Monday 16th June 2008

HBLB funds 10 new projects to improve horse health and welfare

The HBLB has recently confirmed funding for 10 new equine veterinary research projects which aim to improve the health and welfare of horses and particularly the racing and breeding Thoroughbred.

Almost £1.5 million was allocated to the new research, which will cover a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (tying up) – the role of muscle cells in creating the condition and a step towards a diagnostic test

  • Derivation of equine pluripotent stem cells and development towards a possible future use in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries

  • The response of the equine immune system to bacterial infection and the underlying genetic mechanisms of bacterial invasion

  • Investigation of allergy-induced conditions including recurrent airway obstruction and skin hypersensitivity

  • The genetic basis of Inflammatory Airway Disease and the role of airway mucus accumulation in the development of the condition

One of the 10 projects will be funded in full by the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association through a joint funding arrangement with the HBLB. This project will investigate the effect of hormone administration in mares and the reasons for ovulatory irregularity.

The HBLB also recently awarded £339,600 to three new education awards, to begin in October 2008. Two clinical scholarships, in equine pathology and internal medicine, and one research award, in biomechanics and orthopaedics, will support qualified veterinary surgeons in specialising in the equine field and expanding the UK’s expertise in these areas.

In 2008 the HBLB will support, for the first time, two events of particular interest and value to the UK equine scientific and veterinary community: a colic symposium at the University of Liverpool in June and an equine endotoxaemia workshop in Edinburgh in August.

In 2008-09 the HBLB will continue to support the Equine Genetics Programme at the Animal Health Trust and Royal Veterinary College and the Equine Influenza Programme at the Animal Health Trust. The annual Codes of Practice on equine infectious diseases will be published by the HBLB in autumn 2008.

For further information please contact:
The HBLB Equine Grants team at or 020 7333 0043.