was a little tricky trying to answer questions on a busy London pavement!
"We continue to recognise that homeopathy and other complementary therapies are popular amongst some animal owners and certain members of the veterinary profession, as indicated by today’s delegation, but it is worth reiterating that the RCVS Council statement does not ban their use.
"What it does state, is that in order to protect animal welfare, we regard such treatments as being complementary, rather than alternative, to treatments for which there is a recognised evidence base or which are based on sound scientific principles.
"This is similar to the position that we have held on complementary therapies for many years, but we will always be happy to receive and consider scientific evidence that demonstrates their efficacy."
I wouldn't hold your breath.
All photographs ©2017 Under licence to London News Pictures Ltd. +44 208 088 1155
Mr Meacock faced six charges relating to his website - naturalhealingsolutions.co.uk - which has claimed, amongst many other things, that:
VetSurgeon.org understands this is the first time that claims made on a practitioner's website have been the subject of a disciplinary hearing. However, before the case could be heard and the claims tested, counsel for the College and the defendant met in private, whereupon Mr Meacock voluntarily entered into undertakings with the RCVS to amend his website in order to make it compliant with his professional responsibilities.
As a result, the College applied to adjourn the hearing generally (ie indefinitely). This application was not opposed by Mr Meacock and was granted by the Committee.
Judith Webb, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, explained that the adjourned charges would be kept open indefinitely but the Committee encouraged the College not to extend the period beyond two years. However, if at any time in the future Mr Meacock failed to keep up his undertakings or made further claims which the College found unacceptable, then a fresh case could be brought.
Because Mr Meacock's undertakings were agreed in private, it is not yet known whether he has agreed to remove all of the content on his website alleged by the College to bring the profession into disrepute, although presumably time will tell.
In addition, it is not clear whether Mr Meacock also undertook not to practise those treatments which the College claimed bring the profession into disrepute (as opposed to just advertising them on his website).
Either way, the implications of the case could stretch beyond Marine Plasma, Russian Healing Blankets and Bio-Resonance Technology. In particular, it raises a serious question over the unsupported claims being made by other practitioners of alternative and complementary therapies, such as the claim by the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons that homeopathy is effective in resolving cancer: http://www.bahvs.com/cured-cases/.
The Committee's full findings and decision are available here.
The photograph showed seven naked male student vets holding sheep 'tipped' in front of them so as to hide the students' spare parts.
That anyone should complain about sheep being tipped, a technique which the British Cattle Veterinary Association describes as: "widely recognised as being safe and pain-free for the animals" defies logic. But so they did, and according to The Times, it led to personal attacks, harassment and threats against the students who'd made the calendar.
Worse still was the fact that according to various newspaper reports, the complaint originally came from the Veterinary Vegan Network (VVN), a group of qualified and trainee veterinary surgeons and nurses, who reportedly posted on their Facebook page that the photo was 'deeply disturbing'.
Oh come on. 'Deeply disturbing?' Really? I'd argue that any vet who finds that photo 'deeply disturbing' should be asking themselves whether they're in the right job.
There cannot be a veterinary surgeon or nurse in the country who is not aware of the high suicide rate in the profession, or the problems it is facing with retention, so if the complaint did trigger a backlash against the students involved, the VVN should hang its head in shame and apologise to them immediately. Profusely. As the BCVA said in its statement, the vitriol aimed at the students is "both grossly unfair, unfounded and should be condemned."
The RVC's response was predictably politically-correct: Stuart Reid wrote an open letter apologising to those who'd taken offence. But it was pitched very badly. It was long on apology, long on hand-wringing and long on appeasement. It was jaw-droppingly short of an outright condemnation of those who'd harassed his students. Indeed, according to The Times report, an unnamed vet said the college had "thrown its students under a bus."
We live in an increasingly homogenised, politically-correct world in which people complain at the first opportunity and take offence at anything and everything. Our institutions then seem to fall over themselves in the rush to apologise to the perpetually offended Facebook fruitcakes. We all need to fight this. Stuart Reid, ewe need to grow a pair.
To the students involved in the calendar: well done for making the world a slightly less grey place, and remember that for every one fruitcake, there are a thousand more who support your charitable efforts.
No sheep were hurt in the writing of this article.
The researchers say that urinary incontinence affects around three per cent of bitches in the UK, and whilst the link between urinary incontinence and neutering in bitches has been suspected, this study provides new evidence on the extent of the relationship.
The research was carried out by the RVC’s VetCompass programme, supported by BSAVA Petsavers. Apparently, it was the largest cohort study on incontinence in bitches carried out worldwide to date, using the anonymised veterinary clinical records of 72,971 bitches.
