Health of non-ambulatory, non-injured pigs at processing

Mhairi A. Sutherland, Keith Erlandson, Joe F. Connor, Janeen L. Salak-Johnson, Paul Matzat, Jerry F. Smith, John J. McGlone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Loss of pigs during or after transport is a welfare concern, but also an economic concern for producers. Transport losses include animals that are dead on arrival (DOA) at the plant, pigs that are injured, and pigs which are not obviously injured but unwilling or unable to walk (non-ambulatory, non-injured or NANI). The objective of this research was to assess the health of non-ambulatory, non-injured (NANI) pigs relative to control pigs at the processing plant by looking at a range of measures, including complete blood chemistry, anatomy, and pathology to determine potential factors associated with pigs going down. Data were collected from NANI and control pigs at five plants in the midwest USA. Feet and legs and internal organs were inspected and the severity of the pathology scored. Alveolar macrophages were collected and counted. Blood was collected for analysis of hematology, blood chemistry and cortisol concentrations. Titers to common porcine respiratory viruses were measured in pigs from one plant. Hoof and pad problems did not differ overall between control and NANI pigs, however the percentage of severe foot problems was greater (P < 0.05) in NANI compared with control pigs at plants A and E. The percentage of total ulcers, rhinitis, and empty stomachs differed (P < 0.05) between control and NANI pigs at individual plants, but not overall. Blood hematology and chemistry differed (P < 0.05) between NANI and control pigs. Cortisol concentrations did not differ between NANI and control pigs. Titers to swine influenza virus (SIV) H1N1 and H3N2 and porcine circovirus (PCV) were lower (P < 0.01) among NANI compared with control pigs. However, more (P < 0.01) NANI pigs were positive for SIV H1N1 and H3N2 compared with control pigs. Blood hematology, chemistry, and pathology indicate a large difference between NANI and controls pigs. No single health problem was higher among NANI pigs compared to plant-matched control pigs. Rather, several problems appear to contribute to pigs becoming NANI which may differ from one plant too another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Down
  • Health
  • NANI
  • Pigs
  • Transport


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