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New test for early TB identification in zoo animals
The Actiphage test offers a new way to detect and manage bTB in zoo animals and wildlife.
Actiphage method detects mycobacteria before clinical symptoms emerge

A new test that can deliver early TB identification in exotics is being discussed at the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) Congress in Birmingham today (9 November).

The Actiphage test, to be outlined by RVC research fellow Dr Ben Swift, offers a new way to detect and manage bTB in zoo animals and wildlife.

Developed by PBD Biotech, the test can identify bTB and other mycobacterial diseases in animals before clinical symptoms emerge. In comparison to culturing mycobacteria, which can take up to 12 weeks, the test can identify the presence of any mycobacteria in animal blood in as little as six hours.

So far, the technology has been successfully applied to blood samples from 17 different species, including deer, goats and badgers as well as exotic animals such as lions, giraffes and camels. Trials have confirmed PBD Biotech’s assay can detect live mycobacteria in blood or milk samples at very high sensitivity, of less than 10 mycobacterial cells per ml of sample.

“The Actiphage detection method provides a major step change in the detection of viable mycobacteria and has the potential to revolutionise the control and understanding of mycobacterial diseases in zoo animals, wildlife and a range of other species,” explained Dr Swift.
 
“The use of bacteriophage means the test can detect mycobacteria before an immune response is fully developed, giving vets, zoo-keepers and other exotics experts a head-start on the race to catch bTB and other diseases in the hope of preventing the unnecessary cull of protected animals.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”