Saturday, October 25, 2008

Great Expectations

In December 2006, the Welsh Assembly established the biosecurity 'Intensive Treatment Area' across an area of approx 100 sq km. with a high incidence of bTB on the Carmarthanshire / Pembrokeshire border in West Wales.

The overall aim, it stated, was to "raise awareness, understanding and ultimately, uptake of biosecurity on farms". The ITA assessments were carried out by local vets and the exercise's scoring tool had input from the Royal Veterinary College. The collator of results and author of the paper is Dr. Gareth Enticott and the beneficiary of his research funding, Cardiff University.

Much has been made of a trite, lightweight, petty and insulting quote picked up by the press, and about which the Badger Trust's have got extremely excited. This was placed in comments on our posting below and the gist of it is that a farmer in the ITA thought he had a 'closed herd', but had purchased cattle from his sister. The examining vet thought this was hilarious; the Badger Trust use the example as an example of - not really sure, but it's certainly got them excited. And Dr. Enticott? Well it appears in his paper, while an example of a genuinely closed herd, of which we are sure he is aware, where all his tick boxes on the biosecurity scores are zilch, does not. What does that tell us about the depth of this paper? The farmer in question, must be horrified. Lampooned as a fool by his vet, the vet's employer and the agricultural press. A very smart way to encourage participation in any exercise - if we may be so bold as to suggest.

But we digress. Leaving aside the implication that if all the listed biosecurity markers are followed, somehow infectious badgers will not infect cattle on participating farms. And conversely, if markers are ignored then it is the farmers' own fault if bTB strikes his herd - especially if he has purchased cattle from his sister - the opening remarks of this statistical jumble are a classic.

"The expectation was that any improvement of on-farm biosecurity would in turn help to reduce outbreaks of bovine TB."
followed closely by the caveat:
"Testing the effectiveness of particular forms of biosecurity was not the explicit aim of the project"
Well that's the triumph of hope over experience then. Especially as the government's chief badger advisor, Dr. Chris Cheeseman of Badger Heaven Woodchester Park, has opined on at least two occasions that contributors to this site have witnessed, that keeping badgers and cattle apart is impossible. "You can't" he said. "You get rid of your cattle".

So, back to Dr. Enticott's (as yet untested) expectations. This paper (pdf) we think has its roots in the Welsh Assembly's hints that it intends linking a version of 'biosecurity' to either farm payments, or to TB compulsory purchase monies - eventually. But as was pointed out by some participants in the ITA survey, most of the points apply to factors outside their control. For example a farm will be scored highly (bad) if maize is grown by neighbours. This is contained in the section 'Local herds and Land use' - which accounts for 41 per cent of the total score. Now, how may one ask, can that affect the biosecurity of the participating farm? His cattle are not going to eat a neighbour's maize are they?

A farm accrues a bad score for biosecurity because his neighbour grows maize - because that fuels up little baby badgers into butterballs during late autumn, thus ensuring more survive their first winter. And impregnated females are at a weight to ensure their pregnancies survive. And such young females achieve better condition scores, produce more cubs, and earlier. But overall, a pretty smart way to draft a scoring system which may have financial impact on a neighbour.

And another little gem; all participating vets carried out their assessments in different ways. While some walked the farms and scored using their own eyes, others sat at the kitchen table. (Table 10) So there was no overall 'standard' trial protocol used.

We particularly like the Visitors and Protective clothing section too: in two parts, contact with cattle and provision of protective clothing. A 'No Entry' sign in badgerese and provision of footbaths and protective suits for refuseniks? "What good is wellington boot dipping", suggested one farmer, "when infected wildlife free range over my grassland"? Quite. And we note (with horror) the comment of one vet in the trial ITA, that his car and boots were often " a mess " but that he hadn't had the opportunity "to wash before he arrived." Whaaaaaaaaaaat???
I have been known to kick a vet off the farm for arriving with 'someone else's' s**t on his boots, but that is common sense. Memo to vet in question; wash down before you leave the last farm.

At the moment, these proposals are voluntary, but at the risk of repeating ourselves, we would refer readers - and of course the good Dr. Enticott - to the results of when such measures - particularly those relating to double fencing, cattle contact, purchased cattle and cattle movements, were compulsory.

