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Several dogs die in Norway after mystery illness
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has advised dog owners to restrict close contact with other dogs.
Dogs displayed symptoms of severe hemorrhagic gastroenteritis

Several dogs in Norway have died in recent days after suffering a serious illness, of which the cause is not yet known.

According to the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI), more than 20 dogs with similar symptoms have died so far in various parts of the country. It is not yet confirmed, however, if the cases are caused by the same disease. The same symptoms have also been reported in more than 60 dogs.

The first cases of dogs suddenly suffering from vomiting and bloody diarrhoea were reported in Oslo. Further cases have since been reported in several counties, including Nordland, Hordaland and Romsdal.

The NVI says that it is working closely with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences to gather information on the origin and potential cause of the illness.

Speaking to The Guardian, Joran Jarp from the NVI said it was “naturally alarming to have healthy Norwegian dogs dying so quickly. This is a very special situation; I haven’t been in involved in anything like it before.

“We have seen that many different types of feed have been used in the dogs that are autopsied, and have no reason to believe that it is the cause of one specific feed. We are investigating possible viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic causes.”

The NRI has received 10 dogs for autopsy, which have all displayed the same pathological symptoms of severe hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. From eight of these dogs, scientists have cultured the same bacteria - Clostridium perfringens - in the gut, together with another bacteria, Providencia alcalifaciens.

The team has not yet concluded if this is the cause of the disease and they await analysis for the presence of viruses and some toxins. So far, they have ruled out rat poison, Salmonella or Campylobacter.

It has also not yet been confirmed if the disease transmits between dogs. However, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has advised dog owners to restrict close contact with other dogs and not let the dog greet other dogs when out walking.

Owners are also being advised to seek veterinary help should they notice bloody diarrhoea, vomiting and rapid deterioration in the general condition of their dog.

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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.