Check Test Wales is virtually complete

Autumn 2009

Check Test Wales is virtually complete. This has been an effort by the Welsh Assembly to try and stop the relentless spread of bovine tuberculosis by testing all cattle in Wales in the space of 15 months whereas previously only adult cattle have been tested merely every 4 years. This test, which involves injecting all cattle with extracts of tuberculosis bacterium and returning 3 days later to look for the development of any lumps, has thrown up a number of new outbreaks, though none locally thank goodness. The vets of Wales have now been rewarded for all this (none too exciting) work by being asked to repeat the process but this time in the shorter interval of 12 months. The work is low stress but fails to ‘quicken the pulse’ of vets so that veterinary practices in TB hotspot areas are having difficulty recruiting staff who know that they might be spending 6 days a week doing the same tedious task.

           Fortunately we are not yet in an area where bovine TB has taken a grip and we are still getting plenty of interesting jobs. Just this week a cat arrived at morning surgery having lost its miaow two days previously. She was also not eating and retching occasionally but still walking about. I couldn’t see anything in her mouth whilst she was awake but suspected a small foreign body, perhaps a blade of grass stuck on the lining of the back of the throat. I therefore gave her an anaesthetic and was amazedto see something poking out of the top of her windpipe. This was carefully removed and found to be a piece of twig about one inch long! I don’t know how the cat managed to get it into her windpipe but it was only prevented from disappearing down into her chest and almost certain death by the fact that it was too big to pass through the larynx. This in turn begs the question:- how was she able to carry on with her life for two days with it lodged there? A very lucky cat!       -

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