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VPIS offers seasonal fungi advice
The majority of species are non-toxic but some can be highly dangerous, even leading to fatalities.
Trusts offers help identifying species

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is offering advice to vets on fungi poisoning, as recent wet and humid weather has prompted an increase in wild fungi growing in gardens, forests and fields where pets may be walking.

There are more than 4,000 fungi species in the UK. The fruit body is the part most likely to be ingested, but identification of particular fungi can be difficult as the fruit bodies are variable in shape, size and colour. The majority of species are non-toxic but some can be highly dangerous, even leading to fatalities.

Severe toxicity is uncommon in the UK but VPIS says that, as a general rule, the sooner the onset of clinical effects, the less toxic the fungi. Vomiting and diarrhoea (usually within six hours) is the most common early-onset clinical effect. Rarer, more toxic species can cause hepatic and/or renal effects, which could be fatal. Other species can also cause neurological effects.

VPIS works with the Fungus Conservation Trust to provide a fungi identification service. The trust may be able to identify the specific fungal species to which the animal was exposed, allowing the VPIS to offer specific treatment advice.

Vets requiring this service should contact the VPIS with as many details as possible on the animal and the incident. A questionnaire will be sent via email for the vet, who may attach photographs of the fungi if possible. A sample can also be sent to the trust, but these should be handled carefully, wearing gloves, and stored in a paper, not plastic, bag.

Identification will be attempted once the VPIS has received the completed questionnaire and images. In the meantime, the VPIS advises that gastric decontamination can be carried out, if appropriate, assuming the animal is not hyperactive and the fungi was ingested within two hours of presentation.

Asymptomatic animals should be monitored for at least six hours and given appropriate symptomatic and supportive care, ensuring they are well hydrated. Renal and hepatic function should also be monitored if signs other than gastrointestinal irritation occur.

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Scheme to protect wildlife and reduce flooding

News Story 1
 Natural England has announced a new scheme to improve flood protection, boost wildlife and create 160 hectares of new saltmarsh. The £6 million scheme in Lancashire will effectively unite the RSPB’s Hesketh Out Marsh Reserve and Natural England’s Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. The completed reserve will be the largest site of its kind in the north of England. 

News Shorts
Welfare event to discuss ethical dilemmas faced by vets

Students and ethics experts will host an event on the difficult moral challenges facing vets. Ethical issues, such as euthanasia and breeding animals for certain physical traits, will be discussed by prominent speakers including TV vet Emma Milne and RSPCA chief vet James Yeates. Other topics will include how to tackle suspected animal abuse and the extent of surgical intervention.

The conference will look at how these dilemmas affect the wellbeing of vets, and explore how to better prepare veterinary students for work. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from 30 September - 1 October 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.