My work is driven by a great interest in both animals and people. My best childhood times were spent at my uncle´s dairy farm outside Sundsvall. Being with animals and at least 15 people sitting down at the table for well-earned meals was a perfect combination.
A specific interest in sports medicine and rehabilitation led me to study physiotherapy and work as a human physiotherapist for nearly five years. Thereafter I joined the veterinary medicine program at SLU. I did my PhD on equine rehabilitation including both experimental and clinical studies, defining models of explanation and clinical efficacy. After defending my thesis, I had the opportunity to work for a year in Sydney, Australia and when arriving home continued with research and lecturing in my area of expertise at SLU. The internationally engagement continued, by being active in the formalization of and administration of the "International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy" and the "European Veterinary College for Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation", besides lecturing and presenting research. In 2018, I was appointed subject chair of Veterinary nursing, where veterinary rehabilitation is one of the four focus areas.
2018 Diplomat European College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
2012 Authorized by the Swedish Board of Agriculture to work as a physical therapist on animals.
2006 PhD in Anatomy and histology at SLU, Uppsala. Thesis: Defocused CO2 laser irradiation in the rehabilitation of horses: an experimental and clinical study.
1995 Master of Science (MSc) in Veterinary Medicine, SLU
1987 Bachelor of Science (BSc), Physical Therapy, College of Health, Umeå
Associate Professor (Docent)
2015 Associate Professor in Anatomy, focus functional anatomy, SLU
2008 Post doc/visiting scholar visit, University of Sydney, Australia
Since I have been and am working in new research areas with an emphasis on clinical aspects, the work has involved all stages of the research; from the planning, writing founding and ethical applications, conducting the practical work as well as analysing data and writing papers.
The research is mainly focused on two areas: general veterinary nursing and its focus area veterinary rehabilitation and sports medicine. One long-lasting theme is the assessment, treatment and prevention of pain and physical dysfunction, to increase the wellbeing in both animals and humans. However, there has to be objective tools to evaluate the efficacy of a treatment, tools that have been lacking.
Validation of assessment tools.
So far, we have investigated:
- passive range of joint motion with goniometer in horses and dogs
- mechanical pain threshold with algometer in dogs and horses
- motion analysis pressure sensitive mat technique in cats, dogs and pigs
- physical activity registrations with activity monitors in cats, dogs, and humans
- motion analysis with inertial measurement units in dogs and horses
- joint swelling and muscle circumference with measuring tape and slide calliper in dogs and horses
- pain assessment with pain- and daily activities-questionnaires in cats, dogs and humans.
- complex physical functions with functional tests in dogs and horses.
The results enbles the use of simple objective assessment tools to be used in every-day clinical practice. A necessity in the development of evidence-based veterinary rehabilitation.
Clinical efficacy of rehabilitation methods
The other part of the veterinary rehabilitation research focuses on the clinical efficacy of various rehabilitation methods.
For example, studies have been conducted on:
- CO2 laser
- Neuromuscular Electric Stimulation (NMES)
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Elastic band systems
- LED-light therapy
- Different pharmaceuticals for pain relief
- Static magnets.
The results help the clinician to choose rehabilitation methods. The article on static magnets was selected by Equine Veterinary Journal´s Clinical Reviewer, as one of the most clinically relevant articles to appear on EVJ's Early View section. This was a great encouragement and showed the importance of our research. For the near future, we will continue to evaluate new equipment and rehabilitation protocols in order to improve the standard of veterinary rehabilitation.
Osteoarthritis in cats. The aim was to develop more sensitive diagnostic tools for OA in cats by use of a pressure sensitive mat, diagnostic imaging (CT), pain and quality of life questionnaires, and genetic and biochemical markers. The improved evaluation tools, especially the validated questionnaire that the cat owner can use at home, the earlier the owner can detect changes in their cat- and the better prognosis and welfare for the animal. The questionnaire can also be used to advantege by animal health personnel.
Training routines and injury prevention in agility dogs. The project is together with collaborators from Univ. of Helsinki and the PhD student looks at injury prevention as well as kinetic and kinematic analyses of agility dogs. The results will help both agility dog owners and trainers, as well as animal health staff, to give recommendations regarding injury prevention.
