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Research News

Breakthrough in coccidiosis research

22 July 2014

Biological researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are a step closer to finding a new cost-effective vaccine for the intestinal disease, coccidiosis, which can have devastating effects on poultry production. More...

Current VetCompass understanding on canine health

10 July 2014

The VetCompass project is a joint initiative involving the Royal Veterinary College, the University of Sydney and a growing number of general veterinary practices in the UK and more recently Australia. VetCompass uses clinical information shared from veterinary practices to examine health issues in dogs. Current hot topics in canine health include whether crossbred dogs are healthier than purebred dogs and which breeds are the healthiest. VetCompass studies show that these questions do not have simple answers. More...

NC3Rs grant awarded to Dr Rachel Lawrence and Dr Imelda McGonnell

08 July 2014

Dr Rachel Lawrence and Dr Imelda McGonnell have been awarded a grant by NC3Rs to work on "Replacing rodent models for investigating the influence of the microbiome upon innate immune responses and resistance to pathogens"

This project will characterise the influence of the microbiome on the outcome of Streptococcal infection in a clinically-predictive model using germ-free larval zebrafish colonised with specific microbiota. Live imaging of larvae infected with fluorescent-tagged bacteria will be used to follow the dissemination of infection in individual larvae over time. Fish which are transgenic for fluorescent protein expression under neutrophil or macrophage-specific promotors will be used to visualise the recruitment and response of immune cells in response to infection, and for measurement of immune component transcription by qrt-PCR.

In the long-term, this model is likely to indicate probiotics that can be used both to alter immune status and to combat Streptococcal infection.

New study into the running behaviours of the African guinea fowl published in PLoS One

07 July 2014

A new study into the running behaviours of the African guinea fowl could have wider implications for the future of walking biped robots and the improvement of prosthetic limbs. More..

Blum Y, Vejdani HR, Birn-Jeffery AV, Hubicki CM, Hurst JW, et al. (2014) Swing-Leg Trajectory of Running Guinea Fowl Suggests Task-Level Priority of Force Regulation Rather than Disturbance Rejection.
PLoS ONE 9(6): e100399. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100399

Curbing the Spread of Disease

25 June 2014

Professor Katharina Stärk has been interviewed by AcademiaNet, a website set up to promote the work of female researchers. Her work monitoring the spread of infectious diseases between animals and humans aims to prevent future pandemics, while her consultancy work aims to facilitate the ‘spread’ of research findings.

You can read the interview at Curbing the Spread of Disease

New EFSA grant awarded to work on Toxoplasma infection in meat-producing animals

24 June 2014

Professor Javier Guitian, along with Dr. Damer Blake, Dr. Georgina Limon and Dr. Milen Georgiev have been awarded a new grant by the European Food Safety Authority and the Food Standards Agency to work on Toxoplasma infection in meat-producing animals. More..

Study published on the transmission of the giant roundworm Ascaris between pigs and people

19 June 2014

In a study published online in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers from the RVC, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Copenhagen and the Royal Cornwall Hospital investigated the transmission of giant roundworms between pigs and people. Over 500 roundworms were obtained from people and pigs on four continents and variations in the worm DNA were investigated. More..

BBSRC funding awarded to RVC to tackle major livestock diseases

17 June 2014

Professor Javier Guitian has been awarded funding by the BBSRC from the £13m Farmed Animal and Disease Fund to work with Narinder Singh Sharma, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, on the following project: "Combined use of novel diagnostic tools and strategic vaccination to control bovine brucellosis in endemic areas". Other project partners are the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency. More..

VetCompass cat longevity study published

13 June 2014

The VetCompass research database of primary care practice data offers an extensive resource of clinical health information on companion animals in the UK. A study published online in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery reports on the Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England.

From 118,016 cats attending 90 practices in England, 4009 cats with confirmed deaths were randomly selected for detailed study. The most frequently attributed causes of mortality in cats of all ages were trauma (12.2%), renal disorder (12.1%), non-specific illness (11.2%), neoplasia (10.8%) and mass lesion disorders (10.2%). The median longevity of cats overall was 14.0 years. The median longevity of crossbred cats (14.0 years) was higher than purebred cats (12.5 years). This information should support improved strategies for breeding, husbandry, clinical care and disease prevention.

