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Ragnvi Hagman

Ragnvi Hagman


I am a veterinary surgeon, and Associate professor in small animal surgery at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), a job that includes teaching, collaboration and research. I perform clinical and experimental research at the small animal clinic, the University Animal Hospital (UDS), SLU, together with my research group, with an overall aim of creating safer surgery. I work mainly with dogs and cats and smaller companion animals, but in research projects also with other animal species including horses and wolves.


I have about 20 years of experience as a teacher in small animal surgery at SLU, which includes hands on surgery in the operating theatre and at the small animal clinic, UDS, as well as lectures, practicals, seminars and workshops. My main interests are soft tissue surgery and diseases of the reproductive system, but I also teach general surgical and operating theatre pricnciples and practices, suturing, aseptic techniques, trauma and acute- and intensive care procedures. Foremost I teach students enrolled in the Veterinary program during the clinical courses, but to some extent also students in the Veterinary nursing program and other University courses. I have been course leader and examinator for several clinical courses in the Veterinary program, and supervisor for over 20 MSc thesis projects. I am highly involved in postgraduate education for veterinarians, in Sweden as well as internationally, and have been invited speaker at congresses, courses and seminars for practicing veterinarians, and for PhD courses and other programs at SLU. For development of education, I started  in 2007 to produce the first surgery-teaching films at SLU, which have been highly appreciated by the students. The films can be accessed as many times as the students want, and from their home. After watching a teaching film of, for instance, cat spay, the students were better prepared and reached a noticable higher level of surgical competence when they were performing the live surgery under my supervision. In one MSc project (I was main supervisor), a surgical training model was produced, which also helped students to be more skilled  and feel more confident during the following live cat spay surgery.

Clinical teaching and research benefit from closeness and interaction, and a solid scientific evidence-based foundation is essential!


Main research focus areas:

Soft tissue surgery, biomarkers, bacterial uterine infection (pyometra), sepsis, inflammation.

Overall goal: Creating safer surgery and increased survival by identifying clinically useful biomarkers for early detection of complications, identifying high-risk patients, for determining prognosis and optimize the timing of surgery.

My overall research focus is to develop and validate methods for improving surgical procedures and increasing survival after surgical treatment. If we find effective methods (biomarkers) for diagnosis and for prediction of prognosis, we have gained tools not only for more efficient treatments for small animals, but also tools that can have a larger impact on “one health” aspects, including humans. We therefore study how to objectively measure the body’s response, i.e. inflammation, pain and surgical stress response, and strive to enhance methods for anesthesia and pain relief. Inflammation, originally a defense mechanism, can become uncontrollable and contribute to the patient’s death if a vicious circle develops as in sepsis (“blood-poisoning”). If such exaggerated inflammation could be lessened or stopped, death can be prevented. Protocols for analgesia, anesthesia and drugs may be more or less suitable or in worst case even contraindicated in the presence of sepsis. Companion animals may develop sepsis just as humans, which is treated in a similar routine. Dogs and cats being treated for illnesses such as pyometra (bacterial infection of the uterus) that often lead to sepsis, provide a natural disease model for research aimed at optimizing treatments or identifying biomarkers. For selecting patients in need of antimicrobial therapy for surviving surgery, the search for objective biomarkers are highly warranted.  Preventive measures for common diseases, and factors important in the development are also important to investigate.


Current projects

1. Biomarkers for early detection of sepsis will lead to optimized treatment, increased survival, shorter postoperative hospitalization and more focused use of antimicrobials. Method development of new clinical tests for biomarkers and inflammatory variables is an important part (SLU, Uppsala University).

2. Pyometra

- Prevention is better than cure - genetic background (SLU, Uppsala University and Broad Institute, USA)

- Predictive markers (SLU, Uppsala University)

- Antimicrobial therapy (SLU, National Veterinary Institute, UDS)

3. Improved pain relief after Caesarian section in dogs (SLU, UDS, AniCura Animal Hospital Group)

4. “Leaking gut” in sepsis (SLU, Uppsala University).

Bacteria or bacterial products can leak from the gut into the abdomen during surgery, or into the bloodstream if the intestinal wall during becomes permeable in certain disease conditions. Developing a test for gut permeability is a first step towards exploring the role of a leaking gut in different diseases.

5. Interrelationships of inflammation and interstinal microbiota in overweight dogs  (SLU, PhD student J. Söder).

6. Oral health and preventive dental care in dogs – and questionnaire survey methodology. (PhD student K. Enlund, SLU, AniCura Animal Hospital Group, Karolinska Institute)

7. Limiting unnecessary antimicrobial usage through knowledge of prescription practices (Sweden, UK, Brasil, Spain). Project leader G. Olmos Antillion.


