Poor reproductive performance in pigs - a case series study

Martinez, T A and Nevel, A and Twomey, D F and McGowan, M R (2008) Poor reproductive performance in pigs - a case series study. Pig Journal, 61. pp. 49-56.

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Abstract

This study was conducted in response to widespread reports from practising veterinarians in England and Wales of severe, non-specific infertility in pigs. The objective was to determine whether a distinct syndrome existed and to identify potential risk factors for further investigation. A case series approach was taken, to recruit up to 20 herds that could demonstrate an infertility problem during October-December 2003. Practising veterinarians completed questionnaires and obtained blood samples from each farm. After extensive advertising, 7 farms were enrolled in the study. Inadequacies of herd management software programmes limited the identification of risk factors for infertility. Returns to first service increased 4-23%, and farrowing rates decreased 6-18%, compared with the previous year. Serological evidence of porcine parvovirus, swine influenza, erysipelas and Porcine Circovirus Type 2 was detected on all farms and of leptospirosis and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome on some farms. No sow tested positive to the notifiable diseases Classical Swine Fever, Aujeszky's Disease or brucellosis. Potential non-infectious causes of infertility included extended semen storage times, social interactions, limited boar contact and lax biosecurity. The case-series approach was limited by lack of participation and inadequate software packages. However, potential risk factors were identified for further investigation, and the benefit of a whole herd approach was demonstrated.