• Research
  • Melioidosis
    8 NOV 2022

    Wing Yan Jacqueline Tam, Pawel Beczkowski and Vanessa R. Barrs
    Centre for Animal Health and Welfare, City University of Hong Kong

    A recent cluster of cases of melioidosis, a bacterial infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, has been reported in Hong Kong. The bacteria responsible for melioidosis are saprophytes, found in soil and muddy water and are endemic in Hong Kong, as well as South East Asia (Thailand, Singapore) and the Northern Territory of Australia. The cluster of 34 cases in Hong Kong has been focused in Sham Shui Po, and is thought to be associated with contaminated soil entering the West Kowloon reservoir and/or disturbed soil in construction sites.

    Read the full article by Wing Yan Jacqueline Tam, Pawel Beczkowski and Vanessa R. Barrs to learn how melioidosis can affect humans and a wide range of animals and the precaution.

  • Research
  • 19 Oct 2022

    Professor Vanessa Barrs awarded the title of BOCHK Chair Professor of Veterinary Medicine

    We are proud to share that Professor Vanessa Barrs was awarded the title of BOCHK Chair Professor of Veterinary Medicine supported by the BOCHK Charitable Foundation, in addition to her current roles as Acting Dean and Director of Veterinary Affairs of the Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences (JCC) and Chair Professor of Companion Animal Health and Disease in the Department of VCS.

    As the only female professorship holder, Professor Barrs was joined by 17 other outstanding faculty members representing One Health, Digital Society, Smart City, and Matter at the first-ever Inauguration Ceremony of Named Chair Professorships of CityU, officiated by Council Chairman and President, for the conferment.

    The Named Chair Professorship Scheme of CityU demonstrated the University's commitment to excellence in research and professional education for the benefit of society and the world. The Scheme is progressing very well thanks to the donors' staunch and generous support.

    As one of the generous donors, the BOCHK Charitable Foundation has been an active supporter for CityU in particular in contributing to the advancement of veterinary medical research and education. It is believed that the establishment of the Chair Professorship in Veterinary Medicine will help to promote public health, the study of zoonotic diseases and food safety in Hong Kong for achieving "OneHealth" for people, animals and the environment.

    For more information, please visit:
    - Professor Vanessa Barrs:
    - The CityU Named Professorship Scheme:

  • Research
  • 26 Sep 2022

    Review article on Pain Management in Farm Animals led by Prof Paulo Steagall being selected as candidate for the Animals 2023 Best Paper Award

    Commissioned by the WVA Animal Welfare group, the review article "Pain Management in Farm Animals: Focus on Cattle, Sheep and Pigs" led by our member Prof Paulo Steagall has been selected as a candidate for the Animals 2023 Best Paper Award for Research and Review Articles.

    The review provides an overview of pain management including assessment and treatment applied to the most common husbandry procedures, and recommendations to improve animal welfare in these species. (Full article:
    (Co-author: Dr Hedie Bustamante, Dr Craig B. Johnson and Dr Patricia V. Turner)

    More information on the Award:

  • Media Coverage
  • 8 Aug 2022

    Collaborative equine welfare research funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club

    Assistant Professor Rebecca Parkes, an equine veterinarian with research interests in equine biomechanics and welfare, is collaborating on work funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Equine Welfare Research Foundation to enhance and promote equine care through academic research.

    Read the full story   

  • Research
  • 11 Jul 2022

    Deep learning tool improves chicken welfare by identifying distress calls

    A research team led by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has developed a deep learning model that can identify and quantify chicken distress calls from natural barn sounds with 97% accuracy. This breakthrough will help improve conditions and the welfare of chickens raised on crowded commercial farms.

    The research is led by Dr Alan McElligott, Associate Professor, and Dr Liu Kai, Assistant Professor, in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health at the Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences at CityU, in collaboration with Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London, the University of Surrey and the Guangxi Veterinary Research Institute. Other members include Ms Mao Axiu, PhD student, and Ms Claire Giraudet, Research Assistant, in CityU's Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health.

    The paper was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, and the team expects the technology to be deployed commercially within five years.

    Read More  

    See All Media Coverage  

  • Research
  • 29 Jun 2022

    Prof Vanessa Barrs ranked World's Top 2% Scientist

    We are delighted to announce that our member, Prof Vanessa Barrs, has been listed among the top 2% of the world's most highly cited scientists in the latest report by Stanford University. The recognition reflects the high academic standard of our faculty and our excellent research performance.

