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Vet News – introducing some of our editors

NewspaperIt is difficult keeping up to date with everything that is topical and of relevance within the animal and veterinary sector, especially in this information-dense age in which we live. Its even harder when you’re trying to keep on top of it all and juggle exams, work experience placements and apply to vet school. That’s where the idea for Vet News came about and the role of Vet News Editors. These young writers-extraordinaire are committed to reviewing the news and to bringing you the very best, most interesting and relevant content each month so that you can remain informed without having to wade through the jungle of info out there. So, without further ado, our very first ‘My Foot In The Door’ Vet News Editors, complete with a short example of their fine work, are:

Pippa Lyon (Horses/ Equine News)

Another year, Another Grand National and after the deaths of two horses on the 4.5 mile steeplechase last year, Aintree introduced a series of new measures to improve the safety of this controversial race. The world famous Grand National has always been known for the challenge it provides for both horse and rider and is no doubt a thrilling spectacle to watch, however over the years its gained a dangerous reputation with rarely over half of the 40 that start the race, crossing the finish line.

This year Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Synchronised fell jumping the formidable Becher’s Brook on the first circuit and then negotiated several more fences before suffering a broken leg. According To Pete was brought down at Becher’s second time round and also had to be euthanized. The drop from iconic Becher’s brooke had been lowered this year but was still a huge 6ft 9ins. Pressure to remove some of these “killer fences” has led to further evaluation of the course and Aintree will be working this year to achieve the right balance of maintaining the highest standards of safety for the horses and participants yet keeping the excitement that the race provides for fans.

We await next year’s National too see if they’ve finally got it right.

Georgie Holliday (Zoo & Exotics News)

Vets at the Royal Veterinary College have become the first team in the UK to successfully remove the pituitary gland of a cat in order to treat feline acromegaly.

Acromegaly is a condition in which the pituitary gland secretes excess growth hormones, leading to slow growing tumours, which can grow for long periods of time before showing
clinical signs. The increased levels of growth hormones can also affect sugar and lipid metabolism and lead to diabetes mellitus. Although the surgical removal of the pituitary gland (or hypophysectomy, to give it its technical name) is a commonplace procedure in humans, the main option available to cats before now has been radiation therapy, which aims to kill the cells producing the excess hormones. The leader of the team, Stijn Niessen, said “The alternative treatment method of radiation therapy might well take too long to take effect and devastating neurological signs might occur due to the pressure
of the pituitary tumour on the surrounding brain. In such cases, hypophysectomy can make an instant difference in relieving that pressure.”

The technique could also be used for many other illnesses, such as Cushing’s disease (a
disease in which the pituitary gland releases too much adrenocorticotropic hormone) and non-functional pituitary tumours.

Ilakiya Guruswamy (Cat & Dog News)

An article was published recently on the MRCVS website highlighting the surge in the popularity of the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The Kennel Club’s Find a Puppy website has reported that since the start of the year, 8514 people have searched Corgi puppies, a rise of 37% for the Pembroke, and 59% for the Cardigan. This rise in popularity is thought to have been caused by the increased publicity of the royal family, in preparation for the Diamond Jubilee, as it has become well known that Corgis are HM the Queen’s favourite breed. All in all, this sounds great, as Corgis have been on the list of Native Vulnerable Breeds, and the Diamond Jubilee has raised awareness of them. However, reading this article brought to mind another article written years ago about the soaring rat sales after the release of the Pixar animation ‘Ratatouille’. The outcome was predictable. Rats were bought and after realising they are not all as cuddly as they seemed on the big screen, or as easy to look after, many were abandoned.

“This wouldn’t be the first time that Disney’s knack for cuddly anthropomorphism has created a glut of unwanted pets in the real world. When a live-action version of “101 Dalmations” was released in 1996, sales of the film’s namesake dog breed increased dramatically. But, the dogs’ sometimes testy temperament landed many of them back in animal shelters. And in 2003, Pixar’s animated film “Finding Nemo” caused a similar run on clown fish.”
-‘Rat Fad’ SpeigelOnline 11/13/2007

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is of course, in no way near the same league as Disney films, but anything in the media that causes hype, and an animal to become ‘fashionable’, should be treated with some caution. All of this makes publicity for animals sound like a bad thing, but it doesn’t have to be, if the husbandry required for said animal also gets the same publicity. And this is where vets come in.

Congratulations to our new Vet News Editors and I personally look forward to working with them to bring you interesting vetty news. If you are interested in becoming a Vet News Editor yourself then you can contact us via the My Foot In The Door website.