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Squirrel pox confirmed in Welsh red squirrels
Squirrel pox is an often fatal disease that is thought to be a significant factor in the decline of red squirrels.

Public urged to report any dead or dying squirrels  

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has reported the first laboratory-confirmed cases of disease caused by squirrel pox virus (SQPV) in Welsh red squirrels.

In a letter to Vet Record (Vol 181 No 19), the APHA said that two squirrels were found dead in Gwynedd, an area of north-east Wales. The discovery means that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland now have recorded cases of the disease.

Since the discovery, the APHA notes that it has set up cameras to monitor wildlife in woodland close to where the squirrels were found. It added that the outbreak shows the need to have intense red squirrel conservation efforts in place.

This includes grey squirrel management strategies where appropriate, the APHA said, ‘especially in areas where red squirrels are known to be present’.

According to the APHA, three further red squirrel carcasses have been found on Anglesea, two of which had suspicious facial lesions. These were sent to the APHA for analysis but no SQPV particles were found.

Despite this, the Red Squirrel Trust Wales is calling on members of the public to report any dead or dying squirrels and to clean squirrel feeders regularly using an anti-viral wash or spray.

‘It may be wise to cease feeding red squirrels altogether, as at this time of year there are plenty of wild foods available,’ the organisation writes on its website.

‘Alternatively, you can simply scatter small amounts of food on the ground so that animals are no longer congregating at a wooden feeder, but still visit your garden.’

Squirrel pox is an often fatal disease that is thought to be a significant factor in the decline of red squirrels. It is not yet understood how the disease spreads, but visible symptoms include lesions or scabs around the eyes, mouth, feet and genitals. Squirrels also become more lethargic as the disease progresses.

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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