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author:("emanuel, Ulf")
1.  Occurrence and Spread of Quinolone-Resistant Escherichia coli on Dairy Farms 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2016;82(13):3765-3773.
ABSTRACT
Quinolone-resistant Escherichia coli (QREC) is common in feces from young calves, but the prevalence and genetic diversity of QREC in groups of cattle of other ages and the farm environment are unknown. The aims of the study were to obtain knowledge about the occurrence of QREC on dairy farms, the genetic diversity of QREC within and between farms, and how these relate to the number of purchased animals and geographic distances between farms. We analyzed the within-sample prevalence of QREC in individual fecal samples from preweaned dairy calves and postpartum cows and in environmental samples from 23 Swedish dairy farms. The genetic diversity of the QREC isolates on 10 of these farms was assessed. In general, QREC was more prevalent in the dairy farm environment and in postpartum cows if QREC was commonly found in calves than if QREC was rare in calves. In particular, we found more QREC organisms in feed and water troughs and in environments that may come into contact with young calves. Thus, the results suggest that QREC circulates between cattle and the farm environment and that calves are important for the maintenance of QREC. Some genotypes of QREC were widespread both within and between farms, indicating that QREC has spread within the farms and likely also between farms, possibly through purchased animals. Farms that had purchased many animals over the years had greater within-farm diversity than farms with more closed animal populations. Finally, animals on more closely located farms were more likely to share the same genotype than animals on farms located far apart.
IMPORTANCE This study investigates the occurrence of a specific type of antimicrobial-resistant bacterium on dairy farms. It contributes to increased knowledge about the occurrence and spread of these bacteria, and the results pave the way for actions or further studies that could help mitigate the spread of these bacteria on dairy farms and in the community as a whole.
doi:10.1128/AEM.03061-15
PMCID: PMC4907179  PMID: 27084013
2.  Prevalence and risk factors for overweight horses at premises in Sweden assessed using official animal welfare control data 
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica  2016;58(Suppl 1):61.
Background
There are Swedish animal welfare regulations concerning the body condition of horses and general advice on keeping horses including that horses should be fed so that they do not become over- or underweight relative to their use. Compliance is assessed by official animal welfare inspectors. The objective of this study was to determine whether the national animal welfare control database could be used to estimate the prevalence and risk factors for overweight horses in Sweden. The official animal welfare control checklist for horses contains 45 checkpoints (CP) of which CP-8 pertains to the acceptability of the horses’ body condition including whether they were under- or overweight. Prevalence of non-compliance with CP-8, with 95 % confidence intervals (CI), were calculated for the years 2010–2013. Associations between risk factors and non-compliance for overweight body condition were estimated using logistic regression and expressed as odds ratios (OR) with 95 % CIs.
Results
Of 7870 premises with registered horses that were inspected against CP-8, a total of 63 premises had non-compliant inspections due to overweight horses (0.80 %; CI 0.62, 1.02 %). In multivariable analyses, premises that were non-compliant with requirements for the care of sick or injured horses (OR 3.52; CI 1.51, 8.22) or with the requirements for feeding a balanced high-quality diet (OR 5.15; CI 2.49, 10.67) had greater odds of having overweight horses. Premises that also kept other species for meat production were more likely to have overweight horses (OR 2.12; CI 1.18, 3.81) whereas professional horse establishments were less likely (OR 0.09; 0.01, 0.64). Overweight horses were more likely in summer compared to winter (OR 2.18; CI 1.02, 4.70). Premises in regions of Sweden with more horses in relation to the human population were less likely to have overweight horses (OR 0.97; CI 0.95, 1.00).
Conclusions
Official animal welfare control data may be used to monitor the premises prevalence of overweight horses in Sweden. Strategies to reduce the prevalence of overweight horses should focus on education about equine care and nutrition, especially summer grazing.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13028-016-0242-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13028-016-0242-3
PMCID: PMC5073806  PMID: 27766966
Epidemiology; Legislation; Compliance; Logistic regression; Horse; Body condition; Welfare; Welfare assessment; Equine; Obesity
3.  Data-driven network modelling of disease transmission using complete population movement data: spread of VTEC O157 in Swedish cattle 
Veterinary Research  2016;47:81.
