Costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies in the United States exceeds $300million annually.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 90% of reported rabies cases in the US are in wildlife. In 2013 SmartVet signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of US Department of Agriculture. This project is directed at developing more effective baits and delivery systems for the Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) efforts run by the National Rabies Management Program. For more information on this program click here
The Ballistic Bait system is another patent protected SmartVet innovation. It uses elements of SmartVet’s proven VetGun system to distribute baited capsules containing oral vaccines. The Ballistic Baits are coated with scent and flavorings to encourage location and uptake by the target species. The capsule is engineered to burst as soon as pinpoint pressure is applied by the animal’s teeth, delivering the vaccine dose directly into the oral cavity. The efficacy of such a dosing method has proven to be highly effective in basic tests conducted with canines. Formal uptake studies are being done in other target species, particularly raccoons at APHIS’ National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins CO.
SmartVet's delivery technologies have the potential to unlock process efficiencies and cost savings across the Public Health spectrum, for more information click click here:
SmartVet’s system allows bait distribution to be optimized in two ways:
Ground based units:
The Ballistic Baits are propelled into optimal habitat using a gas powered launcher. Using these systems, thousands of baits can be delivered in a single session either on foot, from an ATV or truck. The effective range of the launcher can be adjusted to deliver the baits to anywhere from 5 yards to 200 yards using a single twist of the range gauge located on the regulator. Using the Ballistic Bait system, high potential raccoon, coyote and skunk habitat can be easily accessed from the safety of vehicles or from the roadside.
The Ballistic Baits can also be distributed by aircraft. SmartVet’s design automates the entire system, enabling the use of a one person crew flying a single engine aircraft. Aircraft, fuel, labor and associated costs can be reduced by between 20% and 40% (estimate based on the current Beechcraft King Air and Twin Otter aircraft being used).
SmartVet has access to technologies used in piloting unmanned aerial vehicles; this technology is currently used to perform complex commercial survey and photographic work along predetermined flight paths. SmartVet is using a version of this technology to develop a GIS/GPS enabled device for high volume aerial distribution. The flight plan and drop zones can be planned in precise detail. Sensitive areas such as lakes, roads or densely populated areas can be avoided by pre-programming the drop zones using a laptop computer and supplied software. Full audit detail will be made available after each deployment, providing a precise audit trail of where the vaccines were delivered.
Potential applications of this versatile technology abound, including using it for other diseases and species, such as the reservoir of Bovine Tuberculosis in badgers in the United Kingdom.
The potential of remote delivery technologies to find innovative ways to manage wildlife will continue to be explored across various applications. For example, potential also exists to use versions of SmartVet’s technologies to control animal populations using oral contraceptive vaccines.