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UK declared free from avian influenza
International standards have been met to declare the country free from avian flu.
Chief vet urges ongoing vigilance as the winter months approach.

The UK has been declared free from avian influenza following a significant outbreak of the disease last winter.

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said international standards have been met to declare the country free from avian flu but urged poultry keepers to remain vigilant for signs of the disease as the winter approaches.

“The last year has been very challenging for all those who keep poultry and captive birds, and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in helping us contain the disease,” she said. “This is an important milestone that will help our efforts to re-open export markets.”

The highly pathogenic strain of avian flu continues to spread throughout Europe in both wild and captive birds. Experts fear that as winter sets in, the possibility of migratory birds flying to the UK will increase the risks for domestic poultry.

A total of 26 cases of avian influenza were confirmed in kept birds and wild poultry in the UK between November 2020 and March 2021. For all cases, the APHA introduced movement restrictions to mitigate the disease spread and carried out investigations into the source and potential spread of the infection.

Several measures were also introduced to protect poultry from wild birds, including a ban on bird gatherings and a requirement for bird keepers to keep their flocks indoors.

“While we are now free of bird flu in this country there is a constant risk of the disease returning through wild birds and this is likely to increase as winter approaches, temperatures fall, and more migratory birds start arriving in the UK,” Ms Middlemiss added.

“Poultry and captive bird keepers should maintain good biosecurity practises, such as cleaning footwear, feeding birds indoors, and minimising contact with wild birds. Building these simple actions into routines now will go a long way to limiting the risk of future outbreaks.”

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Prestigious veterinary awards open for nominations

News Story 1
 Nominations for the prestigious PetPlan Veterinary Awards 2022 are now open, with five accolades up for grabs including: Practice of the Year; Vet of the Year, Vet Nurse of the Year, Practice Manager of the Year and Practice Support Staff.

Anyone can nominate an outstanding veterinary professional or practice for an award, from colleagues to pet owners, friends and family. Nominations remain anonymous, and Petplan will send everyone who receives a nomination a certificate to display in their practice.

Nominations can be made at and remain open until Monday 10 January. 

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News Shorts
New online CPD otitis podcast created

A new 15 minute podcast on treating animals with otitis has been created by Dechra Veterinary Products. Featuring general practice vet Carolyn Kyte and veterinary dermatology specialist Natalie Barnard, the two vets will discuss their experiences treating otitis, and why owners are significant in successful treatment.

Dechra Brand Manager Carol Morgan commented: "What Carolyn and Natalie bring to the table with their new podcast for the Dechra Academy is a light and insightful discussion about communication and education being the keystone for better otitis outcomes and how vets can improve on their consultation skills to handle cases better."`

The podcast, called 'Think Differently about Otitis', is available to access for free on the Dechra Academy on-demand learning platform here.