EGS Biobank – HORSE OWNER INFORMATION

Contact the biobank:

Office hours: biobank@moredun.org.uk

Out of hours telephone: 0131 445 6157 (diverted to on call mobile)

Please watch this excellent webinar from 25/03/2021 as an introduction to our Biobank project: EGS Biobank for horse owners – webinar recording

DOWNLOADS – To participate in the scheme we suggest you keep a completed copy of the consent form and vets declaration form in your horse’s passport. You should also let your vet, and anyone involved in the care of your horse or pony, know your wishes.

The Moredun Foundation and The Equine Grass Sickness Fund (EGSF), with generous support from the British Horse Society, have launched a nationwide biobank to gather samples relevant to grass sickness research.

Equine Grass Sickness (EGS) is a devastating disease of equines that affects otherwise healthy animals with a sudden onset, and around 80% of cases are euthanised due to welfare reasons. Despite the disease being recognised for over 100 years, progress with research into the causal agents involved in EGS has been hampered by the lack of suitable samples from EGS cases, co-grazers and their environment.

This study aims to address this, so that in future, researchers can apply to the EGSF to use the samples in appropriate projects to further EGS research. It is essential that the causal agents are established so that EGS cases can be prevented in future.

Horse and pony owners and equine vets have a crucial part to play in this project, to help progress research by submitting samples from grass sickness cases, co-grazers and their environment to the biobank.

The samples may be horse-related samples obtained by your vet, and/or environment related samples and case questionnaires, which owners will be able to submit themselves. The samples will be stored and available on application to all scientists working in the field of grass sickness, in a concerted effort to break new ground against the disease.

There tends to be just a very small window of opportunity when grass sickness is suspected, so it would be helpful to think about and prepare for this in advance. This means that in the unfortunate event you suspect grass sickness in your horse, you are forearmed with the knowledge about how you can help, and are not trying to think about this at a very distressing time.

By donating samples and completed case questionnaires to the biobank you and your horse or pony are providing us with valuable information about your horse, its immediate environment and surroundings, which will all help us with the identification and understanding of risk factors associated with EGS, and will help protect future generations of horses and their owners from the effects of this devastating disease.

Any identifying information (eg microchip and location) will be held separately to the biobank samples. The data will be used anonymously for EGS research purposes.

All samples and data held in the biobank are collected and stored with ethical approval from The Moredun Research Institute (veterinary) and The University of Edinburgh (human – pending) and will be used anonymously for EGS research. The samples and case data is held in accordance with GDPR regulations under the Moredun Group Privacy Policy: Privacy Policy

We have a consent form to give permission for your vet to obtain these samples, and we are asking you to fill this in and keep it in your horse or pony’s passport. You can download the form above.

If you would like to report an EGS case and provide valuable additional information about the affected horse and its associated surroundings, then please follow the link on our Home Page. You must be over the age of 18 years to take part in this questionnaire. The questionnaire will take you approximately 10 minutes to complete and you will need your horse’s microchip number, approximate dates of case occurrence and deworming history. You can complete the case questionnaire by following the link below.

The results of research studies arising from the biobank will be published in relevant scientific journals, on the Equine Grass Sickness Fund website, www.grasssickness.org.uk, and distributed via our newsletters and social media.

For any further information, or for an environmental sampling kit for soil and grass collection please contact: Dr Kathy Geyer Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0PZ; kathy.geyer@moredun.ac.uk