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New advice follows growing concern over leishmaniosis
Experts warned that blood transfusions present a potential transmission risk, as dogs can maintain subclinical L infantum infection for years.
Recommendations made after cases in untravelled dogs

Experts are calling for steps to be taken to prevent leishmaniosis taking hold in the UK, after growing concerns about recent cases in untravelled dogs.

A report published in Vet Record last week described what is thought to be the first confirmed case of dog-to-dog transmission. A dog with no history of foreign travel was diagnosed with the disease, six months after an imported dog living in the same household was euthanised due to severe leishmaniosis.

Previously, ESCCAP’s Ian Wright and Samantha Baker of Vets4Pets reported another recent case in an untravelled dog. In this case, the dog’s owners had previously lived in Spain and it is thought that they inadvertently brought infected sand flies back in their luggage, following a visit to Jalón Vally.

Now, scientist Malcolm Duthie and vet Christine Petersen are calling for ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent Leishmania infantum becoming established in the UK.

They made a series of recommendations in a comment piece in Vet Record (Vol 184 No 14), including screening dogs imported from Leishmania-endemic regions. Similar screening should be implemented in the contact population of any dogs presenting with the disease, they added, as well as regular follow ups to ensure conversion does not occur.

The authors also warned that blood transfusions present a potential transmission risk, as dogs can maintain subclinical L infantum infection for years before progression to canine visceral leishmaniasis. They recommend expanding the donor criteria to exclude dogs that have had significant contact with those that have spent time in Leishmania-endemic regions.

Other suggested measures include vaccination and use of topical insecticides for dogs travelling to endemic areas.

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Dogs Trust announces winners of vet student awards

News Story 1
 Cambridge vet student James Jewkes has been awarded first place in the annual Dogs Trust EMS Awards, for his paper on the threat of exotic infectious diseases in rehoming centres. James will now go on a two-week placement at the WVS International Training Centre in South India.

Each year the awards allow vet students to gain hands-on experience during work placements at 13 of the charity’s rehoming centres, then submit reports on a relevant subject.  

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News Shorts
Former RCVS president to chair new Horse Welfare Board

Former RCVS president Barry Johnson has been appointed as the independent chair of a new Horse Welfare Board. Barry, who is also past chairman of World Horse Welfare, was selected by an industry panel including the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and The Horsemen’s Group.

The welfare board aims to develop a new welfare strategy covering the whole racing industry. Mr Johnson said: “I’m very pleased to have been asked by racing to take on this role and by the sport’s commitment to continuous improvement in the welfare of racehorses."