Publications by authors named "Olli Peltoniemi"

37 Publications

Antimicrobial use, biosecurity, herd characteristics, and antimicrobial resistance in indicator Escherichia coli in ten Finnish pig farms.

Prev Vet Med 2021 Jun 10;193:105408. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.

We investigated connections between antimicrobial use (AMU), biosecurity, and the numbers of pigs and staff in ten Finnish farrow-to-finish herds. Data on AMU in each herd were collected for 12 months. AMU was quantified as treatment incidences per 1000 days at risk (TI) using the consensus defined daily dose calculation. Biosecurity was scored using the Biocheck.UGent™ system. We also examined antimicrobial resistance patterns of indicator E. coli isolated from faeces of selected pigs. In each herd, two groups of five pigs were formed: 1) antimicrobial treatment group (ANT: at least one pig in the litter was identified as sick and treated with antimicrobials) and 2) non-antimicrobial treatment group (NON: the litter was not medicated). Faecal samples were taken from these pigs at 5 and 22 weeks of age, cultured, and indicator E. coli isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibilities. The AMU varied considerably between the herds. Altogether, most of the antimicrobial treatment courses were assigned to weaned piglets. When AMU was quantified as TIs, suckling piglets had the highest TI (mean 46.6), which was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than TIs in fatteners and breeders (9.3 and 7.3, respectively). The difference between TI in suckling and TI in weaned piglets (19.1) was not statistically significant. There was a tendency for a negative correlation between the TI in breeders and the number of sows (r = -0.56, P = 0.09). Larger herds had higher external biosecurity scores than smaller herds (LS-means; 72 vs. 66, P < 0.05). The proportions of E. coli isolates resistant to at least one antimicrobial were higher in pigs at 5 weeks than in pigs at 22 weeks of age (Binomial proportion means; 40.5 % vs. 15.5 %, P < 0.05); as well as proportions of isolates resistant to at least three antimicrobial classes (23.0 % vs. 3.7 %, P < 0.01). These proportions did not differ between the ANT and NON groups at either 5 or 22 weeks of age (P> 0.05). We found few connections: enhanced external biosecurity levels found in the large herds co-occurred with lower use of antimicrobials and herds with low biosecurity scores - especially in the internal subcategories - appeared to have higher proportions of resistant isolates. Conclusively, we suggest that enhancing internal biosecurity might contribute to a reduction in the spreading of antimicrobial resistance in pig herds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2021.105408DOI Listing
June 2021

Coping with large litters: management effects on welfare and nursing capacity of the sow.

J Anim Sci Technol 2021 Mar 31;63(2):199-210. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea.

A number of management issues can be used as drivers for change in order to improve animal welfare and nursing capacity of the hyperprolific sow. Group housing of sows during gestation is a recommended practice from the perspective of animal welfare. Related health issues include reproductive health and the locomotor system. It appears that management of pregnant sows in groups is challenging for a producer and considerable skill is required. We explored the benefits and challenges of group housing, including feeding issues. Increasing litter size requires additional attention to the mammary gland and its ability to provide sufficient nursing for the growing litter. We discuss the fundamentals of mammary development and the specific challenges related to the hyperprolific sow. We also address challenges with the farrowing environment. It appears that the old-fashioned farrowing crate is not only outdated in terms of welfare from the public's perspective, but also fails to provide the environment that the sow needs to support her physiology of farrowing, nursing, and maternal behaviour. Studies from our group and others indicate that providing the sow with a loose housing system adequate in space and nesting material, along with reasonable chance for isolation, can be considered as fundamental for successful farrowing of the hyperprolific sow. It has also been shown that management strategies, such as split suckling and cross fostering, are necessary to ensure proper colostrum intake for all piglets born alive in a large litter. We thus conclude that welfare and nursing capacity of the sow can be improved by management. However, current megatrends such as the climate change may change sow management and force the industry to rethink goals of breeding and, for instance, breeding for better resilience may need to be included as goals for the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5187/jast.2021.e46DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8071737PMC
March 2021

Coping with large litters: the management of neonatal piglets and sow reproduction.

J Anim Sci Technol 2021 Jan 31;63(1):1-15. Epub 2021 Jan 31.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus 04920, Finland.

As a result of intensive breeding, litter size has considerably increased in pig production over the last three decades. This has resulted in an increase in farrowing complications. Prolonged farrowing will shorten the window for suckling colostrum and reduce the chances for high-quality colostrum intake. Studies also agree that increasing litter sizes concomitantly resulted in decreased piglet birth weight and increased within-litter birth weight variations. Birth weight, however, is one of the critical factors affecting the prognosis of colostrum intake, and piglet growth, welfare, and survival. Litters of uneven birth weight distribution will suffer and lead to increased piglet mortality before weaning. The proper management is key to handle the situation. Feeding strategies before farrowing, management routines during parturition (e.g., drying and moving piglets to the udder and cross-fostering) and feeding an energy source to piglets after birth may be beneficial management tools with large litters. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)-driven recovery from energy losses during lactation appears critical for supporting follicle development, the viability of oocytes and embryos, and, eventually, litter uniformity. This paper explores certain management routines for neonatal piglets that can lead to the optimization of their colostrum intake and thereby their survival in large litters. In addition, this paper reviews the evidence concerning nutritional factors, particularly lactation feeding that may reduce the loss of sow body reserves, affecting the growth of the next oocyte generation. In conclusion, decreasing birth weight and compromised immunity are subjects warranting investigation in the search for novel management tools. Furthermore, to increase litter uniformity, more focus should be placed on nutritional factors that affect IGF-1-driven follicle development before ovulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5187/jast.2021.e3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7882835PMC
January 2021

Diagnosis of endometritis and cystitis in sows: use of biomarkers.

J Anim Sci 2020 Aug;98(Suppl 1):S107-S116

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus, Finland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skaa144DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7433928PMC
August 2020

Management practices to optimize the parturition process in the hyperprolific sow.

J Anim Sci 2020 Aug;98(Suppl 1):S96-S106

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus, Finland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skaa140DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7433923PMC
August 2020

Developments of reproductive management and biotechnology in the pig.

