Collecting oral fluid samples from due-to-wean litters
Oral fluids are a common diagnostic sample in group-housed nursery, grow-finish, and adult swine. Although oral fluids from due-to-wean litters could be a valuable tool in monitoring pathogens and predicting the health status of pig populations post-weaning, it is generally not done because of inconsistent success in sample collection. The objective of this study was to determine the optimum procedure for collecting oral fluid samples from due-to-wean litters. Successful collection of oral fluids from due-to-wean litters using "Litter Oral Fluid" (LOF) or "Family Oral Fluid" (FOF) sampling techniques were compared in 4 phases involving 920 attempts to collect oral fluids. Phase 1 testing showed that prior exposure to a rope improved the success rates of both LOF (33.4%) and FOF (16.4%) techniques. Phase 2 determined that longer access to the rope (4 hours vs 30 minutes) did not improve the success rate for either LOF or FOF. Phase 3 evaluated the effect of attractants and found that one (Baby Pig Restart®) improved the success rate when used with the FOF technique. Phase 4 compared the success rates of "optimized LOF" (litters previously trained) vs "optimized FOF" (litter previously trained and rope treated with Baby Pig Restart®) vs standard FOF. No difference was found between the FOF-based techniques, but both were superior to the "optimized LOF" technique. Thus, FOF-based procedures provided a significantly higher probability of collecting oral fluids from due-to-wean litters (mean success rate 84.9%, range 70% to 92%) when compared to LOF-based methods (mean success rate 24.1%, range 16.5% to 32.2%).
This is a manuscript of an article published as Almeida, M. N., H. Rotto, P. Schneider, C. Robb, J. J. Zimmerman, D. J. Holtkamp, C. J. Rademacher, and D. C. L. Linhares. "Collecting oral fluid samples from due-to-wean litters." Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2019): 104810. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.104810. Posted with permission.