Bernadette Earley, TEAGASC, assessed calf health on a daily basis and recorded signs of illness, including calf pneumonia and enteric disease, and examined blood constitution in response to infection. The company SoundTalks provided equipment to record sound in the stable. Preliminary results show that the calf cough detection algorithm can indicate pneumonia-related clinical infection in calves. It was shown that during an increase in coughing frequency there was a corresponding increase in the distribution of circulating white blood cells in calves, which indicates a possible infection/disease in animals.
Using recording equipment and the associated algorithms gives value for the farmer as sick calves can be identified and treated earlier and preventively before they actually manifest full clinical signs of infection. In this way, the farmer saves money because there are less treatment costs and impairment in growth. Preventive treatment also results in less suffering for the animal, reduction in the use of antibiotics and lower chances of antibiotic resistance developing in calves, which will ultimately benefit human health.
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