Limb health in sows. Kinetic studies on the limb health in sows. The results will enable better breeding programs for sustainable limb health.
Cat collar with activity monitor. Development of an activity collar that registers different type of activities such as play, running, drinking, going to the litter box. The results can help the animal owner to detect signs of illness, such as excessive drinking or going to the litter box- indicating disease.
U Can Move is a multidisciplinary research project with the aim to stimulate physical activity in dogs and their owners. We have one PhD student looking at risk factors for type II diabetes correlated to sedentary behaviour and physical activity. The studies also include activity recommendations for dogs as well as environmental planning to enhance physical activity outdoors. The results will have a major impact of the health and wellbeing of both dog owners and their dogs.
Hypermobility in horses: an international project aiming at better diagnostic tools to assess hypermobility, as well as genetic studies to screen potential carriers. Close collaboration with representatives from human medicine. The results will enable better breeding.
Other areas of research
Hygiene: A PhD student works on the thesis regarding “How clean is clean?” Further, implementation of new hygiene recommendations in veterinary clinics. The results will form the base for hygiene recommendations.
Surgical mattress. Comparison of different equine operating room mattresses, with the aim to reduce risks for pressure injuries during surgery. The results will help the animal health staff to choose better mattresses, thus reducing the risk of complications after surgery.
Risk factors for injuries. Survey study of dog handlers´ opinions regarding risk factors for injuries in police dogs. The results will form the base for better preventive care.
Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM). Surveys of the area CAVM in sport- and companion. Further, systematic literature studies of CAVM. The results in form of an objective material will form a knowledge base for animal owners, animal health personnel, insureance companies, therapists, authorities in order to make informed decisions, for the wellbeing of animals.
Pedagogics. Studies on the implementation and use of a 3-D visualisation table in the education in veterinary anatomy. Further, studies on the riding instructions for single riders and in groups. The results will decrease the number of animals used in education, as well as stimulate the eduction of veterinarians and veterinary nurses, as well as riding instructors.
Motion analysis in dogs with a new user-friendly sensor system. The aim is to design and develop a user-friendly inertial measurement unit system, based on accelerometer technique, in order to improve the diagnostics and treatment of musculoskeletal problems in the dog. The results will reatly improve the diagnostics of canine lameness analysis.
Available assessment techniques
We have the following outcome measurement techniques: pressure sensitive mat technique, algometer, IMU, EMG, thermistors, measure tape, slide calliper, activity monitors, gonimeters for static and dynamic registrations.
Prize winning teaching and contact with external collaborators
My teaching is mainly in veterinary rehabilitation for students from several disciplines (veterinary, veterinary nursing, equine science, animal sciences and physical therapy) and at diploma, master and postgraduate levels. I have tutored >70 diploma and master thesis.
My teaching has received the VMF student prize 2010 and Veterinary Nurses student prize 2012. Further, the group for which I chair the subject "Animal nursing" received the SLU team pedagogic prize 2022.
I have produced web-based learning material in osteology, myology and palpation of the canine and equine together with SLU´s Learning Development Centre (UCL) and have a collaboration with Royal Veterinary College, London on E-earning and the web site Wikivet. Thanks to Swedish Research council funding we have purchased a Sectra 3 D visualisation table, which will enable us to improve educational methods and reduce the amount of dissection material used. This is done in collaboration with Linköping University and Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV), and we serve as a reference center for Sectra. In the future, we will develop additional educational material.
Other professional assignments
I have served as Deputy Head of Department (stf prefekt) and been a member of different faculty committees such as the faculty board (fakultetsnämnd). I hold the subject chair in Veterinary nursing.
Assignments as faculty opponent, external reviewer and member of examining committees
2008 Faculty opponent PhD thesis, Helen Nicholson VetPT, University of Brisbane, Australia
2010 Faculty opponent PhD thesis, Lesley Goff VeTPT, University of Brisbane, Australia
2012 Faculty opponent PhD thesis, Tracy Crook VetPT, Royal Veterinary College, London
2015 Faculty opponent PhD thesis, Heli Hyytiäinen VetPT, University of Helsinki, Finland
2018 Faculty opponent PhD thesis, Anne Vitger Vet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
- PI for the international group publishing the first "Systematic literature review of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine", 2022
- Chair for the SVS initiative project ” Alternative medicine for animals” 2013.
