Technical Article

  • Finding Best Pet for Kids With Allergies
    •  If you have a child with allergies, you might hesitate to bring a pet into the home. While you’ll need to take a few things into account, and while a child with severe allergies should probably be medicated, there’s no need to avoid getting a pet just because your child is prone to mild allergies. “There are a couple of ways of finding out what your child may be allergic to,” says Dr. Jonathan Spergel, chief of the Allergy Section at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “One way is to go to an allergist and get allergy testing.” Allergy testing can determine what substances might trigger an allergic response in your child, and it will rule out additional allergies to a pet’s diet or bedding. “I’ve seen people not realize, until they are around a pet, that they have an allergy, which then leads to re-homing the animal,” says Dr. Jennifer Graham, an assistant professor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Finding another home for your pet would be sad for both the family and the animal, so always get tested for allergies in order to make an informed decision about what type of pet to have. Here are the best pets for families to consider, along with advice on how to accommodate a child with allergies.


      Cats and Dogs

      Some people can be more sensitive to certain breeds than others, but despite prevalent theories, there is no such thing as a 100 percent non-allergenic dog or cat, says Dr. Spergel. Allergy testing will tell you if you are allergic to dogs or cats, but it will not identify individual breeds that cause the reaction. Whether or not your child is already mildly allergic to these mammals, it will take some trial and error to determine which non-allergenic breed is best for your home and will cause the least severe allergic reaction. Shorthaired dogs or hairless cats are not necessarily better options. An allergic reaction is caused by proteins in animal dander (old skin cells that are shed) and saliva, both of which will still be present in breeds with little to no hair.

      In addition to allergy testing, you can visit family members, friends, or neighbors who have a dog or cat breed you are considering. Speak with the pediatrician first before exposing your child to an animal, and ask what medication you should have on hand in case he has an allergic reaction, Dr. Spergel suggests. If you have asthma or allergies to a mammal, being exposed can make you cough, wheeze, or have significant swellings. If the child’s asthma is well controlled, let him interact with the pet briefly to see if he develops an allergic reaction. Before doing so, though, talk to your pediatrician or allergist to make sure if it’s safe for the child. It will take more than two minutes for your child to be sufficiently exposed, so keep a close eye on him as he plays with the animal. Your child should visit the same breed multiple times for one hour or more to see if an allergic reaction develops. Even if he doesn’t show signs of an allergic reaction, the short exposure may not rule out an allergy completely, so it can still be a good way to determine any problems. (If your child’s asthma or allergies are uncontrolled, do not expose him to contact with an animal.)

      While a child may not be allergic to the animal itself, you should still exercise caution if your child is allergic to pollen, Dr. Spergel warns. An animal that has been outdoors can track pollen into the home and spread it everywhere. If you do decide to get a cat or dog, you’ll need to be more vigilant about cleaning after your pet. Invest in a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate-air (HEPA) filter to effectively trap pollen as well as pet dander, and frequently wash and vacuum any rugs or furniture that come in contact with your pet. Even if you have hardwood floors, make sure to clean them often. Dusting daily and purchasing an air purifier with a HEPA filter will also eradicate any pollen that your pet may bring into your home.


      Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, and Other Small Pets

      Smaller pets have an advantage over their larger counterparts when it comes to affordability and the amount of space they take up in your home. If you’re considering a smaller pet for your child, however, it’s still important to assess whether she has an allergy to the animal’s fur, food items (hay), or bedding (pine or cedar). Be extra careful if you’re considering rabbits and guinea pigs. “More kids seem allergic to the fur of rabbits and guinea pigs than to smaller rodents,” says Dr. Katherine Quesenberry, an exotic-pets expert at New York City’s Animal Medical Center. The reaction is possibly more severe because rabbits and guinea pigs are larger than other small pets and shed more, increasing the amount of allergen kids are exposed to. Safer pet options might be a smaller animal such as a hamster, gerbil, or rat. However, some people can develop allergies to any pet rodent over time.

