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New strain of feline coronavirus reaches UK
The BVA is calling for import testing measures to be introduced.
BVA has called the development “highly concerning”.

The first case in the UK of a new strain of feline coronavirus (FCoV-23) that has led to the deaths of at least 8,000 cats from feline infectious peritonitis in Cyprus has been confirmed.

The cat, which had been imported from Cyprus, is under quarantine and receiving treatment. There is no evidence that the virus has spread to any other cats in the UK.

FCoV-23 started spreading in January this year through the large stray cat population in Cyprus, which is estimated to be as large as 1.5 million. Reports in the summer suggested that as many as 300,000 cats had died on the island, although the actual figure is now believed to be around 8,000.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh are working on sequencing the new strain. It is thought that it is spreading between cats through faecal-oral transmission, although this is yet to be confirmed.

BVA president Anna Judson said: “The arrival of FCoV-23 in the UK is highly concerning, but so far this looks to be an isolated case in an imported cat, and action has been taken to minimise any spread of the virus.

“There is no known risk to people but pet owners should remain vigilant, because the virus can cause feline infectious peritonitis, which if left untreated can be fatal to cats. If owners have any concerns about their pet, they should speak to their vet immediately.

“The discovery of FCoV-23, combined with the increasing cases of Brucella canis from dogs arriving on our shores, shows the UK is seriously vulnerable to imported diseases. The Government needs to grasp the nettle on this crucial issue by introducing the long overdue import testing measures BVA has been calling for.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."