European Union legislation requires member states to keep national databases of all bovine animals. This allows for disease spread models that includes the time-varying contact network and population demographic. However, performing data-driven simulations with a high degree of detail are computationally challenging. We have developed an efficient and flexible discrete-event simulator SimInf for stochastic disease spread modelling that divides work among multiple processors to accelerate the computations. The model integrates disease dynamics as continuous-time Markov chains and livestock data as events. In this study, all Swedish livestock data (births, movements and slaughter) from July 1st 2005 to December 31st 2013 were included in the simulations. Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (VTEC O157) are capable of causing serious illness in humans. Cattle are considered to be the main reservoir of the bacteria. A better understanding of the epidemiology in the cattle population is necessary to be able to design and deploy targeted measures to reduce the VTEC O157 prevalence and, subsequently, human exposure. To explore the spread of VTEC O157 in the entire Swedish cattle population during the period under study, a within- and between-herd disease spread model was used. Real livestock data was incorporated to model demographics of the population. Cattle were moved between herds according to real movement data. The results showed that the spatial pattern in prevalence may be due to regional differences in livestock movements. However, the movements, births and slaughter of cattle could not explain the temporal pattern of VTEC O157 prevalence in cattle, despite their inherently distinct seasonality.
doi:10.1186/s13567-016-0366-5
PMCID: PMC4982012  PMID: 27515697
5.  Factors affecting costs for on-farm control of salmonella in Swedish dairy herds 
Background
The Swedish control program for salmonella includes restrictions and on-farm control measures when salmonella is detected in a herd. Required control measures are subsidised by the government. This provides an opportunity to study costs for on-farm salmonella control. The aim of this study was to describe the costs for on-farm salmonella control in Swedish cattle herds and to investigate the effects of herd factors on these costs in dairy herds.
Results
During the 15 years studied there had been a total of 124 restriction periods in 118 cattle herds; 89 dairy herds, 28 specialised fattening herds and three suckler herds. The average costs per herd for on-farm salmonella control was 4.60 million SEK with a median of 1.06 million SEK corresponding to approximately 490 000 and 110 000 EUR. The range was 0.01 to 41 million SEK corresponding to 1080 EUR to 4.44 million EUR per farm. The costs cover measures required in herd-specific control plans, generally measures improving herd hygiene. A mixed linear model was used to investigate associations between herd factors and costs for on-farm salmonella control in dairy herds. Herd size and length of the restriction period were both significantly associated with costs for on-farm control of salmonella with larger herds and longer periods of restrictions leading to higher costs. Serotype detected and administrative changes in the Swedish Board of Agriculture aiming at reducing costs were not associated with costs for on-farm salmonella control.
Conclusions
On-farm control of salmonella in Swedish cattle herds incurred high costs but the costs also varied largely between herds. Larger herds and longer restriction periods increased the costs for on-farm control of salmonella in Swedish dairy herds. This causes concern for future costs for the Swedish salmonella control program as herd sizes are increasing.
doi:10.1186/s13028-015-0118-y
PMCID: PMC4464231  PMID: 26048281
Salmonella; Costs; Control; Cattle
6.  A longitudinal survey of African swine fever in Uganda reveals high apparent disease incidence rates in domestic pigs, but absence of detectable persistent virus infections in blood and serum 
BMC Veterinary Research  2015;11:106.
Background
African swine fever (ASF) is a fatal, haemorrhagic disease of domestic pigs, that poses a serious threat to pig farmers and is currently endemic in domestic pigs in most of sub-Saharan Africa. To obtain insight into the factors related to ASF outbreaks at the farm-level, a longitudinal study was performed in one of the major pig producing areas in central Uganda. Potential risk factors associated with outbreaks of ASF were investigated including the possible presence of apparently healthy ASF-virus (ASFV) infected pigs, which could act as long-term carriers of the virus. Blood and serum were sampled from 715 pigs (241 farms) and 649 pigs (233 farms) to investigate presence of ASFV and antibodies, during the periods of June-October 2010 and March-June 2011, respectively. To determine the potential contribution of different risks to ASF spread, a questionnaire-based survey was administered to farmers to assess the association between ASF outbreaks during the study period and the risk factors.
Results
Fifty-one (21 %) and 13 (5.6 %) farms reported an ASF outbreak on their farms in the previous one to two years and during the study period, respectively. The incidence rate for ASF prior to the study period was estimated at 14.1 per 100 pig farm-years and 5.6 per 100 pig farm-years during the study. Three pigs tested positive for ASFV using real-time PCR, but none tested positive for ASFV specific antibodies using two different commercial ELISA tests.
