Media Coverage

Merck launches smart BRD stethoscope system


Sep 27, 2017 - Animal Pharm
By Sian Lazell
Animal Pharm
September 27, 2017


Merck Animal Health has launched the Whisper Veterinary Stethoscope System for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in the US.

Whisper is a stethoscope designed to evaluate the severity of lung disease for more accurate diagnosis of BRD in cattle.

Whisper works by wirelessly transmitting the animal's lung sound to an online platform. Software then analyzes the recording and provides a score on a scale of one to five. A score of one indicates no signs of lung tissue damage, while a score of five indicates permanent lung tissue damage.

Merck claims Whisper is the only tool specifically designed to detect lung health status for improved BRD confirmation. The firm said the Whisper platform provides a management tool designed to enhance the current diagnosis techniques for BRD, to help determine which animals actually need treating and in turn support judicious antibiotic use.

According to research on BRD conducted from 1983-2009, the disease is the single largest source of morbidity and mortality in feedyards. BRD can affect the lower respiratory tract resulting in pneumonia, in addition to the upper respiratory tract causing rhinitis, tracheitis or bronchitis.

Merck – known as MSD Animal Health outside North America – acquired the rights to Whisper last year. The firm said since then, extensive work has been performed to evaluate the technology and enhance its usability.

Jason Nickell, associate director of livestock technology and innovation at Merck, said: "This innovative instrument improves the diagnosis accuracy of BRD when cattle are brought into the chute for further assessment. By providing clarity on lung health and potential severity of disease, as well as which animals have BRD or at the highest risk, Whisper will help veterinarians and producers optimize antimicrobial costs and develop optimal treatment plans."

An animal health expert from Elanco recently outlined what the industry can expect from technology in the future. Response-based solutions that allow veterinarians and producers to make quicker and improved management decisions were one area highlighted by Dr Edward McGruder, chief medical officer in alternative innovation at Elanco. Whisper is evidence that this type of technology is beginning to move into the space of diagnostics.

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News

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