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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2018

Authors: Krauss, I; Schwarz, L; Schodl, K; Knecht, C; Brunthaler, R; Metzler-Zebeli, B; Leeb, C; Hennig-Pauka, I

Title: Assessing Gastric Ulceration In Fattening Pigs Housed Without Or With Straw And Additional Space - A Macroscopic And Microscopic Study On A Conventional Austrian Farm.

Source: Slov Vet Res. 2018; 55(2): 91-100.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Brunthaler Rene
Hennig-Pauka Isabel
Knecht Christian
Krauss Ines
Metzler-Zebeli Barbara
Schwarz Lukas

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds
Institute of Pathology
University Clinic for Swine

Gastric ulcerations in finishing pigs can cause growth restriction, sudden death and contamination of the carcass by invading microorganisms. The aim of the study was to compare macroscopic and histological findings of the stomach mucosa in fattening pigs kept at 1m(2)/pig and provided with long straw (10 groups, 113 pigs) with a control group kept at 0.7m(2)/pig without straw (11 groups, 120 pigs). At slaughter, the gastric health of pigs was assessed by macroscopic and histological scoring of 233 stomachs ranging from 0(no alteration of mucosa) to 3 (ulceration). Gastric scores were correlated with organ alterations, carcass lesions and blood parameters. Based onto histological findings after gold standard sensitivity and specificity of macroscopic findings for ulceration (score 3) were 53% and 98%, respectively. While the extent of mucosal alterations can be assessed by macroscopic scoring easily atslaughter, histological examination reveals the depth of alterations. Median group prevalences of gastric ulcerations diagnosed by macroscopic examination were 5% in the control group (range 0-40%) and 18% in the straw group (range 0-50%), with no significant difference between both groups. Macroscopic scores were significantly higher in the straw group. Prevalence of ear-tip lesions was positively correlated with gastric health (p < 0.05). Analysis of particle size distribution in feed revealed, that more than 50% of the feed consist of particles with less than 0.5 mm in diameter. The fine-ground diet in this herd was therefore identified as an important risk factor for the development of gastric ulceration on this farm. As a conclusion, the known risk factor of a high proportion of small particles in diet was not compensated by possible positive effects of straw and more space, and should be eliminated with high priority.

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