Equine Clinical Studies, Diagnostic Imaging & Anaesthesia

Equine Clinical Studies

Equine Clinical Studies comprises the disciplines of Equine Internal Medicine (led by Assoc Professor Vivienne Duggan), which operates a referral service within the UCD Veterinary Hospital, and the Equine Field Service (led by Assistant Professors Nicola Walshe & Sinead Devine), which offers an equine ambulatory first opinion service operating in the vicinity of the Hospital. These disciplines have a major role in equine undergraduate teaching within the Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Nursing Programmes, as well as specialist training in Equine Internal Medicine.

The majority of research within these disciplines is centred upon clinical research in the fields of equine medicine, e.g. parasitic diseases, infectious diseases, genetic diseases and equine welfare, and research in veterinary teaching and learning. This research is often undertaken with national and international collaborators.

Image: Different encysted larval stages in colonic mucosa of a heavily infested horse who died of acute larval cyathostominosis (ALC).

Large Animal Surgery

The Large Animal Surgical Discipline has a strong research focus in stem cell therapy and cartilage regeneration. It is led by Professor Pieter Brama, who has published widely in these areas, and has been awarded large international grants for his research.

Under the broad theme of One Health and Translational Medicine, Assistant Professor Clodagh Kearney is pursuing research which aims to further the development of novel therapeutics for arthritis. Arthritis in humans is ranked in the top ten causes of disability worldwide, and as in humans, arthritis is a major welfare and economic concern in the horse causing an estimated 60% of all lameness. Currently there is no disease modifying treatment for arthritis in any species; finding better therapies for controlling joint inflammation, the hallmark of arthritis in both horses and humans, is the goal of this research.  Utilizing existing strong collaborations within the School of Veterinary Medicine between clinical specialists, and researchers in inflammation and drug delivery and medical devices, and by building new international collaborations with basic research groups developing new cell based therapies in the Netherlands, we aim to develop treatments that target interruption of the inflammatory cascade within the joint before disease progression enters a state of no return. In particular, the safety and efficacy of nanomedicines, and cell-based therapies are being explored using an equine model of synovitis. This research may have future application for humans since the horse is an accepted pre-clinical animal model for arthritis in humans. The novel therapeutics may improve the quality of life of affected horses and potentially human patients.

Assistant Professor John Mark O Leary has a board certification in veterinary dentistry (equine) and has research interests in this area. Dental disease makes up a significant proportion of sinusitis cases in the horse which are extremely challenging cases to manage, with a high rate of recurrence. The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ is very true for dental disease in the horse. Under the theme of One Health, John Mark is currently comparing the efficacy of atraumatic restorative techniques on equine cheek teeth carious lesions preparation to conventional motorized drills and the efficacy of different filling materials. The objective of this work is to establish whether carious lesions in equine cheek teeth can have fillings placed using basic equipment as a prophylactic dental care treatment. John Mark is also involved in epidemiological studies on the prevalence of equine dental pathologies within Ireland and has a keen interest in the progression of NOTES (natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery) for the treatment of sinus diseases in the horse.

Images: Assessing the ability to fill infundibular cavities with restorative materials

Please click here to access staff profiles for the UCD Equine Clinical Studies, Diagnostic Imaging & Anaesthesia Section.