We have contact with two DVMs, one of whom implemented the fierce cattle measures imposed in SW Cornwall during the early 1970s by the late William Tait. And we were grateful to receive from the Republic of Ireland, figures and detail to support their efforts to control bTB by cattle measures alone during what became known as the Downie Era. It is encouraging like pushing water uphill, to see another generation of vets and 'scientists', following lemming-like in their predecessor's footsteps.

Especially illuminating gratifying is the payment structure detailed; "Vets from seven practices took part; each practice receiving a fixed payment (based on eight hours work) to cover the time costs of participating in the trial", a point not lost on one participating vet, who commented [5.2]:
"I don't think we would be chasing the work [ biosecurity advice] if we weren't getting paid"
Did we say bTB was a beneficial crisis? You bet we did. Please note, no farmer 'giving' eight hours of his time to enable Cardiff University to garner research grants received any remuneration whatsoever. And no charge was made for the tea and biscuits.

The conclusion of many participating farmers was that while biosecurity had a place in some cattle diseases, in the context of bTB it "was a non starter". They expressed frustration with the number of cattle reactors which proved on slaughter to be NVL (no visible lesions) and culture negative. Helpfully, Dr Enticott quotes :
"The majority of the farmers interviewed did not appear to accept that if no evidence of TB was found at the point of slaughter, the animals may still have the disease"
No, no , no and no. For goodness sake. One would have thought that before poking his toe into matters epidemiological, the good Dr. would have ascertained the facts of the intradermal skin test. But one would have been wrong. If the skin test shows a response, the animal in question has had exposure to m.bovis bacteria. That is all. Exposure to something that has no place plastered across England's (or Wales's) green and pleasant land at all. This exposure in any mammal, may go on the develop into full blown disease, but it may be clobbered by the subject's own immune system and cause no problems whatsoever. Occasionally, it may 'wall up' and allow the recipiant to live a totally normal life with 'closed' lesions - until they break down when the body is under stress for another reason. But cattle 'reacting' to the skin test does not indicate clinical disease - at any stage.

While the paper started by expecting the ITA to deliver an improvement in bTB, despite the admission that its point scored recommendations had not been tested, it certainly finishes with the opinion of the author that
"Potentially, the biosecurity benefits arising from the ITA may help to reduce incidents of bTB. Repeating the ITA in other areas of Wales is likely to have similar effects, depending on current levels of bTB"

As farmers we are not unaware of 'biosecurity' measures. Indeed, over a decade ago, a couple of us took specific measures to avoid purchasing disease. And that is any cattle disease, not just bTB. For us, a closed herd was just that. Our farms were in a ring fence, isolated, with any common boundaries not shared with other cattle farmers. And unlike the Welsh ITA, the contributors to this site run their own manure spreaders and as we have said, the tick boxes of this area survey would not have gone very high with us. Public footpaths and neighbours growing corn however, being two high scoring points.

So biosecurity benefits of an ITA there may be for the Welsh farmers, but for cattle diseases such as BVD, Johnnes and IBR and possibly for the security of their SFP or TB compulsory purchase monies. Unfortunately bitter experience tells us that despite Dr. Enticott's 'great expectations' (unsupported by evidence of efficacy, he says) their effect on bTB while an infected maintenance reservoir remains in badgers, is likely to be very little.


Anonymous said...

and the gist of it is that a farmer in the ITA thought he had a 'closed herd', but had purchased cattle from his sister

His name was not Matthew! or Matt, etc

they all know better but have failed to educate their peers

Matthew said...

No Anon 5.59, you miss the point entirely. Lampooning participants who have given their co-operation and time in a voluntary statistical exercise is seriously lightweight stuff.

All this fluff that surrounds much of the so called 'research' on the bTB gravy train, is just that. Fluff. Totally irrelevant.

But we do take issue when such personal remarks are bandied about with absolutely no reference to the veterinary background, holding status, geographical situation or TB position of the farms in question. That is playing to the gallery and has no place in serious research projects.

Anonymous said...

The point is that to many farmers biosecurity is a totally alien concept.

This is an eaxample of just that - but why should this cause embaressment?? The farmer is not named.

I presume that you would prefer his identity to be made public along with "reference to the veterinary background, holding status, geographical situation or TB position of the farms in question"

Anonymous said...

Perhaps 'the point' is that this report opens up the possibility of a means of assessing biosecurity by a standardised process.

That could enable a cross-compliance regime of some sort, eg poor biosecurity 'score' - no TB reactor compensation.