Conclusions
There was no evidence for existence of pigs that were long-term carriers for the virus based on the analysis of blood and serum as there were no seropositive pigs and the only three ASFV DNA positive pigs were acutely infected and were linked to outbreaks reported by farmers during the study. Potential ASF risk factors were present on both small and medium-scale pig farms, although small scale farms exhibited a higher proportion with multiple potential risk factors (like borrowing boars for sows mating, buying replacement from neighboring farms without ascertaining health status, etc) and did not implement any biosecurity measures. However, no risk factors were significantly associated with ASF reports during the study.
doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0426-5
PMCID: PMC4432512  PMID: 25967670
African swine fever (ASF); Epidemiology; Incidence rate; Risk factors; Smallholder farmers
7.  Biosecurity level and health management practices in 60 Swedish farrow-to-finish herds 
Background
Biosecurity measures are important tools to maintain animal health in pig herds. Within the MINAPIG project, whose overall aim is to evaluate strategies to raise pigs with less antimicrobial use, biosecurity was evaluated in medium to large farrow-to-finish pig herds in Sweden. In 60 farrow-to-finish herds with more than 100 sows, the biosecurity level was evaluated using a previously developed protocol (BioCheck). In a detailed questionnaire, internal and external biosecurity was scored in six subcategories each. An overall score for biosecurity was also provided. Information regarding production parameters as well as gender and educational level of personnel working with the pigs was also collected. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the recorded data.
Results
The median scores for external and internal biosecurity were 68 and 59, respectively, where 0 indicates total absence of biosecurity and 100 means maximal possible biosecurity. The subcategories for external and internal biosecurity that had the highest scores were “Purchase of animals” (external) and “Nursery unit”/“Fattening unit” (internal), while “Feed, water and equipment supplies” (external) and “Measures between compartments and equipment”/“Cleaning and disinfection” (internal) received the lowest scores. A female caretaker in the farrowing unit, a farmer with fewer years of experience and more educated personnel were positively associated with higher scores for some of the external and internal subcategories. In herds with <190 sows, fattening pigs were mixed between batches significantly more often than in larger herds.
Conclusions
The herds in this study had a high level of external biosecurity, as well as good internal biosecurity. Strong biosecurity related to the purchase of animals, protocols for visitors, the use of all-in, all-out systems, and sanitary period between batches. Still, there is room for improvement in preventing both the introduction of disease to herds (external) and the spread of infections within herds (internal). Systems for animal transport can be improved and with respect to internal biosecurity, there is especially room for improvement regarding hygiene measures in and between compartments, as well as the staff’s working procedures between different groups of pigs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13028-015-0103-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13028-015-0103-5
PMCID: PMC4359795  PMID: 25887040
Pig production; Biosecurity; Health management
8.  Bovine respiratory syncytial virus and bovine coronavirus in Swedish organic and conventional dairy herds 
Background
Infections with bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and bovine coronavirus (BoCV) are endemic to the cattle populations in most countries, causing respiratory and/or enteric disease. It has been demonstrated that herds can remain free from these infections for several years also in high prevalence areas. Organically managed (OM) dairy herds have been shown to have lower seroprevalence of both viruses compared to conventionally managed (CM) herds. The objective of this study was to challenge the hypothesis of a lower occurrence of BRSV and BoCV in OM compared to CM dairy herds.
In November 2011, May 2012 and May 2013 milk samples from four homebred primiparous cows were collected in 75 to 65 OM and 69 to 62 CM herds. The antibody status regarding BRSV and BoCV was analysed with commercial indirect ELISAs. Herds were classified as positive if at least one individual sample was positive.
Results
The prevalence of positive herds ranged from 73.4% to 82.3% for BRSV and from 76.8% to 85.3% for BoCV among OM and CM herds, over the three sampling occasions. There was no statistically significant difference between OM and CM herds at any sampling occasion. The incidence risk of newly infected herds did not differ statistically between OM and CM herds at any sampling occasion, neither for BRSV nor for BoCV. The incidence of herds turning sero-negative between samplings corresponded to the incidence of newly infected. Bulk tank milk (BTM) samples were also sampled in the herds and analysed. Several herds were negative on individual samples but positive in BTM. Herd-level data on production, health and reproduction were retrieved from VÄXA Sweden and the study herds were representative of the source population.
Conclusion
There was no difference in prevalence of or incidence risk for BRSV or BoCV between Swedish OM and CM herds. Because the incidence of herds becoming seropositive was balanced by herds becoming seronegative it should be possible to lower the prevalence of these two infections among Swedish dairy cattle herds if biosecurity is improved.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13028-014-0091-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13028-014-0091-x
PMCID: PMC4300160  PMID: 25582919
Bovine respiratory disease; Diarrhoea; Cattle; Disease prevalence; Disease incidence; ELISA
9.  African Swine Fever in Uganda: Qualitative Evaluation of Three Surveillance Methods with Implications for Other Resource-Poor Settings 
Animal diseases impact negatively on households and on national economies. In low-income countries, this pertains especially to socio-economic effects on household level. To control animal diseases and mitigate their impact, it is necessary to understand the epidemiology of the disease in its local context. Such understanding, gained through disease surveillance, is often lacking in resource-poor settings. Alternative surveillance methods have been developed to overcome some of the hurdles obstructing surveillance. The objective of this study was to evaluate and qualitatively compare three methods for surveillance of acute infectious diseases using African swine fever in northern Uganda as an example. Report-driven outbreak investigations, participatory rural appraisals (PRAs), and a household survey using a smartphone application were evaluated. All three methods had good disease-detecting capacity, and each of them detected many more outbreaks compared to those reported to the World Organization for Animal Health during the same time period. Apparent mortality rates were similar for the three methods although highest for the report-driven outbreak investigations, followed by the PRAs, and then the household survey. The three methods have different characteristics and the method of choice will depend on the surveillance objective. The optimal situation might be achieved by a combination of the methods: outbreak detection via smartphone-based real-time surveillance, outbreak investigation for collection of biological samples, and a PRA for a better understanding of the epidemiology of the specific outbreak. All three methods require initial investments and continuous efforts. The sustainability of the surveillance system should, therefore, be carefully evaluated before making such investments.
