The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) introduced recent veterinary graduates to its animal disease surveillance service during a CPD event arranged for the BVA’s Young Vet Network (NI).

Pictured at the event (from left): Martsje Hell (Firmount Veterinary Clinic), Des Thompson (retired), Maria Guelbenzu (AFBI) and Rachel Frew (Downe Veterinary Clinic).

The event – organised by staff of AFBI’s disease surveillance and investigation branch – included a series of short, practical talks and a postmortem demonstration.

Critical importance

Stanley McDowell, director of the institute’s veterinary sciences division, highlighted the statutory, disease surveillance and research work carried out in the division, and explained the critical importance of AFBI’s emergency response role in helping protect the local industry against threats from serious animal diseases.

Maria Guelbenzu, head of the disease surveillance and investigation branch, outlined the services provided to vets in practice, while Pauline Baird, of AFBI’s Omagh veterinary laboratory, provided graduates with practical advice on how to investigate outbreaks of pneumonia in farm animals.

Jason Barley gave an overview of the laboratory methods used to identify the many possible causes of abortion in farm animals, while Clare Holmes explained the operation of AFBI’s accredited cattle health scheme, which is open to all farmers and their vets to help in the control of several of the most economically important diseases of cattle.

Emerging problems

In presenting the results from a survey of anthelmintic resistance in liver fluke and gastrointestinal nematodes in sheep in Northern Ireland, Bob Hanna highlighted the emerging problem of anthelmintic resistance.

Finally, Catherine Forsythe gave a talk on the diagnosis and control of Neospora infection in cattle, which is an important cause of abortion in cattle herds. The talks were followed by a demonstration on how to conduct an animal postmortem demonstration by Tony Patterson.

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