Anim Reprod 2019 Oct 23;16(3):524-538. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Department Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.

This review aims to describe changes in production environment, management tools and technology to alleviate problems seen with the present hyperprolific sow model. Successful parturition in the pig includes the possibility to express adequate maternal behaviour, rapid expulsion of piglets, complete expulsion of placenta, elimination of uterine contamination and debris, neonatal activity and colostrum intake. We focus on management of large litters, including maternal behaviour, ease of parturition, colostrum production, piglet quality parameters and intermittent suckling. There are also some interesting developments in technology to assess colostrum and immune state of the piglet. These developments may be utilized to improve the success rate of reproductive management around farrowing, lactation and after weaning. We also discuss new insights in how to examine the health of the mammary gland, uterus and ovaries of hyperprolific sows. Finally, we assess the latest developments on breeding and technology of hyperprolific sows, including artificial insemination (AI), real-time ultrasound of the genital tract and embryo transfer (ET). We conclude that 1) for the sow to produce sufficient colostrum, both the behavioural and physiological needs of the sow need to be met before and after parturition. Furthermore, 2) new ultrasound and biopsy technology can be effectively applied for accurate diagnosis of inflammatory processes of the udder and uterus and timing of AI regarding ovulation to improve insemination efficiency. Finally, 3) developments in cryopreservation of germ cells and embryos appear promising but lack of valid oocyte collection techniques and nonsurgical ET techniques are a bottleneck to commercial ET. These latest developments in management of parturition and reproductive technology are necessary to cope with the increasing challenges associated with very large litter sizes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21451/1984-3143-AR2019-0055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7234181PMC
October 2019

Progesterone and Luteinizing hormone secretion patterns in early pregnant gilts.

Reprod Domest Anim 2020 Jul 5;55(7):795-804. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus, Finland.

We studied luteinizing hormone (LH) pulsatility and episodic progesterone release of the corpus luteum (CL) on Day 11 and Day 21 in inseminated gilts and aimed to establish a relationship between these two hormones. Blood was collected at 15-min intervals for 12 hr on Days 11, 16 and 21 from a vena cava caudalis catheter. At euthanasia, eight gilts were pregnant and six gilts were not pregnant. Progesterone parameters (basal, mean, pulse frequency and pulse amplitude) did not differ between pregnant and non-pregnant gilts on Day 11, LH pulse frequency and amplitude tended to differ (p = .07 and p = .079). In pregnant gilts, basal and mean progesterone, progesterone pulse amplitude and frequency declined significantly from Day 11 to Day 21 (p < .05). A significant decline was also seen in the LH pulse amplitude from Day 11 to Day 21 (p < .05). None of the LH pulses was followed by a progesterone pulse within 1 hr on Day 21. On Day 11 and Day 21 appeared a synchronicity in the LH pulse pattern, as there were two or three LH pulses in 12 hr and these LH pulses appeared in the same time window. We conclude that on Day 11 and Day 21 of pregnancy in gilts, progesterone pulses do not follow an LH pulse within one hour. Further we demonstrated that the successful or not successful formation of a CL of pregnancy is independent of progesterone release on Day 11 after insemination. We confirmed the decline of progesterone from Day 11 to Day 21 in the vena cava caudalis and could demonstrate that this decline is partly due to lower progesterone pulse amplitude and frequency and that the decline occurs simultaneously with a decline in LH pulse amplitude.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/rda.13686DOI Listing
July 2020

Pathological findings in spontaneously dead and euthanized sows - a descriptive study.

Porcine Health Manag 2019 20;5:25. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

2Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Paroninkuja 20, Saarentaus, 04920 Mäntsälä, Finland.

Background: A high rate of euthanized and spontaneously dead sows causes production losses and likely indicates underlying welfare problems. Identification of predisposing factors to on-farm deaths requires a thorough understanding of the causes. Post-mortem examination is needed for a proper diagnosis. The aims of this descriptive study were to determine causes of spontaneous deaths and euthanasia in sows in a convenience sample of Finnish herds and to describe pathological findings in the locomotor system and in teeth and gums.

Results: This study described post-mortem findings in 65 sows found dead or euthanized on 15 farms. All but one of the sows presented with two or more pathological findings. The majority of primary pathologic-anatomic diagnoses (PAD-1) were inflammatory. The most prevalent diagnoses were arthritis and peritonitis (9% of sows each). The locomotor system was the body part most commonly affected by lesions. Findings in the locomotor system unassociated with death were present in 85% of the animals, additionally 29% of PAD-1 s concerned the locomotor system. The prevalence for both degenerative joint disease and tooth wear was 71%. Farmers had noted clinical signs within 30 days of death in every euthanized sow and in half of the spontaneously dead ones. The farmer's impression of the cause of death agreed at least partly with the PAD-1 in 44% of the cases.

Conclusion: Multiple pathologies were the norm in the present animals. This may indicate an extended course of illness and therefore also an unnecessary delay in medical treatment or euthanasia. The prevalence and clinical relevance of the most common disorders, including degenerative joint disease and tooth wear, need to be elucidated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40813-019-0132-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6864960PMC
November 2019

Principles and Clinical Uses of Real-Time Ultrasonography in Female Swine Reproduction.

Animals (Basel) 2019 Nov 11;9(11). Epub 2019 Nov 11.

New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 382 West Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348, USA.

