February 06, 2020

Interpretive Summary: Lack of evidence of mastitis as a casual factor for PDS in sows.

Interpretive Summary: Lack of evidence of mastitis as a casual factor for postpartum dysgalactia syndrome in sows. 

By: Jackie Walling

Postpartum dysgalactia syndrome (PDS) occurs when sows have decreased milk production during their first days after giving birth. Its cause is complex and multifactorial. Mastitis is thought to be more prevalent in sows with PDS  (PDS+) than those without (PDS-).

This 2019 December Translational Animal Science article investigates the development of mastitis in both PDS+ and PDS- sows using clinical examination, milk bacteriology, changes in milk constituents, and lipopolysaccharides (LPS) concentrations to see if mastitis contributes to the development of PDS.

A total of 109 sows (38 PDS+ and PDS-) were sampled multiple times 60 hours prior to birth and 36 hours after birth.

Examinations showed PDS+ sows had more agitated glands, higher heart rates, a prolonged capillary refill time of the vulvar mucosa, and reduced appetites. Respiratory rate and parameters evaluating digestion and nutrition followed similar patterns between the two groups, except for greater concentrations of uric acid in PDS-. Evaluation of mammary glands revealed little difference between the groups though PDS+ had more severe mammary edema. Bacterial infections were rare, but showed up in both groups. Concentrations of LPS in milk did not differ and there were no correlations between LPS and the udder.

Overall, results could not confirm mastitis as a significant contributing factor to the development of PDS. Bacteriology is the main way to diagnose mastitis. The limited number of infections in both PDS+ and PDS- challenged the role it was thought to have in pathogenesis. The similar LPS concentrations and the lack of correlation LPS had to udder appearance also supported this conclusion. Though the role of mastitis was inconclusive, the raised heart rate in PDS+ sows suggested more research should be done to investigate the cardiovascular system.

For the full article, visit Translation Animal Science.