Beer and Bacon conversations: a new session at the Leman swine conference!

The organizing committee of the Allen D. Leman swine conference is proud to present a new session: Beer and Bacon conversations! The goal of this unique session is to invite industry leaders to share personal views and experiences with participants in a fun and relaxed environment.


This year, we are honored that Dr. Matthew Turner, veterinarian and head of pork live operations at JBS, accepted our invitation.

A graduate of North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Turner joined JBS after being a staff swine veterinarian for Prestage Farms for more than 10 years. He was recognized by the American Association of Swine Veterinarian as the 2014 Swine Practitioner of the year and presented the Dr. Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture at the 2017 AASV annual meeting. Dr. Turner is currently an at large member of the Board of Directors of the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC).

The session will be held at the InterContinental hotel on Sunday, September 16th at 5:15pm. Dr. Marie Culhane will get the conversation started but participation from the audience is more than welcome!

Seating for this event is limited. Do mot miss out by registering today!

Congratulations to the recipients of the Morrison and Pijoan fellowships!

Please, join us in congratulating this year’s recipient of the Pijoan fellowship, Dr. Gustavo Lopez and our first recipient of the Morrison fellowship, Dr. Alyssa Betlach.

Pijoan fellow


Gustavo Lopez was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He obtained his DVM in 2010 from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and did two short internships at the University of Minnesota which influenced him into focusing to swine health and production.  Gustavo then moved to Russia to work for the largest meat production company. During his 6-year experience he performed different roles such as wean-to-finish production manager, head of genetic services and head of health services. Currently, Gustavo is pursuing a PhD under the guidance of Dr. Torremorell, focusing our research on swine influenza virus.

“I did not have the opportunity of meeting Dr. Pijoan, but i have seen the legacy he has left in the University of Minnesota swine group and the swine industry itself. For me it is an honor to be awarded this fellowship and i intend to live up to the name, by focusing my research towards finding solutions to economical important swine diseases.”

Morrison fellow


This year, as a part of the Morrison legacy initiative at the University of Minnesota, we created a fellowship for graduate students in honor of Dr. Bob Morrison.

Alyssa Betlach is a graduate student at the University of Minnesota and part-time associate veterinarian for Swine Vet Center. She is originally from Owatonna, MN where she first gained an interest in swine production and medicine while working on a 1,500 sow farm. Alyssa obtained her DVM from the University of Minnesota this spring, while concurrently pursuing graduate studies and a certificate in swine medicine. Her graduate thesis focuses on the characterization of M. hyopneumoniae in swine herds using molecular diagnostics and epidemiology under the guidance of Dr. Pieters.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive the Morrison fellowship award. It was an absolute privilege to have known Dr. Morrison and to have received his mentorship throughout my veterinary education. I hope to continue Bob’s legacy through my collaboration with swine veterinarians, academia, and producers towards the development of science driven resources for swine health and production advancement. I am excited to expand my knowledge of the industry and to experience the opportunities made available by the fellowship. Thank you for selecting me as a recipient of this award and to those that have inspired me during my academic and professional endeavors.”

We are truly excited to have such talented graduate students pursuing high quality work to help solve the swine industry challenges!

Science Page: Effects of gestation pens versus stalls and wet versus dry feed on air contaminants in swine production (Part 1)

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing part of a scientific paper from faculty in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, regarding the effect of gestation pens versus group housing and dry versus wet feed on air contaminants. This week we are sharing the first half of the results, join us next week to read the second part.


  • Pollutant levels increased as ventilation rates decreased during the cold months.
  • Pen housing lead to higher levels of NH3, respirable dust, and endotoxin when compared to stalls.


Evolving production practices in the swine industry may alter the working environment. This research project characterized the influence of stall versus pen gestation housing on air contaminant concentrations.


Eight-hour time-weighted ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, respirable dust, respirable endotoxin, and carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature were measured
regularly at stationary locations throughout a year in a facility with parallel gestation stall and open pen housing. Hazard indices were calculated using ammonia,
hydrogen sulfide, and endotoxin concentrations and relevant occupational exposure limits.

air contaminant group housing versus stall


Due to reductions in ventilation rates as outdoor temperatures decreased, season affected pollutant levels more than other factors. Concentrations were greater during the
winter than summer (Figure 1). Ammonia, dust, and endotoxin were 25%, 43%, and 67% higher, respectively, on average, in the room with gestation pens than in the room with stalls. While individual contaminant concentrations were generally below regulatory limits, hazard index calculations suggest that the effects of combined exposures on respiratory health may pose a risk to farm workers. Additionally, elevated levels of respirable endotoxin and hydrogen sulfide were detected during power washing.


