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Respiratory disease detection turns technical

New technology could help the cattle industry better manage bovine respiratory disease, a veterinarian told the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference.

Dr. Emily Snyder, assistant professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine with a research focus on BRD, said current treatment methods have led to concerns about antimicrobial resistance.

Widespread treatment of all animals entering a feedlot, which is the population most at risk of developing BRD, with an antimicrobial has been shown to work but the practice could also result in selection of bacterial strains that are resistant.

“We’re thinking that if we can identify those animals that are particularly high-risk and just give those some metaphylactic treatment and then those that are at lower risk, not treating those, we might be able to reduce our drug use in that way,” Snyder said.

That’s where chute-side diagnostics come into play.

One tool in development is QScout BLD, a test that includes a blood sample on arrival at the feedlot with results within 30 seconds. By assessing the white blood cells in the sample, the test would allow producers to make animal health decisions.

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