Department: Clinical Science and Services

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Brain Health and Behaviour, CPCS (Research Programme)

Clinical Groups: Small Animal Neurology

Research Centres: Clinical Investigation Centre, Imaging Suite

Clinician in Neurology and Neurosurgery (Research Track)

Abbe graduated from the University of Edinburgh, and undertook a Small Animal Rotating Internship at the Royal Veterinary College.  After 1.5 years in general practice she began a Neuroscience PhD at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Robin Franklin. In 2015 she enrolled in a Senior Clinical Training Scholarship in Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Royal Veterinary College, and in 2018 obtained the Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Neurology.  She is currently a Clinician in Neurology and Neurosurgery, with a Postdoctoral research position.

Abbe's current main research project is studying the brain phenotype of muscular dystrophy.  Muscular dystrophy is caused by an absence or deficiency of dystrophin protein in striated muscles, leading to myofibre fragility and repetitive cycles of degeneration and regeneration, progressive fibrosis and paresis. In addition to muscle, dystrophin is also found in the brain and approximately 50% of human patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) consequently show neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety, cognitive impairment and autism spectrum disorder, alongside their muscle degeneration. The precise function of dystrophin in the brain remains poorly understood.  Using techniques such as RNAScope and immunostaining techniques we are studying the expression patterns of dystrophin in the canine brain.   Through EEG analysis and cognitive function testing we are then studying the functional consequences of dystrophin deficiency in the canine brain.  

Alongside Dr Tom Cardy, Abbe is currently working to establish the RVC's Companion Animal Brain Bank.  Many dogs and cats are euthanised  due to neurological conditions and in the majority of cases these patients are communally cremated, often without a confirmed diagnosis. These samples of brain tissue represent an under utilised and precious research commodity that if appropriately banked could provide a significant resource for neurology research.  We are working to collect brain tissue and biological fluids (whole blood, serum, plasma, urine, CSF, DNA and RNA) from dogs and cats euthanised as a result of neurological disease. The bank also stores tissues from appropriate controls euthanised due to non-neurological disease.  This tissue will be freely and easily accessible to human and veterinary researchers who are working towards understanding the pathophysiology, identifying biomarkers and providing novel treatments for neurological diseases.


Details of Abbe's publications can be found at:


Comparison of outcome following hemilaminectomy with anulectomy or hemilaminectomy with partial discectomy in the surgical management of thoracolumbar annulus fibrosus protrusion. Crawford AH, De Decker S. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol, 2018; 31:194–201.

Ventral Slot Surgery to Manage Intervertebral Disc Disease in Three Cats. Crawford AH, Cappello R, Alexander A, De Decker S. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2018; 31(1): 71-76.

Clinicopathologic Features and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings in 24 Cats With Histopathologically Confirmed Neurologic Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Crawford AH, Stoll AL, Sanchez-Masian D, Shea A, Michaels J, Fraser AR, Beltran E. J Vet Intern Med. 2017; 31(5): 1477-1486.

MRI and clinical resolution of a suspected intracranial toxoplasma granuloma with medical treatment in a domestic short hair catCrawford AH, Drees R, Beltran E. Veterinary Record Case Reports Aug 2017, 5 (2). 

Clinical presentation and outcome of dogs treated medically or surgically for thoracolumbar intervertebral disc protrusions. Crawford AH, De Decker S. Vet Rec. 2017 Jun 10; 180(23):569

Surgical management of a paraspinal abscess with osteomyelitis and spinal cord compression in a rabbit. Crawford, AH. Hedley, J.E., Lam, R., Drozdzynska, M., De Decker, S. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2017; 251(3):340-344. 

Convergence-Retraction Nystagmus Associated with Dorsal Midbrain Lesions in Three Dogs. Crawford AH, Beltran E, Lam R, Kenny PJ. J Vet Intern Med. 2016; 30(4):1229-34

Developmental Origin of Oligodendrocyte Lineage Cells Determines Response to Demyelination and Susceptibility to Age-Associated Functional DeclineCrawford AH, Tripathi RB, Richardson WD, Franklin RJ. Cell Rep. 2016 Apr 13. pii: S2211-1247(16)30358-8. 

Pre-Existing Mature Oligodendrocytes Do Not Contribute to Remyelination following Toxin-Induced Spinal Cord Demyelination. Crawford AH, Tripathi RB, Foerster S, McKenzie I, Kougioumtzidou E, Grist M, Richardson WD, Franklin RJ. Am J Pathol. 2016 Mar;186(3):511-6. 

Retinoid X receptor activation reverses age-related deficiencies in myelin debris phagocytosis and remyelination. Natrajan MS, de la Fuente AG, Crawford AH, Linehan E, Nuñez V, Johnson KR, Wu T, Fitzgerald DC, Ricote M, Bielekova B, Franklin RJ. Brain. 2015 Dec;138(Pt 12):3581-97.

Neural Stem Cells and Demyelinating Disease Crawford AH, Chambers C, Franklin RJ. Neural Stem Cells in Development, Adulthood and Disease.  2015. Humana Press, Springer, New York. Pp125-155.

Oligodendrocyte progenitors: adult stem cells of the central nervous systemCrawford AH, Stockley JH, Tripathi RB, Richardson WD, Franklin RJ. Exp Neurol. 2014 Oct;260:50-5.

Remyelination: the true regeneration of the central nervous system. Crawford AH, Chambers C, Franklin RJ. J Comp Pathol. 2013 Aug-Oct;149(2-3):242-54. 


  • Epilepsy in companion animals

    Researchers and clinicians at the RVC have devoted more than a decade of work to improving our understanding of epilepsy in dogs, as well as cats.  Ongoing RVC epilepsy research is improving the characterisation of this chronic disorder and its comorbidities, develops technology to aid its long-term management for vets and owners, and identifies fresh new ways to manage this age-old disorder.

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