Pig Health Info System Recording, Analysis and Improvement of Animal Health in Swiss Pig Herds

As part of the ‘Pig Health Info System’ project, an app is to be developed that records health data in Swiss pig herds in a structured way. The anal-ysis and subsequent display of the data will also serve to optimise health monitoring and help vets to detect diseases at an early stage.

Factsheet

Starting Point

Timely monitoring of animal health in Swiss pig herds and the early detection of outbreaks of disease is difficult as the records of vets on clinical observations in pig herds are generally too brief and unstructured and are often only stored locally in the veterinary practice.

Goals

To enable the monitoring of Swiss pig herds, the idea is for animal health data to be logged in the piggery using smartphones or tablets as part of the ‘Pig Health Info System’ (PHIS) project, then analysed and displayed in anonymised form on a partially publicly accessible website.

  • Data collection


The aim is for vets to be able to enter the findings of their inspection directly from the piggery in standardised form using the app on their smartphones. When complete, the data is automatically compiled into a report and sent electronically to the livestock farmer and the vet. The app seeks to make documentation easier for vets and improve their service for livestock farmers.
 

  • Data evaluation and display:

    The standardised recording of the animal health data means that it can be used for further processing. The data will be processed and evaluated. The results will then be displayed in diagrams and charts. Anonymised results will be made publicly accessible. Analyses will also be carried out at herd level that provide livestock farmers with an insight into the health situation in their own piggery. It is hoped that the results from the subsequent analysis of the health data will improve the monitoring and early identification of diseases. This will allow problems to be detected and addressed at an early stage. It also promotes animal health and animal welfare.

Realisation

The project is being carried out at the Vetsuisse Faculty in Bern and Zurich in cooperation with the Research Institute for Security in the Information Society (RISIS) at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. While the Vetsuisse Faculty is focusing on the veterinary medicine side, the Bern University of Applied Sciences is responsible for the technical implementation of the project. In the project, software will be developed using the SCRUM agile process model.

The app to record animal health data will be developed in the first stage of the project. It will be tested by vets with extensive experience of dealing with pig herds. This will help to guarantee user-friendliness. As the app can also be used offline, there are no restrictions on when or where vets can run it. Data security is given high priority, a fact that will boost the acceptance of the app throughout the industry.

The next step will be to implement the database  in which all of the recorded data will be stored. The precise database requirements will be worked out during the collaboration and field tests with the app. In addition to the observations entered by the vets, other health data is also to be integrated over the course of the project. The database must ultimately enable integral analysis and display of the recorded data so that it can be used for monitoring animal health and for the early detection of diseases.

 

Project Progression

The project will last three years and will be divided into the following stages:

  • During the first year it will focus on the development of the database and digital checklists. A first version of the app will be made available as soon as possible so that it can be optimised for practical application in cooperation with the vets working in the field. Data protection will be ensured.
  • During the second year, the evaluation routines and a suitable reporting system will be developed. The incorporation of supplementary animal health data from animal pathology examinations will also be made possible.
  • The third year will mark the beginning of the productive phase. The entire system will be comprehensively tested in the field, optimised and upgraded. The project will then be evaluated externally. A concept will also be drawn up for the continuation of the project after the end of the funding phase.