Jorquera-Chavez, M., Fuentes, S., Dunshea, F. et al. 2020. Remotely sensed imagery for early detection of respiratory disease in pigs: A pilot study. Animals 10(3), 451.
Respiratory diseases are a major problem in the pig industry worldwide. Due to the impact of these diseases, the early identification of infected herds is essential. Computer vision technology, using RGB (red, green and blue) and thermal infrared imagery, can assist the early detection of changes in animal physiology related to these and other diseases. This pilot study aimed to identify whether these techniques are a useful tool to detect early changes of eye and ear-base temperature, heart rate and respiration rate in pigs that were challenged with Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. Clinical observations and imagery were analysed, comparing data obtained from animals that showed some signs of illness with data from animals that showed no signs of ill health. Highly significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed between sick and healthy pigs in heart rate, eye and ear temperature, with higher heart rate and higher temperatures in sick pigs. The largest change in temperature and heart rate remotely measured was observed around 4–6 h before signs of clinical illness were observed by the skilled technicians. These data suggest that computer vision techniques could be a useful tool to detect indicators of disease before the symptoms can be observed by stock people, assisting the early detection and control of respiratory diseases in pigs, promoting further research to study the capability and possible uses of this technology for on farm monitoring and management.