Susceptibility to infectious diseases and the degree of infectivity differ per animal. Some animals are constantly infected and others almost never. Some animals excrete more pathogens than others. The differences can partly be attributed to genetic differences between animals.
Combating claw disease mortellaro
Researchers of Wageningen University & Research, Animal Breeding & Genomics studied the possibilities of combating the spread of the claw disease mortellaro through breeding; this disease causes lameness in cows and is persistent on many farms.
Variations between animals
There is a surprising amount of variation between the animals. There are cows that contribute little to the spread, but also animals that contribute a lot to spreading mortellaro.
The research into mortellaro shows that there are great opportunities to reduce infectious diseases through breeding, especially now that there are more and more possibilities with sensor systems to collect data about animals and to link them with genotypic data.