(Matthews please note use of the words 'possibility' and 'could' in the above)

A N Other-Anon

Matthew said...

Anon 9.57.
"The point is that to many farmers biosecurity is a totally alien concept."

A very sweeping statement? Alien concept? Haven't you read why we started this site? What part of 'no bought in cattle' did you miss? Not that it makes a blind bit of difference, but expect such wheels to come full circle - as they have with the implied supposition that the biosecurity markers in this ITA would have any effect whatsoever on the ingress of infectious badgers..

No, we would not want the farmer named. His neighbours, given the map location of area will know his identity. He may have read the comment in the agricultural press. will be known. Our point of the background to the two farms concerned, is that it had no tick box, or 'marker' within this ITA exercise. And that could put an entirely different light on the trading situation. Which incidently is covered by preMT testing of cattle anyway, is it not?

A N other Anon: 10.07
Accept the 'could' and 'possibility of' - and agree that it could. It is a concept that has been mooted many times. In fact on a seriously bad day in 2003, when a dozen homebred cattle were condemned, I have been known to demand double compulsory purchase monies from Defra - purely because of the efforts we had made to protect the biosecurity of our own herd and ring fenced holding.

Which is why the format of ad hoc assessment, which includes 41 per cent (at least) of its score outside the individual farmer's control, is a seriously bad idea.

jim said...

I wonder if the vet who spoke to the farmer who bought cattle from his sister was aware of Defra study SE3013. This started from the premise that "respiration of infected aerosols is recognised as the principal route of [bTB] infection in contemporary cattle". So the study took a group of cattle which were either reactors or came from persistently infected herds, and examined over 1000 nasal mucous samples from these cattle. They found bTB in precisely none - yes, none. Regular testing and removal of reactors means that cattle-to-cattle spread of bTB is much rarer than some would like to think.

But the discussion of biosecurity reminds me of something which happened on my farm shortly after the FMD outbreak in 2007. I was ear-tagging some calves just inside a gate next to a track which runs through the farm, and which also happens to be a public footpath. A woman with a dog came down the track and asked if she was on the footpath. I said, "I hope you haven't just come from Surrey." She looked surprised and said, "You must be kidding. How did you know?" "I didn't," I said, "but there's just been an outbreak of foot-and-mouth there and anyone from Surrey makes me nervous at the moment." She was completely bemused by this, as it had obviously not occurred to her that she might be helping to spread disease. I could not prevent her using the footpath or compel her (or her dog) to use the bootdip I had put out.

Lack of awareness of this sort by a member of the public about a highly contagious and easy-to-spread disease such as FMD can render the best biosecurity worthless in a moment.

George said...

Although biosecurity is important in the control of many diseases, with TB it is only any use if you can persuade the badgers to wash their boots...

TB breakdowns are investigated by Defra vets who look at the farm management, history, cattle groupings, movements etc in detail and also look at possible disease in other animals and humans on the farm. The main object of this is to identify the source of the infection, and where it might have spread to. One of the obvious possible sources is purchase, and this is looked at particularly closely. Infection from other herds either by movements of stock or local contact are implicated in very few cases.

Anonymous said...

Matthew -
My heart bleeds. This farmer is an example of someone who is prepared to blame wildlife for the spread of TB onto his farm, and to go along with a plan to wipe out literally tens of thousands of a protected native mammal,rather than educate himself sufficiently to realise that buying in stock from his sister's TB-infected farm means that a) of course he doesn't have a 'closed herd'and b) buying in those cattle is a perfectly simple and obvious explanation for the TB in his own herd.
You virtually never hear of a single farmer whose herd is harbouring TB who DOESN'T claim that he has a 'closed herd'. And yet in the VIC TB Stakeholders' Forum in 2007 the UK Vet Lab Agency admitted that they were unable to carry out a study into the 'benefits of closed herds' because they simply couldn't find enough!
In a nutshell, this kind of scapegoating (whether from ignorance or otherwise) sums up what lies at the heart of the current witch-hunt against badgers, and that is why it's so important and that's why it should be publicised.
May I also suggest that you look at your own repeated contempt and belittling of the sincerity and good faith of those you disagree with before you criticise others.

Matthew said...

