19 July 2002

Doubled death rate follows rise in pig disease

POST-WEANING mortality rates in the UK have doubled over the past year, reflecting the dramatic spread of pig wasting diseases.

Mortality rates were at 9.8% last year from weaning to slaughter for recorded herds, says Fraser Hollingworth of HM Boot Pig Systems. "This is double the rate for previous years."

Glos-based Signet consultant Malcom Black believes the sharp increase in mortality reflects the spread of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) and porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (PDNS) within the UK.

"Before 2001, these diseases were largely confined to East Anglia. Now they are widespread with many herds going down each month with wasting diseases mortality is expected to be higher for this year."

He believes it is secondary infections, such as Glassers disease and pneumonia, which are often responsible for the raised mortality. "The key to minimising losses is to reduce animal stress and give pigs as much care as possible." &#42