Researchers Seek Reader Comments on Equine Grass Sickness

Equine grass sickness (EGS), or dysautonomia, is a disease that primarily affects pasture-grazed equids between the ages of 2 and 7 years. Incidences of the disease are more likely to occur from April to July, and on premises where there has been a previous outbreak. Clinical signs of EGS include impaired intestinal activity due to autonomic nervous system damage, and in acute and sub-acute cases will result in death of the animal.

While there have been a number of scientific studies investigating EGS, to date the causative agents remain a matter of some speculation, making it difficult to ensure prevention and/or develop a cure for the disease. An ongoing research project at the Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy at the University of London's School of Pharmacy, is investigating the potential cause(s) of EGS. Researchers are seeking input from the interested public, most notably from owners of animals that suffered this disease. Over the last year the researchers have assessed a series of sites in terms of their edaphic (soil) conditions and vegetation, but still need to increase the sample size in order to get a clearer idea about how these factors contribute to the disease.

Researchers at CPP would like to hear from readers who have premises where there have been outbreaks of EGS, and of any new cases that may arise, so that environmental factors can be analyzed for potential causative agents. Strict privacy and anonymity of participating premises will be adhered to in this study. E-mail the researchers.

Background information

The Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy is world-renowned for its trans-disciplinary research in pharmacognosy, which is the study of natural agents and products, using a broad spectrum of bioscientific methods, including macroscopical, microscopical, and chemical evaluation, to determine their implications for health management. It is hoped that by using a pharmacognistic approach a greater understanding of EGS will be elucidated.

This project is being funded by Mrs. Patricia Brown.

For further information or to participate, contact:
Sabine Heinrich (PA Michael Heinrich)
Centre for Pharmacognosy & Phytotherapy
School of Pharmacy
29/39 Brunswick Square
London WC1N 1AX

Tel: 020 7753 5846
Fax: 020 7754 5909

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