Dubai International Horse Fair 16-18 March 2017

The DIHF has shown its strength in the equestrian field. The event attracted over 150+ exhibitors from 35 countries and 9,538 visitors from 104 countries, including trade, royalty, VIPs and the public.

Held alongside Dubai International Horse Fair is the Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship (DIAHC) – a competition displaying the beauty, agility and heritage of purebred Arabian. The Championship is one of the richest of its kind in the world thanks to the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The Championship attracts the largest gathering of royalty, and enjoys the participation of some of the world’s finest purebred Arabian horses.

Once again HBA Horse Equipment was proud to be an exhibitor at this prestigious event offering the opportunity to market the HBA Range of Equine Feed Supplements formulated by Hassan bin Ali and manufactured under licence  by V-Tech Pty Ltd for export to the UAE.

Click on the link below to watch the video.

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Healthtech Lifestyle Re-launch

Healthtech Lifestyle, a division of V-Tech (Pty) Ltd since 2012 is a well-known product range focused on supplementation for horses, dogs and cats. The product range has been holding its own for 5 years, but has needed a serious revamp. In the beginning of 2016 V-Tech started this process.


We invested in a design agency to assist with a few concept designs.



From there, we made use of a survey application, Upinion, and reached out to the end users and veterinarians to get their feedback. What an exciting time that was, and the feedback we received was invaluable. Much was learned about how our consumers purchase products for their animals. With the feedback from the survey we then went on to start the design process of our new look.


The RnD department at V-Tech has a massive role to play as well, ensuring that only the best ingredients were being used in our product formulations.

Healthtech Lifestyle is incredibly proud to say that we have officially re-launched our new and improved product range for equine and companion animals.

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The new look embodies everything Healthtech Lifestyle stands for. A trusted, professional range that provides only the best for your pets. It is a lifestyle range which includes products from general supplementation to problem specific cases.


We hope that you love our new look as much as we do. We are very proud to deliver our consumers products that not only look great, but that work as well.

We thank our consumers for their continued support, and we hope that Healthtech Lifestyle will continue to be their range of choice for their pet’s needs.


  Healthtech Lifestyle Logo

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Fighting a drug war with a difference


Published in the Financial Mail

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Wildebedryf is raadop oor M99-tekort


“ ’N MEDISYNEMAATSKAPPY wat daarin spesialiseer om doelgerigte dieremedisyne saam te stel, waarsku dat regulasies wat die invoer van sekere bestanddele in verdowingsmengsels beperk, verreikende gevolge vir die wildbedryf kan inhou.

Mnr. Johan Oosthuyse, uitvoerende hoof van V-Tech in Midrand, sê die regulasies wat in 2013 ingestel is om aan die internasionale vereistes vir die hantering van sekere middels te voldoen, maak dit byna onmoontlik om die bestanddele wat hulle vir doeltreffende verdowingsmengsels nodig het, in te voer.

Oosthuyse meen dit kan ‘n nadelige ekonomiese impak op die hele wildbedryf hê en waarsku dat wildboere en wildvangers uit desperaatheid nou terugkeer na verouderde vangmetodes, soos nette.

Hy sê tot en met 2013 kon veeartse en medisynemaatskappye, soos V-Tech, doelgerigte mengsels maak wat diere doeltreffend on neutraliseer sodat hulle veilig gevang, hanteer en verskuif kon  word.  Dit is volgens hom byna onmoontlik om aan die Department van Gesondheid se medisynebeheerraad (MCC) se bykomende vereistes te voldoen en nou kan maatskappye nie permitte kry om mengsels te vervaardig nie.



Dr. Peter Obeem, direkteur van Afrivet en adjunkvoorsitter van Wildbedryf SA, bevestig dat die regulasies probleme in die wildbedryf veroorsaak.

Hy verduidelik die plaaslik vervaardigde M99 die voorkeurmiddel vir die neutralisering van wild is. Daar word egter nie genoeg van die produk vervaardig om in die behoefte te voorsien nie en daarom het veeartse hulle tot mengsels gewend wat op woorskrif gemeng word.

Al hierde mengsels maak egter op die selfde aktiewe bestanddeel, etorfien, staat. Dit is ‘n verdowingsmiddel wat 1 000 tot 3 000 keer sterker as morfien is.

Dr. Joey Gouws, registrateur van medisyne by die Medisynebeheerraad, sê die regulasies is genoodsaak deur die hoë risiko’s wat dit vir mens en dier inhou.

“Een klein druppeltjie is genoeg om ‘n mens heeltemal te neutraliseer, net soos ‘n bok wat met ‘n pyl geskiet is. Ons moet ook seker maak dat die middels wat aan veeartse en boere beskrikbaar  gestel word, nie onsuiwerhede bevat wat nadelige gevolge vir die diere kan inhou nie,” verduidelk sy.



