Karin Orsel

Professor (Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases)

Chair, Full Member

Cattle Health Research Group


Contact information


Web presence

Orsel Research


Office : HSC2516


Graduate Teaching:

Dr. Orsel has been actively involved in the delivery of graduate courses on epidemiology, both in the Veterinary Sciences as well as in the community health science program.

Undergraduate teaching:

Course coordination: VETM 520 Advanced Health Management

Core instructor: VETM 344: Fundamentals of Epidemiology, VETM 420 Health Management,

Participation: VETM 461 Outbreak investigations, VETM 462 Foreign Animal Disease, and VETM 531 Small Ruminants

Rotations: practice liaison for Veterinary Agri-Health Services and Feedlot Health Management Services in delivery of the herd health rotations in cattle health. Member of the One-health team delivering rotations and educational opportunities for DVM and BHs students in UofC's field school in Tanzania.

Research and teaching

Research Interests

  • Clinical Science
  • Ecosystem Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Immunology and Infectious Disease
  • Production Animal Health
  • Wildlife and Zoo Medicine

Research / Scholarly Activities

As a veterinary epidemiologist, Dr. Orsel's main interest is in studying disease transmission and identifying risk factors for multi-factorial diseases. Her research focuses on both beef and dairy cattle, especially, infectious diseases, lameness, and painful procedures. One of the key findings in dairy cattle is that lameness is a prevalent disorder in Canadian dairy farms, and the complex interaction between animal and environmental factors impacts the prevalence. In beef cattle, besides lameness, her research also focuses on the potential for food and water intake behavior as indicators for early disease detection in feedlot systems. A second focus is on disease detection in wildlife and disease transmission at the wildlife-livestock interface. It was discovered that Johne’s disease is present in a wide variety of wild species native to Alberta, and test adaptation was needed for the optimization of disease detection. To expand on the Ecosystem approach and be supportive of a One-Health approach, Karin is an active member of the team, supporting research, education, and teaching in the University of Calgary’s field school in Tanzania.

In addition to research, Dr. Orsel is a board member of the UCVM Animal Care Committee, member of the Research Committee, the Third Year Teacher’s Committee, and the Curriculum Committee. She is also on the organizing committee for UCVM’s International Beef Conference and is a co-organizer of several other conferences (Muskoxen health conference, CAVEPM conference). Besides her scientific presentations, Dr. Orsel also regularly presents for producer groups, such as Alberta Milk Producer, Hooftrimmers associations, etc.


Dr. Orsel completed her DVM at the Utrecht University in 1996 and she started to work as a veterinarian in several veterinary practices in The Netherlands. In February 1997 she started her job at the ambulatory clinic of the Department of Farm Animal Health in Utrecht. After being actively involved in an epidemiologic study during the epidemic of foot and mouth disease in 2001, she started her PhD on this topic from February 2002-February 2007. She obtained a MSc degree in veterinary epidemiology and economics in 2004. She joined UCVM in February 2008, with a main focus on Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of Cattle. In her capacity as epidemiologist, she is often a member of a multi-disciplinary team to tackle global and ecosystem health challenges.

Research Personnel/Trainees

Primary supervisor

  1. Michelle van Huyssteen. Barriers to lameness control in the dairy industries. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Jul 2017 – present.
  2. Jesse Schuster. The role of longevity in dairy cattle profitability. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2017 – present
  3. Julian Cortes. Digital dermatitis in feedlot cattle; an emerging disease. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2017 – present.
  4. Manar Eltantawy. Parasitism in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2016 – present.
  5. Chris McMullen. BRD in feedlot cattle. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2016 – present.
  6. Kajal Devani. Development of Genetic Selection Tools for Female Longevity and Sustainability. PhD, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, May 2016 – present. AFC-Growing Forward2 funded.
  7. Casey Jacob. Digital dermatitis in dairy cattle. PhD, co-supervisor. Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Feb 2013-present. AB milk funded.

Committee member:

  1. Caroline Beninger. The role of Treponeme spp in development of DD lesions.
  2. Caroline Corbett. Within herd transmission of MAP in dairy cattle.
  3. Alessa Kuczewski: Developing a producer driven control program for Bovine Leucosis Virus
  4. Daniela Melendez Suarez: painfull procedures in beef calves
  5. Monica Rincon Garcia: the role of the respiratory virome in Bovine Respiratory Disease

Past students at the UCVM under Karin's Supervision:

  1. Jessica Davis. Occurrence and economic impact of beef lameness in Alberta feedlots. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2015-Sep 2017. Welfare chair funded.
  2. Emily Morabito. Re-evaluation of lameness and longevity using tools to quantify impact. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sept 2014- Apr 2017, DFC funded.
  3. Adam Chernick. Genetic and antigenetic evolution of bovine viral diarrhea virus.PhD, co-supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2012 – Aug 2016, ALMA-funded
  4. Laura Solano. The influence of management practices on hoof health, lameness and cow longevity on Alberta dairy farms. PhD, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2011June 2016, DFC/ALMA-funded
  5. Taya Forde. Heightened resolution in wildlife health monitoring and outbreak investigations through the use of molecular and genomic tools. PhD, supervisor,Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2010 – Aug 2015, ACA grants in biodiversity, UCVM Entrance Award, Killam and NSERC top up
  6. Barbara Wolfger. Automated detection of diseased animals in commercial feedlots in southwest Alberta. PhD, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2011 – April 2015, AI-Biosolutions funded. PhD defence april 8th 2015
  7. Robert Wolf. Prevalence of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in Alberta dairy farms and the effectiveness of control strategies. PhD-candidate, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2010 – present, AI-biosolutions funded. PhD defence Dec 16th2014
  8. Mathieu Pruvot. Prevalence and contact-structure analysis for transmission of important production limiting diseases of cattle and elk in southwest Alberta. PhD defence Jul 28th2014. supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2009 – July 2014, AI-Biosolutions/ALMA funded. Open Doctoral Scholarship, UCVM Entrance Award and the UCVM Professional award. Awarded with the Dean’s award of excellence Sep 2012
  9. Jillian Steele. Risk factors associated with gastrointestinal parasitism in West Greenland caribou. MSc, co-supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2010 – Dec 2012, IPY-funded. UCVM Entrance Award