Birmingham a week after Venice

Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice apparently, but it wasn't as warm!

 We attended BSAVA again, this is about our 25th time, must actually work it out before they give us a clock!

BSAVA is always enjoyable - if tiring! This is a really good meeting and we had a great position at the end of one of the avenues of stands. great visibility and we spoke to lots of clients and hopefully got some new ones. More veterinary practice recruits for the find an exotic vet pages.

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Vetark went to Venice!

We attended iCare again, this time at the Ocean terminal in Venice

We were lucky enough to visit Venice, with the excuse of attending the biggest 'exotic vets conference' in Europe. It was a great meeting with social events, a gala dinner in the casino where we all wore masks (at least for a while!), multiple lecture streams on birds, reptiles and small furries - and we got to arrive there in mornings by boat - well the little vaporetto ferries anyway.

We spoke to lots of vets, many friends from UK, and quite a few from mainland Europe. The lectures were excellent and the general 'buzz' was really exciting.

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BVZS Chester Zoo March 2016

We went to a brilliant BVZS meeting at Chester Zoo, meeting held at the racecourse in their meeting rooms. Chester is a lovely zoo, our local zoo growing up and one Peter spent a lot of time in while at Liverpool Vet Schoool. In final year he 'saw practice' there with the vet Derek Lyon.

Their new exhibit 'the Islands' is gorgeous, as are all their big enclosures. The zoo has lots of space so they have built big.

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iCare 2015

 This fantastic meeting was held in Paris, it brought together the avian vets, reptile vets and small furry animal vets. A superb venue and lots of fun. We had a lovely night out at a superb art deco restaurant which had survived the 2nd WW and Paris was lovely in April. 

Running these meetings together caters very much for the exotics bvet who treats all these groups and this means that he/she doesn't have to go to 3 meetings a year.

The next iCare is going to be in Venice in 2017.

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BVZS in Bristol Nov 2015

Had a great meeting of the British Veterinary Zoological Society in Bristol, great papers and company. It was a really fun meeting. Enhanced by finding that use our empty ACE High pots to pack with treats to entertain the keas. Love the recycling!

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Protect garden birds in the winter for a better spring

From natural pest control to education for children, garden birds offer a huge range of benefits for you and your garden. But winter is a challenging time for garden wildlife. Continuing to provide a reliable, well-supplemented food source is proven to encourage earlier laying in wild birds and produce more fledglings in the following spring.

Alongside this, continue disinfection routines will lower the chance of disease ruining your hard work. High-energy, high-fat foods like fat balls, peanuts and sunflower seeds will best benefit your visitors – particularly as some species need to eat a quarter of their body weight every day to survive the harsh weather. As the bird feeder is likely to be their main food source, use a high-power supplement like Vetark’s Sprinkle Support to really protect the birds that visit. The unique, symbiotic blend of probiotic, prebiotic and vitamins aids their resistance to disease over the cold months and maximizes breeding potential the following spring. A light sprinkle over the food is all that is needed to ensure your loyal visitors are protected throughout the year – and significantly benefitting you in the spring!

Don’t forget to thoroughly disinfect feeders and water sources throughout the colder months to ensure you keep bacteria to a minimum and protect young birds. Try Citrosan and Ark-Klens for fast, effective cleaning that won’t put birds off their food. Click here to shop the Wild Bird range

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New size Fluke Solve available

We appreciate that ponds come in all different shapes and sizes. Parasites have no such appreciation. It is very likely that every owner knows the problems that can arise when they make themselves at home with your prized fish. To help you reduce the cost of treating your fish for parasites, we've brough out a new 50g size of the popular product Fluke-Solve.

It will sit alongside the 10g and 100g sachets in the range to give owners more flexibility on choosing the correct size for treatment without too much wasted product. To order Fluke-Solve 50g, visit  Fluke-Solve or call 01962 844 316.

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A big thank you to the organisers of Think Parrots 2015

 As always, Think Parrots showed this wonderful hobby at it's best. 

We had a fantastic day at the exhibition in Kempton Park Racecourse on 21st June. As always the team offered a balance that kept any visitor occupied for the full day and congratulations must be given on how well the day went. The wide variety of stalls offered a wealth of advice and products for keepers of all ages. Alongside this, the highly informative talks proved a big hit with the crowds and we really enjoyed the nutrition masterclass by Neil Forbes. Every year the attendence appear to grow - with many people seeing it as a valuable day out for their pets too! 

For Vetark, the show proved highly valuable in promoting the importance of supplements as part of nutrition. We were flattered by thre large number of people commenting on how Avimix and Nutrobal have helped their birds throughout life and look forward to returning next year.

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Protect against health issues caused by dietary problems with ProC Probiotic

In honour of Rabbit Welfare Awareness Week, why not consider adding a probiotic to your rabbits diet? They'll thank you for it.

Probiotics are a positive addition to a rabbit’s healthcare routine to strengthen their overall health as opposed to just treating symptoms.

Most pet rabbits will display a stress-related response at some point in their life. The factors that cause stress are always a reaction to a wide range of environmental issues that vary depending on the individual. As rabbits are prey animals trouble is usually first presented as gut issues. This can upset the careful balance of gut flora responsible for protecting the stomach and breaking down foods the rabbit has consumed.

ProC probiotic is intended as a long-term support for all small animals including rabbits. It helps build the rabbit’s digestive defenses against illness by ensuring the best flora balance and nutrient absorption are maintained. This long-term protection offers improved condition and health for the pet’s life, not a quick fix solution to a visible problem.

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Another fantastic show in Birmingham!

We had a very successful time at BSAVA Congress 2015. Thank you to everyone who visited the stand - both new and familiar faces were wonderful to see.

Our ranges continue to be well received by the profession with more people each year commenting on the ease of use. In particular, the probiotic range saw many veterinarians keen to discuss the benefits of these products in practice. Pro C Professional was the source of many positive reports, especially about its value as part of a complete care package by those who visited stand 1003 over the course of the show. Other products that received high praise included the use of Reptoboost and Zolcal-D.

We heard a rumour about Avipro Avian being mentioned in a lecture about care for chickens - but as none of us were there we can't say whether this is hearsay!

If you entered our competition, keep your eyes peeled for an announcement in the near future.

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Taking centre stage at Congress this year: BSP Nanovits

We'll be showcasing our tiniest, but no less effective, product at BSAVA Congress this year. BSP Nanovits are an valuable liquid vitamin supplement available only to vets. The conveniently sized 10ml bottles are ideal for practices seeing large numbers of pint-sized patients. BSP Nanovits provide the ideal way of administering key vitamins to small children's pets where in-feed supplements regularly prove too difficult to use.

One drop of this broad spectrum multivitamin in drinking water provides high levels of vitamins A, C and E alongside B’s and D3 suitable for both routine and therapeutic dosing. BSP Nanovits are highly palatable to ensure supplementation is easy. They have been used with success in a range of smaller animals including cage birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. Nanovits are offered only through veterinary wholesalers in boxes of 12.

We'll be on stand 1003 and really are unmissable as it's on the right immediately as you walk through the entrance. There really is no reason miss us and we'll have the full range of products on display. Why not bring a friend and introduce them?We look forward to seeing you all there!

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Companion Care & Vets4Pets

Spoke at the Companion Care & Vets4Pets conference at the NEC

Peter was a speaker at the in-house conference for Companion Care & Vets4Pets, an exceptionally well attended conference with delegates and exhibitors from a range of vet companies. The group who attended his talk were passionate and enthusiastic so he thorughly enjoyed speaking about reptiles (he hopes they will invite him next year to speak about birds!).

His spirits weren't even dampened by an awful drive back to Winchester through lashing rain most of the way.

Vets can access the presentation by registering for access to our vet pages, but we enclose a copy of the pet questionnaire Peter highlighted. It is useful when pet owners complete it before the consultation with a vet since it ensures most of the basic questions are answered.

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We had a fantastic 2 days at London Vet Show

 We spent the 20th and 21st of November at the London Vet Show in the Kensington Olympia complex and what a successful time it was!

Thank you to friends old and new who visited us. It's always great to discuss the health of exotics with fellow enthusiasts. What struck us was the huge amount of interest from young vets, nurses and students. It is immensely gratifying to see the profession responding proactively to the rising popularity of exotic animals as pets.

Special thanks must go to Quadrant2Design for the effort they put into our exhibiton stand. It was a nice treat to leave putting it up and taking it down to someone else - especially when our feet hurt so much by the end.

 

If you had chance to see it, we hope you found the wonderful talk on 'Taking the fear out of first exotic consultations' by John Chitty. To sponsor such a knowledgeable vet was an opportunity we could not refuse. 

 

We hope you had as much fun as we did!

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Vetark Professional at Parrot Society National Show 2014

We had a fantastic time at the Parrot Society's National Bird Show on Sunday 19th October in Stafford. As always, the Parrot Society did and excellent job - it was lovely to see so many stunning birds on display!

