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Rabbit Behaviour: the good, the bad and the ugly

Anne McBride

Anne McBride will discuss Rabbit Behaviour: the good, the bad and the ugly. It is estimated that the current UK domestic rabbit population is around 3 million, of which approximately 30% are farm / breeding stock, 20% are laboratory animals. Estimates of the number of rabbits kept as pets in the UK have remained stable over the last few years of between and 1.5 million. Yet of these, 67,000 are estimated to be given up to rescue annually, commonly within the first 6 months of being acquired. Many more will be effectively abandoned, fed, watered and given clean accommodation but otherwise interacted with infrequently and likely therefore to have less than optimal welfare and likely to die young. A recent survey in the UK of 830 owners gave a mean lifespan of 5.6 (+/- 0.1) years. Given the lifespan of a rabbit is 8-10 years, clearly something is going wrong. Whilst this talk will be focussed primarily on companion rabbits, much will be relevant to those kept for other purposes; be that for breeding, show, as laboratory models or farmed. First will be an overview of what is known about who buys pet rabbits and their expectations are of owning such a pet rabbit. It will consider how rabbits are currently kept in the UK and how this does or does not meet their needs. In particular the role of husbandry and management in the prevention and development of problem behaviour will be discussed and how keepers can be motivated to adopt more appropriate practice. Some common behaviour problems will be considered in more detail and practical steps that veterinary practice can take in preventing, detecting, diagnosing and, potentially, advising upon behaviour modification strategies aimed resolution will be provided.

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A practical approach to canine dermatology- a case based discussion

Peter Forsythe

A practical approach to canine dermatology- a case based discussion by Peter Forsythe.

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I’m a vet – why am I not more successful?

Alan Robinson

What makes us vets? What determines whether we are a ‘Good Vet’ or a ‘Successful Vet’. Our success or otherwise is determined by our inner scripts and self-talk, often defined as ‘limiting beliefs’. So what are the common and ubiquitous beliefs that we, as vets, bring into the profession and carry with us that determine our success or otherwise. What is it about money, success and commercialism that induces so much fear, guilt and obligation in us? New research on ‘Veterinary Identity’ shows us Who we are and more importantly, Why we are.

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Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in the Dog and Cat

Brendan Corcoran

Brendan Corcoran will discuss Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in the Dog and Cat. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a relatively rare disease of dogs and cats, but is the most common readily identified fibrotic lung disease of both species. In dogs it is predominantly recognise in West Highland white terriers, but can be seen in any breed of cat. While diagnosis would ideally be based on lung biopsy, this is rarely achievable and so high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is the best method of achieving a reasonably strong tentative diagnosis. That said, there are less expensive approaches used in general practice that can help in achieving diagnosis. This talk will review the natural history, diagnosis and the limited treatment options of IPF in dogs and cats. Professor Corcoran graduated from the Veterinary College of Ireland in 1981, and after a period in practice in the USA and London joined the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the University of Edinburgh as a lecturer in 1986. He has subsequently held posts as a Wellcome Research Leave Fellow, Director of the Hospital for Small Animals and Head of Companion Animal Sciences at Edinburgh. He was awarded a Personal Chair in Veterinary Cardiopulmonary Medicine in 2006 and is currently Deputy Head of School at the R(D)SVS. His clinical and research interests are in respiratory medicine and cardiology, particularly Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease.

Rabbit Paediatrics: start as you mean to go on

Molly Varga

Molly Varga will discuss Rabbit Paediatrics: start as you mean to go on.

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OMG, AMR, WOE…! Oh My Goodness, Antimicrobial Resistance, What on Earth has it got to do with me?

David Barrett & Amy Jackson

What does communication have to do with AMR?

