Congratulations to Dr Simon Priestnall who has been awarded a grant by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) for the project "Improved diagnosis of infectious causes of airway disease in racehorses"
Inflammatory airway disease (IAD), part of the equine asthma syndrome, is one of the main causes of poor performance and lost training days in young Thoroughbred (TB) racehorses in the UK. Although possible causes of this syndrome have been hotly debated it now seems likely that it is multifactorial, with infectious and non-infectious contributions. The diagnostic practices used in young TBs have not altered significantly in the last 20 years, despite changes in thinking about IAD. This project aims to improve the value of the routine method to screen for and diagnose airway inflammation, the endoscopic tracheal wash (TW) sample, using the latest molecular technologies. By developing two new, rapid assays for all known infectious causes of airway inflammation, this project will add valuable insights into the role of bacteria and viruses in airway disease in UK TBs and these assays could be developed for rapid diagnostics on clinical samples.