Thank you to everyone who visited our stand to learn about the importance of providing the correct nutrients to birds. Avipro Avian, our bird probiotic released in January, did exceptionally well and it was incredibly rewarding to see owners understanding the value it can bring to their pets. We are already looking forward to next year!!

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new microchipping with petDetect

Our sister company Specialist veterinary consultancy Biotope is pleased to announce the formation of petDetect which took over UK distribution of the highly regarded Trovan microchip from the 1st September 2014.

petDetect hopes to provide implanters and owners with the knowledge and equipment to ensure animals are chipped correctly. Director Peter Scott was one of the first veterinarians to use microchips in the UK and thus recognizes their importance when dealing with animal welfare. petDetect will offer courses in microchipping to ensure implanters are fully trained and registered for the owner’s peace of mind.

 

Produced in the EU to highest quality standard (six sigma), Trovan microchips have the lowest number of connections inside the chip and are laser programmed to ensure they cannot be damaged by electromagnetic interference. This results in superior reliability, especially important for long-lived animals. All chips are fully compliant with ISO Standard 11784 as required by EU regulations.

 

Currently only horses, endangered zoo species, dogs (from April 2016) and certain tortoise species must be microchipped, however they are useful in any animal as it can lead to their return if it strays or is stolen. petDetect hopes to work closely with welfare charities to promote the importance of microchips to reduce the number of stray pets in the UK. The microchips will be supplied to breeders and vets who can produce a recognized implanter number. These are gained following the successful completion of a training course.

The largest microchip register in the UK, Petlog, is not restricted to dogs and can keep records of microchips in all animals. petDetect is proud to work closely with an organisation that recognises the importance of microchip identification in all pets for owners’ peace of mind.

 

For further information…  t + 44 (0)1962 813554

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Shark attacks

The Florida Museum of Natural History has compiled all the (reported) shark attacks since 1580 and plotted them on a map.

This is absolutely fascinating and there are fewer than you would expect.

This maligned group of animals deserved a better reputation.

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Vetark Professional at Think Parrots 2014

On 23rd June we were at Kempton Park Racecourse for the 2014 Think Parrots Show. As well as exhibiting our fantastic range of high-quality products suitable for parrots, our director Peter Scott (MRCVS) gave a talk on ‘First Aid for Birds and Advances in Avian Medicine.’ The tips and explanations of veterinary procedures are useful for any bird owner so we have included a condensed version below for reference.

Remember:

- Birds hide the initial signs of problems. Bear in mind this often means the issue has either been getting progressively worse or is ongoing – so act fast! - Limited first aid is available

- Follow the ABC rule, stabilize the bird and get it to a vet quickly.

- ABC: Airways are clear, Breathing is possible as air sacs are inflating, Care provided through warmth, fluids, physical injury support and vet visit.

- Birds cannot afford to lose much blood as their blood volume is low. To stop bleeding on leg/wing apply pressure and a cohesive bandage. Nails and beaks can be stopped in an emergency by using a styptic.

- If bleeding is from a broken blood feather, restrain the bird and firmly pull the feather before applying pressure. Don’t use styptics on these injuries.

- If the bird is egg bound

- Showing signs of depression means a vet must be contacted immediately. If the bird is still bright, consider warmth and high humidity for a few hours, as well as ensuring calcium is available in the drinking water or give Zolcal D directly for a strong boost. If the situation does not improve after 24hrs, see a vet. Ensure you explain exactly how you tried to remedy the situation and when it was found.

Remember that avian medicine is advancing at a faster rate than ever before as our understanding of the issues improves. ALWAYS seek veterinary attention with a sick or injured bird as you can rarely assess the true extent of injury without their expertise.

Finally, make sure you have adequate pet insurance and an ‘after-care’ plan for when incidents happen. Knowing how to provide essential support through tube feeding, correct warmth provision (28-30 degrees centigrade), preventing dehydration and allowing rest is critical, if uncertain please speak to your vet for advice.

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Vetark director running a masterclass at Think Parrots

Are you heading to the Think Parrots Show at Kempton Racecourse this Sunday? If so, don’t forget to see Peter Scott’s talk on First Aid and Advances in Avian Medicine at 10.30am to help you feel confident when disaster strikes. Also, pop along to our stand to find out more about the special products we’ve designed to give your feathered friends a boost.

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Peter Scott receives honorary lifetime membership to the British Veterinary Zoological Society

Peter Scott, director of Vetark Professional, received an honorary membership to BVZS during their spring meeting at Marwell Zoo. The award is ‘in recognition of service in the field of veterinary zoological medicine and surgery and in particular as a measure of appreciation for the contribution made to the furtherance of the aims of the society.’ 
 
This award is a significant honour for Peter as it comes from a society that has played an important part in his life, from the many posts held with the society to it’s championing of exotic animal welfare, a cause Peter supports across the veterinary profession and through his work at Vetark. Current holders include Michael Brambell, John Cooper and Peter’s mentors Mike Fielding and Derek Lyon.
 
Michael Stanford, society President, states it is ‘these achievements and his unwavering enthusiasm for discussion and debate have contributed significantly to progress in many areas of exotic animal health and BVZS wanted to recognise this contribution.’ 

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Heatstroke

 Heat stroke is one of the biggest pet killers during the summer, which is a shame because it is so avoidable. Follow our tips to avoid falling victim to it this year:

 
1. ALWAYS make sure your pet has access to clean drinking water. Keep it out of the sun to make sure its cool.
2. Shade is critical; make sure your animals have access to shade throughout the day. For rabbits and guinea pigs the hutch should always be kept in the shade to mimic the cool of a burrow.
3. Let your pet exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when its coolest to prevent them getting worn out.
4. Grooming (yes, even on short-haired) will help by completely removing the winter coat so they don’t hold in excess heat. Clip long-haired breeds or tie their coats up to allow air circulation.
5. Never, ever leave an animal locked in a car - even if a window is open or you’ll on be a few minutes. It takes just minutes for the heat to reach 40 degrees or higher and is the most common cause of heatstroke in dogs despite the annual campaign. The same goes for conservatories, tents, caravans and any room that gets particularly hot.
6. Panting is not an effective way of keeping cool, but it can be a useful warning sign of discomfort in your pet.
7. Small animal? Try frozen pieces of fruit for an animal-friendly ice lolly. Alternatively, try a bottle of frozen water with a cloth over for them to sit or lean on. You might need to show them what to do by placing it against their body though!
 
Signs of danger include fast and shallow breathing, slobbering/ wet nose or chin, rapid pulse, listlessness, staggering, hot to touch (especially the ears on rabbits and guinea pigs), dark or bright red tongue and gums or seizures. If you see or suspect any of these, immediately move the pet to somewhere cooler and ALWAYS seek veterinary help.

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Migrating Birds are killed on their return to England

This year, hundreds of birds won’t make it back to their European breeding grounds. Directly along their migration path lays Malta – the only EU country with a hunting season during Spring. 
 
10,500 hunters will congregate in Malta’s countryside from the 12th of April for three weeks of recreational hunting. This means the participants are hunting for fun with no plans to use any part of the carcass. Although it is only legal to hunt two species, over 170 different species use the pathway regularly and thus are in danger from hunters who defy a law which can do very little against them – even when they hunt protected birds. In 2013 known illegal kills included Kestrels, Herons, Ospreys and Barn Sparrows, whose call signals the beginning of summer. Many of the hunters will not seek to retrieve a shot bird or ensure it is dead.
 
From the 21st of April, Chris Packham will broadcast a video diary of the hunt on YouTube as British stations have refused his request to cover it on multiple occasions. Not suitable for young children or those easily upset, the diary promises to expose the extent of this so called ‘tradition’ and the brutality of the hunters towards their prey. Click here to find out more from him about this issue.
 
A glimmer of hope does exist for a safe Maltese journey. Recently, 44,000 Maltese people signed a petition for a public referendum on the matter. If this comes to a vote it may signal an end to the massacre and our wild birds will be free once more. Only a public vote has the chance to stop the hunters as they have too much political sway for an in-government vote to stand a chance. 
 
Until that happens please spread the message and encourage people to watch the video diary. The more voices raised, the more pressure there is on Malta to stop this violence.

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Is your tortoise awake yet?

We’ve had several calls about tortoises coming out of hibernation recently, so thought we’d talk about it this week.

 

Generally, tortoises will start to come out of hibernation in March as the weather warms up. However, only an owner has an accurate idea of when their tortoise will usually wake up. Bringing a tortoise out of hibernation early can be a highly stressful time for an owner. Often the reasons are not as simple as the tortoise chose to wake up itself as weight loss, sudden warm spells and dehydration can all be reasons. If your tortoise does wake of his own accord and is fairly alert, do not put him back to sleep. Follow the below tips for getting its systems going and keep it inside until the weather is of a suitable temperature for the breed.

 

To wake your pet in the most comfortable way possible, we would recommend bringing them into a warm, bright area to for a couple of hours. Once they are up and about the next stage is a warm bath which has two functions – heating the tortoise up and getting it to hydrate. Fill a bowl with warmish water to the level of your tortoise’s chin. For an extra bit of help, try adding Reptoboost to the bath as the tortoise absorb both water and nutrients– speeding the process up a little. Use the baths every day for a week to encourage fully rehydration and to flush out any toxins in the body.

