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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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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.