Pig farmers in Northern Ireland may be interested in this article about Disease detection in Pig herds from the British Society of animal Science. The article gives pig farmers a new insight into how infrared thermography can give farmers an early indication that pigs may have a fever-inducing disease.
Here are the details from the British Society of animal Science;
Researchers in Canada have discovered it is possible to detect fever in groups of pigs using infrared thermal cameras.
Infrared thermography (IRT) technology is already being used in a similar way at airports to screen people for possible disease, but it also has a role in veterinary diagnostics. IRT offers a way of measuring the temperature of animals without needing to handle or restrain them.
The researchers used vaccination as a model for disease, because it induces an immune response in the animals. Groups of weaned pigs were either treated with an intra-muscular vaccine, injected with saline as a placebo or left untreated.
An infrared camera fixed to the ceiling directly above the pen recorded thermal images of the groups of pigs at five-minute intervals. Higher temperatures were recorded when the pigs clustered together and this behaviour was seen more frequently in the groups of vaccinated pigs. The maximum image temperature was significantly higher in vaccinated animals compared with control and placebo-injected animals. Temperature increase in the vaccinated animals occurred as early as three hours post-vaccination, peaked at 10 hours and remained elevated for up to 20 hours.
The researchers also investigated the effect of prevalence of disease on the ability of IRT to detect a thermal response.
A thermal response to vaccination was detected in a pen of 24 to 26 animals when less than 10% of the animals were vaccinated.
These results suggest that measuring the radiated temperature of groups of animals could be a useful tool for detecting fever-inducing disease in pig barns and IRT offers an automated way of doing this.
For more stories like this click here to visit the British Society of animal Science website who originally published this story about Disease detection in Pig herds.