Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'Our' terrier, becomes official.

In June we received a sorry tale of a little Patterdale terrier, who was found doing what terriers do and mauling an almost-dead and decidedly manky badger. This resulted in wounds to his nose and his eventual death from 'bovine' Tb. ( Please note: the Patterdale in the pic, is for illustration only, and is not the terrier in question. Patterdales are described as 'feisty and fearless' and used for 'hunting vermin'.)

Our terrier's story and that of two other dogs recently positively diagnosed with bTB, is now told by VLA staff and veterinary surgeons attending the animals, and is published in this week's Veterinary Record.
We would like to report on three recent cases of tuberculosis (TB) in dogs caused by Mycobacterium bovis, following bites from wildlife.
The most recent case concerned a healthy seven-year-old pet/working, male entire Patterdale terrier that went rabbit hunting in March 2009 in an area of Worcestershire recognised as a hot spot of bovine TB. The dog went missing and was found chewing the neck of a very thin, moribund badger. The terrier had incurred multiple bite wounds on and around its muzzle during the fight with the badger. The badger carcase was not examined. At the time the private veterinary surgeon alerted the dog's owners to the risk of TB, especially because there was a young child in the household. Antibiotics were prescribed to treat the bite wounds on the terrier's muzzle. After several weeks the dog became listless, weak and started showing respiratory signs and weight loss despite a good appetite. These clinical signs became progressively worse, and on advice from the vet the dog was euthanased in early June. Postmortem examination showed multiple granulomatous lesions in the lungs, pleura, liver, kidneys and lymph nodes.
The paper describes how cultures from affected organs were positive for SBO263 (VLA type 17) which is the predominant molecular type in the area where the terrier lived, and where the badger was found.

The second case is that of a Jack Russell terrier, who lived in inner city Glasgow and had a close encounter with a squirrel. This little chap was luckier than the Patterdale, and after treatment, has appeared to recover. The spoligotype isolated in 2008 after a biopsy on a non healing lesion, was Type SBO140 or VLA 9. Scottish VLA staff comment thus, on the strain type and their findings:
This was unexpected because the dog lived in Glasgow, an inner-city area with a very low historical incidence of bovine TB and had no reported contact with any livestock. The dog had reportedly not travelled to an area with endemic bovine TB infection. The skin lesion eventually healed and the dog returned to apparent good health
. The third case detailed in Vet. Record occurred in 2007 in Wales, where a three-year-old terrier was suspected of being bitten by a fox or badger while hunting.
He developed nodular, calcified, hugely enlarged submandibular lymph nodes. The bite wounds did not heal despite treatment. The dog was euthanased and M bovis spoligotype SB0140 (VLA type 9b) was isolated from one of the lymph nodes that showed granulomatous lesions with acid-fast bacteria.
The authors of the paper indicate that "in all three cases the local Animal Health office and local public health authorities were notified and health and safety advice was given to the dogs' owners". Although in the case of the Patterdale, we understand that this was sketchy and slow, especially as there was a child involved who had had close contact with the dog.

The authors also comment that in all three of these documented cases, there was no known contact with cattle or other livestock. And they mention increasing numbers of cats, dogs, South American camelids and goats as spill-over hosts of 'bovine' TB.

They conclude with an observation about TB in domestic pets in general, and cats in particular :
In cats, many cases of confirmed M bovis infection involve lesions in the skin or superficial lymph nodes, suggesting a cutaneous route of infection. As with these three canine cases, some of the owners of M bovis-infected cats have reported that infection followed a bite by native wildlife.
And finally, a plea to their fellow veterinarians, who may be unaware of the extent of environmental' 'bovine' TB pollution to which any mammal is suceptible:
We would like to raise awareness among small animal practitioners to include M bovis infection in the differential diagnosis of bite wounds that are unresponsive to antimicrobial treatment, develop nodular lesions and associated lymphadenopathy and/or cases of general undiagnosed malaise where there is a history of bite wounds. Undiagnosed TB in pets poses a particular zoonotic risk due to the often close contact between these animals and their owners and family.
We understand that Defra have approved this article ahead of publication. It is to be hoped that the implications set out in it, are clear to them as well.

