Occurrence of congenital disorders in Swiss sheep
- Equal contributors
1 Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, Bern, 3001, Switzerland
2 Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, Liebefeld, 3097, Switzerland
3 Institute of Genetics, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, Bern, 3001, Switzerland
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2013, 55:27 doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-27Published: 22 March 2013
The rates of congenital disorders in Swiss sheep were determined by a questionnaire which was sent to 3,183 members of the Swiss Sheep Breeders’ Association.
A total of 993 questionnaires were returned, giving a response rate of 31.2%. Of these, 862 questionnaires originated from farms keeping one of the predominant Swiss sheep breeds: Swiss White Alpine sheep, Brown-Headed Meat sheep, Swiss Black Brown Mountain sheep and Valais Blacknose sheep. During a 10-year-period, entropion was reported in 33.6% of the farms, brachygnathia inferior in 29.5%, abdominal/umbilical hernia in 15.9%, cryptorchidism in 10.5% and torticollis in 10.5%. The most significant difference between the four breeds (P < 0.001) occurred for entropion in Swiss White Alpine sheep and Brown-Headed Meat sheep, brachygnathia inferior in Swiss Black Brown Mountain sheep, and scrotal/inguinal hernia in Valais Blacknose sheep. The Swiss White Alpine breed showed a significantly higher animal prevalence of entropion (6.2% in 2011 and 5.5% in 2012) than other breeds (P < 0.001).
These findings indicate a breed-specific necessity for action, particularly regarding Swiss animal welfare legislation, especially entropion in Swiss White Alpine sheep is concerned. In general, careful selection of breeding stock is to be recommended.