Gouws sê dit is belangrik dat boere en veeartse weet wat die newe-effekte van middels is en dat daar duidelikheid is oor hoe om die middel te administreer en te bêre.

“Ons moet byvoorbeeld weet hoe temperatuurskommelings die middel raak. Wat gebeur as dit ‘n dag lank in ‘n warm bakkie se paneelkissie gelê het?”

In die geval van geregistreerde medisyne word al hierdie inligting in die voubiljet vervat. “Die voubiljet is die medium waardeur die medisynebeheerraad met die verbruiker kommunikeer en ons navorsingsresultate en waarskuwing aan hulle oordra.

“Wanneer medisyne op voorskrif vermeng word, word hierdie navorsingsproses omseil.

“Die raad kan dus nie pa staan vir sulke medisyne nie en kan nie die verbruiker beskerm nie,” sê Gouws.

Sy is egter bewus van die wildbedryf se frustrasies en sê die raad is in die proses om streng riglyne vir die vermenging van produkte met etorfien op te stel. Maatskappye sal dan permitte kan kry om mengsels aan die wildbedryf te werskaf” – Jasper Raats


Published in Landbouweekblad

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Policy on responsible use of antimicrobials of the World Veterinary Association

VN November 2016-7

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FSA acknowledges significant threat of antimicrobial-resistant E.coli


Aaron McDonald · 06 September, 2016



Following on from a report revealing concerning levels of antibiotic-resistant E.coli found in UK supermarket poultry and pork, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said it recognised the “significant threat” it poses to human health.

The agency said that moving forward, it will aim to reduce the use of antimicrobials in animals for food production.

“It’s fantastic the FSA has pledged to work with food businesses and retailers to reduce farm antibiotic use,” said Emma Rose from the Alliance. “With antibiotic resistance predicted to kill one person every three seconds by 2050, the FSA must commit to ending the routine mass-medication of groups of animals. Such practices are putting our health at risk – and should have no place in the supply chains of responsible UK supermarkets.

“Worryingly, and in contrast to the FSA response, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said yesterday that “Mass treatment of animals is not legally permitted.” However, Rose said this statement was incorrect. “In fact, mass-medication accounts for about 88% of UK farm antibiotic use [Veterinary Medicines Directorate], and is likely to be par-for-the-course within supermarket chains. Upon learning that they are mistaken in their assertion, I expect the BRC to call for a ban on the routine mass-medication of groups of animals immediately.”

Responding to this, the BRC said: “As the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics correctly points out, under current EU legislation this is permitted. However, as members of the Responsible Use of Medicines Alliance (RUMA), retailers do not  support routine preventative use of antibiotics where such disease challenges can be prevented by better husbandry and farm management. RUMA does not support metaphylacis.

“The BRC and its members are involved in a RUMA task force recently established to discuss and determine meaningful targets that can be established to replace, reduce and refine antibiotic use in UK agriculture.”

The Alliance to Save our Antibiotics is now calling on people to write to all the major supermarkets to ask them to stop the routine use of antibiotics in their meat supply chains and to support farmers in making changes to their systems.

“For too long we have permitted the systematic overuse of antibiotics in our livestock systems,” said Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston. “The recent findings of E.coli resistant to multiple key antibiotics on supermarket meat is yet another sign of the consequences of this complacency.”

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) said that it was working with companion animal owners, livestock farmers and other species stakeholders to promote the responsible use of antibiotics. “Antimicrobials are crucial for the maintenance of animal health and welfare, and there are many innovative and important developments happening in the poultry, pig and other sectors to promote good practice for antibiotic use in animals, and to explore alternative measures,” said a statement from the association. “It is essential that we learn from and share this best-practice across the UK and beyond.

“The reduced and targeted use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is just one piece of the jigsaw when tackling AMR and we need to foster increased collaboration between health sectors – with the veterinary profession committed to playing its part – to ensure positive steps are taken to preserve these essential drugs for future generations.”

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Mcr-1 Gene Isolated from Human for the First Time in Brazil


Washington, DC – August 8, 2016 – For the first time in Brazil, a particular antibiotic resistance mechanism conferring resistance to the important antibiotic, colistin, has been detected in a human. It was in a strain of Escherichia coli that was isolated from a diabetic patient’s foot infection. The mechanism, called MCR-1, was incorporated into a plasmid, a short piece of DNA that exists independent of the genome, which can jump from one bacterium to another, spreading the resistance. The research is published ahead of print August 8 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

In earlier research, these investigators showed that E. coli harboring the mcr-1 gene had been present in food-producing livestock in Brazil since at least 2012. “In spite of this, we had previously recovered no isolates from humans that were positive for mcr-1,” said co-author Nilton Lincopan, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.

