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pigs faceValidating non-invasive methods of gastric ulcer detection in sows: oral behaviour and metabolomic analysis of saliva


Year: 2022

Laura Salazar
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), United Kingdom

Grant: £1,960


Gastric ulceration is of importance in the pig industry as it is highly prevalent (sows: 37.3%; growers: 30% to 90%) and it can affect the productivity and sustainability of the system (eg increased mortality, reduced weight gain). Furthermore, gastric ulceration may cause some level of discomfort in affected pigs which is of animal welfare concern. Even though there is a growing knowledge of the risk factors and therapeutic procedures, this condition is still present in the pig industry. One of the main reasons might be the current lack of a low-cost, well-validated method to quickly and easily the condition in real-time (on farm and/or research settings) without having to euthanize the animal.

Gastric ulceration in sows is a serious welfare problem which can only be identified post-mortem. We aim to investigate two possible non-invasive measures of gastric ulcers: oral behaviour and salivary metabolites. Thirty-eight sows (due to be culled as part of farm management) will be observed for oral behaviour, and saliva samples taken. Stomachs will be visually and histopathologically assessed post-mortem.