Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Avian flu confirmed in seals in Scotland
"We're hoping to send more cases for screening to better understand what this means in terms of disease ecology and epidemiology" - SMASS.
The seals were found in Aberdeenshire, Fife and the Orkney Islands.

The presence of avian influenza has been confirmed in four dead seals in Scotland, bringing the total number of non-avian wildlife cases of the disease in the UK to 13.

According to the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS), samples sent for influenza virus screening last year returned positive for the H5N1 strain of the disease. 

SMASS said in a statement: “Three out of the four harbour seals and one of the two grey seals from 2021 and early 2022 tested positive for HPAIV H5N1.” The seals were discovered in Aberdeenshire, Fife and the Orkney Islands. 

The statement continued: “In one case, an adult harbour seal, gross and histopathology revealed a viral meningoencephalitis, meaning influenza was the likely cause of death. 

“We're hoping to send more cases for screening to better understand what this means in terms of disease ecology and epidemiology. We also want to check our more recent cetacean cases for evidence of spillover.”

The UK is experiencing its largest-ever outbreak of avian flu, with cases in captive birds, poultry and wild birds reported across the country. In recent weeks, however, the virus has also been identified in otters and red foxes.

Prof Ian Brown, director of scientific services at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), told BBC News that the mammals most likely contracted the disease by scavenging on infected bird carcasses.

He added that surveillance of such cases would be ramped up “while keeping a close eye on its spread in global populations of wild birds.”

Outside of the UK, the H5N1 strain of the disease was found at a mink farm in Spain. It is thought that the mink became infected with the virus after coming into contact with wild gulls. The disease has also been identified in grizzly bears in America. 

The APHA said there was "a very low likelihood of any widespread infection in GB mammals". However, the discoveries have raised concerns that the disease could spread to humans.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Duchess of York stars in charity calendar

The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals (NFRSA) has released its charity calendar for 2024, featuring Sarah, Duchess of York and a selection of the retired service animals the charity supports.

The 12 images were taken by animal photographer Gerry Slade and include retired police dogs and horses, a former border force detector dog, and a retired fire investigation and urban search and rescue dog.

Sarah, Duchess of York, who is a patron of the charity, appears alongside retired police dog Jessie in the photograph for December.

So far this year, the charity has given more than 40,000 in grants to help former service animals with their veterinary care. After retirement, they receive no financial support from the Government and obtaining affordable insurance can be difficult.