ABOUT THE EGS SCHEMe
THE NEED FOR SURVEILLANCE
The Animal Health Trust, together with the Equine Grass Sickness Fund, the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies (Edinburgh) and the University of Liverpool, established the first nationwide system for the surveillance of EGS, to collect details of clinical cases in order to produce an accurate representation of the true frequency of EGS in Britain. The EGS Surveillance Scheme was launched in 2008 and initial development of the project was funded by the Horse Trust.
AIMS OF THE EGS SURVEILLANCE SCHEME
The project maintains a strictly confidential database of cases of EGS occurring within Britain. The database is used to gather information regarding EGS occurrence on affected premises, as well as to collect details about any new cases. This information allows us to evaluate any changes in distribution and frequency of the disease over time or between different areas. As well as quantifying the true welfare impact of EGS, the data collated by the EGS Surveillance Scheme has been an invaluable resource for accurate sample size calculations and identifying affected premises in the development of the nationwide EGS vaccine trial, which could be crucial for the prevention of this disease in the future.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Over 3200 EGS cases have been reported, occurring in Britain from as far back as 1942, with nearly 1900 cases reported since the year 2000. The ongoing success of the EGS Surveillance Scheme is dependent on publicity and awareness – it is vitally important in obtaining the most accurate picture that all cases of EGS are reported.
Please be assured that your details will only be used for this EGS research and will remain completely confidential.
If you would like to make a donation for EGS research please contact our collaborators - The Equine Grass Sickness Fund at www.grasssickness.org.uk or by telephoning the EGSF secretary Katherine Thomson on 0131 445 6257.
ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED IN THE EGS SURVEILLANCE SCHEME
Over 200 veterinary practices in Great Britain are enrolled in the EGS surveillance scheme.
The EGS surveillance scheme is co-ordinated by the Animal Health Trust. The Animal Health Trust is a charity that has been helping dogs, cats and horses since 1942. Scientists and veterinary surgeons with a wide range of expertise, many of whom are world leaders in their field, work together to advance knowledge and understanding and to develop new technology for improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and injury.
To find out more about the work of the AHT please visit www.aht.org.uk
The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Liverpool has an excellent record for research in equine medicine, including previous studies investigating Equine Grass Sickness risk factors and distribution. Recently, researchers at the Universities of Liverpool and Reading have joined forces to investigate EGS from a new perspective. With funding from the Equine Grass Sickness Fund they will characterise intestinal bacterial populations in horses with grass sickness compared to non-affected horses. The team will use cutting-edge technology to profile bacterial metabolites and DNA sequencing technology to identify and measure bacterial populations in faecal samples. The project is supervised jointly by Professor Chris Proudman (Liverpool) and Dr Jon Swann (Reading). Professor Proudman commented: “The aim of this project is to discover biomarkers that might be used to identify horses at risk of the disease. Working with colleagues in Reading we hope to be able to link these with specific changes in gut bacterial populations that might ultimately be targets for disease prevention, for example by using probiotics.”
For more information on clinical work and research undertaken at the University of Liverpool please visit www.liv.ac.uk/vets
The Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh continues to be at the forefront of EGS research. The Dick Vet Equine Hospital has a worldwide reputation for excellence in care of affected cases, with dedicated EGS nursing staff. This extensive experience has increased the survival rate for selected chronic cases to approximately 70% and their treatment protocols are successfully used by veterinary surgeons elsewhere. Other EGS research has included studies of EGS pathology, risk factors and diagnostic tests. For more information on the work undertaken at the University of Edinburgh please visit www.vet.ed.ac.uk
The Equine Grass Sickness Fund is a collaborator on the EGS Surveillance Scheme. The EGSF is the only registered charity in the UK raising funds specifically for research into
grass sickness. It is dedicated to supporting and advancing research into grass sickness and further improving the treatment of chronic cases.
To make a donation to EGS research, and for more information on current EGS topics, please visit www.grasssickness.org.uk
The initial development of the EGS Surveillance Scheme was funded by the Horse Trust. The Horse Trust, originally established back in 1886 to help the working horses in London, is the oldest horse charity in the world. The Horse Trust has an ongoing commitment to promoting education and welfare within the equine world, has previously provided equine welfare grants funding a wide range of research studies in the UK. To support the Horse Trust please visit www.horsetrust.org.uk
World Horse Welfare works to protect horses from abuse and alleviate their suffering by rehabilitating, campaigning and educating worldwide. World Horse Welfare generously funded the dedicated equine grass sickness nurse at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, the University of Edinburgh for a number of years. For more information on World Horse Welfare please go to www.worldhorsewelfare.org