Ventilation changes in response to seasonal requirements influenced air contaminant concentrations more than production practices, especially housing type.

You can also read the full article on the journal’s website.

Best of Leman 2017 series #8: B. Thompson – 25 years of experience in sow health and longevity

We launched a new series on the blog in October. Once a month, we are sharing with you a presentation given at the 2017 Allen D. Leman swine conference, on topics that the swine group found interesting, innovative or that lead to great discussions.

Our 8th presentation is by Dr. Bob Thompson, the 2017 recipient of the Science in Practice award, regarding 25 years of experience in sow health and longevity.

To listen to this talk, please click on the image below.

thompson leman 25 years xp sow longevity

Science Page: Porcine Deltacoronavirus positive cases in the US: Where are we today?

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing a report from the MSHMP team regarding the prevalence of Porcine Deltacoronavirus in the US herds participation in MSHMP.

Key Points

  • Porcine Deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) was first reported in the US in 2014.
  • Monitoring of PDCoV cases showed that it is still present in pig herds from the United States.
  • PDCoV testing and reporting must continue in order to increase our understanding of the disease.

Porcine Deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) was first detected in the US in 2014. The complete genome of a United States’ PDCoV isolate was characterized by Marthaler et al. (2014), which was ~99% similar to a virus detected in Hong Kong.

Clinical signs may be similar to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) and Transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV), including acute diarrhea, mild to moderate vomiting, and ultimately death especially in neonatal pigs.

PDCoV continues to be present in the United States swine herd. Since March, 2017 PDCoV cases have been passively reported to MSHMP. Over this period of time, 37 cases have been reported by six participant systems.

MSHMP Porcine deltacoronavirus prevalence US 2017-2018
Monthly number of PDCoV cases since March 2017

Since November 2017, 24 PDCoV cases were communicated to MSHMP, representing 67% of the reported cases.

PDCoV still occurs in the US at an apparent low number of reported cases. Swine producers and veterinarians must stay vigilant for clinical signs compatible with PDCoV and continue to test for this pathogen.

Detection of influenza A virus in aerosols of vaccinated and non-vaccinated pigs in a warm environment

Today we are sharing a publication from the Torremorell lab regarding the impact of vaccination (both homologous and heterologous) on the detection of swine influenza virus in aerosols. The full publication is available in open access online on the PlosOne website.

Influenza A virus can be transmitted by direct and indirect contact and aerosols. Indeed, the virus has been detected and isolated from aerosols generated from pigs with and without immunity. Since then, there has been increased evidence of the role of aerosols in influenza transmission among swine.

Vaccination is used in swine populations as a strategy to mitigate clinical effects and the economic impact of influenza infections. It has also been proven to reduce shedding in pigs. Additionally, a study on the transmission of influenza in ferrets showed that high temperature may decrease the risk of airborne transmission. Therefore, we wondered if combining vaccination and high temperature would affect the detection of influenza virus in the air.

The objective of this study was to assess the effect of  vaccination on the generation of influenza A virus bioaerosols under warm conditions in pigs with varying degrees of cross-protective immunity.

Material and Methods

36 pigs of three weeks of age, seronegative for influenza were separated into four groups:

  1. vaccinated with an influenza strain identical to the one used for the challenge (homologous)
  2. vaccinated with a commercial vaccine containing multiple strains of influenza, all different from the challenge strain (heterologous, multivalent)
  3. vaccinated with a commercial vaccine containing one influenza strain different from the challenge strain (heterologous, monovalent)
  4. unvaccinated, which received an injection of saline instead

Pigs were challenged intranasally and intratracheally with a strain of H1N1 influenza virus, two weeks after the last vaccination.
Serum collected the day prior to the vaccination and at the end of the study 14 days post inoculation were tested via hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and ELISA.. Nasal swabs and oral fluids were collected and tested via PCR. Air samples were collected three times a day and tested via PCR and virus isolation. Temperature and humidity were recorded every five minutes.


