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Scientists develop new bTB test
The Actiphage test can detect live bacteria in blood or milk in as little as six hours.
Test can detect infected cattle before infection spreads

A new testing kit for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is set to bring fresh hope to farmers across the United Kingdom.

Developed by PDB Biotech, the Actiphage test can detect live bacteria in blood or milk in as little as six hours and has been proven to identify infected cattle before infection spreads.

“The existing skin test is based on the animal’s immune response, and takes three days to produce a result, but more worryingly is known to miss about 20 per cent of infected animals,” said Dr Cath Rees, co-founder of PBD Biotech.

“Our new test is unique as it is the only test that directly detects live bacteria in blood or milk and is fast, specific and highly sensitive. Additionally the test can distinguish between a vaccinated and an infected animal (DIVA test) paving the way for new types of disease control in the future when vaccines are available.”

The launch of the test follows a trial in the West Country with veterinary surgeon Dick Sibley. Sibley tested for bTB in blood, milk and faeces and found that the phage test was able to detect infection months before the skin test gave a positive result. By using the test, and introducing strict biosecurity and hygiene controls, Sibley managed to reduce levels of bTB from the herd, leading to the first clear skin test results for five years.

PBD Biotech states that the test is not yet licensed for commercial use. However, it is available for research and validation studies, which are vital for approval by Defra and other global authorities.

They add that it could also be used by the dairy industry, allowing for the rapid detection of contaminated milk. It may also give cows a clean bill of health before travel, preventing disease spread and giving the industry new ways to control movement of potentially infectious animals.

The test will be available from the end of November 2017 via

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Amur leopard cubs caught on camera

News Story 1
 A pair of Amur leopards have been captured on camera for the first time since their birth. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced the birth in July, but with human presence being kept to a minimum, it was not known how many cubs had been born.

Motion sensitive cameras have now revealed that two cubs emerged from the den - at least one of which may be released into the wild in Russia within the next two or three years. The Amur leopard habitat is not open to the public, to help ensure the cubs retain their wild instincts and behaviour. Image © RZSS 

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News Shorts
New canine and feline dentistry manual announced

A new canine and feline dentistry and oral surgery manual has been published by the BSAVA. Announcing the news on its website, the BSAVA said this latest edition contains new step-by-step operative techniques, together with full-colour illustrations and photographs.

‘This is a timely publication; veterinary dentistry is a field that continues to grow in importance for the general veterinary practitioner,’ the BSAVA said. ‘The manual has been fully revised and updated to include the most relevant, evidence-based techniques.’

The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry and Oral Surgery, 4th edition is available to purchase from