Disease in poultry production is broken down into four categories; infectious disease, metabolic and nutritional disease, parasitic disease and behavioural disease[i]. If any one disease process affects a flock it lowers the threshold for other diseases to move in. Flock management and health monitoring protocols are essential to maintaining healthy flocks.
Infectious and parasitic diseases are constant pressures on every flock. Ideally a producer should be able to identify subclinical disease and the causative pathogen before it becomes clinical. In most instances this is not possible. The normal protocol in well managed flocks is to send dead birds to a pathology lab for post mortem diagnostics. Even though turn-around times have improved in laboratory diagnostics, the time delay is 24-48 hours or more. While a producer is waiting for results, the disease burden is increasing and economic losses are growing rapidly.
How does a producer get faster results?
The answer is the Aquila Diagnostic qPCR Point of Care System for Poultry. PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is the gold standard diagnostic test used by pathology labs for pathogen identification. Because of the complex nature of performing PCR diagnostics, it has not yet been possible to use it as a point-of-care diagnostic. Aquila has developed and patented a unique qPCR chemistry in a hydrogel form, stabilizing the complex chemistry required to run a qPCR diagnostic test, with little to no sample preparation, in about one hour. The Aquila qPCR system can be performed on-site in a production facility or veterinary clinic.
Aquila Diagnostics has worked closely with industry to identify a panel test for the most common diseases that impact poultry producers. With funding assistance from industry, Aquila expects to bring its first poultry tests market by Spring 2018. Point of Care qPCR test for the following pathogens are under development:
[i] Poultry Cooperative Research Center; www.poultryhub.org/health/disease/types-of-disease