The research indicated that bitches of certain breeds including Irish setters, Dalmatians, Hungarian vizslas, Dobermans and Weimaraners are more prone to early-onset urinary incontinence than other breeds. Special care therefore needs to be taken when deciding whether to neuter these breeds.
The results identified an increased risk of 2.12 times of urinary incontinence in neutered bitches compared with entire bitches. However it also identified an increased risk of 1.82 of urinary incontinence within the first two years of being neutered, in bitches neutered before 6 months of age compared with those neutered from 6 to 12 months.
Other findings included:
The average age at diagnosis of UI was 2.9 years.
The average time from neuter to UI was 1.9 years.
Bitches weighing over 30kg had 2.62 times the risk of UI compared with bitches weighing under 10 kg.
Increasing body weight was also associated with an increased risk of early-onset urinary incontinence.
Camilla Pegram, VetCompass epidemiologist and lead researcher on the study (pictured right), said: "Neutering is something that every owner will need to consider at some stage but there has been limited information on the risks of urinary incontinence following surgery up until now. The decision to neuter a bitch is complicated but the results of this study suggest that early-age neuter should be carefully considered, particularly in high-risk breeds and bitches with larger bodyweights, unless there are major other reasons for performing it."
The survey was conducted after it was found that only 10% of job adverts on VetSurgeon.org and 16% on VetNurse.co.uk include an indication of the salary. By contrast, a quick analysis of the adverts on other leading job boards for professionals found that 66% of jobs advertised for doctors include salary details, 87% for human nurses, 64% for architects and 92% for computer programmers.
The survey received 1,147 responses: 524 from veterinary surgeons and 622 from veterinary nurses.
When asked how they would likely react to job advertisements seen online or in print:
61.5% of vets said they would read adverts which display a salary first (before those that don't)
51.5% of vets said they would respond to adverts which display the salary first (before those that don't).
21.9% of vets said they would ignore ads that don't show a salary.
Only 30.3% said they would consider the job adverts equally, regardless of whether or not they displayed a salary.
Respondents were then asked what impression it gave them if a practice advertised a job without stating a salary. 57% of vets said 'negative', 41.4% said 'neutral' and 1.3% said 'positive'.
The final question asked how annoying it is to read job adverts which only describe a salary using words like 'competitive' or 'generous'.
9.5% of vets said: 'Not at all annoying"
37.7% said 'Mildly irritating'
52.7% said 'Very annoying. It's a waste of my time to ring and find my definition of 'competitive' is not the same as the advertiser's.'
Interestingly, veterinary nurses were even more salary conscious, being much more likely to prioritise adverts which give salary details and ignore those that don't (full results of the nurse survey here).
The bottom line is that if you spend £99 to advertise a job on VetSurgeon and you don't advertise the salary, you're effectively throwing away £22 there and then. Might as well just set fire to a £20 note. Even if you think that is a price worth paying (and let's not forget that it'll be a considerably more expensive mistake if you advertise elsewhere), you then have to think of the monetary value of having sent someone away with a negative impression of your practice, or worse still if you described the salary as 'competitive' or 'generous'.
It is worth highlighting that on VetSurgeon and VetNurse, employers are invited to advertise the 'Minimum Offer', described to jobseekers as the starting point for discussions, or a salary range. Both are designed to give jobseekers something to go on, whilst still allowing room for negotiation.
To help employers get the most out of their recruitment adverts on VetSurgeon.org and VetNurse.co.uk, we're sharing a special training video, which you can watch below. If nothing else, a quick reminder of what you need to include in the advert:
With regard to all types of complementary and alternative medicine, the statement says that the College expects MsRCVS to offer treatments that "are underpinned by a recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles."
The new position statement states very clearly that homeopathy falls below this benchmark: "Homeopathy exists without a recognised body of evidence for its use. Furthermore, it is not based on sound scientific principles."
The full statement reads:
RCVS POSITION ON COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES"We have recently been asked questions about complementary and alternative medicines and treatments in general and homeopathy in particular.
"We would like to highlight our commitment to promoting the advancement of veterinary medicine upon sound scientific principles and to re-iterate the fundamental obligation upon our members as practitioners within a science-based profession which is to make animal welfare their first consideration.
"In fulfilling this obligation, we expect that treatments offered by veterinary surgeons are underpinned by a recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles. Veterinary surgeons should not make unproven claims about any treatments, including prophylactic treatments.
"Homeopathy exists without a recognised body of evidence for its use. Furthermore, it is not based on sound scientific principles. In order to protect animal welfare, we regard such treatments as being complementary rather than alternative to treatments for which there is a recognised evidence base or which are based in sound scientific principles. It is vital to protect the welfare of animals committed to the care of the veterinary profession and the public’s confidence in the profession that any treatments not underpinned by a recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles do not delay or replace those that do."
