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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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Pair of endangered Amur leopard cubs born at Colchester Zoo

News Story 1
 Keepers at Colchester Zoo are hailing the arrival of a pair of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs.

The cubs were born to first-time parents Esra and Crispin on the 9 September. This is the first time the Zoo has bred Amur leopard cubs on-site.

Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China. In the wild they are threatened by climate change, habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.

The cubs are said to be “looking well” and are expected to emerge from their den in a few weeks.  

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RCVS names Professor John Innes as chair of Fellowship Board

Professor John Innes has been elected chair of the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Board, replacing Professor Nick Bacon who comes to the end of his three-year term.

Professor Innes will be responsible for making sure the Fellowship progresses towards fulfilling its strategic goals, determining its ongoing strategy and objectives, and reporting to the RCVS Advancement of the Professions Committee on developments within the Fellowship.