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New understanding of bacterial infections found in noses of healthy cattle
"These techniques and results offer a way forward in understanding why and how apparently healthy cattle harbouring these bacteria may go on to develop respiratory illness" - Amy Thomas.
Findings could help to prevent and control respiratory infections

Scientists at the University of Bristol have gained a fresh understanding of bacterial infections found in the noses of healthy cattle.

Published in Scientific Reports, the paper describes how researchers used a ‘one health’ approach to study three bacterial species - Pasteurella, Histophilus and Mannheimia - which can cause serious illness, especially when the infection takes hold in the lower respiratory tract.

Researchers found the carriage patterns of the three bacteria varied remarkably. The findings are significant because, when combined with animal and human health research, they could help to prevent and control respiratory infections.

In the study, researchers used molecular detection tools to collect nasal swabs from young cattle. The swabs were taken at intervals during the first year of life to detect the presence of bacteria and measure its abundance.

Researchers detected Pasteurella in most of the animals. Large numbers of the bacteria were usually present, and the bacteria remained in the nose for several weeks or months.

They also found that Histophilus was present in up to half the animals, usually in smaller numbers and the periods it was present were shorter. The team rarely found Mannheimia, although the numbers detected, when present, varied widely.

"These techniques and results offer a way forward in understanding why and how apparently healthy cattle harbouring these bacteria may go on to develop respiratory illness and should help in finding new ways to prevent it,” explained lead author Amy Thomas, who conducted the study as part of her PhD studies in clinical veterinary science.

The team says that, in addition to helping to control respiratory infections, the findings could also be used in the fight against global warming.

“These studies are particularly important because cattle are known to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and improving how their diseases are controlled will help mitigate climate change,” commented Professor Mark Eisler, co-author and chair in global farm animal health at Bristol Veterinary School.

“Reducing the use of antimicrobials that treat respiratory diseases in cattle should help reduce the increasing global threat of antimicrobial resistance in animals and humans."

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.