Innogen  ·  Publications  ·  Working papers
Attitudes to the use of Rapid/Point of care devices in the control of animal disease

Abstract

Development of rapid/point of care devices introduces the potential for more rapid disease diagnosis that can take place on the farm without the need to send samples to central laboratories. Relatively little use is currently made of these devices but how might they be incorporated in practice into disease control schemes? The main objective of this research was to investigate attitudes of veterinarians (government and in-practice) and farming and food chain professionals to the adoption of these devices both in the context of endemic diseases and notifiable diseases. The research was conducted using individual interviews with these stakeholders. A number of benefits from the adoption of rapid/point of care devices were generally recognised but attitudes were ambivalent. Respondents needed to feel confident about the output from rapid/point of care devices and ensure these results clarified rather than confused diagnosis. The potential use of rapid/point of care devices by a wider-range of stakeholders may lead to a loss of control which is of particular concern in the context of notifiable diseases. Concern was also expressed that valuable clinical knowledge may become undervalued due to the apparent definitive nature of a diagnostic device, resulting in potentially misleading diagnoses. Farmers interviewed for this project were generally positive about the prospect of rapid/point of care devices (subject to costs) but all wanted continuing involvement of vets in the diagnosis and management of herd health.