NADIS is a network of 40 veterinary practices and six veterinary colleges monitoring diseases in cattle sheep and pigs in the UK.

NADIS data can highlight potential livestock disease and parasite incidence before they peak, providing a valuable early warning for the month ahead.


October 2004

By Mark White BVSc DPM MRCVS

 
 
 

NADIS Pig Disease Forecast

Over recent years there has been a trend to increase sale weight of slaughter pigs. 

This has implications for grading with an average 1mm of backfat being laid down for every 5kg of liveweight beyond 100kg. 

This can be offset to some extent by restricting feed intake, although this may defeat the object by slowing down growth.

Late September and October are traditionally the times when grading profiles degenerate – usually blamed on the combined effects of new season corn and hot weather, slowing early growth in the summer followed by a speeding up of growth as the weather cools. 

In an individual pig, slow growth followed by fast growth is a sure way of depositing fat.

There are, however, some suggestions that pigs in the last month have slowed down and are leaner i.e. we have not seen the growth spurt expected. One can only speculate as to the possible reasons:

  1. Poor summer not reducing earlier growth in the usual way.
  2. Low energy content of poor quality cereals – especially wheat – following a delayed and difficult harvest.
  3. Continued growth depression following the reduction in Copper levels earlier in the year.
  4. Unrecognised disease outbreaks – particularly enteric disease and mild respiratory problems having a direct effect on feed intake.

Producers will need to closely monitor grading profiles and adjust feed specifications over the next few months if fast, efficient growth is to be restored in finishing pigs.

As is usual at this time of year, disease reporting in the pig unit was quiet as mixed arable farms concentrate their efforts on harvest and land work, although the old problem of “arable disease” (i.e. pigs ignored whilst harvest occurs) are not particularly prevalent.

Adults
Lameness was widely reported with both foot problems (bush foot) and joint infection (arthritis) seen, although no particular trends are evident.

Mastitis/Metritis/agalactia was widely seen as was Actinomycosis of the udder – leading to premature culling.

No particular fertility problems were seen and many herds have now restored age structure and are starting to reap the benefits.

Skin disease associated with mange infestation was common – surprising in view of the highly effective treatments now available.

Growers
Enteric and respiratory problems predominate.  Starting after weaning, post weaning scours were common but many herds are also experiencing PMWS associated scour and an increase in mortality associated with this disease. 

Scour/looseness in older growing pigs (40-60kg) is now so common on many farms that it is almost ignored and there is no reason to believe that copper associated problems have declined.

In the highly variable weather, respiratory disease (Enzootic pneumonia and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae particularly) were widely seen as was tail biting, of which several severe outbreaks were reported.

Piglets
Coccidiosis and E coli scours were seen with warmer days associated with wet and dirty farrowing pens where solid floors are provided. 

Joint ill was also seen – questioning hygiene standards and one herd reported an outbreak of coughing in sucking piglets approaching weaning – a condition not reported for some time.

In October, watch out for:

  • Autumn abortions and infertility
  • Rodent infestation
  • Respiratory disease
  • Vice
  • Grading problems

While every effort is made to ensure that the content of this forecast is accurate at the time of publication, NADIS cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions.

All information is general and will need to be adapted in the light of individual farm circumstances in consultation with your veterinary surgeon.


While every effort is made to ensure that the content of this forecast is accurate at the time of publication, NADIS cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. All information is general and will need to be adapted in the light of individual farm circumstances in consultation with your veterinary surgeon

Copyright © NADIS 2002


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