Diagnostic tests are essential tools for confirming the health status of animals and identifying pathogens before the condition reaches the severe stages. Diagnostics are technologies that can detect the presence of animal disease pathogens, disease indicators, or parasites through a sample (e.g. oral fluid, blood, stool, urine, etc) assessment. Diagnostics can support preventative strategies by offering disease tracking and tracing, allowing for actions like surge vaccination.
They enable the early detection, management, and control of animal diseases, including zoonosis. Companion animal diagnostics confirm companion animals' health status and enable pathogen identification. The emergence of various cutting-edge technological systems is expected to push developments in the market. For instance, genome sequencing of pathogens can be enhanced by applying polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to produce vital elements to help in parasite control, disease diagnosis, and biological research. Companion animal diagnosis thus has emerged as an essential part of animal disease management and prevention.
Despite the importance of animals and their diagnosis, the occurrences of zoonotic diseases hamper the companion animals' health. Disease prevalence in companion animals is changing due to conditions such as ingestion of toxins or chemicals, infections from other animals, or infective agents. Diabetes mellitus and heartworm disease are the most common diseases in canines and felines. One in every 300 dogs and one in every 230 cats have some type of diabetes.
Several players in the companion animal diagnostics market are focusing on launching products for disease diagnostics in companion animals. For instance:
- In May 2021, PetDx (U.K.) launched OncoK9, a multi-cancer detection test for canines. This test detects cancer by using genomic analysis.
- 2020, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (U.S.) launched the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test for pets in response to the growing evidence that in rare cases, pets living with COVID-19 positive humans can be at risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Along with the growing focus on launching diagnostics products to prevent diseases, advanced veterinary diagnostic technologies are also expected to play a crucial role. Traditional diagnostics techniques were based on detecting antibodies to the pathogen by using techniques, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), agar gel immune diffusion, and complement fixation. These techniques depend on the interaction of serum polyclonal antibodies against the agent of interest, followed by a detection system. These technologies like the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the radiolabeled DNA probe method used to diagnose and test animals consume more time. However, recent methods such as cloning of genes, overexpression vectors, and peptide synthesis have made possible the production of specific proteins serving as target antigens or positive controls in the newly-developed immunoassays.
The development of portable equipment for PCR has made the molecular diagnosis of foot and mouth disease (FMD) achievable. However, this approach relies on precision thermocycling, which requires expensive instrumentation. As an alternative to PCR, isothermal amplification methods for the detection of foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) have been developed, which include loop-mediated isothermal ampliﬁcation (LAMP), recombinase polymerase ampliﬁcation (RPA), nucleic acid sequence-based ampliﬁcation (NASBA), and helicase-dependent ampliﬁcation (HAD).
Moreover, antigen detection has also been incorporated into portable immuno-chromatographic strip tests, known as antigen-lateral ﬂow devices (Ag–LFDs), which bind viral antigen and antibody-coated detector particles to bands of capturing monoclonal antibody on a membrane. Also, new powerful diagnostic tools have been developed with the advancement in molecular biologies like bio-sensors and wearable technologies. Further, nanotechnology test platforms, such as nanoarrays and nanochips, can analyze a sample to determine various infectious agents on a single chip and help identify specific strains or serotypes of disease agents or the differentiation of diseases caused by different viruses.
The potential of these technologies lies in the solutions that help pet owners manage animal health with utmost efficiency and thus are expected to drive the global companion animal diagnostics market at a CAGR of 9.8% to reach $4.18 billion by 2029, according to the Meticulous Research®.
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