      If you’re considering a feathered friend, note that birds also shed dander and can cause allergies similar to those caused by mammals. Smaller birds may shed less dander and cause fewer reactions, but parents should still get kids tested for allergies before investing in one. Or try this unique alternative: a hedgehog. “One advantage of the hedgehog is that kids with allergies are typically not as irritated by them,” says Dr. Graham. Since hedgehogs have quills, they shed less dander and veterinarians tend to see fewer allergic reactions to them as a result. But parents should learn about local and state laws before buying a hedgehog, because it’s illegal to own them in certain states.



      While fish are not as hands-on as other animals, they make the best pets for a kid with allergies. “Since they are in water and there is no direct or airborne contact, allergies should not be an issue,” Dr. Quesenberry says. Parents should nonetheless keep children from handling fish and sticking their hands in the water. Aquatic environments can contain bacteria that can lead to an infection, Dr. Graham cautions. If your child has a cut or scratch on the skin, contact with fish can lead to fish-handler’s disease, where a red circle develops around the infected area and causes itchiness and burning. Careful handwashing can reduce the risk of exposure.



      If you and your partner don’t mind having a scaly animal in the house, reptiles can be a good option for kids with allergies. Because they lack fur, snakes, turtles, geckos, and bearded dragons have a distinct advantage over their furry counterparts. While these animals tend to shed their skin, they lack the proteins that cause allergic reactions, Dr. Quesenberry says. One concern with reptiles, though, is exposure to salmonella. Most pet reptiles that are well maintained are healthy, but some reptiles can carry salmonella as part of their normal intestinal bacteria, and it can be harmful if it’s transferred to humans. “Salmonella can cause severe intestinal inflammation and diarrhea in people,” Dr. Quesenberry says. “It is most commonly reported in people with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems, such as in young children or the elderly.” The symptoms can be similar to a stomach virus, so if you’re worried, tell the physician that you own a reptile. Kids with allergies won’t be more vulnerable to salmonella than anyone else will be, but keep in mind that reptiles would be best for older kids with allergies who understand the importance of washing their hands after handling the reptile.

      So if your child really wants a pet, seek out creative solutions that will keep your whole family healthy while providing a good home for the animal. Dr. Graham knows plenty of families that make it work: They reduce the child’s contact with the pet by keeping animals in separate rooms of the house, emphasizing strict handwashing, or having other family members do the majority of animal care. Whatever you decide, having a child with allergies doesn’t mean you should rule out getting a pet.

  • 8 Fun Scent Games Your Dog Will Love

      Though newborn puppies are essentially blind at birth, their sense of smell is fully developed and active. It’s a dog’s most powerful sense and the one we humans overlook the most. While we focus on what things look like, our dogs’ attentions center on a smorgasbord of scents floating through the air: what the neighbours had for dinner; which raccoon walked through the yard the night before; if the retriever across the street just got a bath.

      Masters of Smell

      We have six million olfactory receptors; dogs have up to 300 million. Additionally, the part of the brain that analyzes smells is 40 times bigger in dogs than humans. This enables dogs to find lost hikers, discover buried truffles, or even locate cadavers beneath the water. It stands to reason then, that we should somehow be harnessing this amazing power in our own pets.

      ScentGames-ex1Once dependent upon their noses to survive, most domestic dogs today are a bit out of practice. But the good news is that, with just a little planning and patience, you can add fun scent games to your dog’s repertoire of behaviours and help her utilize this untapped smell power!#1 Find the Food

      This is a simple way to engage your dog’s scenting prowess. It requires you to do nothing but place treats randomly around the home in the hopes that she will locate them by scent. Once she finds the first one (often by accident), she will quickly key into the possibility of finding others with her nose. Start by placing one or two treats down in full view, while she is out of the room. Then call her in. She will eat them happily and look for more. Repeat this process, but begin placing the treats in less obvious places; in a corner, just beneath a sofa or coffee table, or even partially beneath a doggie cushion. Place them while she is outside, or in another part of the home. Then simply let her find them on her own. You will soon see her scenting for them rather than looking for them.

