Research News

Our Research News in this edition focuses on an article from Lisa Katz’s research group which has been selected as ‘one of the most clinically relevant articles to appear on the Equine Veterinary Journal’s Early View section.’  We also look at two collaborative projects from the UCD Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis - the creation of a Culicoides dispersion model with Met Éireann and Fiona Reardon’s project on ‘Mitigating the risk posed by Trojan dams in the Irish BVD eradication programme.’  Finally, there’s an update on the EU COST Action ‘Combatting anthelmintic resistance in ruminants’ (COMBAR) following on from their meeting of 90 researchers from 30 countries at the University of León (Spain) in September.

Article Published in the Equine Veterinary Journal
Associate Professor Lisa Katz (Head of the Veterinary Biosciences Section) and her research group’s paper ‘Serial evaluation of resting and exercising overground endoscopic examination in young Thoroughbreds with no treatment intervention’ has recently been selected by the Equine Veterinary Journal’s (EVJ) Clinical Reviewer as one of the most clinically relevant articles to appear on EVJ’s Early View section. As a result of this, a synopsis of the article has been circulated to equine practitioners via BEVA’s e-News and also sent to other organisations such as the American Association of Equine Practitioners.  The paper has also been selected to form part of an EVJ podcast.  The EVJ broadcasts a regular online podcast, to help disseminate published literature to busy veterinary surgeons. The podcasts consist of an interview with the author, highlighting significant findings and clinically relevant material. The interview is structured in a similar manner to a clinical research abstract.  Well done to all involved!


Culicoides Dispersion Model
‌Last year, Met Éireann and the UCD Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CVERA) created an operational model for forecasting potential incursion of windborne Culicoides (midges). There is strong evidence to suggest that the introduction of Schmallenberg virus into Ireland in the summer of 2012, was due to the arrival of infected midges carried on the wind from southwest England. By forecasting midge dispersion, we can assess the risk of future potential incursion events which can then assist in active surveillance, particularly for Bluetongue virus, which is active on mainland Europe but has yet to reach Ireland. The model is built on the HYSPLIT atmospheric dispersion model driven by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The model is run daily with the 3-day forecast results emailed to a list of relevant associates. In September 2018, the model was enhanced to improve emission estimates and to simplify the output. By summer 2019, the model will be further enhanced to include biological parameters, thereby making prediction estimates more realistic. 

Mitigating the risk posed by Trojan dams in the Irish BVD Eradication Programme
Risks posed by Trojan dams are of ongoing concern in the national BVD eradication programme. As part of her Masters studies and building on an earlier publication, Fiona Reardon and colleagues found that 10.6% of BVD+ birth events to non-BVD+ dams in Ireland during 2015 could be attributable to Trojan dams. In a second paper, Reardon et al. (2018) investigated a range of risk mitigation strategies, to limit the risks posed by Trojan dams whilst also minimising the impact of trade in non-infected herds. Results from her work have shown that measures to control the movement of Trojan dams should be targeted in a way that fits the Irish context and reduces the spread of BVD virus, without unduly impacting other trade. This study was conducted collaboratively between CVERA and Animal Health Ireland. Fiona successfully defended her Masters thesis earlier this year.
Reardon et al. (2018) paper 1:
Reardon et al. (2018) paper 2:

Scientists Discuss Research Towards Mitigating Anthelmintic Resistance in Livestock
In February this year, 59 researchers from 25 countries met for the first time at the University of Life Sciences of Warsaw, Poland, to discuss a coordinated approach in tackling anthelmintic resistance in ruminants.  The UCD School of Veterinary Medicine's Associate Professor Theo de Waal, European Veterinary Specialist in Parasitology, is representing Ireland on the Management Committee.

Following on from this, 90 researchers from 30 countries came together at the University of León (Spain) in September to present research results and to discuss a coordinated approach towards solutions for anthelmintic resistance, a part of the larger drug resistance problem in infective pathogens. The meeting was held in the framework of the EU COST Action CA16230 COMBAR – ‘Combatting anthelmintic resistance in ruminants’ and combined with the annual meeting of the Livestock Helminth Research Alliance (LiHRA).

Worldwide, anthelmintics are an important drug class to treat parasitic worm infections and are a cornerstone to preserve animal health, welfare and productivity in grazing livestock. With an increasing number of treatment failures due to anthelmintic resistance, new solutions are needed. The research network sets in on three strategies, each dealt with in a separate working group.

  • Improving diagnostic tools to facilitate targeted and selective treatment approaches and early detection of anthelmintic resistance
  • Studying socio-economic aspects to understand the impacts, the barriers and drivers of sustainable anthelmintic usage
  • Developing integrated control strategies based on a broader panel of control options including pasture management, vaccination and use of bio-active forages

During this meeting, scientific leaders from all continents as well as young European researchers presented the current knowledge, recent research results and their thoughts on how to move forward. The first results are planned to be presented at a special session during the annual meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Ghent, 26 August 2019.