    Learn more about Prof Barrs's contribution  

  • Media Coverage
  • 22 Jun 2022

    Media Interview by Sing Tao Daily on CityU's AR Veterinary Teaching System and models

    Prof Vanessa Barrs and Dr Rebecca Parkes were interviewed by the Sing Tao Daily to discuss the AR Veterinary Teaching System and models that facilitate the training of veterinary students. This system, developed in cooperation with the School of Creative Media, is supplemented by a real-scale animal model to help train students to palpate animals under safe conditions. Prof Barrs pointed out that the new system prevents students from being injured by animals, and at the same time accurately understands the location and feel of organs, and teachers can observe and provide advice.

    Click here for the full article  

  • Seminar
  • 13 Apr 2022

    Seminar Recording on Brachycephalic Dogs Welfare by Dr Rowena Packer

    Reach out for recordings in case you miss this excellent presentation on the welfare issues concerning the Brachycephalic Dogs by Dr Rowena Packer at at The Royal Veterinary College:

  • Seminar
  • 9 Mar 2022

    Inaugural Animal Health and Welfare Seminar launched!

    Thank you Dr Mia Cobb and everyone for your overwhelming support to make our inaugural Animal Health and Welfare seminar a great success, 200+ interested audience registered to get inspired by Dr Cobb on her insights and advices on Working Dog Welfare.

    Please get in touch if you would like to access the recording:


  • Media Coverage
  • 4 Mar 2022

    Find us on Times Higher Education magazine

    We are featured at the Times Higher Education magazine to discuss how the City University of Hong Kong's OneHealth concept helps driving our Centre's multidisciplinary research to promote animal health and welfare.


  • Press Release
  • 19 Jan 2022

    Risk of animal-to-human Covid-19 transmission "negligible": CityU

    The risk of contracting Covid-19 from pets is negligible, according to the Centre for Animal Health and Welfare at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

    To-date, more than 335 million people have contracted Covid-19 globally, and robust scientific evidence shows that humans are infected with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease, from other humans.

    Animal-to-human infections have occurred only on a few occasions when large numbers of susceptible animals, for example mink, were housed together. In those cases, the animals were culled because of the risk of new variants arising in other animals that might find their way into the human population. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong SAR Government took the necessary steps to cull hamsters that had been housed together in a shipment from the Netherlands to prevent new variants occurring in Hong Kong.

    However, there is no need for concern for individual animals at home. In particular, hamsters should not be abandoned. Infected hamsters usually shed the virus in respiratory secretions for three to six days. Therefore, hamsters purchased before 22 December 2021 pose no risk of being infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 that was detected in the shipment of hamsters from the Netherlands.

    We have confidence that the AFCD will manage the situation with pet hamsters effectively, as it did with quarantined cats and dogs during previous waves of the Covid-19 in Hong Kong. We believe that with careful planning, the risk of animal-to-human virus transmission can be managed with due consideration for animal welfare, specifically without the need to euthanase hamsters purchased before 22 December 2021.

    We urge pet owners not to panic, not to abandon their pets, and to use normal hygiene measures when handling pets: avoid kissing them and wash your hands before and after touching them.

    This is also a timely reminder to everyone that the best way to prevent illness from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.

    Media enquiries: Professor Vanessa Barrs, Chair Professor of Companion Animal Health and Disease (Tel: 3442 2943)

  • Media Coverage
  • 1 Dec 2021

    Interview by the Hong Kong Animal Law and Protection Organisation (HKALPO) on animal welfare

    Dr Alan McElligott and Dr Kate FLAY are featured at the lateat "Tell Me More" instalment by the Hong Kong Animal Law and Protection Organisation (HKALPO) to share their insights on the animal welfare of feral cattle and buffalo.


  • Official Update
  • 26 Oct 2021

    Centre for Animal Health and Welfare (CAHW)

    Our mission at the Centre for Animal Health and Welfare (CAHW, formerly called the Centre for Companion Animal Health) is to improve the quality of life of animals by producing high quality research to bring evidence-based solutions to address major animal health and welfare problems in today's society.

    Our multidisciplinary research team is formed by veterinary researchers with complementary expertise and shared core values of excellence, integrity and compassion. Please take a look around our site and get in touch if you want to support or collaborate on projects to improve and promote animal health and welfare.

  • Research
  • 4 Feb 2021

    CityU researcher: desexing cats before 4 months can reduce the number of unwanted kittens

    Big-data research led by Professor Julia Beatty, Head of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences; Chair Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Infectious Diseases; and Director of the Centre for Companion Animal Health at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) ...


  • Research
  • 12 Jan 2021

    Health and medical research funding for three Covid-19 projects

    Three projects at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have been granted $8.3 million in funding by the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) under the Food and Health Bureau, spotlighting our valuable contributions to fighting Covid-19.