RCVS President Professor Stephen May said: "It is fair to say that debates on either side of this issue have been passionate and this too has been reflected in the debates that we have had amongst Council members as to how to best articulate the College’s position on complementary and alternative medicines.
"What we have is a statement that reinforces the evidence-based and sound scientific foundations of our profession and our commitment to put animal health and welfare at the forefront of all we do.
"I am very pleased that the overwhelming majority of Council members agreed with this statement and that the College has a firm and clear position on this important topic."
The aim of the webinar is to help bring everyone together to support one another and review how the profession can continue to protect animal health and welfare whilst also helping to slow the pandemic.
Subjects covered will include:
The webinar starts at noon tomorrow. It runs for one hour and there will be time for questions. The webinar will be recorded, so those who miss it will be able to watch it later.
The case was seen by Tim Charlesworth, head of surgery, who shared details of the case.
The dog was a seven-month-old Jack Russell Terrier which had been referred suffering from urinary incontinence and preputial pruritus.
Tim said: “We believe this is the first reported case of complete unilateral duplication of the urinary tract in a dog presenting with incontinence.
“The dog concerned was born with a duplex or 'double’ left kidney. Each section of the left kidney drained urine via separate ureters into the prostate gland.
“Its urinary bladder was also divided into separate left and right compartments, each of which then drained through separate urethras that coursed through separate penises.
“The two penises were both stuck within a prepuce designed for one which, was causing the dog’s pruritus or ‘itching’ of the penis. The incontinence was caused by the left ectopic ureters.”
Tim was faced with the challenge of devising a surgical strategy that would resolve the dog’s clinical signs. He said: “The left kidney was severely dilated and was deemed to be non-functional and so the dog underwent surgery for the removal of the affected left kidney and ureters; the two halves of the bladder were united by ablation of the septum between these two cavities; the left urethra was transected and the left penis amputated to allow the right penis to have room to fully fit within the prepuce.”
Tim added: “The dog has now made a full recovery with full resolution of his clinical signs and is currently doing very well indeed. We are very pleased to have been involved with such an unusual case and are really happy that he continues to do so well.”
The case was recently written up by one of Eastcott’s interns, Mara Sprocatti, and it has now been published by Wiley Online Library in Veterinary Surgery, highlighting it as the first known case in the history of veterinary surgery.
Alabama rot, properly known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) first emerged in Alabama in the 1980s, hence the nickname. The lack of understanding on how it spreads or can be stopped has led to high fatality rates for dogs who develop it.
The reason for its sudden appearance in the UK six years ago also remains a mystery.
The disease causes small clots in blood vessels, which eventually result in skin ulcers, tissue damage, and kidney failure in many cases.
Many theories have been put forward about the cause; anything from E. coli-produced toxins to parasites and bacteria. However, without knowing the exact source it is impossible to develop an effective cure.
The treatment offered by QMHA is known as Therapeutic Plasma Exchange (TPE) or ‘plasmapheresis.’ This method involves filtering all the patient’s blood so that toxic substances, including whatever causes CRGV, are removed. Once filtered, the blood is returned to the patient.
The development of this treatment was made possible by the discovery of the similarities between Alabama Rot in dogs and thrombotic microangiopathy in humans, which is also treated with plasma exchange.
The QMHA academics reported that two out of six dogs who underwent plasmapheresis made a full recovery.
The full findings of the research have been published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science1.
Dr Stefano Cortellini, an author of the study and Lecturer in Emergency and Critical Care at the RVC, said: "Despite the fact that only a third of dogs treated with TPE recovered from their disease, this is the first time that dogs so severely affected by CRGV have been reported to survive and so we remain optimistic that TPE may play an important role in the treatment of this deadly disease."
Launched in 2016, Simparica kills 95% of fleas within eight hours. It's also indicated for 99% of UK ticks and kills them within 12 hours. Zoetis says the produce provides protection for at least 35 days without losing efficacy at the end of the month.
Scott Wheway, Zoetis Product Manager, said: "As well as being fast acting and long lasting with a very good safety profile, these new claims give Simparica an expanded spectrum of cover for skin parasites. It is indicated for all four major species of ticks, including Ixodes hexagonus, the two species of fleas dogs are most frequently infested with, and three species of mites. This makes it the ideal solution for parasitic management in dermatology cases".
Scott added: "Our anti-parasitic products, including Simparica and Stronghold Plus, are only part of the Zoetis offering. With our dedicated business and veterinary consulting teams we work with practices to help grow their preventative health business by providing better patient outcomes and increased client value."
For more information, contact your Zoetis Account Manager ring 0845 300 8034 or email: customersupportUK@zoetis.com
Publishing Editor: Arlo Guthrie
Clinical Editor: Alasdair Hotston Moore MA VetMB CertSAC CertVR CertSAS FRCVS
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