Within the past 30 years, through ongoing technology and portability developments, real-time (b-mode) ultrasonography (RTU) has increasingly become a valuable diagnostic tool in assessing the female reproductive tract in swine. Initially applied in swine production to visually determine pregnancy status, RTU use has expanded to include assessment of the peri-pubertal and mature non-pregnant females as well. Transabdominal and transrectal modalities to visualizing the reproductive tract in swine have been reported with the transabdominal approach more common due to the fact of its ease of accessibility, animal/personnel safety, and reduced time to perform. Adjustable frequency transducers are preferred as they allow optimization of image quality at various depths. If a single transducer frequency must be selected, a 5 MHz probe provides the best versatility for visualizing the reproductive tract in swine. Other basic requirements for ultrasound equipment which will be used on commercial swine farms include being light weight and easy to handle, readily cleanable and disinfectable, long battery-life, and good durability. When using RTU for pregnancy determination, diagnosis is based upon a combination of the animal's breeding records, the presence of embryonic fluid, and, depending upon gestational stage, fetal structures. If RTU is used as a diagnostic tool in assessing reproductive problems in an individual or a group of animals, sonographic evaluation of both the uterus and ovaries is performed. Tissues are delineated and assessed based upon their echogenicity, echotexture, and size. Uses of RTU in clinical practice may include assessment of delayed puberty, prolonged wean-to-estrus interval, absence of post-weaning estrus, herd disruptions in conception and farrowing rates, vulval discharge, peripartum and puerperal disorders. This review aims to provide an overview on principles and clinical uses of RTU with respect to application to address female reproductive performance issues in commercial swine operations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani9110950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6912286PMC
November 2019

The challenge of large litters on the immune system of the sow and the piglets.

Reprod Domest Anim 2019 Sep;54 Suppl 3:12-21

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The use of hyperprolific sow lines has increased litter size considerably in the last three decades. Nowadays, in some countries litters can reach up to 18-20 piglets being a major challenge for the sow's physiology during pregnancy, parturition and lactation. The increased number of piglets born per litter prolongs sensibly the duration of farrowing, decreases the piglets' average weight at birth and their vitality, increases the competition for colostrum intake and can affect negatively piglets' survival. This review aims to describe how large litters can affect the immune system of the sow and the piglets and proposes measures to improve this condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/rda.13463DOI Listing
September 2019

Structural characterization of piglet producing farms and their sow removal patterns in Finland.

Porcine Health Manag 2019 31;5:12. Epub 2019 May 31.

1Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Production Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Paroninkuja 20, 04920, Saarentaus, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: The main objectives of this observational, cross-sectional study were to characterize piglet producing farms in Finland and to investigate how farm profiles are associated with sow culling and mortality.The study was conducted on 43 farms during 2014. A questionnaire survey was administered in-person and supplemented with observations in the housing facilities. Annual removal figures and average monthly sow inventories were retrieved from a centralized animal data recording system (National Swine Registry) administered by the Finnish Food Authority. Multiple correspondence analysis and hierarchical clustering were used to explore the complex underlying data-driven patterns.

Results: Sow removal varied markedly between farms with an overall average culling percentage of 38.0% (95% CI 34.1-42.0) and a relatively high average mortality percentage 9.7% (95% CI 7.9-11.5). We identified three farm clusters, which differed both in their typologies and removal patterns. Cluster 1 included farms with features indicative of a semi-intensive or intensive kind of farming, such as larger herd and room sizes, higher stocking density and more sows per caretaker. Most of the cluster 1 farms exceeded the investigated cut-off levels for culling and mortality. Cluster 2 farms were estimated to have the best animal welfare among the sample farms based on a combination of environmental indicators (e.g. amount of bedding, rooting and nesting materials, space allowance, pen cleanliness) and the lowest level of sow mortality as an animal-based indicator. Cluster 3 farms followed a strategy of a rather non-intensified system based on the predominance of smaller herd size, lower stocking density and less sows per caretaker, combined breeding and gestation rooms and rare use of farrowing induction. This cluster showed the lowest culling levels within the sample.

Conclusions: This study captures the diversity among Finnish sow farms and provides a baseline assessment of their practices and facilities. Our results support the notion that farm typologies are associated with sow culling and mortality. In summary, the control of suboptimal sow removal cannot be based on single improvements only, because of other limitations within the individual farm resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40813-019-0119-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6540429PMC
May 2019

Behavioural alterations in piglets after surgical castration: Effects of analgesia and anaesthesia.

Res Vet Sci 2019 Aug 16;125:36-42. Epub 2019 May 16.

Production Animal Hospital, Department of Production Animal Medicine, P.O. Box 66, 00014, University of Helsinki, Finland.

The present study aimed to use behavioural measures to assess pain induced by surgical castration of piglets, and evaluate the efficacy of pain-relief medications. In total, 143 male piglets from 29 sows were used. The treatments included: 1) non-castration (NC; n = 28), 2) castration without medication (SC; n = 29), 3) castration with meloxicam injection 0.4 mg/kg i.m. (ME; n = 28), 4) castration with 0.5 ml of 2% lidocaine in each testicle (LA; n = 29), and 5) castration with general inhalation anaesthesia using isoflurane (1.5%) and meloxicam injection (GA; n = 29). Behaviour was monitored continuously for a ten minute period one hour prior to castration (-1 h), as well as immediately (0 h), one hour (1 h), and two hours (2 h) after castration. Behaviour was also monitored twice (08:00 and 20:00) during the following day. Compared to -1 h, castration induced changes in several behavioural measures in SC piglets at 0 h, suggesting that castration was painful. Furthermore, inactive standing or sitting, tail wagging and aggressive behaviour differed between SC and NC piglets at 0 h. ME and LA piglets spent less time standing or sitting inactively, and LA and GA piglets showed more tail wagging than SC piglets at 0 h (P < 0.05 for all). No other behavioural measures differed among the various groups of castrated piglets. In conclusion, the results indicate that surgical castration is indeed painful. However, the efficacy of various pain-relief protocols in piglets shortly after castration was not verified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2019.05.009DOI Listing
August 2019

BOARD INVITED REVIEW: Immunocontraception as a possible tool to reduce feral pig populations: recent and future perspectives.

J Anim Sci 2019 May;97(6):2283-2290

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Paroninkuja Saarentaus, Finland.

The feral pig populations of many countries continue to increase. Scientific studies on population size are scarce, while the numbers of reported observations on presence of and damage caused by feral pigs are increasing. Feral pigs can carry and spread several diseases (including zoonotic), but African Swine Fever (ASF) is of most concern. It is a highly transmissible viral disease associated with an extremely high mortality rate. Since 2009 ASF has appeared in several European countries, with cases being identified first among local feral pigs and consequently in domestic pig production units, indicating a clear linkage with the movement of the feral pig population and the spread of the disease across national boundaries. Control of feral pig populations is currently under discussion. Because massive culling raises questions of animal welfare and ethics, fertility control could represent an important and effective means to control feral pig populations. Contraceptive vaccines have been used with some degree of success in many wild species because they are able to provide a long-term effect without any consequent health problems. However, extensive and efficacious use of vaccines to control feral pig populations is not simple. The aim of this article was to review the progress in immunocontraception use in feral pigs, providing an account of the current status and future perspectives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skz066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541807PMC
May 2019

GnRH-agonist deslorelin implant alters the progesterone release pattern during early pregnancy in gilts.

