Collecting Oral Fluid Samples from Due-to-Wean Litters

Oral fluids are a common diagnostic sample in group-housed nursery, grow-finish, and adult swine. Although oral fluids from due-to-wean litters could be a valuable tool in monitoring pathogens and predicting the health status of pig populations post-weaning, it is generally not done because of inconsistent success in sample collection. The objective of this study was to determine the optimum procedure for collecting oral fluid samples from due-to-wean litters. Successful collection of oral fluids from due-to-wean litters using "Litter Oral Fluid" (LOF) or "Family Oral Fluid" (FOF) sampling techniques were compared in 4 phases involving 920 attempts to collect oral fluids. Phase 1 testing showed that prior exposure to a rope improved the success rates of both LOF (33.4%) and FOF (16.4%) techniques. Phase 2 determined that longer access to the rope (4 h vs 30 min) did not improve the success rate for either LOF or FOF. Phase 3 evaluated the effect of attractants and found that one (Baby Pig Restart®) improved the success rate when used with the FOF technique. Phase 4 compared the success rates of "optimized LOF" (litters previously trained) vs "optimized FOF" (litter previously trained and rope treated with Baby Pig Restart®) vs standard FOF. No difference was found between the FOF-based techniques, but both were superior to the "optimized LOF" technique. Thus, FOF-based procedures provided a significantly higher probability of collecting oral fluids from due-to-wean litters (mean success rate 84.9%, range 70% to 92%) when compared to LOF-based methods (mean success rate 24.1%, range 16.5% to 32.2%).

Almeida M, Rotto H, Schneider P, Robb C, Zimmerman J, Holtkamp D, Rademacher C, Linhares D. Collecting oral fluid samples from due-to-wean litters. Prev Vet Med. 2020 Jan.