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Reverse zoonosis causes concern
reverse zoonosis concern influenza flu season transmission illness
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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New 24/7 emergency care guidelines explained in RCVS webinar

The RCVS is hosting a free webinar to explain its new guidance on 24/7 emergency care. Supporting guidance in the Code of Professional Conduct was changed following concerns over 24/7 care.

Changes were suggested by the RCVS standards committee at the college's June council meeting, based on an evidence gathering process with the profession and animal owners to determine their expectations on the provision of out-of-hours veterinary cover.

The new guidance places greater emphasis on owners' legal obligations under animal welfare laws, as well as veterinary surgeons' responsibilities to provide clients with more information about their out-of-hours service. It also aims to give vets more power to refuse home visits where they feel a visit away from the practice would be unnecessary or unsafe.

The changes have been approved in principal by the RCVS Council.

Titled "24/7 emergency care - a new emphasis", the webinar will be held at 8.30pm on Monday, July 28. RCVS registrar and head of legal services Gordon Hockey, and chair of the standards committee Clare Tapsfield-Wright, will discuss the impact changes will have on practice staff and the public.

To register for the webinar, visit www.thewebinarvet.com/rcvs