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About Us Units Department of Animal Hygiene, Herd Health and Mobile Clinic

Department of Animal Hygiene, Herd Health and Mobile Clinic

+361 478 4242
+361 478 4100 / 8500
+361 478 4243
Head of Unit
Könyves László
1078 Budapest István u. 2.
Postal address
1400 Budapest Pf. 2
Building J II. Floor 202

History of the Department

The XX. from the second half of the 20th century, Europe’s animal husbandry and the production of animal-derived foods developed in a new direction and very dynamically. The genetic potential of the herds increased explosively, concentration accelerated, specialization and integration became decisive in production, and the feed industry developed rapidly. This development urgently raised the issue that, in addition to curative animal health services, the prevention of animal diseases should be increasingly emphasized.

For this reason, it has become necessary to independently cultivate a discipline exclusively dealing with prevention within veterinary science, or – where it already exists – to further develop it, within the framework of which the impact of the changed environment on the production and health of animals, as well as the impact of animal husbandry on the environment is also examined. In many European countries, animal hygiene departments (institutes) were established one after the other, separately from related fields, primarily from microbiology.
In Hungary, the Minister of Agriculture 15/1962. (Mg.É.14.) decided that: “The animal hygiene group will separate from the framework of the Department of Internal Medicine and continue its operation as an independent Department of Animal Hygiene”. Ferenc Kovács was appointed university professor in 1963 based on the recommendation of professors Sándor Kotlán and József Márkus and the recommendation of the University Council to head the department. Under the leadership of Ferenc Kovács, the phase of the development of the scientific field based on exact experiments accelerated. Very intensive teaching and research work began in modern laboratories.

As a result of the specialization in livestock breeding and the support provided by the government at the time, hundreds of specialized large-scale livestock farms were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This prompted the acquisition and expansion of the scientific knowledge necessary for the construction and operation of large-scale cattle, pig and poultry farms. This demand has also been expressed in many countries with advanced livestock breeding. In response to this challenge, we created the first climate laboratory in Central Europe in 1966, which made it possible to learn about and precisely describe the multifaceted interaction between the animal and its environment.
The research carried out in the climate laboratory led to internationally recognized and in many cases priority findings on the effects of ambient temperature, humidity and air speed on the metabolism of newborn and young piglets, fowls, rabbits and lambs, on the adaptation skills of young and young animals, as well as heat and carbon dioxide – and steam production. As a result of the work in the climate laboratory, fundamental findings were also made about the stable conditions affecting the pollution of the stable air with harmful gases and formative elements, as well as their effects on the animal organism.

In addition to the above, attention was drawn to the investigation of the relationships between the keeping and feeding of sows, the scientific determination of the biological value of piglets, and the exact determination of the factors that determine the economics of raising and fattening pigs. As a result of this work, the definition formulated by Ferenc Kovács in 1975 has now become internationally accepted: “an animal that produces within the limits of economy in accordance with its genetically determined abilities is healthy”.

The research carried out in the climate laboratory was organically complemented by the tests carried out on large-scale livestock farms. The research collective of the department got involved in the animal health certification of animal farms. Intensive research work was carried out to assess the effectiveness of various disinfectants and disinfection methods and to develop new procedures.

Parallel to the increase in domestic and international recognition of the research results, the team, which originally consisted of two veterinarians, an agricultural engineer and a chemist, also grew in number. In 1965, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences established an academic research group in the department in recognition of the successful work, within the framework of which the department was enriched with intellectual strength and received financial support. In parallel, an Animal Hygiene Subcommittee was established within the Department of Agricultural Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and an Animal Hygiene Department was established within the framework of the Association of Veterinary Surgeons of the MAE. The department, supplemented by an academic research group, gradually became one of the defining organizational units of the university.

The results of the tests carried out in laboratory and practical conditions made it possible, and the decrees of the government of the time for the development of cattle and pig breeding required the practical utilization of the knowledge acquired up to that point. In 1968, the Department of Animal Health and Food Hygiene of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food established an animal hygiene veterinary position. After that, veterinarians were also employed at the county animal health stations to perform animal hygiene tasks.
In this period, i.e. at the beginning of the seventies, one of the most important tasks of animal hygiene was to summarize the basic principles of preventive veterinary medicine for large farms in accordance with the needs of practice. In response to this need, the guidelines for large-scale cattle, pig and poultry farming were created, largely based on the results of research conducted at the Department of Animal Hygiene. The guidelines provided guidance for the planning of large-scale livestock farms, the evaluation of the plans and the operation of the farms. The animal hygiene certification of the investment-execution plans of the livestock farms and the animal hygiene control of the built farms became mandatory. The county animal health stations played a decisive role in this work.
The operation of specialized, large-scale livestock farms led to new challenges in preventive veterinary medicine, on the one hand, with the increase of the so-called the damage caused by diseases with complex causes and the environmental pollution of such plants were a growing concern.