- Expert Swedish animal welfare agency ”Alternative medicine committee” 2004-2007.
- Expert SOU 2001:16 ”Alternative medicine for animals”.(Governmental survey)
- Member of interimboard of ECVSMR (European college of veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation) 2015-2018. Chair for re-certification committee, member of the credential and examination committees 2018-present.
- Member of the EBVS (European Board of Veterinary Surgeons) SQA & code of conducts committee
- Past president and Member of board of IAVRPT (International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy) 2000-present.
- Been on the organizing/scientific committee, as well as served as moderator/invited speaker at several national and international conferences. (>50 presentations, abstracts).
- International Symposium for Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy (biannual 2002-2022, chaired the one in Uppsala 2016)
- International Conference on Equine and Canine Locomotion (2012)
- International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology (2010, 2014, 2022)
- International Conference on Equation Science (2012)
- International Conference European College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (2018, 2022)
- Served as reviewer for 10 international scientific journals
- Inspector for the veterinary student union
Main supervisor for PhD candidates
- Sarah Stadig, SLU, graduated (PhD) 2017 (Evaluation of physical dysfunction in cats with naturally occurring osteoarthritis)
- Anja Pedersen, SLU, started 2019 (The effect of TENS on canines with osteoarthritis – evaluated with a new user-friendly sensor technique.)
Deputy supervisor for PhD candidates
- Elin Hernlund, SLU, graduated (PhD) 2016 (Sport Surfaces in Show Jumping)
- Maria Terese Engell, SLU, graduated (PhD) 2018 (Postural strategies in skilled riders)
- Susanne Lundesjö Kvart, SLU, graduated (PhD) 2020 (The art of teaching riders – a study about riding teachers’ pedagogical practice)
- Todd Johansson, SLU, started 2018 (How clean is clean?)
- Leena Inkilä, Helsinki University, started 2019 (Physical demands in dog agility)
PUBLICATION LIST: Anna Bergh, ORCID 0000-0002-5567-6249
I. Bergh, A.; Asplund, K.; Lund, I.; Boström, A.; Hyytiäinen, H. A Systematic Review of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine in Sport and Companion Animals: Soft Tissue Mobilization. Animals 2022, 12, 1440. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12111440
II. Inkilä, L.; Hyytiäinen, H.K.; Hielm-Björkman, A.; Junnila, J.; Bergh, A.; Boström, A. Part II of Finnish Agility Dog Survey: Agility-Related Injuries and Risk Factors for Injury in Competition-Level Agility Dogs. Animals 2022, 12, 227. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030227
III. Inkilä, L.; Hyytiäinen, H.K.; Hielm-Björkman, A.; Junnila, J.; Bergh, A.; Boström, A. Part I of Finnish Agility Dog Survey: Training and Management of Competition-Level Agility Dogs. Animals 2022, 12, 212. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020212
IV. Sohlberg, L.; Bergh, A.; Sternberg-Lewerin, S. A questionnaire study on the use of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine for dogs in Sweden. Vet Sci 2021, 8 (12), doi: 10.3390/vetsci8120331
V. Bergh, A.; Lund, I.; Boström, A.; Hyytiäinen, H.; Asplund, K. A Systematic Review of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine: “Miscellaneous Therapies”. Animals 2021, 11, x. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123356
VI. Gilberg, K.; Bergh, A.; Sternberg-Lewerin, S. A Questionnaire Study on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine for Horses in Sweden. Animals 2021, 11, 3113. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113113
VII. Haussler KK, Hesbach AL, Romano L, Goff L, Bergh A. A Systematic Review of Musculoskeletal Mobilization and Manipulation Techniques Used in Veterinary Medicine. Animals. 2021; 11(10):2787. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102787
VIII. Alsing-Johansson, T.; Pedersen, A.; Bergström, K.; Sternberg-Lewerin, S.; Penell, J.; Bergh, A. Bacterial Contamination of Equine Dentistry Equipment—Effect of Cleaning and Disinfection. Animals 2021, 11, 2320. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082320
IX. Connysson, M., Rhodin, M., Bergh, A., and Jansson, A. (2021). Effects of horse housing on musculoskeletal system post-exercise recovery. Comparative Exercise Physiology 17 (5), 421 – 428.
