Diagnostic tests are essential tools for confirming the health status of animals and identifying pathogens. They enable the early detection, management, and control of animal diseases, including zoonosis, and facilitate the safe trade in animals and animal products. Veterinary diagnostics confirm livestock & companion animals' health status and enable pathogen identification. They also aid in the early detection, management, and control of animal diseases, including zoonosis. This further helps to facilitate safe trade in animals and animal products. The importance of diagnostics further lies in encouraging animal health by disease prevention and control of critical livestock diseases. This also improves the overall nutritional quality of food products obtained from animals. Veterinary 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 foodborne and zoonotic diseases hamper the health of the livestock & companion animals, and so the products derived from them are useful as foodstuffs. According to the WHO, an estimated 600 million, i.e., almost 1 in 10 people, fall ill every year from eating contaminated food. Diabetes mellitus & heartworm diseases are the most common diseases diagnosed in canine and feline.
As infectious diseases cause loss of production capacity in animals, governments across the globe are heavily focusing on increasing awareness about these diseases by undertaking initiatives related to the diagnosis to reduce the occurrence of these diseases. Also, governments are working with domestic and international partners to promote animal health products. For instance, in April 2019, the British Horse Society (BHS) and the University of Nottingham (U.K.) launched the Colic Awareness Week to increase the awareness of recognizing the earlier signs of colic. Also, in May 2018, FAO began its livestock vaccination campaign in South Sudan to protect over 9 million animals and combat increasingly frequent outbreaks of diseases. FAO trained over 1,000 community-based animal health workers to carry out routine check-ups and diagnoses.
Along with the government initiatives to prevent the diseases, veterinary diagnostic technologies are also expected to play a crucial role by helping identify diseases early, thereby providing proper treatment. 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.
Also, commercial assays for the detection of cell-mediated responses have become available, including gamma interferon assays for use in cattle to detect tuberculosis. Nucleic-acid based techniques (PCR), real-time PCR, and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) are also developing. For instance, the development of portable equipment for PCR has made a 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 biology like the bio-sensors and wearable technologies which produce highly specific analytical tools which can provide a timely diagnosis of diseases in animals, eventually decreasing economic losses. Further, the 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.
Thus, considering the importance of animal health, there is increasing demand for apt scientific techniques. With this regard, advancements in molecular technologies like biosensors and wearable technologies, and nanotechnology test platforms, such as nanoarrays and nanochips, are becoming increasingly important for animal health management.
The potential of these technologies lies in the solutions that help farmers & pet owners manage animal health with utmost efficiency and thus are expected to drive the global veterinary diagnostics at a CAGR of 9.5% to reach $9.58 billion by 2029, according to the Meticulous Research®.
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