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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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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”