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Northern Ireland urges vigilance following Schmallenberg reports
Signs of SBV in cattle include fever, inappetence and a reduced milk yield.
Fourteen cases have been presented for testing

Farmers in Northern Ireland are being urged to be vigilant for signs of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) after 14 cases were presented to the Agro-Food and Biosciences Institute for testing.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly, Ulster Farmers’ Union president Barclay Bell said: “It is concerning that there are a growing number of reports of this virus being found in Northern Ireland. It is an awful situation for any farmer. No one wants to see Schmallenberg on their farm.”

Although SBV is not a notifiable disease in Northern Ireland, the government is advising farmers to approach their vet if they spot any signs of the disease in their sheep or cattle. These include fever, inappetence, a reduced milk yield and diarrhoea.

SBV first emerged in November 2011 and has since spread throughout Europe. It is transmitted by biting midges and causes severe deformities in calves, lambs and kids.

Sheep are most at risk of catching SBV in their second month of pregnancy, whilst cattle are more likely to contract the disease during their third to fifth month of pregnancy. So far this year, there have not been any confirmed cases of the disease in England.

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Survey seeks to learn about racehorse aftercare

News Story 1
 The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is launching a survey to improve understanding of aftercare for thoroughbreds. The survey has been emailed to trainers, who are asked to share their own experiences, with a focus on life after horses finish their racing careers. It forms part of an equine health and welfare strategy being developed by the BHA. 

News Shorts
Charity welcomes new ambassadors

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has appointed the actor Anthony Head and renowned canine behaviourist, Sarah Fisher, as official ambassadors. They join existing ambassadors Paul O’Grady, Amanda Holden, David Gandy and Jacqueline Wilson.

Anthony is best known for his roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Iron Lady and Girlfriends. He has previously lent his voice to Battersea’s videos and appeals, as well as performing readings at the charity’s Christmas Carol Concert and Collars & Coats Gala Ball.

Meanwhile Sarah has worked across all three of the charity’s centres, offering advice in dealing with a variety of complex and challenging dogs. She has also fostered several Battersea animals and trained many members of staff in using the Tellington Touch method of training, to keep dogs calm and relaxed.