By now, ragwort poisoning is touching most equines in the UK, but because of the liver’s potential to compensate for damage, very few animals will be showing any outward symptoms.

However, as the damage accumulates, more horses will reach the point when their largely dysfunctional livers fail to support the bodies requirements, and the animal goes rapidly into a declining spiral.  By the time clinical symptoms are usually spotted, the liver is failing in an ‘overload’ situation.  Received wisdom would have the animal quickly despatched for its own mercy.

The liver however, is capable of self regeneration.  This project is aimed at identifying the facets involved in promoting this regeneration with sufficient vigour to be able to achieve a good recovery and quality of life.

The project has two goals:-

Goal 1

Identify means to support the animal’s metabolic requirements while recovery can be engendered.

Goal 2

Identify ways to eliminate the toxic Pyroles that are engaged in a catalytic cascade of liver destruction, even though the source of the ragwort poisoning has long since been removed

July 2010

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