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NOAH event held to celebrate children and their pets
NOAH CEO Phil Sketchley.
Photography by Andy Catterall
National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) held a reception at the House of Commons to celebrate the benefits that animals can bring to children's lives and to promote responsible pet ownership.

On Tuesday, November 20, guests and charities from throughout the UK came together to share experiences of how animals are helping children with their physical, educational and psychological needs.

MRCVSonline were honoured to receive an invitation to the event and to gain a valuable insight into the attending charities' work, including Riding for the Disabled Association, The Kennel Club Bark and Read Foundation, Dogs Trust and Caring Canines.

Phil Sketchley, Chief Executive at NOAH, explained that encouraging the use of dogs and other animals within the healthcare industry can reduce the financial strain on the NHS; in particular, it has been recorded that the number of call outs to diabetes suffers has been significantly reduced following the introduction of Medical Detection Dogs to the home.

The world's ugliest dog, Mugly, was also in attendance with the Pets As Therapy team, who help children to read and communicate by making them feel less stressed and self conscious in large groups and unnerving social situations.

Other organisations promoting their charity work included Dogs Helping Kids, Wood Green Animal Shelter, Dogs for the Disabled, The Animal Education Alliance, and National Pet month.

Reception host, Neil Parish MP, reiterated the benefits of animals to the wellbeing of children.

"Many children believe they can speak with pets before their parents, which I can understand," he said. "If I have a tough time at the House of Commons, when I get home my dog is delighted to see me."

Mr Parish also mentioned the importance of working with pets and children at primary school age. He said many of the charities have already offered their time to do this, and that he has written to Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The event was also host to the launch of NOAH's I Heart My Pet campaign, which aims to raise awareness of regular preventative healthcare as integral to responsible pet ownership; seasonal tips and advice, social media campaigns and an activity calendar provide owners with expert information for keeping pets happy and healthy all year round.

For more information about I Heart My Pet, click here.

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.