1 October 1999

Bedding them in…

THE need for isolation, acclimatisation, and integration of new stock into an established herd is becoming increasingly necessary to maximise potential of new stock and minimise risk of destabilising the recipient herd.

Michael Muirhead of the Garth Veterinary Group told last weeks JSR conference at Sutton Bonington, Notts, that while some producers still introduced new pigs straight into their units, isolation was preferable, either on- or off-farm.

On-farm isolation should be carried out in a naturally ventilated building, preferably on straw. A minimum of 21 days should be allowed, and preferably six to eight weeks.

After the first three weeks, weaners or other stock from the established herd should be mixed with the incoming stock at a ratio of two to five. This would show whether there were disease compatibility problems between stock.

The isolation period should be used for acclimatisation and vaccination. In the case of pneumonia, where incoming stock are coming from a pneumonia free source to a pneumonia positive herd, two injections should be given.

"The objectives of isolation and acclimatisation are not just to prevent entry of unacceptable or serious diseases, but also to allow a controlled exposure to new disease organisms present on the farm but not present in incoming stock.

"This allows a build-up of immunity, so that when new animals enter the unit proper, they are able to be fully productive and not limited by disease challenge."

The isolation unit should be well away from the main unit, there should be no cross contamination from drainage systems, and separate boots and overalls should be used, he added.