The authors of the paper are : G.M van der Burgh,(VLA Luddington, Warwicks.,) T Crawshaw,(VLA Starcross, Devon.) A.P Foster,(VLA Shrewsbury. ) D.J.B. Denny,(B.VET.MED. MRCVS, Worcester.) and A.Shock, (VLA Lasswade,International Research Centre, Midlothian, )


Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the dog, but if you will put your dogs to fighting badgers what do you expect.
I have heard some lame excuses as to why dogs were interfering with badgers, but to say the dog found an already, manky badger and mauled it quite on its own, takes the biscuit.
Patterdales like many other terriers are bred these days for there courage in tackling the black and whites.
But come on guys you cant kid a kidder, you were after some sport and the dog got more than it bargained for.

Matthew said...

Anon @ 10.47

Not sure which bit of the following you missed:

"The dog went missing and was found chewing the neck of a very thin, moribund badger."
In that the two were located together. not guesstimates. Found.

"The terrier had incurred multiple bite wounds on and around its muzzle during the fight with the badger. "

This dog certainly did get 'more than he bargained for'. He contracted TB from this badger's bite wounds, and he died. So did the badger, which was in some state, we understand.

But hey, badgers don't 'suffer' from TB do they? We all know that.

Anonymous said...

In 3 months the bTB is supposed to have rampaged through this healthy 7 year old working dog. Who is to say it was from this untested manky badger (anybody would be looking manky having just been mauled by a fiesty terrier). The disease could have come from lots of places and the dog could have been riddled long before this suppossed innocent encounter. Sorry but you need to sort out cattle/farm testing/biosecurity. What other benefits could improved, professional, effective farming practices lead to - think on BSE, FMD, mastitis etc. list goes on. In the scheme of things bTB in wildlife is a miniscule contribution to the spread of the disease. And this so called evidence just illustrates the poor quality of the pro-cull argument - again.

Matthew said...

Absolutely bloody marvellous isn't it? Anon 10.47, tells us the terrier' got what he deserved', and Lesley @ 2.56 implies he could have picked up bTB anywhere.

So the the 'multiple bite wounds' in his muzzle, for which he was treated initially, from the mangy, underweight and 'moribund' badger with which he was found are of no consequence at all? And who says the badger wasn't examined as well? We didn't.
Pull the other one. These bite woulds were treated immediately, but failed to respond and introduced the bacteria to most of the organs in his body. This happens with bite wounds in badgers too.

And Lesley, you are quite wrong. bTB is most certainly not "a miniscule contribution in the spread of disease". In the cattle herds of all contributers to this site, it was and is the only contribution. And AHO agree, with their risk assessments showing up to 90 per cent of cattle breakdowns in endemic TB areas cannot be traced back to anything other than badgers.

The spillback into many other species is building up quite nicely. We hope you're ready for the inevitable backlash.

Anonymous said...

Line 11 of the story. "The badger carcase was not examined".
Neither will the badger have jumped out of the bushes and attacked the dog. It will have protected itself which is how the dog got bitten.
....... showing up to 90 per cent ..... cannot be traced back to anything other than badgers. Hey ho, I suppose restocking from all points of the compass after F&M didn't have an affect at all.

Matthew said...

Anon @ 10.13

'Examined' to VLA means a full postmortem and samples taken. 'Examined' to a veterinary practitioner, treating the terrier, means something quite different.

Now this old chestnut of FMD spreading bTB far and wide really has to be laid to rest.

Of course if a cow has TB, when she is loaded onto a lorry, she does not make a miraculous recovery. But do tested / slaughtered cattle spread bTB? The answer is very rarely, and if they did then the spoligotype maps of GB would not be in the clear blocks of colour that we see today.