If I was a member of the public, right now I might well be asking what the industry is doing about the issue of antibiotic resistance on-farm. After all, a major report (Antimicrobials in Agriculture and the Environment, December 2015) published by a Government task force states antibiotic use in animals equals if not exceeds human use; global consumption of antibiotics in agriculture will increase by two-thirds between 2010 and 2030; and a bacterial gene conferring resistance to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort, has recently been discovered. If I turned to the internet for more information, I would be horrified by the soundbites from an A-list of environmental lobbyists and pressure groups about overuse of antibiotics, factory farming and poor practice. That’s why communication is critical. The British public is being bombarded daily by messages that range from hints to accusations that its farming industry is shirking a responsibility to cut antibiotic use. By comparison, the industry itself appears ominously quiet. This presents a classic reputational issue which has less to do with fact and more to do with perception. The decommissioning of Brent Spar, bird flu at Bernard Matthews, salmonella in Cadbury’s chocolate and benzene in Perrier are well-documented cases of poorly managed issues that blew up into full crises – with serious economic and social after-effects. Whatever the industry is doing to use antibiotics more responsibly will have little impact if it’s not clearly communicated in a way that shows the required accountability, desire to change, targets, and action. For example, the government report I mentioned previously explains what a good job other countries are doing. Denmark has combined low antibiotic use with being one of the largest exporters of pork in the world. And from 2007 to 2012, antibiotic sales to Dutch livestock farms decreased 56 percent without “any reduction in production or profits”. There may be nuanced rumblings within the industry around original usage levels or impacts on welfare, but the headline is what’s remembered by the public. Similarly, as the US is congratulated for upcoming restrictions that will make it illegal for medically-important antibiotics to be used as growth promoters, the public is largely unaware that growth promoters have been banned in the EU for 10 years. It’s the clear, repeatable, action-oriented headline that wins. We have much to learn from these approaches – and those of the NGOs that batter the industry on this issue. We have an issue we aren’t dealing with: a perception that the UK farming industry is not taking this matter seriously, not accepting any responsibility, and not doing anything to address it. So what to do? Define some clear communicable targets. Work together – there’s too much fragmented activity. Adjust our tone and message to be proactive not evasive. Act, engage and secure our share of voice. We can turn this around, but not unless we get off the fence and engage in the debate.

Amy has been involved in the farming industry for most of her life, spending school holidays lambing and milking then going on to study agriculture at SAC and University of Aberdeen. She made the move into public relations 18 years ago, working with a number of agricultural businesses then mainstream clients including Cadbury, Gillette, Lafarge and Toyota before setting up her own communications consultancy, Oxtale, in 2008. Specialising in crisis and reputation management, Amy has developed communications strategies around issues as diverse as organophosphate insecticides, horsemeat contamination, international product recalls and end-of-life care. However, her first love remains farming, and after becoming involved in the Nocton Dairies project in 2011, she decided to investigate the lack of fact surrounding the debate about large scale farming more thoroughly through a Nuffield scholarship entitled ‘Can we Learn to Love the Megadairy?’. Since then, one of her goals has been to separate fact from fiction about intensification of agriculture as these debates continue, encourage the industry to communicate more effectively with communities and the public, and to better familiarise consumers with modern farming systems. Amy’s business, Oxtale (, is a specialist communications consultancy which aims to help agricultural, environmental and industrial organisations handle issues and build better relationships with their most important stakeholders.

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Non-Effusive (Dry) FIP Diagnosis

Dr Diane Addie

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a huge diagnostic challenge because of the enormous variety of clinical signs with which the cat can present. In this second of a two-part webinar series the diagnosis of non-effusive FIP will be covered. In my opinion, FCoV antibody testing is recommended in any PUO cat you see, just as you currently routinely screen for FeLV and FIV. In the effusive FIP lecture, we saw that FCoV antibody tests could be falsely negative if used on an effusion rich in virus: this is not a problem in non-effusive FIP, which is the more chronic form of the disease than effusive, with less virus (and fewer lesions). Thus in suspected dry FIP cases we are looking for a FCoV negative antibody test to RULE OUT FIP. However, it is ESSENTIAL to use a test with excellent sensitivity, and some tests have deplorable sensitivity (some tests will be discussed: the best in-house tests are Biogal’s Immunocomb and Virbac’s Speed F-Corona RIM). A FCoV antibody positive result does NOT equate with a diagnosis of FIP, only that FIP remains as a differential diagnosis. Cats who are clinically healthy, but are FCoV seropositive, DO NOT HAVE DRY FIP! Even if the test is called a FIP test: in reality it is a test for FCoV antibody or RNA. Your clinical examination can further rule out or in a diagnosis of dry FIP by a thorough examination of the eyes, searching for evidence of uveitis (e.g aqueous or vitreous flare, iris discolouration, anisocoria, keratic precipitates), or retinal vessel cuffing. Abdominal palpation may reveal enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes and possibly enlarged kidneys (whereas in infectious anaemia – a major differential – palpation will reveal an enlarged spleen). Haematology usually reveals anaemia (Hct/PCR <30%), and, in around a third of cats, lymphopenia. Biochemistry reveals hyperglobulinaemia and often raised bilirubin (as Tsai et al showed, rising bilirubin is a poor prognostic sign). The acute phase protein, alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP) is useful for differentiating FIP from non-infection based similar presenting conditions, e.g. cancer, hyperthyroidism, chronic renal disease, but not from conditions caused by e.g. bacteria. FIP treatment will not be covered in this lecture, please visit the website for information. It is recommended that you prepare for this lecture by watching the YouTube video called “Does Pancho Have FIP?” which works through the FIP diagnostic algorithm: The lecture contains a spoiler so it really is best to do the video first. Please also have a print out of the latest catvirus algorithm (which Webinarvet will provide): it has been changed slightly since December in light of some recent information. Diane D. Addie is a veterinary virologist whose PhD and subsequent main focus of research is on the subject of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). She is former head of diagnostic virology at the University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Veterinary Diagnostic Services, and still acts as consultant there. Now self-employed, she is an independent researcher, holding no shares or directorships in any veterinary or pet food company. She is a member of the European Advisory Board of Cat Disease (ABCD), although ABCD meetings are sponsored by Merial, ABCD members receive no remuneration for their ABCD work and fiercely guard their independence of their sponsors. Diane’s website is, it is dedicated to making FIP, feline chronic gingivostomatitis and other difficult to source information freely available to veterinarians and to educate the public. Her YouTube channel is Dr Diane D Addie and she can be found on Facebook as Diane Addie (the cat virus logo is the photo) and followed on Twitter @FIPvet. She is author of many papers published in refereed journals; veterinary textbook chapters and the book for cat guardians ‘Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Coronavirus’ available from Amazon or

