BVNA and Lantra co-operation

In addition to launching its review of the National Occupational Standards for the veterinary nursing profession, Lantra has signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the BVNA and itself. This strengthens the existing collaborative relationships between the two organisations and underpins a commitment to work together.

Commenting, BVNA senior vice president, Bonny Millar, says: “This agreement will help the BVNA to better understand the needs of veterinary nurses as a whole and I look forward to our continued work with Lantra." 

Pictured are (left) Lantra industry partnership manager, Lisa Jarvis, and Bonny Millar signing the Memorandum

Listed VNs and vetting-in at cat shows

All cat shows run by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) require every cat to be vetted in before being admitted to the show. Additionally, up-to- date vaccination certificates must be produced. Failure to do so means the cat may have awards withdrawn unless the vaccination certificate is sent to the GCCF office within seven days.

The vetting-in procedure involves screening checks for discharges, fleas, skin lesions and other obvious abnormalities and is analogous to routine examination many of us undertake in practice every day.

Until recently, all vetting-in had to be undertaken by veterinary surgeons. However, the requirements now permit the task to be undertaken by Listed Veterinary Nurses, provided the show duty vet – who has ultimate responsibility – is in agreement.

Vets give measured welcome to APGAW report

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have welcomed the recognition by a group of politicians that more must be done to tackle the health and welfare problems of pedigree dogs, but believe that non-pedigree dogs must not be overlooked and that puppy farming of both pedigree and non-pedigree dogs remains an enormous threat.

The BVA and BSAVA both gave evidence to the Associate Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare (APGAW) inquiry into the serious diseases and health problems suffered by pedigree dogs. The report,

'A Healthier Future for Pedigree Dogs' has been published and can be found at

AHT seeking samples from cancer dogs

More than 3,000 practices are being approached by the Animal Health Trust to submit samples taken from certain breeds of dog diagnosed with particular types of cancer.

Using the samples, the AHT’s oncology research group aims to develop prognostic tests for a number of different canine cancers. These tests will assist veterinary professionals in predicting how individual tumours will behave and respond to treatment. It means that each dog will be offered the best treatment for its individual case, ensuring that dogs which do not require aggressive therapy are spared the rigours and possible side effects associated with such a treatment.

The samples required are surplus small pieces of the biopsies taken from suspected tumours, which have been collected for diagnostic histopathology. Cheek swabs or blood samples that are surplus to those often collected by vets for standard clinical investigations are also required.

Samples will be submitted for research only and with the written consent of each dog owner They will aid with the AHT's research into inherited genetic defects. Researchers are trying to find out why certain pedigree dogs have an increased risk of developing specific cancers.

The AHT is part of a European research group working on the LUPA project, which in the long term aims to develop DNA tests to identify dogs that carry the mutations. This should enable breeders to alter their breeding strategies to reduce the numbers of dogs affected by particular cancers, and to help vets to carefully monitor individuals that have an increased risk of developing neoplastic conditions.

Further information is available from Mike Starkey on 01638 555603 or e-mail 

Ugandan Poultry Unit Enjoy VNJ

Before his death, Charlie Garratt, a vet from West Kilbride was instrumental in helping Joy Howell to build a poultry unit at one of the schools at Karangara, in south west Uganda. “During my trip with the Worldwide Vet Service in August 2008," says Joy,

“it was wonderful to see the unit up and running. I was delighted with the condition of the chickens and the whole unit. I have great hopes that this wonderful idea from Charlie will help the school towards self-sufficiency and the eggs will be a wonderful source of protein for the children.

Joy adds, They now have over 100 hens at the poultry unit and the staff were very happy to receive their September issue of the VNJ, which contained an article on keeping backyard chickens!" 

Eye problems and their diagnosis

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal health is running a challenge over the next few months to encourage the early diagnosis of keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), a painful disease, which leads to permanent blindness. Practices are being asked to perform a Schirmer Test (STT) on 50 dogs not previously diagnosed as having KCS, for the chance to win one of 70 Samsung digital cameras.

Recent studies have shown the incidence of KCS to be 4.6 per cent of the UK dog population, rising to 8.3 per cent in predisposed breeds. However, 20 veterinary practices have recently participated in an early diagnosis programme and the number confirmed with KCS was 9.7 per cent. Seventeen of the diagnosed cases had STT readings of zero.

As part of the early diagnosis programme, owners of predisposed breeds received a personalised mailing offering a free STT, and some practices also elected to test all breeds at routine consultations, such as vaccination. The tests were generally performed by veterinary nurses after they had received training, with the final diagnosis being confirmed by a veterinary surgeon.

For more information about KCS and support in implementing an early diagnosis programme, contact your local Intervet/Schering-Plough territory manager or telephone 01908 685685.

• VOL 25 • Nol • January 2010 • Veterinary Nursing Journal