Lifestyle diseases in livestock and companion animals

Prof. Dr. Mirja Wilkens' research focuses mainly on the following topics:

1. Mineral balance and intermediate metabolism of the transit cow.

Around parturition and in early lactation, both the mineral balance and the intermediate metabolism of the high-yielding dairy cow are heavily stressed. In addition to various approaches to hypocalcaemia prophylaxis (DCAD, Ca and P supply, application of vitamin D metabolites), we are investigating signals from bone metabolism that have a direct and indirect influence on intermediate metabolism.

2. N-/P-reduction

For reasons of economic efficiency and to reduce emissions, there is a desire to reduce the supply of nitrogen and phosphorus to farm animals as much as possible. Of course, neither animal welfare nor performance must be negatively affected. Both application-oriented studies on farms (dairy cattle and pigs) and intervention studies in the sense of basic research (sheep and goats) are carried out on this topic. 3.

3. Various topics on the nutrition of different species

Within the framework of smaller student projects, final theses in the courses of study in agricultural and equine sciences and various cooperations, we deal, for example, with the Ca supply and bone health of the laying hen, possibilities for colouring the egg yolk in organic farming, seasonal influences on the gastrointestinal tract of the deer, the occurrence of faecal water in the horse, etc.

Publications Prof. Dr. M. Wilkens
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Prof. Dr. Ingrid Vervuert's research focuses on "civilisation diseases" in various domestic animals, with the current focus on obesity, gastric ulcers and dental diseases.

The research project "Comparative effects of feeding on inflammatory responses of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue and liver in ponies and horses", funded by the German Research Foundation, investigates the differences between ponies and horses in inflammatory responses of adipose tissue and liver in the course of increasing obesity.

In the future, further studies on the topic of "obesity" are planned in the pig as a model animal for humans within the framework of the Central German joint project nutriCARD, a competence cluster for nutrition and cardiovascular health.

Other research topics deal with the occurrence of nutritional trends such as insects as feed or the occurrence of undesirable substances such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids in supplementary feed for horses. But also topics on trace elements such as selenium, zinc, manganese as well as cobalt and the development of dietary concepts for various diseases such as the importance of feed structure on the occurrence of gastric ulcers in horses are intensively researched in my working group.

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Doctoral researchers

Professor Ingrid Vervuert is currently supervising eleven doctoral projects at our institute.

Supervision: Prof Dr Ingrid Vervuert

  • TÄ Marlene Köninger: Impact of different alfalfa formulations on health status in horses, cooperation with the studfarm "Haupt- und Landgestüt Marbach"
  • TÄ Lisa Marie Röben: New approaches in the therapy of gastric mucosa ulcerations in horses, cooperation with the horses clinic Wahlstedt
  • TÄ Katharina Langner: Changes in the fecal microbiome during the development of manifest obesity in horses and ponies
  • TÄ Franziska Bockisch: Investigation of the composition of roughage and compound feed for horses and its protein evaluation according to a new system (pcdCP)
  • TÄ Elena Theiner: Establishment of manganese reference values and effect of oral manganese supplementation on the serum or whole blood manganese content in horses
  • TÄ Lisa Wahl: Effects of different types of crude fiber supplements on cardio-vascular health in pigs as a model for obese human
  • TÄ Clara Müller: Tolerance threshold of Autumn Crocus in horses
  • TÄ Louisa Esmeralda Maria Sroka: Tolerance threshold of Tansy Ragword and St. John’s Wort in horses