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Keywords:

  • Salmonella;
  • fattening pigs;
  • risk factors;
  • blood samples;
  • meat juice samples

Summary

The main objective of this study was to analyse potential herd-level factors associated with the detection of Salmonella antibodies in fattening pigs. Two independent datasets, consisting of blood and meat juice samples respectively, were used. Additional information about husbandry, management and hygiene conditions was collected by questionnaire for both datasets. The serological analysis showed that 13.8% of the blood samples and 15.7% of the meat juice samples had to be classified as Salmonella-positive. Logistic-regression models were used to assess statistically significant risk factors associated with a positive sample result. The results of the statistical blood sample analysis showed that the application of antibiotics increased the odds ratio (OR) by a factor of 5.21 (P < 0.001) compared to untreated pigs. A fully slatted floor decreased the prevalence of Salmonella as well as the use of protective clothing or the cleaning of the feed tube (ORs 0.35–0.54, P < 0.001). It was shown that a distance of less than 2 km to other swine herds increased the chance of a positive Salmonella result (OR = 3.76, P < 0.001). The statistical analysis of the meat juice samples revealed the importance of feed aspects. The chance of obtaining a positive meat juice sample increased by a factor of 3.52 (P < 0.001) by using granulated feed instead of flour. It also became clear that liquid feeding should be preferred to dry feeding (OR = 0.33, P < 0.001). A comparison of the blood sample analysis to the meat juice model revealed that the latter was less powerful because data structure was less detailed. The expansion of data acquisition might solve these problems and improve the suitability of QS monitoring data for risk factor analyses.