14 March 1996

Be hygienic, beat scours

BETTER hygiene in farrowing houses and between batches of piglets should help combat a rise in neonatal piglet scours.

The National Animal Disease Report attributes the current rise in neonatal scours to a build-up of infection after insufficient cleaning out of pens and buildings between batches.

According to Tony Andrews, independent vet consultant, the increase is mainly due to the weather. "The cold spell meant buildings could not be left open after cleaning, and the reduced ventilation helped disease build-up. Also, the recent warmer weather means bugs can live for longer, increasing infection risk."

Vet Grace Webster, of the Meadows Vet Centre, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, warns that good hygiene in farrowing rooms is vital. "Scours are caused by strains of the E coli organism, which, although not as aggressive as those causing the current food poisoning concern, do affect piglets."

She says that, ideally, farrowing houses should be completely emptied between litters to allow steam cleaning or power washing using a recommended disinfectant. &#42