Systematic reviews and meta-analyses in animal health, performance, and on-farm food safety: a scoping review
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are used to summarize and interpret evidence for clinical decision-making in human health. The extent of the application of these methods in veterinary medicine and animal agriculture is unknown. The goal of this scoping study was to ascertain trends in the publication of systematic reviews and meta-analyses examining animal health, animal performance, and on-farm food safety. Online databases were searched for reviews published between 1993 and 2018 that focused on relevant outcomes in domestic livestock, companion animals, or wildlife species. In total 1787 titles and abstracts underwent data characterization. Dairy cattle, fish, and pigs were the most common target commodity groups. Few articles investigated both health and performance outcomes (only health: n = 418; only performance: n = 701; both health and performance: n = 103). Most of the reviews (67.6%, n = 1208/1787) described a meta-analysis but did not state in the title or abstract that a systematic review was also conducted, which is potentially problematic. Adherence to reporting guidelines is recommended for all systematic reviews and meta-analyses. For research areas with many reviews, an evidence repository is recommended. For less well-reviewed areas, additional investigation may be necessary to identify the reasons for the lack of synthesis research.
This article is published as Vriezen, Rachael, Jan M. Sargeant, Ellen Vriezen, Mark Reist, Charlotte B. Winder, and Annette M. O'Connor. "Systematic reviews and meta-analyses in animal health, performance, and on-farm food safety: a scoping review." Animal Health Research Reviews 20, no. 2 (2019): 116-127. DOI: 10.1017/S1466252319000197. Posted with permission.