 

Food is not as vital as water, but is still highly important. Once your tortoise is active and bathed you should offer food – try fresh chopped tomatoes at first to tempt them. Again, sprinkle on some Reptoboost to kick-start their body with pure nutrients and build energy. If it is refusing to eat after several days, seek help as tortoises have very low energy stores following hibernation and so must be encouraged to eat. 

 

Hopefully your little one has had a simple, complication free hibernation and will be up and about in no time. If things have gone wrong then use our find-a-vet service to locate someone who understands what can go wrong with this process and advise further treatment.

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Spring, Wildlife and Garden Birds

Spring is almost upon us (we know it doesn’t feel like it) and with it, a rush of life as the countryside wakes up for the warmer months. The Surrey Wildlife Trust is offering a unique insight into how they protect and monitor the life on their properties via twitter. 
 
Four of their rangers now tweet their tasks – from the mundane to the exciting – in order to give the public a better understanding of the work that goes in to protecting natural areas. Recent posts have included the first adder sighting of 2014, the difference between toad and frog spawn and a common redpoll recorded during a bird ringing, which usually only visits those on the east coast. It’s really interesting to see the massive range of tasks they accomplish and they are happy to answer any questions you tweet.  
 
On a more serious note, if you are planning on feeding birds in your garden this year, please remember to disinfect feeders and baths regularly to prevent the spread of disease as it is almost impossible to treat wild birds. Trichomonas, Avian Pox and Salmonella can all decimate a flock very quickly. Use a safe disinfectant like CitroSan or Ark-Klens weekly to prevent buildup of bacteria that can lead to disease. If there is an outbreak, stop putting out food and empty bird baths to encourage the flock to look elsewhere – you can return to normal when dead birds stop appearing in your garden. For more information on bird disease and prevention head onto our website and look in the information tabs.
 
To see what the Trust is up to, follow @SurreyWT on Twitter and while you’re there, why not pop on to @Vetark and follow us as well?

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Battersea Dogs Home Appeal - Can you help?

England’s most famous dog and cats home launched it’s biggest ever appeal yesterday to raise £1.9m for abandoned animals. Work has finally begun on its new building, which will allow it to continue caring for around 6000 dogs and cats each year. The building will replace the old Victorian kennels with a state of the art facility to offer the dogs the best chance for a new start.
 
Unfortunately, the charity’s service are in higher demand than ever before with 1000 calls a month from owners needing to giving up a pet. There has been a significant rise in the number of animals being abandoned as the recession bit into people’s pockets and the cost of living rose, while pay packets didn’t. 111,986 animals were picked up in the past year – ranging from more traditional animals like dogs and cats to an 8ft python discovered in a repossessed house. While this is a fall from the height of the recession – 126,000 animals were handled in 2011 – animal sanctuaries are overwhelmed by the volume of pets needing their help. It doesn’t look like the situation will get any easier in the near future.
 
Centers are currently in the busiest period of their year as people begin to tire of the pet they bought for Christmas. As a result, charities are urging people to seriously consider the true cost and responsibility of being an owner in a bid to ensure fewer pets enter their doors. Until then, something needs to be done to ensure no animal is turned away. Battersea’s new building will allow space for these pets to be saved and hopefully rehomed. 
 
Donating is simple and easy. Text 70800 to donate £5 or click donate on Battersea Cats and Dogs Home website (http://www.battersea.org.uk) to see all the options available. It is a tough decision to admit that you can no longer give a pet the life it deserves – you can help to make sure every rescue gets a second chance at love.

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UK National Wildlife Crime Unit issues warning about rise in cage bird thefts - Here are our tips for preventing it.

1. Opportunity
Thieves like an invitation – so don’t give them one. If you are in bed or away from the bird, ensure all windows and doors are firmly shut with strong locks to secure them. Never leave a bird unattended outside as it can take one minute to be in and out of a garden. Do not leave windows on the catch as they can still be opened! 
 
2. Sight
Cages that cannot be seen when you look through windows or doors are less likely to be targeted. Thieves won’t enter a property without guarantee of reward so if they can’t see it there’s less chance they’ll take the risk.
 
3. Security
Strong locks and a home security system act as deterrents. For outside aviary’s, we’d suggest strong locks and a motion- sensitive light for night protection. Consider timed lights/radios if you are out over the evening or daytime to make it look like someone is at home. 
 
4. Discretion
It’s easy to get carried away with discussing your wonderful pets at a bird fair, but be wary of what you say to people you aren’t familiar with. Avoid talking about your protection and habits beyond standard care, particularly not what you do when you leave them alone. Remember the information you give may not always be helping someone in a way you would like.
 
5. Microchip
We can’t stress this enough, it is vital that you microchip your birds and keep a record of their number in case the worse does happen. Recording the number is useful because thieves can remove the leg band – meaning you have information to pass on to the police.
 
6. Register
Immobilize is a free online register of possession. All items registered on it are viewable to the police who use it to trace lost or stolen property. While you might not count your pet as property, it is the easiest way for police to trace you when they find it. 
 
7. REPORT
If someone is really observing your house from outside or a strange vehicle lingering in the area and they return a few times – but never visit anybody – please, please, please tell the police. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Badger Culling – are there more effective approaches?

An independent scientific assessment has found badger culling to be ineffective and failing of humaneness tests. Commissioned by the Government, it was found that the number of badgers killed was well below the target estimated to reduce the spread of TB in cattle.
  
1,771 animals were culled during the 6-week pilot scheme across Somerset and Gloucestershire with a potential 18% taking longer than 5 minutes to die – well above the 5% limit set by the expert panel. This assessment follows hot on the heels of the revision of number of herds infected by bovine TB due to an IT error, meaning the number of infected herds fell by 3.4% and a 13% reduction in the number of cattle slaughtered between September 2012 and September 2013. However, There is no doubt this infection is a serious concern for the country and preventing badger to cattle transmission is one way to reduce the issue, but it important to do so in a manner which is both humane and effective. 
 
The head of the British Veterinary Association stated, "It is important to remember that these culls were pilots precisely because the Government needed to test the humaneness, safety and efficacy of controlled shooting as a method of culling badgers.” The results of this assessment, when published, will enable the government and experts to determine the best course of action to limit bovine TB following the controversial trials. Based on the released figures we can hope that options other than culling will be re-examined during the discussions, including longer-term ways of protecting both cattle and badgers from the disease.  
 
Thirteen counties have adopted a badger vaccination program, another approach designed to reduce the number of badger to cattle TB transmissions by protecting the badgers from contracting the disease. Vetark’s director, Peter Scott, was involved in the first stage of the Hampshire and Isle of White Wildlife trust vaccinations over October last year to tackle the four highest risk reserves. The remaining reserves will be vaccinated over Spring 2014, although more funds are needed to complete the work; it is expected to last 5 years (the average badger lifespan) to ensure the area's badger population is immune.
 
For more information on the Hampshire Vaccination scheme, visit http://www.hiwwt.org.uk/pages/badger-vaccination-.html 
 

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Hampshire Wildlife Trust - Investors day

 As 'investors in wildlife' through the trust we were invited to a good day out at Testwood Lakes. This splendid 150 acre site is 10 years old, buiilt by Southern Water alongside an abstraction and pumping station it has a number of lakes. One large area is dedicated to wildlife and set up with scrapes, tern islands, a sand martin wall etc - no dogs allowed in this section!

We heard about the development of the site and had a guided tour. A brisk walk and a lunch.

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London Vet Show 2013

 We had a really enjoyable show, a steady flow of people to speak to, some already using Vetark products and others (usually new to the profession) who haven't.

Its an huge show, lots of stands, different companies and many different delgates that BSAVA. Met more of Peters graduation year than ever before at a conference which was great.

Peters paper went down well, and vets can download it from the vet pages (if they want to!).

We went to a pizza and prosecco party hosted by The webinar vet. A great evening, good food and good company - and the prosecco went down well too!

We've already booked for next year!

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National Bird Show 2013

This was a really well attended show, after a couple of years with poorer numbers despite the rotten weather lots of bird fanciers turned out for a good show. We spoke to lots of interesting people about their birds and would thank everyone who came to the stand.

There were some interesting colour morphs on sale and some lovely amazons (our favourites).

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new exciting Vet Formulary app

Vets should take a look at Stuart MacArthurs new Vet Formulary app, the next step for linking datasheet information, label requirements and off-label information.

Stuarts expertise is taking a broad view, his work on tortoises led to the standard must-have work on the subject. Now this Vet Formulary fills another important gap. 

 

For information go to: www.vetformulary.com

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Reptile Habitat Management Handbook

 This excellent handbook written by Paul Edghar, Jim Foster and John Baker of ARC in Bournemouth brings together habitat management advice for all native UK reptiles. All have suffered declines  and all are now priioriies.

This brings together over 20 years of experience in managing habitats for rare reptiles. It can be bought from the  ARC trust website, or even downloaded free as a pdf.