We covered this when the fragrant Rosie got very excited in 2006, but many 'ologies contradicted the resulkts of her model, including:

(Posted October 2006.)

And a here is a comment from the compilers of the spoligotype base:

"In general the spoligotype and VNTR patterns obtained from badger isolates 1972 -1976 were the same as those observed in the same geographical areas toady. This suggests that the geographical clustering of strains has not changed since the first isolation of M.bovis from badgers over thirty years ago."

The authors describe this data "as in sharp contrast to the rapid movement of strains " observed in positive post movement tests on re-stocked herds after FMD.

There were a handful, but these were found by the post move skin test and slaughtered out; end of story. And some had not 'carried' bTB, it was found to be the indigenous strain of the receiving herd.

But have you thought of the effect on badgers of removing 11 million grazing animals from the ecosystem, at a time when they (badgers) need most food? [ March - September)

The effect included changes to farm cropping, from short grazed grass or mown crops, or corn into no food and long grass? No dung pats = no earthworms, and beetles. No ground nesting birds = no eggs. Stacks of disinfected carcasses piled up for weeks, the burning, the people, the difference in habitat?

No we thought not.

The badgers moved out. They went where it was quieter and there were live cattle and sheep. They came to such farms of some of our contributers. But there they found badgers in residence and inevitably they had to fight for territory.

bTB ripped through the badger populations, during the summer of 2001, and when the FMD farms restocked, the badgers which returned brought with them a very unwelcome package.

And just because very few 'scientists' left their computers to actually see what was under their noses, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

You'll find one of the charts of AH breakdowns in this posting. They were first shown at a presentation to the Society of Epidemiologists conference in Killarney.

Some other myths which the Badger Trust have profligated are busted there too.

Matthew said...

We have received the following message from the vet who treated 'our' terrier, whose story has been told over months on the blog.
The first comment on this post, spat that 'he got what he deserved', while mentioning by implication the outlawed practise of badger baiting.
The second, drew doubt as to the source of the terrier's infection.

For information, more detail on the encounter is here:

" Unlike a healthy badger, which would be with its social group in a sett during daylight this solitary badger was in a shallow, inaccessible hole at the bottom of a thick hedge. Unless a badger was ill, few if any terriers would be capable of killing a badger within a few minutes, on their own.

When the terrier was found [by its owner] following a short vocal skirmish, it was gnawing at the badger's throat. The badger was in a very poor physical condition, being very thin and partially hairless; it was moribund. It had been typically behaving as all ill badgers do; having been expelled from its sett it was 'living' in solitary confinement.

The person with the dog is a genuine countryman, who unlike some is not devious and has no motives or hidden agendas to distort the evidence.

When I initially examined the terrier the same evening, he had sustained multiple superficial wounds to his lower face. Discovering the location of the incident, (which is in a cattle TB hot spot) I warned the owner that given the circumstances of this daylight encounter and the condition of this badger, there was a very high probability that the badger would have had TB, then the dog would develop TB in the future.

Only three months later the terrrier's face wounds had healed leaving only superficial scars. The lymph glands around the head were not enlarged. However, although the dog was still eating, it had lost weight and was less active. There was no coughing, but the breathing was shallow and more rapid.

Since I strongly suspected TB, I destroyed the dog. There were multiple abcesses in the lungs, liver, spleen and intestines.
Because of the location of the lesions, it is highly likely that terrier either ate an infected lymph gland in the badger's throat or directly from the badgers skin which had been contaminated with urine cotaining 1,500,000 TB bacilli in every teaspoonful of urine, which they continually dribble out.

A salutary message for all those who handle badgers dead or alive.

The distribution of the lesions in the body are typical of ingestion of TB bacilli.

Those bigots who vainly attempt to exhonerate TB infected badgers, which are responsible for 80+% of the TB in our cattle herds must be deprived of "oxygen" which is fuelling their cynical, corrupt propaganda campaign. "


Anonymous said...
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F. Max said...
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Matthew said...

Previous two posted binned - spam.