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Untreated water 'could be source of EHV'
horse drinkng
Horses and other susceptible mammals could be infected by herpesviruses from water bodies, long after the animals that shed the virus have left the area.
Equine herpesvirus remains infectious for three weeks - study

Berlin researchers have discovered that equine herpesvirus (EHV) can remain stable and infectious over a three-week period, challenging the idea that herpesviruses are relatively unstable outside their host.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that untreated water could be a source of infection for some herpesviruses.

Enveloped viruses, such as herpesviruses, cause disease when they spread from host to host via aerosol transmission. However, they are generally thought to be unstable in the environment, requiring rapid, direct transfer in order to survive and remain infectious.

Testing this idea, researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research spiked water with equine herpesviruses under different conditions over a period of three weeks, to examine whether the virus remained infectious.

The team say the virus did remain stable and infectious for up to three weeks, with pH and temperature being the two key factors in determining how long the viruses survived.

Adding soil to the water appeared to 'pull' the virus out of the water, stabilising it in the soil. This suggests viruses may persist for an extended period of time in natural water bodies. In the case of EHV, horses and other susceptible mammals could be infected by herpesviruses from water bodies, long after the animals that shed the virus have left the area.

Viruses such as EHV may therefore become part of the environmental 'virome' and remain infectious, researchers say. Equine herpesviruses have spread among mammals including polar bears and rhinos, without coming into direct contact with horses or their relatives. This has occurred in captivity and in the wild, according to the Leibniz Institute, often resulting in fatalities. Shared water sources could be a source of, and potential vector for, infection.

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Outreach work in Mongolia aims to learn about Pallasís cat

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is supporting work in Mongolia to help improve understanding of the Pallasís cat (Otocolobus manul). The society is working with local communities to raise awareness and learn more about how people interact with the cats. The aim is to gather knowledge on the species and the threats it faces, to inform global conservation efforts.  

News Shorts
New canine health awareness week launches

The Kennel Club has launched Canine Health Week (13-19 November) to raise awareness of the most common health issues in dogs. Canine Health Week is set to become an annual initiative to highlight resources, research and information to make a difference to dog health.

According to clinical veterinary data from VetCompass, the five most common health issues are ear canal disease, dental disease, anal sac impaction, overgrown nails and arthritis. It is hoped the awareness week will help to familiarise dog owners with common conditions, to better meet the healthcare needs of their dogs.