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BSAVA Congress 2003

Promoting nutritional excellence, some of the Purina Pro Plan team. From left to right
- Lisa Gold, Domenico Traversari, Corrie Green and Rebecca South

I visited the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress this year, held 3rd - 6th April at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham. The trade exhibition, which forms a large part of the Congress, was situated in the adjacent National Indoor Arena. The two venues are linked, via a covered walkway.

The number of delegates attending this year's veterinary congress of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association exceeded those of previous years. The commercial exhibition, too, was the largest ever. Vets and nurses were therefore spoilt for choice! The exhibition is always a popular place to visit as new medicines and products are very often first launched there. Everything from disposable gloves, to pet food, to medication and state of the art surgical instruments can be seen. Below are some photographs of just a small selection of the stands.

I thought that readers of OUR DOGS might be interested in some of the events that I attended.

The 'PetsClub' Stand

Readers of our sister paper, OUR CATS are familiar with George Cooper Bvet Med MRCVS, who regularly writes a Veterinary Viewpoint column, in OUR CATS. George was at BSAVA Congress this year. His concept of a "PetsClub" culture goes back to 1996, when he offered 'Clubs' (as opposed to 'Clinics') to his clients and their pets, in his practice. Last year, he launched PetsClub and over the past twelve months, over 40 veterinary practices have become 'PetsClub Practices'.

George is an industry commentator, a trainer, a speaker at Congresses, and a frequent contributor to journals such as, Veterinary Times, Veterinary Nurse Times, the Veterinary Business Journal and In Practice. He broadcasts regularly on local Radio, wears a guitar at Congress in 'Dodgy Folk' (a band of musicians), and sings! He holds regular seminars on Practice Management, and was until recently, a Director of Centaur Services.

Following the success so far of PetsClub, George decided to take a stand at BSAVA this year, in order to reach more veterinary surgeries that are interested in giving their clients a complete care 'package'. George and his son, Duncan Cooper, as well as key members of PetsClub manned the stand. The team were able to meet prospective new practice personnel and give them the information they needed in order to join PetsClub.

In describing PetsClub to pet owners, George says. "We at PetsClub want to help vets understand just what your pets mean to you, and to help you the owners get the best out of your vet! After all, you'll never get the right worming advice, for example, from a checkout girl in Tesco, and nor will you ever get the best feeding advice from someone in a superstore. The BEST place for that advice has to be a vet's surgery, using those wonderful people - veterinary nurses! Trouble is - you look on the vets as an expensive and distressing place to go. And THAT'S why we developed the PetsClub Concept. We'll make the surgery a place that's FUN to visit - because that's why you have a pet - for FUN. We'll help to educate you about the best for your pet in a FUN way. And vets will do this because it is good for business (and we, the vets, ARE running businesses), and it's also good for you, but most importantly it is good for your pet. We at PetsClub want to get the profession to work WITH you to keep your pet well - not just to make him better when he's ill. There's a difference."

Along with a team of other Veterinary Nurses, I visit PetsClub Practices (when I can spare a day away from OUR CATS), to assist Vets and Nurses to set up and maintain Clubs for their clients' pets. It is now possible for your cat to join PetsClub! If you would like more information about that or if your vet is interested in this innovative concept, please look at the website:

Intervet Bordetella
bronchiseptica seminar

Bordetalla is a disease most commonly associated with dogs, yet readers might be fascinated to know that cats too are susceptible to this disease too.

Dr Susan Dawson of the University of Liverpool, explained (during a special seminar, hosted by Intervet), "Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium of the Bordetella genus along with Bordetella pertussis, the cause of whooping cough in man. B.bronchiseptica is known to be a respiratory pathogen in many host species: it is one of the main causes in the UK of kennel cough in dogs, it has been associated with respiratory disease in horses especially foals and is the cause of upper respiratory tract disease in many small mammals such as rabbits.

B.bronchiseptica has also been isolated from people and therefore is a potential zoonotic disease although appears to be very rare. Most of the cases in humans have been from immunocompromised patients and whooping cough is not induced but rather flu type symptoms."

