Neonatal calf diarrhoea (NCD) is a disease impacting livestock industries economically and in terms of animal health and welfare. In New Zealand, the most prevalent pathogens associated with NCD are rotavirus and Cryptosporidium (Mawly et al. 2015), but other common pathogens include coronavirus and Salmonella. By the time an animal presents with clinical signs of disease, much of the associated tissue damage to the intestinal submucosa may have already occurred, hence affecting production. Therefore, there is a need to develop methods for early disease detection, which ideally could be incorporated into automated systems for real-time, remote sensing. Infrared thermography (IRT) is a non-invasive method of detecting radiated heat. The use of IRT in livestock and veterinary applications was reviewed by Luzi et al. (2013). Studies have shown IRT can be used for early identification of calves with BRD (bovine respiratory disease) and BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea), using changes in eye temperature (Schaefer et al. 2004, 2012). Schaefer et al. (2012) demonstrated that images could be collected automatically at a water trough. In dairy calves, the behavioural information (e.g. number of visits) gathered remotely at an automatic calf-feeding (ACF) system can be used for identification of at risk animals (Svensson & Jensen, 2007; Borderas et al. 2009). However, the use of these automated systems has not been fully investigated under New Zealand conditions, where calves are exposed to different pathogens and management.

GL Lowe, AL Schaefer, MT Wilson, MA Sutherland, and M Stewart

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 76, Adelaide, 177-179, 2016
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