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Researchers call for control of raccoon dogs
Raccoons and raccoon dogs are non-native species in Europe, being endemic to North America and the Far East, respectively.

Study reveals species is a vector for zoonotic disease

The raccoon dog represents a greater risk than the raccoon as a vector for zoonotic diseases, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal Parasitology Research, found that raccoon dogs carry a host of zoonotic parasites, including the fox tapeworm and the trematode Alama alata.

“The raccoon dog is therefore clearly an indicator of fox-type parasites and should be controlled regularly,” the researchers conclude.

Raccoons and raccoon dogs, which are endemic to North America and the Far East, are similar in appearance. However, they are not as closely related as the raccoon dog is to the fox.

Researchers say this makes the raccoon dog a risk as an additional vector of disease - such as the fox tapeworm. However, the raccoon can also transmit human-relevant parasites, like the racoon roundworm.

In the study, researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna analysed samples from Austrian animals in the laboratory looking for parasitic pathogens. They sought to discover whether the animals can contribute or are already contributing to an increased spread of local parasites.
 
The study revealed that the racoon currently represents a lower risk than the raccoon dog. “We have so far not discovered any parasites in the raccoon samples,” explained senior author Georg Dusher of the Institute of Parasitology.

First author Tanja Duscher from the Research institute of Wildlife Ecology explained that the abundance of racoons and raccoon dogs in Austria remains relatively low in comparison to Germany and northern Europe.

She added that a species distribution model for the two animals could help to support epidemiological monitoring.

While racoons have been given a clean bill of health, the authors say that the mixing of the populations leads to parasitic transmission and could make raccoons more relevant in the future.

Image (C) Andreas Duscher

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Sale of microbeads now banned

News Story 1
 The sale of products containing microbeads is now banned across England and Scotland, Defra has confirmed.

As part of government efforts to prevent these plastics ending up in the marine environment, retailers can no longer sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads. These tiny plastics were often added to products including face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste and shower gels.

Just a single shower is thought to send 100,000 of these beads down the drain and into the ocean, where it can cause serious harm to marine life. A ban on manufacturing products containing microbeads previously came into force in January this year. 

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George Eustice announces funding for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

Farming minister George Eustice has announced a 5.7million funding package to help farmers tackle Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme and farmers will be able to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner.

The project will recruit local vets who will then work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.