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Study suggests Alabama Rot may be seasonal
The study found that 95 per cent of Alabama Rot cases occurred between November and May.
Findings will help researchers explore possible triggers for the disease

New research into Alabama Rot has revealed a distinct seasonal pattern for when cases are most likely to occur.

The study, led by the RVC and Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, revealed that 95 per cent of cases were confirmed between November and May.

It also found that most cases occurred in the west and south of England. Far fewer cases have been reported from the east of the country, in particular, East Anglia.

The research was funded by the New Forest Dog Owners Group and the charity Alabama Rot Research Fund.

“A distinct seasonal pattern is suggested, with the vast majority of cases occurring between November and March, and limited cases over the summer months – just 6.5 per cent of cases have been confirmed from June to October,” said co-author David Walked from Anderson Moores.

“In the scientific world a lot of research is not earth-shattering, but it all builds together and little by little we make progress. This information is good in terms of how we manage the next stage of research, however, we need to be careful and not jump to any conclusions at this point.”

Alabama Rot has been reported in a wide range of breeds, but due to the small number of cases, it is not possible to say with certainty which breeds have an inherent risk of contracting the disease.

Researchers say any patterns may simply be the result of varying breed populations in different parts of the UK. Vets4Pets director of clinical services Dr Huw Stacey, who has been actively supporting research on the condition, said:

“Since we held the first Alabama Rot conference in May 2017, vets and relevant professionals have been working hard to understand more about the condition. We know how the disease presents and how it affects dogs internally, and this research adds some interesting information that may help to increase vets’ index of suspicion for the disease.
 
“The information on climate and ground type will help us further explore possible triggers for the disease, but at the moment we can’t say if any breeds are more likely to develop the disease.”

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”