New Diagnostic Test Can Dramatically Reduce Antibiotic Use, Differentiate Branded Beef Products
Cattle feeders can now address food brands’ demand for differentiation
and reduce supply chain use of antibiotics
MORRISVILLE, N.C.— February 12th, 2016—A 40-second blood test performed as cattle arrive at feedlots has been shown to dramatically reduce antibiotic use in beef production. It also generates a digital audit trail of diagnostic records for beef producers and their customers who are interested in differentiating beef by treating with antibiotics only when needed, or in documenting public commitments to reduce antibiotic use within their supply chain.
Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) recently completed a research study of its portable QScout® BLD (blood leukocyte differential) diagnostic test and QStats™ online database that recorded each individual animal’s immune status. In the study, the blood test was used on 1,554 cattle and demonstrated antibiotic use upon arrival at the feedlot could be reduced 87 percent vs. the conventional practice of mass treatment of cattle. Feeders can use the test as part of their routine arrival processing to detect abnormalities or infection in cattle before symptoms appear. Animals with an abnormal immune status that would benefit from antibiotic treatment can be treated and/or segregated from healthy animals that don’t need injectable or feed antibiotics.
“By enabling feeders to precisely diagnose cattle on arrival that need treatment, antibiotic use is reduced to the essential minimum for animal health and welfare. We enable food brands and companies an opportunity to address consumer demand for reduced antibiotic use with a sustainable, responsible feedlot practice,” said AAD President and CEO Joy Parr Drach, a beef producer herself.
In the AAD study, treating animals identified as abnormal by the QScout BLD test produced more pounds of meat that tended to be a higher quality grade than when abnormal animals were not treated with antibiotics. The study also demonstrated cost savings for cattle feeders through reduced antibiotic use.
Arrival at the feedlot is typically the period of greatest health risk, according to Dr. Mitch Hockett, AAD VP of External Research, because cattle are co-mingled and under the stress of movement. This is the only on-site test that reliably sorts animals with an abnormal immune status that would benefit from antibiotic treatment. Use of the company’s QStats database also provides feeders and their customers an electronic audit trail to document the need for antibiotic interventions on individual animals.
Animal agriculture’s use of antibiotics is under increasing scrutiny, and many organizations have called for a focus on better diagnosis before antibiotic treatment, noted Drach. In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly issued a declaration on antimicrobial resistance that called for rapid diagnostic tests, among other measures, to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock production.
Consumer spending habits on meat also support antibiotic reduction. Dollar sales of meat bearing claims about no antibiotic or hormone use have enjoyed a 28.6 percent compound annual growth rate over the past five years, according to the Food Marketing Institute and the North American Meat Institute’s Power of Meat survey. That survey also documented that household penetration for combined “natural” and “organic” meat and poultry reached 40 percent in 2015.
About QScout BLD
The QScout® BLD test uses a single drop of blood to detect infection in cattle before visual symptoms of infection appear. It allows veterinarians and beef producers to make earlier, more effective treatment decisions. In addition to reducing overall antibiotic use, early diagnosis and intervention prevents losses in feed-gain efficiency and improves animal comfort and welfare. The test works by decoding the immune system, identifying and differentiating white blood cells that are first responders to infection. The test runs in seconds on AAD’s portable diagnostic QScout® Farm Lab, which provides an electronic record of individual animal diagnosis.
About Advanced Animal Diagnostics
Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), Durham, N.C., provides livestock producers with diagnostics that improve profitability and empower more precise care of animals so they live healthier, more productive lives. AAD is committed to researching, developing and commercializing the industry’s most reliable, on-site diagnostic tests, such as QScout® BLD, along with helping livestock producers use antibiotics more efficiently. With its diagnostic offerings, the company aims to empower real-time management decisions that increase productivity, prevent losses, improve animal welfare and protect the food supply.
For more information, visit or call 1-855 Q2COUNT.
QScout® and QStats™ are registered trademarks of Advanced Animal Diagnostics, Inc.