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Equine Veterinary Surveillance Network for the UK Equine Population

Project Description

In the UK, there are no comprehensive national surveillance data monitoring the extent and emergence of health and disease in the equine population. The aim of this project is to develop an equine research surveillance system “EVSNET” using health data from two sources: electronic patient health records (EHR’s) from equine veterinary practices and results from clinical equine submissions to diagnostic laboratories. EVSNET development will capitalise on knowledge and collaborations developed through Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) (, as well as a recent project investigating AMR within equine populations.

Specific objectives within this PhD studentship are:

• To develop and pilot a system for near-real-time equine practice-based syndromic surveillance. This will include developing an equine specific classification system for recording main presenting complaints in equine practice and recruiting a sentinel network of equine practices from across the UK.

Using these data the PhD student will conduct research in priority areas:

• Analyse practice data to describe the frequency and distribution of the main presenting complaints in the equine veterinary visiting population and how these may be affected by both the animal (such as age and breed), and the practice it attends.

• Describe current antimicrobial prescription in equine practice including the proportion of consults where antimicrobials are prescribed, the types of antimicrobials and the complaints that antimicrobials are most frequently used for as well as examining variation across practices.

• Expand surveillance and research of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of bacterial infections in equine clinical samples. This will enable identification trends and monitor AMR over time and spatially in the UK, essential for understanding the changing patterns of resistance and informing evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship in equine practice.

Methods of feedback/benchmarking to equine practitioners and processes for data access will be developed to allow researchers, veterinary surgeons, equine health professional and owners to access and use anonymised data for the benefit of equine health and welfare.

The student will gain expertise in a range of key skills throughout the project through both formal and informal training. Training will include generic career and research skills as well as specific scientific skills, particularly focused on surveillance and quantitative skills.
The successful candidate will be based at the Leahurst Campus in the Department of Epidemiology and Population health and will become part of a vibrant multidisciplinary team encompassing equine clinicians, epidemiologists and microbiologists as well as the existing SAVSNET team. This team has a proven track record of collaboration and research projects. The student will join a cohort of PhD and masters students and post-doctoral researchers all undertaking veterinary science-related research projects.

The student
This PhD studentship would be suitable for a UK or EU graduate with a degree in Veterinary Science, and an interest in equine health and surveillance and AMR. Prior experience of quantitative research is not essential but aptitude and a desire to develop deeper skills in this area is essential. The student will need to liaise with UK equine veterinary practices so good communication skills are essential.

To apply for this opportunity, please send your CV, statement, and names of two referees to

Interviews will be held at the Leahurst Campus, University of Liverpool within 6 weeks of the closing date.
Start date: 1st March 2020 (or as soon as possible after appointment)

Funding Notes

This 3-year PhD studentship would be suitable for a UK or EU graduate with a degree in Veterinary Science. This studentship is generously funded by The Horse Trust and includes a tax free stipend enhanced to £23,000 per annum for a veterinary graduate. All research expenses and fees at Home/EU rates are included as well as a budget for student training.

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