The primary subjects of cattle and ruminant research are udder health as well as diseases associated with calves, the hoof and the digestive tract.
While knowledge of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of pathogens is a prerequisite for the effective prevention of infections, accurate and reliable diagnostics lay the groundwork for targeted treatment when diseases occur. The increasing antibiotic resistance among bacteria is a global concern and a growing threat to both human and animal health. Reducing and rationalising the consumption of antibiotics is an important goal that requires, above all, investment in the prevention of infections. The effect of various therapies and treatment practices on the occurrence of disease in cattle sheds is under investigation, with treatment guidelines to be developed on the basis of the findings.
Mastitis, an infection typically caused by bacteria, is the most common and financially significant disease in the dairy industry. Mastitis reduces the amount and quality of milk produced by dairy cows, generating costs and losses for both farmers and the dairy processing industry and, ultimately, for consumers. In addition, mastitis affects the welfare of cows.
The specific research topics of the udder health research group include treatment practices related to the drying-off of cows and infections caused by staphylococci as well as their diagnostics, epidemiology and virulence factors.
The welfare of cows is impaired by foot diseases and lameness. Research on hoof diseases focuses on infectious diseases, such as digital dermatitis and foot-rot. We also investigate the causes of the deaths of dairy cows on farms in collaboration with the Faculty’s pathologists.
The health and growth of calves is dependent on a sufficient quantity of antibodies obtained through colostrum immediately after birth. The factors contributing to this are investigated at the calf, cow and farm levels. We are investigating also the morbidity and mortality of calves during their growth.
The Department also conducts active research on the behaviour of cows at the Research Centre for Animal Welfare.