Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Silke Salavati

Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Internal Medicine

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Phone: 0131-6507650

Education/Academic qualification

2009Doctor in Philosophy, The Royal Veterinary College
Investigations into the influence of probiotics in canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Justus Liebig University Giessen
Validation of the 13C sodium acetate breath test to assess gastric emptying in dogs in comparison to 99m technetium scintigraphy.

Professional Qualifications

Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine - companion animals, DipECVIM-CA
National Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine (Germany)

Biography

I have graduated from the Justus-Liebig University (JLU) in Giessen, Germany, in 2003 and have since then pursued an academic career in small animal internal medicine. I completed both a rotating internship and a Residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at the Small Animal Hospital of the same university. During that time, I worked as a full time clinician and also completed my German doctoral thesis within the subject area of canine gastroenterology under the supervision of Prof. Reto Neiger. This project included validating a new method to assess gastric emptying times (the so called 13C-sodium acetate breath test) against the gold standard of gastric radioscintigraphy.

As part of my residency I spent 10 months as part of the Medicine Service of the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals of the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), London. Following on to this, I was given the opportunity to complete a 4-year PhD in canine gastroenterology under the supervision of Dr. Karin Allenspach and Prof. Dirk Werling at the RVC. For this, I investigated the effect of the probiotic Enterococcus faecium on gut health in dogs with conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or chronic enteropathy (CE). This included a placebo-controlled double-blinded clinical trial as well as numerous investigations into the associated changes of the innate and adaptive immune system in dogs (see publication list).

After my PhD, I returned to the JLU in Germany as a junior lecturer for small animal gastroenterology, and supervised clinical cases seen during routine and emergency consultations. Since April 2016, I am a senior lecturer in Small Animal Internal Medicine and thus part of the clinical team at the Hospital for Small Animals of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (R(D)SVS).

Qualifications

Graduated as vet in 2003 in Giessen, Germany. Dr.med.vet. gained in 2007 in Giessen, Germany. PhD completed in 2013 at the Royal Veterinary College, London. DipECVIM-CA title gained in 2011, MRCVS (member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons)

Current Research Interests

I am interested in small animal gastroenterology, especially focusing of mechanisms of disease, clinical assessment and treatment of canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)/ chronic enteropathy (CE).

Research Interests

  • Gastrointestinal motility and how to influence it with specific drugs
  • Immunopathogenesis of chronic inflammatory conditions like IBD in dogs (and cats) and understanding the causes
  • Probiotics and other ways to influence the gastrointestinal “microflora” in dogs with gut disease
  • The interaction between environmental or luminal factors and intestinal cells (epithelial cells, immune cells) in chronic enteropathies in small animals

Collaborative Activity

Assessing the gastrokinetic effect of mirtazapine in dogs – in collaboration with the JLU Giessen, Germany

Assessing the effect of probiotics, antibiotics or diet change on acute and chronic diarrhoea in dogs in a private practice setting – in collaboration with the JLU Giessen, Germany

Determining the prevalence of hypomagnesaemia in dogs with chronic intestinal diseases and assessing the potential prognostic relevance – in collaboration with the JLU Giessen, Germany

My research in a nutshell

I am interested in understanding why dogs (and cats) suffer from chronic diseases associated with diarrhoea, vomiting and weight loss, which is very similar to human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like for example Crohn's disease. As there seem to be many factors involved I am trying to apply new treatment concepts, and investigate potential causes (for example the changes in the "flora" of the gut compared to healthy dogs). I am also keen to understand how to better gage clinical severity or "activity" of these disorders, by applying measures through questionnaires and clinical scores, specifically assessing behaviour and abdominal (tummy) pain. Our group is also keen to find a way of assessing causes of these diseases with regards to the gut immune system, which seems to be malfunctioning in a lot of these cases. This means that we look at a lot of different things in gut biopsies or might even be able to measure immune function "in the petry dish" to later apply this new information to a clinical scenario. Ultimately, all of this should lead to better treatment options in the future, by better understanding of causes of these chronic inflammatory gut conditions.

Administrative Roles

Secretary of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine – Companion Animals (ECVIM-CA) 2014 and 2015

Member of the Exam Committee of the ECVIM-CA since 2015

President of the European Society of Comparative Gastroenterology (ESCG) 2016/2017 (website escg.nu; also on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/europeansocietyofcomparativegastroenterology/)

Member of the following societies:

  • Comparative gastroenterology society (CGS)

  • ESCG (see above)
  • American Gastroenterology Society (AGA); 2010-2013

  • Deutsche Veterinärmedizinische Gesellschaft (DVG) - German veterinary society

  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kleintiermedizin der Deutschen Veterinärmedizinischen Gesellschaft (DGK-DVG), Arbeitsgruppe Gastroenterologie - German working group for gastroenterology of the German veterinary society

 

Teaching

I have been teaching since being a post-graduate doctoral student at the JLU university in Giessen, Germany, in 2003 (courses, seminars, single lectures of interesting cases). I have been responsible for the small animal gastroenterology lecture stream at that same university from 2013 to 2015 and give lectures regarding the same topic at the R(D)SVS from 2016 on. In addition, as I spent 50% of my time "on clinics", I teach undergraduates as well as Residents by assessing and working through real clinical cases. I spent a small amount of time in the hospital's Emergency & Critical Care service as well.

Clinical Expertise and Specialisation

Since I graduated from vet school in Germany in 2003, I have worked in environments and institutions specialising in small animal internal medicine. During those years, I have acquired clinical expertise through experience of simply "working in the field", but also by completing a rotating internship and being awarded the title of Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine for Companion Animals (DipECVIM-CA). I am also holder of a German national specialisation title for Small Animal Internal Medicine. I have also acquired a PhD in canine gastroenterology/ gastroimmunology.

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