      Vary placement and quantity; some days just hide one treat. Once she “gets it,” vary the hidden item. Try hiding a food dispenser toy filled with treats. Hide a feather rubbed with cheese. Hide a frozen cube of meat or broth (on a plate of course!). Then move it out into the yard and do the same, making it easy at first then progressively harder. Try hiding a chicken egg out there! You can even try this in your car or in a friend’s home.


      #2 Pick the Hand

      Here’s a simple way to rev up your dog’s nose. First, get some small tasty treats that will fit into your hand. A bit of turkey meat or cheese will work better than kibble because of the former’s stronger aroma. Next, take one into your palm and make a loose, palm-down fist. Then, with your dog sitting in front of you, offer her that fist, and let her sniff. While doing so, say “Find it!” Once she has sniffed it, open your hand and offer the treat, saying, “Good find it!” Repeat this a few times. Then, add your other empty fist. Don’t let her see which hand you place the treat into. Next, move your closed hands back and forth, then offer up both to her, saying “Find it!” When she sniffs at the treat hand, say, “Good find it!” and open your hand to give her the treat. Repeat this, alternating the hand in which you place the treat. As you continue, wait until you can see her nose really “alert” on the treat hand before opening up. The idea is to teach her that the location of treat varies and can be found only by scenting it out. Once she gets it, add a friend’s two fists into the mix, making it doubly hard for her.

      #3 New Animal Scent

      ScentGames-ex2_0Dogs are born trackers of prey, other predators, and competitors. Take advantage of this by placing the scent of a new animal into your dog’s yard and see if she picks up on it. Try this outdoors only as dogs will often urinate over another animal’s scent as a way of reclaiming territory.

      To begin, give an old towel or rag to a friend and have him or her rub it all over his or her dog or cat. If possible, have him or her get a drop of urine on the cloth as it contains strong scents. If not, rubbing it will do. Then, without your dog present, place the cloth out of sight somewhere in the yard, beneath a bush or behind a tree. Then let your dog out and see what happens! You can try this randomly with the scent of different animals to keep your dog guessing. After trying dog and cat scents, try hamster, parrot, ferret—whatever you can locate.


      #4 Hide & Seek

      5-extraordinary-things-dogs-are-trained-to-sniff-out-54fc85818d04eHere’s one that uses you as the treat. While your dog is distracted somewhere in the home, hide in a closet, under a bed, or somewhere she wouldn’t normally expect you to be. Then just wait.  She will inevitably begin searching for you. Once she finds you, praise and reward! If you are in a closet and you hear her sniff
      at the door, you’ll know she’s doing what dogs have done for centuries.

      Next, take it outdoors to a dog-friendly off-leash wooded area, preferably with no one else around­­. Have a friend hold your dog, then walk off into the woods and find cover. Your friend should wait 30 seconds, then say “Where’s, (your name)!” and release her. Your dog should scoot off with her nose to the ground, searching for you. Within a minute she should find you, at which point you should reward her mightily! Increase your distance over time until she can find you no matter how far off.

      #5 Shell Game

      maxresdefaultThis game builds upon the “Pick The Hand” game. Get four sturdy, coffee cup-sized containers that she cannot break or easily knock over. Avoid glass or paper; glass could break and paper is too flimsy. With your dog sitting and watching, place a treat underneath one cup then move it back and forth. Then say, “Find it!” When she sniffs at it, lift the cup and say, “Good find it!” as she eats the treat. If she knocks the cup over, that’s fine. Next, add a second cup. Place the treat then move the cups back and forth a bit. Say, “Find it!” and let her sniff each cup. Wait until she sniffs the right one before praising and lifting the cup. Repeat until she reliably picks the right cup. Then add a third cup, and repeat until she gets it on the first try every time. At that point, you’ll know that she’s using her nose and not random choice.


