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Blowfly risk “High” across much of the UK
"Strike risk will rise throughout July, spreading across the whole country" - Professor Richard Wall, copiler of the Blowfly Risk Alerts.

Farmers urged to be vigilant against this devastating disease

Risk levels for blowfly are “High” across much of the UK, according to the latest update from the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) and Elanco.

The real-time update shows risk levels are high throughout East Anglia, the Midlands, South England, North West England, North Wales, South West England and South Wales.

Some locations are also showing as “Medium", including North West Scotland, East Scotland, North East England, South West Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"As we know, hot and humid weather creates ideal conditions for strike,” said Richard Wall, professor of zoology and compiler of the Blowfly Risk Alerts. “Fortunately, the fly population is still relatively small because of the cool conditions in May. That will now start to change quickly.”

“Strike risk will rise throughout July, spreading across the whole country. In particular, lambs and ewes that remain unsheared will be in jeopardy. We're entering the highest period of risk for blowfly. Being vigilant and prepared is essential.”

Blowfly experts are now urging farmers to treat their flocks early in the year to prevent a build-up of flies and to reduce the devastating impact of blowfly strike.

Independent sheep veterinary consultant Dr Fiona Lovatt said: “Many farmers will wait and treat later due to perceived savings in treatment cost, but this is a false economy as the duration of efficacy for some products is so long anyway,” she said. "Treating earlier in the year means a smaller lamb and so potentially a smaller dose, which is a genuine saving."

In April 2018, an Elanco blowfly study conducted in partnership with the National Farm Research Unit found that 99 per cent of farmers have suffered financial losses as a result of blowfly stroke. More than 80 per cent agreed that blowfly season is increasing, with strike cases being reported as early as February and as late as November.

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.