Reprod Domest Anim 2019 Mar 11;54(3):464-472. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus, Finland.

The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of progesterone (P) and luteinizing hormone (LH) during recognition and establishment of pregnancy in the gilt. Therefore, the effects of eliminating episodic LH pulses on P patterns were determined during early pregnancy. To this end, a slow-release GnRH implant deslorelin was used for GnRH down-regulation. A group of gilts (GnRHa, n = 8) was implanted with the GnRH-agonist on Day 11 of pregnancy, while a control group (C, n = 5) was treated with a non-impregnated placebo implant. Blood was collected via a vena cava caudalis catheter at 10-min intervals for 8 hr on Day 16 and 21 of pregnancy. As expected, the GnRH implant reduced LH secretion (p < 0.01) and abolished LH pulses completely at Day 16 and Day 21 of pregnancy. On Day 16, there was no difference in P levels between the treatments. However, on Day 21, the GnRH-agonist treatment led to significantly increased P concentrations (p < 0.01) compared with the control gilts. Progesterone was secreted in a pulsatile manner in both treatment groups and no relationship between LH pulsatility and P pulsatility was observed. In conclusion, abolishment of LH pulsatility did not affect the pulsatile pattern of P secretion but led to an unexpected overall increase in P on Day 21 of pregnancy; this effect was delayed and occurred 10 days after commencing treatment with the GnRH depot agonist. The elevation of P on Day 21 of pregnancy in the GnRHa group suggests either a reduced negative feedback effect or an increased autocrine response by the corpora lutea.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/rda.13376DOI Listing
March 2019

Sow removal in commercial herds: Patterns and animal level factors in Finland.

Prev Vet Med 2018 Nov 25;159:30-39. Epub 2018 Aug 25.

University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Paroninkuja 20, 04920 Saarentaus, Finland. Electronic address:

This observational retrospective cohort study provides benchmarking information on recent sow productivity development in Finnish herds. It focuses on parity cycle specific trends in sow removal patterns, and especially on the role of litter performance (size and piglet survival) in sow removal. In addition, the generated models offer a tool for calculating sow removal risks in any period, which could be used in economic and other simulation models. The data used in the study pool information of sows starting the same parity cycle (1 through 8) over the enrollment period of July 1st, 2013 through June 30th, 2014 and followed until the end of the study period (December 31st, 2014), and their performance histories across their entire previous productive life. Out of 71,512 individual sow parity cycle observations from the first to the eighth, 15,128 ended up in removal. Average litter sizes exceeded 13 piglets born in total in all of the most recent farrowings. Yet, even larger litter sizes were favored by the implemented culling policies, as sows having medium and large early life litters had lower risks of removal compared to those with the smallest litters, particularly in younger animals. With regard to piglets born just prior to removal, the smallest litter sizes were associated with the greatest culling risk for sows of that particular parity. In addition, having more than one stillborn piglet in the first and second litter put the sow at higher risk of being removed in all but the last (sixth through eighth) of the studied parity cycles. Investigation of removal patterns revealed a negative linear relationship between parity count and the mean days from farrowing to removal. More specifically, the median (mean) times to removal varied across the parity cycles from 62 (72) in the first to 34 days in both the seventh and eighth (47 and 42, respectively). Moreover, one in every six sows was removed within the first and second parity cycle. The findings especially in the earliest cycles may be a reflection of removal decisions not made according to any clear and pre-determined policy, or of biological issues that prevent farmers from firmly adhering to their policy. Quantitative performance should be linked to overall system functionality and profitability while taking animal welfare into consideration in identifying opportunities to improve herd parity structure and future farm success.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2018.08.010DOI Listing
November 2018

Dietary supplementation with yeast hydrolysate in pregnancy influences colostrum yield and gut microbiota of sows and piglets after birth.

PLoS One 2018 24;13(5):e0197586. Epub 2018 May 24.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus, Finland.

Dietary supplementation with yeast derivatives (YD) contributes to the health and physiology of sows and piglets, but few studies have focused on how it influences gut health and performance of sows and piglets. The goal was therefore to examine whether YD, based on brewer's yeast hydrolysate added to pregnancy diet, would affect colostrum composition, yield (CY) and gut microbiota of sows and piglets. Sows were allocated to either a control diet (n = 19) or a control diet supplemented with 2g YD/kg (n = 18) during the pregnancy. Piglets suckling belonging to the control sows (n = 114) and supplemented sows (n = 108) were also included in the study. Gut microbiota populations of sows at farrowing and piglets at one and four weeks of age were assessed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Colostrum samples were examined for nutritional composition and immunoglobulin (Ig) content. All piglets were individually weighed at birth and 24 hours later in order to calculate CY, and later at four weeks to calculate average daily gain (ADG). Protein, lactose and dry matter content of colostrum did not significantly differ between the two groups, while sows fed YD had higher levels of fat in their colostrum (P < 0.05). Immunoglobulin A, IgM and IgG levels in colostrum did not differ between the two groups (P >0.05). Colostrum yield was lower in the control than that in YD group (3701g vs. 4581 g; P <0.05). Although the YD supplementation did not change fecal bacteria diversity in sow, more beneficial and fermentative bacteria (Roseburia, Paraprevotella, Eubacterium) were found in the YD fed group (P <0.01) while, some opportunistic pathogens, including Proteobacteria, especially the genera Desulfovibrio, Escherichia/Shigella and Helicobacter, were suppressed. Piglets at one week of age from sows fed YD had more beneficial microbial populations with significant diversity and fewer opportunistic pathogens. Additionally, we established a Pearson's correlations between CY, colostrum components, piglet birth weight and fecal microbiota. Therefore, YD added to the sow diet during pregnancy increases colostrum availability and its energy content for neonate piglets, also promoting beneficial maternal microbial sources for neonate.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0197586PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5967808PMC
December 2018

Effect of oral KETOPROFEN treatment in acute respiratory disease outbreaks in finishing pigs.