      #6 Where's Dinner

      ScentGames-ex3While wild dogs have to track and capture food every day, our dogs know they will find a meal in the same spot every day. But what if, when you called her for dinner one day, her bowl was in a different spot? The answer is simple: she would instantly begin looking for it. Try first placing it in the room next door; she will begin sniffing excitedly and find the scent-rich bowl in seconds. The next day, hide the bowl somewhere across your home and call her for dinner. It will take her a bit longer, but she will find it and wolf it down. Once you’ve established this game, move her bowl once or twice per week and make her hunt it down.


      #7 Scent Trails

      Food isn’t the only thing dogs are interested in smelling. Unique scents such as essential oils (lavender, anise, and valerian work well) can motivate dogs and will excite their tracking instincts. To start, get a favourite toy (a ball works well) and put a few drops of essential oil onto it. Then, play a quick game of indoor fetch, followed by a reward. Do so several times in a day. The next day, with the dog absent, hide the same toy, then place tiny pieces of paper anointed with the oil onto the floor, leading 20 feet away from the ball, like a trail of bread crumbs. Then let the dog into the room where the trail begins and say, “Find your ball!” Most dogs will scent out the pieces of paper then eventually connect that the smell with the ball. Keep at it and praise when she follows the trail. If need be, get her started by showing her the first scented paper. When she does find the ball, reward her! Gradually reduce the number of scented papers until she can find the scented ball all by herself. Once mastered in the home, move it out into the yard.  Then change the scent and the toy and begin again. You can use chicken fat, cream cheese, peanut butter—anything your dog likes.

      #8 Find the Scent Itself

      Instead of using a scent as a means to help her find a ball, you can teach her to search out the scent itself. This is a simple version of what drug and bomb-sniffing dogs do.

      If you have taught your dog to find a ball by following a scent trail, you have already taught her to key in on scent. To begin, take the same scented ball and place it in a shoebox. Then encourage her to come up to it and sniff it by saying, “Find your ball!” Eventually she will scratch and paw at the box, whereupon you should take the ball out (if she hasn’t already) and reward her with it. Next, repeat this, only with three boxes, the ball in the original box (to prevent cross contamination). Say “Find your ball!” and work it until she succeeds. Reward her with a quick fetch session.

      Now, instead of putting the scented ball in one of the three boxes, simply put a slip of paper in the same box, with a few drops of the same essential oil on it. Hide the scented ball outside, wash your hands, then place a new, unscented ball in your back pocket. Say, “Find your ball!” again, encouraging her just as before. When she homes in on the box with the scented paper, praise her mightily then take out the ball in your pocket and toss it for her as a reward. Repeat this over time, increasing distance and the number of boxes. In no time, she will be an expert tracker!

      These simple scent games only scratch the surface of a dog’s tracking capabilities. If your dog really takes to it and you feel so inclined, do a web search to locate a local tracking club and attend a introductory class. Who knows: your pooch could turn into a master tracker!






  • Understanding Fungal and Bacterial Skin Infections in your Pets.
    • By: Michael Ephraim Vergara, DVM
      Technical Service Officer

      Understanding Fungal and Bacterial Skin Infections in your Pets.

      Red, crusty, rough area, broken hairs, hair loss and itching.

          These are the more common signs seen in pets with a fungal problem, Dermatophytosis. Dermatophytosis (aka Ringworm) is not a worm but a fungal disease that infects skin, hair, and claws by one of the three types of fungus (dermatophytes) Epidermophyton, Microsporum, and Trichophyton. These pathogenic fungi are found worldwide, and all domestic animals are susceptible. Cats are the reservoir for the most common form of ringworm in pets. Second in line is carried by rodents and picked up by curious dogs digging into rodent burrows. The third form is a soil fungus. Due to the susceptibility of young animals, the disease is more common in puppies and kittens.1

      The following are the methods of transmission of dermatophytosis among pets:

      • Contact with hair and scales from infected animals

      • Contact with contaminated bedding, grooming equipment, or environment

      • Contact with soil containing fungal organisms

         Some ringworm in dogs and cats can be contagious to people (zoonotic disease), especially children. Studies show that in 30 – 70% of households where the cat has ringworm, at least one person will get it. People with the highest risk for catching ringworm from their pet are young children who have never been exposed, the elderly, or people  with  a depressed immune system. Once a person has been exposed to a strain of ringworm, most develop immunity and rarely get the same strain again. If a person develops ringworm, your pets should be examined, although many times the source of infection is actually another person and not a pet.


