August 31 – October 4
The 66th annual meeting of the European Association for Animal Production.
A new approach to the production diseases of pigs and poultry
Author: Kyriazakis, I., Sakkas, P., Edwards, S.A.
Production diseases are diseases which persist in intensive animal production systems, and the more intensive the system, the more prevalent or severe such diseases become. These diseases, such as lameness in sows and post-weaning diarrhoea in pigs, or enteritis and locomotory problems in poultry, have a great impact worldwide, because animal health and welfare is compromised, and there is a loss in performance, involving increased mortality and morbidity. Production diseases usually originate from a complex interaction of genetics, environment and pathogens. In the past efforts to control them have focused on controlling either the pathogen or the animal’s genetic susceptibility. Research focus to these diseases has also reflected this approach by focusing in one of these single components. In reality, there are many interacting factors which determine whether an animal which is subject to an infectious or metabolic challenge will show signs of disease. For this reason a ! more holistic view of production diseases may be required. If we investigate how the many different and complex factors on the farm interact with the inherent resistance in an animal, and also look at the biological mechanisms that underlie the differences in susceptibility between animals in the same environment, we will be able to develop more effective control strategies. This approach is the belief and motivation of a new EU-funded project that addresses the production diseases of pigs and poultry: PROHEALTH. Two examples of dealing with the idiopathic lumbar kyphosis in growing pigs and reassessing the vitamin D requirements and its relationship with skeletal problems in broilers, would be developed in this presentation and will be used as cases in point. The hope is that the approach will result in demonstrable improvements to animal welfare as well as bringing economic benefits.