Animal Health and Welfare

Projects

Antimicrobial resistance

Infections with antimicrobial resistant bacteria are an emerging problem in companion animals, particularly nosocomial infections in large hospitals.  These are a major concern for animal welfare as there are limited therapeutic options to manage these infections.  Our work aims to further the understanding of the epidemiology of both carriage and clinical infections with these organisms in hospitalised animals.

 

Early life nutrition and growth of calves with the aim to improve health, welfare and productivity and growth.

With increasing demands being placed on her for increased milk production, the modern dairy cow is under ever increasing metabolic stress.  There is an expanding body of evidence from human medicine that early life events can have a major impact on the disease risks faced in future life especially in the case of metabolic disease.  This project is investigating the possible role that increased milk feeding in early life may have on the future growth, development and health of Holsein Friesian dairy cows.

 

Improving understanding of Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis 

Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis (CODD) is a new and emerging cause of severe lameness in sheep first reported in the late 1990s in the UK but is now endemic.  It represents a considerable economic and welfare challenge to the UK sheep industry.  There is evidence that it is closely related to Digital Dermatitis in cattle whose postulated cause is infection with treponemal speciesThe study is being carried out on Welsh sheep farms and aims to describe the epidemiology of CODD and develop effective treatment and control protocols as well as further informing aspects of the microbiology of the disease. 

 

Horse owners’ perceptions and attitudes towards equine health and welfare 

This BVA animal welfare foundation funded project will investigate horse owners’ understandings and experience of equine health, with a particular focus on laminitis, It will determine factors that influence the decision by horse owners’ to seek veterinary advice.  This will provide information on ways in which the most practical and effective educational interventions may be made by the veterinary profession to improve equine health and welfare.

 

Improving health and welfare of working equids in Ethiopia

This Wellcome Trust funded study aimed to identify the most important areas of health that impact on equid productivity in Ethiopia followed by the design and trial of a range of education and knowledge dissemination programmes for the owners of these working equids. The project identified that respiratory disease and symptoms (nasal discharge /cough) are one of the most important health problems in both horse and donkeys in Ethiopia, however little is known about the possible causes or aetiology.  In collaboration with The Society for Protection of Animals Abroad: (http://spana.org) a new project to determine the aetiology of respiratory disease and the relative importance of particular pathogens in working equids in Ethiopia is underway, the ultimate aim of which is to develop better treatments and preventive measures. 

 

Colic in the horse: investigating risk factors and survival factors for specific types of colic

Colic (abdominal pain) is recognised by owners and veterinarians as a major cause of death and disease in horses. Several projects are aimed at determining risk factors for specific types of colic such as large colon torsion and recurrent medical colic. These will hopefully highlight at risk individuals and provide the basis for management interventions. In collaboration with clinicians at  University of Liverpool’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital (http://www.liv.ac.uk/equinecolic/), which has surgery a high caseload of emergency referrals for colic , epidemiological studies are also investigating post operative survival after different types of colic surgery, and what factors influence survival in order to be able to provide evidenced based information to owners and veterinary surgeons.

 

Investigating canine and feline respiratory disease

Respiratory infection represents an important and frequent cause of disease in both cats and dogs. Many pathogens have been associated with this disease including feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus, Bordetella bronchispetica, canine distemper virus, parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus However, important issues remain. Firstly, the extent to which the evolution of feline calicivirus may have led to a reduction in the overall efficacy of vaccine antigens and secondly, that emerging pathogens are now becoming a significant novel disease burden in cases of feline and canine respiratory disease.  In collaboration with members of Infection Biology this project seeks to re-evaluate the role of known and yet-to-be identified pathogens in infectious disease in dogs and cats.

 

Investigation of the epidemiology of infectious diseases of village poultry in Ethiopia: 

Chickens are an important source of food and income in rural Ethiopia. Despite this, infectious diseases impose a serious limitation of chicken production. This BBSRC/DfID funded project is investigating the epidemiology of these infections and the genetics of resistance to infection in the birds. The aim of the project is to inform further disease prevention and control strategies (for more information see http://ch4d.wordpress.com/)