The research was motivated by the investigators’ desire to track the spread of the resistance gene. They feared it might be spreading into Brazil from abroad, and they worried that it could also spread in the opposite direction. Lincopan noted that Brazil is the most populous country in South America, with more than 200 million inhabitants, many of whom travel abroad. Additionally, Brazil receives large numbers of foreign visitors (most recently for the Olympics). The patient in the study had no history of travel abroad, suggesting that the plasmid was already in Brazil.

Further abetting possible spread, Brazil is a major producer and exporter of chicken meat, and agribusiness there, as in much of the world, commonly uses large quantities of antibiotics, including colistin, to promote growth, said Lincopan.

Prior to this study, the particular mcr-1-harboring plasmids had been identified in E. coli and in Klebsiella pneumoniae in Europe, Asia (China), North America, and in South Africa. “Surprisingly,” the investigators concluded, the plasmids bearing the mcr-1 gene “are highly similar in the plasmid backbone sequences,” despite having been found in different species of bacteria, on different continents, and isolated from different clinical conditions.

“This strongly suggests that the self-transmissible IncX4-type plasmids may be contributing to the intercontinental spread of the mcr-1 gene,” said Lincopan.

The full study can be read online at:

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 47,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

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Colistin Resistance Gene mcr-1 in Avian-Pathogenic Escherichia coli in South Africa

Colistin Resistance Gene mcr-1 in Avian-Pathogenic Escherichia coli in South Africa

Colistin Resistance Gene mcr-1 in Avian-Pathogenic Escherichia coli in South Africa

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Reckless farm meds feed superbugs

The overuse and abuse of antibiotics strengthens lethal, drug-resistant bacteria.

via Reckless farm meds feed superbugs.

The world was once a place where a bad cut to your hand meant infection and the possibility of death, and surgical procedures that are now routine were life-threatening.

Poverty and poor healthcare infrastructure means this is still a reality in many parts of the world.

But even the future of wealthy countries could look a lot like the past. Medical experts and economists are warning that the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), particularly to antibiotic drugs, could see as many as 10-million people die each year by 2050 and wipe out a cumulative $100-trillion in economic output.

These were the findings of a review on AMR, chaired by economist Jim O’Neill, famous for coining the term Bric with reference to the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

One of the key issues highlighted by the review was the unnecessary use of antibiotics in agriculture, which is unmonitored in many countries. The drugs used to treat animals and also to promote their growth are often important for human health.

In the United States, about 70% of antibiotics classed as medically important to humans are sold for use in animals, according to the review.

The inappropriate use of antibiotics is dangerous for both human and animal health because it is one of the factors driving AMR. It also has serious implications for food security and farmers’ economic wellbeing.

The estimates of global antibiotic consumption in agriculture vary considerably because of poor surveillance and data collection in many countries.

Figures range from 63 000 tonnes each year to more than 240 000 tonnes. But the review notes it is clear that use is widespread, on a scale “at least equivalent to humans”, and will rise.

The review cited estimates that the use of antibiotics in agriculture will rise by 67% between 2010 and 2030, and, in the Brics countries (including South Africa), it will increase by 99%.

The use of antibiotics to promote growth is a particular concern, with the report recommending the introduction of targets that will allow countries to decide how they can best reduce unnecessary use in farming.

In South Africa, there is little data available on the extent of antibiotic use in the production of pork, beef and poultry. Medical and veterinary experts believe that South Africa’s use reflects global trends.

According to Professor Moritz van Vuuren, a veterinary microbiologist in the faculty of veterinary sciences at the University of Pretoria, antibiotics are used for treating disease, preventing its spread and for growth promotion, with about 80% of antibiotics sold mixed into animal feed and water. About 20% are administered topically or by injection.

Of the 80% antibiotics mixed into feed and water, it is not clear how much is used for growth promotion.

“That kind of surveillance needs to be done in the future,” said Van Vuuren, “but you can take it for granted that a sizeable proportion is used for growth promotion.”

Antibiotics should only be used to treat sick animals and, where appropriate, to prevent the spread of disease, he said. But the prophylactic use of antibiotics – giving healthy animals drugs to prevent them getting sick – must be avoided.

Globally, there is a move away from the use of drugs to promote growth, a trend South Africa is likely to follow.

The difficulty of monitoring the extent of antibiotic use in agricultural comes down to cost; surveillance programmes are expensive and require a partnership between the government and other role players, he said.

The laws that govern how antibiotics are dispensed to farmers also play a role in how they are used. Two Acts govern veterinary medicines – the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act of 1947 and the Medicines Control Act of 1965.