Anon: 8.45 said:
' realise that buying in stock from his sister's TB-infected farm means that a) of course he doesn't have a 'closed herd'"

With respect, you miss the point. No, this farmer does not have a 'closed herd'. And we do not belittle him; but we do take issue with the manner in which his situation was treated within this paper. It was trite and petty.

"..and b) buying in those cattle is a perfectly simple and obvious explanation for the TB in his own herd."

Not really. As we said, the geographical position of the two farms, their trading status and TB status would all have had a bearing. And has been explained by other comments, the primary aim of an AHO visit is to establish the source of a bTB breakdown, and to prevent spread. So, great care and tracing is undertaken. If however, cattle have not been bought into the herd, the farm is in a regular testing regime and has no possible contact with cattle from neighbours - what then?

The implication of your comment indicates a belief that if catttle herds do remain 'closed' (and have double boundary fences and don't share slurry / manure trailers) then all will be well. Cattle within such herds will not get bTB.

That is fallacy. It is not born out by the spoligotype maps, which indicate that strains of bTB are circulating within a geograhical area, between tested slaughtered cattle on a defined 'holding' and untested but infective, unfettered wildlife.

All the contributers who started this site were in areas of high incidence of TB. Three of us had taken a conscious decision not to purchase cattle several years before. All used AI and bred their own replacement stock.

All have had prolonged TB breakdowns within their herds.

"I also suggest that you look at your own repeated contempt and belittling of the sincerity and good faith of those you disagree with before you criticise others."

The contempt we have is born of bitter experience, and it directed absolutely at the 'flat earth' mentality of the magic circle who are using 'science' as an art form, 'spin' to a degree that would make Campbell's eyes water and costing the taxpayers £billions.

The 'faith and sincerity' you describe is in what exactly? Simple mathematical models, geared to skew their results? Hope versus reality? Or in this case the implication that ad hoc 'biosecurity' markers can somehow prevent ingress of infected wildlife?

That is naive. Healthy badgers are a delight to all of us, but night filming in Gloucestershire this summer, of these animals 'visiting' (scent marking?) childrens' sand pits sent shudders through our collective spines. The area is just yards away from one of the worst TB hotspots in the country and where a colleague lost a whole herd of dairy cattle to tuberculosis.

Join the dots....

Anonymous said...

I repeat my self – a few years ago - local village – one mile away – young child – sick and getting sicker by the day – GP – no clue - doctor – no clue – hospital – no clue.

Parents fear for child’s life. Foreign (Indian) doctor in Macclesfield Hospital suspects TB. Operation completed – child gets better.

Badgers were fed on the front lawn where she played!

Another coincidence!

Peter Brady


Anonymous said...

No, you both miss all my points.
You criticised others for 'lampooning' a farmer who was so ignorant that he thought that his herd was 'closed' when he'd bought in cattle from a known TB-infected herd...and was prepared to blame badgers for it.
So in other words, good faith and sincerity in this farmer's case (by giving voluntary time and cooperation)means that we should overlook his appalling ignorance? And the possible appalling knock-on consequences of that ignorance?
Of course the point is his (discredited) claim to a closed herd since that is one of the main 'reasons' that farmers give to 'prove' their herd's infection must have come from badgers! So no, of course it's not 'petty and trite' to publicise this!
Do you expect us all to believe YOUR assertions about closed herds are any more accurate? Were the Vet Lab Agency I quoted lying then?

As for my other point,you yourselves constantly 'lampoon' anyone, or anything, that contradicts your assertions..and cast the most unfounded and unpleasant slurs on the motivations of individuals of enormous integrity and courage who are trying to sort out a complex and difficult situation without resorting to endless hysterical and obsessive bloodlust towards our indigenous wildlife.

Anonymous said...

Just an observation about 'health hazards'...
I live in a rural situation surrounded by fields....And what is it I can virtually not walk anywhere without stepping in? That's right, sheep and cow faeces, EVERYWHERE. My dog comes in covered in it. Not to mention a few sheep carcasses rotting nicely here and there.
I don't think it's the health risks from badgers I have to worry about (for me, my dog,my cat OR my child).

Matthew said...

Anon 7.14

The position (on farm) when a TB breakdown occurs is as follows;
* Notice of herd restriction issued.
* No cattle may be moved off unless to direct slaughter or under AHO license to dedicated TB premises.
* Any reactors removed and shot.
* Herd tested at 60 day intervals until clear.
* Herd checked again at 6 months (short interval test) before it returns to normal parish testing, which is usually annual.