        In some clinical cases among pets, dermatophytosis can progress into bacterial skin infections commonly grouped under the term “pyoderma,” (meaning a skin disease that causes pus) or vice versa. The bacteria most often responsible for pyoderma is Staphylococcus intermedius. From the two categories of pyoderma (1. Superficial or 2. Deep Pyoderma),  the superficial pyoderma which affects the   outermost layer of skin (the epidermis) and the hair follicles, is the one more likely to be correlated to fungal infection. Superficial skin infections which was brought about by any irritation (fleas, mange mites, dermatophytes, chemical, toxins) may suddenly appear as painful, red ulcerations which ooze clear to cloudy discharge (acute moist dermatitis or “hot spots”) or may progress more gradually as patches of hair loss, redness, and scale (dandruff).2

        Dermatophytosis is diagnosed by fungal culture, examination with a Wood’s lamp, and direct microscopic examination of hair or skin scale. Fungal culture is the most accurate means of diagnosis but is also the most time consuming one. Dermatophyte  Test Medium (DTM) may be used in a clinical setting with hair stubble and skin scale collected for placement on the agar, then lightly covered to prevent drying. Incubation at room temperature is sufficient and growth is usually apparent within 3-7 days but may require up to 3 wk. Definitive diagnosis and species identification require removal of hyphae and macroconidia from the surface of the colony with acetate tape and microscopic examination with lactophenol cotton blue stain.


        The Wood’s lamp is useful in screening examina tions for Microsporum canis infections in cats and dogs. Infected hairs fluoresce yellow-green; however, only 80% of M. canis infections fluoresce, and other fungal species in animals do not.



        Direct microscopic examination of hairs or skin scrapings may allow early diagnosis by demonstration of characteristic hyphae or arthrospores in the specimen. The technique is more useful in diagnosing dermatophytosis in large animals than in small animals. Hairs (preferably white ones) and scrapings from the periphery of lesions are examined for fungal elements in a wet preparation of 20% potassium hydroxide that has been gently warmed or incubated in a humidity chamber overnight.3

        For dermatologic conditions such as Dermatophytosis and Pyoderma, topical therapy (locally acting) is extremely important in the management of such conditions in pets.  Though choice varies according to the case, shampoos are nowadays widely used by veterinary dermatologists. A shampoo is an aqueous solution, with added surfactant/s, cleansing agents and various other therapeutic and/or cosmetic agents.4

       There is a large variety of medications and treatment options available for dermatophytosis therapy. Most often, a combination of several agents for therapy is utilized for maximum results. These various agents which have been made into anti-fungal shampoos limit the  contagiosity of dermatophytosis and even Malassezia  infections. Among these antifungal agents, KETOCONAZOLE and MICONAZOLE would be the more commonly reviewed agents for dermatophytosis cases in dogs and cats.

        In an in vitro study, a KETOCONAZOLE shampoo was effective to inhibit the growth on Dermatophyte Test Medium (DTM) of Microsporum canis from an infected hair, but after more applications than other anti-fungal solutions (enilconazole, lime sulfur chlorhexidine and providone iodine).  On another review, a MICONAZOLE shampoo is considered to be as effective as lime sulfur and enilconazole in treating dermatophytosis.4

        Miconazole is commonly prescribed in veterinary medicine for the treatment of skin fungal infections, primarily ringworm and yeast infections, in cats and dogs. When used in veterinary medicine and according to the directions of the veterinarian, the side effects of Miconazole are relatively minimal. Toxicity, or overdose, is also a rarity with this topical veterinary medicine. Fungal infections in animals can take up to six weeks to heal. Failure to complete the full cycle of treatment for this veterinary medicine can and usually does lead to a relapse of the infection.