X. Strage, E. M., Ley, C. J., Forkman, J., Öhlund, M., Stadig, S., Bergh, A., & Ley, C. (2021). Homeostasis model assessment, serum insulin and their relation to body fat in cats. BMC veterinary research, 17(1), 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-020-02729-1
XI. Michanek, P., Toth, T., Bergström, E., Treffenberg‐Pettersson, H., Bergh, A., 2021. Effect of infrared and red monochromatic light on equine wound healing. Equine Veterinary Journal 53, 143–148.. doi:10.1111/evj.13266
XII. Bergh A, Lauridsen NG, Hesbach AL. Concurrent Validity of Equine Joint Range of Motion Measurement: A Novel Digital Goniometer versus Universal Goniometer. Animals. 2020; 10(12):2436. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122436
XIII. Stadig, S., Lascelles, B.D., Nyman, G. and Bergh, A. (2019) “Evaluation and comparison of pain questionnaires for clinical screening of osteoarthritis in cats.” doi:10.1136/ vetrec-2018-105115
XIV. Engell, M.T., Hernlund, E., Byström, A., Egenvall, A., Bergh, A., Clayton. H.M., & Roepstorff, L. (2019) Intersegmental strategies in frontal plane in moderately-skilled riders analyzed in ridden and un-mounted situations. Human Movement Science. Jun 13;66:511-520. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2019.05.021
XV. Bergh, A., Gómez Álvarez, C.B., Rhodin, M., Gustås, P. (2018) Head and pelvic vertical displacement in dogs with induced swinging limb lameness: an experimental study. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica. DOI: 10.1186/s13028-018-0435-z
XVI. Engell, M.T., Hernlund, E., Byström, A., Egenvall, A., Bergh, A., Clayton. H.M., & Roepstorff, L. (2018) Head, trunk and pelvic kinematics in the frontal plane in un-mounted horseback riders rocking a balance chair from side-to-side. Comparative exercise physiology, 14 (4), 249-259.
XVII. Bergh, A. Svernhage, M., Connysson, M. (2018) Assessment of swelling in the equine fetlock joint area. Comparative exercise physiology. https://doi.org/10.3920/CEP170035.
XVIII. Gómez Álvarez, C.B., Gustås, P., Bergh, A. and Rhodin, M. (2017) “Vertical head and pelvic movement symmetry in dogs at trot with induced supporting limb lameness.” The Veterinary Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2017.10.011
XIX. Hernlund , H., Egenvall, A., Hobbs, S.J., Peterson, M.L., Northrop, A.J., Bergh, A., Martin, J.H., Roepstorff, L. (2017). “Comparing subjective and objective evaluation of show jumping competition and warm-up arena surfaces.” The Veterinary Journal 227; 49-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2017.09.001
XX. Rhodin, M., Bergh, A., Gustås, P. and Gómez Álvarez, C.B. (2017) “Inertial sensor-based system for lameness detection in trotting dogs with induced lameness” Veterinary Journal. Apr;222:54-59.
XXI. Stadig, S., Lascelles, B.D. and Bergh, A. (2016) “Do overweight cats with a cranial cruciate injury and osteoarthritis demonstrate a different gait pattern and behaviour compared to sound cats?” Acta Vet Scand 58: 70. doi:10.1186/s13028-016-0248-x
XXII. Engell, M.T., Hernlund, E., Egenvall, A., Bergh, A., Clayton, H.M., and Roepstorff, L. (2015) "Does foot pronation in unmounted horseback riders affect pelvic movement during walking?" Comparative exercise physiology, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3920/CEP150019
XXIII. Stadig, S. and Bergh, A. (2014). Gait and jump analysis in healthy cats using a pressure mat system, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, Jun;17(6):523-9. doi: 10.1177/1098612X14551588. Epub 2014 Sep 19
XXIV. Bergh, A., Egenvall, A., Olsson, E., Uhlhorn, M. and Rhodin, M, (2014). Evaluation of skin displacement in the equine neck”, Comparative exercise physiology 10 (3); 181-188.
