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Risk factors associated with diarrhea in Danish commercial mink (Neovison vison) during the pre-weaning period
- Birch, Julie Melsted, Agger, Jens Frederik, Dahlin, Christina, Jensen, Vibeke Frøkjær, Hammer, Anne Sofie, Struve, Tina, Jensen, Henrik Elvang
- Acta veterinaria scandinavica 2017 v.59 no.1 pp. 43
- Neovison vison, biosecurity, case-control studies, cleaning, color, diarrhea, dogs, drinking water, energy, etiology, farm area, farm size, farmers, farms, feed intake, females, gestation period, hygiene, mastitis, mink, morbidity, mortality, risk factors, water quality
- BACKGROUND: Pre-weaning diarrhea in mink, also known as “sticky kits”, is a syndrome and outbreaks occur every year on commercial mink farms in all mink producing countries. Morbidity and mortality can be considerable on a farm with huge economic consequences for the farmer as well as compromised welfare for the mink kits. Although efforts have been taken to identify etiologic agents involved in outbreaks, the syndrome is still regarded as multifactorial and recurring problems on the same farms draw attention to management and environmental risk factors. In the pre-weaning period from May to June 2015, a case control study was carried out on 30 Danish mink farms. Data concerning management, biosecurity, hygiene, feed consumption, antibacterial prescription and production efficiency were analyzed. RESULTS: The proportion of 1-year old females, farm size (total number of females), energy supply per female in the late gestation period, and dogs accessing the farm area were significantly associated with being a case farm. Case farms were prescribed almost twice the amount of antibacterials per gestational unit (female and litter) as in control farms. Farmers on case farms spent significantly more time nursing and treating the animals and experienced more females with mastitis compared to farmers on control farms. No significant differences in cleaning practices or hygienic measures between case and control farms were found and there were no differences in drinking water quality, bedding material, composition neither of color types nor in management regarding litter equalization. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study showed an association between the occurrence of pre-weaning diarrhea on mink farms and parity profile, farm size and feeding intensity in the gestational period. The access of dogs to the farm area was a significant risk factor, but needs further clarification.