Help needed for grass sickness study

  • Researchers at the University of London are asking the public for help in the fight against equine grass sickness.

    Members of the university’s School of Pharmacy are looking into what causes grass sickness, with particular attention focused on environmental factors such as grazing and water supply.

    Although grass sickness — a disease of the nervous system with a high mortality rate — has been studied since it first emerged 100 years ago, vets and scientists remain unsure of the exact causes.

    The disease usually affects animals aged between two and seven and cases peak in the months between April and July. There is some suggestion of a link between the disease and the botulism bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

    The research team, headed by Professor Michael Heinrich and Dr Sarah Edwards, is looking for people who have experienced outbreaks of grass sickness on their land. If you can help, please contact Dr Edwards on sarah.edwards@pharmacy.ac.uk or (tel: 020 7753 5884).

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (1 March, ’07)

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