        For pyoderma cases, topical treatment is used to reduce cutaneous bacterial population and also to remove tissue debris, allowing direct contact of the active ingredient with the organism/s.  Superficial pyoderma, the type of pyoderma that is observed in relation to dermatophytosis, can be managed with shampoos alone, especially if they are started at the beginning or onset of development. The agents commonly included in antibacterial shampoos are chlorhexidine, providone iodine, benzoyl peroxide and ethyl lactate. From these four agents, CHLORHEXIDINE and PROVIDONE IODINE appears to be the more often used for bacterial skin infections.

        CHLORHEXIDINE is a biguanide antiseptic, very effective against most bacteria (Gram + and -),except some Pseudomonas and Serratia strains. It is bactericidal by action on cytoplasmic membrane which causes leak of intracellular components. It has prophylactic effect due to its remanence (or residual physical representation), and it is also well tolerated. PROVIDONE IODINE on the other hand, is an iodophore which slowly releases iodine to tissues. It is bactericidal and has also a prophylactic effect due to its remanence. It is relatively drying which can be compensated by emollients in shampoos. It can be irritating and staining.5

        There are various medicated shampoos available in the market today for fungal and bacterial skin infections. But based on references and studies, products under the same class of drugs may not work the same and one can work better than the other. Also based on many clinical experiences and testimonies, anti-fungal and antibacterial agents can work synergistically in treating skin infections of this kind. So for fungal and bacterial skin infections in pets, use the studied, more effective, economical and LONG been tested and trusted by experienced practitioners.







  • How Safe is your Meat Enhancers? (Meat Residue Issues, Facts and Data)
    • By: Michael Ephraim Vergara, DVM
      Technical Service Officer

      How Safe is your Meat Enhancers?
      (Meat Residue Issues, Facts and Data)

           FOOD SAFETY implies the absence or acceptable and safe levels of contaminants, adulterants, and naturally occurring toxins or any other substances that may make food injurious to health on an acute or chronic basis. Here in the the country – the Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD), Department of Agriculture (DA) and its agencies; and the food sector (livestock and poultry producers) all play important roles in making sure that food safety standards are met and being adhered to.


        One of the things that will come to mind when ‘food safety’ is discussed is MEAT RESIDUE. As defined in RA 9296 – National Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, RESIDUE would be any foreign substance including metabolites, therapeutic or prophylactic agents which are objectionable or hazardous to human health remaining in the meat or meat products as a result of treatment or accidental exposure.


        Here in the Philippines the more common meat residues isolated are either ANTIBIOTICS or BETA-AGONISTS. Antibiotics are checked rather more often than Beta Agonists. Below are the frequently isolated ANTIBIOTIC residues:

      •  Tetracyclines
      •  Sulfa Drugs

             With the BETA AGONISTS checking would be more of a spot-check here in the country. This is in connection with an Administrative Order (AO) from the DA. The AO #14 Series of 2003 states the ‘BAN ON THE USE IN FOOD ANIMALS OF BETA AGONIST DRUGS USED IN HUMAN AS BRONCHODILATORS AND TOCOLYTICS AGENTS’. Under the AO, beta agonist such as clenbuterol, salbutamol, terbutalin and pirbuterol are banned for used since the safety profile of these compounds has not been established here in the Philippines and even in other countries.