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Acquired Ophthalmic Diseases of Paediatric & Geriatric Patients

David Williams

David Williams will discuss Acquired Ophthalmic Diseases of Paediatric & Geriatric Patients.

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The Vet Futures Project

Bradley Viner and Sean Wensley

In this webinar, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) President Bradley Viner and British Veterinary Association (BVA) President Sean Wensley will discuss the Vet Futures project. Vet Futures began at London Vet Show 2014 when the RCVS and BVA joined forces to embark on an ambitious project to help the veterinary profession prepare for and shape its own future. Over the last 12 months the project has undertaken extensive research with veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, members of the wider veterinary team, pet owners, key stakeholders, and the general public. At every step of the journey we have reached out to the veterinary profession through news, guest blogs, polls, surveys, and roadshow events to capture the issues of today and start to think about the issues for the future. From that feedback from vets, nurses and stakeholders, alongside research and evidence, six major themes have emerged. The Vet Futures report sets out clear ambitions and recommendations under each theme: animal health and welfare; veterinary professionals’ wider roles in society; health and wellbeing; diverse and rewarding careers; sustainable businesses and user-focused services; and leadership. Bradley and Sean will discuss the project in detail, and explain how the six themes will be explored over the course of 2016.

Sean grew up exploring the sand dunes and pinewoods of the Sefton Coast, where he developed a passion for wildlife and the natural world. During his time as a veterinary student at the University of Liverpool he became increasingly interested in how man relates to the natural environment and other species, including those we elect to keep and use for human benefit.
He received an undergraduate scholarship from the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) to undertake a research project on the welfare of caged pet birds and this sparked his interest in animal welfare science and led to him studying for a Masters degree in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at Edinburgh Veterinary School.

He went on to work as a companion animal general practitioner, including in a companion animal and exotics veterinary practice, before joining the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) as Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Communication and Education. Sean has maintained a keen professional interest in animal welfare during his career, serving as a trustee of the Animal Welfare Foundation, a member of the BVA Ethics and Welfare Group, and a committee member of the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) and the Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law Veterinary Association (AWSELVA). He is an Honorary Lecturer in Animal Welfare at the University of Nottingham.

Bradley Viner was made President of the RCVS in July 2015. Bradley qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in 1978 and after a year working as an assistant established his own small animal practice in Pinner, Middlesex. This has now grown to a group of five practices in North West London, employing approximately 40 support staff and nine veterinary surgeons, including his son, Oliver. He has been involved in a wide variety of media and PR work on radio, television, books and the press. He is best known within the veterinary profession for his regular ‘Reflections’ column in the Veterinary Times. His passion is for recognition of the skills required to become an advanced general practitioner, and to that end completed an MSc and then a Professional Doctorate with Middlesex University, concentrating on the application of clinical auditing to the veterinary profession.

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Practitioner’s Approach to Treating Skin Tumours in the Clinic

Neil Palmer