Effect of calf purchase and other herd-level risk factors on mortality, unwanted early slaughter, and use of antimicrobial group treatments in Swiss veal calf operations.

Lava, Matteo; Pardon, Bart Jean; Schüpbach, Gertraud; Keckeis, Karin; Deprez, P; Steiner, Adrian; Meylan, Mireille (2016). Effect of calf purchase and other herd-level risk factors on mortality, unwanted early slaughter, and use of antimicrobial group treatments in Swiss veal calf operations. Preventive veterinary medicine, 126, pp. 81-88. Elsevier 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.01.020

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The objective of this survey was to determine herd level risk factors for mortality, unwanted early slaughter, and metaphylactic application of antimicrobial group therapy in Swiss veal calves in 2013. A questionnaire regarding farm structure, farm management, mortality and antimicrobial use was sent to all farmers registered in a Swiss label program setting requirements for improved animal welfare and sustainability. Risk factors were determined by multivariable logistic regression. A total of 619 veal producers returned a useable questionnaire (response rate=28.5%), of which 40.9% only fattened their own calves (group O), 56.9% their own calves and additional purchased calves (group O&P), and 2.3% only purchased calves for fattening (group P). A total number of 19,077 calves entered the fattening units in 2013, of which 21.7%, 66.7%, and 11.6% belonged to groups O, O&P, and P, respectively. Mortality was 0% in 322 herds (52.0%), between 0% and 3% in 47 herds (7.6%), and ≥3% in 250 herds (40.4%). Significant risk factors for mortality were purchasing calves, herd size, higher incidence of BRD, and access to an outside pen. Metaphylaxis was used on 13.4% of the farms (7.9% only upon arrival, 4.4% only later in the fattening period, 1.1% upon arrival and later), in 3.2% of the herds of group O, 17.9% of those in group O&P, and 92.9% of those of group P. Application of metaphylaxis upon arrival was positively associated with purchase (OR=8.9) and herd size (OR=1.2 per 10 calves). Metaphylaxis later in the production cycle was positively associated with group size (OR=2.9) and risk of respiratory disease (OR=1.2 per 10% higher risk) and negatively with the use of individual antimicrobial treatment (OR=0.3). In many countries, purchase and a large herd size are inherently connected to veal production. The Swiss situation with large commercial but also smaller herds with little or no purchase of calves made it possible to investigate the effect of these factors on mortality and antimicrobial drug use. The results of this study show that a system where small farms raise the calves from their own herds has a substantial potential to improve animal health and reduce antimicrobial drug use.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Veterinary Public Health / Herd Health Management
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Lava, Matteo; Pardon, Bart Jean; Schüpbach, Gertraud; Keckeis, Karin; Steiner, Adrian and Meylan, Mireille

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

0167-5877

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Daniela Fasel

Date Deposited:

11 May 2016 14:37

Last Modified:

13 Sep 2017 17:52

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.01.020

PubMed ID:

26879057

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Antimicrobials, Herd size, Metaphylaxis, Purchase, Risk factors, Veal

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.80403

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/80403

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