Med. Weter. 68 (12), 755-761, 2012

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Szkucik K., Bełkot Z., Gondek M.
Occurrence of lesions and qualitative changes in game carcasses in Poland in 2000–2011
The aim of the study was to analyze the results of post-mortem examinations of game animals conducted in Poland in 2000-2011 by the Veterinary Inspectorate. During that period, nearly 6 million game animals were shot, including mostly wild boars, roe deer and game birds. However, only 3,442,257 of them were examined post mortem by veterinarians. Lesions and qualitative changes were found in 65,970 carcasses (i.e. in 1.92% of the total number examined), of which 16,788, i.e. 25.45% (or 0.52% of all carcasses examined), were judged unfit for human consumption. The most lesions were found in boar carcasses (2.79%), and the least in deer carcasses (1.94%). The most common qualitative change, in both boar and deer carcasses (53.31% and 50.10%, respectively), was putrefaction, which was also the most frequent reason for qualifying carcasses as unfit for consumption (40.10% and 76.45% for boars and deer, respectively). The second most important group of lesions were parasitic diseases. In deer carcasses, the most frequent of these diseases was fascioliasis (14.63%), which, however, was not considered sufficient grounds for declaring meat unfit for consumption. In the muscle tissue of wild boars, trichinosis was found, constituting 15.38% of all lesions. In 2000-2011 trichinosis was detected in the muscle tissue of 3,748 boars (0.33%), and - after putrefaction - this disease was the second most important cause for rejecting boar carcasses as unfit for consumption. About 20% of boar and deer carcasses were judged unfit for consumption because of extreme emaciation. In 2000-2011, there was a considerable increase in the number of big game that were shot and presented for post-mortem examination, whereas the number of small game, especially hares, steadily decreased. The percentage of carcasses in which post mortem changes were found remained at a relatively constant level. An exception was 2007, when a marked increase in the number of carcasses with lesions was noted among both wild boars and deer. On the other hand, a notable decrease in the percentages of lesions and qualitative changes in deer carcasses was observed in 2008-2011, although the number of carcasses submitted to veterinary inspection did not change importantly. A vast majority of these changes resulted in deer carcasses being judged unfit for consumption. These facts may be explained by an improvement in the health status of deer combined with a rigorous performance of post-mortem examinations by official veterinary surgeons.
Key words: : wildlife, game animals, lesions, qualitative changes, post mortem examination.