29 January 1999

Beating pig meningitis

ADJUSTING ventilation and controlling temperature in weaner pig housing will help prevent meningitis which is being reported frequently by vets this winter.

David Chennells of Acorn House Vet Surgery, Bedford, says that meningitis has spread more easily in recent warm, muggy weather.

Meningitis spreads in the atmosphere. It goes via a pigs tonsils into its blood and then affects its brain, he says. "Often the first sign is sudden death of a weaner pig." At an earlier stage, pigs will be seen lying on their sides or semi-dazed.

"Ventilation and temperature control are critical. You may have to adjust ventilation four or five times a day when its muggy during the day and cold at night," says Mr Chennells.

When pigs are growing quickly they are more likely to suffer from meningitis because the stocking density will constantly change, increasing the ventilation needed, he adds.

Individuals can be treated when meningitis is caught early. When a group of weaners suffers an outbreak, the whole group can be treated using in-feed medication or injections, he says. &#42