In response to these challenges, the department started a series of researches to better understand the pathophysiology of animal diseases with complex causes at almost the same time as many well-known institutions in Western Europe and the United States. This work was supported by the new climate laboratory established in 1972. In collaboration with the Department of Epidemiology of our university, research was started and is still ongoing in order to learn about the functioning of the adrenal cortex and immune system of farm animals, as well as the relationships between non-optimal environmental conditions and the development of animal diseases with complex causes.
The results of the research of the applied bacteriology department contributed to the exploration of the polluting effects of liquid manure and to the clarification of the survival time of fecal-origin bacteria on the soil and the conditions affecting their survival. The recommendations formulated as a result of the research contributed to the development of the technological systems of slurry treatment.

The spread of energy-saving feed preservation procedures and the increasing number of mycotoxicosis cases in the early 1980s (as another challenge) urgently raised the expansion of feed hygiene tests. In cooperation with the experts of the National Veterinary Institute, the Miskolc Veterinary Institute, and the Budapest University of Technology, mycotoxin research began at the department, which continues to expand even today. As a result of the tests, we learned, among other things, the conditions for the formation of fusarium toxins and the immunosuppressive effect of the T-2 toxin.

During the 25 years since the establishment of the department (until 1987), the staff of the department published 328 publications in Hungarian and foreign languages, two two-volume university notes, one book excerpt, two manuals, two topic documentations, three textbooks, one academic doctorate, five candidate and one university doctorate theses they made. This research work, supervised and coordinated by the head of the department, was recognized by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1972 and 1978 with an academic award.

The intensive research work outlined above created the animal hygiene curriculum, its education with a modern approach and based on exact research results.

The theoretical and practical education in the basic training of the veterinarian was carried out in 1990/91. up to and including the academic year, it was supplemented by a three-week large-scale animal hygiene practice, which the students had to complete according to a specific theme. Starting from 1967, the 1990/91. up to and including the academic year, animal hygiene was one of the subjects of the state exam. From 1978 to 1994, the department organized lectures on “Occupational and environmental protection” in the veterinary bachelor’s degree. subject for two hours per week in the 10th semester.

In addition to basic veterinary training, the staff of the department participated in a significant number of hours in further veterinary training and specialist veterinary training. 129 practicing veterinarians obtained animal hygiene specialist veterinary qualifications within the framework of the specialist veterinary training that was launched in 1973 and then in 1981. The Animal Hygiene Department of the Association of Veterinarians of the Hungarian Association of Agricultural Sciences served to expand the knowledge of practicing veterinarians with a number of events.

Over the years, the Department of Animal Hygiene of the University of Veterinary Medicine has gained outstanding domestic and international recognition. International esteem was indicated by the establishment of the International Animal Hygiene Society in Budapest in 1970. In 1970, the research work of the department joined the research program of KGST. From 1986, the department became the center of the sub-network of FAO dealing with liquid manure management and its destruction. A close cooperation based on a working relationship has developed between the department and many foreign departments and institutions. Among them, the Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, the Veterinary College in Hannover, the animal hygiene departments of the veterinary training institutions in Brno and Kassa, as well as the Veterinary Institute of North Brabant deserve mention here.

As a summary of all this, it can be stated that animal hygiene as a subject and field of science could claim a quarter of a century rich in successes at the end of the 1980s.

The changes in agricultural production did not escape the Department of Animal Hygiene either. Due to the lack of instruments and equipment due to the relocation of the department’s more valuable instruments to the central laboratory, the liquidation of the air-conditioning laboratory established in 1966, the loss of the department’s training room (3rd floor of building J), the termination of the summer 3-week large-scale animal hygiene practice and the loss of jobs tools and conditions necessary for the teaching of the subject and for research in the field.

In response to the challenges posed by the age, university professor Dr. Pál Rafai, appointed as head of the department in September 1990 and then appointed as of July 1, 1991, formulated the most necessary actions in “Quo vadis Animal Hygiene”. in his thesis. Accordingly, the department collective saw it as necessary:

– in addition to preserving the lasting values, developing the subject, adapting it to the changed conditions and supplementing it with new knowledge, such as applied veterinary ethology, animal protection and herd health knowledge;
– the expansion of the relations between the department and livestock farms based on expert advice;
– participation in organized research programs that are still available;
– rapid development of the department’s instrument and computer stock and
the union of animal hygiene veterinarians in a new organization.

Keeping the objectives in mind, we reworded the essential elements of the subject and our educational goals as follows:
“Animal hygiene is the branch of veterinary science that, based on the knowledge of the physiological and ethological needs of animals, describes the conditions for protecting health and researches the physiological and biochemical processes created by environmental effects that differ from the needs in order to better understand the etiology and development of diseases. Based on the latter, taking into account the economics of production, it organizes the necessary actions to prevent, combat and eradicate diseases with complex causes. Animal hygiene primarily deals with livestock and the health protection of livestock in such a way that it also serves to protect the human environment.”

In accordance with the modernization of university education, the teaching material of the subject, applied veterinary ethology and animal protection, has also developed.