There are many advantages to gain from increasing the current knowledge in the field of medicine by studying and comparing different animal species and humans ("one medicine"). Through information about similarities and differences as to why and how diseases develop, responses to certain treatments differ, important findings that are useful for developing novel diagnostic procedures and therapies willbe identified. There is much to gain from bringing veterinary medicine and human medicine together,  clinically as well as academically. I hope to be able to help to increase such cooperation, and am currently adding to my competence in veterinary medicine by studies in human medicine (medical program, Uppsala University). When facing the future major challenges, increased cooperation is  fundamental for reaching the best solutions. Different professions/fields, and Universities, nationally and internationally, will need to collaborate, and I would like to contribute to develop such cooperation.

It is essential to make new research findings and knowledge readily available in the society, so that it can be applied and becomes useful. For this, collaboration and communication are of the utmost importance. I have through my entire career been highly active in different organisations focused on collaboration. In the European Veterinary Society for Small Animal Reproduction (EVSSAR) a wide range of collaboration activities have been organised such as national and international post-graduate courses and congresses for veterinarians from all over the world within the fields of reproduction/soft tissue surgery. I have as invited speaker presented research findings and new knowledge at several national and international courses and congresses, for veterinarians, companion animal owners and animal health staff. Together with German and Norwegian companies , I have led a project in which we developed and tested a novel canine-specific automated method for analysis of C-reactive protein, which has become the method of choice in larger animal hospitals in Europe. In addition to previous leadership education and experience, I am currently participating in the course "how to lead cooperation at SLU".


Positions of trust 

- Member of the Research Education Council, SLU, 2011-2013.

- Head of the Youth Council, Dept. of Clinical Sciences, SLU, 2013-2014.

- Member of the Council for Continuing Environment Analyses (FOMA), SLU

- Board member, PhD student Council, SLU, 1997-1998.

- Webpage director, Section of Small Animals, Dept. of Clinical Sciences, SLU (2011-2016).

- Program Director of the SLU Research Platform Future Animal Health and Welfare,  2016-2017.

- Director of the Clinical Animal Research Network (CAReNet), SLU, 2016-2017

- President of the European Veterinary Society for Small Animal Reproduction (2013-2017).

- Clinical Research Career Award, International Symposium on Canine and Feline Reproduction (ISCFR) 2016.

- President of the Swedish Association for Small Animal Reproduction (2007-2009).

- Member of the Steering Board of the Clinical Training Centre (KTC), Dept. of Clinical Sciences, SLU: 2009 - onwards.

- Fellow of the Academy of Translational Medicine Professionals (FAcadTM).

- Board member, The Swedish Society for Veterinary Medicine Research. 


Selected qualifications

- Associate professor in surgery, 2011, SLU, Sweden.

- Senior lecturer in surgery, 2007.

- PhD in Surgery, 2005, SLU, Sweden.

- Licensed to perform artificial inseminations in dogs, 1997.

- MSc in Veterinary Microbiology, 1996, Royal Veterinary College, UK.

- Licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the UK (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Medicine) since 1995.

- MSc in Veterinary Medicine, 1993, SLU, Sweden.


Main supervisor, graduated PhD students


1. Canine C-reactive protein - Validation of Two Automated Canine-specific C-reactive Protein Assays and Studies on Clinical and Research Applications. Anna Hillström (PhD 2016), Doctoral thesis: Vinnova funded project in collaboration with Norwegian and German companies.


2. Predictive Markers and Risk Factors in Canine Pyometra. Supranee Jitpean (PhD 2015), Doctoral Thesis: Externally financed PhD program, Royal Thai Government and Khon kaen University, Thailand).


Co-supervisor, graduated PhD students


1. Metabolic variations in canine overweight - aspects of lipid metabolism in spontaneously overweight Labrador Retriever dogs.  Josefin Söder (PhD 2018). Doctoral Thesis:


2.  Chromogranin a epitopes catestatin and vasostatin - evaluation of their potential use as clinical biomarkers for psychological and pain-induced stress in dogs. Thanikul Sritunyarat (PhD 2017). Doctoral thesis:


3. Cytokines as Diagnostic Biomarkers in Canine Pyometra and Sepsis. Iulia Karlsson (PhD 2015). Doctoral thesis:


4. A Resorbable Device for Ligation of Blood vessels. Odd Höglund (PhD 2012). Doctoral Thesis:


5. Intervertebral Disc Degeneration in Dogs. Niklas Bergknut (PhD 2011). Doctoral Thesis:



Ongoing PhD projects

- Survey analysis and evaluation of Swedish dog-owners and veterinarians’ experiences, routines and attitudes regarding prophylactic dental home care in dogs. PhD student Karolina Enlund (Dissertation 2020). Main supervisor Associate professor Ann Pettersson.