You can also join the trust at the website, becoming a Friend!

 

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Pet Advertising Advisory Group

 At a Breakfast meeting in the House of Commons the PAAG launched their new guidelines for advertising of pets via the internet. They have the support of leading directories and advertising forums on the web.

 

MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR ONLINE CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING WEBSITES

 

Websites must:

 

1.         run automated checks for 'blacklisted' words/terms such as banned breeds and filter for misleading or inappropriate adverts

2.         require all vendors to include a recent photograph of the animal that they are advertising and monitor for suspicious usage of images.

3.         require that all adverts display the age of the animal advertised. No pet should be advertised for transfer to a new owner before it is weaned and no longer dependent on its parents.  

4.         permanently ban vendors – on a three strikes and you’re out basis – who attempt to post illegal adverts, and take down illegal/inappropriate adverts within 12 working hours of notification

5.         ensure that every view item page includes prominent links to PAAG advice on buying and selling a pet (and specific advice for commonly advertised species), including “pop ups”

6.         label clearly on each ad whether it is a private sale, commercial sale or from a rescue/rehoming centre

7.         not include adverts for farmed animals or adverts specifying that the animal is to be used for working, hunting, or guarding in the pet section

8.         monitor for multiple mobile/telephone numbers and email addresses in private sales and investigate and potentially ban frequent/repeat breeders. ‘Frequent’ is defined as the same vendor offering a third different animal in a twelve month period.

9.         ban adverts of live vertebrate animals as food

10.       ban adverts offering stud animals, animals in season  or animals ‘for rent’ or ‘loan’ in pet section. Note that adverts offering horses or donkeys for loan are acceptable

11.       ban adverts offering pregnant animals for sale

12.       ensure that no pets are advertised for swapping with other pets, services or goods

13.       ensure that species scheduled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act are clearly marked as such and make clear to vendors that it is an offence to offer a species covered by EU Wildlife Trade Regulations Annex A and listed by CITES for sale without a valid Article 10 Certificate. Non-human primates should not be offered for sale.

14.       exclude any advert where there is a reasonable concern for the health and welfare of the animal involved

15.       provide a clearly visible function for purchasers to report illegal or inappropriate adverts

16.       ensure that no live vertebrates are advertised for sale as deliverable through the postal system, national or international

17.       require all vendors to state the country of residence from which the animal is being sold

 

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Hawk Conservancy, Weyhill

Meeting of the Berks & Hants British Veterinary Nursing Association 1st Sept 2013

This was a great venue for a really good meeting. The Hawk Conservancy is a cracking site, lovely walks through the flights and two excellent flight areas with very very good displays.

The weather was superb and lots of people were out enjoying the day.

The meeting was a small one, just under 20 vets and vet nurses attended to hear Vicky Halls speak behavioural issues of cats especially in multicat households, then John Chitty speaking about birds in practice - common diseases and anaesthesia. Followed by our MD Peter Scott speaking about Avian Nutrition.

A pdf of Peters talk is available as a download below.

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ThinkParrots in Woking 2013

This was the second meeting organised by John Catchpole of the excellent Parrots magazine. It was very well attended by pet parrot owners - a different group than those who attend the Parrot Society meetings which include a lot more keen breeders than simply owners.

It was fascinating to see how many had brought their pets for a day out! One lady had two African gtreys, one on each shoulder. One had an amazon in a backpack with windows, others had macaws or amazons on their shoulders.

There were talks in a separate auditorium and a flying/information display done by keepers from the wonderful Paradize Park at Hayle in Cornwall. they work very closely with the World Parrot Trust who also had a stand at the meeting.

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Rabbits were introduced to Britain by the Romans

An archaeological dig in Norfolk uncovered the remains of a 2,000-year-old rabbit - by far the oldest of its kind found on these shores and regarded as final proof that the creatures are now on the list of what the Romans ever did for us.

Many people had claimed that the Normans introduced rabbits for their meat and fur. However, others have always insisted that the creatures were brought in by the Romans, citing Marcus Terrentius Varro (116-27BC) who wrote that the legions brought rabbits from Spain, where they were reared in walled enclosures and then served up as a gourmet dish.

 

The remains were found at Lynford, near Thetford. The manager of the Norfolk Archaeological Unit, which conducted the dig, said: "We can date the rabbit to the first or second century AD from the pottery fragments found beside it. Some of these fragments included domestic pots which could have been used for cooking. "We could tell the bones had been butchered."

 

 

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BSAVA 2013

a great year for us!

We had a terrific time at BSAVA this year, we were exhausted afterwards but had a really good time seeing lot of friends from all over the world! POeter even managed to get to some lectures. Combined with a night watching Alan Davies doing standup - excellent, followed by Dodgy Folk at the Malt house pub we had a great time.

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Chytrid in non-amphibians

US workers have demonstrated that Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a pathogen of crayfish as well as frogs and other amphibans. They have demonstrated it in quite high proportions (<29%) and they can carry it for at least 12 wks. 

As yet only a limited range of species have been examined. But this is especially concerning as crayfish have been moved around the world for aquaculture and of course may walk away from where they have been put. This potentially spreads the organism easily.

see McMahon, T.A et al.  PNAS January 2, 2013 vol. 110 no. 1 210-215

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Zoo animal vaccination details

This is a very useful site which seeks to pull together all of the various vaccination protocols used by vets around the world.

Zoovax has been developed by Anna Meredith MA VetMB CertLAS DZooMed MRCVS and Michelle Ward BSc BVSc(Hons I) DZooMed MRCVS of The Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service at The Royal (Dick)School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh. It stemmed from an idea from David Sutton MRCVS of MSD Animal Health, who recognised there was a need for more information on the extra-label use of vaccines in non-domestic species, largely as a result of the increasing number of veterinary surgeons asking his company for advice on the use of canine and feline vaccines in exotic species.

In addition to providing a comprehensive database of published literature, Zoovax seeks the contribution of veterinary surgeons from around the world to input information about their experience of vaccine use in exotic species. This information can be shared and used throughout the veterinary community to help veterinary colleagues working in zoological institutions, with exotic pets and free-ranging wildlife, make informed decisions about vaccination. Although anecdotal reports are no substitute for properly conducted controlled scientific studies, it is recognised that in many species such studies are unlikely to be undertaken.

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How times change

This came through to us on one of the Christmas rounds of humorous emails. A genuine ad from times gone by.

Hopefully nobody put that much weight on over the festive period?

Have you cecked our worming products - water soluble SoluVerm for roundworms in birds etc such as pigeons and soluble praziquantel for flukes in fish

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New probiotic for rabbits

 Vetark has been involved in probiotics for over 20 years. Our in-house vet developed a product initially for use in birds – to support sick birds being kept in the surgery under serious stress.

Avipro was based around a
Lactobacillus and he developed a ‘support system’ of electrolytes and vitamins which assisted the product in doing what we wanted. After a few years we added prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) to support the organisms in the product.

Avipro Plus was developed as a ‘veterinary grade’ treatment /support level product but after pressure from pet owners we were asked to develop a cheaper ‘routine use’ product especially for small mammals, this is ProC. ProC contains a licensed probiotic organism for rabbits, plus prebiotic and vitamin. It is recommended for all small animals, especially those going to new homes.

We have now also gone full circle and developed a veterinary version of ProC for small mammals – ProC Professional.
 

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London Vet Show 2012

Here we are again at the London Vet Show. Its a great show with a huge exhibition.

We are showing Aqua-Sed and the new Vetark veterinary manual on cd with video for training, COSHH and data sheets! 

We are also launching our new vet-only probotic for rabbits, ProC Professional. This is based around our long established combination of electrolytes, vitamins and prebiotic with an EU licensed for rabbits probiotic organism.

Excellent show, we spoke to lots of people, the new manual on cd seemed popular and lot of interest re ProC Professional. Traffic out from Olynpia was a nighmare.

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November BVZS Meeting at Edinburgh Zoo

We took a Vetark stand up to the BVZS meeting as usual. We are sponsors of BVZS and have been involved with them for over 25 years. This November it was at Edinburgh Zoo and gave everyone the chance to see the pandas. They were great, and actually so was the rest of the zoo, lots of large enclosures with good enrichment. The koalas are magical but spend even more time pandas doing absolurtely nothing (hence good pictures of their backs).

We chatted to lots of zoo vets, Peter ran one of the round table groups and participated in the AGM debate on exotic pets.

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APMV-1 in collared doves

report in Vet record Sept 29, 2012 (Vol 171, 13)

 APMV-1 is the cause of Newcastle disease in poultry, a major economic issue for farmers. This makes this recent finding of particular significance - finding APMV-1 sublin 4a (rather than the usual pigeon form 4b). This finding was in Italy, and much more work will need to be done to assess how widespread geographically this is, and which other species may be affected.

This underlines the importance of good hygiene at the birdtable, and not just to prevent Trichomonas! Look at Ark-Klens and Citrosan.

