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Study examines risk factors to tortoises during brumation
The study found a 7.78 per cent mortality rate during brumation.

Findings highlight importance of monitoring temperature and environment.

Brumation in a garden and uncontrolled temperature reduction before brumation are significant risk factors for morbidity and mortality in tortoises, according to new research.

The term brumation describes the hibernation-like state that cold-blooded animals adopt during winter.

It is a natural part of many reptiles’ annual cycle, but it is also a time most associated with health concerns. Some of the most common include immunosuppression, dehydration, freezing or rodent attack.

Until now, little research has been carried out regarding the hibernation of pet tortoises. The hope is that this new study will provide vital insights that will allow pet owners and veterinary professionals to improve and support safe tortoise brumation.

In the study, researchers collated data on 270 tortoises from 252 completed surveys and used it to evaluate the potential predictors associated with brumation-related death and post-brumation problems.

As well as highlighting the risk of brumation in the garden, the study also found a 7.78 per cent mortality rate during brumation and that 7.22 per cent of surviving tortoises had post-brumation health concerns.

Scientists say their findings, published in Vet Record, highlight the importance of carefully monitoring elements such as temperature and environment for brumation. For example, owners being more vigilant in checking tortoises throughout the cold winter months and keeping heat sources at a height to prevent thermal burns.

Dr Joanna Hedley, a lecturer in exotic species and small mammal medicine and surgery at the RVC, explains: “Unfortunately, little is known about brumation in tortoises in the UK. We hope this research provides much-needed insight into the safekeeping of tortoises during this important period of their annual cycle and will support both vets and pet owners to best look after these delicate creatures.”

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Laura Muir wins gold at Commonwealth Games

News Story 1
 Veterinary surgeon and Olympic silver-medalist Laura Muir scooped the gold medal in the 1500m final Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

Winning Scotland's 12th title of the games, Muir finished in four minutes 2.75 seconds, collecting her second medal in 24 hours.

Dr Muir commented on her win: "I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me. I ran as hard as I could to the line.

"It is so nice to come here and not just get one medal but two and in such a competitive field. Those girls are fast. It means a lot." 

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News Shorts
Views sought on NOAH Compendium

Users of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium app and website are being asked to share their views on how it can be improved.

In a new survey, users are asked about some suggested future developments, such as notifications for new and updated datasheets, sharing links to datasheets, and enhanced search functionality.

It comes after NOAH ceased publication of the NOAH Compendium book as part of its sustainability and environmental commitments. The website and the app will now be the main routes to access datasheets and view any changes.