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Study sheds light on foetal development in humans and pigs
It is thought the differences observed after birth could arise early in development
Non-invasive method monitors blood flow during pregnancy 

Light sedation of pigs in early pregnancy could be linked with decreased foetal weight, according to a new study, which has important implications for human and veterinary medicine.

Scientists from the Roslin Institute have developed the first non-invasive method to monitor blood flow at multiple stages of pregnancy, offering fresh insights into pre-natal piglet growth.

There is often a great deal of variation in the birth weight of piglets, with many litters having a ‘runt’. It is thought the differences observed after birth could arise early in development, raising questions about the role of blood supply to foetuses during pregnancy.

The research team found that changes in foetal heart rate and umbilical blood flow were linked with the stage of pregnancy, in a similar way to humans.

Lead author Dr Claire Stenhouse said: “It is hoped, with further optimisation, it may be feasible to measure blood flow in the umbilical cord of growth-restricted piglets throughout pregnancy.

“This is also of great interest in humans, particularly in the context of use of sedatives during pregnancy and improving the understanding of intrauterine growth restriction.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”