Animal Health Trust
At Animal Health Trust we find new ways to save the lives of horses, dogs and cats. Our vets and scientists develop new vaccines and diagnostic tools to help horses, dogs and cats survive disease and injury.
We cure lameness in horses. We are experts in equine orthopaedics. Barney, a working hunter pony, came to us suffering from severe back pain. Our vets identified the source of his pain as an injury to the upper cannon region of his hind legs – he had a big hole in his right ligament. Barney underwent surgery and is now fit and well, jumping and showing with added enthusiasm.
Our research into ligament injuries in elite competition horses and best practice for arena surface management was used to advise the organising committee of the 2012 London Olympic Games, on the best way to limit injury as much as possible.
We treat thousands of dogs and cats in our world-class clinics. Our specialist vets diagnose and treat a variety of conditions including cancer, epilepsy, blindness and severe skin allergies. We are at the forefront of veterinary medicine and we always pass on our knowledge to other vets and to the public, to help thousands more animals, through training, presentations and published papers.
We use our knowledge of genetics to save foals from fatal conditions, to reduce disease among pedigree dogs and to save endangered breeds . We are at the forefront of genetics, a rapidly developing field of diagnostic and preventative medicine. For example, after years of research we developed a DNA test to identify horses which carry the genetic mutation which is responsible for Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome (FIS). Sadly, all foals which are born with this condition die. Thanks to this test there need never be a foal born with the condition again.
We have also developed numerous DNA tests which detect serious brain and eye conditions in many popular breeds of pedigree dog. Successes include hereditary cataract in the Boston Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier; primary lens luxation in more than seventeen breeds including the Jack Russell, Tibetan and Parson Russell terrier breeds, cerebella ataxia in the Italian Spinone; and episodic falling and ‘curly coat and dry eye’ syndromes in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Recently, we have used our knowledge of equine genetics to devise an optimum breeding programme to secure the future of the Suffolk horse, an endangered breed.
We restore sight to blind animals. Our ophthalmology unit is the biggest and best in Europe. We treat glaucoma, cataracts, lens damage and many other eye problems. Morris, an abandoned blind Welsh pony came to us for cataract surgery. He was completely blind in both eyes but our eye experts carried out surgery and were able to give him back sight in both his eyes.
We even treat bears, lions, seals. Our vets are often asked to take on special assignments across the world. They have restored the sight of a lioness in Romania, rescued moon bears in China, rescued dancing bears in India, a white tiger and a dolphin in Tenerife and even a one-year-old wallaby called Little Big Foot!
We are now tackling animal cancer as never before. Thanks to substantial funding from our supporters, we have built a state-of-the art cancer centre which is one of the only facilities in Europe designed to treat horses, dogs and cats with radiotherapy. The facility complements our already established chemotherapy and surgical cancer treatment options.
As well as offering patients the very best care, the new facility is helping our cancer research programmes, enhancing our knowledge about this disease which affects one in four dogs and one in six cats. Now, more than ever, we need your help to find new ways to diagnose, treat and hopefully, in time, prevent this prevalent disease.
Key facts about the Animal Health Trust
The AHT sees approximately 3,000 dogs and cats and 500 horses each year that have been referred to its clinics for specialist treatment.
The use of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in veterinary medicine was pioneered at the AHT in the early 1990s and is now used worldwide to diagnose and improve the treatment of brain tumours and common cancers in cats and dogs, as well as injuries in horses.
At the forefront of genetics, the AHT has developed DNA tests to detect inherited risk factors of 20 different conditions, in 48 different breeds, improving the health of future generations of dogs. Research is on-going at the AHT to develop diagnostic tests for more devastating inherited diseases, including cancer.
Scientists at the AHT have been researching Strangles, a nasty respiratory disease in horses, for more than 20 years and have made several significant breakthroughs in the detection and treatment of the disease.