Case Study – Claire Sharp


Claire Sharp

Senior Lecturer; Emergency and Critical Care School of Veterinary Medicine, Murdoch University

How long have you been working in veterinary research?

I first started doing research during my emergency and critical care residency back in 2006, and have been involved in research every since.

Why did you choose this work?

For me, it is a privilege to do veterinary research aimed at understanding more about companion animal diseases, so that we can improve the lives of patients.

As a veterinarian treating sick dogs and cats every day, it becomes evident how little we know about some of the diseases that occur commonly in dogs and cats.

Doing research helps to fill some of these knowledge gaps so that we can improve patient care.

What is your area of study and what do you hope to achieve?

I study a variety of diseases relevant to emergency medicine and critical care for dogs and cats.

ACAHF funds some of my research on blood banking and transfusion medicine.

The goals of this research are to better understand how best to store and administer blood transfusions to dogs and cats to optimise the benefits of transfusion therapy while making the most of this precious resource.

What is your greatest research achievement with funding from ACAHF to date?

ACAHF funding has allowed us to explore the stability of clotting factors in dog plasma when stored refrigerated, rather than frozen.

Traditionally plasma has been stored frozen, but the time it takes to thaw wastes crucial minutes during the stabilisation of bleeding patients.

This work has allowed us to double the storage time of refrigerated plasma from 14 days to 28 days, meaning less wastage of precious plasma, and ensuring that liquid plasma is available when needed for critically ill dogs requiring transfusion.

What is the biggest research challenge you have met with or continue to face?

The biggest research challenge I face is finding funding to allow us to continue our veterinary research. Government funding is available to fund research in human medicine, but unfortunately, this is not the case in veterinary medicine. As such, we rely on the generosity of donors and foundations such as ACAHF to support this important work.

What does the work of the ACAHF mean to you?

The work of ACAHF means the world to me because it not only helps fund our research, but also that of other veterinary research groups around Australia. Without ACAHF funding we would not be able to continue research to improve the lives of our pets.