Integrated Livestock Management Program at Colorado State University Receives $55,000 Donation for Dairy Medicine Research

Colorado State University recently received $55,000 from Merial Limited to support research in dairy production medicine in its Integrated Livestock Management program.

"This is a unique program at Colorado State and one of which we are very proud. The ILM has designed projects to work closely with the local animal industry, especially the dairy producers," said James Voss, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "The result is a solid relationship with local producers and excellent research which benefits both the school and the community. The Merial gift recognizes the hard work being done by faculty and students in the ILM program."

The Integrated Livestock Management program at Colorado State trains animal agriculture specialists with a unique curriculum that works across disciplines. Under the guidance of Dr. Frank Garry, professor and coordinator of the program, the ILM has developed a program that focuses on the complex nature of modern agriculture, which includes a working knowledge of food safety, economics, animal well-being, land use and environmental health. Collaboration of a multidisciplinary faculty group, animal health and production specialists, State Diagnostic Laboratory personnel and Colorado State Cooperative Extension resources creates a well-rounded approach to animal agriculture problem-solving.

"Colorado State’s Integrated Livestock Management Program is unique in that it takes a multidisciplinary approach to herd management, including animal health, the environment, nutrition and economics," said Dr. Norman Habermehl, associate director of regulatory affairs, biological division, Merial. "Merial’s significant investment in this innovative program is supporting research that will have real-world impact for the dairy industry. It will provide today’s graduate students — who are tomorrow’s industry consultants and leaders — with applied research experience that will benefit the dairy industry for years to come."

"We have worked to develop support in the local agricultural community by focusing on problems of real importance and directing our outreach activities appropriately," Garry said. "This gift from Merial is a welcome recognition of the work we’ve been able to accomplish in the field of dairy medicine."

"Local dairy producers also have recognized our work and been willing to make substantial contributions to help fund a lot of what we do," Garry continued. "Members of the animal agricultural community benefit from the program by having current, relevant problems investigated by a multi-disciplinary group and our students get the benefit of hands-on field experience."

Current research projects include:

  • Dairy cattle and coliform mastitis: Mastitis is the most costly infectious disease in dairy cows causing production losses and premature . Treatment of the disease is one of the most common reasons for the use of antibiotics in dairy animals.
  • Neonatal calf survival: In cow-calf herds, survival of newborns is one of the key elements in production and profitability. More calves die during the first three weeks after birth than during the entire remainder of their development. ILM studies have included infectious and non-infectious calf diseases and physiological disturbances that influence neonatal survival.
  • Johne’s disease: While the impact on the dairy industry from this disease has been estimated at $200 million annually, half of the U.S. dairy producers are unfamiliar with this disease. The ILM has launched an initiative to inform cattle producers about the disease, its economic impact, and methods of control or eradication. A voluntary surveillance and control program is being established in Colorado, the first of its kind in dairies of the Western states. Cooperating with participating dairies, ILM will be investigating epidemiology, economics and control strategies for this disease, specific to the Western states environment.

Merial is the world’s leading animal-health company dedicated to the research, development, manufacture and delivery of innovative pharmaceuticals and vaccines for use by veterinarians, food-animal producers and pet owners to improve the health, well-being and performance of all animal species. Headquartered in London, Merial employees around 6,500 people and operates in more than 150 countries. Total 1998 sales were US$1.76 billion. Merial is jointly owned by Merck and Co., Inc., and Aventis, S.A.