Toxoplasma gondii in U.S. swine operations: An assessment of herd factors
This study showed a positive relationship between sows or herds testing positive for Toxoplasma gondii and three factors: 1) method of rodent control, 2) type of production facility, and 3) access of certain animals (cats, dogs, birds) to production facilities. These data indicate that it will be difficult eliminate T. gondii from swine herds which allow cats, dogs or birds access to facilities. While cat or dog access to most facilities can be controlled to a degree by not permitting cats or dogs around the operation, it is impossible to exclude stray cats or dogs from open facilities, lots, or pastures. Similarly, control of bird access is even more difficult, as birds freely move between accessible facilities. Use of cats as a method of rodent control should be discouraged. We found a strong association between use of "bait only" for rodent control and the herd testing negative as compared to the use of "cats only" for rodent control. Greater industry awareness is needed for methods of rodent control through the use of baits.