Dr Scott McDougall (Cognosco – Anexa Vets Research Division) joined with Professor Mark Stevenson (Melbourne University) and Dr Chris Compton (Massey University) to teach a postgraduate workshop for veterinarians at the New Zealand Veterinary Association Conference being held in Hamilton this week.
Through a combination of lectures and interactive tutorials, participants learned how to critically interpret diagnostic tests. They developed a greater understanding of some of the limitations of testing (e.g., sensitivity & specificity) and why this is so important to evaluate if an animal (or group of animals) is truly experiencing disease or not. This is a critical step in creating diagnostic and treatment plans. Scott said “As veterinarians, we undertake testing all the time to confirm presence or absence of diseases, or to assess things like trace element status of groups of animals… We went through some practical examples of how vets interpret test results, particularly where there are issues around the test. We used Johne’s Disease as an example, as we know that the sensitivity of these tests is relatively low. It was a great course and we got really good positive feedback from the participants”.