XXV. Edner, A., Elsing, G., Broström, H., Lindberg, L.E. and Bergh, A. (2014). Do static magnets induce changes in muscular blood flow, skin temperature and muscular tension in horses? May;47(3):302-7. doi: 10.1111/evj.12291. Epub 2014 Jun 11
XXVI. Olsén, L., Bremer, H., Olofsson, K., Bröjer, J., Bondesson, U., Bergh, A., Nostell, K., Broström, H., Bengtsson, B. and Ingvast- Larsson, C. (2013). Intramuscular administration of sodium benzylpenicillin in horses as an alternative to procaine benzylpenicillin. Research in Veterinary Science, 95 (1), 212–218.
XXVII. Liljebrink, Y. and Bergh, A. (2010). Goniometry: Is it a reliable tool to monitor passive joint range of motion in horses? Equine Veterinary Journal, 42 676-682.
XXVIII. Bergh, A., Nordlöf, H. and Essén- Gustavsson, B. (2010). Evaluation of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on fibre characteristics and oxidative capacity in equine skeletal muscles Equine Veterinary Journal 42, 671-675.
XXIX. Bergh, A., Ridderstråle, Y., Ekman, S. (2007) .Defocused CO2 irradiation on equine skin: a histological study. Equine Veterinary Journal, 39(2), 114-119. (thesis)
XXX. Bergh, A., Nyman, G., Roepstorff, L., Zhou, Q., Hallberg, M.,Drevemo, S., Roehtlisberger-Holm, K. (2006). Defocused CO2 laser therapy in traumatic arthritis of the fetlock joint: A randomized clinical study. Equine Comparative Exercise and Physiology 3(4):169-177. (thesis)
XXXI. Bergh, A., Nyman, G., Lundeberg T., Drevemo, S. (2006). Effect of defocused CO2 laser on equine tissue temperature and perfusion. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavia 47(1):33-42. (thesis)
XXXII. Bergh, A., Nyman, G., Lundeberg T., Drevemo, S. (2005). Effect of defocused CO2 laser on equine skin, subcutis and fetlock joint temperature. Equine Comparative Exercise and Physiology, 2:61-69. (thesis)
XXXIII. Forsgren, S., Bergh, A., Carlsson, E., Thornell, L-E. “Studies on the distribution of calcitonin gene-related peptide-like and substance P-like immunoreactivities in rat hind limb muscles” Histochemical Journal 1992;24:345-353
XXXIV. Forsgren, S., Bergh, A., Carlsson, E., Thornell, L-E. “Calcitonin gene-related peptide expression at endplates of different fibre types in muscles in rat hind limbs” Cell & Tissue Research 1993;274:439-446
Other publications, including books and chapters of books
I. Bergh, A. Chapter in textbook “Essential Facts of Equine Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation and Sports”, Ed. J.P. Marques. (to be published 2022)
II. Bergh, A. Chapters in the report “Complementary and alternative treatment methods for sport- and companion animals – a systematic literature review”. Ed. A. Bergh. SLU Future One Health reports, No 2, 2022
III. Bergh, A. Chapter in textbook “Rätt spår- vägen till vinnarcirkeln/Right track- the way to the winner´s circle”, Eds. U. Bertilsson, E. Elvenes and C. Wrange. Isbn: 9789198242447, Stevali Förlag 2018
IV. Bergh, A. Assessment tools in veterinary rehabilitation. Chapter in textbook “Animal Physiotherapy: Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Animals”, 2nd ed., Eds. C. McGowan, L. Goff and N. Stubbs. 2016
V. Bergh, A. Physical treatment of the equine athlete. Chapter in textbook “Equine sports medicine and surgery” 2nd ed., Ed. Kaneps, 2013
VI. Levine, D., Adamsson, C., and Bergh, A. Veterinary rehabilitation. Chapter in textbook “Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy” 2nd ed., Eds. Levine and Millis, 2013.
VII. Bergh, A. Chapter in the Swedish government commission report “Treatment of Animals with Alternative Medicine” (SOU 2001:16).
VIII. Bergh, A. Chapter in “Hästens konvalescens/The Horse’s convalescence”, Liber Förlag, 2003.