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New cat virus could reveal insights about hepatitis B
Until now, it was not known that companion animals could contract HBV.

Discovery first step in developing vaccine to prevent infection

Scientists in Australia have discovered hepadnavirus (HBV) in an immunocompromised feline.

Until now, it was not known that companion animals could contract HBV - a virus that is in the same family as hepatitis B. Researchers said that the importance of the finding could not be overstated.

“Finding a new virus responsible for disease is the first step in developing a vaccine to prevent infection,” said Dr Kelly Diehl of the Morris Animal Foundation, which funded the research. “It’s especially exciting if the vaccine could prevent a future cancer from developing in immunocompromised or other vulnerable cats.”

The virus was first discovered by a team at the University of Sydney in an immunodeficient cat that had died of lymphoma. After identifying the virus, the researchers tested stored blood samples from adult cats.

To their surprise, they found evidence of hepadnavirus infection in the samples.

“This is a very exciting discovery,” said corresponding author Julia Beatty, Professor of Feline Medicine at Sydney. “Apart from its relevance for feline health, this discovery helps us understand how hepatitis viruses – which can be deadly – are evolving in all species."

The study, published in the journal Viruses, notes that the discovery presents no risk to humans or other pets.

 

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AWF Student Grant Scheme opens for applications

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk 

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Survey seeks views on keeping cows with calves

Researchers at Scotland's Rural College are seeking views from dairy farmers on keeping cows with calves.

Their study entitled 'Keeping Cow with Calf: bringing innovation to dairying in Scotland' aims to find out the motivations and reservations about operating a cow-with-calf dairy system.

The survey will help researchers build an evidence base and gauge what support farmers need to move to this practice. For more information, or to complete the survey, visit keepingcowwithcalf.com