Introduction

A healthy, productive animal is the most useful to its owner. Disease constrains animal productivity in many parts of the world. Accurate diagnosis of disease is therefore an essential component of control of the disease, and for this reliable diagnostic kits are required. Diagnostic reagents are usually based upon defined molecules from either the infectious agent or the infected host. Sometimes, a crude component of an infectious agent or the infected host is used in diagnostic assays. In genetic diseases, tissue from the affected host is normally used as the analyte.

Diagnostics are required for assessment of disease surveillance and control programmes, determining more accurately the incidence of disease, and better defining the factors that affect disease transmission. Diagnostics 1) make it possible to determine the health status of an animal; 2) allow for collection of accurate data used in impact assessment and modeling of health constraints to animal production; 3) support deployment of vaccines and therapeutics; and 4) enable access to domestic and international markets through evaluation of the safety and quality of animal products. Thus, affordable, rapid, sensitive, and specific penside diagnostic tests for animal diseases are desirable. However, such tests are currently lacking for many of the animal diseases common in developing countries, thus forming a major constraint to effective disease control. This article focuses on diagnostic tests for animal health care.

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