Now, at the risk of getting bogged down in the minitiae of this, VLA are as unlikely as we were to obtain national figures for 'closed' herds over years. (That is herds which have no 'Bought in cattle' on the BCMS / CTS database for a given period).

This is because their (BCMS) figures relate to a year, and although several thousand holdings are in that category, figures for two different years may relate to different holdings. To tie them together over say 5 - 10 years would require some legwork. Individual farmers may request such information, as did two of our contributers when TB struck their herds. But on a larger scale it is a hugely time consuming exercise.

It is however available on an on-farm basis, as George pointed out, to AHO staff investigating a TB breakdown, as the past history of a holding's cattle movements are scrutinised.

Of course that information was also in the TB99 forms, which were supposed to be used by the RBCT. But it was too much trouble and the painstakingly filled-in forms were ditched and the computers loaded with 2 parts cattle v. 1 part badger and sent off to work. What a waste.

And you do the farmers who took part in this service a disservice. Several times in the paper, they are described as 'looking for answers'. So not a blame game at all. And before badgers pop up, I think most of us will have examined our own role in prevention of spread. Avoiding cattle contact is a breeze.
However, as Chesseman said, the keeping of (infectious) badgers away from (tested and mostly non-infectious) cattle is impossible. "You can't" he said.

Anon 7.30.

The organic manures left by grazing animals would have to be infectious (contain pathogens) to afford any risk to your dog - or yourself. As Jim pointed out, salami sliced reactor cattle and their contacts in the Pathogenisis project proved incapable of onwards transmission of disease.

Compare that to the excretions left by badgers with kidney lesions. 300,000 units of bacteria in 1ml of urine, and 30 ml voided at each squirt, left indiscriminately across grassland, and used as scent markers at boundaries? Plus sputum and pus from open bite wounds?

You can see and avoid faeces, but pathogens within a urine suspension are invisible. Other animals (including dogs) will sniff them, as identity/territory markers. The level of tested cattle slaughterings - now described as on an 'industrial scale' is a marker of how much bacteria is available to any mammal within the wider environment. This is a risk neither human beings, nor their pets have come across before.

Anonymous said...

Re Anon 7:30

Whose fields are they anyway? You give the impression that your dog wanders off and comes back when it wants to!

Please make sure that the muck you let your dog roll in isn’t from a badger latrine.
I suggest you check out the “Badger TB status” with the land owner – it could be OK.

Peter Brady

Anonymous said...

1. My dog doesn't go off on her own at all, only with one of us. We walk in fields belonging to the farmer whose farm I live on, and the neighbouring farmers (with permission).And I don't 'let her roll' in muck - it's so all-pervasive that it's impossible for any of us to keep clear of it.
2. Badgers deposit their faeces very neatly in dung pits (unlike cows whether infected or not).You cannot produce one single shred of proof that any badger has ever passed on anything (let alone TB) to a human - or indeed a dog or cat.
3.In contrast, however, our local vets have just issued a warning against dogs picking up hyatid disease (which is then easily passed on to humans with terrible consequences)from sheep carcasses left in the fields.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 7:30 / 2:46

I’m glad to see you have the farmer’s permission and that your dog is better managed than I feared.

As to ‘dung pits’ – Ernest Neal’s - The Natural History of Badgers (1986) shows on page 152 – Fig.9.7 “dung pit area at territorial boundary”. Well the piles may be judged by some to be neat – but there are a lot of them!

As to humans contracting Badger TB from Badgers – please see this reference visit the latest TimesOnline :- Sept 1

regarding veterinary nurse and her dog have contracted bovine TB, raising fears that the high level of disease in some parts of the country could spread to more humans and pets.

It says – amongst other things

“You could get contamination anywhere these days, even in a children’s sandpit, and disease can be transmitted through a cut,” he said. “This disease is not just confined to the South West, but in hotspots throughout the country.” Disease can be passed from a cat or dog to humans through open wounds or abscesses, coughs and sneezes. Any person can spread the disease through an open cut or if the disease is in the lung it can be spread by breathing over an animal. Mr Sainsbury said: “This is a very serious problem. We could do something about it but we are not and that is a travesty.”
Nicky Paul, a veterinary surgeon in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, who becomes the president of the British Veterinary Association this month, said that she was aware of the case and was waiting for the epidemiological study to be published. She said: “My biggest concern would be if the report showed the nurse had picked up the disease direct from handling a badger.”

