Published: 19 Oct 2023 | Last Updated: 19 Oct 2023 09:40:52

The Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) data and analytics has supported Dechra Veterinary Products to create a research-informed app - the first of its kind - which helps vets better diagnose and treat disorders that affect the glands producing hormones (endocrine system) in companion animals.

Endocrine disorders arise when hormones are either overproduced or underproduced, causing receptors to malfunction and disruption to normal pathways for hormone activity and removal. In veterinary care, endocrine diseases are more commonly diagnosed and treated in companion animals such as dogs or cats than in large animal species. Typically, diagnosis of endocrine disease is based on a thorough history and physical examination, followed by laboratory tests. However, clinical signs vary substantially across animals with endocrine disorders and so this new app offers promise that new technology developments such as AI can help vets to improve their diagnostic processes.

The launch of this new app builds on the results from a VetCompass PhD study conducted by the RVC and funded by Dechra1. The app was developed by Dechra in collaboration with experts at RVC, including Professor David Church, Deputy Principal and acting Vice Principal of Clinical Affairs; Professor David Brodbelt, Professor of Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine; Dr Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor of Companion Animal Epidemiology; Imogen Schofield, PhD Student; Noel Kennedy, Head of Software Development; and Dr Jenny Wilshaw, Applied Data Scientist.

When dealing with dogs suspected of having Cushing’s Syndrome (an excess production of cortisol), the app provides vets with a prediction of how likely the dog is to actually have Cushing’s based on clinical signs, supporting more effective diagnosis. By also providing additional information on the treatment and monitoring of diseases such as Cushing’s and Addison’s (deficiency of essential hormones), the app helps vets in primary and referral care to better understand these endocrine disorders and improve the clinical care given to patients.

The app is available throughout EU countries and reflects the RVC and VetCompass’ dedication towards using Big Data to lead evidence-base generation and application globally. Free to download by searching for the Endocrinology App from Dechra on both Apple and Android devices, vets can access the app's features and resources at any time, making it a convenient and valuable tool.

Dr Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor for Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC, said:

“The RVC VetCompass team was delighted to be involved in developing the science underpinning the new Endocrinology App from Dechra.

“Cushing’s Syndrome can be a very challenging disorder to diagnose; the new Endocrinology App from Dechra aims to assist veterinary surgeons to understand how likely a dog suspected of having Cushing’s is to have the condition and whether further investigations are warranted.

“The new Endocrinology App from Dechra is based around a machine learning form of AI utilising anonymised clinical records from millions of dogs within the RVC’s VetCompass database. By applying the latest AI technology developed by the RVC’s VetCompass team, Dechra’s new Endocrinology App is designed to assist primary care veterinary surgeons to better detect and diagnose Cushing’s Syndrome. The App provides a guide to the probability of Cushing’s syndrome as an explanation in patients showing both typical and atypical clinical signs for Cushing’s.

“Based on the power of Big Data using veterinary clinical records from millions of UK dogs in RVC VetCompass, Dechra’s new Endocrinology App aims to help primary care veterinary surgeons have greater confidence in diagnosing Cushing’s Syndrome.”

Craig Sankey, European Business Manager for Endocrinology at Dechra said:

"We are excited to launch this app, which we believe will be a valuable tool for veterinarians in diagnosing and treating endocrine disorders. We know that endocrine disorders can be complex, and this app will be a valuable addition to the existing comprehensive support provided by Dechra helping veterinarians navigate this field with more confidence and ease."

Notes to Editor

1The app follows work on a PhD funded by Dechra at the RVC:

1The app is also supported by peer reviewed publications:

  • Ruijter, B.E.W., Bik, C.A., Schofield, I. and Niessen, S.J.M. (2023) 'External validation of a United Kingdom primary-care Cushing's prediction tool in a population of referred Dutch dogs', Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, n/a(n/a), available:
  • Schofield, I., Brodbelt, D.C., Kennedy, N., Niessen, S.J.M., Church, D.B., Geddes, R.F. and O'Neill, D.G. (2021) 'Machine-learning based prediction of Cushing’s syndrome in dogs attending UK primary-care veterinary practice', Scientific Reports, 11(1), 9035, available:
  • Schofield, I., Brodbelt, D.C., Niessen, S.J.M., Church, D.B., Geddes, R.F., Kennedy, N. and O'Neill, D.G. (2020) 'Development and internal validation of a prediction tool to aid the diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome in dogs attending primary-care practice', Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 34(6), 2306-2318, available:

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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London.
  • It is one of the few veterinary schools in the world that hold accreditations from the RCVS in the UK (with reciprocal recognition from the AVBC for Australasia, the VCI for Ireland and the SAVC for South Africa), the EAEVE in the EU, and the AVMA in the USA and Canada.
  • The RVC is ranked as the top veterinary school in the world in the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2023.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
  • The RVC is a research-led institution, with 88% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.

About the VetCompass™ Programme

VetCompass™ (The Veterinary Companion Animal Surveillance System) is an epidemiological research programme at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) which investigates anonymised clinical records from veterinary practices to generate evidence to support improved animal welfare. VetCompass shares information from more than 1,800 veterinary practices in the UK (over 30% of all UK practices) covering over 28 million companion and equine animals. To date, VetCompass™ has led to over 120 peer-reviewed publications that have supported welfare-focused work across the range of animal stakeholders including the wider general public, owners, breeders, academics, animal charities, universities and government.

For more information, visit:

X (Twitter): @VetCompass  

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