Use, Value of Diagnostics in Australian Swine Industry

ANALYSIS - Chris Richards, swine veterinarian with Apiam Animal Health in Australia, said they use diagnostics in a number of different ways in their swine practice.
calendar icon 12 August 2016
clock icon 4 minute read

"For diagnosis of various diseases - when we have a disease outbreak, we'll be looking for verification that the pathogen we think it is is what it is," said Dr. Richards. "We'll use it to diagnose pathogens. More commonly, we're using it for disease surveillance - looking at the epidemiology of pathogens within the herd to ensure that our vaccinations programs and our timing of those is correct."

Diagnostics are also used to verify that existing vaccination or medication programs are working and adequate titers of the vaccines are achieved for effective protection.

Practical Diagnostic Use in Australia

"We do a lot of diagnostics around APP or Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, and we've got a number of serotypes that we've had difficulty with the commercial diagnostics that are out there to get some real understanding of what the results are telling us," he said.

"APP is something we do cellular antigen ELISAs to give us an idea of what sort of an immune response that we're getting from our vaccines or what pathogens are in the herd. But more importantly, what we really need to get a good understanding of are the APX toxins, and how we get good immunity to APX toxins, particularly APX1."

Dr. Richards said there isn't much producer resistance to doing diagnostics.

"Producers just want to get their problem solved, and so they're willing to do whatever is required to make that happen," he said. "A lot of the time they're probably not aware of what diagnostics they're doing because at the end of the day, they just want their issue resolved."

Apiam Animal Health is comprised of Australia's leading rural veterinary practices and incorporates over 100 highly experienced, industry leading veterinarians with expertise across the pig, dairy, feedlot, sheep, equine and companion animal sectors.

For more information about swine diagnostics, click here or connect to the Thermo Fisher Scientific Swine Resource Center.

Sarah Mikesell


Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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