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2014 Impact Case Studies

Improving recognition and treatment of chronic pancreatitis in dogs

Research led by Dr Watson has demonstrated that chronic pancreatitis (CP) is more common and clinically significant in dogs than veterinary surgeons previously recognised, with strong breed predispositions. Prior to this work, the veterinary profession believed that dogs had a single attack of acute pancreatitis which did not result in the development of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) and/or endocrine insufficiency (diabetes mellitus (DM)). The work by Watson has shown the importance of chronic disease and has altered the long term treatment of affected dogs across the profession. It has also prompted companies in the UK, Europe and the USA to increase their focus on low-fat dietary management, pancreatic enzyme supplementation and analgesia improving the quality of life of affected dogs.

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Farm animal welfare – changes to policy and practice

Research carried out by Professor Donald Broom at the Centre for Animal Welfare and Anthrozoology at the University of Cambridge has had a significant impact on the policy and practice surrounding farm animal welfare in the UK and beyond. Work on sow housing, calf housing, laying-hen housing, farm animal transport and other scientific work on animal welfare has led to legislation, binding codes of practice and changes in animal production and management methods in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries and many other countries around the world. In the EU, each year this affects 16 million sows, 6.5 million calves, 320 million hens and 6 billion animals that are being transported.

PDF document icon CS17091.pdf — PDF document, 112 KB (115637 bytes)

A new MRSA emerging in human and bovine populations

Research led by Dr Holmes has identified a novel variant of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in livestock. This represents a previously unidentified reservoir of infection which has had impact on the epidemiology of MRSA and its management. This research also impacts on antibiotic use in agriculture and its role in the emergence of antibiotic resistance. As a consequence of these research findings commercial tests and testing protocols have been developed to detect the new MRSA variant, which are now used widely in clinical settings throughout Europe. The discovery has also been used to inform policy decisions at a governmental level in the USA and Europe.

PDF document icon CS17090.pdf — PDF document, 123 KB (125982 bytes)

Improving use of available controls against bovine tuberculosis

Despite increasing surveillance, outbreaks of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in the UK have steadily increased over the past two decades, with the disease now costing an estimated £100 million per annum in test and slaughter costs, and compensation payments. Research by Professor Wood and Drs McKinley and Conlan has determined that successful control efforts will depend upon within-herd surveillance and also on reducing reintroduction from external sources; these results have directly altered the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) new (July 2013) bovine TB strategy for England, which directly cites Dr Conlan’s research when justifying changes in proposed regulations. On publication this research prompted questions during bovine Tuberculosis debates in both Westminster and the Scottish Parliament by Andrew George (MP, St. Ives) and Helen Eadie (MSP, Cowdenbeath) respectively. The work has also received national and specialist media coverage raising public awareness and understanding of bTB control in cattle.

PDF document icon CS17030.pdf — PDF document, 125 KB (128797 bytes)

Cell therapies for spinal cord injury

Between 2008 and 2011 researchers at the Department of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) undertook the first randomized double-blinded clinical trial of a cell therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI). The trial involved transplantation of autologous olfactory ensheathing cells into domestic dogs with chronic pelvic limb paraplegia as a consequence of clinical SCI. The results indicated a significant improvement in locomotor function. This study has had a major impact on 1) the public awareness of the use of veterinary disease in biomedical research, 2) public awareness of SCI and approaches to its treatment, and 3) current programmes, both veterinary and human, for SCI treatment.

PDF document icon CS17093.pdf — PDF document, 106 KB (109001 bytes)