Under the stock remedies Act, farmers can buy some antibiotics over the counter to use as they see fit and without the guidance of a veterinarian. The intention of the Act was to enable farmers in rural areas, with little or no veterinary services, to get access to medicines.

Over time, the list of over-the-counter antibiotics has expanded and includes a major group of antibiotics that can be used to promote growth, Van Vuuren said.

There is much debate in the sector about changing this, but South Africa is a developing country and many farmers still don’t have veterinary services, he said.

There is a tension between access and excess, which is pertinent for a country that has roughly 35 000 commercial farmers, between two and three million small-scale farmers, and eight- to 10-million subsistence farmers, Van Vuuren said.

The Medicines Control Act covers scheduled antibiotics, and only veterinarians can prescribe and dispense them.

Some more modern antibiotics are not registered for use in animals, Van Vuuren said.

Antibiotic use selects out resistant bacteria in animals, just as it does in humans, said Professor Marc Mendelson, co-chairperson of the South African Antibiotic Stewardship Programme.

“The more antibiotics are used, the more resistant strains are selected out and therefore can be transferred to humans during the journey from production to plate,” he said. Antibiotic residues end up in meat, and antibiotic residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria enter the environment.

But the rise of AMR cannot be attributed to the use of antibiotics in agriculture alone.

The misuse of these drugs in human medicine is also a major contributor to resistance. It requires a global awareness campaign about antibiotic misuse and overuse in human and animal health, and in all other walks of life that introduce resistant bacteria into the environment, Mendelson said.

One of the few surveillance programmes of AMR in South Africa is provided by V-Tech, a veterinary pharmaceutical firm. The programme began in 2006 and covers poultry farms, cattle feedlots and piggeries countrywide, according to V-Tech’s chief executive and veterinarian, Johan Oosthuyse.

Earlier this year, the programme identified increasing cases of Colistin-resistant bacteria in poultry farms.

The early generation antibiotic, once not recommended for use in humans, has become a drug of “last resort”, because organisms have adapted to newer classes of antibiotics, leading to the rise of so-called superbugs.

Mendelson explained that a new mechanism to transfer a Colistin-resistant gene known as MCR-1 has been identified in bacteria, first in feed animals in China and later in other countries, including South Africa.

There is also a concern that this gene can now be transferred between different types of bacteria that cause more serious diseases in animals, and, according to Oosthuyse, potentially humans.

The cost and implication of reducing reliance on antibiotics in agriculture needs further exploration. The O’Neill review acknowledged the significant gaps in data for both surveillance of antibiotic use in agriculture and the economic costs.

It did note that a 2015 study by the US department of agriculture showed that producers that use antibiotics for production rather than treatment would suffer a decline of less than 1% in the value of what they produced.

The ability of the local agricultural sector to reduce its reliance on antibiotics can be done with better biosecurity or actions that safeguard the health of farm animals, Van Vuuren said. These include vaccinations, optimal nutrition for animals and access control on farms.

But the total elimination of antibiotics in agriculture is unrealistic, Oosthuyse said. South Africa has a “high animal disease challenge”, which is aggravated by informal farming.

The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries did not respond to requests for comment.

Poultry industry wants responsible use of antibiotics

Chicken is a much-loved source of protein for South Africans. Antibiotics are commonly used both for preventing and treating disease and to improve growth, according to Dr Charlotte Nkuna, senior executive at the South African Poultry Association.

Growth promoters are simply a class of antimicrobials, not used in human medicine, to help manage the gut health of poultry. Better growth results because birds with healthier guts are able to use their food more effectively.

The organisation discourages the routine use of antimicrobials for prophylactic purposes unless a diagnosed disease is being managed, she said.

Farmers should monitor the effectiveness of the drugs used and avoid using the last-resort antimicrobials, unless the use of other drugs will prolong the disease.

Although Colistin was not used in poultry for many years, its use has increased after it was found to be more effective in treating some conditions.

Resistance is not unique to Colistin, Nkuna added, but the drug is used for the treatment of human conditions, which makes it a more serious issue.

The emphasis should not be on the reduction of antibiotic use in agriculture but on “responsible use”, she said.

Vaccines were alternatives for some diseases and there are alternatives for promoting gut health such as organic acids. Neutriciticals – herbal or natural products – are also being researched to assist in managing respiratory and gut health, Nkuna said. – Lynley Donnelly


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Are antibiotics effective in treating human diseases?

V_TECH LOGO_squareThe World Health Organisation has indicated that there are an increasingly limited number of antibiotics available to treat human diseases effectively, and have previously issued a list of critically-important medicines that need to be protected.

Click on the link below to watch an interview with V-Tech’s CEO, Johan Oosthyuse, discussing this subject on CNBC Africa.

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