doi:10.3389/fvets.2015.00051
PMCID: PMC4673915  PMID: 26664978
participatory epidemiology; smartphone; outbreak investigation; infectious animal diseases; low-income countries; disease detection
10.  Outcome of pyometra in female dogs and predictors of peritonitis and prolonged postoperative hospitalization in surgically treated cases 
Background
One of the most common diseases in intact bitches is pyometra– a potentially life-threatening disease associated with a variety of clinical and laboratory findings. The aims of the present study were to describe complications of the disease and to investigate clinically useful indicators associated with peritonitis and/or prolonged postoperative hospitalization.
Results
A retrospective study was performed using records from 356 bitches diagnosed with pyometra during the years 2006–2007 at the University Animal Hospital, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Of the 356 bitches, 315 were surgically treated by ovariohysterectomy, 9 were medically treated and 32 were euthanized without treatment. In the surgically treated bitches, univariable associations between clinical and laboratory data, risk for prolonged hospitalization (≥ 3 days) and/or signs of peritonitis, were analyzed by Chi-square and Fisher’s exact test. Logistic regression models were used to assess multivariable associations.
The most common complication observed in surgically treated bitches was peritonitis (40 bitches), followed by urinary tract infection (19 bitches), wound infection (8 bitches), uveitis (6 bitches), and cardiac arrhythmia (5 bitches). Leucopenia and fever/hypothermia were associated with increased risk for peritonitis (18-fold and three-fold, respectively). Moderate to severe depression of the general condition, pale mucous membranes and leucopenia were associated with increased risk (seven-fold, three-fold, and over three-point-five-fold, respectively) for prolonged postoperative hospitalization.
Conclusions
Several clinically useful indicators were identified. Leucopenia was the most important marker, associated with 18-fold increased risk for peritonitis and an over three-point-five increased risk for prolonged hospitalization. Fever/hypothermia, depression and pale mucous membranes were associated with increased risk for peritonitis and/or prolonged hospitalization. The results of the present study may be valuable for identifying peritonitis and predicting increased morbidity in surgically treated bitches with pyometra.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-6
PMCID: PMC3892096  PMID: 24393406
Bitch; Uterine inflammation; Surgical treatment; Hospitalization; Peritonitis; Risk; Outcome; Dogs
11.  Relationship between herd-level incidence rate of energy-related postpartum diseases, general risk factors and claw lesions in individual dairy cows recorded at maintenance claw trimming 
Background
Laminitis and energy-related postpartum diseases share several risk factors, indicating a common etiology. Thus, a herd’s incidence rate of energy-related postpartum diseases, such as displaced abomasum and clinical ketosis, might reflect the likelihood of cows to suffer from laminitis-related claw lesions. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between herd-level incidence rate of displaced abomasum and clinical ketosis, general risk factors, and claw lesions in individual cows recorded at maintenance claw trimming.
Methods
The dataset consisted of 6773 trimmings, performed between 2004 and 2006 by professional trimmers, from 3607 Swedish Red and Swedish Holstein cows in 26 herds. The herds were classified as having a high, inconsistent-high or low incidence rate of energy-related postpartum diseases, based on the number of recorded cases of veterinary-diagnosed displaced abomasum and clinical ketosis in the Swedish national animal disease recording system during 2002 to 2006, and observations and interviews in connections with herd visits. Generalized linear mixed models were used to investigate the association between herd-level incidence rate of energy-related postpartum diseases and laminitis-related lesions including sole ulcer and sole hemorrhage; and hygiene-related lesions including interdigital dermatitis, digital dermatitis, heel-horn erosion, verrucose dermatitis, and interdigital hyperplasia; and absence of any claw lesion. Systematic effects, including first-order interactions, with P < 0.05 were included in the models. Herd classification was forced into the models, and a random effect of herd was included.
