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Climate change evokes individual responses in sheep and goats
There are significant variations in how individuals respond to fluctuating weather conditions
Various coping mechanisms to fluctuating weather conditions revealed

A study, led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), has looked at ways of breeding sheep and goats to cope with climate change. Researchers studied animal performance records together with weather data – including the average daily temperature and humidity – and found significant variations in how individual animals respond to fluctuating weather conditions.

Researchers found the same weather change invoked a variety of responses in different animals, while the production of some was not affected at all – making them more resilient to climate change. With a significant proportion of the observed variation being genetic and heritable, researchers concluded that animal resilience to weather change could be improved through selective breeding.

The study is part of the Horizon2020 project iSAGE – a multi-million pound EU-funded research project aimed at future-proofing the sheep and goat farming industry.

SRUC professor, Georgios Banos, said the results of the study, published in BMC Genetics, could be used to further improve the accuracy of selective breeding, leading to the enhanced sustainability and profitability of farms.

“Climate is changing, bringing about increased weather volatility and farm animals have different capacities to cope with this change,” he said. “We investigated the genetic mechanisms that make an animal resilient to weather conditions, allowing it to maintain performance when challenged with weather volatility.

“This will enable us to continue selectively breeding for enhanced performance – such as high production and health – and at the same time breed for performance stability when external environmental conditions change.”

The iSAGE project, which runs until 2020, is a consortium involving 34 partners from the UK, France, Finland, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, coordinated by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. SRUC’s focus is on creating practical breeding goals and tools for the sheep and goat sector in both the UK and across Europe.

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Vet Professionals offering webinars on feline health for vets

News Story 1
 Vet Professionals - a company that provides advice and information to pet owners and veterinary staff - are offering free 'ten-minute tips' education sessions on a range of topics related to feline health.

The webinars are held on Wednesdays at 1.30pm via Zoom. Sessions typically last around 30 minutes and include a live Q&A session.

Upcoming sessions include:

- 'How to place naso-oesophageal feeding tubes in cats' - 14 October
- 'How to place oesophagostomy feeding tubes in cats' - 28 October
- 'How to calculate tube feeding nutritional requirements' - 18 November.

Full details on future sessions, as well as links to previous webinars and video tutorials, are available on the Vet Professionals website. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.