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APHA to expand PCR testing for bTB
PCR tests can return results in three weeks.
The initial rollout has been deemed a success.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is to expand the use of PCR tests to confirm bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infection.

From 14 February 2024, the tests will be used in England, Wales and Scotland on post-mortem tissue samples from cattle that have tested positive for bTB, direct contacts, and privately or compulsory slaughtered or dead animals with an inconclusive skin test result.

The expansion follows an initial rollout which has seen PCR tests used since March 2022 in a limited number of situations, including slaughterhouse cases in cattle and non-bovines, and for domestic pets and exotics submitted to APHA for laboratory investigation.

PCR tests allow APHA laboratories to send results back to livestock keepers in three weeks. In comparison, microbiological culture tests can take up to 22 weeks. APHA hopes that this will allow herd movement restrictions to be lifted sooner than they previously would have been in certain situations.

Ele Brown, UK deputy chief veterinary officer, said: “Timely and reliable testing is essential in halting the spread of this insidious disease in animals, and the initial rollout of the PCR test has shown a tenfold improvement in testing turnaround time.”

David Holdsworth, APHA chief executive, added: “We know waiting for TB results can be a stressful time for farmers so reducing the time for results to be delivered has been a key focus for APHA.

“I am pleased that we have progressed to rolling out the PCR test to cover even more bovine TB samples and cut the time it takes to report these crucial results to livestock keepers to just three weeks.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.