Wednesday 27th January saw Moredun and Harper Adams University continue their partnership by hosting their third joint Livestock Health workshop, only this time there was no trip south for Moredun, but instead a virtual webinar was held.
Although not the same as bringing our scientists, presentations, pop-up labs and KE room to Harper, we had a really interesting morning listening to, then discussing several topics relating to livestock health.
The event was chaired by Dr Philip Robinson, Head of Veterinary Health and Animal Sciences at Harper Adams, who commented: ‘I’m tremendously pleased that this now annual event brings together Harper Adams and the Moredun to showcase together the vitally important scientific research in livestock health and welfare being conducted through each institution. Our past events have allowed us to bring together a wide range of stakeholders from across the industry, and today’s online forum was a similar success. We really value this ongoing partnership, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event.’
The webinar had a varied line up of interesting and current topics with first speaker, Dr Stewart Burgess, Moredun, discussing the control of sheep scab and focusing on the use of control strategies and available tools, such as the ELISA test, developed at Moredun, to help in the control of disease outbreaks. Dr Burgess outlined progress towards a sheep scab vaccine aimed at increasing the tools available to farmers to fight this highly infectious and costly disease.
Dr Mara Rocchi, Moredun, then gave a comprehensive account of the development of diagnostic tests within the Veterinary Surveillance Unit, along with some varied examples of how these have been applied to diagnose syndromes, such as bovine respiratory disease and tick-borne disease, in livestock, wildlife and game birds.
Professor Lee Innes, Moredun, then spoke on the very pertinent subject of zoonotic disease and how a One Health approach has helped tackle diseases, such as toxoplasmosis, which can cause abortion in sheep and humans. Professor Innes also outlined how Moredun, together with SRUC, as veterinary research centres, were able to assist the National Health Service by providing a Covid testing hub, using some of Moredun’s high containment facilities, illustrating One Health in action in Scotland!
Professor LEe Innes, Director of Communications at Moredun, commented:
“We are delighted to develop our connectivity with colleagues at Harper Adams University to encourage new research collaborations aimed at improving livestock health and welfare and also One Health project opportunities. We look forward to building on this event and setting up some new initiatives between Moredun and Harper Adams University.”
The final speaker of the morning was Dr Hannah Shaw from Harper Adams University, who spoke of her career path from her degree to PhD at Moredun, then on to her lecturing post at Harper. Hannah highlighted part of her PhD at Moredun which involved an economic farm based study of the long term growth effects of cryptosporidiosis in calves. This study was one of the first to quantify a long term effect of this disease on calf weight at weaning and subsequent store sale price.
Attendance numbers on the webinar were high and the morning was rounded off by a high number of questions from the audience, which stimulated an interesting panel discussion.