History of SAVSNET

Following completion of the pilot phase of the project (2008-2011), SAVSNET Ltd. was formed as a joint venture between the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and the University of Liverpool.  From October 2012 - November 2017, SAVSNET Ltd. was a registered charity (number 1149531).

In April 2016, SAVSNET was awarded £700k from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to expand its database of UK pet health records and support more ‘big data’ research into animal and human diseases.

BBSRC logo

Previously a partnership between BSAVA and the University of Liverpool, the SAVSNET project is now solely run by the University.  SAVSNET Ltd was dissolved in November 2017.  To facilitate ongoing collaboration with BSAVA, SAVSNET now operates under a license agreement between the two parties.

Research priorities

SAVSNET harnesses electronic health and environmental data for rapid and actionable research and surveillance.  Our research priorities are currently:

  • Antimicrobial use resistance: describing antimicrobial use and resistance at a local and national level to improve antimicrobial stewardship
  • Climate and environment: linking health records with landscape, climate and soci-ecosystem data to predict risks in space and time. This work is currently focused on ectoparasites such as ticks.
  • Infection and zoonosis: quantifying risk of infection in real-time across space and time to anticipate targeted health messages

These are cross-but by enabling expertise in:

  • Epidemiolgy: using multiple methods from standard epidemiolgical approaches to advanced statistical models, to rapidly health threats and identify determinants of disease in order to deliver improved surveillance and inform disease prevention and treatment strategies.
  • Biomedical text mining: knowledge discovery from large datasets of free text electronic health records and laboratory results to promote clinical and research initiatives.
  • Pathogen and host-pathogen interaction: complete sequence and biological charaterisations of pathogens in clinically relevant timescales to describe microbial pathogenesis, evolution and transmission.





SAVSNET encompasses two distinct, but complementary approaches, SAVSNET-Lab and SAVSNET-Vet, designed to investigate the disease status of the small animal vet-visiting population.

SAVSNET-Lab utilises a process of scanning surveillance to monitor the many diseases which are tested for at veterinary diagnostic laboratories across the UK. Find out more.

SAVSNET-Vet is near-real-time (within 24 hours), practice-based syndromic surveillance, where participating veterinary surgeons record information at the end of each consultation. This information is sent to SAVSNET were it is securely stored and analysed. Find out more.

SAVSNET has been awarded ethical approval by the University of Liverpool’s independent Research Ethics Committee (RETH000964).  Benchmarking and clinical data research provides a tangible benefit to UK veterinary practice. In recognition of this, the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme awards points to practices that contribute clinical data to SAVSNET 


Information on the website is accessible to everyone – veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, pet owners, animal charities, government organisations, and commercial companies. The web reports will increase awareness and background knowledge of diseases in general, and importantly, will provide information on the current disease situation in the small animal population in the UK. This will highlight the need amongst the pet–owning public for preventative care such as vaccination, worming and regular health checks for their animals.

Veterinary teaching and clinical and epidemiological research benefits by the collation and analysis of such data, which can be utilised by researchers across a range of interests, thus maximising the outputs from the project.

See our publications and other outputs here