Researchers Explore Prospects of Adding Antimicrobial Sensitivity Testing to Brachyspira Diagnosis

Farmscape for January 27, 2021

Full Interview 21:45 Listen

Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are evaluating the potential of adding antimicrobial sensitivity testing to the diagnosis of Brachyspira associated diarrhea. Brachyspira is a family of bacteria, some species of which cause disease while others are simply part of a healthy gut and are harmless. The Western College of Veterinary Medicine is revaluating and reformatting the diagnosis of Brachyspira diarrhea, including the prospects of adding antimicrobial sensitivity testing to the mix. Dr. John Harding, a professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says, diagnoses of Brachyspira has been challenging because there are six different species so it takes fairly intensive diagnostics to identify the disease being addressed and then match the diagnostic test with that disease.

Clip-Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Antimicrobial sensitivity testing is done in a number of ways and it’s used to provide an estimate of what antibiotics are most effective on a farm. It’s very valuable for veterinarians and for producers who are setting up a diagnostic and treatment program to understand what organisms are we dealing with and which antibiotics are most effective to use and the opposite of that is which antibiotics should I not use because they’ll just drive antibiotic resistance without having any benefit. Antibiotic sensitivity is done in the lab. Generally it requires having a culture of an organism, of the bacteria on a plate and then through various laboratory techniques different antibiotics are tested and, if the antibiotics successfully kill or inhibit the culture on the plate, that antibiotic is effective to use.

Dr. Harding says diarrhea can be caused by multiple organisms on the farm, including Brachyspira, Salmonella, Lawsonia, E. coli in some age groups or even viral infections such as PED or TGE so we need to take a holistic approach to diagnosing diarrhea.

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