livestock: how to comply with regulations
by Neoteryx, on Sep 7, 2017 5:00:00 AM
The last case of rinderpest in the world was eliminated in 2001. What was rinderpest? It was a deadly disease of cattle and buffalo throughout history that caused civilizations to fall and millions of people to starve as their work animals and food sources died. Now, like smallpox in humans, it's gone.
Many other diseases, just as deadly, affect our livestock. We control these diseases by blood testing poultry or animals. Disease-testing pets is relatively simple; you take your animal to the vet and have some blood drawn. But if you’re a farmer with a herd of 500 to a thousand dairy cows, vet visits to draw blood from a vein in every animal – or even 10% – can be extremely expensive (depending on the disease), as well as time-consuming.
The advent of microsampling technology brings with it the ability to test a very small amount of blood. As microsampling proliferates, it will eliminate searching for veins. There will be no more multiple sticks and unnecessary pain for the animal. A small skin prick, providing a drop of blood, is sufficient.
Vet diagnostics have refined testing to the point that very little blood or serum is needed, and the procedure is so easy that a vet is not necessary for collection. The farmer and his workers can do it by themselves, carefully labeling and then shipping the samples to the lab. Time and money are saved, which results in improved compliance with state and federal regulations.
Regulations regarding disease screening vary with the disease and severity.
- Brucellosis, a disease of cattle transmittable to humans, is tested several times a year with milk samples from dairies. Any evidence of disease leads to blood testing.
- Johne’s disease, a progressive, contagious illness that results in death is primarily found in cattle. It is not transmissible to humans. Blood testing is done routinely.
- Tuberculosis, contagious to both cattle and humans, is tested for routinely throughout the USA and has been nearly eradicated.
- Equine West Nile virus is routinely being tested in horses, dogs, and rodents.
With its established applications in experimental animal research, microsampling is an obvious choice for livestock.
Many other diseases are under surveillance by state and federal governments, requiring testing on a periodic basis. Microsampling is a great innovation that will allow farmers to evaluate their herds and flocks much more easily and economically, keeping their animals healthy.