Combating Resistance: How Are New Treatments Discovered?

Previously we’ve touched on the increasing threat of both anthelmintic and antibiotic resistance. Across the world, anti-microbial chemicals are an absolutely vital part of life, from medical and veterinary care, to agriculture and pest management. However, the more we use these chemicals, the more likely their targets are to develop resistance.

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The Domestication of Cattle

Cattle were some of the earliest results of domestication by humans. Genetic and archaeological records show that this may have begun as early as around 10,500 years ago. Aurochs (Bos taurus primigenius) were large wild bovines which ranged across the grasslands and forests of Eurasia and northern Africa. Ancient people gradually domesticated these animals and eventually this resulted in the modern cattle we know today.

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Parasite Spotlight: Haemonchus contortus, the Barber’s Pole Worm

Parasite Spotlight: Haemonchus contortus, the Barber’s Pole Worm From endoparasites like liver fluke and Toxoplasma, to ectoparasites, like ticks and mites, controlling parasites is a routine part of livestock farming. While the vast majority of animals carry some parasites, some species are much more dangerous than others. Whilst a low level of infection might be asymptomatic, when there are lots of parasites in an animal’s system, it can cause problems. One of these worms is the Barber’s Pole Worm, Haemonchus contortus.…

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What is African Swine Fever and Why is it Such a Problem?

What is African Swine Fever and Why is it Such a Problem? Recently African Swine Fever made headlines as health officials confirmed the first cases in domestic pigs in Germany. Previously, although the virus was present in wild boar populations, it had yet to make the jump to farmed pigs. While the virus was first identified in Kenya in the 1920s, since then, it has spread across many countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. What is African Swine Fever? African…

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The One Health Model

The One Health Model Veterinary organisations and practitioners around the world have been proponents of the One Health model for many years. It combines human, animals and environmental aspects to address global health challenges. This approach has spread to human medicine in more recent years, and is particularly relevant in combating zoonotic diseases. A disease is called zoonotic when it can move between animals and humans. While some diseases, like toxoplasmosis, can be very mild, others, like rabies, can be…

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Broilers: Slow and Steady Wins the Race?

Broilers: Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Recently, M&S has become the first UK retailer to commit to removing all fast-growing broiler chickens from their supply lines. In the next 12 months, all fresh chicken products will be sourced from slow-growing breeds. Processed chicken products, for example those in ready-made sandwiches or meals, will be sourced from slow-growing broilers by 2026. This announcement comes at a time when animal welfare is very much in the public eye with the launch…

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Scratching can be a sign that an animal has fleas.

Fleas: A Worldwide Pest

Fleas: A Worldwide Pest When we think of fleas, we usually think of pets. Cats and dogs can regularly be seen scratching because of these tiny parasites, and preventing or checking for them is a regular part of pet care. But fleas can bother livestock animals too. With over 2,500 species, fleas are diverse and worldwide pests. On top of that, they can carry a host of diseases. Historically, rat fleas were responsible for the spread of bubonic plague across…

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Personal hygiene and hand washing

Biosecurity on the Farm: The Basics

Biosecurity on the Farm: The Basics What is biosecurity and why does it matter? With the COVID-19 pandemic first and foremost in our minds, disease spread is currently a hot topic. Managing the risks of disease and preventing transfer, however, has been part of agricultural life for many decades. Simply put, biosecurity is the prevention of disease or contamination through practical measures. These can be anything from making sure you always wash your hands properly, to using foot dips and…

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Dogs and Livestock: The Problem of Parasites

Dogs and Livestock: The Problem of Parasites Dogs have been part of the agricultural community for thousands of years. While the exact date of domestication is under a lot of academic debate, common consensus states that dogs have been our companions for at least 20,000 years. From herding livestock to guarding flocks, dogs are still vital members of agricultural communities. On the other hand, having dogs around increases the risk of some parasite infections. So what are the main parasites…

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Set a Wasp to Catch a Fly: Nuisance Flies and Biological Control

Set a Wasp to Catch a Fly: Nuisance Flies and Biological Control With spring firmly settled in, and the grass finally starting to grow, fly season is fast approaching. While flies and midges are expected when dealing with livestock, too many can cause significant problems. Here we take a look at a few of the management option available, from chemical treatments to biological control. The problems flies cause In the UK, the main flies which bother livestock are house, stable,…

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