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Anna Sickmueller wins an Undergraduate Student Oral Presentation Award

Our graduate student Anna Sickmueller won the "Undergraduate Student Oral Presentation Award" at this year's "Zoo and Wildlife Health Conference".

Her diploma thesis is supervised by Friederike Pohlin and Johanna Painer-Gigler (Vetmeduni Vienna), Ursina Rusch (Black Rhino Range Expansion Project) and colleagues from South Africa (University of Pretoria) and investigates the effects of transport stress on pregnant black and white rhinos.

We are pleased that the wildlife medicine working group of the Vetmeduni Vienna was well represented at the conference.

  • Johanna Painer-Gigler (Vetmeduni Vienna) led the "Use it or Lose it - Veterinary Role in Proactive Reproduction Management" workshop together with Imke Lüders (GEOlifes).


Contributions from our vets, PhD students, graduate students and interns:

  • Friederike Pohlin: Electroencephalogram-based indices for depth-of-anaesthesia monitoring in white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum) immobilised with different etorphine-based combinations
  • Ursula Teubenbacher: Intrastromal indocyanine green photothermal therapy for chronic recurrent keratitis in an adult female captive red deer (Cervus elaphus)
  • Hanna Rauch: Cystocentesis: an essential tool for felid standard health checks
  • Julia Bohner: Etorphine-free immobilization of captive Przewalski horses –temporary solution or reasonable alternative?
  • Szilvia Kalogeropoulu: Diagnosis and treatment of chronic cholecystitis in formerly bile-farmed Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus)
  • Anna Sickmueller: Investigating consequences of translocation-stress in pregnant black (Diceros bicornis) and white (Ceratotherium simum) rhinoceroses
  •  Myriam Mugnier: Comparison of three sedation protocols to improve analgesia in isoflurane anaesthetised garden dormice undergoing laparotomy


More information about the conference 


Armenian-Austrian project to improve biocontrol

The effects of climate change on species and ecosystems are already visible. An alarming situation for biocontrol is the potential for pathogens and alien species to change their distribution, hosts and virulence as a result of climate change. Molecular biology, next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics are the main tools of biosecurity surveillance against alien species and pathogen spread. Biosecurity capacity building in Armenia has major implications not only nationally but also regionally due to Armenia's location at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, in the corridor between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. The main objective of the project "Strengthening Genetic Biocontrol Capacities under Climate Change in Armenia (ArmBioClimate)" is to study the challenges for the successful deployment of genetic biocontrol and the improvement of the necessary capacities in Armenian research institutions.

On May 18, the team of the Armenian-Austrian project, coordinated by Yerevan State University, visited A. Takhtajyan Botany Institute NAS RA. Project partners are also the A. Takhtajyan Institute for Botany, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) and the Medical University of Vienna.

Accompanied by the deputy director A. Ghukasyan, the Austrian colleagues, including the geneticist Pamela Burger from the Research Institute for Wildlife Ecology, made a tour of the Yerevan Botanical Garden to get to know the infrastructure of the institute. At a subsequent workshop, the progress of the project, prospects for expansion, and the further integration of the Institute of Botany into the program were discussed.

The project was funded by the APPEAR (Austrian Partnership Program in Higher Education & Research for Development) program of the Agency for Education and Internationalization (OeAD).


A lot going on at the Vetmeduni Open House day

On Saturday, May 21st after a Corona-related break, the open house of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna finally took place again. Researchers and veterinarians presented the topics of their work to a broad public with a variety of demonstration and hands-on stations. Our department was also represented again and aroused great interest among the visitors.

A total of 2,700 people visited the Vetmeduni campus and found out about the diverse tasks and opportunities at our university.

The open day was therefore again an important contribution to our mission to carry the knowledge gained through our research beyond teaching into society.

Event page



Women in wildlife medicine & conservation - Roundtable

As part of the "Women in wildlife medicine and conservation" event, wildlife pathologist Annika Posautz (Research Institute for Wildlife Ecology, Conservation Medicine Unit, Vetmeduni) will host this event to enable Vetmeduni students to have an informal exchange of information on career opportunities in the field of wildlife medicine and conservation - with researchers, which provide insights into their careers.

Monday, May 30, 2022, 5-8 p.m. in the large meeting room of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna

20 people can take part in person, the round of talks will also be broadcast online.


  • Christiana Hebel – Expertin Wildtier- und Greifvogelmedizin (Vereinigte Arabische Emirate)
  • Hanna Vielgrader – Expertin Zootiermedizin (Tiergarten Schönbrunn)
  • Sylvie Rietmann – Expertin Wildlife management (Energy Changes)
  • Irene Redtenbacher – Expertin Wildlife management, animal welfare (Vier Pfoten)
  • Amélie Desvars-Larrive – Expertin One Health & Conservation medicine (Abteilung für Öffentliches Veterinärwesen und Epidemiologie, Vetmeduni)
  • Julia Zleptnig – verantwortlich für "Gender & Diversity" an der Vetmeduni (Personalentwicklung, Vetmeduni)

Register per Mail to Annika Posautz by 25 May 2022

Spots for participation on campus are allocated on a first come, first served basis - please indicate when registering whether attendance or online participation is preferred. The link to the stream will be sent with the registration confirmation.
Note: Unfortunately, people who participate online cannot actively participate in the discussion.