Porcine Health Manag 2018 6;4. Epub 2018 Mar 6.

1Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Paroninkuja 20, 04920 Saarentaus, FI Finland.

Background: Infection with respiratory pathogens can influence production as well as animal welfare. There is an economical and ethical need to treat pigs that suffer from respiratory diseases. Our aim was the evaluation of the possible effects of oral NSAID medication given in feed in acute outbreaks of respiratory disease in finishing pigs. The short- and long-term impact of NSAID dosing on clinical signs, daily weight gain, blood parameters and behaviour of growing pigs in herds with acute respiratory infections were evaluated. Four finishing pig farms suffering from acute outbreaks of respiratory disease were visited thrice after outbreak onset (DAY 0, DAY 3 and DAY 30). Pigs with the most severe clinical signs ( = 160) were selected as representative pigs for the herd condition. These pigs were blood sampled, weighed, evaluated clinically and their behaviour was observed. After the first visit, half of the pens (five pigs per pen in four pens totalling 20 representative pigs per herd, altogether 80 pigs in four herds) were treated with oral ketoprofen (target dose 3 mg/kg) mixed in feed for three days and the other half (80 pigs) with a placebo. In three of the herds, some pigs were treated also with antimicrobials, and in one herd the only pharmaceutical treatment was ketoprofen or placebo.

Results: Compared to the placebo treatment, dosing of ketoprofen reduced sickness behaviour and lowered the rectal temperature of the pigs. Clinical signs, feed intake or blood parameters were not different between the treatment groups. Ketoprofen treatment was associated with somewhat reduced weight gain over the 30-day follow-up period. Concentration analysis of the - and -enantiomers of ketoprofen in serum samples collected on DAY 3 indicated successful oral drug administration.

Conclusions: Ketoprofen mainly influenced the behaviour of the pigs, while it had no effect on recovery from respiratory clinical signs. However, the medication may have been started after the most severe clinical phase of the respiratory disease was over, and this delay might complicate the evaluation of treatment effects. Possible negative impact of ketoprofen on production parameters requires further evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40813-018-0081-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5838944PMC
March 2018

Etiology of acute respiratory disease in fattening pigs in Finland.

Porcine Health Manag 2017 23;3:19. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Paroninkuja 20, 04920 Saarentaus, Finland.

Background: The objective of our study was to clinically and etiologically investigate acute outbreaks of respiratory disease in Finland. Our study also aimed to evaluate the clinical use of various methods in diagnosing respiratory infections under field conditions and to describe the antimicrobial resistance profile of the main bacterial pathogen(s) found during the study.

Methods: A total of 20 case herds having finishing pigs showing acute respiratory symptoms and eight control herds showing no clinical signs suggesting of respiratory problems were enrolled in the study. Researchers visited each herd twice, examining and bleeding 20 pigs per herd. In addition, nasal swab samples were taken from 20 pigs and three pigs per case herd were necropsied during the first visit. Serology was used to detect (APP), swine influenza virus (SIV), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV) and antibodies. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to investigate the presence of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in serum and SIV in the nasal and lung samples. Pathology and bacteriology, including antimicrobial resistance determination, were performed on lung samples obtained from the field necropsies.

Results: According to the pathology and bacteriology of the lung samples, APP and were the main causes of respiratory outbreaks in 14 and three herds respectively, while the clinical signs in three other herds had a miscellaneous etiology. SIV, APP and PCV2 caused concurrent infections in certain herds but they were detected serologically or with PCR also in control herds, suggesting possible subclinical infections. APP was isolated from 16 (80%) case herds. Marked resistance was observed against tetracycline for APP, some resistance was detected against trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, ampicillin and penicillin, and no resistance against florfenicol, enrofloxacin, tulathromycin or tiamulin was found. Serology, even from paired serum samples, gave inconclusive results for acute APP infection diagnosis.

Conclusions: APP was the most common cause for acute respiratory outbreaks in our study. SIV, , PCV2 and certain opportunistic bacteria were also detected during the outbreaks; however, viral pathogens appeared less important than bacteria. Necropsies supplemented with microbiology were the most efficient diagnostic methods in characterizing the studied outbreaks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40813-017-0065-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568250PMC
August 2017

Impact of group housing of pregnant sows on health.

Porcine Health Manag 2016 1;2:17. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Group housing of sows during gestation is mandatory in the EU since 2013. Compared to housing in individual crates, group housing allows the animals to express normal activity and behavior. The present paper discusses the impact of group housing on health, with emphasis on lameness, aggression and possible spread of infectious diseases. The prevalence of lameness is generally higher in sows housed in group than in sows housed individually. Floor space per sow, group size, pen design and flooring are the main factors of group housing involved in lameness development. Especially floor characteristics are important, and particular attention should be paid to the type, building material and quality of the floor, hygiene and the use of bedding such as straw or rubber mats. Aggression between sows is another critical issue in group housing systems. It occurs predominantly because of competition for access to a limited resource, or to establish a social hierarchy. Key factors to prevent aggression in group housing include gradual familiarization of unfamiliar animals, sufficient space and pen structure during initial mixing, minimizing opportunities for dominant sows to steal food from subordinates, provision of a good quality floor, environmental enrichment and use of straw bedding. Very scarce evidence-based information is available on the relationship between group housing and infectious disease. Compared to individual housing, sows in group housing have more nose-to-nose contact, and they have more oral contact with feces and urine. These factors could contribute to a higher or faster transmission of pathogens, but so far, there is no evidence showing more disease problems in group housing systems. In conclusion, in group housing systems, particular attention should be paid to prevention of lameness and aggression. Management is crucial but also feeding strategies, floor and bedding, and design of housing are very important as relatively minor adjustments may exert major effects on the animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40813-016-0032-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5382512PMC
July 2016

Reproduction of group-housed sows.

