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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School


After several years as a veterinary surgeon working in general mixed practice, in 1994 Richard joined the Animal Health Trust (AHT), based near Newmarket, Suffolk. At the AHT, as well as gaining an MSc, PhD and FRCVS, he acquired a breadth of experience in the epidemiology, surveillance and control of a range of equine infectious diseases, including influenza, strangles and equine herpesvirus. Richard was the Director of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance and Acting Director of Research at the time the AHT permanently closed in July 2020; his team were immediately retained by the UK Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). Having established Equine Infectious Disease Surveillance (EIDS) as a new initiative at the BHA, the EIDS team transferred to Cambridge Vet School in November 2021, still providing global disease surveillance and advice on disease prevention strategies and management of outbreaks. Richard has been principal investigator or co-applicant on many project grants, including PhD studentships linked to non-infectious as well as infectious equine health and welfare topics, including equine grass sickness and laminitis. He continues to sit on several equine industry advisory committees including the veterinary committees of both the BHA and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA), the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s (HBLB) Codes of Practice sub-committee, the UK Equine Disease Coalition, and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group.


  • Applying veterinary population-based epidemiological studies to improve animal health and welfare.
  • Analysis of epidemiological and surveillance data to inform evidence-based guidelines and international codes of practice to improve population level health and welfare.
  • Development, validation and field-based application of diagnostic assays and molecular pathogen sequencing for surveillance and disease outbreak investigation and control.
  • Surveillance and investigation of failure of vaccine effectiveness.
  • Global surveillance of exotic and emerging equine infections.



Key publications: 

McGlennon A, Waller A, Verheyen K, Slater J, Grewar J, Aanensen D, Newton R. (2021) Surveillance of strangles in UK horses between 2015 and 2019 based on laboratory detection of Streptococcus equi. Veterinary Record doi: 10.1002/vetr.948.

Mitchell C, Steward KF, Charbonneau ARL, Walsh S, Wilson H, Timoney JF, Wernery U, Joseph M, Craig D, van Maanen K, Hoogkamer-van Gennep A, Leon A, Witkowski L, Rzewuska M, Stefańska I, Żychska M, van Loon G, Cursons R, Patty O, Acke E, Gilkerson JR, El-Hage C, Allen J, Bannai H, Kinoshita Y, Niwa H, Becú T, Pringle J, Guss B, Böse R, Abbott Y, Katz L, Leggett B, Buckley TC, Blum SE, Cruz López F, Fernández Ros A, Marotti Campi MC, Preziuso S, Robinson C, Newton JR, Schofield E, Brooke B, Boursnell M, de Brauwere N, Kirton R, Barton CK, Abudahab K, Taylor B, Yeats CA, Goater R, Aanensen DM, Harris SR, Parkhill J, Holden MTG, Waller AS (2021) Globetrotting strangles: the unbridled national and international transmission of Streptococcus equi between horses. Microbial Genomics 7, doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000528

Pollard D, Wylie CE, Verheyen KLP, Newton JR (2019) Identification of modifiable factors associated with owner-reported equine laminitis in Britain using a web-based cohort study approach. BMC Veterinary Research 15, 59. doi: 10.1186/s12917-019-1798-8.

Bryant NA, Wilkie GS, Russell CA, Compston L, Grafham D, Clissold L, McLay K, Medcalf L, Newton R, Davison AJ, Elton DM. (2018) Genetic diversity of equine herpesvirus 1 isolated from neurological, abortigenic and respiratory disease outbreaks. Transboundary & Emerging Diseases 65, 817-832.

Björnsdóttir S, Harris SR, Svansson V, Gunnarsson E, Sigurðardóttir ÓG, Gammeljord K, Steward KF, Newton JR, Robinson C, Charbonneau ARL, Parkhill J, Holden MTG, Waller AS (2017) Genomic Dissection of an Icelandic Epidemic of Respiratory Disease in Horses and Associated Zoonotic Cases. mBio 8, e00826-17. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00826-17

Director of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance, Equine Infectious Disease Surveillance (EIDS)
Available for consultancy


Collaborator profiles: 
Person keywords: 
Infectious Diseases