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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Comparison of four lung scoring systems for the assessment of the pathological outcomes derived from Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae experimental infections

Marina Sibila1*, Virginia Aragón12, Lorenzo Fraile3 and Joaquim Segalés14

Author Affiliations

1 Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), UAB-IRTA, Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Spain

2 Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA), Barcelona, Spain

3 Departament de Producció Animal, ETSEA, Universitat de Lleida, 25198 Lleida, Spain

4 Departament de Sanitat i Anatomia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Spain

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:165  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-165

Published: 19 July 2014



In this study, four lung lesion scoring methods (Slaughterhouse Pleurisy Evaluation System [SPES], Consolidation Lung Lesion Score [LLS], Image analyses [IA] and Ratio of lung weight/body weight [LW/BW]) were compared for the assessment of the different pathological outcomes derived from an Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (App) experimental infection model. Moreover, pathological data was coupled with clinical (fever, inappetence and clinical score), production (average daily weigh gain [ADWG]) and diagnostic (PCR, ELISA and bacterial isolation) parameters within the four infection outcomes (peracute, acute, subclinically infected and non-infected).


From the 61 inoculated animals, 9 were classified as peracute (presence of severe App-like clinical signs and lesions and sudden death or euthanasia shortly after inoculation), 31 as acutely affected (presence of App-like clinical signs and lesions and survival until the end of the experiment), 12 as subclinically infected (very mild or no clinical signs but App infection confirmed) and 9 as non-infected animals (lack of App-like clinical signs and lack of evidence of App infection). A significant correlation between all lung lesion scoring systems was found with the exception of SPES score versus LW/BW. SPES showed a statistically significant association with all clinical, production and diagnostic (with the exception of PCR detection of App in the tonsil) variables assessed. LLS and IA showed similar statistically significant associations as SPES, with the exception of seroconversion against App at necropsy. In contrast, LW/BW was statistically associated only with App isolation in lungs, presence of App-like lesions and ELISA OD values at necropsy.


In conclusion, SPES, LLS and IA are economic, fast and easy-to-perform lung scoring methods that, in combination with different clinical and diagnostic parameters, allow the characterization of different outcomes after App infection.

Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae; Porcine pleuropneumonia; Experimental inoculation; Lung lesion scoring; Bacteriology; PCR