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Chemicals in the home impact fertility in men and dogs - study
Chemicals had the same detrimental effect on sperm from men and dogs.

Scientists explore chemical causes for declining fertility  

Chemicals found in the home and diet could explain declining male fertility in dogs and humans, new research shows.

Human male fertility has declined significantly in recent decades, with studies showing a 50 per cent global drop in sperm quality over the past 80 years.

Sharp declines have also been seen in dog fertility, suggesting that modern day chemicals in the home could be at least partly to blame.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham tested the effects of two man-made chemicals, the common plasticiser DEHP, which is widely abundant in the home, and the industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyl 153, which remains widely detectable in the environment and food, despite being banned globally.

Identical experiments were carried out in both species, using sperm samples from donor men and stud dogs living in the same region of the UK. Results published in Scientific Reports show that the chemicals had the same detrimental effect on sperm from men and dogs.

Lead author Rebecca Sumner, who carried out the experimental work as part of her PhD, said: “In both cases and in both subjects, the effect was reduced sperm motility and increased fragmentation of DNA.

“We know that when human sperm motility is poor, DNA fragmentation is increased and that human male infertility is linked to increased levels of DNA damage in sperm. We now believe this is the same in pet dogs because they live in the same domestic environment and are exposed to the same household contaminants.”

Professor Gary England, dean of Nottingham vet school, said an important area for future research will be to look at regional impacts on sperm quality in men and dogs.

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.