School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

Laila Curtis



C01 Gateway Building


Before starting her PhD, Laila graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Equine Science from Hartpury College and an MSc in Applied Equine Science from the Royal Agricultural University. Following her studies Laila was a Lecturer in equine science at Bishop Burton College in East Yorkshire. She has spent most of her life working with horses having taught Western riding in the US, groomed for elite riders (dressage and eventing), set up and run a horseball team and worked at various equine establishments including a therapy centre, thoroughbred stud, National Hunt yard and a riding school.

Degree Registration:

PhD Veterinary Medicine and Science, due for completion 2015

School Research Theme:

Population Health and Welfare

Research Topic:

Case presentation and diagnosis of acute abdominal pain (colic) in the horse

Summary of Research:

Colic is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in the horse, however there are very few studies in ‘first opinion’ colic in the UK. There are no data on how colic cases present when first seen by the vet, and how case presentation or signalment relate to diagnosis and outcome. This differs markedly from human medicine, where red flag systems and major or minor criteria are used to identify key diseases and appropriate approaches. This information is essential for equine colic, as different types of colic require different diagnostic approaches. Surgical conditions may require more detailed investigation, and early diagnosis of critical cases is essential to optimise outcomes. The first or primary evaluation of these cases is arguably the most important decision-making step.  This PhD will redress this major knowledge gap by evaluating how different types of colic initially present to the veterinary surgeon, and determining which factors of case presentation are related to diagnosis and outcome. This evidence on the primary presentation of colic cases will be used to generate evidence-based guidelines on the primary approach to equine colic.

Research Supervisors:

Dr Sarah Freeman, Dr John Burford and Prof Gary England

Primary Funding Source: 

University of Nottingham


School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 6116
fax: +44 (0)115 951 6415