Based in Niort, the Ruminant Diseases and Welfare Unit (PBER) combines research and reference activities for goat, sheep and cattle health and welfare.
The unit holds the mandates of National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, enzootic bovine leucosis, bovine hypodermosis and bovine viral diarrhoea.
In addition to these four national reference mandates, it has reference mandates for ruminant paratuberculosis from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the French federation of animal health protection groups (GDS France). The partnership with GDS France creates synergies with their respective missions and strengths, combining scientific competence, knowledge of the field and access to samples. The aim is to improve diagnostic tools, along with their use and reliability in epidemiological surveillance, control and certification programmes.
As well as improving techniques for diagnosing bacterial, viral or parasitic infections, the unit, supported by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, takes part in research projects to support ruminant breeding sectors in developing their production systems. These projects focus in particular on controlling the spread of germs (transmission between species or from wildlife, dispersion of livestock effluents, etc.), reducing chemical inputs and preventing the emergence of resistant germs, as well as on improving animal welfare.
Main ongoing projects
Assessing the impact of environmental enrichment on the welfare of young goat kids
Funding: Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region
Partner: French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE)
Alternative practices to artificial feeding in goat farming: consequences on behaviour, microbiota, health and milk quality
Funding: SANBA metaprogramme on health and welfare of farmed livestock
Partners: INRAE (project sponsor), IDELE (French Livestock Institute)
EXPAIRCOX Part 3 (2020-2023)
Coxiella dispersion during handling and spreading of manure
Funding: Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, Deux-Sèvres Departmental Council, INRAE
Partners: INRAE, Qualyse Laboratory, ANSES Sophia-Antipolis Laboratory
Impact of anaerobic digestion on survival of mycobacteria and Coxiella
Funding: French Federation of Health Protection Groups (GDS France), Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, Directorate General for Food (DGAL)
Partners: GDS Orne, GDS Meurthe-et-Moselle, GDS France, ANSES Sophia-Antipolis Laboratory
Helminthiasis – Actions for the rationale of interventions in sheep-farming areas of Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Funding: Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region – Emergence European innovation partnership
Partners: Professional partners
Preparation of a multi-year project to assess the implementation of integrated management of gastrointestinal strongylosis in suckler and dairy sheep herds in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
Improving interlaboratory assessment of diagnostic tests (2023)
Funding: CoVetLab partnership
Partners: University of Copenhagen (UCPH – Denmark), Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR – Netherlands), Swedish National Veterinary Institute (SVA – Sweden), Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA – United Kingdom)
Testing of specialised Bayesian latent class models (BLCMs) to estimate the accuracy of diagnostic tests for bovine viral diarrhoea and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis used in laboratories in different countries.
Support for leucosis decontamination on Reunion Island (2023-2026)
Improving control methods by contributing to knowledge of host-virus interactions combined with epidemiological modelling.
Funding: ANSES, Reunion Region
Partners: ANSES Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort Laboratory (EPISABE Unit), French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Reunion Departmental Veterinary Laboratory, Reunion Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry.
Main projects completed
Parasitism management practices and anthelmintic resistance in the sheep sector
Funding: Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region
Partners: Qualyse Laboratory, Deux-Sèvres veterinary technical group, professional partners
Development of a serological confirmation tool based on recombinant antigens derived from the BoHV1 virus causing infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and the BoHV2 virus.
Funding: Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, GDS France
Partner: GDS France