Results
In comparison to herds with a high incidence rate of energy-related postpartum diseases, low-incidence herds showed a lower odds ratio (OR; 0.2) for laminitis-related lesions in cows trimmed during the summer months. Low-incidence herds also showed numerically lower OR estimates for laminitis-related lesions in all parity classes and a numerically lower OR for hygiene-related lesions. In addition, low-incidence herds showed tendencies towards a numerically higher OR for absence of any lesion, irrespective of trimming season or parity.
Conclusions
Only a few statistically significant associations were found, but several tendencies pointed towards better claw health in herds with low as compared with high incidence rate of energy-related postpartum diseases.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-55
PMCID: PMC3737044  PMID: 23880035
Dairy cow; Energy-related metabolic diseases; Claw trimming; Claw lesions; Risk factors
12.  Farming practices in Sweden related to feeding milk and colostrum from cows treated with antimicrobials to dairy calves 
Background
Milk produced by cows in receipt of antimicrobial therapy may contain antimicrobial residues. Such antimicrobial-containing waste milk must be withdrawn from human consumption and is therefore sometimes used as calf feed. Unfortunately, this approach might promote selection of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the calves’ intestinal microbiota. The objectives of this study were therefore to obtain an overview of waste milk feeding practices on Swedish dairy farms and to investigate if these practices were associated with certain farm characteristics. A representative group of 457 Swedish dairy farmers participated in a web-based survey with questions about the use of colostrum and milk from cows treated with antimicrobials at dry off or during lactation, respectively, as calf feed.
Results
Colostrum (milk from the first milking after calving) and transition milk (milk from the second milking to the fourth day after calving) from cows treated with antimicrobials at dry off was fed to calves on 89% and 85% of the farms in the study, respectively. When antimicrobial therapy was given to cows during lactation, 56% of the farms fed milk that was produced during the course of treatment to calves, whereas milk that was produced during the subsequent withdrawal period was fed to calves on 79% of the farms. Surveyed farmers were less prone to feed such milk if the antimicrobial therapy was due to mastitis than other infections. In Sweden, a majority of antimicrobial treatments during lactation are systemic administration of benzylpenicillin and thus, the bulk of waste milk in Sweden is likely to contain residues of this drug. Feeding waste milk to calves was more common on non-organic farms, and on farms located in Southern Sweden, and was less common on farms with cows housed in cold free stalls barns.
Conclusions
Waste milk that may contain antimicrobial residues is, at least occasionally, used as feed for calves on a majority of surveyed Swedish dairy farms. Future work should focus on the effect of waste milk feeding on the occurrence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the calves’ intestinal microbiota.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-49
PMCID: PMC3720286  PMID: 23837498
Calves; Antibiotics; Milk withdrawal; Dry cow treatment; Feeding; Non-saleable milk; Mastitic milk
13.  Completeness of the disease recording systems for dairy cows in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden with special reference to clinical mastitis 
Background
In the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, the majority of dairy herds are covered by disease recording systems, in general based on veterinary registration of diagnoses and treatments. Disease data are submitted to the national cattle databases where they are combined with, e.g., production data at cow level, and used for breeding programmes, advisory work and herd health management. Previous studies have raised questions about the quality of the disease data. The main aim of this study was to examine the country-specific completeness of the disease data, regarding clinical mastitis (CM) diagnosis, in each of the national cattle databases. A second aim was to estimate country-specific CM incidence rates (IRs).
Results
Over 4 months in 2008, farmers in the four Nordic countries recorded clinical diseases in their dairy cows. Their registrations were matched to registrations in the central cattle databases. The country-specific completeness of disease registrations was calculated as the proportion of farmer-recorded cases that could be found in the central database. The completeness (95% confidence interval) for veterinary-supervised cases of CM was 0.94 (0.92, 0.97), 0.56 (0.48, 0.64), 0.82 (0.75, 0.90) and 0.78 (0.70, 0.85) in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, respectively. The completeness of registration of all CM cases, which includes all cases noted by farmers, regardless of whether the cows were seen or treated by a veterinarian or not, was 0.90 (0.87, 0.93), 0.51 (0.43, 0.59), 0.75 (0.67, 0.83) and 0.67 (0.60, 0.75), respectively, in the same countries. The IRs, estimated by Poisson regression in cases per 100 cow-years, based on the farmers’ recordings, were 46.9 (41.7, 52.7), 38.6 (34.2, 43.5), 31.3 (27.2, 35.9) and 26.2 (23.2, 26.9), respectively, which was between 20% (DK) and 100% (FI) higher than the IRs based on recordings in the central cattle databases.