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Sparrow hawks close to home

Interesting, the sparrow hawks have started killing in the garden again. Must be a 'food resource' issue. This kill was made 6ft from our kitchen door on the patio and plucking was underway at the top of the patio steps about 12 ft away.

Some info and links from Wikipedia:

Adult male Eurasian Sparrowhawks have bluish grey upperparts and orange-barred underparts; females and juveniles are brown above with brown barring below. The female is up to 25% larger than the male – one of the largest differences between the sexes in any bird species. 

Male Eurasian Sparrowhawks regularly kill birds weighing up to 40 g (1.4 oz) and sometimes up to 120 g (4.2 oz); females can tackle prey up to 500 g (18 oz) or more. The weight of food consumed by adult birds daily is estimated to be 40–50 g (1.4–1.8 oz) for males and 50–70 g (1.8–2.5 oz) for females. During one year, a pair of Eurasian Sparrowhawks could take 2,200 House Sparrows, 600 Common Blackbirds or 110 Wood Pigeons. Species that feed in the open, far from cover, or are conspicuous by their behaviour or coloration, are taken more often by Eurasian Sparrowhawks. For example, Great Tits and House Sparrows are vulnerable to attack. Eurasian Sparrowhawks may account for more than 50% of deaths in certain species, but the extent varies from area to area.

Males tend to take tits, finches, sparrows and buntings; females often take thrushes and starlings. Larger quarry (such as doves and magpies) may not die immediately but succumb during feather plucking and eating. More than 120 bird species have been recorded as prey and individual Eurasian Sparrowhawks may specialise in certain prey. The birds taken are usually adults or fledglings, though chicks in the nest and carrion are sometimes eaten.
Calcium is vital and captive sparrowhawks like other need Nutrobal when young, and Arkvits when mature.

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Rabbit Welfare Foundation meeting 2012

This years started today with a Mad Hoppers Tea Party - actually a good dinner at Wood Green Animals Shelter. With an opening chat by Richard Saunders and a closing session from Dr.Anne McBride which was particularly fascinating - the evolution of rabbits in society from their introduction as food animals for Romans to present day anthropomorphised pets- With Bugs and Roger along the way!

The lectures were very enjoyable and interesting - Peter Chaired one of the vet sessions and had chance to catch up with  Kevin Eatwell, Molly Varga, Professor Anna Meredith and Dr. Anne McBride. The lecturers worked very hard rushing from session to session giving versions of the same talks to two vet streams and an owners stream!

 

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Disease outbreaks in wildlife

New papers in the Veterinary record

This week (August 18, 2012) sees two new reports in the Veterinary Record.

The first reporting adenovirus  affecting red squirrels in a reintroduction project. The is enteric adenovirus and there is considerable concern about testing prohgrams to ensure that this isn't distributed in release situations.

Disinfection of adenovirus is difficult with chemical disinfectants, efficient cleaning helps (with Ark-Klens) but killing it is difficult - bleaching is useful as chlorine is effective.

The other report is concerning the level of Chlamydiosis in british songbirds. This seems to be becoming more regularly isolated with 6 out of 10 suspected outbreaks testing positive. This really does mean that Ark-Klens has a place, it is very useful for cleansing table and is recommended against chlamydiosis.

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Olympic Gold for Peter Wilson

 Its impossible not to blog about the Olympics, after all the cynicism for 7 years it was a triumph - WITH MEDALS!.

We went up to watch the Double Trap at Woolwich and saw Peter Wilson take Gold, a fantastic experience generating lots of massive nationistic pride. The other competitors were great and there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout. Anyone who thinks that trap or double trap is boring should have watched the thrilling competition.

Congratulations to Peter Wilson, but in a way we were all winners. Not in the namby pamby non-competitive way, but in the thorough fun of competition which was glorified. All the athletes were fantastic - obviously especially the British ones and especially the medal winners!

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August 2012 Practical Reptile Magazine

questions published and answered about Nutrobal

1) Is nutrobal designed to be used with each feed, or on a less regular basis? It states one pinch per kg of animal, though clearly many lizards weigh significantly less then a kilo and adding say a 5th of 10th of a pinch to a bag containing say 6 crickets to spread the dust over them, is quite hard to accurately do. For this reason, especially in small reptiles such as Anole lizards and dwarf  species of desert gecko, is it better not to use nutrobal with each feed to avoid hypervitaminosis? I've noticed some websites appear to suggest Nutrobal dusting of livefood only 1-2 times a week, and sometimes suggest using a pure calcium carbonate powder the rest of the time.

2) Is the 200mg calcium per gram of nutrobal a sufficient enough amount that the addition of a calcium powder along with nutrobal is unnecessary? An example would be if nutrobal was used for one days feed, then a pure calcium powder the next. Is just using nutrobal instead of this switching method an acceptable practice? There seems to be some confusion on websites about whether nutrobal is designed to supply all of a reptiles calcium needs.

 

NUTROBAL is a calcium balancer and multivitamin product. A lot of time went into every stage, including selecting a particle size which 'sticks' to crickets etc without getting into their spiracles and killing them. We have maintained this carefully for over 20 years, and have launched Calci Dust containing the same calcium we use in Nutrobal. The product has been used by pretty much every reptile vet in the UK and the vast majority of zoos keeping reptiles. We send it worldwide.

I designed NUTROBAL to be used at every feed, BUT I designed it at a time that UV lighting was very poor, often dangerous. Now with better UV and an ideal world where people set it at the correct height, change the bulbs appropriately and achieve a proper dose, then NUTROBAL 'could' be sufficient every second feed. You should also consider whether a species is crepuscular/nocturnal where UV isn't factor. The data doesn't exist to show that leopard geckos can actually use UV efficiently, why would they - they would normally only be exposed to tiny amounts. I do know that they can use NUTROBAL.

There are so many variables here, however, we have NEVER had a report of hypervitaminosis / overdose from its use every feed and personally I would use it that way. Because people do different things and worry, I have recommended generally that if UV is used then alternate NUTROBAL and Calci-Dust.

It is important that crickets etc are always dusted with something. Even reptiles soon learn that if they don't eat the 'white ones' then brown ones will appear. If you aren't going to use NUTROBAL then dust with Calci-Dust.

Don't worry about per kg dosing if you use crickets and mealworms. The per kg dosage isn't relevant if you are dusting. the animals self dose in that what they eat is size related, bigger animals eat more crickets and so more Nutrobal…

The amount of calcium in NUTROBAL is plenty to supply the animals needs, if its on every feed. If it isn't then as said Calci-Dust should be used. Owners tend to grow reptiles in captivity quicker than they would grow in the wild, that means that they need optimum calcium levels for health bone development or they will get metabolic bone disease. Once reptiles are adult then they have lower calcium needs and I suggest switching to ARKVITS which has enhanced levels of vitamins A, C & E  which can be useful for long term maintenance, support of immune system and encouraging breeding.

NUTROBAL isn't just calcium, the vitamin D3 is vital as without it the calcium goes straight through the animal.

Whilst I'm writing, I should also mention our new NUTROGRUB product. I have worked on this for 2 years, Our GRUB GRUB and BUG GRUB are now withdrawn and replaced with NUTROGRUB. Insects find it much more palatable and its a great way of keeping the feeder insects alive, whilst at the same time gut-loading their calcium levels. We have increased the calcium in mealworms by x 7-8 and in crickets by x 12. These are stunning results, but you should still dust at the time of feeding, loading calcium and providing lots of vitamins.

I'm honestly pleased that people feel comfortable enough with NUTROBAL after 20 years to play around, but it is well tried and tested. We are very responsive, asa vet i speak to other reptile vets regularly and follow the published literature. We try to do our best, and since we manufacture NUTROBAL every 3 months  for quality and maximum shelf life we can always make any changes that science indicates.

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Where do you use yours?

can you beat this?

Professor John Cooper sent us this from the Kenyan South Coast.
 
Use of a field (mirror-illuminated) microscope to examine material from a dead wild bird (Cisticola species)  with pronounced ocular lesions. John did field cytology (Giemsa stain) and microscopical examination confirmed a caseous purulent ophthalmitis. Two Kenyan assistants are being taught how to use the
microscope for such purposes.

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Think Parrots

a new conference exhibition

We attended the brand new meeting Think Parrots organised by John Catchpole of Parrots. This was held in Woking at the sports centre.

The centre of the hall was occupied by a really excellent parrot show / exhition of training. This kept the audience gripped when they were working and explaining the importance of natural behaviours etc.

The meeting had some high quality speakers including Neil Forbes and Rosemary Low and brought out a different group of people from the usual run of bird shows - lots of parrot owners from the South of England. Wer wnjoyed ourselves speaking to many of them who were already familiar with our key parrot related products Avimix, Avipro etc.

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Amphibian Conservation Research Symposium 2012

At Chancellors Conference Centre, Manchester

This was a relatively low key specialist meeting, but very enjoyable. There were some really good papers and chats.  In addition to Peter presenting a keynote lecture on Amphibian Nutrition we were sponsors of the meeting.

The meeting worked well and brought together researchers from around the UK looking at the overall strategy, various research projects under way etc (mainly nutritional). The hope is that the meeting will go on and in future years can get more vets, and even more zoos involved (this time ZSL, Jersey and Chester were there).