Porcine Health Manag 2016 1;2:15. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Unit of Porcine Health Management, Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University Belgium, Ghent, Belgium.

The sow is a social animal in her behavior throughout the reproductive cycle. An exception to her preference for being a part of a social group occurs one to two1-2 d days prior to farrowing, when she separates from her group and seeks for isolation in order to build up a nest. She then spends the first week or two with her piglets, mainly in the nest. After this short period of separation of 1-2 weeks, she brings her litter with her and rejoins the group. In modern intensive pig production, the sow is often restricted to an individual cage for lactation and, in many European countries, she may still spend additional periods in stalls during pregnancy. In the intensive production, isolation of the sow from the rest of the group is therefore a relatively long period of six to ten6-10 weeks, which creates a challenge for the social memory of the sow. While grouping of sows during lactation is an interesting option, until now this is encountered mostly in organic or otherwise extensive farming systems, such as outdoor farming. However, the present society is asking for more animal friendly models of production and there appears to be more need for studies of group housing issues during lactation. Grouping of sows after weaning causes stress, which imposes risks for fertility. Thus, timing of grouping is probably very critical. It is well documented that the embryonic period of the pregnancy, lasting up to Day 35, is more vulnerable for loss of pregnancy than the subsequent fetal period. There are indications that stress of grouping may cause some harm to vitality parameters of blastocysts already while at the site of fertilization in the oviduct. Later on, during the critical periods of maternal recognition of pregnancy, endocrinological models testing maintenance of pregnancy suggest that chronic stress lasting for more than two2 days may cause abortion and loss of the whole litter. However, the sow may be resistant, in terms of her reproductive function, to acute stress lasting for hours or up to a day. In conclusion, grouping of sows during lactation may be of interest in the future. At present, issues of group housed sows after weaning and early pregnancy seem to be of most practical relevance. Chronic stress of sows lasting for more than two2 days may lead to loss of the whole litter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40813-016-0033-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5382509PMC
July 2016

The effects of ovarian biopsy and blood sampling methods on salivary cortisol and behaviour in sows.

Res Vet Sci 2017 Oct 11;114:80-85. Epub 2017 Mar 11.

Production Animal Hospital, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Paroninkuja 20, 04920 Saarentaus, Finland.

In reproductive physiology research, experimental animals are often subjected to stressful procedures, including blood sampling and biopsy. In this present study, presence of pain or distress induced by four different procedures was examined using a measurement of salivary cortisol levels and activity observations in sows. The treatments were: 1) PAL: The ovary was palpated through the rectum without snaring, 2) TUB: transvaginal ultrasound-guided biopsy of the ovary was conducted without snaring, 3) SNA: a soft rope snare was placed around the maxilla, 4) CAT: A soft rope snare was placed around the maxilla, and an intravenous catheter was inserted through the ear vein of the sows. Activities, social cohesion and other pain-related behaviour, and salivary cortisol concentrations were recorded. Salivary cortisol concentrations in CAT sows increased in response to the procedure (P<0.05), whereas the other treatments did not trigger a significant response. The CAT sows had higher cortisol concentrations than the other groups for 10min after initiation of the procedures (P<0.01), and they maintained higher cortisol levels than the PAL and TUB groups 15min post-treatment (P<0.05). Furthermore, the CAT sows showed the highest frequency of head shaking (P<0.001) and trembling behaviour (P<0.05) during the 1h post-treatment. Summarizing, the catheterization procedure might induce a short-term pain or stress response during and after the procedure in terms of pain-related behaviour and salivary cortisol status. We suggest that TUB might not cause appreciable pain or distress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2017.03.004DOI Listing
October 2017

Strategic use of anti-GnRH vaccine allowing selection of breeding boars without adverse effects on reproductive or production performances.

Theriogenology 2016 Feb 21;85(3):476-82. Epub 2015 Sep 21.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus, Finland.

Boar stations raise only entire male pigs for selection as reproductive boars, but the majority of them will fail the selection process, ending at slaughter with a high risk of boar tainted meat. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a single dose of Improvac given to 16-week old boars had a negative effect on their subsequent sperm numbers and motility in 16 artificial insemination boars. We also aimed to generate more knowledge on incidence of boar taint at slaughter among Finnish pigs, compare production performances as average daily gain, feed conversion ratio, and carcass and meat quality (lean meat percentage, back fat, pH, color, androstenone, and skatole) of immunocastrated boars (n = 248) with those of entire boars (n = 268). Moreover, we aimed also to explore whether a fat biopsy taken at 16 weeks of age could already reveal the presence of boar taint compounds and be predictive of boar taint development at slaughter age. We found that 32% of entire boars (Figen Landrace, Figen Large White, and their crossbreed) slaughtered at an age of 25 weeks presented levels of androstenone and/or skatole above the threshold for boar taint in their meat. These boars (control) had higher androstenone and skatole levels in the back fat samples at slaughter (0.77 ± 0.55 and 0.09 ± 0.06 μg/g, respectively, mean ± standard deviation) than those in the immuno group (0.20 ± 0.25 and 0.06 ± 0.03 μg/g, respectively, P < 0.001). A single dose of anti-GnRH vaccine, given at 16 weeks of age, did not affect future sperm numbers and motility of boars selected for artificial insemination. We found no difference in the levels of testosterone, anti-GnRH antibodies titers, testicle morphology, and sperm numbers and motility between the boars vaccinated once, at 16 weeks of age, with anti-GnRH vaccine and the control boars (no vaccination). There were no differences in average daily gain, feed conversion ratio, lean meat percentage, and back fat between the immunocastrated boars and entire boars. Meat from immunocastrated boars had a higher pH and better color than meat from entire boars (P < 0.001), suggesting slightly improved meat quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2015.09.027DOI Listing
February 2016

Physiological indicators of stress and meat and carcass characteristics in tail bitten slaughter pigs.

