For seventy years, the Sutton Bonington Veterinary Investigation
Centre provided a diagnostic and advisory service for the veterinary
practices situated in the East Midlands of the United Kingdom. A
submission is made that the Centre was successful in the
investigation and recording of animal diseases. Its origin and the
history of the state diagnostic laboratories are given.
The mixed farming of the region was often contiguous to industry as
in Derbyshire, where lead mining has continued to represent a serious
threat to stock owners. The geology, geomorphology and the extraction
of minerals in the region are described. Lead contamination of
pasture has occurred, with consequent poisoning of grazing animals,
for over two hundred years.
Three investigations of such poisonings are described, and also a
case of contamination of land with lead fumes. There is a description
of the losses, and of the remedial measures taken,, together with the
public health significance of pasture contamination with lead, in the
Current regulations in the control of lead poisoning outbreaks are
given. The history of lead poisoning of swans by anglers' weights is
described together with the successful outcome.
The Centre investigated other poisonings including local occurrences
of copper toxicity in sheep, the uptake of I 125 by swans, industrial
fluorosis and molybdenosis of cattle and there were trace element
enquiries related to the use of land reclaimed by infilling with
pulverised fuel ash. The poisoning of wildlife was also a province of
the Centre. It was involved in national investigations of
aflatoxicosis in cattle and guinea pigs, ergotism and "ryegrass
staggers" of sheep, bovine botulism and haemolytic anaemia of
ruminants due to excessive feeding of Brassicae sp. fodder.
The past success of veterinary diagnostic laboratories, and their
future, are discussed in view of the impending changes in the control
of residues in animal pxoducts. Their role as a tocsin in cases of
chemical contamination is illustrated.