There was a lot of interest for us in Nutrobal and our new gut loading product Nutrogrub.

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Cremona Reptile Vets conference

A great meeting, combination of topic, place and people!

We had a great time in Italy at the Cremona Reptile Vets conference. Cremona is lovely place to visit and walk around (like a lot of Italian towns), good food, friendly people.

The conference had visitors from all over the world. There was a handful from UK, others from Italy, Germany, Netherlands etc and the renouned Wilbur Amand DVM the Executive Director of ARAV which had helped to organise the meeting. The meeting was excellenet with a good combination of clinical papers and pathology.

The weather was fantastic and the exhibition, coffee and lunches were held outside in the superb courtyard of Palazzo Trecchi, the poster papers were in a gloriously decorated room (see below).

We had a lot of interest in Nutrobal, our calcium balancer and our new Nutrogrub the insect gut loading food. We spoke to a number of vets who were interested in distributing products in their own countries, which is always nice.

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Lucky vet wins ipad at BSAVA

actually he completed a terribly difficult word search!

Veterinary surgeon Christian Hughes MRCVS of Fivelands Veterinary Centre in Birmingham was the lucky winner of the our ipad competition at BSAVA in 2012. We had lots of entries and would like to thank all those others who didn't win. As we were told at school - its not the winning, its the taking part!

Thanks to everyone who took part at BSAVA, we really enjoyed it and spoke to a lot of people. The Find an exotic Vet service is really taking off!

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Vets on Call in East Africa

Our friends Prof John E Cooper and Margaret Cooper have returned from running Primate and pathology workshops in East Africa with some photos of course delegates using our Vetark fresnel lenses and Vet on Call cards. Perhaps we should offer an occassional prize for the most novel use or impressive background!

Fresnel lenses are similar to lighthouse lenses, ie flat, they are very handy for field biologists and vets to have in their pocket or wallet.

Vets in East Africa are doing tremendous work with the wildlife as well as the domestic pets. Its nice to see interests in tortoises.

These have a particular resonance for Peter as he worked at Bamburi on the Kenyan coast for 3 months, (long ago doing his MSc) and thoroughly enjoyed the place and people.

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Fish Vet Society 2012

Peter attended the meeting of the Fish Veterinary Society, this was the end of his Presidency and he now moves into the Senior VP role. The meeting was excellent, mostly salmon related but a great paper from Mark Stidworthy of IZVG laboratories about the value of histopathology in ornamental fish disease, showing some of the work he is doing in audit of results to be able to use the results perhaps in a preventive medicine format.

Great weather, great venue and a fantastic chance to network with fishvets - perhaps not everyones idea of a must do but whatever rocks your boat!

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BCG Spring Symposium 2012

Chelonian News Update - whats happening with tortoises

A day with:
 
Professor John Cooper DTVM, FRCPath, FRCVS University of Cambridge/University of Nairobi
             A joint presentation with
 Mrs. Margaret Cooper LLB, FLS Wildlife Health Services (UK), Honorary Research Fellow, DICE, University of Kent, Visiting Lecturer, University of Nairobi 
                          Title: Reptile Workshops in Kenya 
 
Dr. Justin Gerlach PhD, MA, FRGS
Nature Protection Trust of the Seychelles
 
Title: The end of the Seychelles Giant Tortoise Project and An overview of early turtle evolution: from 220 million years ago to somewhere nearer the present day
 
Mr. Martin Lawton BVetMed, Cert V Ophthal, Cert LAS, CBiol, MSB, DZooMed, FRCVS. The Lawton and Stoakes Veterinary Practice
 
            Title: Chelonian Respiration – In Sickness and in Health
 
Miss Emma Wood
 BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology University of Exeter
 
Title: Marine Turtle Conservation in Northern Cyprus and A New Tool for Regulating the UK Tortoise Trade?
 
Look at www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk or email symposium.bcg@ntlworld.com

 

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WildPro opens up!

The Wildlife Information Network, in association with Twycross Zoo, has made their brilliant and exhaustive digital encyclopaedia, WildPro freely available. This gives a huge amount of data on exotic species

WildPro can be found at http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/

It has lots of detailed information on diseases and management of wildlife including, but not limited to:great apes, cervidae (deer), elephants, hedgehogs, raccoons, bears, rabbits,  waterfowl,  and ruminants.

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London Vet Show 2011

Yet another really good show

This show has grown enormously, It was a good conference for delegates although lecture halls weere so full people were turned away. From our point of view that was a winner because for several hours in the day we had a captive queue by our stand so chatted to lots of people.

Lots seemed interested in the new Chicken products and many took information for the new vet search we've created (perhaps interested in the 6 bottles of Lanson to be won for entering practice details before 5th Dec!).

It was nice to see one of the bags we sponsored for BVZS 50th being carried with pride at the LVS!

Getting out of Olympia isn't easy, our stand took an hour and a half to dismantle and pack then we struggled past de-riggers dismantling the overall structure, with the only parking outside on Olympia Way. Still, we've signed up for next year!

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BVZS celebrates its 50th Anniversary at Cardon Park, Cheshire

Over 200 exotic vets attend the zoo & exotic pet meeting

Vetark was proud to be major sponsors at the BVZS 50th Anniversary. This amazing group has been a major part of our lives for 30 years, our MD Peter Scott has been a member since he was a vet student and served on its council in a range of roles (including that of President) for 20 years. We sponsored the bags at the 25th Anniversay meeting and did so again at the 50th!

It was a great meeting, with Victoria Roberts MRCVS in the Chair, one of the Founder members  Dr.Ian Keymer spoke about the history and founding of the group, Professor Fred Frye came over from the USA and spent a whole day doing parallel interactive reptile sessions based around presentations of case histories. Lots of others spoke, we heard about Anne the elephant, Andrew Routh spoke about seahorses. The range of topics and expertise is fantastic, one of the big draws at BVZS. 

A great meal was enjoyed on the Saturday evening.The social side of BVZS is an enormous benefit, chatting to legends over dinner is a real privilage. Overall a major winner and we hope to be around to sponsor the bags at the 75th! Until then we will be at pretty much every other meeting!

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Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) meeting 2011

Really useful day attended by owners and about 150 vets and vet nurses!

As usual we had a really good time at the RWAF meeting as on 29th Oct 2011. This was at the Village Hotel in Solihull - much recommended!

We heard talks from Sharon Redrobe (supervised by Jake), Frances Harcourt-Brown, John Chitty, Aidan Raftery, Elisabetta Mancinelli and RWAF vet Richard Saunders. Some really stimulating stuff including a very good solid science study (the first proper one) showing that 'just a hutch isn't enough' rabbits are more natural and 'happy' given access to outside space. Richard reviewed what we think we know about E.cuniculi and raised some questions. All this under the brilliant control of Dr.Anne McBride who showed a great talent for improv/standup when the computer played up for 10 minutes.

There was lots of chat, questions, and a chance to meet (and make) friends. Much recommended.

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A good day at the Parrot Society 9th Oct 2011

We had a small stand at the Parrot Society sale day at the usual venue - Bingley Hall, Stafford. Saw lots of regular customers, plus some new ones. Its flattering when people bring friends to the stand because their own birds are looking so good.

It was incredibly busy, lots of nice birds! Good to see the amazons, after working with John Stoodley and Bob Mann for so long we are real amazon fans. There were some crackers being taken to Ireland by breeders looking for new species and new bloodlines.

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Wildlife Investors Day out at the Itchen Valley waterworks

A great day out with Hampshire Wildlife Trust

We enjoyed a fascinating tour of the water treatment system owned by Portsmouth Water, showing how safe water is produced. The site is a wonderful wildlife refuge close to Southampton Airport, the M3 and the River Itchen. Quiet because much of the operation is automatic so the staffing is low, the whole area is sensitively managed with wildlife very much in mind.

The water is initially pumped into an open storage reservoir which can hold up to 135 million litres. Water from the reservoir is then dosed with chemicals in the ‘clarification stage’ of the treatment process where most of the smaller particles ‘settle out’. Any remaining particles, as well as tastes, odours and other chemicals are removed in the ‘filtration stage’ before chlorine is added to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of the treated water leaving the works.

The old settlement lagoon is neck deep in vegetation and has one of Graham Roberst otter holts - in use!

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The Tortoise Garden - should it close?

this is a splendid sanctuary for long-term pet tortoises but this week they were served a notice instructing them to close to the public

The Tortoise Garden rescues long term pets often when their owners have died or simply become too old to look after them.

To raise money the site is open to the public who are encouraged to donate. Allowing the public in, with or without donation, brings them under the definition of a zoo.

'The definition of a zoo under the ZLA is 'an establishment where wild animals (animals not normally domesticated in Great Britain) are kept for exhibition to
the public (otherwise than for the purposes of a circus and otherwise than in a petshop) with or without charge for seven or more days a year.'

DEFRA control the interpretation of this, the local authority is forced to work within the definitions.

