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Evaluation of the acute phase protein haptoglobin as an indicator of herd health in slaughter pigs

By A. van den Berg, J. Danuser, J. Frey, G. Regula

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Health is an important aspect of animal welfare, which is difficult to assess at herd level. Clinical examination of individual animals is time-consuming, and most measures of clinical herd health depend significantly on the examiner. Acute phase proteins are produced during inflammatory processes, and could therefore be used as general markers of infection and injury. Our objective was to evaluate whether haptoglobin could be used to monitor the health status of herds at slaughter. 107 groups of 20 slaughter pigs each were examined at two large abattoirs. Clinical signs of tail biting, lameness, injuries, abscesses, pneumonia, pleurisy, hepatitis and gastritis were recorded. The association between elevated haptoglobin concentration in meat juice samples and clinical signs was assessed via multiple logistic regression. Pigs from groups in which tail biting, lameness, othaematomas, abscesses, pneumonia, pleurisy, pericarditis or condemnations of livers, lungs or carcasses occurred, showed higher levels of haptoglobin than pigs from slaughter groups without any of these clinical signs. In the multiple regression model, only the variables of lameness and tail biting were statistically significant. The haptoglobin test classified 66% of all slaughter groups correctly according to the presence of these clinical signs. These results demonstrate the potential for haptoglobin to be used as a screening test to identify problem herds at slaughter.

Date 2007
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 16
Issue 2
Pages 157-159
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Swiss Federal Veterinary Office, Schwarzenburgstr. 155, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Acute disease
  2. Animal diseases
  3. Animal health and hygiene
  4. Animal immunology
  5. Animal nutrition
  6. Animal rights
  7. Animal slaughter
  8. Animal welfare
  9. Blood
  10. Carcasses
  11. Clinical aspects
  12. Communicable disease
  13. Evaluation
  14. Health
  15. Immunology
  16. Infections
  17. Infectious diseases
  18. Lameness
  19. Liver
  20. Lungs
  21. Mammals
  22. Markers
  23. Meat animals
  24. Meat production
  25. monitoring
  26. pathogens
  27. peer-reviewed
  28. Pneumonia
  29. screening
  30. slaughterhouses
  31. surveillance
  32. Swine
  33. trauma
  34. Virus diseases
  1. peer-reviewed