Conclusions
The completeness for veterinary-supervised cases of CM was considerably less than 100% in all four Nordic countries and differed between countries. Hence, the number of CM cases in dairy cows is underestimated. This has an impact on all areas where the disease data are used.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-131
PMCID: PMC3489834  PMID: 22866606
Bovine mastitis; Disease recording; Completeness; Nordic; Database; Validation
14.  Evaluation of two dairy herd reproductive performance indicators that are adjusted for voluntary waiting period 
Background
Overall reproductive performance of dairy herds is monitored by various indicators. Most of them do not consider all eligible animals and do not consider different management strategies at farm level. This problem can be alleviated by measuring the proportion of pregnant cows by specific intervals after their calving date or after a fixed time period, such as the voluntary waiting period. The aim of this study was to evaluate two reproductive performance indicators that consider the voluntary waiting period at the herd. The two indicators were: percentage of pregnant cows in the herd after the voluntary waiting period plus 30 days (PV30) and percentage of inseminated cows in the herd after the voluntary waiting period plus 30 days (IV30). We wanted to assess how PV30 and IV30 perform in a simulation of herds with different reproductive management and physiology and to compare them to indicators of reproductive performance that do not consider the herd voluntary waiting period.
Methods
To evaluate the reproductive indicators we used the SimHerd-program, a stochastic simulation model, and 18 scenarios were simulated. The scenarios were designed by altering the reproductive management efficiency and the status of reproductive physiology of the herd. Logistic regression models, together with receiver operating characteristics (ROC), were used to examine how well the reproductive performance indicators could discriminate between herds of different levels of reproductive management efficiency or reproductive physiology.
Results
The logistic regression models with the ROC analysis showed that IV30 was the indicator that best discriminated between different levels of management efficiency followed by PV30, calving interval, 200-days not-in calf-rate (NotIC200), in calf rate at100-days (IC100) and a fertility index. For reproductive physiology the ROC analysis showed that the fertility index was the indicator that best discriminated between different levels, followed by PV30, NotIC200, IC100 and the calving interval. IV30 could not discriminate between the two levels.
Conclusion
PV30 is the single best performance indicator for estimating the level of both herd management efficiency and reproductive physiology followed by NotIC200 and IC100. This indicates that PV30 could be a potential candidate for inclusion in dairy herd improvement schemes.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-54-5
PMCID: PMC3298488  PMID: 22289201
Cattle; dairy; reproductive performance; voluntary waiting period
15.  Evaluation of LHP® (1% hydrogen peroxide) cream versus petrolatum and untreated controls in open wounds in healthy horses: a randomized, blinded control study 
Background
Treatment and protection of wounds in horses can be challenging; protecting bandages may be difficult to apply on the proximal extremities and the body. Unprotected wounds carry an increased risk of bacterial contamination and subsequent infection which can lead to delayed wound healing. Topical treatment with antimicrobials is one possibility to prevent bacterial colonization or infection, but the frequent use of antimicrobials ultimately leads to development of bacterial resistance which is an increasing concern in both human and veterinary medicine.
Methods
Standardized wounds were created in 10 Standardbred mares. Three wounds were made in each horse. Two wounds were randomly treated with LHP® or petrolatum and the third wound served as untreated control. All wounds were assessed daily until complete epithelization. Protocol data were recorded on day 2, 6, 11, 16, 21 and 28. Data included clinical scores for inflammation and healing, photoplanimetry for calculating wound areas and swab cytology to assess bacterial colonization and inflammation. Bacterial cultures were obtained on day 2, 6 and 16.
Results
Mean time to complete healing for LHP® treated wounds was 32 days (95%CI = 26.9-37.7). Mean time to complete healing for petrolatum and untreated control wounds were 41.6 days (95%CI = 36.2-47.0) and 44.0 days (95%CI = 38.6-49.4) respectively. Wound healing occurred significantly faster in LHP® wounds compared to both petrolatum (p = 0.0004) and untreated controls (p < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in time for healing between petrolatum and untreated controls. Total scores for bacteria and neutrophils were significantly (p < 0.0001) lower for LHP® treated wounds compared to petrolatum from day 16 and onwards. Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus zooepidemicus were only found in cultures from petrolatum treated wounds and untreated controls.
Conclusions
Treatment with LHP® reduced bacterial colonization and was associated with earlier complete wound healing. LHP® cream appears to be safe and effective for topical wound treatment or wound protection.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-53-45
PMCID: PMC3148982  PMID: 21718487
16.  Evaluation of a blocking ELISA for the detection of antibodies against Lawsonia intracellularis in pig sera 
Background
Lawsonia intracellularis is a common cause of chronic diarrhoea and poor performance in young growing pigs. Diagnosis of this obligate intracellular bacterium is based on the demonstration of the microbe or microbial DNA in tissue specimens or faecal samples, or the demonstration of L. intracellularis-specific antibodies in sera. The aim of the present study was to evaluate a blocking ELISA in the detection of serum antibodies to L. intracellularis, by comparison to the previously widely used immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT).
