This is a translation of the article by Antonio Palomo Yagüe. We publish it because the situation is very qualitatively and clearly describedPoisoning with fattening alkaloids. A similar situation can occur in other groups of animals when using alkaloid lupine in the feeding of pigs.
On Tuesday, August 20, 2013, we were summoned because of a significant percentage of sudden deaths in several complex fattening farms related to the Spanish company; Especially in six farms, which were supplied with new feedlots between Friday 16 and Tuesday 20 August. Note that new feeds are placed in the hopper, which still contains a certain amount of residue from the previous batch, which gradually exits the hopper cone; Thus, the consumption of a new feed starts from a few hours to 3 to 4 days.
Research on the farm
By staying in these farms and conducting anamnesis and clinical study of specific cases in terms of symptoms and lesions of sick and dead pigs, we found:
- Partial refusal of feed from pigs. Until then, the consumption of feed by pigs was due according to the feeding schedules of the company;
- The presence of vomiting in a large number of pigs;
- Feces with different appearance and increased fluid content;
- Depression, apathy, and loss of strength;
- A high percentage of deaths in pigs;
- Flatulence (swelling), which is confirmed by the presence of gases in the small intestine when the corpses of pigs are opened;
- Vascular hyperemia in the small and large intestine;
- No other digestive, respiratory, motor, cutaneous or nervous organ was affected.
In the face of this clinical picture (partially comparable to the process of food poisoning), and taking into account the fact that the various farms had nothing in common except for the receipt of new food, that there was no antibiotic treatment by any means (water, feed, systematically injected medicines), That no general vaccination had also been applied, we agreed to stop supplying a new batch of feed to six farms, following the following recommendations:
- Closure of bins that provide feeding;
- Cleaning of bunkers;
- Emptying of bins in which storage of forages is carried out;
- Laying feeds in bags;
- A new order of feed, but with a recipe that was used in the previous batch of feed (consumed before August 20);
- Feed intake into empty bunkers;
- Opening bins in such a way that the pigs begin to eat a new food.
The clinical picture, which was more or less serious depending on the farm, began to straighten out in 36 to 48 hours, and we decided that this event came to an end on August 24.
Conducting additional research on the farm
Since we suspected that the new batch of feed was most likely the source of our problem, we conducted the following studies:
- Food analysis of suspicious feeds using the method of NIR spectroscopy: Normal values were obtained;
- Microbiological analysis of suspicious feeds: Normal values were obtained on the basis of the culture method using special means;
- Analysis of the level of mycotoxins of suspicious feeds (solid-phase immunoassay method using automatic scanning): values outside the lower limits;
- General analyzes of raw materials using the method of NIR spectroscopy: Normal values were obtained;
- Request for food recipes and production reports from the feed mill that supplied feed.
We focused on specific raw materials, which were first used in the second feed composition, but which had not been found in feed compositions before.This raw material turned out to be lupine, Which was mainly used as a source of vegetable protein. A sample of this raw material, obtained from a feed mill, consisted of a mixture of Australian (small and spotted) and Spanish (large, flat and pale) lupine in various percentages. The inclusion rate was 5% and 7.5% in feed for young animals and for fattening pigs, respectively.
Levels of alkaloids (anti-nutritional factors)Were analyzed as a possible cause of the problem, and the result was 0.91%(Obtained by HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography)), when the maximum level of tolerance in pigs is up to 0.20%.
We came to the conclusion that this was a case of food poisoning with alkaloids.
Evaluation of clinical picture
Mortality: farm 5 showed the lowest weight indexes among pigs, and they were the first to be fed with the problem feed on the date of delivery (August 16), as the farm had run out of the previous feed. The first losses were detected on August 19, with their increase on August 20. This farm seemed to suffer more than the other ones, but it served the alarm to get rid of that feed on other farms. The mortality rate decreased ( > 20% compared to < 2%).
The key points of this clinical case are:
- Sudden deaths at several farms at the same time with the same clinical signs should be analyzed in general;
- We must distinguish between acute infectious disease and the case of food poisoning (fever?);
- Keep in mind those variable signs that are common to all pigs at the same time;
- Both clinical signs and lesions (autopsy) play an important role in the direction of analytical research.
The goalDissemination of information about this clinical case is:
- Cases of food poisoning are unlikely;
- When we find extremely acute symptoms without an infectious clinical picture, the feed should be carefully examined;
- Collaboration between the farmer, veterinarian, feed manufacturer and nutritionist is key to quickly solving the problem, which minimizes economic consequences.