Animal and veterinary research
Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.
- Master of Science (Animal Science)
- Master of Science (Conservation Biology)
- Master of Science (Ecology)
- Master of Science (Zoology)
- Master of Veterinary Medicine
- Master of Veterinary Studies
- Master of Veterinary Studies (Epidemiology)
- Master of Veterinary Studies (Without Specialisation)
Search for an expert
Search our staff database for an expert or area of expertise.
Alginate increases water stability whilst maintaining diet digestibility in farmed saltwater crocodiles
Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) farming in Papua New Guinea is an emerging industry. Crocodiles are fed high quality feed made from extruded animal by-products, however it disintegrates on contact with water, and this leads to low utilisation.
Our study showed that alginate addition to crocodile feed improved its stability in water and did not impair nutrient digestion. Application of these findings should greatly decrease feed wastage, which ultimately will increase economic returns and decrease environmental impacts.
Amino Acid Oxidation Increases with Dietary Protein Content in Adult Neutered Male Cats
Cats are unique among domestic animals in that they are obligate carnivores and have a high protein requirement. However, there are few data on protein turnover and amino acid (AA) metabolism in cats.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of dietary protein content on urea production and Leu metabolism in cats. The project found that the high protein requirement of cats combined with a low rate of whole-body protein synthesis ensures that an obligate demand of AAs for energy or glucose (or both) can be met in an animal that evolved with a diet high in protein with very little or no carbohydrate.
Antimicrobial resistant bacteria in dairy cattle
The development and transmission of bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a complex and multifaceted process. One of the main drivers identified for the development and spread of AMR is the use of antimicrobials in human and veterinary medicine as well as for agricultural use.
A project led by Distinguished Professor Nigel French and Dr Sarah Burgess investigated this issue and developed recommendations on how to manage antimicrobial use in order to prevent bacteria in the gut of dairy cattle developing AMR.
Antler removal and deer welfare
Evaluation of analgesia of the pedicle and antler. This resulted in best practice for analgesia of the velvet antler. An additional study concerns the factors contributing to the death of stags under xylazine sedation for the purpose of antler removal.
Birth - making it easier for cattle
Dystocia (birthing difficulty) in beef heifers causes significant economic loss to the beef and dairy industries.
Massey scientists researched the potential to control dystocia using restricted feeding in early pregnancy. We conducted three years of field experiments in which we manipulated the liveweight gain of heifers and examined the size, growth and birthing difficulty of the resulting calves.
We found that feeding in early pregnancy did not influence the birth weight of calves.
Bryde’s whales share secrets with their fins
Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera edeni) are classified as nationally critical in New Zealand and appear only on the north-eastern coast of the North Island.
A study, lead by Massey University’s Dr Gabriela Tezanos-Pinto, collated an extensive database of photographs showing distinctive fin features of individual whales over eight years to obtain missing demographic information about the local population.
Cameras light up bats in the dark
Professor David Hayman has been working with a US agency to develop tools that may be the key to saving bats from white-nose syndrome, a disease decimating their populations.
The bats are affected during hibernation, so the work sought to use less-disruptive thermal imaging to monitor behaviour over winter. The work is part of a long-term effort led by the United States Geological Survey to attempt to reverse the decline in many bat species in the US.
Capturing and analysing limb injuries in race horses
Equestrian industries make up about 2 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP and about a third of horses that start training and racing are retired and lost due to injury. About three-quarters of these are musculoskeletal injuries. Dr Bob Colborne and PhD student Alienor Bardin, a mechanical engineer, are investigating solutions to these injuries in race horses using 3D capture and computer modelling. The project involves having the horses trot and canter along a runway in a sand arena over a force platform embedded in the surface in front of six infrared cameras that record the 3D movement of the horse’s limb segments on a consistent surface.
Compassion fatigue in wildlife workers
Oil spill response involving wildlife attracts responders that often have deep connections to animals and the desire to alleviate their suffering.
Massey Wildbase Oiled Wildlife Response has collaborated with social work researchers at Massey to investigate compassion fatigue in wildlife carers.
Cow GPS aids sustainable grazing research
This research monitored cows over three consecutive winters at Massey University’s Tuapaka farm to get baseline measures of how the beef cows used the 8 to 12 ha paddocks.
The research found that, even in extensive hill country paddocks, cows avoided walking uphill. Instead the cows followed the contours of the hills and concentrated their grazing on the flatter areas. The movement of the cows was largely unaffected by cold, wet weather.
Kat's PhD focused on the assessment of quality of life in companion animals, specifically as it relates to end-of-life or euthanasia decision-making in cats.
As the level of veterinary care available to cats has improved, many animals are living longer. This, coupled with the popularity of feline pets in New Zealand, has led to an increase in the number of geriatric animals. But is this increase in life expectancy also representative of a good quality of life? How can we help pet owners and veterinarians improve their end-of-life decision-making to safeguard animal welfare?Kat Littlewood
PhD (Animal Science)
Sarah's PhD research focused on spatial ecology and conservation of cetaceans. The project focused on common dolphin (Delphinus sp.), Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) and bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in the Hauraki Gulf, with the overarching goal of providing scientific information for conservation and management.Sarah Dwyer
Doctor of Philosophy
AviaNZ birdsong recognition software
Developed by Massey scientists this software program is easy to use and equipped with the essentials for spectrogram reading, analysis and manual annotation. You can download the software along with the user manual for free.
