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Harnessing the power of digital technology: Boehringer Ingelheim’s SoundTalks pilot program seeks early detection of respiratory distress in swine

by Boehringer Ingelheim | Jul 17, 2019

Boehringer Ingelheim’s U.S. Animal Health Business has launched an innovative pilot program that harnesses technology to help pigs stay healthy and help farmers operate more efficiently.

The company is installing high-tech microphones in the pig barns of select customers in the Midwest. The microphones are part of a digital monitoring tool from SoundTalks NV, a Belgian company. They record the sound of coughing pigs and rely on an algorithm to flag increased coughing that could signal respiratory distress.

The goal is to let farmers and veterinarians intervene early to collect samples and get a diagnosis, potentially treating earlier and thereby improving a pig’s health and limiting the risk of exposure to nearby animals. For farmers, early detection, diagnosis and treatment could boost the bottom line in an industry where respiratory and other diseases claim an untold number of pigs and cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Boehringer Ingelheim said this spring that it had acquired a minority stake in SoundTalks.

Its pilot program with SoundTalks is unfolding in states that include Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota. The company also is installing SoundTalks units in major swine markets around the world.

It is part of a larger company effort to leverage rapid technological change to benefit livestock and pets and the people who own and care for them.

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