Carcass talk Part 1: Health status indicators at slaughterhouse

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The pig carcass in the slaughterhouse offers good indicators that veterinarians can look at to determine the pigs’ health status, said John Carr, a global swine consultant.

Looking at the pig batches

John Carr

“Are the pigs underweight or too fat? The body condition will give you some ideas about production issues or the presence of diseases on the farm,” said Dr Carr.

Looking at the production board will tell producers whether the pigs are slaughtered at the right age and weight or not. This information can also indicate the health status of the animals.

The weight distribution in a batch of pigs is also an important indicator of potential health issues at the farms.

“If there are pigs weighing 100kg and 60kg in the same batch of pigs, that’s a big gap,” said Dr Carr.

He added that lameness is also indicated by the carcass and can show that the pig had problems while on the farm.

The carcasses can tell veterinarians a lot about what has happened to the pigs during transport and even before that. However, to make these findings valuable, veterinarians should make sure that they know where these pigs come from.

They should also check different groups of pigs at different ages.

“Each farm has a specific pathogen health status depending on the farm’s key animal group. Looking at the different age groups will give us a better view of what is going on at a farm,” said Dr Carr.

In part 2, we will see what the carcass skin can indicate about the health status of the pigs.

The carcass will provide indications on the pigs health status at the farm and it tells you how the pigs were treated on the way to slaughter.
Regional Correspondent and Assistant Editor Asian Pork Magazine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her ‘Biosecurity remains the best protection against diseases’ article emphasizes on most effective tools that can protect pigs against diseases like PRRS, PED, and ASF.