The Tortoise garden is displaying an animal which the law says is 'not normally domesticated in GB', - ie. the tortoise. The tortoise is a nice tractable animal which can be kept in domestic circmstances relatively easily but it has not been changed to make it more domesticated. DEFRA does not view tortoises as domesticated and therefore displaying them makes a sanctuary a zoo.

The Tortoise Garden is doing valuable welfare rescue work - taking in tortoises from various welfare societies and from private indviduals no longer able to cope.

Please write to your MP to challenge this. Only DEFRA can change this interpretation.

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Visiting Laverstoke Park farm

We had a Vetark outing to the Farm to Fork Festival at Laverstoke Farm Park, ex-F1-racing driver Jody Scheckter has established and driven forward a superb organic farm. Working with buffalo to produce organic mozzarella here in UK, buffalo also make good burgers - the steaks looked great but we should have marinaded them, shame nobody suggested it! The milk and the ice cream are fantastic though, higher fat but healthier fat!

One fascinating item was the buffalo backscratcher, like the ones being used in large dairy units and probably worth investigating in some zoos (although the cost is probably horrific). The animals were queing up to use it to get to just that spot....

It would be great to see them developing the organic wine standards as well, this is holding back development of some superb wines such as those from Danebury Vineyards.

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BVZS Visit Port Lympne April 2011

Even better than last time!

BVZS had a very well attended meeting at Port Lympne near Ashford in Kent. Professor John Cooper introduced Plenary Speaker Dr.Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka who has done so much pioneering work in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Uganda. She is now working with Conservation through Public Health - working with villagers who interact with gorillas to minimise disease transfer in either way. Dr.Gladys was an inspirational speaker.
See www.wcs-ahead.org/bios/bio_kalemazikusoka.html.

The rest of the meeting was terrific covering a huge range of topics in the wonderful setting of Port Lympne. This was a standout meeting in a superb setting, the work the zoo is doing breeding and reintroducing gorillas is fantastic.

Vetark is a main sponsor of BVZS and was very pleased to be involved.

This great group celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, with this meeting and one in Cheshire in November, see www.bvzs.org

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BSAVA 2011, a great conference

apparently delegate numbers up 16%

We had a good time with the new stand, giving us a new look! We also launched a load of new products:

Avi-Sol  liquid vitamins for poultry
Avi-Tonic  liquid tonic for the drinking water of ex battery birds, or tired layers etc
Liiquid electrolyte, for the drinking water of birds with diarrhoea, suffering from heat stress or other issues

SoluVerm a water soluble piperazine wormer for rabbits, guinea pigs and other rodent, ferrets, pigeons and cage birds

PLUS - a range of licensed medicines for pond fish:
Protoban - our formalin & malachite green solution for treatment of protozoal infections such as Costia or wwhite spot
Fluke-Solve an exciting new product for treatment of fluke or tapeworm infections
Lice-Solve a solubilised preparation for elimination of fish lice (Argulus), anchor worm or Ergasilus
Chloramine T veterinary, for treatment of bacterial disease

And Tamodine, a medicinal wound dressing for fish

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pdsa announce ground breaking report

On 2nd March the pdsa have announced a groundbreaking report into the wellbeing of pets in UK. This is in response to CAWC and others identifying the desperate need for surveillance data on this topic. The pdsa have taken the impressive step of involving pollsters YouGov who took veterinary advice to prepare questions which generated the data.

The report was announced at a reception at the Royal Society to add appropriate gravitas and was very well attended.

It can be downloaded from www.pdsa.org.uk and is much recommended. Here are headlines on rabbits.

 

PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report - Rabbits

  • The current UK pet rabbit population is around 1.6 million
  • The main reason given for getting a rabbit is 'that the children wanted one'
  • The average lifetime cost for a rabbit is around £9,000.
  • 44% of rabbit owners are familiar with the Animal Welfare Act

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Rabbits prefer to drink from open dishes

Report in the Veterinary Record, Feb 19. 2011

 Vets at the University of Zurich have looked at dwarf rabbits and how they prefer to drink. They showed a clear preference to drink from open dishes rather than the commonly used nipple drinkers, and in particular any rabbits which may be 'compromised' by urinary disease should have water provided this way. Interestingly even rabbits which were used to nipple drinkers preferred the dishes.

Even short term water depravation reduced food intake, so the impact of rabbits not drinking optimally is of potentially great importance.

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British Veterinary Zoological Society Nov 2010

Another excellent meeting, held at the Village Hotel Dudley.

We''ve been attending the BVZS meetings since long before Vetark began, Peter joined in the 70's and has only missed a handful of meetings since. In those days the meetings sometimes had 20 people present, this one had almost 200 including students. The quality of the papers and of the chat in the bar is exceeded only by the friendliness of the members.

This meeting was themed on avian medicine and so was of special interest, student Julia Henken won the Vetark Student prize for best student paper for a very good review of 'Marek's disease in backyard poultry'.She received her certificate and prize among considerable banter at the end of a really enjoyable meeting.

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Reptile Roadshow 2010

Vetark was pleased to sponsor this excellent day

Reptile welfare first came to the Manchester RSPCA’s attention in late 2008/early 2009 when the RSPCA inspectorate working in the Manchester & Salford area investigated several cases involving reptiles.
The branch had by now established a programme of animal welfare promotion, mainly involving the delivery of free pet health clinics to communities that did not have easy access to veterinary services whether that be through geographical or financial restrictions. Rarely were reptiles seen at these clinics despite always having (and advertising) the presence of an exotic vet specialist.
When the branch secured a grant from the national RSPCA to deliver ten pet health clinics during 2010 the idea of trialling a Reptile Roadshow came to mind. The branch had long been running very successful specialist Rabbit and Guinea Pig Roadshows and so the hope was that an event specifically for reptiles might reach these creatures and their owners and offer a wealth of advice and support to all.

The had expert help on the day fromenvironmentalist and conservationist Crocodile Joe (www.crocodilesjoes.com) , tortoise expert and welfarist Debs Glanville, trainee exotic vet Sarah Pellet and one of the most prominent exotic vets in the country, Molly Varga.

This was a great bridge builder. Relations between reptile keepers and RSPCA have not been of the highest and it was excellnt to see such an enlightened approach.

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Great show!

The London Championship Show was held in Reading again on the 4th & 5th September. We had an interesting two days watching the judging and a fascinating time watching the rabbit show jumping, we had a busy time on the stand and received lots of positive comments abot Avipro, ProC and Critical Care Formula.

Have a look at www.rabbitjumpinguk.moonfruit.com for information about this hobby in the UK - its big in Sweden and the USA!

Photo courtesy of eternalphotography.

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Where do domestic cats come from?

An interesting question, asked and answered in Veterinary Practice Sept 2010. Current evidence shows that domestic cats derive fom Eurasian cats, possibly with migrations to and from America via the Bering land bridge. African cats share an ancestor with the domestic cat, but are not themselves ancestors.

Johnson, W.E et al (2006) the late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: a genetic assessment. Science 311: 73-77
Driscoll, C.A et al (2007) The Near Eastern origin of cat domestication. Science 3017: 519-523.
 these are both available via the RCVS library
 

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Identify wildlife

There is an interesting website being developed by the Open University to help people identify British Wildlife which they may have seen. You can upload pics etc.

Visit www.ispot.org.uk

iSpot is provided by The Open University as part of the OPAL project, which is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

Don't forget about the fanatastic site and associated magazine produced by the BBC at www.bbcwildlifemagazine.com

 

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Rabbits: Health and Management

WIN responded to the results of a survey taken from the UK colleges and universities offering animal care courses looking for more scientific information on rabbits & lagomorphs.

Wildlife Information Network (WIN) has researched and now published its much acclaimed CD-ROM "Rabbits: Health and Management".

This publication covers all aspects of lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, pikas, and the domestic breeds). There are specific sections for veterinary nurses, FAQs, and even information for children wanting to keep a pet bunny. "It is probably the most comprehensive collation of information on this subject", said Iain Boardman, CE of WIN, "and like all Wildpro volumes, it is heavily referenced back to source documents". This makes it very valuable to the vet and informative to everyone else.

WIN also have other fascinating collections, including:
Hedgehogs: Health and Management (Erinaceus europaeus)
Oiled Wildlife Response (with particular reference to the River Thames)
Waterfowl: Health and Management   
Wildlife: First Aid and Care   
Elephants: Diseases & Treatment

Vetark Professional are proud to be among the sponsors of the Rabbit volume.

For more info or to buy the disks, visit www.wildlifeinformation.org/Default.htm

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RWAF meeting in Bury 21st May 2010

 As usual a very good meeting, excellent lectures from Sharon Redrobe, Richard Saunders, Molly Varga, Anna Meredith and Brigitte Reusch. They worked hard speaking to two lecture streams through the day, one of owners and the other for vets and nurses.

This is a must-do meeting now for serious rabbit people. the Village Hotels provide very good facilities (apart from the lack or air-conditioning in the bedrooms - it was very hot). The steaks were superb!

