Quality assessment of the dairy disease register


<p>In Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, disease information is collected and stored at the individual cow level in National Dairy Disease Registers (NDDRs). Because these registers are monitored nationally, they offer access to data that covers most of the dairy population in each country. Data from these registers are used, for example, for herd health and animal welfare assessments, production management, genetic evaluations and epidemiological research. In order to have reliable interpretation of results registers data quality have to be assessed.</p>

The Finnish NDDR's data transfer rate was 83%.  Some data loss occurs during the data transfer process, but the quality of the Finnish NDDR is good and the level of correctness excellent.  It would make the data transfer process more efficient and improve the quality of the NDDR if diagnostic information was electronically transferred by veterinarians during farm visits.  The Finnish system is being modified accordingly.

Problems with data recording
In Finland, the main cause of data loss was the failure to transfer information from the cow health cards (CHCs) to the NDDR. Data loss occurs on account of early removal of CHCs for archiving purposes, which prevents AI technicians from transferring data to the NDDR. Less diagnostic information was recorded on cows purchased by farmers compared to those born on their farm, suggesting problems with animal identification.

Gaps in NDDR completeness
Variation was detected in the completeness of the national registers of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.  Metritis and oestrous disturbance events were well represented in the NDDRs. Assisted calving and retained placenta events showed significant differences among the four countries. The level of completeness was highest in Denmark (0.89) and lowest in Finland (0.31).

The attitudes of farmers and veterinarians influence NDDR data content. The majority of incidences recorded in the NDDR are disease incidences that require veterinary treatment. When intentions towards veterinary treatment are greater, more incidences are recorded in the NDDR, because greater intentions lead to increased use of veterinary treatment. This could explain, for example, the reasons for different mastitis incidence rates among the four countries.

According to the study, intentions for veterinary treatment were greater in Denmark than in the other three countries.

Additional information:
Simo Rintakoski, Researcher, Risk Assessment Research Unit
tel. +358 40 489 3378



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