Pathological examinations allow the detection of diseases, including well-known and emerging diseases.
A principal focus of veterinary pathology are diseases with zoonotic potential, because many animal diseases can endanger humans (brucellosis, tuberculosis, Q fever, leptospirosis, tularemia, echinococcosis, rabies, to name but a few) and vice versa: diseases can also be passed from people to animals (e.g. various protozoans and bacteria);
In times of increased mobility and ever-shrinking areas of retreat for wildlife this aspect has been gaining in importance. Not only domestic animals and humans have relatively intensive contact, but also contact between people and wild animals is on the rise due to changing leisure and economic activities. This nexus "wildlife - domestic animal - human" is increasingly important, as introduced diseases can potentially endanger both domestic and wild animals, as well as people that come into contact with them.
Our veterinarians undertake comprehensive post-mortem examinations of all wild animals (killed or found dead) that are delivered to the Institute. The diagnosis includes potential new pathogens for our region, as well as changing environmental circumstances, because the condition of wild animals is an essential component of global disease avoidance, monitoring, and control. The aim is to secure good health for wild and domestic animals. Even if the cause of death appears obvious (e.g. due to a traffic accident) a pathological examination may be able to diagnose other diseases.
In addition to wild animals we also receive animals from scientifically managed zoos for post-mortem examinations.
Our pathologists analyse individual animals, make macroscopic observations, interpret these and complete the research with a detailed histo-pathological examination, where tissues are examined under a microscope. The advent of molecular pathology has increased diagnostic precision. Via an immune-histology, in situ hybridisation and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) pathologists are often able to make causative diagnoses.
We apply our research results in the following areas:
- Advice and support to government agencies and interest groups relating to diseases with zoonotic potential (infectious diseases that can be passed between animals and humans, e.g. tuberculosis, fox tapeworm, etc.)
- Cooperative management of introduced pathogens and changing environmental conditions that play an increasing role in the health of the wildlife/domestic animal/human interface