The UAE will host Expo 2020!
  • Arabic
Supported by the UAE National Media Council
We are in the process of developing and improving our website, and we invite you to participate in our brief survey to measure the level of your satisfaction
Satisfaction Survey For UAE Interact Website
رغبة منا بالتعرف على مستوى رضاكم عن موقعنا وبهدف تطويره وتحسينه، فقد قمنا بتصميم استبيان سريع لقياس مدى الرضا عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة روعي في تصميم الاستبيان أن يكون قصيرا وسريعا كي لا نطيل عليكم، وعليه نرجو منكم التكرم باستكماله عن طريق الرابط التالي
استبيان رضا المتعاملين عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة

Cure centre for animals big and small

posted on 02/03/2007: 2257 views



When camels or horses line up at racecourses in the Middle East, there is one centre that can take much of the credit for ensuring those animals are fit to compete.



Dubai's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL) is arguably the foremost centre in the region for diagnosing and finding cures for animal diseases.



If someone needs to know whether their horse is disease-free, if their camel is really the offspring of a successful racing father, or if their bird is male or female, CVRL can find the answer.



The centre hopes to find a cure to conditions such as grass sickness, which killed one of the UAE's best-loved horses, Dubai Millennium.



Its extensive and immaculate headquarters in Za'abeel are a world away from the tiny laboratory of 20 years ago that was staffed by just three people.



Now, there are 90 people working for the centre in a string of departments, each of them headed by an expert in the field.



There are technicians who test samples sent in from around the region, there are specialists analysing the genetic make-up of racing camels and horses and there are lots of actual animals, in particular horses and camels, that play a vital role in the centre's research.



The credit for the centre's transformation largely goes to administrative director Dr Ali Ridha and scientific director Dr Ulrich Wernery, 63, and his virologist wife Renate. Dr Wernery, who joined with his wife in 1987, said: "It was all desert here then.”



It is the diagnosis of disease that is the centre's main reason for being, Dr Wernery, a 63-year-old German, explained.



"That's our most important work. We are here to prevent diseases and to give reports so field veterinarians can treat according to the results.



"If a horse dies, for example, we do a full investigation, with tissues and organs going to different departments. In three to four days the results have to be given so that the vet knows how to treat the other animals to prevent the spread of any disease,” he said.



About 50 per cent of the centre's work is on camels, 20 per cent on horses and the rest on a huge range of animals, among them falcons, gazelles, snakes, fish, giraffe and even bees.



In camels, the centre might be looking for parasites such as mites and ticks, or stomach problems.



With horses, an important job is the testing of imported animals for the notifiable diseases that the authorities must be informed about.



"We are the only acknowledged laboratory in the region for import and export testing and every year we analyse 3,000 to 4,000 blood samples from horses. It took us four years to become accredited. Before this, the samples had to be sent abroad. Ireland, the United Kingdom and France acknowledge the laboratory,” Dr Wernery said.



Using sophisticated techniques in molecular biology, the laboratory offers same-day testing for many diseases. Samples come in from across the UAE, from other GCC states and from countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco and Iran.



"If there are serious problems, our scientists get to travel to these countries to help,” he said. The centre has state-of-the-art techniques for checking the parentage of animals. "If there is a foal, the buyer wants to know if it is the offspring of particular parents.”



After all, a foal or a camel calf with a champion as a father is going to be worth a lot more than one sired by an also-ran.



Globe-trotting couple take on diseases

Dr Ulrich and Renate Wernery are a globe-trotting couple, having spent several years living outside their native Germany before coming to Dubai.



They were in Somalia for two years trying to eradicate two cattle diseases, one a bacterial condition called contagious pleuropneumonia, the other a viral ailment known as rinderpest. Their responsibility was to vaccinate the entire bovine population against these fatal diseases. "Somalia was like a text book for me. Even now, after more than 20 years, I can identify the diseases I saw there," Dr Wernery said.



After a stint in Germany, the Wernerys, who have two children, moved to Papua New Guinea where the focus was on pig and poultry diseases. In 1995 he was awarded Bundesverdienstkreuz, or Federal Cross of Merit, by the German government.



Project to treat grass sickness



The Central Veterinary Research Laboratory keeps dozens of camels for use in research programmes to develop new ways of diagnosing and treating animal and even human diseases.



Among the projects is one in which the camels are used to generate antibodies that could be used to test for or combat prostate cancer in men.



Camels are useful for this because, in response to foreign substances called antigens, they produce a particular type of antibody called a nanobody that is much smaller and more heat-resistant than the antibodies.



Dr Wernery also has a major research project, in collaboration with UK scientists, to find a cure for grass sickness, which kills hundreds of horses each year, including in the UK and Europe.



Grass imported from the UK is fed to horses at the centre so that, if one develops the disease, researchers can investigate the cause of the sickness, which destroys nerves in the animal's gut.



"It's something in the grass but we are not 100 per cent sure what. We know it is caused by toxins, but whether they come from the soil we don't know,” said Dr Wernery. (Gulf News)

RELATED ARTICLES

19 October 2016 EICMP showcases latest camel milk products at SIAL Paris 2016
08 January 2016 RAK to build first camel underpass in hopes of reducing accidents
14 November 2015 First cloned camel gives birth to first cloned offspring in Dubai
27 July 2015 Dubai camel milk chocolate heads for Harrods
09 April 2015 World’s first cloned camel celebrates sixth birthday with pregnancy


Most Read