If you want to know more about current or planned research projects or have interesting future projects to discuss – drop me a line!


Selected publications

10 selected scientific peer-reviewed publications below (out of 67). An updated list of publications is available through Research Gate:

(for activated links to the publications - please see the Swedish language CV-page)

1. Pyometra in Small Animals. Ragnvi Hagman. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2018 Jul;48(4):639-661.

2. Outcome of pyometra in female dogs and predictors of peritonitis and prolonged postoperative hospitalization in surgically treated cases. Supranee Jitpean, Bodil Ström Holst, Ulf Emanuelson, Odd Höglund, Ann Pettersson, Caroline Alneryd-Bull and Ragnvi Hagman. BMC Vet Res 2014 10:6.

3. Validation of a canine-specific immunoturbidimetric method for measuring canine C-reactive protein (CRP). Anna Hillström, Ragnvi Hagman, Harold Tvedten and Mads Kjelgaard-Hansen. Vet Clin Pathol. 2014;43:235-43.

4. Multiplex cytokine analyses in dogs with pyometra suggest involvement of KC-like chemokine in canine bacterial sepsis. Iulia Karlsson, Ragnvi Hagman, Anders Johannisson, Liya Wang, Fredrik Södersten, Sara Wernersson. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2016 Feb;170:41-6.

5. Ligation of the ovarian pedicles in dogs with a resorbable self-locking device - a long-term follow-up study. Odd V Höglund, Ragnvi Hagman, Kerstin Olsson, Caroline Carlsson, Fredrik Södersten and Anne-Sofie Lagerstedt. J Biomater Appl. 2013, 27:961-6.

6. Breed variations in the incidence of pyometra and mammary tumours in Swedish dogs. Supranee Jitpean, Ragnvi Hagman, Bodil Ström Holst, Odd V Höglund, Ann Pettersson and Agneta Egenvall. Reprod Domest Anim. 2012;47 Suppl 6:347-50.

7. Incidence of intervertebral disk degeneration-related diseases and associated mortality rates in dogs. Niklas Bergknut, Agneta Egenvall, Ragnvi Hagman, Pia Gustås, Herman A Hazewinkel, Björn P Meij and Anne-Sofie Lagerstedt. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012;240(11):1300-9.

8. Canine bacterial uterine infection induces upregulation of genes related to proteolysis, innate and adaptive immune responses, and downregulation of homeobox and zinc finger transcription factors. Ragnvi Hagman, Elin Rönnberg and Gunnar Pejler. PloS One 2009, 26;4 e8039.

9. Pyometra in bitches induces endotoxaemia and increased levels of Prostaglandin F2α metabolite. Ragnvi Hagman, Hans Kindahl and Anne-Sofie Lagerstedt, 2006. Acta Vet Scand 47, 55-68.

10. Antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli from canine pyometra and urinary tract infections. Ragnvi Hagman and Christina Greko Vet Rec 2006;157:193-197.

Popular publications

(some examples from the SLU Research Platform’s newsletter).

1. Training on surgical dummy for cat spay increases veterinary student’s confidence. No 6, 2016, 1 p.

2. Metabolic and hormonal response to a feed challenge test. No 2, 2016, 1 p.

3. New method improves diagnosis of inflammation in dogs. No 4, 2015, 1 p.

4. Cortison treatment not routine in snake-bitten dogs. No 3, 2015, 1 p.

5. Better diagnosis for pyometra in dogs. No 3, 2015, 1 p.

6. New method for measuring CRP in dogs. No 3, 2014, 1 p.

7. Pyometra in different cat breeds. No 3, 2014, 1 p.

8. Markers for uterine inflammation in dogs. No 3, 2014, 1 p.

9. Markers for diagnosing peritonitis and prolonged hospitalization in bitches with pyometra. No 2, 2014, 1 p.

10. How can we know if it is blood-poisoning? , No 1, 2014, 1 p.




Senior Lecturer at the Department of Clinical Sciences; Smådjurskirurgi
Telephone: +4618672918
Postal address:
SLU, Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper
Box 7054
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 26, Uppsala