Resilience of commercial animals

Animal health and susceptibility to diseases play an important role in the development of sustainable animal production. Several domains of knowledge transfer strategies to understand health of commercial animals and thus improve it. A healthy herd is economically beneficial and animal diseases and zoonoses have a tremendous impact on society.

To detect at an early stage abnormalities or impairment of health there is a growing need for variables to be able to measure objectively measure the health of animals.

The main aim of this project is to quantify the resilience of production animals on the basis of one or more variables which are continuously and easily measurable at the animal. The elasticity indicates how well an individual animal is able to cope with any disturbances in order  to maintain healthy.

The size of the elasticity is determined by the timing, duration and severity of the occurrence of the disease to be measured with variation of farming conditions, and after experimental infection, in combination with the speed of recovery after infection.  Animals that are able to remain healthy post-infection have the greatest elasticity. In this study the pig is chosen as animal model to test the hypotheses.

This study provides a method that gives insight into how well individual animals are able to cope with disturbances and to maintain their homeostasis. Thus we can establish in a very early stage whether there is a reduced "resilience" and we need to make adjustments before there are any diseases. In addition, we can quantify effects of external influences on the animal, for example, by husbandry conditions, t on the basis of a possible change in the elasticity.

Adjustments can be done very carefully and evidence-based and focuses on health and maintenance of homeosotase. This leads to an efficient production system and the development of animal husbandry systems oriented with reduced use of medication.