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New strain of canine distemper found in the US
The distinct virus strain was detected over a one-year period in eight animals.

Strain is “significantly distinct” from vaccines, scientists say 

A new strain of canine distemper virus has been found in wild animals in New Hampshire and Vermont, scientists have revealed.

The distinct virus strain was detected over a one-year period in eight animals, including three fishers, two gray foxes, one skunk, one raccoon and one mink.

All eight were infected with a strain that has only been seen in a single raccoon in Rhode Island in 2004. It had not previously been described in any publication.

Senior veterinary pathologist David Needle, of the University of New Hampshire, said this strain is “significantly distinct” from vaccine strains. The findings have been reported in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation.

Professor Needle added: “This can and may already be having an impact on the population of wild mesocarnivores in New Hampshire and New England.

“These animals are an integral part of the varied ecosystems of wild New Hampshire and New England, filling important niches in predator-prey relationships and pest control. Any decrease in wildlife populations is a loss to the rich wild diversity.”

Image © California Department of Water Resources/Wikimedia Commons

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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.