These meetings are important in generating funds for the RWAF to distribute and put into rabbit-benefiting research etc. Funding the studentships is a great way of increasing knowledge.

To learn more go to www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/

 

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British Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Foundation

At the annual British Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Foundation (BVA AWF) Discussion Forum (Monday 17th May) delegates voted for the most
important animal welfare priorities, which the new Defra ministerial team should focus on.
Delegates were asked ‘What would you ask the new Defra Minister?’ and the
top three welfare issues chosen were:
1. exotic pets – the lack of understanding about their care needs, the abandonment of fashionable pets, and the disease risk of importing  exotics to the UK,
2. welfare education and labelling information – the need for  impartial expert information for consumers on farm animal welfare, as well as food and farming education in schools
3. welfare surveillance and prioritisation – the need for a welfare  surveillance system that will allow the Government to better prioritise welfare issues.

This was all very well but the exotic point. No.1 was based on smear rather than factual information and the Chairman brushed aside a suggestion that some proper data be gathered on the basis that 'asking for data is often a way of delaying'. This strikes a blow against evidence based decisions! Fortunately data gathering should be part of priority 3!

There was a somewhat uncomfortable feeling that the issues of massive lameness problems in dairy cattle, tail biting in pigs and broiler hunger in chickens - all food species, could perhaps be pushed aside for these more 'important' issues that strangely didn't mention them except to gather data (perhaps thats what the Chair had in mind?). Strange that BVA is predominantly large animal based...

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You need to get the right licenses to walk your pig!

There are extra legal requirements placed on people keeping pet pigs beyond those of dog owners etc! If you keep a pig - even mini-pigs or kune kune etc you need a CPH (County Parish Holding) number for the premises where the pig lives. Also you need to log the route of any planned walks with the Animal  He Divisional Office (any other movements require a movement license.

PLUS feeding of waste products containing animal protein is forbidden - this means no waste from the human table! This is important, it helps protect the national pig herd.

see Bown,P 2010 Vet Record May 15, page 631. The Pig Veterinary Society opposes the keeping of pigs as pets.

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Rabbit Welfare Fund 2010 Conference

The Rabbit Welfare Fund 2010 Conference will be held at the Village Hotel, Bury,Manchester – on Saturday 22nd May 2010.

Once again the conference will comprise two series of lectures. One series will be for veterinary professionals (veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and students) and the other for rabbit owners, rescue workers, animal care assistants, and is open to anyone with an interest in rabbits.

Go to the RWAF new page for info

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Wild bird care in the garden

A scientific look at large scale, do-it-yourself, wildlife management conference held on 4th May 2010

This was a really interesting symposium held at the Zoological Society of London, organised by UFAW it brought speakers together from UK, Canada and Australia. 

Darryl Jones from Oz was fascinating especially on some of the wider issues associated with bird feeding, and Spencer Greenwood reported on work in Prince Edward Island, Canada, Becki Lawson reported on Trichomonas here.

It gave many of the experts chance to speak face to face and I think that a lot of good stuff will come out of the meeting.

To learn more about the meeting and see abstracts (and possibly outcomes) go to the link below.

http://www.ufaw.org.uk/wildbirdcareinthegarden.php

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Fish Veterinary Society

The April 2010 meeting in Edinburgh will go on despite the Volcanic cloud! The majority of members who are attending this interesting meeting are driveable distances away and the Council has local members who will run the meeting.

Members are encouraged to visit the FVS website at http://www.fishvetsociety.org.uk/

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BVZS have excellent meetings

We have been involved with BVZS since Peter was a vet student - in about 1974! He has held most posts on Council at one time or another including Secretary and President. They hold two good meetings a year, held in hotels but close to zoos for visiting.

The next meeting is Paignton in April 2010, then:

BVZS Autumn meeting November 6th-7th 2010
Theme "Avian Medicine & Surgery" To be held at Dudley Zoo

then the big 50th:
a 3 day Conference from November 11-14th. The theme will be "Recent Advances in non-domestic Animal Medicine"

We seriously recommend joining BVZS, we have been major sponsors for years, it gives an opportunity for the vets dealing with all sorts of 'exotic animals' to get together and talk.

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It was great to be at BSAVA 2010

thanks for visiting!

This was our umpteenth time attending BSAVA (about 18 years), its always a terrific meeting. Peter gets chance to meet old friends from vet school and other 'exotic' vets, and generally we get to talk to various Vetark fans.

Peter was really pleased to listen to Dr.Doug Maders reptile session, Dr.Mader unlike some foreign speakers made a real effort to see what was available in UK. It was exciting to welcome him on our stand, his contribution to reptile medicine via his book alone is awesome. His statement 'If the mouth works, then use it' has real resonance, this has always been our view

We usually get good exposure via the lectures as our products are widely used and so feature in lectures/treatment/health plans. This time our stand (number 101) was close to the Guinness bar - which saved our legs!

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Salmonellosis in garden birds

A review of Salmonella outbreaks in Scotland over 13 years from 1995-2008 in April 3rd 2010 Veterinary Record

This fascinating study showed some differences in birds affected by outbreaks of Salmonella in different parts of Scotland.

Over the whole country this is a disease of finches (greenfinches, chgaffinches, goldfinches and siskins) but in the south of Scotland house sparrows are also affected. Most outbreaks are during the winter months with greenfinches being affect worst in Jan/Feb.

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Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians

this is fantastic value

 I just updated my subscription to this organisation. Its really great value, it includes a hard copy of Journal of Exotic pet Medicine (which replaced Seminars in Avian & Exotic Pet Practice

But even better it includes electronic access to this journal and to:

Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Practice by Saunders

Exotic Pet Practice by Mosby

Download and file the pdf's. 

Details are on the website below.

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London Wetland Centre

Love London Recycled Sculpture Show

Get along to the WWT London Wetlands Centre at Barnes. they have the 'Love London Recycled Sculpture Show' going on until April. Some really clever scultures, plus one or two fairly odd ones.

There is also a new bat building to encourage the pipistrelles and Daubentons to roost on site, this somewhat controversial looking building perhaps was dictated more by the arts grant that paid for it than the conservation needs of the bats - but since they only come out when its dim light they probably won't mind!

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BTO 2009 survey encouraging

The BTO have operated a survey scheme looking at the same sites for several years to get a better assessement of bird numbers and breeding success. Although adult numbers of some species are down the juvenile count is up and productivity is up. Many species have suffered over the past two wet summers but productivity was much improved this year, with significant increases for 18 of the 25 species monitored. The real winners were some of the finch species, for which productivity was up by 70% or more!

Adult numbers
18 species showed a decline vs 2008 (this is a consequence of the previous two poor breeding seasons)
Significant decline for Robin, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Linnet
Lowest ever adult numbers for Blue Tit and Linnet
Significant increase only for Whitethroat and Bullfinch

Productivity
Significant increases (vs 2008) for 18 species
Significant increases (vs long-term) for 15 species
Highest ever productivity for Reed Warbler and Chaffinch
Significant decrease only for Willow Tit (and lowest ever)

The BTO does a great job, support them!

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Veterinary History Society

The Vet History Society had a fascinating meeting at the RCVS on 25th Nov 2009.

The meeting began with Abigail Wood MRCVS who looked at the activities and social role of the vet in the 19th Century - where we came from.

The highlight was 'A Conversation with Mary Brancker CBE, FRCVS' who told members about her 70 years in the veterinary profession. Working with the Steele-Bodger practice (which gave temporary housing to the RCVS during the war). She complemented male vets in their attitude to women graduates, which she felt was always ahead of the medical and legal professions. Mary also told the meeting about the early days of zoo medicine when she worked with the women who established Twycross Zoo. She also outlined her involvement in fish medicine and her role in establishing the Unit at Stirling University which became the world renouned Institute of Aquaculture. Mary felt that antibiotics had made the difference to veterinary work over her time, that when she began it was 'brute force and bloody ignorance'.

Philip Ryder-Davies followed in the afternoon with a fascinating trail of clinical cases seen at a range of zoos through many years involvement in zoo and circus medicine.

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Rotavirus in red squirrels in Scotland

Interesting paper by Everest et al in Vet Record Oct 10, 2009

Reporting what is believed to be the first confirmed identifications of rotavirus in red squirrels. Its already been reported to be present in greys based on serology and this was a retrospective study looking at animals with enteropathies (diarrhoea and intussusception).

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EIG disbanded

The England Implementation Group has been judged by the Minister to have completed what he saw as its prime purpose of taking RCS to the point that a new body can form to take this on. Despite the Eves report which recommended re-tasking the EIG and allowing them to continue work in other areas such as developing the various sector councils the EIG will cease at the final meeting on 24th Sept 2009. 

Vetarks MD Peter Scott has led the companion animal work in the EIG and this will continue with Peter liaising between the various sub-sector groups and the Chief Veterinary Officer who has taken over the EIG role of developing the sector councils.

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parrot society show

11th Oct 2009

We attended this show again, for something like the 17th time. Its great to see such a lot of interest remaining in the hobby and help with the work the Parrot Society has been doing to improve welfare for pet birds.

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