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Scientists highlight importance of a vaccine for Cryptosporidiosis
Cryptosporidiosis is a concern for beef and dairy farmers across the globe.
Study reveals disease can result in significant production losses.

Scientists have highlighted the importance of developing a vaccine for Cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic disease of primarily young calves caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium parvum.

Researchers at the Moredun Research Institute, together with scientists at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, reported that Cryptosporidiosis can result in significant longer-term weight loss and considerable economic burden for farmers.

They found that, on average, a calf with severe disease weighed 34kg less than a calf which showed no clinical signs of Cryptosporidiosis. The direct losses associated with this reduced weight gain related to sales in that year were calculated to be approximately £130 per affected calf, the researchers said.

On top of this, there are further costs incurred from increased feed and husbandry to get cattle to market weights, additional labour to look after sick calves and veterinary treatment.

“Management strategies to help reduce the impact of cryptosporidiosis are important and should be applied to improve the health and welfare of cattle, increase production efficiency and reduce contamination of the farm environment with infectious Cryptosporidium oocysts,” commented Dr Beth Wells of Moredun Research Institute. “Further research is also required working towards a vaccine to prevent this disease.”

Cryptosporidiosis is a concern for beef and dairy farmers across the globe. Symptoms include watery and profuse diarrhoea mainly in calves under three weeks old, causing dehydration, depression and in some cases death.

Currently, there are no vaccines for the disease and only two licenced products in the UK to treat the infection. Scientists say while the treatments can reduce symptoms and shedding of the parasite in faeces, they will not cure the disease.

The study took place during the spring calving of 2017 on a commercial beef suckler farm in Scotland. It was designed to address a knowledge gap on how Cryptosporidium parvum affects the long-term growth of calves, as well as provide data to help evaluate its impact on the efficiency of beef production.

 

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MSD Animal Health announces three new research bursaries

News Story 1
 MSD Animal Health has announced three new research bursaries for veterinary surgeons in the areas of swine, poultry and aquaculture. The bursaries, worth up to £4,000, add to MSD's existing bursaries in ruminant and companion animal research.

Projects are expected to be completed within one to two years, and the proposals will be judged by university academics to ensure that assessment remains independent. Full project design and application guidelines, including the specific disease/subject areas, can be found on MSD Animal Health's website

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News Shorts
VMD and VPS announce joint open information day

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) have announced a joint open information day covering topics such as veterinary medicines regulations, antimicrobial resistance, scientific advice and novel therapies.

Taking place on Wednesday 18 November, the virtual event will take the form of a series of pre-recorded webinars and a 'Slido' Q&A session. Links to the webinars and full instructions on how to use Slido will be available on gov.uk on 18 November. To join the mailing list for the event, email director.support@vmd.gov.uk