Infectious diseases on vets' agenda


Animal welfare issues and infectious diseases were at the top of the list for more than 80 veterinarians and scientists in Albany at the weekend.

The Department of Agriculture and Food hosted the two-day biennial conference of Australian Sheep Veterinarians .

Department principal veterinary officer Brown Besier said the conference showcased WA veterinary expertise and attracted national and overseas speakers.

"The national conference provided a rare opportunity for veterinarians in Western Australia to discuss common problems with their interstate colleagues and hear about current research and advances in the field," Dr Besier said. "The conference also allowed local veterinarians to maintain awareness of disease trends and current diagnostic methods as part of their role in surveillance for severe diseases, and the management of diseases which are present in WA.

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"More than 40 papers were presented on subjects including sheep parasites, plant toxicities, infectious diseases, sheep production and animal welfare issues.

"A session on the role of veterinarians in the live sheep export trade, organised by Dr Ray Batey and followed by a panel discussion, was a feature of the conference."

In addition to Dr Besier, other Department veterinarians who presented papers included Michael Paton, Jenny Cotter, Danny Roberts and Roy Butler. They were among a broad contingent of state and national veterinarians who presented at conference.

A topic of interest was the development of a world-first Barbers Pole worm vaccine, which was detailed by Dr Besier and scientists from the UK-based Moredun Research Institute, which collaborated with the department on the project.

Other papers by department veterinary officers focused on risk assessment for sheep welfare, dipping to control sheep lice, toxic diseases associated with plants and factors affecting prime lamb production.

Three recent veterinary graduates or final-year students were recognised at the conference for their outstanding scientific investigations with Hugh Gordon Memorial Awards, sponsored by animal health company Jurox Pty Ltd.

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