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Title: Quantifying the health challenges in an Australian piggery using medication records for the definition of disease resilience
Contributor(s): Guy, Sarita Z Y  (author)orcid ; Li, Li  (author); Thomson, Peter C (author); Hermesch, Susanne  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2019-03
Early Online Version: 2019-01-30
DOI: 10.1093/jas/skz025
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Abstract: Disease resilience is the ability to maintain performance and health, despite infection challenges in the environment. The evaluation of disease resilience requires measures of environment infection challenges, along with other environmental challenges. The overall objective of this study was to define disease resilience using pedigree, production, and medication records from an Australian herd of Large White pigs. The extent to which the infection challenges were captured by environmental descriptors based on contemporary group (CG) estimates of growth was assessed (n = 8,835). There were moderately negative linear relationships (r = -0.29, p = 0.08) between CG estimates (39 CGs) of growth and the frequency of medicated pigs (n = 812 medicated pigs). This suggests that CG estimates of growth partly capture health challenges. However, because the health challenges were not of the pathogenic nature for this herd, these environmental descriptors may not be appropriate for the evaluation of disease resilience. Subsequently, an alternative approach to select for health was provided, where health was defined as a binary outcome of medication status, fitted in a generalized linear mixed sire model. Two health-trait definitions were explored, which differed in the number of control (nonmedicated) pigs per litter. The ‘reduced-control’ health trait had a representative sample of littermates with available performance records, and the ‘full-control’ health trait included all piglets weaned per litter (i.e., performance-tested and non-performance-tested pigs). All 812 medicated pigs had performance records available. The remaining 8,023 pigs in the reduced-control and 21,352 pigs in the full-control health traits were assumed to have not been medicated (controls). Male pigs from litters with a higher number of postweaning deaths were more likely to be medicated for both health traits. Heritability was consistent for both trait definitions, at 0.06 ± 0.04 (± SE) (reduced-control) and 0.04 ± 0.03 (full-control). While results may be specific for individual herds depending on health status, these estimates align with those presented in literature for other health traits. Together, these results demonstrate that routinely collected medication records may be useful for pig breeding programs and their economic importance and genetic background should be explored further.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Animal Science, 97(3), p. 1076-1089
Publisher: American Society of Animal Science
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1525-3163
Field of Research (FOR): 070201 Animal Breeding
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 830308 Pigs
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU)
Journal Article

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