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Producers Now Able to Diagnose BRD in Under 8 Seconds Thanks to Merck's New Whisper System
Bovine Respiratory Disease, or BRD, is a major problem for the US beef cattle industry. Dr. Jason Nickel with Merck Animal Health has been working on some new innovative technology called the Whisper System, to determine when an animal has BRD and how severe a case that animal has. He spoke with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays recently about how this new technology can be applied in the industry and might help curb the disease’s impact on producers.
 
“A bovine is very equipped at concealing the fact that it’s sick,” Nickel said. “By the time a human is actually able to identify that an animal has BRD, it’s likely been sick for several days. So, utilizing new technology to find those animals earlier in the disease phase as well as confirming that they actually have disease, is imperative in order to enhance an antimicrobial and vaccine technology.” 
 
While inflicted cattle must still first be identified by a human pen rider, the Whisper System was designed to confirm the diagnosis at the chute, where it can be treated upon the given result at the same time. Using information collected from the Whisper System, coupled with rectal temperature, a more accurate diagnosis can be made and treatments then tailored made according to the severity of the disease. Adding this technology to an operation’s herd health program, Nickel says, can significantly cut down on unnecessary costs.
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