Event page



Technology meets nature: 2nd Mallnitz Days

Innovations in wildlife monitoring were the focus of the 2nd Mallnitz Days on May 13th, which emerged in 2019 from the cooperation between the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, the state of Carinthia and the Hohe Tauern National Park.*

New technologies open up numerous possibilities for observing changes in ecosystems and have become indispensable in the field of nature conservation. The options in wildlife monitoring go far beyond the well-known GPS collar. Experts from Vienna and Carinthia informed the participants of the 2nd Mallnitz Days current high-tech methods for wildlife monitoring and about the practical use and effects of the technologies used.

LH Peter Kaiser: "I am pleased that high-tech innovations can add value to nature conservation in the Hohe Tauern National Park. In this way it is possible to observe animals and nature in relation to the occurring climate change in the best possible way and to react to it with the necessary measures."

Many interesting topics were presented, including a new research project on the Heiligenblut chamois, an update on the population development of owls and birds of prey in Austria, exciting information on the development of the native bird world, the topic of drones, climate change and health: future topics in the field of wildlife monitoring, as well as the role of genetics in the monitoring of wildlife populations. Equally important was information on the health monitoring of wild animals with demonstration at the show table, and the use of radio transmitters through to satellite technology: modern methods of wildlife telemetry.

Otto Doblhoff-Dier, Vice Rector for Research and International Relations at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna: "I am very pleased that the Mallnitz Days could take place again this year after a break due to corona: They are an important building block in our VetmedRegio initiative, in which we make the expertise of our university available to all interested parties throughout Austria.”

*Press release Hohe Tauern National Park, May 13, 2022

Vetmeduni press release


Hare die-off: first detection worldwide of C. turicencis in lagomorphs

In autumn 2019, an acute die-off was reported among European hares (Lepus europaeus) in northeastern Austria. A recently published study led by Annika Posautz and colleagues at the pathology group of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology/Vetmeduni shows that the most likely cause was an infection with the bacterial pathogen Cronobacter turicensis. This could be dangerous not only for the hares. According to the researchers, there is also a risk of transmission to humans.

The recent study aimed to investigate and characterise the cause of the hare deaths in 2019 phenotypically and genetically. The team of researchers proved that the death of the hares from typhlocolitis (inflammation of the large intestine) was caused by genetically different strains of the bacterium Cronobacter turicensis. According to the scientists, this is the first evidence of a clinical infection in wild animals worldwide. Previously, clinical infections had only been detected in humans.

“Due to the potential of this bacterium to inflict severe disease in humans, the risk of a spillover should be kept in mind, especially for those people in direct contact with hares, such as hunters, farmers or veterinarians,” says the study’s first author, Annika Posautz of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at Vetmeduni.

The bacterial genus Cronobacter, which currently comprises seven species, is primarily known as a ubiquitous, opportunistic pathogen that can contaminate several types of food products. Particularly dangerous are the two species C. sakazakii and C. malonaticus, which are involved in most clinical Cronobacter infections in humans, causing severe symptoms such as blood poisoning, necrotising enteritis (inflammation of the intestine) and meningitis (infection of meninges). In contrast to humans, clinical infections caused by members of the genus Cronobacter have, to the authors’ knowledge, never been reported in animals.

The article „Outbreak of Cronobacter turicensis in European brown hares (Lepus europaeus)“ by Annika Posautz, Michael P. Szostak, Adriana Cabal Rosel, Franz Allerberger, Anna Stöger, Gerhard Rab, Andrea T. Feßler, Joachim Spergser, Anna Kübber-Heiss, Stefan Schwarz, Stephen J. Forsythe, Werner Ruppitsch, and Igor Loncaric was published in „Letters in Applied Microbiology“.


Vetmeduni press release

Scientific article



"Fachtierärztin" (specialized veterinarian) for zoo- and wildlife title for Johanna Painer-Gigler und Friederike Pohlin

Our veterinarians Johanna Painer-Gigler and Friederike Pohlin recently passed the specialist veterinary examination. The "Fachtierarzt" is a title for veterinarians who specialize in a certain field and can be obtained after several years of further training and successful examination. Our veterinarians at the institute are all specialized in the field of wildlife and zoo animal medicine, but the title of specialist veterinarian means an additional qualification. Specialist veterinarians are obliged to acquire at least 10 subject-specific training hours per year in addition to the general further training obligation. Scientific publications in a recognized specialist journal must also be presented.

Our two veterinarians have now successfully obtained the title of specialist veterinarian for zoo and wild animals. Congratulations to our colleagues on passing the exam!