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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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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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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.