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Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps the Government has taken to support research into (a) canine and (b) feline illnesses. (256931)

[holding answer 23 February 2009]: In 2008-09 DEFRA has begun to co-fund (£2,500 p.a.) a consortium led by the University of Liverpool that will ultimately combine veterinary practice data from computerised clinical records and reports from some private veterinary laboratories to give a nationwide overview of diseases in companion animals. Although only recently initiated, this project is already piloting voluntary reporting from private veterinary laboratories, and plans to soon conduct real time surveillance of clinical conditions at veterinary practices using a particular suppliers software package.

The Department also supports ongoing research with a total of approximately £1.4 million committed to the following projects:

Antimicrobial use and carriage of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli and staphylococci in dogs and horses in the community: molecular mechanisms of resistance and risk to humans.

The epidemiology of Campylobacter infection in dogs in context of the risk of infection to humans.

Incidence of, risk factors for, histological features of and protein expression patterns in injection site sarcomas in cats.

The clinical treatment of pet dogs and antibiotic resistance in commensal and potentially pathogenic bacteria.