CWSHIN collects data and publishes reports on the vast majority of swine operations in Western Canada
By Jackie Clark
Leadership of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network (CWSHIN) made improvements to the way they collect and organize data which is leading to improved value of their swine health monitoring and surveillance programs.
The organization surveys swine health practitioners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C..
“We had data going back to 2012. It was basically quarterly surveys where the practitioners provided their clinical impression on how things were going health-wise in the herds. And we also had laboratory data,” Dr. Jette Christensen, CWSHIN manager, told Farms.com. “When we got to 2018-19, we realized that it was in need of a review. We wanted to get more value added through the data that we were collecting (and) we wanted to make the data that we had more useful so that we could analyze it better.”
CWSHIN put together an expert panel and held review meetings to improve the survey process and reorganized the data.
“It was getting harder and harder to get the response rates that we were used to because the list of diseases kept growing and it took some time,” Christensen explained. “We decided to make it easier for the practitioner to fill out and at the same time make sure we got the data that we needed to do our objectives.”
The organization started using the improved survey in October 2019, so now officials can see trends and patterns. Christensen estimates that they receive data from 80-90 per cent of premises with swine in the region.
The improved monitoring program helps CWSHIN to “compare the frequency of different syndromes, we have a better way to discuss unusual clinical signs, and we have the first little piece of evidence for freedom from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD),” Christensen explained.
Also, knowing that the organization is receiving information from most premises in the region is “increasing our credibility, it’s adding to the value of the data we have,” she said.
CWSHIN officials link together laboratory data and clinical impressions surveys with a disease map. They also host quarterly calls to discuss survey findings.
“We provide a lot of free text options for the practitioner to mention unusual clinical signs or something new that they’ve seen,” Christensen added. Swine health officials show “great interest among the practitioners to mention and discuss these unusual clinical signs on our quarterly calls.”
Those calls “create a little bit of an expert forum where practitioners that usually work in their own practices can actually share their experiences on a little bit of a bigger scale,” she said.
Officials also “record how many contacts they have with swine operations, and based on the number of contacts and whether or not they saw blisters, we can actually provide a little model where we can help to provide some information based on clinical impressions that Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is not present, and that’s another big step forward,” she explained.
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