Passports, The Plague, Vaccinations, Zoonosis and Cowpox

Thank you to everyone that has supported me in my attempt to get to vet school so far! I’ve now very nearly raised my first semesters tuition and every little does help!I’ve also decided that for days where I’ve not been sponsored I should donate the space to a worthy cause.

Todays sponsor is SOS Dairy

Well today I feel like I have done a thousand things, here’s a quick roundup. My current passport expires in  2014, whilst I can renew my passport whilst living in another country it is extremely expensive (nearly 200 Euros whilst renewing it before I go is only £70). I filled out the form for it and it’ll go in the post tommorow. I also got my first parcel of DVD’s that I sold on Ebay into the post. I spent some time reading up the government advice for travelling to Slovakia, it seems to focus on booze tourists who travel to Bratislavia for stag parties more than students though… Actually an interesting fact there is that Bratislavia only become a stag destination after hosting a football game where fans discovered the cheap booze.

Today I learnt that the Plague was still alive out there in the wild when I read a tweet from Oregon VMA. A man attempted to recue a stray cat from choking on a mouse and got bitten, he didn’t seek medical attention until experiencing fever like symptoms and local doctors diagnosed it as cat scratch fever. It was around a week before he was correctly diagnosed with Plague. Now he stands to lose his fingers and toes, you can read the full story here: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Oregon-man-recovering-from-rare-case-of-plague-3714171.php. If caught in time Yersinia pestis is responsive to antibiotics if caught in time. This case highlights the importance of seeking immediate medical attention for any bite from a stray animal, and if possible ensuring that the animal is captured for tests.

Zoonosis are a important consideration when working with any animals, and indeed it is not just animals passing disease to humans, but also humans passing disease to animals. In fact one of the biggest break throughs in modern medicine actually came from a zoonotic disease called cowpox in 1976. Cowpox was a mild disease that causes a few weeping spots (pocks) on their udders but little discomfort, Milkmaids occasionally caught cowpox from the cows causing them to feel off-colour for a couple of days and some pocks which usually were on the hands.

A doctor called Edward Jenner noted that those that caught cowpox did not suffer from Smallpox. Using this he started to experiment by infecting someone never exposed to smallpox with cowpox, later testing whether they could be successfull infected with smallpox. This zoonotic disease provided the first ever vaccine of modern medicine. In fact Vacca in latin means Cow, and Jenner’s house has been made into a museum here: http://www.jennermuseum.com/index.php.

Till tommorow…

Sponsor of todays Diary Entry is SOS Dairy
SOS Dairy is a campaign by dairy farmers against price cuts being forced onto them by milk processors and supermarket causing them to make a loss. Whilst the cut may only be 5p/litre an average cow in the UK produces around 8710 litres of milk a year, this means that 5p causes a loss of £435.50 a year per cow. Dairy units now commonly have upwards of 100 cows meaning that the average unit will lose over £43,000 a year. It makes no sense that milk which costs money to produce is cheaper than bottled water which just bubbles up from the ground naturally. I urge all readers to use the letter templates made available by the National Farmers Union here: http://www.nfuonline.com/Home/SOS-dairy/

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