MOREDUN HAS teamed up with a multitude of partners to improve research into Equine Grass Sickness (EGS).

The disease, which is fatal in 80% of cases, has no known cure or vaccines and continues to devastate pony owners across the UK.

The disease has a strong association with geography, being more prevalent in the east side of the UK, compared to the west, with Aberdeenshire being the county suffering the most cases annually in the UK. It also has a seasonal pattern and is most common in the spring and early summer and in young, adult equines.

Moredun has been involved in EGS research over its entire history and is home to the Equine Grass Sickness Fund (EGSF).

To breathe fresh thinking and approaches into EGS research, Moredun, with partners across many related disciplines such as microbiology, immunology, soil science, plant science, fungal biology, genetics, molecular biology and bioinformatics, have applied to the EGSF to fund a full-time Research Fellow for three years.

The main aims of the Fellowship will be to set up a national database and sample biobank with the assistance of a UK wide network of vet ambassadors and horse owners. This will assist greatly in research going forward and will be an important resource available to all EGS researchers.

Moredun's Dr Beth Wells explained, “The Fellowship will provide a dedicated scientist to set up the national database and sample biobank working with vets and horse owners. The Fellow will also overview EGS research and, working with a highly experienced mentoring team of scientists, will take forward new ideas and research strands.”

Stud manager at Balmoral Estate, Sylvia Ormiston, has first hand experience of the devastating disease: ‘As a stud manager and pony owner I know only too well of the damage this dreadful disease can do and I am happy to support the research in any way I can. Together we hopefully make some progress to try and beat this baffling disease’

There is also a research booklet available to equine owners which highlights the vital role they can play in reporting EGS cases to update researchers on the incidence and risk factors associated with the disease. It can be downloaded here -