             Thus, among the Beta Agonists used as partitioning agents promoting reduction in body fat and enhancing growth, only Ractopamine is approved to be used in livestock animals. Studies on the safety of ractopamine have been established in target animals and even the residue levels have been recommended by the panel of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

             For the target animal safety, values on the Maximum Lethal Dose have been established and that no deaths occurred at even 500ppm at 56 days. Only decrease in hemopoetic parameters were observed on animals tested.  While for humans the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) Recommendations on Average Daily Intake (ADI) and Maximum Residue Level (MRL) of Ractopamine hydrochloride on Edible Tissues of Pigs and Cattle (Rome, 2010) are as follows:

             Ractopamine when used as feed additive is recommended to be mixed only at 5, 10, or 20 ppm in complete feeds of pigs. This makes the above-mentioned residue levels at 30 ppm already wide as a margin for the recommended inclusion rates commonly used in pigs. In a study conducted on the level of residue of ractopamine in meat of pigs in China (2009), the maximum residue levels of 10, 40 and 90 µg/kg in muscle, liver and kidney respectively were observed earliest at 12 hours and latest at 24 hours post withdrawal of medicated feeds. 

         Normal practice here in the Philippines is that a finisher pig reserved by a viajero will be moved out of the pen already in the holding area. Upon reaching the slaughterhouse, a 6-hour rest for the pigs is required and depending on the number of pigs to be slaughtered, the animals will be staying in the slaughterhouse for around 6-12 hours again. With these practices here in the country, finishing pigs given ractopamine can be slaughtered even at zero withdrawal time.


         These days when everybody is concern with being healthy, eating meat with residue poses as a major concern. Residues in animal tissues above the legal and acceptable level clearly have an impact on human health. Issue of resistance and tolerance tops the list of consequences that may occur when there is a constant exposure to illegal meat residues. The constant exposure to residue may entail long period of time when it comes to veterinary drugs but still the risk cannot be more emphasized. Thus, if residue cannot be avoided might as well go with the acceptable and safe. So the question is, how safe is your pork chop?!

  • Are your boars IN or OUT?
    • By: Bea Verna Caillan,
      Technical Service Officer

      Are your boars IN or OUT?

         Successful breeding starts always on choosing breeding animals. Buying boars nowadays may range from Php 30-120,000 depending on the line, conformation, genetic merit and source of the boar. You also provide housing, feeds, medicine etc. to ensure good environment and care were given to them. In this case knowing boar’s performance is crucial.

         Most local farms would only check the motility and concentration before extension or insemination. In this study, shows the percentage of normal sperm cell of boar’s semen from a local AI center.

         Five (5) boars extended semen were checked for Total motility, progressive motility and total abnormal forms using Sperm Precision Technologies. All boars’ semen was sold locally and caters mostly commercial and backyard farms.

         Result shows that only 1 out of 5 boars passed the standard of not more than 25% abnormal forms. While 4 boars passed the standard of not less than 60% general motility and not less than 40% progressive motility.

      On the basis of motility and morphology below is the percentage normal sperm cell of the tested boars.

         Total motility percentage is the total percentage of motile or moving sperm cell, which is most routinely used in sorting ejaculate prior to extension or basis of acceptance before insemination. Forward progression describes how fast the motile sperm are moving. A normal morphology, shape or form of the sperm cell includes checking the head shape, tail deformities and presence of cytoplasmic droplets, any borderline sperm are counted as abnormal. WHO standard of not more than 25% of total abnormalities are common basis on when to suspect the boar for culling. On a more strict criteria maximum of 5% on head deformities, 5% on tail abnormalities, 10% of cytoplasmic droplets and maximum of 5% defects on acrosome integrity may be applied.

         *Adjusting dose concentration or using technique of post-cervical or deep intrauterine insemination may help you deposit more viable semen at the site of fertilization for boars near at the borderline. For boars having more than 25% defective sperm cell it would be best to know the contribution of the boar by computing its cost and comparing it to the cost and genetic/production contribution. It is very important to keep records. The dates when the boar has served a sow as well as the number of the sow that has been served must be recorded so that infertile boars and boars that give small litters can be identified and eliminated.

      *To know the total viability of the sperm cells, hyperosmotic swelling test and vitality test is advised to perform.



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