Agricultural Animal Health Program FDIU
About the AAHP Field Disease Investigation Unit (FDIU)
The FDIU, created in 1983, is a component of the WSU CVM Agricultural
Animal Health Program (AAHP).
Since then, faculty members have traveled to locations of herd problems to
perform field investigations on problems of regional importance to
agricultural animal producers in the Pacific Northwest.
The FDIU has responded to needs from all over the Pacific Northwest and
has conducted research investigations into diseases threatening the economy
of herds in the Pacific Northwest as well as nationally. Jointly supported
by the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Agricultural, Human & Natural
Resource Sciences, the unit works closely with the Washington Animal Disease
Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University. Advice and
consultation on regional and national animal diseases and public health
issues are provided to producers, practicing veterinarians, animal industry
groups, and state and federal regulatory personnel.
Most AAHP FDIU research projects are funded through grants awarded by
government agencies and private institutions.
Veterinary students accompany FDIU teams during elective blocks in the
4th year of study, traveling to field sites for investigations. Students are
trained in the general aspects of herd investigations and population
medicine, providing them with a basic understanding of the epidemiological
approach to solving herd disease problems. FDIU faculty oversee a number of
senior student research projects and presentations that culminate in the
required 4th year senior paper and presentation.
Graduate education is an integral part of many FDIU faculty's academic
responsibilities. Currently, graduate students specialize in epidemiology
and population medicine. In addition, FDIU faculty frequently present
continuing education seminars to practicing veterinarians, present their
research at scientific meetings, and attend producer group meetings within
The AAHP FDIU conducts research using hypothesis-based field trials to
address problems of regional importance to agricultural animal producers in
Ongoing research includes:
- Investigations pertaining to the epidemiology and
Salmonella enterica on farms with the goal of
developing preventative strategies and mitigating zoonotic
- Molecular biology studies of zoonotic organisms
including Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and E. coli
O157. Recent human health problems with E. coli O157
and other zoonotic agents of livestock origin illustrate the
need for more complete descriptive epidemiology,
determination of herd risk factors, and improved
understanding of farm ecology in association with the human
food chain and the occurrence of disease.
- Molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistance.
- Research in bovine mastitis to identify transmission
risk factors, epidemiology, immunology, diagnostic
strategies, and management of dairy cow teat chapping and
- Identification of plant toxicities, description of
previously uncharacterized problems, and the development of
preventative strategies including the relationship between
pasture and plant conditions and at-risk animals.
- Identification of risk factors for lupine-induced
arthrogryposis (crooked calf disease) in range cattle.
- Identification of determinants of neonatal calf
mortality as it relates to failure of passive transfer and