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Vets urged to have early conversations with farmers about leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a costly disease, thought to cost farmers and average of £270 a cow.

Disease can be prevented through vaccination and biosecurity management

Vets and SQPs are being advised to hold conversations early with cattle farmers about the management of leptospirosis and the advantages of vaccination.


Leptospirosis is a costly disease, thought to cost farmers an average of £270 a cow. However, experts at MSD Animal Heath stress that the disease can be prevented through vaccination and biosecurity management. 


“We need to help farmers understand the impact of leptospirosis infection on their herd, with many not aware of their herd’s current infection status unless there has been a serious outbreak,” commented Steph Small, MSD Animal Health dairy veterinary advisor.


“Vets can open the conversation about clinical signs, including a drop in milk yield, fever, loss of appetite and abortion. However, more often there may be a long-term economic impact of infection caused by more insidious signs, including reduced fertility and overall cow performance.”


MSD Animal Health notes that the key prevention measure is vaccination, starting with heifers and continuing with annual boosters throughout the cow’s lifetime.

“Vaccination is the most reliable method of control, preferably with a vaccine licensed to protect against both strains of leptospirosis present in the UK, L. borgpetersenii hardjo and L. interrogans hardjo, such as LEPTAVOID®-H,” Steph continues. 


“Not only does LEPTAVOID-H protect against both strains, but it has also been proven to increase conception rates where leptospirosis is diagnosed as a cause of infertility. In split herd trials, cows vaccinated with LEPTAVOID-H had a 20 per cent higher conception rate than unvaccinated cows.”


Steph reiterates that, with the high-risk period of infection at spring turnout, the timing of advising farmers.

“Having these discussions over the winter about current herd infection status and leptospirosis prevention strategies will allow protocols to be implemented in time,” concludes Steph.

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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.