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Bovine TB
Are hunting dogs spreading bovine TB?

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INVESTIGATIONS into the first recorded incidence of bovine TB in a pack of British hunting hounds have raised alarms about the role of local hunts in spreading the disease.

Reports in March 2017 of TB infection among the hounds of the Kimblewick Hunt in south-east England initiated calls from anti-hunting groups for all hunting with hounds to be stopped as a precaution.

The hunt – which covers parts of six counties from Hampshire up to Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire – had asked a local vet to investigate its pack in December 2016, leading to the euthanasia of an unconfirmed number of dogs.

Ongoing investigations have yet to reveal the source of the infection, but officials said there is little risk of bovine TB spread from hunting packs.

‘TB in dogs caused by Mycobacterium bovis in the UK is extremely rare,’ said an APHA spokesman. ‘There is no evidence to suggest that dogs play a significant role in the persistence of bovine TB in England and that hunting with dogs contributes to the spread of the disease amongst cattle.’

Dogs are considered a ‘spillover’ species, said the agency, and management of TB infection in companion animals is …

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