Canadian Dairies Benefit from Rapid Pathogen Detection

Acumen Detection System Identifies Pathogens in 3 Hours

U.S. company Acumen Detection has introduced its rapid pathogen identification system in Canada, where a Quebec veterinary clinic is using it to help dairy farmers identify microorganisms in milk in just three hours, according to Founder Tim Moshier.

“Rapid identification with Acumen Detection is a game-changer for Canadian dairies who want answers to their mastitis problem in hours, not days,” Moshier said. “This technology is enabling veterinarians and producers to begin treatment sooner, reduce costs and improve overall herd health.”

The Acumen Detection system uses real-time PCR-based technology to quickly identify Mycoplasma, Staph. aureus, Strep. uberis and other pathogens in milk samples. Easy-to-use assays target specific microorganisms and report results as detected or absent. No culturing, special expertise or expensive lab equipment is required.

Last summer, Bêtes Pas Bêtes of Warwick, Quebec, became the first veterinary clinic in Canada to offer the unique pathogen identification service, providing same-day results for dairy farmers able to deliver milk samples by 10 a.m.  A technician runs the assays and a veterinarian contacts clients with results that afternoon.

Dr. Jean-Claude Marchand of Bêtes Pas Bêtes said the rapid turnaround offers a significant advantage over culture.

“With Acumen Detection, we are able to help clients identify pathogens much sooner,” he said. “Instead of waiting several days for lab results, they have knowledge that allows them to take action before the next milking. Cows can be treated faster or culled faster, depending on the specific pathogen. Either way, it’s an economic win-win for the farmer.”

About two-thirds of the Acumen Detection tests run by Bêtes Pas Bêtes are for Staph. and Strep., with the remainder for Mycoplasma. Dr. Marchand said he still occasionally cultures samples to compare the efficacy of different antibiotics but that almost all of the clinic’s 40 dairy clients are now taking advantage of same-day pathogen identification.

Mastitis costs Canadian dairy producers $662 per cow per year in reduced milk yield, culling and milk discard.1 Costs can be even higher for mastitis caused by Mycoplasma, a potentially contagious, antibiotic-resistant family of bacteria identified on more than 25 percent of large U.S. dairy farms.2 According to Moshier, the MYPRO Assay, which identifies Mycoplasma spp. and Prototheca spp., is the most requested assay in the Acumen Detection line.