NADIS disease forecast - pigs (June) - Farmers Weekly

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NADIS disease forecast – pigs (June)

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.

NADIS disease forecasts are written specifically for farmers,
to increase awareness of prevalent conditions and promote disease prevention and control,
in order to benefit animal health and welfare.
The forecasts are based on national trends and farmers are advised to discuss
their individual farm circumstances with their veterinary surgeon
.

June 2005

This month sees the start of the BPEX sponsored British Pig Health Monitoring Scheme – a major step forward in collection of health data with a long term view of improving the state of health of the UK pig herd.

A large number of veterinary surgeons, independent of the Meat Hygiene Service and experienced in pig medicine, will be visiting most of the major processing plants in order to gather data on internal and external damage to the pig.  This will be reported back through BPEX and then to the producer and his veterinary surgeon.

It will not be, nor is it intended to be, a full diagnostic service; the diagnosis of disease depends on a farm’s history, which the monitoring vets will not have and, where appropriate, laboratory confirmation, which is not part of the scheme.  The idea of the programme is to provide information to the producer on the levels of damage (e.g. to the lungs, liver, skin etc), which the producer’s own veterinary surgeon can then interpret and investigate further if needed.  This means, for example, the “enzootic pneumonia like consolidation” will be reported, not a diagnosis of enzootic pneumonia which could cause considerable anxiety in a Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae free herd.

The scheme is not meant to replace the health monitoring undertaken by breeding companies to provide assurances over the health of their stock – this inevitably requires at least a background history of the farm.

This is a “buy in” scheme – the costs for 3 years of monitoring (12 individual inspections) cost less than a single private inspection.  The abattoir is a rich source of information on health of the pigs, which, thus far, has remained unused.  The introduction of the scheme is a brave venture in helping the industry come to terms with its health issues in a constructive way.  It is up to producers to throw their support behind it and make use of vital, worthwhile and accurate information.
Adults
Production issues continue to dominate veterinary surgeon’s input into the breeding herd, although this month both respiratory and enteric disease when reported in sows.

Inaccurate timing of service – delaying service without accurately detecting the start of oestrous – was blamed on one infertility problem and a lack of oestrous detection post service was blamed for the missing of 3 and 6 week returns, leading to expensive late drop outs and sows found not in pig at farrowing time.

One herd that had been allowed to slip into low productivity was given a major boost when bought as a going concern and, with veterinary advice, the whole service programme was overhauled.  AI was introduced (along with pregnancy testing) following moving of sows indoors before returning to paddocks once pregnancy had been confirmed.

Fox predation was noted as a serious problem in some outdoor herds.

Growers
Most health problems as usual were reported in this group with the variable spring weather probably responsible for many of the respiratory and tail biting problems.  However, in one farm, respiratory disease arose following compromise of air flow to a building when bird proofing measures were introduced with the aim for reducing salmonella exposure.

Enteric problems were widespread with an almost forgotten problem of Epidemic Diarrhoea diagnosed.  In addition, there was plenty of non-specific scour, twisted guts and PMWS seen.

Slow growth in one growing herd was believed to be the result of excessive protein in the diet, having the effect of depressing appetite.  Mortality rose with this slow growth.

Conformation problems were reported to have an effect on carcass quality with one farm experiencing dipped shoulders/humped backs that may have been of inherited/genetic origin.

Piglets
Coughing and sneezing was reported in sucking piglets and pleurisy was unusually seen at 3 weeks of age.  Tail biting was also reported.  In addition to the usual scour problems, one investigation centred on congenital abnormalities such as contracted tendons and thin skin.  The actual incidence of the problems is unclear, although has been present for some time and, at the moment, the cause is obscure although is unlikely to be infectious.

In July, watch out for:-
Vice
Sunburn
Heatstroke
Raised Stillbirth Levels
MMA and Farrowing Fever
Reduced appetites in hot weather

Copyright NADIS 2005 www.nadis.org.uk


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



 
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NADIS disease forecast – pigs (June)

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.


June 2004

By Mark White BVSc DPM MRCVS

 
 
 

NADIS Pig Disease Forecast

Summer and Winter Settings

With all farm buildings, pigmen have the option of manual or automatic control of ventilation. In reality, very few buildings are totally automatically controlled with vents and slides being adjusted to limit the amount of air entering or exiting the building. 

Due to a combination of time pressures, complacency, neglect or lack of understanding, many farms operate on the basis of summer and winter settings. 

In other words, shutters and vents are closed up in winter (including stuffing with polythene bags!) to reduce cold air intake. Unfortunately, with the British (or western European) climate, it is never clear when we move from winter to summer and many farms have been caught out this year with a warm May, whilst air inflow is still restricted. 

Buildings have got too warm causing contamination of environments, reduced feed intakes and a risk of respiratory disease. In the ideal world, where any degree of manual adjustment is needed to vents, it should be done on a daily (or even twice daily!) basis. However, with current staff levels, this is simply unrealistic. 

However, efforts must be made to react to weather conditions and adjust inlets/outlets accordingly. Where time pressures exist, we must see investment in automation to cut down on the routine tasks to enable stockmen to do their job. Without a shift in emphasis, British pig farming will continue to struggle.

Adults
Low productivity continues to plague many units and plenty of herds are still being identified with inadequate replacement rates and, thus, retention of older poor producing sows who are yielding small and very uneven litters. Small piglets born are having an impact on farrowing house mortalities.

Poor boar contact after weaning was blamed for a delay in onset of post weaning oestrus.

Some problems have been identified with sow feed. Some producers are experiencing inappetance and even vomiting and comment that sows faeces now have a much darker colour to it. It is unclear at this stage what the problem might be and whether unusual ingredients are being used.

Growers
Enteric disease dominated the sector in April with loose faeces and grower scours widely reported in pigs of 40-60kg. Growth rates have slowed to give at least an extra week to slaughter. This coincides with the dramatic reduction in copper levels in finishing diets and, such a loss in growth, is a great cause for concern.

Post weaning E coli enteritis was also reported in a number of farms at the classic time 3-5 days post weaning. Creep feed management has come under scrutiny. It has not been uncommon for rectal prolapses to be seen in the wake of these various scouring episodes.

A wide range of other problems have been reported in the feeding herd including:

  • Strep meningitis in weaners.
  • Chronic lameness in growers associated with Erysipelas.
  • Tail biting and traumatic injuries in growers.
  • Widespread PMWS with mortality ranging from 0% to 10% plus. Some farms have complications with Glassers Disease prominent.
  • Young growing pigs killed by electrocution.

Somewhat surprisingly, generalised respiratory disease was rarely encountered over the month – which must be some sort of record!

Piglets
Savaging was reported to have contributed between 25 and 35% of deaths in a newly started herd of gilts. Even so, overall mortality remained below 10%.

Scouring of unspecified and undiagnosed causes was widely reported.

Coughing in sucking pigs of 10-20 days old was seen increasingly as a prelude to post weaning respiratory disease complex.

In June, watch out for:

  • Heatstroke and Sunburn   
  • Erysipelas
  • Overstocking leading to vice and respiratory disease as a result of slowed growth of finishing pigs.


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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