Methods
Sera were collected from 176 pigs aged 8-12 weeks originating from 24 herds with or without problems with diarrhoea and poor performance in young growing pigs. Sera were analyzed by the blocking ELISA and by IFAT. Bayesian modelling techniques were used to account for the absence of a gold standard test and the results of the blocking ELISA was modelled against the IFAT test with a "2 dependent tests, 2 populations, no gold standard" model.
Results
At the finally selected cut-off value of percent inhibition (PI) 35, the diagnostic sensitivity of the blocking ELISA was 72% and the diagnostic specificity was 93%. The positive predictive value was 0.82 and the negative predictive value was 0.89, at the observed prevalence of 33.5%.
Conclusion
The sensitivity and specificity as evaluated by Bayesian statistic techniques differed from that previously reported. Properties of diagnostic tests may well vary between countries, laboratories and among populations of animals. In the absence of a true gold standard, the importance of validating new methods by appropriate statistical methods and with respect to the target population must be emphasized.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-53-23
PMCID: PMC3080824  PMID: 21453555
17.  The relationship between antibody status to bovine corona virus and bovine respiratory syncytial virus and disease incidence, reproduction and herd characteristics in dairy herds 
Background
Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and bovine corona virus (BCV) affects cattle worldwide. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of these infections on general health and reproduction parameters measurable on herd level and to explore the association between antibody status and some herd characteristics.
Methods
We collected a pooled milk sample from five primiparous cows from 79 Swedish dairy herds in September 2006. The samples were analysed for immunoglobulin G antibodies to BCV and BRSV with indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Herd level data from 1 September 2005 to 30 August 2006 were accessed retrospectively. The location of the herds was mapped using a geographical information system.
Results
Ten herds were antibody negative to both viruses and were compared with 69 herds positive to BCV or BRSV or both. Positive herds had a higher (P = 0.001) bulk tank milk somatic cell count (BMSCC) compared with negative herds. The medians for all other analyzed health and reproductive parameters were consistently in favour of the herds negative to both viruses although the differences were not statistically significant. A higher proportion (P = 0.01) of herds used professional technicians for artificial insemination, rather than farm personnel, amongst the 33 herds negative to BCV compared with the 46 positive herds.
Conclusions
Our result shows that herds that were antibody positive to BCV and/or BRSV had a higher BMSCC compared with herds negative to BCV and BRSV. There was also tendency that negative herds had a better general herd health compared with positive. A higher proportion amongst the BCV negative herds used external technicians for AI instead of farm personnel, indicating that it is possible to avoid infection although having regular visits. Negative herds were located in close proximity to positive herds, indicating that local spread and airborne transmission between herds might not be of great importance and that herds can stay free from these infection transmission although virus is circulating in the area.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-52-37
PMCID: PMC2891787  PMID: 20525326
18.  Herd and cow characteristics affecting the odds of veterinary treatment for disease – a multilevel analysis 
Background
Research has indicated that a number of different factors affect whether an animal receives treatment or not when diseased. The aim of this paper was to evaluate if herd or individual animal characteristics influence whether cattle receives veterinary treatment for disease, and thereby also introduce misclassification in the disease recording system.
Methods
The data consisted mainly of disease events reported by farmers during 2004. We modelled odds of receiving veterinary treatment when diseased, using two-level logistic regression models for cows and young animals (calves and heifers), respectively. Model parameters were estimated using three procedures, because these procedures have been shown, under some conditions, to produce biased estimates for multi-level models with binary outcomes.
Results
Cows located in herds mainly consisting of Swedish Holstein cows had higher odds for veterinary treatment than cows in herds mainly consisting of Swedish Red cows. Cows with a disease event early in lactation had higher odds for treatment than when the event occurred later in lactation. There were also higher odds for veterinary treatment of events for cows in January and April than in July and October. The odds for veterinary treatment of events in young animals were higher if the farmer appeared to be good at keeping records. Having a disease event at the same date as another animal increased the odds for veterinary treatment for all events in young animals, and for lameness, metabolic, udder and other disorders, but not for peripartum disorders, in cows. There were also differences in the odds for veterinary treatment between disease complexes, both for cows and young animals.
The random effect of herd was significant in both models and accounted for 40–44% of the variation in the cow model and 30–46% in the young animal model.
