Department of Population Health, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study
College of Veterinary Medicine Professor in Wildlife Health, SCWDS Director

Wildlife Diseases


Research Interests

My research explores the epidemiology and pathobiology of diseases in free-ranging wildlife and aims to understand potential impacts on populations. Emphasis is placed on those pathogens/toxicants of significance to wildlife populations, as well as pathogens circulating in wildlife that also impact livestock and/or human health. My collaborative approach to wildlife health research integrates multiple disciplines within veterinary medicine and wildlife science and involves basic laboratory experiments, controlled animal and vector studies, and field-based research. Overall, this research aims to advance our understanding of wildlife disease systems to inform strategies for prevention, risk communication, detection, and management. We have current or ongoing collaborative projects in the disease systems below:


  • Hemorrhagic disease of white-tailed deer and Culicoides vectors of EHDV and BTV
  • Endemic and emerging ticks and tick-borne pathogens involving wildlife
  • Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 in wild lagomorphs
  • Chronic wasting disease in free-ranging cervids
  • Endemic and emerging pathogens of game birds

Educational Background

  • DVM (2007), Kansas State University
  • PhD (2012), The University of Georgia, Department of Pathology


I help to coordinate diagnostic, surveillance, consultative, and instructional services provided to SCWDS member state wildlife management agencies and federal wildlife agencies.

Teaching Experience

  • College of Veterinary Medicine
    • POPH 8580 Current Topics in Wildlife Health Seminar

Selected Publications

Publications by Dr. Ruder may be found on PubMed.

We’re UGA Vet Med, and our

passion powers our commitment.