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Severe eye and oral infectious diseases will affect the animal welfare among Swedish reindeer

Published 2019-12-02

Reindeerherding is an important agricultural industry in the north of Sweden, and it isalso classified as a national interest. The reindeer is of economic importance,not only for reindeer herders, but also for restaurants and the food processingindustry, for tourism and for the leather industry. Moreover, grazing animalsare very important for the ecosystem. The reindeer is also of great importancefor the Sami society, the indigenous people of the North. Climate change is heavilyaffecting the reindeer herding in all Sápmi. Reindeer are facing increaseddifficulties in finding feed wintertime and supplementary feeding is gettingmore and more common, either by keeping reindeer in enclosures or by gatheringthem on their pasture every day. Both strategies keep the animals in closecontact with each other, which will increase the risk for infectious diseasetransmission. There are indications that infectious diseases in the eye andmouth (IDEM) are becoming more common in Swedish reindeer. They will causeanimal suffering and starvation and hence, decreased productivity. The aim ofthis study is to gain more knowledge on the prevalence and risk factors of IDEM,and how they can be prevented. The project will be carried out as a PhD-project:

  1. Developing early detection methods and optimalsampling routines and best diagnostic procedures for IDEM.

  2. Analysing the prevalence and etiology of IDEM inSwedish reindeer herds.

  3. Risk factors and herders’ perceptions for IDEM.

  4. A longitudinal study assessing the economic impact ofIDEM on other health parameters in Swedish reindeer herds.