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Reverse zoonosis causes concern
Humans must beware of passing flu on to their pets

The concept of reverse zoonosis, in which humans can pass illness on to their pets, is causing concern with the approach of the influenza (flu) season.

Many people do not realise they can not only pass flu on to other humans when they get sick, but also animals, including dogs, cats and ferrets.

Scientists and vets hope to help prevent reverse zoonosis by raising awareness of the issue.

It is well known that animals such as pigs and birds introduce new strains of flu to humans, such as the most recent H1N1 flu strain, however, it is less known that humans have further passed these on to other animals.

There is currently little known about reverse zoonosis by scientists and vets, however researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) and Iowa State University are looking at this type of disease transmission.

"We worry a lot about zoonosis, the transmission of diseases from animals to people," said Christine Loehr, an associate professor at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. "Any time you have infection of a virus into a new species, it's a concern, a black box of uncertainty.

"We don't know for sure what the implications might be, but we do think this deserves more attention."

Professor Loehr advises that people with flu-like symptoms distance themselves from their pets in future.

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Working dogs help celebrate 50 years of Eye Scheme

News Story 1
 Fifty working dogs and 50 dogs over eight years old are being offered free eye examinations to celebrate 50 years of the Hereditary Eye Disease Scheme.

The main purpose of the Hereditary Eye Disease Scheme, which currently screens for 12 conditions in over 50 breeds, is to ensure there is no evidence of hereditary eye disease in dogs used for breeding.

Organisers say that The Canine Health Scheme, run by the BVA and Kennel Club, will approach a number of working dog organisations to organise the exams.

Owners of dogs that are over eight can contact the CHS office on 020 7908 6380 for details of their nearest participating eye panelist. 

News Shorts
Princess Anne presents award to Moredun chief

The Royal Smithfield Club has awarded its prestigious bicentenary trophy to Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, for her "outstanding contribution" to promoting the highest standards of livestock health and welfare in the UK and worldwide. Prof Fitzpatrick is chief executive of the Moredun Group and scientific director of the Moredun Research Institute. Upon receiving her award from HRH the Princess Royal, she said she was "greatly honoured", and thanked her colleagues at Moredun, foundation members, the Royal Smithfield Club and the livestock industry.