O'Neill, DG; Church, DB; McGreevy, PD; Thomson, PD; Brodbelt, DC. (2014)
Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England.

RVC Senior Clinical Training Scholars wins awards at this year's ACVIM Conference

9 June 2014

Congratulations to Ruth Gostelow for winning the best Endocrine Poster 2014 awarded by the Society of Comparative Endocrinology at this year's ACVIM conference in Nashville USA. Her poster title was "Pasireotide (SOM230) long-acting release treatment for feline hypersomatotropism: a proof of concept trial".

Congratulations also to Anna Threlfall (Small Animal Internal Medicine) who was a 2014 ACVIM Resident Research Award Winner for "Involvement of cytotoxic t-lymphocyte antigen 4 promotor polymorphisms in genetic susceptibility to primary immune mediated haemolytic anaemia in cocker spaniels"

New research grant from Cobb Europe Ltd

30 May 2014

Professor John Hutchinson has been awarded £50k by Cobb Europe Ltd to work on "Biomechanical simulations of chicken gait to inspire and inform artificial selection on measurable anatomical traits in chicken breeding". More...

VetCompass Clinical Research Abstract Prize awarded to RVC

23 May 2014

A VetCompass clinical research abstract (CRA) presented at BSAVA 2014 by Dan O'Neill has been awarded a prize as one of the three best-presented abstracts. The CRA explored the 'Longevity and mortality of cats in England' using VetCompass data from 118,016 cats attending 90 primary-care practices.

Based on over 4,000 randomly selected deceased cats, the most frequently attributed causes of mortality in cats of all ages were trauma (12.2%), renal disorder (12.1%), non-specific illness (11.2%), neoplasia (10.8%) and mass lesion disorders (10.2%). The median longevity of cats overall was 14.0 years. Crossbred cats had a higher median longevity than purebred cats (median 14.0 years versus 12.5 years, P < 0.001). Further information on the study is available on the VetCompass website.

Approaches to Canine Health Surveillance

16 May 2014

A new article by RVC researchers has been published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology focusing on Canine Health Surveillance systems.

Dr O'Neill (one of the authors) summarises the article and what they concluded. More...

RVC highlights signs of potentially fatal bacterial disease affecting the canine community

13 May 2014

The bacterium (Streptococcus zooepidemicus) is most commonly found in kennels and among racing greyhounds and can cause a ‘toxic shock-like’ form of disease. Dog owners should look out for rapid development of fever, nasal discharge and lethargy.

Read the press release: RVC highlights signs of potentially fatal bacterial disease affecting the canine community

New grant from Bayer Animal Health awarded - Angiostrongylus vasorum - do slugs release larvae into the environment?

23 April 2014

Professor Mark Fox, along with Dr Damer Blake, Professor Javier Guitian and Dr Jocelyn Elson-Riggins have been awarded a new grant by Bayer Animal Health to work on "Angiostrongylus vasorum - do slugs release larvae into the environment? More...

Brian Nixon Legacy funds awarded to RVC to improve the health, husbandry and breeding for future sustainability of the Asian elephants in Thailand

22 April 2014

Funds of £80,360 have been awarded from the Brian Nixon Legacy fund to improve the health, husbandry and breeding for future sustainability of the Asian elephants in Thailand, by supporting a collaborative programme between Dr Chatchote Thitaram, Chiang Mai University, Thailand and Dr Ayona Silva-Fletcher, RVC. More...

Call for Paradigm Shift in Avian Influenza risk management

7 April 2014

Professor Dirk Pfeiffer, with Joachim Otte of the FAO, has produced a new Research Brief for the Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific, to highlight the need for natural scientists working in risk analysis to involve others to ensure balanced assessments of all factors – epidemiological, environmental and socio-economic – that drive risk of avian influenza.

The piece calls for animal health policy making to recognise human behaviour as a key issue in viral spread, so that policies support modification of practices associated with risk rather than driving them underground.

Read the research brief: Managing Avian Influenza Risk, the Need for a Paradigm Shift (PDF)

Photogrammetry used to reconstruct a 3D model of dinosaur trackways

3 April 2014

Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College have used freely available software to bring a significant paleontological site back to life in new research published in the journal PLOS ONE (3 April 2014).

Falkingham PL, Bates KT, Farlow JO (2014) Historical Photogrammetry: Bird's Paluxy River Dinosaur Chase Sequence Digitally Reconstructed as It Was prior to Excavation 70 Years Ago. PLoS ONE 9(4): e93247.