A joint project between Massey University, Canterbury Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Fauna Toolkit is a portal to 3D digitised models of bird bones from museum collections.
Guide to NZ Orthoptera
Research material on taxonomy, ecology and evolution of New Zealand wētā and other orthoptera such as stick insects, grasshoppers and crickets.
Guide to New Zealand soil invertebrates
Information on New Zealand soil and litter invertebrates, their diversity, biology, ecosystem role, and conservation status.
Guide to sheep health
The Sheep: Health, Disease and Production is a guide to sheep health, disease and production for veterinarians, farmers, farm advisors, and veterinary, agricultural and applied science students. The latest edition features the latest research and thinking on sheep health, disease and production and includes in-depth information on exotic sheep diseases such as Helicobacter abortion and Schmallenberg virus.
Invertebrate DNA Toolkit
As well as information on aDNA, transformational sequencing and next gen sequencing, data files from various projects relating to the DNA of invertebrates can be downloaded here for free.
Livestock production in New Zealand
The complete guide to the management of dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, deer, goats, pigs, poultry, horses and working dogs in New Zealand. Written mainly by experts from Massey University’s School of Veterinary Science, it is of value and interest to everyone from students to farmers, right across New Zealand’s agribusiness sector. Edited by Kevin Stafford.
Reintroduction specialist group
This a networking group for reintroduction practitioners worldwide, and provides guidance for re-introduction projects. It provides a set of guidelines for reintroductions, a reintroduction practitioners directory and other resources. Massey University leads this group.
A printed 'yardstick', this tool was created to show the relationship between seasonality, the height and yield of herb pasture mixes in the field and whether stock should then be grazing, or not. The stick aims to assist farmers' understanding of the management of 'new' forage pasture types.
The New Zealand Wildlife Mortality Database, Huia
This database, kept by Massey University's Wildbase, records the causes of death of all threatened species in New Zealand and is available by request to conservation workers and scientists.
Veterinary Clinical Toxicology
An excellent resource on toxicoses for veterinary students, practitioners, agriculturalists, diagnostic laboratories and libraries. Includes the latest references, new toxicities and an expanded section of poisonous plant plates in colour.
AL Rae Centre for Genetics and Breeding
The Centre ensures sustained development and application of knowledge in quantitative genetics and breeding to enhance the profitability of New Zealand's primary industries.
Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre
The Centre focuses on animal welfare in a diverse range of human-animal interactions. This includes the use of animals in research, teaching and testing, on farms, in the home, for sport, recreation and entertainment, in service roles, in zoos and the wild, and in other arenas.
Beef Research Centre
Our aim is to undertake quality research consistent with the needs of the New Zealand Beef Industry and to advance scientific knowledge of beef production, welfare, health and biology.
Coastal-Marine Research Group
This centre undertakes marine ecological research within and beyond New Zealand waters, concentrating largely on conservation and management orientated questions. Our specific strengths include marine mammal biology and ecology and quantitative marine ecology.
The EpiCentre is the largest veterinary epidemiology training and research centre in Australasia. It is widely considered to be one of the leading groups in the world. We have expertise in the understanding and control of disease in animal populations, the transmission of disease from animals to humans, and hazards in food of animal origin.
Equine Research Centre
Much of the equine research carried out in New Zealand is conducted at Massey University. Our aim is to perform scientific research and promote education to optimise equine health, welfare and the productivity of the equine industry.
The Hopkirk Institute is a joint institute – scientists are from both AgResearch and Massey University. It has the southern hemisphere's largest concentration of health sciences for pastoral-fed animals.
Scientists collaborate on researching solutions for the sustainable control of parasitic diseases, primarily in sheep and cattle including:
- evaluating more effective vaccines to combat infectious disease, including tuberculosis, Johne's disease, mastitis and pneumonia
- identifying and predicting food poisoning threats in New Zealand and devising strategies to minimise their prevalence and impact.
Infectious Disease Research Centre (IDReC)
The Centre engages in applied research concerning multi-host pathogens and fundamental research regarding pathogen evolution and disease emergence. We cover the spectrum of population-based infectious disease research from microbiology, through population genetics, epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, disease ecology, statistics, mathematical modelling, and public health.
International Sheep Research Centre
The focus of the Centre is to advance the scientific knowledge of sheep production, husbandry, welfare, health, nutrition, reproduction and biology of sheep.
Monogastric Research Centre
The Centre is an Australasian Centre of Excellence on monogastric species. Research focuses on feed evaluation, nutrition, husbandry and welfare. It provides a focal point for the New Zealand monogastric industries and has extensive international linkages.
Wildbase research centre
Research at Wildbase promotes collaborative investigation of wildlife in support of the welfare and conservation of New Zealand native fauna. Our research expertise covers a wide range of wildlife issues.
Working Dog Centre
We work to improve the health and working life of working and service dogs through cutting-edge scientific investigations.
The mEpiLab's works to improve the health of New Zealanders by developing and applying new techniques to inform decision making and guide the prevention and control of infectious disease.