Responding to the new challenge of the changes that have taken place in the veterinary profession in the meantime and keeping in mind the catch-up with the veterinary training institutes of the EU countries, herd health has become an emphasized part of the subject, during the course of which the veterinary student learns the basic principles of production-oriented and orientationally pre-planned animal health services. The aim of the service is the timely detection of animal health problems that threaten the efficiency of production, and the prevention, mitigation and elimination of losses caused by them. Effective work requires veterinarians who, in addition to knowledge of epidemiology, pathology, reproductive biology, and law enforcement, are proficient in the theoretical and practical issues of feeding, and are also capable of environmental diagnostic work. They are also able to prepare a program to eliminate animal health problems in the herd and analyze the economic effects of the program. They have computer skills and can establish a direct relationship with the pet owner.

Based on all of this, there are three pillars of animal hygiene: environmental physiology, veterinary applied ethology and herd hygiene of the most important economic farm animals (cattle, pigs and chickens).

The credit system training introduced in the upward system from the 1995/96 academic year brought a significant change in the education of animal hygiene. “Veterinary applied ethology” is separated from the framework of the subject. subject education, which in the new 11-semester education system in the Hungarian and English-language veterinary bachelor’s degree is III-IV. will be presented during the semester. The subject ends with an oral exam, credit value: 2 points. The teaching is supported by the notes written and edited by Pál Rafai and numerous educational films. The subject is a compulsory subject for those participating in doctoral (PhD) training.
The credit curriculum is “Animal hygiene”. reduced the original 120 theoretical and practical hours of the subject to 66 hours, which only enables the presentation of the core material of the subject. For those who are interested in the practical issues of the health protection of large livestock herds, the 1999/2000. “Cattle herd health”, “Pig herd health” and “Poultry herd health” are available as optional subjects from the academic year. object. Dr. Note written by Pál Rafai. With the introduction of the three herd health subjects years ago, the department preceded many famous veterinary training institutions (among them, for example, the Royal Veterinary College). Veterinary applied ethology c. subject from the 1995/96 academic year, Animal Hygiene c. subject in 1996/97. starting from the academic year, we also teach in English. We were able to hold the 120 hours in the English-language education, so all students participating in the foreign-language training acquire knowledge of stock health. For the first time, our department made the necessary English notes available to the students.

At the request of the staff of the department, we expressed the changes in the teaching of the subject by changing the name of the department to the “Department of Animal Hygiene, Animal Health and Veterinary Ethology” as of October 1, 2000.

No. 47 adopted at the meeting of the Senate of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine on June 1, 2003. according to its decision, starting from the 2003/2004 academic year, free-range cattle herd health practices must be introduced in Hungarian and English-language training. Participation in the exercises is mandatory. Participation is conditional on signing the lesson book. The exercises are organized for students attending the 8th and 9th semesters. All students must participate in these exercises at least once. The exercises are carried out as part of a full-day farm visit. The farm visit is led by the staff of the cattle health group.

With the introduction of the practical semester starting from the 2010/11 academic year, the Faculty Council adopted a new educational curriculum, which increased the number of hours of the Animal Hygiene subject to 75, and the department was given the right to monitor the farm practices and report on the work done on the practices .

The result of our educational work is indicated by the fact that in the last 20 years, nearly 15% of diploma theses were prepared under the supervision of the department’s staff.
From 1990, the structure of the department’s research and consulting activities was also changed. The mycotoxin research group was reorganized and a clinical-chemical laboratory was established. The applied microbiology group and the climate laboratory also continued their work. Based on this, the consulting activities of the department were expanded, regularized and organized. Based on this, the development of the department’s equipment and tools became possible.

The results of our research work are indicated by the fact that since 1990, more than 300 professional publications of the department’s staff have been published in domestic and foreign journals and more than 350 lectures have been given at domestic and international scientific events. In 1996, two employees of the department successfully defended their candidate theses, and 3 PhD students conducted research under the supervision of the head of the department.

From 2004, Endre Brydl became the head of the department. We renovated the department’s laboratories, further expanded and modernized the instrument park. We reorganized the mastitis laboratory. Research work and the provision of services to dairies have also started in this area.

In 1991, we founded the Hungarian Society for Animal Hygiene and Environmental Protection. The Society’s honorary president was Ferenc Kovács, its president was Pál Rafai, and its secretary was Alajos Ballásch. In the time since its establishment, we have organized 20 specialist meetings with invited speakers from Hungary and abroad. Among the events, the one organized on October 30-31, 1995 under the title “Application of Stock Health Programs in Cattle and Pig Farming” was of outstanding importance. of the 8th Inter-Congress Symposium.
In 1998, the management of the company was renewed. Endré Brydl was elected as president and László Könyves as secretary. Every year, sometimes every two years, we organize a congress with the participation of those interested in the field.

The staff of the department regularly participates and gives lectures at the congresses organized by the International Society for Animal Hygiene (ISAH) every two years. Pál Rafai was a member of ISAH’s management board from its inception until 2008, and then in 2008, László Könyves was elected as the economic manager of ISAH’s management board.