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‘Unexpected’ number of AMR genes found on pig farm
This study was carried out during a single produciton cycle on a commercial pig farm.

New study highlights extent of AMR gene ‘pollution’ in livestock production

Researchers from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have discovered a high number of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes in pig faeces at a commercial farm.

Antimicrobial agents are used regularly to control disease in livestock, but little is known about how this impacts antimicrobial resistance gene dynamics. This has raised concerns about the possibility of AMR genes being transferred from livestock to humans and into the environment.

Conducted alongside the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, this was the first longitudinal study of its kind. Carried out during a single production cycle on a commercial pig farm with high antimicrobial usage.

In total, 144 different genes were identified. Individual genes were present in the tens, hundreds and thousands of millions per gram of pig faeces. SRUC states that this unexpected discovery highlights the extent of AMR gene pollution in livestock production and the environment.

The results also suggested that the genes had become integrated into the faecal microbial community, as AMR gene counts remained relatively stable over time.

However, despite these high and somewhat stable levels of AMR genes, the antimicrobials used were still effective in controlling production-limiting diseases on the farm.

Professor Michael Hutchings, head of animal and veterinary sciences at SRUC, commented: “At the start of the study we hoped to find two or three genes to follow their numbers through the pig production cycle. The richness of AMR genes and their numbers were unexpected.”

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

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News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.