Estimating potential farm economic benefits of advanced microbiological diagnostics in veterinary medicine

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Context: Intensive livestock production is challenged by frequent occurrence of contagious livestock diseases. Advanced diagnostic tools, such as quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), have been found to improve the precision and speed of veterinary diagnostics.

Aims: This study develops and applies an analytical quantitative framework to investigate the potential farm economic benefits of introducing an advanced and rapid diagnostic tool that allows veterinarians accurately and fast to detect the load and composition of pathogens in production animals, compared with a scenario where decision-making is based on aggregate prevalence data.

Methods: A probabilistic budget simulation model for livestock production was developed, on the basis of farm-accounts data, epidemiological prevalence, mortality and morbidity data from official statistics, veterinary practice and literature findings, as well as experimental data regarding sensitivity and specificity of the specific diagnostic tool.

Key results: The framework was used to assess the expected economic gains of qPCR diagnostics for calf pneumonia and weaner pig diarrhoea. In both cases, positive economic gains were found, namely, 7.8% and 3.1% of gross margin in Danish calf production and weaner production respectively.

Conclusions and Implications: Use of rapid advanced diagnostic tools to diagnose calf pneumonia or weaner pig diarrhoea can lead to economic gains for farmers and improve the efficiency in use of resources in livestock production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)1545-1558
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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