$5.6M earmarked for improving livestock diagnostic disease testing

Diagnostic testing for disease in livestock may be easier in the future thanks to a $5.6 million dollar project, led by Dr. Cheryl Waldner, professor of large animal clinical sciences at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), and Dr. Simon Otto, an assistant professor in the University of Alberta School of Public Health.

Waldner and Otto’s team were awarded the funding to dive deeper into their studies surrounding the testing, and how it could greatly improve the use of antimicrobials (including antibiotics) to treat bacterial infections in cattle, swine, poultry, and other food animals.

“The idea for this project comes from an increasing need to ensure the safe use of antimicrobials as the world faces the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance,” says Waldner. “Disease-causing bacteria in animals are increasingly able to resist the antibiotics used to treat them, and the agriculture industry is being challenged to improve antibiotic stewardship in livestock production.”

The funding is part of the already announced, $24.2-million by Genome Canada and its partners in three University of Saskatchewan-led research projects aimed at ensuring Canada remains at the cutting edge of these agricultural markets.

To break it down further, Genome Canada will contribute $2.5 million to the diagnostic testing research for livestock, which is referred to as ASSETS (Genomic Antimicrobial Stewardship Systems from Evidence- based Treatment Strategies for Livestock). Several additional funding partners have committed the other $3.1 million to the project, including the Government of Saskatchewan, Genome Alberta, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian beef industry.

This initial project will focus on feedlot production in Western Canada and the research team plans to work closely with beef industry partners, including feedlots and veterinarians, to optimize diagnostic testing strategies.

Funding is provided over a four year span.

To explain more about the research, listen to RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse and Dr. Simon Otto below.

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