The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between swine health status and the concentration of the serum acute phase proteins, haptoglobin (HP), and C-reactive protein (CRP). A total of 378 clinically healthy pigs from farms A and B, plus 20 pigs culled from farm A due to poor growth, were used in this experiment. Each pig was examined and blood samples were collected during slaughter. The HP concentration was measured by using an HP-hemoglobin binding assay. The CRP concentration was measured by using a CRP enzyme immunoassay. Gross and histopathological lesions were examined and recorded at slaughter. Representative samples were then collected in order to isolate pathogens. Swine enzootic pneumonia, found in 47.7% of the pigs, was the most common lesion. Other lesions included pleuropneumonia (32.7%), suppurative pneumonia (10.3%), fibrinous pericardititis (4.3%), Ascaris migration in the liver (33.9%), and intestinal serositis (3.0%).
On farm A, the percentage of pigs with 1 or more lesions was 88.2%. For culled pigs from farm A, the mean serum concentrations of HP and CRP were 2.23 ± 0.14 mg/mL and 252.93 ± 11.62 μg/mL, which were significantly higher than concentrations in clinically normal pigs (1.42 ± 0.02 mg/mL and 84.88 ± 2.61 μg/mL, respectively, P < 0.01). Moreover, among clinically normal farm A pigs, the mean HP concentration in pigs with lesions (1.43 ± 0.02 mg/mL) was significantly higher than in pigs without lesions (1.32 ± 0.07 mg/mL) (P < 0.05). However, the mean serum CRP concentrations in these animals were not significantly different.
On farm B, the percentage of pigs with one or more lesions was 50.0%. Interestingly, the mean serum HP concentration in clinically normal pigs with lesions was significantly lower in farm B pigs (1.23 ± 0.07 mg/mL) than in the farm A pigs (1.43 ± 0.02 mg/mL; P < 0.01). However, serum CRP concentrations in farm A and B pigs were not significantly different. Serum HP concentration, which is a better indicator of inflammatory reactions in pig herds than serum CRP concentration, provides an important marker for swine health status.