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Government to test African swine fever contingency plans
ASF spreads between animals, but it can also be passed by feeding infected meat.
"Exercise Holly" will test out plans to contain and eliminate the disease. 

Government contingency plans for African swine fever are set to be tested this week in a UK-wide exercise to assess the UK’s preparedness to manage such an outbreak.

The operation, named ‘Exercise Holly’, will see the APHA, Defra, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland test out plans to contain and eliminate the disease should it reach UK shores. 

ASF is a disease of pigs and wild boar but does not affect humans. Historically, outbreaks have been reported across Africa, South America and the Caribbean. In recent years, however, the disease has devastated pig populations across much of Asia, Africa and parts of Europe.

While there has not been an outbreak of ASF in the UK, the identification of the disease in wild boar in parts of Eastern Germany sparked concern that it is only a matter of time. ASF spreads between animals, but it can also be passed by feeding infected meat to other animals. 

Ministers hope the 24-hour exercise, beginning on Thursday 22 July, will help improve the UK’s animal disease response capabilities through testing plans, instructions and the structures employed in managing an outbreak. 

A joint statement issued by the UK’s four Chief Veterinary Officers reads: “The risk of African swine fever arriving in the UK is ever-present and would have a devastating impact on our pigs and pig keepers if it ever reached our shores. We regularly test our contingency plans in this way to ensure that we are ready to respond to potential future disease outbreaks.

“Everyone can do their bit to help stop animal diseases spreading to this country through simple actions such as not bringing any pork products back to the UK and disposing of leftovers and food waste in secure bins that wildlife cannot access.”

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Vets asked to opt-in to Scottish SPCA fostering programme

News Story 1
 The Scottish SPCA is encouraging veterinary practices to opt into its new fostering programme, by agreeing to register foster animals when approached by one of the foster carers.

The programme goes live in August 2021, and will help to rehabilitate animals under the Scottish SPCA's care until they are able to be properly re-homed. The programme will help the animals to receive care and attention in a stable and happy home environment, as some animals do not cope with a rescue and re-homing centre environment as well as others.

Specific information for veterinary practices on the new programme can be found at www.scottishspca.org/veterinarysurgeons 

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Webinar provides insight into old age pets

A new webinar providing insights into the BSAVA PetSavers Old Age Pets citizen science project is now available free of charge to its members via the BSAVA Library

The webinar presents an exclusive insight into the research process and progression of the study, which aims to help veterinary professionals and owners provide the best care for their senior dogs.

It also discusses the study's research methods, the researchers' personal interests in this area of study, and how they envisage the findings being used to create a guidance tool to improve discussions between vets and owners about their ageing dogs.