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Data quality of animal health records on Swiss dairy farms
  1. S. Menéndez, DVM, MS1,
  2. A. Steiner, DVM, FVH, MS, DipECVS, DipECBHM2,
  3. U. Witschi, DVM3,
  4. J. Danuser1,
  5. U. Weber1 and
  6. G. Regula, DVM, FVH, MS, DipECVPH1
  1. 1 Federal Veterinary Office, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2 Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, PO Box 8466, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
  3. 3 Swissgenetics, Meielenfeldweg 12, 3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland

Abstract

High-quality data are essential for veterinary surveillance systems, and their quality can be affected by the source and the method of collection. Data recorded on farms could provide detailed information about the health of a population of animals, but the accuracy of the data recorded by farmers is uncertain. The aims of this study were to evaluate the quality of the data on animal health recorded on 97 Swiss dairy farms, to compare the quality of the data obtained by different recording systems, and to obtain baseline data on the health of the animals on the 97 farms. Data on animal health were collected from the farms for a year. Their quality was evaluated by assessing the completeness and accuracy of the recorded information, and by comparing farmers' and veterinarians' records. The quality of the data provided by the farmers was satisfactory, although electronic recording systems made it easier to trace the animals treated. The farmers tended to record more health-related events than the veterinarians, although this varied with the event considered, and some events were recorded only by the veterinarians. The farmers' attitude towards data collection was positive. Factors such as motivation, feedback, training, and simplicity and standardisation of data collection were important because they influenced the quality of the data.

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