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Catalina A. Wagemann Fluxá

Position/Title: Ph.D. student
Office: ANNU 218

Research gate site link
LinkedIn site link

About me          

I am from Santiago, the capital of Chile, but I grew up in contact with different farm animals as my family has a farm in the south of the country. This experience, combined with my love for animals, motivated me to study Veterinary Medicine. During my studies, I became especially interested in dairy cow health and metabolic diseases. Therefore, I subsequently did an M.Sc. in Animal Health, where I developed a research project focused on mineral imbalances in grazing dairy cows. Following my M.Sc. degree, I worked as a dairy farm assistant in two pasture-based dairy farms in New Zealand. During this time, I became particularly interested in the connection between cow behaviour and health. I then worked in an animal nutrition company in Chile, where I implemented a monitoring program in dairy farms focused on the health and management of cows during the transition period (i.e., 3 weeks before to 3 weeks after calving). These experiences led me to realize how important proper nutrition, management practices and housing during late gestation are to maintain the health and productivity of early-lactation cows. Thus, I decided to study at the University of Guelph to further my understanding of these topics. In August 2021, I completed an M.Sc. by coursework program in Animal Nutrition under the advisement of Dr. Trevor DeVries and, currently, I am studying a Ph.D. also under his advisement. In the future, I would like to pursue a career in the Canadian dairy industry and help dairy farmers make the best management decisions to improve the health, performance, and welfare of their cows. In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors, baking and taking pictures of animals.



  • Ph.D. student in Animal Behaviour and Welfare; University of Guelph, Canada (2021 - In Progress)
  • M.Sc. by coursework in Animal Nutrition; University of Guelph, Canada (2020 - 2021)
  • M.Sc. by thesis in Animal Health; Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile (2010 - 2012)
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM); Universidad Mayor, Chile (2003 - 2009)


Work experience

  • External consultant; Nutrial (Animal Nutrition Company), Chile (2015 - 2020)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -  Prepared promotional material for the products sold by the company.
  • Technical Support for Dairy Cattle; Nutrial, Chile (2013 - 2015)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -  Implemented a monitoring program focused on the health and management practices of prepartum and early-lactation dairy cows in pasture-based farms.                                                        -  Increased sales of feed additives through a consultative approach and education for producers and distributors.
  • Dairy Farm Assistant in two pasture-based dairy farms in New Zealand (2012 - 2013)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -  Responsibilities included calf care and feeding, cow handling and milking, and treatment of sick animals.                                                                                                                                        


Advisor: Dr. Trevor DeVries


Ph.D. research

Dairy cows may be exposed to several potential sources of stress during the prepartum period and as they transition to lactation upon calving. These stressors include heat stress, pen movements, over-crowding at the feed bunk and stalls, dietary changes, among others, which may have negative consequences on cow behaviour, physiological function, and feed intake. Consequently, their occurrence may compromise the health, welfare, and performance of dairy cows and affect the profitability and sustainability of the farms. Although previous research has examined the isolated effects of various stressors, they rarely occur in isolation on commercial dairy farms. Thus, I hope to focus my research on assessing how these stressors interact on dairy farms and determine their combined effects on the health and performance of late-gestation and early-lactation dairy cows. The results of this research may lead to the identification of best housing and management practices that improve cow health, performance, and welfare.