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African swine fever virus was first identified and characterized in Africa in the early 1900s, but it has spread exponentially in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean since 2018. While it is a disease that exclusively affects swine, thus posing no infectious risk to human health, the virus’s resiliency and human behavior have facilitated the rapid global dissemination of the virus over the past 4 years. In this Currents in One Health, we will review its epidemiology, viral characteristics, host range, and current prevention strategies; the current perspective on what a response would look like and who would be affected; and if the virus was ever found in the US. Due to the fact that the virus affects all breeds of Sus scrofa, including those used for food and companionship, it is vital for all veterinarians to work together to keep the virus out of the US. It is only through the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally that we can contain the spread of this virus.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine the accuracy of sow culling classifications reported by lay personnel on commercial swine farms.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—A convenience sample of 923 sows from 8 conventional, farrow-to-wean farms that followed standard operating procedures.

Procedures—Sows were examined at slaughter, and lesions were recorded. Individual production records were reviewed to determine the farm-reported reason for culling the sows, and criteria were developed to assess the accuracy of recorded culling classifications.

Results—For 209 of the 923 (23%) sows, the farm-reported culling classification was judged to be inaccurate. The culling code was considered to be inaccurate for 62 of 322 (19%) sows reportedly culled because of old age, 48 of 172 (28%) sows reportedly culled because of failure to conceive, 31 of 90 (34%) sows reportedly culled because of poor body condition, and 23 of 73 (32%) sows reportedly culled because of poor farrowing productivity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that for commercial swine farms, farm-reported culling code classifications were frequently inaccurate. This degree of inaccuracy may cause severe limitations for studies that rely on farm-reported assessments of clinical conditions.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To develop and evaluate a pyramid training method for teaching techniques for collection of diagnostic samples from swine.

DESIGN Experimental trial.

SAMPLE 45 veterinary students.

PROCEDURES Participants went through a preinstruction assessment to determine their familiarity with the equipment needed and techniques used to collect samples of blood, nasal secretions, feces, and oral fluid from pigs. Participants were then shown a series of videos illustrating the correct equipment and techniques for collecting samples and were provided hands-on pyramid-based instruction wherein a single swine veterinarian trained 2 or 3 participants on each of the techniques and each of those participants, in turn, trained additional participants. Additional assessments were performed after the instruction was completed.

RESULTS Following the instruction phase, percentages of participants able to collect adequate samples of blood, nasal secretions, feces, and oral fluid increased, as did scores on a written quiz assessing participants' ability to identify the correct equipment, positioning, and procedures for collection of samples.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that the pyramid training method may be a feasible way to rapidly increase diagnostic sampling capacity during an emergency veterinary response to a swine disease outbreak.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To determine reference intervals for total nucleated cell count, total protein concentration, pH, RBC count, and percentages of neutrophils, lymphocytes, and large mononuclear cells in synovial fluid samples (SFSs) obtained from the carpal and tarsal joints of healthy swine.

ANIMALS 54 healthy commercial finisher pigs that had no evidence of lameness or gross joint swelling.

PROCEDURES Each pig was anesthetized, and SFSs were collected from 1 carpal and 1 tarsal joint for fluid analysis, cytologic evaluation, bacterial culture, and PCR analyses for common swine joint pathogens. Each pig was euthanized after SFS collection, and synovial tissue samples were collected for histologic assessment. If necessary, postmortem SFSs were collected.

RESULTS Overall, 37 of 50 tarsal and 46 of 53 carpal SFSs met inclusion criteria of sufficient volume, no gross blood contamination, and negative results of bacterial culture and PCR analyses, and were from joints with histologically normal synovial tissues. For the carpal and tarsal joints, upper reference limits were as follows: total nucleated cell count, 3,281 cells/μL and 2,368 cells/μL, respectively; total protein concentration, 3.6 g/dL and 3.6 g/dL, respectively; pH, 7.2 and 7.0, respectively; RBC count, 0.8 × 106 cells/μL and 0.1 × 106 cells/μL, respectively; and percentage of neutrophils, 46.5% and 33.7%, respectively; percentage of lymphocytes, 40.6% and 56.3%, respectively; and percentage of large mononuclear cells, 92.0% and 95.3%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results have provided reference intervals for selected variables in SFSs obtained from the carpal and the tarsal joints of healthy swine, which should be useful in diagnostic investigations of swine lameness and arthritis.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research