Acta Vet Scand 2013 Oct 30;55:75. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Research Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P,O,Box 57, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Tail biting is a common welfare problem in pig production and in addition to being a sign of underlying welfare problems, tail biting reduces welfare in itself. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of tail biting on different pre and post mortem indicators of stress in slaughter pigs and on carcass and meat characteristics. A total of 12 tail bitten (TB) and 13 control (C) pigs from a farm with a long-term tail biting problem were selected for salivary cortisol analyses before and after transport to the slaughterhouse. After stunning, samples were taken for the analysis of serum cortisol, blood lactate, intestinal heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), and meat quality characteristics. In addition, body temperature immediately after and muscle temperature 35 min after stunning were measured, as well as lean meat percentage and carcass weight.

Results: TB pigs showed a lower cortisol response to the transport-induced stress than C pigs and also had a lower serum cortisol concentration after stunning. HSP70 content in the small intestine was higher in the TB pigs than in C pigs. TB pigs had a considerably lower carcass weight therefore produced a lower total amount of lean meat per carcass than C pigs.

Conclusions: This study suggests that prolonged or repeated stress in the form of tail biting causes a blunted stress response, possibly a sign of hypocortisolism. In addition, it underlines the importance of reducing tail biting, both from an animal welfare and an economic point-of-view.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-55-75DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176994PMC
October 2013

Effects of post-partum administration of ketoprofen on sow health and piglet growth.

Vet J 2013 Oct 17;198(1):153-7. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, P.O. Box 57, University of Helsinki, Helsinki 00014, Finland. Electronic address:

The effect of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ketoprofen on the post farrowing phase of sows was studied in a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Ketoprofen (3mg/kg) was administered intramuscularly to 20 healthy sows for 3 days post-partum (p.p.). The control group (n=20) received a saline placebo. Backfat, number of days of constipation and days before feed refusal were measured. Body condition (BCS) and shoulder sores were scored for 1 week p.p. Changes in BCS, backfat and shoulder sore scores were analysed with ANOVA. Blood was collected on days -1, 0, 5 and 14 with respect to medication. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatinine kinase (CK), haptoglobin and serum amyloid A (SAA) were quantified and analysed with a Mann-Whitney U test. BCS and backfat decreased less following ketoprofen administration than with the placebo (-0.08 ± 0.2 vs. -0.8 ± 0.2, 1.0 ± 0.8mm vs. -2.0 ± 0.9 mm, respectively; P<0.05 for both) during the first 2 weeks of lactation. The shoulder sore score deterioration was milder during days 4-6 p.p. with ketoprofen than placebo (P<0.05). Duration of constipation was shorter with ketoprofen than placebo (5.5 ± 0.3 vs. 6.4 ± 0.3 days p.p.; P<0.05). Incidences of feed refusal occurred later in the ketoprofen group than in the placebos (9.6 ± 0.9 vs. 3.8 ± 0.8 days p.p.; P<0.05). AST and SAA values were higher after ketoprofen administration than placebo on day 5 p.p. (P<0.05). It was concluded that ketoprofen appeared to benefit sows during the first 2 weeks post farrowing, but caused some tissue irritation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.06.013DOI Listing
October 2013

Quantification of Mycobacterium avium subspecies in pig tissues by real-time quantitative PCR.

Acta Vet Scand 2013 Mar 22;55:26. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, POB 66, FIN 00014, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Mycobacterioses in animals cause economical losses and certain Mycobacterium avium subspecies are regarded as potential zoonotic agents. The evaluation of the zoonotic risk caused by M. avium subspecies requires information about the quantities of Mycobacterium strains in infected animals. Because M. avium subspecies in pig tissues are difficult or even impossible to quantify by culturing, we tested the suitability of a culture-independent real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay for this purpose.

Methods: Mycobacterial DNA was extracted from porcine tissues by a novel method and quantified by Mycobacterium genus specific qPCR assay targeting the 16S rRNA gene.

Results: The response of the qPCR assay to the amount of M. avium subspecies avium mixed with porcine liver was linear in the range of approximately log105 to log107 Mycobacterium cells per 1 g of liver. The assay was validated with three other M. avium subspecies strains. When the assay was applied to porcine lymph nodes with or without visible lesions related to Mycobacterium avium subspecies infections, around 104-107 mycobacterial genomes per gram of lymph nodes were detected.

Conclusions: The qPCR assay was found to be suitable for the quantification of Mycobacterium avium subspecies in porcine lymph nodes and liver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-55-26DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3616872PMC
March 2013

Prolonged duration of farrowing is associated with subsequent decreased fertility in sows.

Theriogenology 2013 Apr 5;79(7):1095-9. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Department of Production Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Saarentaus, Finland.

In modern swine production failure of sows to become pregnant within the expected time after weaning results in major economic loss and culling of sows. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of duration of farrowing on subsequent repeat breeding rate. The study was performed in a commercial sow-pool piggery system in Finland comprising 148 sows (Yorkshire × Landrace). A multivariate analysis was undertaken on data for parity, weaning to estrus interval, boar, number of inseminations, season, sow back-fat thickness, gestation length, duration of farrowing, number of live-born piglets, number of stillborn piglets, lactation length, and number of piglets weaned. Furthermore, two farrowing systems (crate vs. pen) were investigated. A binary logistic regression was used to analyze the effect of these factors on the repeat breeding rate (pregnant vs. not pregnant at first insemination after weaning). The total duration of previous farrowing was longer in rebred sows (357 ± 207 minutes, average ± SD) than in pregnant sows (255 ± 126 minutes; P < 0.01). The other parameters were not statistically significant to the outcome of first insemination after weaning. In conclusion, we established that sows with long duration of farrowing have higher repeat breeding rate at the first insemination after weaning and could be used as an indicator for subsequent fertility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2013.02.005DOI Listing
April 2013

Enantiospecific ketoprofen concentrations in plasma after oral and intramuscular administration in growing pigs.

Acta Vet Scand 2012 Sep 21;54:55. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Ketoprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which has been widely used for domestic animals. Orally administered racemic ketoprofen has been reported to be absorbed well in pigs, and bioavailability was almost complete. The objectives of this study were to analyze R- and S-ketoprofen concentrations in plasma after oral (PO) and intra muscular (IM) routes of administration, and to assess the relative bioavailability of racemic ketoprofen for both enantiomers between those routes of administration in growing pigs.

