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Prev Vet Med. 2001 Jul 19;50(1-2):153-64.

Risk factors for intestinal pathogens in Danish finishing pig herds.

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Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Epidemiology, 27 Bülowsvej, DK-1790 V, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The objective of this investigation was to identify risk factors for infection with the intestinal bacteria: Lawsonia intracellularis, Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, Serpulina intermedia, Brachyspira innocens, Brachyspira pilosicoli and swine-pathogenic Escherichia coli (serogroups O138, O139, O141 and O149) in Danish finishing pig herds.A total of 79 herds was randomly selected and visited during 1998. From each herd, 20 faecal samples were collected from individual pigs weighing 30-50 kg. In total, 1580 faecal samples were collected and examined by polymerase chain reaction (L. intracellularis) or culture (all other agents). Information on feed and management procedures was collected by filling in questionnaires at the herd visits. The questionnaires included information on 29 dichotomous variables and three continuous variables. Variables with P<0.25 in a preliminary screening (chi2- or t-test) were selected for the statistical modelling. Our conclusions, based on the results of multifactorial logistic regression (cut-off: P=0.05), were the following: 1. Consistent batch production was associated with reduced prevalences of L. intracellularis and weakly -haemolytic spirochetes (S. intermedia, B. innocens, B. pilosicoli) (OR's=0.43 and 0.06, respectively). 2. Home-mixed (and/or non-pelleted) feed was associated with reduced prevalences of L. intracellularis and weakly -haemolytic spirochetes (OR's=0.6 and 0.4, respectively). 3. Providing straw to finishers was associated with a reduced prevalence of weakly -haemolytic spirochetes (OR=0.28-0.32). 4. Not using antimicrobial growth promoters for piglets was associated with an increased prevalence of S. intermedia (OR=11.11). 5. Rare occurrence of post-weaning diarrhoea (as opposed to common) was associated with an increased prevalence of weakly -haemolytic spirochetes (OR=8.3-13.7).

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