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Housing zebrafish in groups reduces anxiety, study finds
Zebrafish housed in groups returned to normal faster than individuals or pairs.
Researchers compare recovery from procedures like anaesthesia

Zebrafish housed in groups show lower levels of stress and anxiety when they undergo stressful procedures than those who are housed alone, new research has found.

Fish are increasingly being used in scientific research and there is growing evidence to show they experience stress and respond to pain in a similar way to mammals.

In the study, researchers compared recovery from procedures like anaesthesia and fin clipping in male zebrafish house individually, in pairs and in groups of six. The team analysed stress responses, such as time spent at the bottom of the tank, erratic movement and cortisol levels.

They found that anaesthesia alone and anaesthesia with fin clipping both had a significant impact on zebrafish housed alone. Both of these groups showed increased stress and behavioural alterations.

The team notes that responses of zebrafish housed in groups was less pronounced, with group-housed fish resuming normal behaviour faster than individuals or pairs. These fish also showed the lowest cortisol increase.

During the study, the researchers also confirmed that water-borne cortisol from tanks is an accurate measure of stress in zebrafish. This method avoids the need for terminal sampling, helping to reduce the number of fish required for studies on psychological stress, they add.

The research, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, was led by the University of Liverpool.

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Charity reveals it treated thousands of pets with dental issues last year

News Story 1
 Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has revealed that its veterinary team performs dental procedures on more than 170 animals every month. Last year the charity says it extracted hundreds of teeth from more than 800 animals and carried out thousands of routine scales and polishes.

To combat the problem, Battersea is urging pet owners to get regular dental checks at their vets, implement a daily oral care routine, feed a good dental chew and only give toys that are designed for dogs, including gentle rubber toys that are less wearing on the teeth. 

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Voting opens for RCVS council elections

Eligible veterinary surgeons can now vote in this year’s RCVS Council elections. Four out of the 10 candidates are already on council and are standing for re-election: David Catlow, Mandisa Greene, Neil Smith, Susan Paterson. The remaining six candidates are not currently on council: John C Davies, Karlien Heyman, John Innes, Thomas Lonsdale, Matthew Plumtree and Iain Richards.

Further information on the candidates can be found on the RCVS website: