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Westin R.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Westin R.,Swedish Animal Health Service | Holmgren N.,Swedish Animal Health Service | Mattsson B.,Svenska Pig | Algers B.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica A: Animal Sciences | Year: 2013

The aim of the present paper was to study the throughput capacity (i.e. the ability of straw to drain through slatted flooring) of 15 kg of chopped straw used around the time of farrowing. A cohort study including 96 sows was conducted in two commercial herds, comparing chopped wheat straw of three length categories (mass median length 39, 70 and 130 mm). Straw with short and medium chop lengths was completely absent in 83% (plastic slats) and 85% (cast-iron slats), respectively, of the pens on Day 4 after farrowing, compared to 7% and 6% of pens provided with the longest straw category. We conclude that it is technically feasible to have an efficient throughput of straw and to maintain good pen hygiene in partly slatted farrowing pens provided with 15 kg of chopped straw at farrowing. However, straw chop lengths need to be adjusted to the type of slatted flooring used. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


PubMed | Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Animal Health Service and National Veterinary Institute SVA
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Veterinary microbiology | Year: 2015

The aim of this study was to determine the proportion of Dichelobacter nodosus, Fusobacterium necrophorum and Treponema spp. in sheep with different clinical manifestations of footrot compared to healthy sheep both at flock and individual level. The second aim was to characterise D. nodosus with respect to virulence, presence of intA gene and the serogroups. Swab samples (n=1000) from footrot-affected (n=10) and healthy flocks (n=10) were analysed for the presence of D. nodosus, F. necrophorum and Treponema spp. by real-time PCR and culturing (D. nodosus only). Dichelobacter nodosus isolates (n=78) and positive swabs (n=474) were analysed by real-time PCR for the aprV2/B2 and the intA genes and by PCR for the fimA gene (isolates only). D. nodosus was more commonly found in flocks affected with footrot than in clinically healthy flocks. A significant association was found between feet with severe footrot lesions and the aprV2 gene and between feet with moderate or no lesions and the aprB2 gene, respectively. F. necrophorum was more commonly found in flocks with footrot lesions than in flocks without lesions. No significant association was found between sheep flocks affected with footrot and findings of Treponema spp. or the intA gene. Benign D. nodosus of six different serogroups was detected in twelve flocks and virulent D. nodosus of serogroup G in one. In conclusion, D. nodosus and F. necrophorum were more commonly found in feet with footrot than in healthy feet. The majority of D. nodosus detected was benign, while virulent D. nodosus was only detected in a single flock.


PubMed | Swedish Board of Agriculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Public Health Agency of Sweden, Swedish Animal Health Service and National Veterinary Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in human, as well as in veterinary medicine. Part of the problem concerns how to respond to the risk presented by animal reservoirs of resistant bacteria with the potential of spreading to humans. One example is livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA). In countries where LA-MRSA is endemic in the pig population, people in contact with pigs have a higher risk of being colonised with LA-MRSA, and persons from this group are subjected to precautionary measures when visiting health care facilities. In the present study, it is assumed that, if LA-MRSA was introduced to the Swedish pig population, the prevalence in the risk groups would be the same as in Denmark or the Netherlands (two countries with low human prevalence that have implemented measures to detect, trace and isolate human LA-MRSA cases and, therefore, have comprehensive data with good coverage regarding prevalence of LA-MRSA), and that similar interventions would be taken in Swedish health care facilities. It is also assumed that the Swedish pig population is free of MRSA or that the prevalence is very low. We analyse if it would be efficient for Sweden to prevent its introduction by testing imported live breeding pigs. Given that quarantining and testing at import will prevent introduction to the pig population, the study shows that the preventive measures may indeed generate a societal net benefit. Benefits are estimated to be between 870 720 and 1 233 511, and costs to 211 129. Still, due to gaps in knowledge, the results should be confirmed when more information become available.


Torsein M.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Torsein M.,Swedish Animal Health Service | Lindberg A.,National Veterinary Institute | Sandgren C.H.,Swedish Dairy Association | And 4 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2011

The aim of this study was to identify possible risk factors for 1-90 day calf mortality in large Swedish dairy herds. Sixty herds with a herd size of ≥160 cows were visited once between December 2005 and March 2006. Thirty herds were known to have low mortality (LM) and 30 were known high mortality herds (HM). Upon the visit, data about housing and management was collected from interviews with personnel responsible for the calves. The herd status regarding the calves' passive transfer (total protein), levels of α-tocopherol, β-carotene and retinol, and excretion of faecal pathogens (Cryptosporidium spp., Escherichia coli F5, rota and corona virus) was evaluated based on targeted sampling of high risk calf groups; in each herd, blood and faecal samples were collected from calves 1-7 and 1-14 days old, respectively. Similarly, the herd status regarding clinical respiratory disease in calves and history of respiratory virus exposure was evaluated based on lung auscultations and blood samplings of calves 60-90 days old. The median calf mortality risk (in calves 1-90 days of age) among HM herds was 9% (Range: 6-24%) and among LM herds 1% (Range: 0-2%). LM and HM herds were compared using five logistic regression models, covering potential risk factors within different areas: "Disease susceptibility", "Factors affecting the gastrointestinal tract", "Factors related to transmission of infectious disease", "Hygiene" and "Labour management" The percentage of calves, 1-7 days old, with inadequate serum concentrations of α-tocopherol and β-carotene were significantly higher in HM herds compared to LM herds and also associated with higher odds of being a HM herd (OR. = 1.02; p = 0.023 and OR. = 1.05; p = 0.0028, respectively). The variable "Average number of faecal pathogens in the sampled target group" was significantly associated with higher odds of being a HM herd (OR. = 4.65; p = 0.015), with a higher average in HM herds. The percentage of calves with diarrhoea treated with antibiotics was significantly higher in HM herds and was associated with higher odds of being a HM herd (OR. = 1.08; p = 0.021). The median age at death of calves in the age interval 1-90 days that died during a one-year period was significantly lower among HM herds (13 days) than in LM herds (24 days) (p = 0.0013) The results indicate that gastrointestinal disorders may be an important cause of calf mortality in large Swedish dairy herds. Furthermore, our study provides additional indications that fat soluble vitamins might play an important role for calf health. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Westin R.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Westin R.,Swedish Animal Health Service | Hultgren J.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Algers B.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2015

In spite of domestication, sows are still genetically programmed to perform nesting behaviour close to farrowing. In order to facilitate nest building, a method for a strategic use of large quantities of straw has been developed by Swedish piglet producing farmers. The objectives of the present study were to quantify the effect of strategic use of 15-20. kg of chopped straw given once 2 days prior to expected date of farrowing, compared to small daily amounts (0.5-1. kg) and 2. kg close to farrowing (controls), on the nest building behaviour and the duration of farrowing. The behaviour from 18. h pre-partum until 1. h after birth of first piglet and the duration of farrowing was continuously observed in 138 video recordings from 4 commercial farms. On each farm, 20-34 sows (parity. ≥. 2) were studied during one or two consecutive lactations. Compared to controls, strategic use of straw triggered the sows to start nest building earlier and increased the total time spent nest building pre-partum by 19% ( p= 0.039). Sows given large amounts of straw also performed less nesting behaviours during the first hour after birth of the first piglet. This shows that nest building is affected not only by the presence of straw, but also by the quantity of straw provided, and that 2. kg of chopped straw seems to be too little to make the sow terminate nest building well in advance of farrowing. There was no significant effect of treatment on the duration of farrowing but a strong negative association was found between time spent nest building pre-partum and the duration of farrowing regardless of treatment. The model predicted a 1-h increase in total nest building time pre-partum to be associated with a 12% (95% CI = 4-19%) shorter duration of farrowing (p= 0.004). © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Boqvist S.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Eliasson-Selling L.,Swedish Animal Health Service | Bergstrom K.,National Veterinary Institute | Magnusson U.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2012

Outdoor reared pigs were used as indicators for investigating the effect of weather conditions in the seroprevalence of Leptospira. Over the period February to March 2008, sera from 386 sows on 11 farms in southern Sweden were tested for antibodies to the following Leptospira serovars: L. interrogans serovar (sv) Bratislava, L. kirschneri sv Grippotyphosa, L. interrogans sv Icterohaemorrhagiae, L. interrogans sv Pomona, L. borgpetersenii sv Tarassovi and one domestic strain (mouse 2A) related to L. borgpetersenii sv Sejroe and L. borgpetersenii sv Istrica. The highest seroprevalence was to this strain (8.0%) followed by sv Bratislava (3.9%). Six of the 11 farms had sows which were seropositive to at least one of the Leptospira serovars. Data on rainfall and temperature were retrieved for the respective farms. For each millimetre of extra rainfall, there was an increase in the odds ratio (OR) for seropositivity to sv Bratislava of 4.3 (95% CI 1.9-10), and to strain mouse 2A of 2.5 (95% CI 1.0-6.4). There was no association between seropositivity and temperature. This study indicates that different climate conditions within the northern temperate climate zone may be of importance for the presence of Leptospira-seropositivity in mammals. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Westin R.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Westin R.,Swedish Animal Health Service | Holmgren N.,Swedish Animal Health Service | Hultgren J.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Algers B.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2014

Two major welfare issues in current pig production are the lack of nesting material for farrowing sows and poor claw health in suckling piglets. Therefore, a strategic method to supply loose housed sows with large quantities of straw at farrowing has been developed by Swedish piglet-producing farmers. The objective of this cohort study was to estimate the effect of a large quantity of straw (15-20. kg) supplied before farrowing compared to limited daily amounts (0.5-1. kg) on bruising and growth performance in pre-weaning piglets. On each of four commercial piglet-producing farms in south-west Sweden, one batch of sows was studied during two consecutive lactations. At inclusion, sows were randomly assigned to two treatment groups, and sows remaining in the batch during the second lactation switched treatment group. In the STRAW group (n=181. litters) sows were provided with 15-20. kg of chopped straw 2. days prior to expected farrowing. Sows in the CONTROL group (n=182. litters) received 0.5-1. kg of chopped straw on a daily basis plus 2. kg for nest building when the stockperson judged the sow to be about to farrow. Piglets were individually weighed within 36. h after birth, at 3-7 days after birth and at weaning. On day 3-7, limbs and feet were clinically examined for the presence and location of lesions. In conclusion, the provision of 15-20. kg of straw 2. days prior to farrowing effectively prevents the piglets from developing skin abrasions (IRR=0.38) and soft heel/sole erosions (IRR=0.08-0.35). We also conclude that the strategic use of large quantities of straw has a positive effect on weight gain, increasing the expected mean body weight at weaning by 0.33. kg. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Bernes G.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Stengarde L.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Stengarde L.,Swedish Animal Health Service
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2012

In Scandinavia, winter diets for sheep are forage-based, with concentrates commonly being added in the latter part of pregnancy and during lactation. In organic production, however, the level of concentrates is restricted and rations are sometimes purely forage-based. It is uncertain if feeding only forage fulfils the nutritional requirements of high producing ewes. The aim of this project was to compare the performance and nutrient status of ewes fed only silage from mid-pregnancy until the end of lactation (SIL), or silage and a maximum of 40% concentrates before lambing, and 50% afterwards (CON). The study was conducted during two consecutive indoor feeding seasons (Y1 and Y2), with 41 and 51 ewes, respectively. In Y1, the silage was of high nutrient quality, whereas the silage used in Y2 had a lower content of energy and protein and more fibres. The general level of feed intake was lower in Y2 than Y1. There were significant differences in body condition between SIL and CON ewes in both years. Blood samples from the ewes were analyzed for betahydroxybutyrate (BHB), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and urea. In both years, SIL ewes had higher NEFA and BHB than CON ewes two weeks after lambing, In Y2, urea was lower in SIL ewes than in CON ewes after lambing. Litter size also had a significant impact on the blood metabolites. In conclusion, feeding only silage is not recommended for ewes with more than one lamb, unless the silage is of a very high nutritional quality. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Einarsson S.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Sjunnesson Y.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Hulten F.,Medical Product Agency | Eliasson-Selling L.,Swedish Animal Health Service | And 3 more authors.
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica | Year: 2014

Since January 1 2013, group housing of sows has been compulsory within the European Union (EU) in all pig holdings with more than ten sows. Sows and gilts need to be kept in groups from 4 weeks after service to 1 week before the expected time of farrowing (Article 3(4) of Directive 2008/120/EC on the protection of pigs). The legislation regarding group housing was adopted already in 2001 and a long transitional period was allowed to give member states and producers enough time for adaptation. Even so, group housing of sows still seems to be uncommon in the EU, and is also uncommon in commercial pig farming systems in the rest of the world. In this review we share our experience of the Swedish 25 years of animal welfare legislation stipulating that sows must be loose-housed which de facto means group housed. The two most important concerns related to reproductive function among group-housed sows are the occurrence of lactational oestrus when sows are group-housed during lactation, and the stress that is associated with group housing during mating and gestation. Field and clinical observations in non-lactating, group-housed sows in Sweden suggest that by making basic facts known about the pig reproductive physiology related to mating, we might achieve application of efficient batch-wise breeding without pharmacological interventions. Group housing of lactating sows has some production disadvantages and somewhat lower productivity would likely have to be expected. Recordings of behavioural indicators in different housing systems suggest a lower welfare level in stalled animals compared with group-housed ones. However, there are no consistent effects on the reproductive performance associated with different housing systems. Experimental studies suggest that the most sensitive period, regarding disturbance of reproductive functions by external stressors, is the time around oestrus. We conclude that by keeping sows according to the pig welfare-friendly Directive 2008/120/EC, it is possible to combine group-housing of sows with good reproductive performance and productivity. However, substantially increased research and development is needed to optimize these systems. © 2014 Einarsson et al.


PubMed | Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Animal Health Service and Eurofins
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Preventive veterinary medicine | Year: 2015

Piglet survival is the outcome of complex interactions between the sow, the piglet and their environment. In order to facilitate nest-building and to provide a suitable environment for the newborn piglets, a strategic method to supply loose housed sows with large quantities of straw at farrowing has been developed by Swedish piglet-producing farmers. The objectives of this cohort study were to use post-mortem findings to assess the causes of death and to quantify the effect of a large quantity of straw provided before farrowing compared to limited small daily amounts on stillbirths, post-mortem findings in piglets dying within 5 days after birth and the pre-weaning mortality. On each of four commercial piglet-producing farms in South-West Sweden, one batch of sows was studied during two consecutive lactations. At inclusion, sows were randomly assigned to two treatment groups, and sows remaining in the batch during the next lactation switched treatment group. In the STRAW group (n=181 litters) sows were provided with 15-20 kg of chopped straw 2 days prior to the calculated date of farrowing. Sows in the CONTROL group (n=182 litters) received 0.5-1 kg of chopped straw on a daily basis plus about 2 kg for nest-building when the stockperson judged the sow to be about to farrow. After onset of farrowing, additionally 1-2 kg was given. Post-mortem examination was performed in all piglets that died within 5 days after birth (n=798). The three major post-mortem findings were starvation (34%) crushing by the sow (28%), and enteritis (24%). In conclusion, strategic use of large quantities of straw reduced the number of stillborn piglets per litter by 27% (p=0.007). Under the conditions studied, the pre-weaning mortality of liveborn piglets was not affected by treatment; however, the distribution of post-mortem findings differed with fewer piglets dying due to starvation and more due to crushing and enteritis in STRAW litters.

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