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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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This year's WAAVP conference might look a little different!

International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) 2021

International Conference of the World Association of Veterinary Parasitology 2021 The World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) holds an international conference every two years. There, scientists from around the world present the most recent developments in veterinary parasitology. However, with the trials presented by COVID-19, this year’s conference will be fully virtual. What is the WAAVP? The WAAVP is a non-profit organisation of scientists who study diverse aspects of veterinary parasitology. It is the largest such organisation…

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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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Great British Beef Week: Sustainability in the Beef Industry

Great British Beef Week: Sustainability in the Beef Industry This week is Great British Beef Week. Originally started by the Ladies in Beef, a grassroots agricultural collective, this year marks the 11th celebration of British beef. While last year’s celebrations were greatly curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year, the focus is on sustainability in the beef industry. What is the problem? When assessing sustainability in an agricultural industry, there are three main areas that are usually focussed on. These…

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What is a Notifiable Disease in Animal Health?

What is a Notifiable Disease in Animal Health? In some of our recent articles, we’ve discussed various notifiable diseases like bluetongue, foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, and sheep scab. But what exactly is a notifiable disease and what do you have to do if you suspect one? What is a notifiable disease? Simply put, a notifiable disease is disease which, if suspected or confirmed, by law must be reported to an appropriate authority. In the UK, this is the Animal and…

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