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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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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.