Whilst vaccination against Kennel Cough has been widely available for dogs for many years, a vaccination for the 'cat strain' of Bordetella has only just been launched in the UK. It is an intranasal live attenuated vaccine which can be used in kittens from four weeks of age. This vaccine is particularly useful in certain conditions such as infected breeding households or where cats are known to be in contact with dogs who may have or have had respiratory disease (kennel cough)."

The Pet Health
Counsellors’ Reunion and Nutritional News

The 10th Pet Health Counsellors Reunion was also held during BSAVA congress, on 5th April 2003. Invitations to this annual event are always eagerly received and the delegates that attend are always very appreciative of the quality of CPD (continuing Professional Development) that these meetings provide. As a Pet Health Counsellor for over 10 years, I enjoy meeting up with other nurses and I always come away, having learnt something new.

This year was no exception, as we were given the news of Royal Canin and Waltham's decision to combine their knowledge and resources to create the very latest innovations in clinical nutrition. Many readers of OUR DOGS will already be familiar with clinical diets, available from your veterinary surgeon, used for a variety of diseases and conditions. The combined scientific expertise of Royal Canin and Waltham has enabled them to create 'VETERINARY DIET'. The combination of working closely with veterinarians and the knowledge from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition has led to the production of "the market's most comprehensive, effective and straightforward to use, range of products".

The Canine range of diets includes: Hypoallergenic * Weight Control * Obesity * Sensitivity Control * Intestinal Control * Digestive * Low Fat * Hepatic * Renal * Urinary * Early Cardiac * Mobility Support

The diets are available in a range of sizes of dry and/or pouches. Each innovative health food programme works beyond the disease as this range treats the pet in addition to its disease. For example, OBESITY, as well as reducing calorie intake also contains chondroitin sulphate and glucosmine to help alleviate joint problems frequently present in the overweight dog.

More effective nutritional concepts have been introduced. Each of the new diets contain a synergetic complex of antioxidants, thus protecting DNA and cell membranes from free radical damage and stimulating immunity. In the case of HYPOALLERGENIC (see below for more about this diet), the food contains hydrolysed soy isolate to avoid release of histamine and the associated allergic response.

The diets are highly palatable, which is so important, especially for the discerning dog. The diets have been scientifically proven to provide solutions to nutritional needs.

Gill Furniss MRCVS gave a presentation at the reunion which introduced the delegates to "HYPOALLERGENIC DIET: a new approach in food allergy treatment".

The first priority, Gill explained, was to appreciate that the only solution when an animal suffers from a food allergy is to eliminate the incriminated food from its diet. Feeding a home made diet, in an attempt to feed a novel source of protein and carbohydrate can be expensive, time consuming and lacking in essential vitamins and minerals.

Hypoallergenic Diet offers an alternative solution. It not only meets all nutritional requirements but also offers an entirely new solution, by way of its content; soy protein hydrolysate. Soy protein is well known for its excellent quality proteins and will be familiar to people who cannot tolerate diary products. However, in pet food the use of these proteins is limited because they contain anti nutritional factors that inhibit protein digestion and proper absorption of nutrients and 8-15% of non-digestible carbohydrates. These factors are overcome through the use of a special process.

During the process of obtaining soy protein hydrolysate, those substances are destroyed or removed. Soy hydrolysate is obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of soy isolate. It contains smaller polypeptides, compared to the intact proteins forming soy isolate. Soy hydrolysate is a highly concentrated source of proteins and is less able to induce allergic reactions.

Although the process of obtaining hydrolysates and the mechanisms of histamine reactions are complex and difficult for the lay person (such as myself) to understand, if one thinks of how pollens affect hay fever suffers, one can grasp the general principles involved. For example, remove the flowers and the sneezing stops! The process of hydrolysing protein stimulates what occurs during digestion. Thus the allergic reaction is prevented and the problem is treated at its route.


The expertise of Royal Canin and Waltham has now brought a solution for allergic reactions in the form of Hypoallergenic Diet. In clinical trials, dramatic improvements have been seen within just 30 days of feeding the diet to dogs suffering from even chronic and disfiguring conditions, which had previously failed to respond to treatment. Such significant improvements do not always occur so rapidly and the diet should be fed for a minimum of two to three months. It is important that the diet is fed exclusively; no treats or supplements should be given.

If you require more information about this diet, please ask your veterinary surgeon.