Med. Weter. 68 (7), 418-421, 2012

full text

Szkucik K., Pyz-Łukasik R., Paszkiewicz W.
Morbid traits and qualitative changes in horse carcasses in Poland in the years 2001 - 2010
The purpose of this study was to analyze the results of post-mortem examinations of horse carcasses conducted by the Veterinary Inspectorate in the years 2001-2010 in Polish slaughterhouses for these animals. In this period, 377,000 horses were slaughtered. Morbid traits or qualitative changes were observed in 60,327 carcasses, consti-tuting 15.99% of all carcasses examined. The number of carcasses judged unfit for consumption was 1,099, i.e. 1.82% of those in which morbid traits or qualitative changes had been detected (or 0.29% of all carcasses exam-ined). The most common were qualitative changes: most of these were described as pollution and congestion, found in 43,623 carcasses, i.e. 98.5% of carcasses departing from quality standards or 11.57% of all carcasses examined. A small proportion of all carcasses examined (0.05%) were affected by microbial infections. This group of diseases consisted of only three disorders: tuberculosis, sepsis and tetanus. Parasites were found in 10,011 carcasses examined, but only 1 carcass was judged unfit for consumption (a case of trichinosis diagnosed in 2010). The most frequent reasons for classifying carcasses as unfit for consumption were sensory changes (31.48%). Beginning from 2002, the number of carcasses judged unfit for consumption systematically decreased while the number of slaughtered animals increased. Two minor departures from this pattern were observed in 2006, when the proportion of carcasses deemed unfit for consumption increased by 0.07% compared with 2005, and in 2008, when the number of slaughtered animals decreased. Compared with the period 2001-2009, the proportion of carcasses with morbid traits increased abruptly in 2010: it was six times greater than in 2009 and three times greater than in 2001, i.e. in the two years when, as in 2010, over 40,000 horses were slaughtered in Poland. Moreover, in the last of the ten years under examination there was a notable increase in the number of qualitative changes, parasitic lesions and carcasses with a negative sanitary assessment. This increase may have been caused by a deterioration in the quality of slaughtered animals combined with the rigorous performance of post-mortem examinations by official veterinary surgeons. .
Key words: equine, post-mortem examination, morbid traits, qualitative changes