Defra said that experts were awaiting the conclusions of the investigation. “Bovine TB is a recognised zoonotic agent and that is precisely why we have a compulsory bovine TB control programme in cattle.” According to the Health Protection Agency, in 2006, the latest year for which data is available, there were 33 cases of bovine TB in humans reported in Britain, of which six were in the South West. The agency confirms there were two cases in the South West in 2007.
However, in pets incidence of bovine TB is showing a small increase and it is recommended that any infected cat or dog is put down. Defra said that the disease had been found in 2 dogs and 11 cats so far this year. Locations have not been disclosed.

Everyone should take Badger TB seriously – even Her Majesty’s Government!

Peter Brady

Anonymous said...

I think everyone IS taking bovine TB seriously.
That article shows/proves absolutely nothing except that it's possible for a human to contract bovine TB.Think we knew that already?
Oh, and your wrong assumptions about my dog is quite a neat little lesson to maybe check your facts out before you leap to conclusions.
We can all speculate and hypothesise as much as we like - doesn't do much though to stem the tide of diseases of all kinds currently sweeping the farming industry does it?
I know you deperately want your theories about badgers to fit the facts - trouble is, they don't.

Matthew said...

Anon 11.34

If 'everyone' was taking b.Tuberculosis seriously, there would be no need for this discussion.

As you have said, human beings can, and do, contract the bacteria known as m.bovis. So, measures are put in place by the relevant authorities to prevent contact with and transmission of, that bacterium. But thus far, only on cattle whose milk is pasteurised and who have (by statute) to have regular TB tests. (When the level of cattle failing the test falls to 0.2% and herds 0.1%, then the country is classed as officially TB free, individual testing can be relaxed and slaughterhouse surveillance takes over as the primary screen)

But what of other sources of the disease?

Our PQs were posed to answer what is known in epidemiological circles as the 'Evans postulates', which are the gold standard of disease transmission, spread and in the case of the UK, its unfettered growth.

Answers show that government know without a shadow of doubt all about the disease reservoir of b.tuberculosis in badgers. How it spreads, its virulence both within the badger population and onwards to cattle. They know of the effect of an infected sow to her cubs and how long the bacterium can survive and under what circumstances.

They also have shown that if that source of infection is removed, then disease in sentinel tested cattle stops very quickly, and the cattle remain clear for several years.

The PQs also show that over time, under pressure from animal rights activists, the measures available to the State vets who oversaw gov'ment response to TB breakdowns were severely reduced, and from 1986, a gradual increase in sentinel cattle reactors was seen. (Gassing had been stopped, so social groups were disrupted by cage traps. But more than that, the area available to the WL units was reduced from 7km down to 1km, and then only on land cattle had grazed. Thus if a suspect sett was in an orchard, arable land or woodland, they couldn't touch it.)

But from 1997, when all badger culling in response to confirmed TB stopped, the increase through cattle has been phenomenal. AHO now describe culling on 'an industrial scale' with about 40,000 cattle expected to be culled this year.

So, fast forward to today. We are now seeing increase in the disease within many other species, including domestic pets. This is 'risk' to which human beings and their pets and companion animals have not been exposed before. And as Lord Rooker said, we have disease in a food producing animal (which we are testing for and culling) and we have a reservoir of disease in wildlife. (about which we are doing nothing at all.)[my brackets]

You say " I know you deperately want your theories about badgers to fit the facts - trouble is, they don't."

Anon, when cattle contact is excluded from a TB outbreak (in any species) and it is in most cases about which we write, then the onus is on those defending the badger to hypothesise an alternative source.

Jim said...

Anon 7.30/2.46: I trust your local vets have also explained to you the necessity of you worming your dogs regularly. Sheep are only intermediate hosts where hydatid disease is concerned and only become infected by grazing pastures contaminated by infected dogs. Neither dogs nor sheep suffer any obvious clinical disease as a result of hydatid infection, so please do not assume your dog is disease-free because it appears perfectly well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon

You said it “My dog comes in covered in it” …”it's so all-pervasive that it's impossible for any of us to keep clear of it”

Come on - cheer up!

Can I suggest you MOVE - it seems to me as though you really don’t like living in the countryside. You’ll be telling me your anti-hunting next!

Peter Brady

Anonymous said...

Well said Peter,