Wed, 14 Feb 2018
ANALYSIS - Dustin Oedekoven, state veterinarian for South Dakota, speaks about differences seen between large animal species regarding the use of diagnostic testing.
"Our state animal health agency is dependent on some of the information that comes from veterinary diagnostic labs, and that information is generated from the ongoing relationship that veterinarians have with livestock producers," said Dr. Oedekoven. "We see a variety of different uses of diagnostic labs."
Traditionally, diagnostics have been used for post-mortem testing to determine the cause of death in an animal or aborted fetus. Currently, the information being produced is from ante-mortem testing or samples that are collected from live animals or in some cases submissions of animals to get a read on the current herd situation.
"The sample submissions from concentrated livestock species productions, such as dairy or pork, we see a lot more samples come from those type of industries," he said. "Mainly because they've learned that is one way they can get an early indication of things that are going on within their herds, and it allows them to make better decisions in their production practices."
Beef cattle, on the other hand, don't generate a lot of information through routine sample submissions in South Dakota. So unless there's a concern with the herd, producers are less likely to routinely sample their beef herd.
"In the case of emerging diseases, I do think that there's a benefit for those industries that are routinely using diagnostic services because there's a chance that you will catch something earlier," Dr. Oedekoven said. "This doesn't apply to all cow/calf producers but, in many cases, you have to lose two or three calves before you'll think maybe I'll call the veterinarian and have him out and see what's going on here."
Routine diagnostic sample submission is important in identifying emerging and reemerging diseases, he concluded.