It was standing room only at the new initiative launched by RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance) to encourage communication and education between veterinary surgeons, pharmacists and suitably qualified persons (SGPs). House full notices had gone round a week before and faxes were sent to warn against persons possibly arriving on spec. What was the attraction? It was a CPD programme entitled “Parasites in the Large and Small” aimed to provide a similar standard of education to all those who can dispense veterinary medicines in the legal category POM-VPS.
The local British Veterinary Association division, Shropshire Veterinary Association (SVA), arranged the event and invited pharmacists and SQPs to join them to enjoy an evening and hear three fascinating presentations on different aspects of the subject. About a third of those present came from veterinary practices with the rest mainly being made up of SQPs.
Tony Andrews, Director of RUMA said that the challenge had been laid down at the last Animal Health Distributors Association (AHDA) conference to find a way of getting the three professional groups to cooperate, understand and communicate better with each other. The point being that if all could work together and advise with one voice then it would encourage the more responsible use of medicines by farmers and other animal owners. This could not but be for the good of the health and welfare of animals.
Many attending had travelled distances of over a hundred miles to hear two world-renowned parasitologists talk. Introduced by John Blackwell (President of the British Cattle Veterinary Association) Professor Mike Taylor talked about “Sustainable Worm Control Strategies in Cattle”. Besides including the more usual problems of parasitic gatroenteritis (gutworms), parasitic bronchitis (lungworms) and liver fluke, he also talked about some new arrivals on these shores. One was a rumen fluke Paramphistomum which is quite small (1 cm) and found in the wall of the rumen and reticulum. Whilst these flkukes can cause severe signs and death in young calves, the numbers found in British cattle have been generally low and their significance has not been fully evaluated.
The second worm was a species of Toxocara usually seen in buffaloes and currently there was only limited knowledge about it and its life cycle. Thus Mike showed that we were much more familiar with the condition in dogs where it occurred widely and extrapolated from this to cattle. This lead nicely into Dr. Maggie Fisher’s talk on “Lice and Mange in Small Animals”. She was introduced by Erica Martin (President of SVA).
Maggie particularly talked about the chewing lice and three types of mange caused by Sarcoptes mites, Demodex and Otodectes spp. (ear mites). She explained the need to make a correct diagnosis because the signs might be quite similar, but not necessarily the treatment. She also launched at the meeting the ESCCAP (European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites UK Dog Worm Parasite Wheel. This was designed to provide to those dealing with dog owners information concerning the three types of parasitic worms (roundworms, lungworms and tapeworms) currently found in the UK.
The meeting was sponsored by Fort Dodge Animal Health and David Bartram from the company indicated “New Concepts for Eradicating Scab in Sheep”. He showed the horrendous problems which the sheep scab mite Psoroptes could cause often resulting in welfare issues. Then he indicated how it could be tackled with a long acting endecticide injection which, if administered correctly, would last longer than the life cycle on the host and longer than the time for those surviving off the sheep.
There then followed a lively question and answer session for the three speakers. The feedback questionnaire showed that all enjoyed the event and they wanted more meetings in the future. It looks as though RUMA is on to a winner.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- For further information contact Dr Tony Andrews at RUMA on 01438717900, or email email@example.com.
- RUMA (The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance) was set up in November 1997 to promote the highest standards of food safety, animal health and animal welfare in British livestock farming. It launched the original cattle guidelines in June 2000. Since that time the guidelines have been used as part of farm assurance schemes. There are also RUMA guidelines for the responsible use of antimicrobials in cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and fish. See www.ruma.org.uk for more information.
- RUMA is a non governmental non profit making organisation which includes members at all stages of food production chain. Amongst its aims is “To establish and communicate guidelines which describe “best practice” in the use of medicines.”
- RUMA’s members are:
- Agricultural Industries Confederation
- Animal Health Distributors Association
- Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority
- BPEX and EBLEX
- British Egg Industry Council
- British Poultry Council
- British Retail Consortium
- British Veterinary Association
- City and Guilds
- Dairy UK
- Game Farmers’ Association
- National Beef Association
- National Farmers’ Union
- National Office of Animal Health
- National Pig Association
- National Sheep Association
- NFU Scotland
- Red Tractor Assurance
- Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers
- Royal Pharmaceutical Society
- Food Standards Agency
- Veterinary Medicines Directorate