Read the Press Release: New technique brings previously lost paleontological sites back to life

HBLB Grant awarded: “Nature versus nurture: modelling environmental and genetic contributions to risk of racecourse injury in UK Thoroughbreds”

26 March 2014

The Royal Veterinary College has been awarded a project grant of £199,115, led by Dr Kristien Verheyen with the assistance of Dr Ruby Chang, to investigate environmental and genetic contributions to injury risk in British flat racing. More....

European PCV2 Research Award awarded to Professor Dirk Werling

20 March 2014

The European Porcine Circovirus (PCV2) Research Award is an annual award sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim that recognizes research proposals in the area of applied immunological PCV2 research. This year three awards, each with a value of € 25,000 were made, one of which we are pleased to announce was awarded to RVC's Professor Dirk Werling. More...

New video from Reuters TV: Scientists seek vaccine for deadly East Coast fever

18 March 2014

Watch this good, short (2-minute) film by Jim Drury of Reuters TV about an international group of scientists is developing a vaccine to combat deadly East Coast fever, a disease that decimates cattle herds in 12 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The scientists believe the vaccine could also help malaria and cancer research.

To watch the video and read more about this project see Improved vaccines for the control of East Coast fever in cattle in Africa (6 February 2014).

Post Weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome

14 March 2014

Research led by the Royal Veterinary College, and published on 11 March 2014 in the journal PLoS One, has generated valuable insights into a disease that strikes a large number of animals and costs farmers millions of pounds.

Mavrommatis B, Offord V, Patterson R, Watson M, Kanellos T, Steinbach F, Grierson S, Werling D.(2014). Global Gene Expression Profiling of Myeloid Immune Cell Subsets in Response to In Vitro Challenge with Porcine Circovirus 2b. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91081 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091081

Read the News Update: New research into Post Weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome

Controlling enteric pathogens of poultry: Host/microbiota interactions, risk assessment and effective management interventions

24 February 2014

A research consortium led by RVC's Dr Damer Blake has recently been awarded £630k by BBSRC and the Indian Department of Biotechnology for the study ‘Controlling enteric pathogens of poultry: Host/microbiota interactions, risk assessment and effective management interventions’. More...

PhD studentship awarded to investigate the role of tonsillar dendritic cells in classical swine fever infection

18 February 2014

Prof Dirk Werling has recently been awarded a PhD studentship together with Dr Simon Graham (AHVLA Weybridge), to investigate the role of tonsillar dendritic cells in Classical Swine Fever (CSF) infection. More...

Proteomic analysis of tendon reveals disease stage-specific fragmentation of extracellular matrix proteins.

12 February 2014

In a series of articles, researchers in the Tendon Biology group at the RVC have established the importance of inflammatory mediators in acute tendon disease and the reduced ability to resolve inflammation in chronic disease and in older individuals. In their most recent study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr Stephanie Dakin from the group and collaborators at the University of Lund, Sweden, investigated the subtle protein cleavages induced by inflammation in normal and injured equine flexor tendons using a proteomics approach. More...

RVC involved in European consortium working on "KOlimastIR: Controlling the impact of Escherichia coli mastitis through modulation of immune responses"

07 February 2014

Prof Dirk Werling is leading the RVC work as part of a wider European consortium involving partners from INRA (France), University of Ghent (Belgium), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) and Zoetis Animal Health, and led by the University of Glasgow, funded through the EMIDA-ANIHWA call.

The project, entitled “KOlimastIR: Controlling the impact of Escherichia coli mastitis through modulation of immune responses", is worth €1.712.738 and investigates new methods to control E.coli mastitis. More...

Improved vaccines for the control of East Coast fever in cattle in Africa

06 February 2014

The RVC (through Professor Dirk Werling) is involved in a multi-national program grant entitled “Improved vaccines for the control of East Coast fever in cattle in Africa”. This project was initially jointly led by the late Professor Declan McKeever and Professor Werling and the RVC is proud to continue taking forward this important project despite Professor McKeever’s recent sad death.

The grant, worth nearly $15 Million, is funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Normal Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative (NBCRI) of Feed the Future and the CGIAR Research Programme on Livestock and Fish. More...

