Comparison of serologic testing and slaughter evaluation for assessing the effects of subclinical infection on growth in pigs

Gertraud Regula DVM, MS1,2, Carol A. Lichtensteiger DVM, PhD, DACVP3, Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla DVM, MS4, Gail Scherba DVM, PhD5, Gay Y. Miller DVM, PhD6, and Ronald M. Weigel PhD7
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 2 Present address is Swiss Federal Veterinary Office, Schwarzenburgstr 161, 3003 Bern, Switzerland.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 7 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

Abstract

Objective—To compare serologic testing with slaughter evaluation in assessing effects of subclinical infection on average daily weight gain (ADG) in pigs.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—18 cohorts (30 to 35 pigs/cohort) of pigs on 7 farms.

Procedure—Blood samples were collected, and pigs were weighed at 8, 16, and 24 weeks of age. Sera were tested for antibodies to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), swine influenza virus (SIV), transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), pseudorabies virus, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. At slaughter, skin, nasal turbinates, lungs, and liver were examined. Associations between ADG and results of serologic testing and slaughter evaluation were examined by use of multiple linear regression.

Results—Pathogens that had a significant effect on any given farm during any given year and the magnitude of that effect varied. However, at 16 and 24 weeks of age, a higher antibody titer was consistently associated with a lower ADG. Mean differences in ADG between seropositive and seronegative pigs were 18 g/d (0.04 lb/d) for SIV, 40 g/d (0.09 lb/d) for PRRSV, 38 g/d (0.08 lb/d) for M hyopneumoniae, and 116 g/d (0.26 lb/d) for TGEV. Of the evaluations performed at slaughter, only detection of lung lesions was consistently associated with a decrease in ADG.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that subclinical infection with any of a variety of pathogens commonly found in swine herds was associated with a decrease in ADG. Serologic testing was more effective than slaughter evaluation in assessing the impact of subclinical infection on ADG in these pigs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:888–895)

Abstract

Objective—To compare serologic testing with slaughter evaluation in assessing effects of subclinical infection on average daily weight gain (ADG) in pigs.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—18 cohorts (30 to 35 pigs/cohort) of pigs on 7 farms.

Procedure—Blood samples were collected, and pigs were weighed at 8, 16, and 24 weeks of age. Sera were tested for antibodies to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), swine influenza virus (SIV), transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), pseudorabies virus, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. At slaughter, skin, nasal turbinates, lungs, and liver were examined. Associations between ADG and results of serologic testing and slaughter evaluation were examined by use of multiple linear regression.

Results—Pathogens that had a significant effect on any given farm during any given year and the magnitude of that effect varied. However, at 16 and 24 weeks of age, a higher antibody titer was consistently associated with a lower ADG. Mean differences in ADG between seropositive and seronegative pigs were 18 g/d (0.04 lb/d) for SIV, 40 g/d (0.09 lb/d) for PRRSV, 38 g/d (0.08 lb/d) for M hyopneumoniae, and 116 g/d (0.26 lb/d) for TGEV. Of the evaluations performed at slaughter, only detection of lung lesions was consistently associated with a decrease in ADG.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that subclinical infection with any of a variety of pathogens commonly found in swine herds was associated with a decrease in ADG. Serologic testing was more effective than slaughter evaluation in assessing the impact of subclinical infection on ADG in these pigs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:888–895)