Use of ropes to collect oral fluids from gestating sows housed in dynamic groups and fed via electronic sow feeder
Meghann K. Pierdon, VMD; Amy L. Martell, VMD; Thomas D. Parsons, VMD, PhD, DACAW
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Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to understand how group-housed sows interact with ropes as a tool for collecting oral fluids. The secondary objective was to provide evidence that oral fluids collected from gestating sows housed in pre-implantation dynamic groups can be a useful sample for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) surveillance.
Materials and methods: Oral-fluid samples were collected 1 day per week for 3 weeks at a 750-sow PRRS-negative facility with two pens housing pre-implantation dynamic groups for gestating sows fed via an electronic sow feeder (ESF) system. Ropes were placed and activity filmed with handheld cameras. Videos were analyzed for number of sows to chew, time to first chew (TFC), and number of aggressive events. Serum samples were collected from a subset of sows that had contributed oral fluids on this farm, as well as from sows on a second similar farm that was PRRS-positive.
Results: The average number of sows contacting a rope during sampling was 19.9 ± 1.2 (n = 13 videos). Repeated sampling significantly influenced TFC (Kruskal-Wallis; P < .05). Oral-fluid PRRS enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay sample-to-positive (S:P) ratios for individual ropes correlated with the mean serum S:P ratio of a subset of 10 sows that contacted the rope.
Implication: Rope sampling will likely provide a method for readily collecting oral-fluid samples from sows housed in dynamic groups and fed with an ESF.
Keywords: group housing, oral fluids, pen gestation, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus testing, PRRS, PRRSV
Cite as: Pierdon MK, Martell AL, Parsons TD. Use of ropes to collect oral fluids from gestating sows housed in dynamic groups and fed via electronic sow feeder. J Swine Health Prod 2016;24(5):246-252.
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