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Study sheds light on foetal development in humans and pigs
It is thought the differences observed after birth could arise early in development
Non-invasive method monitors blood flow during pregnancy 

Light sedation of pigs in early pregnancy could be linked with decreased foetal weight, according to a new study, which has important implications for human and veterinary medicine.

Scientists from the Roslin Institute have developed the first non-invasive method to monitor blood flow at multiple stages of pregnancy, offering fresh insights into pre-natal piglet growth.

There is often a great deal of variation in the birth weight of piglets, with many litters having a ‘runt’. It is thought the differences observed after birth could arise early in development, raising questions about the role of blood supply to foetuses during pregnancy.

The research team found that changes in foetal heart rate and umbilical blood flow were linked with the stage of pregnancy, in a similar way to humans.

Lead author Dr Claire Stenhouse said: “It is hoped, with further optimisation, it may be feasible to measure blood flow in the umbilical cord of growth-restricted piglets throughout pregnancy.

“This is also of great interest in humans, particularly in the context of use of sedatives during pregnancy and improving the understanding of intrauterine growth restriction.”

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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”