Voluntary monitoring systems for pig health and welfare in the UK: comparative analysis of prevalence and temporal patterns of selected non-respiratory post mortem conditions

C Correia-Gomes, JI Eze, J Borobia-Belsue, AW Tucker, D Sparrow, D Strachan, GJ Gunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


Collection of abattoir data related to public health is common worldwide. Standardised on-going programmes that collect information from abattoirs that inform producers about the presence and frequency of disease that are important to them rather than public health hazards are less common. The three voluntary pig health schemes, implemented in the United Kingdom, are integrated systems which capture information on different macroscopic disease conditions detected in slaughtered pigs. Many of these conditions have been associated with a reduction in performance traits and consequent increases in production costs. The schemes are the Wholesome Pigs Scotland in Scotland, the British Pig Health Scheme in England and Wales and the Pig Regen Ltd. health and welfare checks in Northern Ireland. In this study, four post mortem conditions (pericarditis, milk spots, papular dermatitis and tail damage) were surveyed and analysed over a ten and half year period, with the aim to compare the prevalence, monthly variations, and yearly trends between schemes. Liver milk spot was the most frequently recorded condition while tail damage was the least frequently observed condition. The prevalence of papular dermatitis was relatively low compared to liver milk spot and pericarditis in the three schemes. A general decreasing trend was observed for milk spots and papular dermatitis for all three schemes. The prevalence of pericarditis increased in Northern Ireland and England and Wales; while Scotland in recent years showed a decreasing trend. An increasing trend of tail damage was depicted in Scotland and Northern Ireland until 2013/2014 followed by a decline in recent years compared to that of England and Wales with a decreasing trend over the full study period. Monthly effects were more evident for milk spots and papular dermatitis. Similarity of the modus operandi of the schemes made the comparison of temporal variations and patterns in gross pathology between countries possible over time, especially between countries with similar pig production profile. This study of temporal patterns enables early detection of prevalence increases and alerts industry and researchers to investigate the reasons behind such changes. These schemes are, therefore, valuable assets for endemic disease surveillance, early warning for emerging disease and also for monitoring of welfare outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 9
Number of pages9
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Early online date18 Jul 2017
Publication statusFirst published - 18 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note



  • Epidemiology
  • Monitoring systems
  • Pig health


Dive into the research topics of 'Voluntary monitoring systems for pig health and welfare in the UK: comparative analysis of prevalence and temporal patterns of selected non-respiratory post mortem conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this