In assessing the quality of life of farm animals, the absence of disease has been given highest priority. During the course of infection, sickness and suffering refer to a coordinated set of behavioural and physiological changes. For a better understanding and assessment of animal suffering due to infectious disease, more information on behaviour and the relationships among easily obtainable clinical/clinical-chemical parameters and behavioural indices, gained from defined model diseases is needed. Based on a well-defined model disease (Sarcocystis miescheriana), we have studied behavioural patterns (lying inactive [LYWA], activity during lying [ADLY], feeding [FEED], drinking [DRNK], rooting [ROOT], walking [WALK] and social interactions [SOCB]) of pigs during stages of health (day 0, before infection), acute disease (day 14 post-infection [p.i.]), recovery (day 28 p.i.), and chronic disease (day 42 p.i.). Data were captured from video records of 139 F2 Meishan x Pietrain crossbred pigs and associated with a set of clinical-chemical parameters (red and white blood cells, serum enzymes, serum metabolites and electrolytes). Before infection, respective time shares were 56% (LYWA), 21% (ADLY), 10% (FEED), 0.9% (DRNK), 6.3% (ROOT), 2% (WALK) and <1% (SOCB). This behavioural pattern changed distinctly during Sarcocystosis. Overall activities were reduced from 44% (day 0) to 10% (day 14 p.i.), 34% (day 28 p.i.), and 20% (day 42 p.i.). Deviation from the populations "standard" activity (before infection) could be predicted with clinical-chemical parameters (e.g. alkaline phosphatase). Further investigations on other disease models are needed to validate suitability of clinical-chemical traits in assessing suffering and welfare in diseased pigs in the future.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University, Frankfurter Strasse 112, 35392 Giessen, Germany.email@example.com|
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