Conclusion
We conclude that cow and herd characteristics influence the odds for veterinary treatment and that this might bias the results from studies using data from the cattle disease database based on veterinary practice records.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-51-34
PMCID: PMC2736961  PMID: 19698112
19.  Metabolic profiles in five high-producing Swedish dairy herds with a history of abomasal displacement and ketosis 
Background
Body condition score and blood profiles have been used to monitor management and herd health in dairy cows. The aim of this study was to examine BCS and extended metabolic profiles, reflecting both energy metabolism and liver status around calving in high-producing herds with a high incidence of abomasal displacement and ketosis and to evaluate if such profiles can be used at herd level to pinpoint specific herd problems.
Methods
Body condition score and metabolic profiles around calving in five high-producing herds with high incidences of abomasal displacement and ketosis were assessed using linear mixed models (94 cows, 326 examinations). Cows were examined and blood sampled every three weeks from four weeks ante partum (ap) to nine weeks postpartum (pp). Blood parameters studied were glucose, fructosamine, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), insulin, β-hydroxybutyrate, aspartate aminotransferase, glutamate dehydrogenase, haptoglobin and cholesterol.
Results
All herds had overconditioned dry cows that lost body condition substantially the first 4–6 weeks pp. Two herds had elevated levels of NEFA ap and three herds had elevated levels pp. One herd had low levels of insulin ap and low levels of cholesterol pp. Haptoglobin was detected pp in all herds and its usefulness is discussed.
Conclusion
NEFA was the parameter that most closely reflected the body condition losses while these losses were not seen in glucose and fructosamine levels. Insulin and cholesterol were potentially useful in herd profiles but need further investigation. Increased glutamate dehydrogenase suggested liver cell damage in all herds.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-50-31
PMCID: PMC2553792  PMID: 18687108
20.  Mastitis and related management factors in certified organic dairy herds in Sweden 
Background
Mastitis is one of the major threats to animal health, in organic farming as well as conventional. Preliminary studies of organic dairy herds have indicated better udder health in such herds, as compared to conventional herds. The aim of this paper was to further study mastitis and management related factors in certified organic dairy herds.
Methods
An observational study of 26 certified organic dairy herds in mid-eastern Sweden was conducted during one year. A large-animal practitioner visited the herds three times and clinically examined and sampled cows, and collected information about general health and management routines. Data on milk production and disorders treated by a veterinarian in the 26 herds, as well as in 1102 conventional herds, were retrieved from official records. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess associations between herd type (organic vs. conventional) and incidence of disorders.
Results
The organic herds that took part in the study ranged in size from 12 to 64 cows, in milk production from 3772 to 10334 kg per cow and year, and in bulk milk somatic cell counts from 83000 to 280000 cells/ml. The organic herds were found to have a lower incidence of clinical mastitis, teat injuries, and a lower proportion of cows with a high somatic cell count (as indicated by the UDS, Udder Disease Score) compared to conventional herds. The spectrum of udder pathogenic bacteria was similar to that found in other Swedish studies. Treatment of mastitis was found to be similar to what is practised in conventional herds. Homeopathic remedies were not widely used in the treatment of clinical mastitis.
The calves in most of these organic herds suckled their dams for only a few days, which were not considered to substantially affect the udder health. The main management factor that was different from conventional herds was the feeding strategy, where organic herds used a larger share of forage.
Conclusion
Udder health in Swedish organic herds appears to be better than in conventional herds of comparable size and production. The major difference in management between the two types of farms is the proportion of concentrates fed. The mechanisms explaining the association between intensity of feeding and udder health in dairy cows require further research.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-48-11
PMCID: PMC1553465  PMID: 16987390
21.  Canine atopic dermatitis: validation of recorded diagnosis against practice records in 335 insured Swedish dogs 
A cross-sectional study of insured Swedish dogs with a recorded diagnosis of canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) was performed. In order to validate the correctness of this specific diagnosis in the insurance database, medical records were requested by mail from the attending veterinarians. All dogs with a reimbursed claim for the disease during 2002 were included in the original study sample (n = 373). Medical records were available for 335 individuals (response rate: 89.8%). By scrutinizing the submitted records it was determined that all dogs had been treated for dermatologic disease, and that 327 (97.6%) could be considered to have some allergic skin disease. However, as information regarding dietary trial testing was missing in many dogs the number that were truly atopic could not be determined. The clinical presentation and nature of test diet for dogs with or without response to dietary trial testing was compared for a subset of 109 individuals that had undergone such testing. The only significant difference between these two groups was that the proportion of dogs with reported gastrointestinal signs was higher in the group that subsequently responded to a diet trial. In conclusion, the agreement between the recorded diagnosis in the insurance database and the clinical manifestations recorded in the submitted medical records was considered acceptable. The concern was raised that many attending veterinarians did not exclude cutaneous adverse food reactions before making the diagnosis of CAD.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-48-8
PMCID: PMC1553461  PMID: 16987404

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