OBJECTIVE To test a unique electronic ear tag designed to collect movement data to determine whether physical activity of sick steers differed from that of healthy steers.
ANIMALS 206 steers.
PROCEDURES Physical activity in 2 groups of steers during November and December of 2010 (101 steers; the tag of 1 steer failed, and thus that steer was removed from the study, which resulted in data for 100 steers) and 2011 (105 steers) was monitored with an electronic ear tag device with an on-board triple-axis accelerometer. The accelerometer recorded motion in all 3 axes in the form of counts per minute. A radio-frequency transmitter on the ear tag delivered serial packets of motion data to a local server. An algorithm was developed to analyze the activity data to determine whether this technique could be used to assess health status with high accuracy.
RESULTS Steers that became sick had significantly fewer activity counts (approx 25% fewer), compared with the activity counts of steers that remained healthy the entire time.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE In this study, automated detection of health status in growing cattle was feasible through remote monitoring of animal activity. Early identification of sick animals should lead to improved health outcomes, increased marketability, and improved animal well-being and help to minimize the use of antimicrobials that could contribute to resistant bacteria.
Objective—To develop an early-warning automated surveillance-data–analysis system for early outbreak detection and reporting and to assess its performance on an abortion outbreak in mares in Kentucky.
Sample Population—426 data sets of abortions in mares in Kentucky during December 2000 to July 2001.
Procedures—A custom software system was developed to automatically extract and analyze data from a Laboratory Information Management System database. The software system was tested on data on abortions in mares in Kentucky reported between December 1, 2000, and July 31, 2001. The prospective space-time permutations scan statistic, proposed by Kulldorff, was used to detect and identify abortion outbreak signals.
Results—Results indicated that use of the system would have detected the abortion outbreak approximately 1 week earlier than traditional surveillance systems. However, the geographic scale of analysis was critical for highest sensitivity in outbreak detection. Use of the lower geographic scale of analysis (ie, postal [zip code]) enhanced earlier detection of significant clusters, compared with use of the higher geographic scale (ie, county).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The automated surveillance-data–analysis system would be useful in early detection of endemic, emerging, and foreign animal disease outbreaks and might help in detection of a bioterrorist attack. Manual analyses of such a large number of data sets (ie, 426) with a computationally intensive algorithm would be impractical toward the goal of achieving near real-time surveillance. Use of this early-warning system would facilitate early interventions that should result in more positive health outcomes.
Objective—To quantify the number of horses with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis infection identified in the United States from January 2003 through December 2012.
Sample—State veterinary diagnostic laboratory records of 2,237 C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples from horses.
Procedures—44 state veterinary diagnostic laboratories throughout the United States were invited by mail to participate in the study. Data requested included the number of C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples from horses identified per year, geographic location from which the C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive sample was submitted, month and year of sample submission, breed and age of horses, and category of clinical manifestation (ie, internal infection, external infection, or ulcerative lymphangitis).
Results—Of the 44 invited laboratories, 15 agreed to participate and provided data on affected horses from 23 states. The proportion of C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples submitted during 2011 through 2012 (1,213/2,237 [54%]) was significantly greater than that for the period from 2003 through 2010 (1,024/2,237 [46%]). Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis was recovered from horses in states where the disease has not been previously recognized as endemic. Affected horses were identified year-round. The greatest proportion of C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples was identified during November, December, and January (789/2,237 [35%]). No significant association between the clinical form of disease and age or breed of horse was observed.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The occurrence of C pseudotuberculosis infection in horses increased during the 10-year period, and affected horses were identified throughout the United States. Further studies to determine changes in annual incidence and to identify potential changing climatic conditions or vector populations associated with disease transmission are warranted to help control the occurrence and spread of C pseudotuberculosis infection in horses.
Objective—To determine whether the concentration of airborne virulent Rhodococcus equi varied by location (stall vs paddock) and month on horse farms.
Sample—Air samples from stalls and paddocks used to house mares and foals on 30 horse breeding farms in central Kentucky.
Procedures—Air samples from 1 stall and 1 paddock were obtained monthly from each farm from January through June 2009. Concentrations of airborne virulent R equi were determined via a modified colony immunoblot assay. Random-effects logistic regression was used to determine the association of the presence of airborne virulent R equi with location from which air samples were obtained and month during which samples were collected.
Results—Of 180 air samples, virulent R equi was identified in 49 (27%) and 13 (7%) obtained from stalls and paddocks, respectively. The OR of detecting virulent R equi in air samples from stalls versus paddocks was 5.2 (95% confidence interval, 2.1 to 13.1). Of 60 air samples, virulent R equi was identified in 25 (42%), 18 (30%), and 6 (10%) obtained from stalls during January and February, March and April, and May and June, respectively. The OR of detecting virulent R equi from stall air samples collected during May and June versus January and February was 0.22 (95% confidence interval, 0.08 to 0.63).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Foals were more likely to be exposed to airborne virulent R equi when housed in stalls versus paddocks and earlier (January and February) versus later (May and June) during the foaling season.
Objective—To determine whether airborne concentrations of virulent Rhodococcus equi at 2 horse breeding farms varied on the basis of location, time of day, and month.
Sample Population—2 farms in central Kentucky with recurrent R equi-induced pneumonia in foals.
Procedures—From February through July 2008, air samples were collected hourly for a 24-hour period each month from stalls and paddocks used to house mares and their foals. Concentrations of airborne virulent R equi were determined via a modified colony immunoblot technique. Differences were compared by use of zero-inflated negative binomial methods to determine effects of location, time, and month.
Results—Whether mares and foals were housed predominantly in stalls or paddocks significantly affected results for location of sample collection (stall vs paddock) by increasing airborne concentrations of virulent R equi at the site where horses were predominantly housed. Airborne concentrations of virulent R equi were significantly higher from 6:00 pm through 11:59 pm than for the period from midnight through 5:59 am. Airborne concentrations of virulent R equi did not differ significantly between farms or among months.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Airborne concentrations of virulent R equi were significantly increased when horses were predominantly housed at the site for collection of air samples (ie, higher in stalls when horses were predominantly housed in stalls and higher in paddocks when horses were predominantly housed in paddocks). Concentrations of virulent R equi among air samples collected between the hours of 6:00 am and midnight appeared similar.
Objective—To determine whether soil concentrations of total or virulent Rhodococcus equi differed among breeding farms with and without foals with pneumonia caused by R equi.
Sample Population—37 farms in central Kentucky.
Procedures—During January, March, and July 2006, the total concentration of R equi and concentration of virulent R equi were determined by use of quantitative bacteriologic culture and a colony immunoblot technique, respectively, in soil specimens obtained from farms. Differences in concentrations and proportion of virulent isolates within and among time points were compared among farms.
Results—Soil concentrations of total or virulent R equi did not vary among farms at any time point. Virulent R equi were identified in soil samples from all farms. Greater density of mares and foals was significantly associated with farms having foals with pneumonia attributable to R equi. Among farms with affected foals, there was a significant association of increased incidence of pneumonia attributable to R equi with an increase in the proportion of virulent bacteria between samples collected in March and July.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that virulent R equi were commonly recovered from soil of horse breeding farms in central Kentucky, regardless of the status of foals with pneumonia attributable to R equi on each farm. The incidence of foals with pneumonia attributable to R equi can be expected to be higher at farms with a greater density of mares and foals.