Accurate Diagnosis First Step In Effectively Treating Diarrhea

Farmscape for August 25, 2022

Full Interview 13:40 Listen

A Professor with Western College of Veterinary Medicine says ensuring an accurate diagnosis of any diarrhea on the farm is an important step toward identifying the most effective treatment. The Brachyspira Diagnostic Service, operated by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in collaboration with Prairie Diagnostic Services, provides full-service testing for Brachyspira. Dr. John Harding, a Professor with Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says most of the samples come from veterinarians but occasionally samples will come directly from the farm or be submitted by another diagnostic lab and testing involves either PCR or culture, depending on the diagnostic question.

Clip-Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
The reasons for testing are multiple. Sometimes it’s just surveillance, to prove negativity of a farm or production system or to identify and compare the strains of species identified today to those that have been diagnosed in the past. Most of the samples we receive are feces but occasionally we receive fecal swabs. Sometimes we receive intestines. That would be a pig that has been post-mortemed on the farm or that could be carcasses that have been submitted to PDS that go through a necropsy or post-mortem in their facilities and then based on samples for downstream testing as well. Very occasionally we receive other samples. That could be DNA that has been extracted at another laboratory and sent directly to us. Periodically we receive samples of oral fluids as well. It’s really important though, if you’re interested in a diagnosis of Brachyspira, that if tissues are submitted that those would be large intestines because Brachyspira is a bacteria that lives in the large intestine not the small intestine. So, when I say intestines, the majority of the samples we receive are the large intestine or the colon.

Dr. Harding says ensuring a proper diagnosis of any diarrhea on the farm is an important step toward rectifying the problem.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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