Healthy Animals: An ARS
Department of Agriculture scientists have been at the forefront of animal
health research since the department's inception in 1862. Early successes included the landmark discovery in 1889 that a
tick-transmitted protozoan causes Texas cattle fever and the development of the
anti-hog-cholera serum in 1906.
product value and safety , including all aspects of animal health, is one
of the three priorities of the
USDA's chief scientific agency, the Agricultural Research Service. The
components of ARS' animal health research program include
Within these general programs, researchers
at ARS laboratories study everything from disease
epidemiology and transmission to diagnosis and vaccination. Scientists also
work to keep animals healthy through optimum nutrition and management systems
that reduce stress
And the list of accomplishments grows every
year. In 1998, ARS researchers announced the
noninvasive test for scrapie , a fatal brain disease of sheep and goats.
Other ARS scientists helped discover that
dogs host Neospora
caninum, a parasite that causes pregnant cows to abort. That finding
provides a missing key to understanding some cattle abortions.
Early on, research efforts were often
geared towards animal survival. Now many programs address chronic problems like
mastitis in dairy cows or
ascites in poultry that can occur in
large-scale production agriculture.
ARS can also quickly mobilize its resources
to address emerging diseases or outbreaks, such as new strains of
avian leukosis in poultry or
vesicular stomatits in cattle and horses.
State-of-the-art quarantine facilities at some
of the laboratories also allow ARS to study disease agents that may pose a
threat to U.S. agriculture in the future, or which affect international
Now, as in the past, ARS strives to keep
animals healthy and productive. Be sure to visit the links below to find out
more about ARS research.
The first approved modified
live fish vaccine for
catfish against enteric septicemia has been developed by ARS researchers.
Intervet, Inc., Millsboro, Del., has licensed the vaccine.
Klesius and Craig
Shoemaker, (334) 887-4526
Poultry should be
mycoplasmosis before they begin laying eggs--at 10 weeks of age--to
maximize egg production, report ARS researchers.
Scott L. Branton, (601) 323-2230
A new ARS test
detects swine atrophic
rhinitis in 3 days. Other tests take longer and aren't always reliable.
Karen B. Register, (515)
new guide to animal
handling and transport is available from the ARS' National Agricultural
Brian Norris, (301)
ARS researchers discovered that a fungus-produced
compound called myriocin
may help save horses
exposed to fumonisin- contaminated corn.
Ronald Riley, (706) 546-3377
Better Salmonella detection methods in
poultry may result from an ARS discovery that
has flagella and can therefore propel itself through bodily fluids.
previously, researchers believed this strain did not have this transport
Peter Holt, (706)
The leaves from forage peanut plants
are just as nutritious
for goats as alfalfa, ARS scientists found.
William Windham, (706) 546-3513
coccidiosis developed by ARS scientists can help producers deal with the
disease. The vaccine isn't feasible as the only long-term solution because it
is difficult to produce, but researchers are investigating several additional
Click here to view
additional research briefs.