Methods: Eleven pigs received racemic ketoprofen at dose rates of 4 mg/kg PO and 3 mg/kg IM in a randomized, crossover design with a 6-day washout period. Enantiomers were separated on a chiral column and their concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated and relative bioavailability (Frel) was determined for S and R -ketoprofen.

Results: S-ketoprofen was the predominant enantiomer in pig plasma after administration of the racemic mixture via both routes. The mean (± SD) maximum S-ketoprofen concentration in plasma (7.42 mg/L ± 2.35 in PO and 7.32 mg/L ± 0.75 in IM) was more than twice as high as that of R-ketoprofen (2.55 mg/L ± 0.99 in PO and 3.23 mg/L ± 0.70 in IM), and the terminal half-life was three times longer for S-ketoprofen (3.40 h ± 0.91 in PO and 2.89 h ± 0.85 in IM) than R-ketoprofen (1.1 h ± 0.90 in PO and 0.75 h ± 0.48 in IM). The mean (± SD) relative bioavailability (PO compared to IM) was 83 ± 20% and 63 ± 23% for S-ketoprofen and R-ketoprofen, respectively.

Conclusions: Although some minor differences were detected in the ketoprofen enantiomer concentrations in plasma after PO and IM administration, they are probably not relevant in clinical use. Thus, the pharmacological effects of racemic ketoprofen should be comparable after intramuscular and oral routes of administration in growing pigs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-54-55DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509396PMC
September 2012

Prevalence of and risk factors associated with viral and bacterial pathogens in farmed European wild boar.

Vet J 2012 Oct 17;194(1):98-101. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Paroninkuja 20, FIN-04920 Saarentaus, Finland.

The aim of this study was to estimate in farmed European wild boars the prevalence of and risk factors associated with a range of common porcine viral and bacterial infections, namely, porcine parvovirus (PPV), porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), swine influenza virus (SIV), Aujeszky's disease virus (ADV), classical swine fever virus (CSFV), swine vesicular disease virus (SVDV), coronavirus causing transmissible gastroenteritis (TGEV), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Lawsonia intracellularis, Brucella spp., and Leptospira spp. A sampling frame was compiled based on a national record of wild boar farmers, and 32 farms were surveyed. Serological screening was carried out on 303 samples from animals slaughtered between 2005 and 2008, and random-effect logistic regression models were developed for pathogens with a 'non-zero' prevalence. The apparent animal prevalence for PPV, PCV2, and L. intracellularis was 46.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 41-52%), 51.1% (95% CI 45-57%) and 59.2% (95% CI 54-65%), respectively. Apparent farm seroprevalence rates for PPV, PCV2 and Lawsonia intracellularis were 56.3% (95% CI, 39-73%), 21.9% (95% CI, 8-36%) and 78.1% (95% CI, 64-92%), respectively. No antibodies were detected against SIV, ADV, CSFV, SVDV, TGEV, PRSSV, Leptospira spp., Brucella spp., or M. hyopneumoniae. Increasing herd size, proximity to dense populations of domestic swine and later sampling times within the survey period were found to be risk factors. Overall, the seroprevalence of these pathogens in farmed wild boar was similar to that in the farmed domestic pig population in Finland. However, it is possible that the rearing of wild boars in fenced estates may predispose them to particular infections, as reflected in higher antibody titres.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.03.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7110512PMC
October 2012

Oral ketoprofen is effective in the treatment of non-infectious lameness in sows.

Vet J 2011 Oct 28;190(1):55-9. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The efficacy of ketoprofen in the treatment of non-infectious lameness in sows was examined in a double-blinded study. Two dose rates of oral ketoprofen were compared to placebo treatment over five consecutive days. Lameness was assessed with a five-grade scoring system prior to and on the last day of the treatment. The rate of treatment success was 54.3% for the ketoprofen 4mg/kg group (n=46), 53.2% for the ketoprofen 2mg/kg group (n=47) and 20.8% for the pigs in the placebo group (n=48). The difference between both ketoprofen groups and the placebo group was significant (P=0.001), but there was no difference between the two ketoprofen groups (P=0.78). Oral ketoprofen was well tolerated and no adverse events were observed. As lameness is a very common problem in sows, oral ketoprofen appeared to be a practical way to alleviate pain and improve the welfare of sows.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.09.017DOI Listing
October 2011

Comparison of variable-number tandem-repeat markers typing and IS1245 restriction fragment length polymorphism fingerprinting of Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis from human and porcine origins.

Acta Vet Scand 2010 Mar 10;52:21. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Production Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Animal mycobacterioses are regarded as a potential zoonotic risk and cause economical losses world wide. M. avium subsp. hominissuis is a slow-growing subspecies found in mycobacterial infected humans and pigs and therefore rapid and discriminatory typing methods are needed for epidemiological studies. The genetic similarity of M. avium subsp. hominissuis from human and porcine origins using two different typing methods have not been studied earlier. The objective of this study was to compare the IS1245 RFLP pattern and MIRU-VNTR typing to study the genetic relatedness of M. avium strains isolated from slaughter pigs and humans in Finland with regard to public health aspects.

Methods: A novel PCR-based genotyping method, variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) typing of eight mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units (MIRUs), was evaluated for its ability to characterize Finnish Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis strains isolated from pigs (n = 16) and humans (n = 13) and the results were compared with those obtained by the conventional IS1245 RFLP method.

Results: The MIRU-VNTR results showed a discriminatory index (DI) of 0,92 and the IS1245 RFLP resulted in DI 0,98. The combined DI for both methods was 0,98. The MIRU-VNTR test has the advantages of being simple, reproducible, non-subjective, which makes it suitable for large-scale screening of M. avium strains.

Conclusions: Both typing methods demonstrated a high degree of similarity between the strains of human and porcine origin. The parallel application of the methods adds epidemiological value to the comparison of the strains and their origins. The present approach and results support the hypothesis that there is a common source of M. avium subsp. hominissuis infection for pigs and humans or alternatively one species may be the infective source to the other.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-52-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2845136PMC
March 2010