VET40160 Infectious diseases, biosecurity and parasite control

Academic Year 2021/2022

Building upon the generic approach to problem-solving delivered in the 'Herd Investigation Skills' module, students will adapt the herd health management cycle to develop an understanding of the investigation, control and monitoring of the major infectious disease themes for the Irish dairy industry based on the Animal Health Ireland initiative ( The primary focus of this module will be on the following infectious diseases which have a biosecurity significance for Irish dairy farms: BVD, IBR, Mycoplasma, Paratuberculosis, Leptopspirosis, Neosporosis and Salmonellosis. In addition, the relevant parasitological problems relating to dairy cows (fasciolosis, stomach and lung worms) will be presented in a herd health context. Students will be introduced to the concepts of diagnostic test accuracy and reliability and epidemiologically justified sample size calculations as well as general biosecurity approaches.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this module:
In the context of BVD, IBR, Mycoplasma, Paratuberculosis, Leptospirosis, Neosporosis and Salmonellosis, students will be able to:
1. Prepare an appropriate herd investigation protocol to determine the status of the herd in relation to each of the infectious diseases mentioned
2. Analyse and interpret the findings of this investigation
3. Recommend appropriate control strategies based on the investigation
4. Recommend appropriate monitoring strategies to review progress
5. Prepare a farm-specific biosecurity plan

Students will have developed a thorough knowledge of the parasitological problems affecting dairy cows and the relevant control strategies
Students can apply epidemiological concepts such as diagnostic test sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value and adequate sample size calculations to relevant diagnostic tests and infectious diseases.

Indicative Module Content:

The module will cover the important non-regulatory infectious diseases affecting dairy cows in Ireland, the UK and the majority of countries worldwide. These include:
- Biosecurity, bioexclusion and biocontainment
- Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus (IBR)
- Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVD)
- Johne's disease (Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis)
- Leptospirosis due to Leptospira Hardjo
- Salmonellosis due to Salmonella dublin and Salmonella typhimurium primarily
- Mycoplasma bovis
- Neospora caninum
- A review of common parasites affecting dairy cows at grass
- Parasite Control at grass
- Parasite control programmes

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities




Conversation Class


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The key teaching and learning approaches used in the module include: active/task-based learning; peer and group work using online zoom discussions; lectures; reflective learning; problem-based learning; and case-based learning as part of assessments. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: The second assessment component is an assignment based on an infectious disease problem e.g Johne's disease Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative non-linear conversion grade scale 50% No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: The final assessment component in this module is an MCQ exam covering all the lectures and reading material provided across the module. Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative non-linear conversion grade scale 50% No


Assignment: The first assessment component is an assignment related to a herd health infectious disease problem centred on biosecurity and the production of a bioexclusion risk assessment plan Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative non-linear conversion grade scale 50% No


Assignment: The third assessment component is an essay based assignment on a hot topic such as the Coughing Cow based on herd health data provided. Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative non-linear conversion grade scale 50% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback and discussions will be carried out during three Face to Face zoom sessions spread throughout the module. Following the end of the module, post assessments, students will be offered the choice of individual feedback if they so require or choose. Also there will be an end of course face to face group session where all module coordinators can give feedback to students and take feedback from students.

Name Role
Dr Luke O'Grady Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr John Donlon Tutor
Mr Finnian Logan Tutor
Assoc Professor Conor McAloon Tutor
Miss Vicki Rhodes Tutor
Eilidh Thomson Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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