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New blood test to help vets spot liver disease in dogs
Out of 250 dogs tested, those with liver disease were found to have significantly higher levels of miR-122.
Test created using insights from human medicine 

Vets and doctors have teamed up to develop a blood test that could spot the early signs of liver disease in dogs.

The test is set to be launched worldwide and could help vets to identify damage and start treatment early.

As well as saving many lives, it will reduce the number of dogs that have to undergo invasive liver biopsies, according to the University of Edinburgh.

Diagnosis of liver disease in dogs is challenging and spotting the early signs of damage is key to treatment. Current diagnosis is based on biopsies, which are expensive and can lead to complications.

Vets at the University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies worked with medical doctors to look at blood levels of the molecule miR-122 in dogs. In humans with liver disease, the molecule is found in high levels.

Out of 250 dogs tested, those with liver disease were found to have significantly higher levels of miR-122, compared with healthy dogs and those with different diseases that did not affect the liver.

Lead veterinary researcher, Professor Richard Mellanby, said: “We have found a specific, sensitive and non-invasive way to detect liver damage in dogs. We hope that our test will greatly improve outcomes by allowing vets to make rapid and accurate diagnosis.”
 
NHS doctor Dr James Dear, who co-led the study, added: “I am delighted that the blood test we developed to improve the diagnosis of liver disease in humans can be used to help dogs too.”

The team plan to launch a testing kit worldwide.

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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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News Shorts
Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”