Funding boost for Border Terrier research

4 October 2022

BSAVA PetSavers has announced the launch of a new grant, specifically to support research into gall bladder mucoceles (GBM) in Border Terriers, as part of the Autumn 2022 call for clinical research project grants.

The clinical research project grant of up to £30,000 for the study of GBM in Border Terriers has been made possible by a generous £17,000 donation from Andrew and Wendy Mooney, with additional funding from BSAVA PetSavers. The Mooneys have owned Border Terriers since the 1980’s and they have been a major part of their lives. They have also set up a fundraising, not-for-profit organisation called Border Terrier LifeLine, the main aim of which is to help fund research projects relating to Border Terrier health issues.

Gall bladder mucoceles (GBM) are characterised by the deposition of thick, gelatinous bile in the gall bladder lumen. In the presence of GBM, the gall bladder fills up with thick mucus-like bile which may also block the bile duct. If undetected, this can lead to rupture of the gall bladder, causing biliary peritonitis which can be fatal.

The underlying cause of GBM in dogs is unknown, although there seems to be a genetic predisposition with some breeds more commonly affected. These include Border Terriers, but Cocker Spaniels, Shetland Sheepdogs and Miniature Schnauzers are also at increased risk.

Speaking about the grant, Andrew and Wendy said: “Having been involved in almost every aspect of Border Terriers from pet owner to show dog owner, to breeder, dog show judge, grooming, rescue, and charity work (PAT Dogs), and feeling incredibly indebted to our dogs for all the pleasure they have given us, we decided that we wanted to try and contribute to the future of the breed in some meaningful way.

“We knew through social media, friends and contacts that many Border Terriers have suffered from, and many have lost their life to, GBM and that is what makes this so relevant. Such a large percentage of dogs presenting with this condition at veterinary surgeries are Border Terriers. What has really motivated us to donate this sum is why should it affect a disproportionate number of Border Terriers; is there some way of reducing the number of Borders succumbing to GBM and, when they do, can we improve their chances of survival and living a good quality of life after?

We hope that by donating this sum of money that the research on this can be taken forward, either by a different route or expanded on findings already produced.”

Sarah Williams, BSAVA PetSavers Fundraising and Grant Awards Manager continued: “To be able to offer a new grant is fantastic news for BSAVA PetSavers. We are grateful to Andrew and Wendy for their incredible donation and hope that the outcome of this research can help future cases of GBM in Border Terriers”.

Applications from practitioners, academics, as well as joint applications between practice and academia are all welcome. The project must be carried out within the UK and should not involve the use of experimental animals.

Applications open on 1st October 2022 and close on 31st January 2023, and a funding decision will be made in October 2023. Further details and an application form can be found here.

This grant is in addition to standard BSAVA PetSavers’ funding of clinical research project grants which will also open in autumn 2022. BSAVA PetSavers is open to partnering with other organisations to jointly fund projects that fulfil its aims and research criteria and abide by its ethical policy. To find out more about this or to discuss a proposal, please email