HBLB Project Grant awarded - “Early Detection of Musculoskeletal Injury in the Thoroughbred through Monitoring of Movement Symmetry”

04 February 2014

The Royal Veterinary College in collaboration with the Singapore Turf Club has just received funding of £187k from the Horserace Betting Levy Board and the Racing Foundation to conduct a two-year project into the use of state-of-the-art inertial sensor based gait analysis techniques for the prediction of impending injuries to the musculoskeletal system in racing Thoroughbreds. More...

Canine experts prioritise pet dog welfare issues in Great Britain

3 February 2014

A study, by The Royal Veterinary College, published on 3rd Feb 2014 in the scientific journal Animal Welfare, reveals the highest priority welfare issues impacting companion dogs in Great Britain, as ranked by a panel of independent experts.

The report will be helpful in determining where future resources can most cost-effectively be targeted by stakeholders, to bring about the greatest improvement.

BUCKLAND, E.L., CORR, S., ABEYESINGHE, S. M., & WATHES, C. M. (2014) Prioritisation of companion dog welfare issues using expert consensus. Animal Welfare 23 (1): 39-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.7120/09627286.23.1.039

Read the Press Release: Canine experts prioritise pet dog welfare issues in Great Britain

New Arthritis Research UK grant awarded to the RVC: Adjustable in vivo joint loading to identify the mechanical drivers of osteoarthritis

30 January 2014

Professor Andy Pitsillides has been awarded a new grant by Arthritis Research UK to work on "Adjustable in vivo joint loading to identify the mechanical drivers of osteoarthritis". More...

Results from multi-country Bovine Neonatal Pancytopenia (BNP) study published in PLoS One

20 January 2014

Bovine neonatal pancytopenia (BNP) first emerged as a novel disease syndrome in 2007; initially in Germany, and soon afterwards in several other European countries including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

In 2010 a consortium of veterinary researchers from France (ONIRIS from Nantes), Germany (LMU from Munich), Belgium (Ghent University) and the Netherlands (Utrecht University and GD Animal Health) under the leadership of Prof. Dirk Pfeiffer of the Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group at the Royal Veterinary College, London, conducted a case-control study (funded by Pfizer Animal Health) to investigate risk factors for BNP at the level of the individual calf. Results from this study have recently been published in PLoS One. More...

RVC are partners in a consortium awarded a major EU grant to study the interaction between genes and environment in dairy cows

16 January 2014

An RVC team consisting of Professors Claire Wathes and Dirk Werling together with Drs Geoff Pollott, Zhangrui Cheng and Ali Fouladi are part of a successful consortium which has just been awarded EU funding. The consortium has 17 academic and industry partners from 7 EU states together with the USA and China. It is led by Professor Mark Crowe of University College, Dublin and will run for 5 years. The total value is just under €9 million, of which the RVC will receive €707,000. More...

New research proves that birds in V formation arrange themselves in aerodynamically optimum positions

15 January 2014

Nature coverGroundbreaking Royal Veterinary College research, which appears on the front cover of the journal Nature, proves for the first time that birds flying in a distinctive V formation strategically position themselves in aerodynamically optimum positions, and experience positive aerodynamic interactions that maximise upwash (“good air”) capture.

The data, captured from free-flying migrating birds using specially developed GPS technology, reveals novel mechanisms by which birds flying in V formation can both use areas of beneficial upwash while avoiding regions of detrimental downwash (“bad air”).

The full scientific account of the study and the findings, along with the data and the collar technology, have been published in the journal Nature: “Upwash exploitation and downwash avoidance by flap phasing in ibis formation flight” Portugal, S.J., Hubel, T.Y., Fritz, J., Heese, S., Trobe, D., Voelkl, B., Hailes, S., Wilson, A.M. & Usherwood, J.R. (doi:10.1038/nature12939)

See Press Release and Animal behaviour study 3: V Flight formation in migratory Ibises for more information.

Definitive reference source published on equine endocrine disorders

09 January 2014

Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) and Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) have combined forces to create a free online collection of their recent articles on Equine Endocrinology to raise awareness of common equine endocrine disorders, such as Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), and to provide vets with a definitive source of references all in one place.

The collection encompasses a comprehensive range of topics within the field of endocrinology and includes authoritative review articles on insulin dysregulation], glucocorticoids and laminitis and paraneoplastic syndromes. The source includes articles written by RVC researchers.




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