Hemagglutination inhibition and ELISA

Prior to infection, pigs in group 1 (Vaccinated, homologous) had significantly higher HI titers compared to the other three groups. In the group 3 (vaccinated, heterologous monvalent) 4 pigs had HI titers against the challenge strain, while pigs in groups 2 and 4 were negative against the challenge strain. All groups were HI positive against the challenge strain at necropsy, however HI titers were statistically different between group 4 and groups 1 and 3.

Proportion of pigs infected

The proportion of pigs infected was significantly higher in group 4 than in the vaccinated ones. Also, the percentage of infected pigs in group 1 was significantly lower than in group 2, but there was no difference with group 3.

Torremorell vacc pigs aerosol influenza proportion negative pigs
Proportion of negative pigs over time

Nasal swabs and oral fluids

Pigs in group 4 had higher amounts of nasal virus shedding most of the sampling days compared to vaccinated groups. Additionally, group 2 had higher levels of IAV compared with groups 1 and 4. Oral fluid results were in agreement with nasal swab.


Torremorell vacc pigs aerosol influenza nasal shedding
Nasal shedding over time

Air samples

All air samples in the vaccinated groups tested negative by RRT-PCR. Air samples collected at days 1, 2 and 3 from NON-VAC pigs tested positive by RRT-PCR but negative by virus isolation


The 2009 influenza pandemic, the variant H3N2v viruses in agricultural fairs and the zoonotic poultry H5N9 infections in China have highlighted the constant threat that influenza A viruses (IAV) present to people and animals. In this study we evaluated the effect of IAV vaccination on aerosol shedding in pigs housed in warm environmental conditions. Thirty-six, three-week old weaned pigs were obtained from an IAV negative herd and were randomly allocated to one of 4 groups: 1) a homologous vaccine group, 2) a heterologous multivalent vaccine group, 3) a heterologous monovalent group and, 4) a non-vaccinated group. After vaccination pigs were challenged with the triple reassortant A/Sw/IA/00239/04 H1N1 virus. Environmental temperature and relative humidity were recorded throughout the study. Nasal swabs, oral fluids and air samples were collected daily. All samples were tested by RRT-PCR and virus isolation was attempted on positive samples. Average temperature and relative humidity throughout the study were 27°C (80°F) and 53%, respectively. A significantly higher proportion of infected pigs was detected in the non-vaccinated than in the vaccinated group. Lower levels of nasal virus shedding were found in vaccinated groups compared to non-vaccinated group and IAV was not detected in air samples of any of the vaccinated groups. In contrast, positive air samples were detected in the non-vaccinated group at 1, 2 and 3 days post infection although the overall levels were considered low most likely due to the elevated environmental temperature. In conclusion, both the decrease in shedding and the increase in environmental temperature may have contributed to the inability to detect airborne IAV in vaccinated pigs.

Vaccination against Lawsonia intracellularis decreases shedding of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in co-infected pigs changes the host gut microbiome

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week,  we are sharing the summary of a publication by  Dr. Fernando Leite who recently received his PhD from the University of Minnesota. The full scientific article regarding the effect of the vaccination against Lawsonia intracellularis on the shedding of Salmonella typhimurium and the host microbiome is available on open access in Nature.

Materials and Methods

A total of five treatment groups were used:

  1. challenged with S. Typhimurium alone,
  2. challenged with both S. Typhimurium and L. intracellularis,
  3. challenged with S. Typhimurium and vaccinated against L. intracellularis,
  4. challenged with both S. Typhimurium and L. intracellularis and vaccinated against L. intracellularis
  5. a non-infected control.


The greatest difference in shedding level between groups was found at 7 days post-infection. At this time point, the co-challenged animals from the vaccinated group shed statistically less S. Typhimurium per gram of feces than the animals from the non-vaccinated, co-challenged group. The co-challenged vaccinated group also shed significantly less S. Typhimurium than the singly infected S. Typhimurium group.
L. intracellularis vaccination did not have a significant impact on S. Typhimurium shedding when animals were singly infected with S. Typhimurium.

Leite Ileitis vaccination salmonelle co infection


At 7 days post-infection, different treatment groups had significant differences in their microbiome community structure. The co-infected vaccinated group clustered apart from all other treatment groups.


These results indicate that vaccination against L. intracellularis impacts the microbiome and reduces shedding of S. Typhimurium in co-infected animals.