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Merck releases BRD-detecting Whisper stethoscope

Company spent nearly a year and a half fine-tuning the technology.

Merck releases BRD-detecting Whisper stethoscope
The Whisper Veterinary Stethoscope System is a noninvasive way to help diagnose bovine respiratory disease.

The Whisper Veterinary Stethoscope System is available again 17 months after Merck Animal Health acquired worldwide rights to it.

The Whisper system uses a transmitting stethoscope and computer software to detect bovine respiratory disease and gauge the severity.

“This innovative instrument improves the diagnosis accuracy of BRD when cattle are brought into the chute for further assessment,” said Jason Nickell, DVM, Ph.D., DACVPM, the associate director of livestock technology and innovation at Merck Animal Health. “By providing clarity on lung health and potential severity of disease, as well as which animals have BRD or at the highest risk, Whisper will help veterinarians and producers optimize antimicrobial costs and develop optimal treatment plans.”

Whisper was acquired in April 2016 from Geissler Companies. Madison, New Jersey-based Merck reported that since the purchase it has done “extensive work … to evaluate the technology and enhance the usability for producers.”

According to Merck, the device works like this:

“Once cattle have been identified as ill or demonstrating signs that could equate to illness, Whisper is placed on the animal’s chest wall. In eight seconds, Whisper provides users with a lung severity scale ranging from 1 to 5. A lung score of 1 indicates no signs of lung tissue damage, while a lung score of 5 indicates permanent lung tissue damage.”