Three decision support tools to help detect disease

Early disease detection could lower the enormous economic costs associated with mastitis and metabolic disease.

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1. University of Guelph develops a disease-detecting nano biosensor

Canadian researchers from the University of Guelph have developed a portable, handheld nano biosensor that detects disease in dairy cows. Thanks to CND $125,000 in funding, the sensor will be tested in field trials under the direction of Engineering Professor Suresh Neethirajan this year. Neethirajan is director of the university’s BioNano Laboratory and the lead developer of the nano biosensor. His team also includes Professors David Kelton and Todd Duffield from the Ontario Veterinary College, also located in Guelph.

“The benefit of this sensor is for a farmer to test his herd on the first suspicion that something is amiss, even before there are obvious physical signs,” Neethirajan said in recent interview.

At the moment, in order to detect disease, farmers must send blood and/or milk samples to the laboratory for analysis. Not only is the process expensive, it is also time consuming. Results can take up to one week. The nano biosensor, on the other hand, will allow dairy farmers to diagnose ketosis and other metabolic diseases quickly and efficiently by analyzing just a small amount of blood or milk. The sensor detects electrochemical activity in blood – even in

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