ADF backs WCVM-based livestock studies

chicken in pen

A WCVM-based study on inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) in the broiler chicken industry received ADF funding on Jan. 17. Photo: WCVM.

Four Western College of Veterinary Medicine-based animal health studies are among the 26 livestock- and forage-related research projects that will receive $3.5 million in funding from the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

The funding announcement, which is the third-highest amount of ADF research funding ever awarded for livestock and forage-related projects, was made on January 18 by Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud and Member of Parliament Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt), on behalf of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

In addition, annual operational funding will continue to be provided from ADF to the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization ($300,000), the Prairie Swine Centre ($330,000) and the Western Beef Development Centre ($395,000).

“The livestock and forage sectors continue to be a valuable part of our agriculture industry and provincial economy,” Bjornerud said. “This research funding will lead to long-term benefits for producers, who are continually looking at new innovations and technologies to meet a growing demand for their products.”

“Innovative solutions help make our livestock producers more competitive, which results in a stronger economy,” Trost said. “We’re pleased to continue to partner with the Government of Saskatchewan to support these types of projects.”

The ADF is directing a total of $375,000 in funding for the following WCVM-based investigations:

  • Investigation of necrosis in feedlot cattle ($40,000). Principal investigator: Dr. Murray Jelinski, WCVM professor and Alberta Chair in Beef Cattle Health and Production Medicine. Besides describing the epidemiology of animals affected by necrosis, the project will map and describe the location of the lesions — information that will provide insight into the possible cause(s) and pathogenesis. The study will also determine bacteria’s role in the creation of this disease.
  • Sulfur induced polioencephalomalacia in cattle ($55,000). Principal investigator: Dr. Elemir Simko, professor in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Pathology. Simko’s research team will use chemical imaging and traditional toxicological approaches to compare healthy and affected cattle with clinical and experimental polioencephalomalacia. The research team will also determine serum protein profile changes in heifers exposed to low and high concentrations of dietary sulfur.
  • Testing for Tritrichomonas fetus ($50,000). Principal investigator: Dr. Cheryl Waldner, professor in the WCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Through the study, WCVM researchers will develop and evaluate a new testing strategy for Tritrichomonas fetus by pooling samples collected into a cost-effective phosphate buffered saline solution.
  • Controlling inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) in the broiler chicken industry ($230,000). Principal investigator: Dr. Susantha Gomis, professor, WCVM Department of Veterinary Pathology. Gomis’ research group will optimize the live fowl adenoviral vaccine to immunize broiler breeders in order to control IBH in the broiler chicken industry.

In addition, the ADF awarded $810,000 in research funding to studies that will be conducted by four WCVM adjunct professors who are based at VIDO:

  • Prenatal detection and treatment of calves infected with the bovine viral diarrhea virus ($210,349). Principal investigator: Dr. Sylvia Van Den Hurk, VIDO. Objective: develop methods for prenatal detection and treatment of calves persistently infected with BVDV.
  • Prevention and diagnosis of stress‑induced respiratory disease in feedlot calves ($258,000). Principal investigator: Dr. Philip Griebel, U of S School of Public Health and VIDO. Objectives: determine the physiological effects of stress that significantly increase susceptibility to fatal bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in feedlot calves.
  • Universal vaccine for swine influenza ($180,000). Principal investigator: Yan Zhou, VIDO. Objectives: develop and evaluate a universal vaccine for swine influenza; generate and characterize a recombinant swine influenza virus carrying both H1 and H3 subtype; determine the pathogenecity of this vaccine in pigs; and evaluate the immunogenicity of this vaccine in pigs.
  • Vaccines directed against Salmonella enteritidis in poultry ($162,000). Principal investigator: Dr. Wolfgang Koester, VIDO. Objective: development of subunit vaccines to fight against Salmonella enteritidis in order to prevent colonization and infection of poultry.

ADF provides funding to help institutions, companies and industry organizations conduct research, development and value-added activities that will benefit Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers.

Visit the Government of Saskatchewan site to read the government news release and to view a complete list of the funded projects.

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