Edema disease: A search for a genetic link

Brad T. Bosworth, DVM, PhD; Roger A. Green, DVM; and Robert B. Morrison, DVM, PhD

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Clinical observations and diagnostic tests indicated that edema disease was a major cause of death in the nursery of a small farrow-to-finish operation in southern Minnesota. One of the three boars on the farm sired a significantly higher percentage of pigs that died in the nursery in February 1992 (P<.05). Based on this clinical data, we investigated whether this boar was siring pigs with a genetic predisposition to edema disease. Pigs sired by this boar and pigs from another boar on the farm were weaned and transported to the National Animal Disease Center. Seven pigs from each boar were orogastrically challenged with an edema-disease causing strain of Escherichia coli and three pigs from each boar were challenged with a nonpathogenic strain of E. coli. Principals sired by either boar developed subclinical edema disease.The principals had reduced weight gain relative to the control pigs. Also, histologic evidence of subclinical edema disease (vascular necrosis) was noted in some of the principals sired by either boar. The boar that sired the pigs did not significantly influence susceptibility to subclinical edema disease in experimentally challenged pigs. The discrepancies between data from the farm and data from experimental challenge suggest that susceptibility to edema disease was not solely inherited from the boar.

Keywords: edema, genetics

RIS citationCite as: Bosworth BT, Green RA, Morrison RB. Edema disease: A search for a genetic link. J Swine Health Prod 1994;2(3):19-22.

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