March 04, 2020

Animal Behavior, Health and Well-Being II: Livestock Health Highlights

Animal Behavior, Health and Well-Being II: Livestock Health Highlights

By Kaitlyn Sommer

Biosecurity Practices Associated with Antimicrobial Usage in Farrow-to-finish Pig Farms

Julia Calderon Diaz from the University College of Dublin in Ireland spoke about Biosecurity Practices Associated with Antimicrobial Usage in Farrow-to-finish Pig Farms. One thing to understand for antimicrobial usage (AMU) is biosecurity to control the microbes present. When speaking on biosecurity, there are many different tactics farmers can utilize. Julia Calderon Diaz discusses the biosecurity practices that are the easiest for farms to utilize and that work the best. During her research, she found that a majority of farmers kept hygiene rules for visitors when they visited the farms, along with many keeping sick animals separate from the other animals at the farms. This allowed the AMU to be higher than their counterparts. Though she stated, there are very few biosecurity practices found to be associated with the AMU. She concluded that while washing/cleaning practices seemed to work efficiently on increasing AMU and were easy to implement, farmers still need to be educated on other practices they can use.

Biosecurity Practices Associated with Prevalence of Mycoplasma Hyopneumoniae, PPRSV and Swine Influenza Virus in Farrow-to-Finish Farms

Julia Calderon Diaz from the University College of Dublin in Ireland also spoke about Biosecurity Practices associated with the prevalence of Mycoplasma Hyopneumoniae, PPRSV, and Swine Influenza virus in farrow-to-finish Farms. Biosecurity prevents pathogens from entering the farm and allows farmers to get rid of pathogens in the farm. SIV (swine influenza virus) has a country prevalence of 79% of Irish farms, while 60% of PPRSV was prevalent in Irish farms. Julia, from her research, found that the most important biosecurity rule that separated farms was if driving boards were cleaned regularly, those that did clean showed an MHYO prevalence of 52%. Those that did clean their driving boards were also studied to see if piglets were handled more than 4 times. Piglets that were handled more than 4 times showed to have an MHYO prevalence of 57%. PRRSV had a 31% prevalence if the farm is in a low pig dense area. If carcass storage areas were cleaned regularly, the prevalence of PRRSV was also down to 8%. Julia concluded by stating that there are few biosecurity practices associated with diseases. Though MHYO was found in conjunction with cleaning and disinfection, PRRSV with location, and SIV with piglet handling.

Distribution of Subjectively Evaluated Conformation Traits in Commercial Growing Replacement Gilts

Grace Moeller from Iowa State University presented about her research experiment: Distribution of Subjectively Evaluated Conformation Traits in Commercial Growing Replacement Gilts. She evaluated 3 farms with around 1500 sows a piece at around 22 weeks of age. Front pastern scores should be a score of 5 (intermediates) but are measured 1-9, with 9 being a soft front pastern. Grace’s research showed that there was a prevalence on all farms that the front pasterns were softer; this can be an issue once they get older. Front foot position with a score of 5 is considered normal, 4 and below were turned out, and above 5 was pigeon toed. Her results showed that there was a tendency for the feet to turn out, and that was consistent across all farms and their scorers. Toe sizes of 5 were considered even, less than 5 is where the inside toe is shorter, vice versa for 6 and above. The farms showed that inside toes are slightly shorter but not more; this could affect longevity. Overall, Grace concluded that there was an expected phenotypic representation in this project.

The effects of an 18 hour transit or Complete Feed and Water Restriction on Feed bunk Displacements and need Preferences in Growing Feedlot Steers

Katie J Heiderscheit from Iowa State University looked at the effects of an 18 hour transit or complete fee and water restriction on feed bunk displacements. Katie focused on 3 treatments, control which had no feed restriction, deprived (DEPRV), which was restricted from feed for 18 hours in home pen, then transport treatment (TRANS) where they were transported for 18 hours then returned to their home pens. Her research showed that there were no differences between the TRANS and DEPRV group in terms of eating and drinking. While the transport group seemed to lay down faster than the deprived treatment. The deprived treatment seems to have a higher displacement (aggression) more than any other treatment within the first 30 minutes. The transport treatment also tended to lay down within the first 30 minutes of returning to the home pen. Katie concluded that this could be due to muscle fatigue from the long term standing during transport. The  TRANS treatment took a longer time for them to return to a normal DMI compared to the CON and DEPR treatment. Katie’s overall conclusion is that steers transporting prefer to rest due to fatigue instead of competing for feed. A potential solution for this ins by increasing bunk space after transport and deprivation of feed to decrease aggression.

Assessment of the Diagnostic Sensitivity and Specificity of Pain Biomarkers in Cattle Using Receiver Operating Characteristic Curves

Miriam Martin from Kansas State University spoke about her research project, “Assessment of the Diagnostic Sensitivity and Specificity of Pain Biomarkers in Cattle Using Receiver Operating Characteristic Curves.” Her hope is that pain biomarkers can be used to improve the ability to approve analgesic drugs for livestock. In her study, the analgesic’s utilized were specifically NSAIDs. For clarification, she explained that the ROC curves plots the true positive rate vs. the false positive rate. While the higher area under the curve, the higher the ability of predictive value for the biomarker. She looked at time points from 1-12 hours after castration, there is an AUC value above 0.7 that proved true diagnostic ability. There were similar results for dehorning up to 8 hours, and again at 48 and 72 hours. While lameness plasma cortisol had consistent values from 1-120 hours for good diagnostic accuracy. Her overall conclusion was that NSAID analgesic effects for pain had a consistent diagnostic accuracy and that ROC is a good indicator of the predictive value of pain biomarkers at certain timepoints.

Thermoregulatory and Physiological Responses of Sows at Different Stages Exposed to Increasing Ambient Temperature

Dr. Betty McConn from Purdue university looked at increasing ambient temperatures affecting sows at 3 different reproductive stages. These stages were open, mid gestation and late gestation. The research showed that sows in late gestation had a higher vaginal temperature and respiration rate compared to the open sows, and the mid gestation sows’ Dr. McConn believes that the increased open respiration rate may be due to evaporative heat loss and a lower heat gain in the late gestation sows’. Dr. McConn’s research also showed that the late gestation sows also had a lower carbon dioxide and bicarbonate concentration in their blood than the mid and open sows’ There is a concern with late gestation sows having an increased respiration rate and reduced bicarbonate in their blood. This is due to the potential cause of respiratory alkalosis. Dr. McConn’s overall message was that late gestation sows seem to be more sensitive to an increase in the ambient temperatures than open and mid gestation sows’.