NADIS disease forecast (pigs) - May - Farmers Weekly

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NADIS disease forecast (pigs) – May

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.

May 2005

 

In recent years, as the pig industry has come under increasing economic pressure, it is disappointing to acknowledge that the relationship between the pig farm and its veterinary advisor has changed and, generally, not for the better. 

Moreover, the advent and progression of quality assurance schemes has, in extremes, led to discontent amongst accusations that the vet has been reduced to nothing more than a “tick boxer” with distraction from advisory as health and production.  (The lack of farm records has not helped in the latter aspect of the vets job).

It is, therefore, very welcome to see that there has been a major shift in attitude of Assured British Pigs in altering the requirements of the quarterly veterinary inspection. 

The extent of the audit form has been severely curtailed and, whilst the audit points remain in place, the veterinary declaration has now been reduced to the more subjective approach of finding no evidence of unnecessary pain or distress – something which can be achieved by the experienced clinician without counting nipple drinkers!

This is a very welcome change.  Whilst many continue to doubt the value of quality assurance to the pig farm and hopefully will allow, to some extent, a re-building of the relationship between vet and client, such that vets are not seen to be simply wasting the farmers money on form filling.

Health Reports

Adults
April has seen a dramatic increase in the number of reports in pigs but, as expected, it is production levels rather than health which dominates the adult herd. Of particular note this month have been issues of poor litter size.

Stimulation by boars at service – or rather a lack of it – was blamed for a fall in litter size in sows serviced purely by AI. 

Similarly, in an outdoor herd, lack of boar stimulus of gilts in training paddocks was thought to account for low conception rates and litter size in gilts.

In a separate case, a change in policy 4 years previously to rely on back cross gilts from the bacon house has led to a steady deterioration in litter size, although it is not clear whether this has been exacerbated by the retention of second generation bacon gilts (i.e. offspring of the backcross gilts).

Wet weather conditions caused problems for outdoor herds, particularly in the form of lameness whilst elsewhere foxes were claimed to account for high piglet losses.

Growers
The typically highly variable spring weather has brought with it a range of problems commonly seen at this time of year. Vice was prevalent (in one case severe tail biting leading to septic arthritis and subsequent euthanasia) as was respiratory disease due to the usual suspects of Mycoplasma and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae.

PMWS incidence has increased – dramatically on some farms – and there was a marked increase in PDNS cases. However, in the high health farms this does not seem to produce the lingering health problems (associated with secondary disease) that is common in herds of more basic health.

Both Strep suis meningitis and Erysipelas was reported – again, probably triggered by warm, humid and variable weather.

Piglets
Scour predominates pre-weaning with both E coli and Clostridial disease the major diagnoses.  However, joint ill has also been reported as well as cases of pre-weaning Glasser’s Disease – a condition that appears to have been quiet in recent times.

A specific problem was reported in a single herd operating a multi-suckling system from 10 days post weaning. Sows were drying up and piglet fighting reached such high levels that facial necrosis was occurring. 

+Pigs of wide age and weight range were mixed, leading to wide discrepancies in weaning weight.

In July, watch out for:
Vices
Erysipelas
Sunburn and Heatstroke
Slow growth/low appetite
Rats and mice

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 (May)

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.


May 2004

By Mark White BVSc DPM MRCVS

 
 
 

NADIS Pig Disease Forecast

Productivity problems seem to have persisted for a very long time on many units and in a lot of cases can be traced back either to the Foot and Mouth Disease disruption or even the market collapse nearly 3 years before that. 

One of the common ways of getting round the sow productivity problems is simply to increase sow numbers – something that loose-housing permits with greater ease – and, thereby, increase service targets.

There are suggestions that many herds are starting to climb out of some of these longstanding difficulties – possibly as a result of finally correcting herd age structure and culling poor performing sows. 

This, however, is having a marked effect on some herds. As an example, take a 500 sow herd requiring 1175 farrowings per year or 98 per month. 

If fertility has been running at 75%, 130 services per month are needed. Suppose fertility increases to 85%; 111 farrowings per month will result – a 13% increase over target. 

The effect of this over-production is to put pressure onto farrowing accommodation, pushing down weaning ages (remember there is a 21 day absolute minimum legal age for weaning), upsetting all in all out programmes, yielding a smaller pig at weaning age that will have to be stocked at higher rates. 

The extra pigs, whilst initially welcome, can impose a severe burden on pig flow and the overall operation of the farm, leading to poorer fertility and output in early weaned sows.

Service targets should be continually reviewed in the light of current production achievements and, where serious bulges in output can be predicted, even consider selling in pig sows to maintain optimum numbers.

Adults
There has been some pick up in reports this month, hopefully suggesting a modest improvement in the overall sentiment within the pig industry. Adult problems tend to be concentrated on production issues – old sows retained in one farm were blamed for highly variable litter sizes and uneven production. 

Also, on one farm, a high number of sows detected not in pig at 8 weeks called into question the accuracy of previous pregnancy tests, unless unseen abortions were to blame but these would be at a level of 2 per week giving a long term abortion rate of 8% – which is almost unheard of.

Mastitis was also widely reported with question marks over sow hygiene in mild weather (sows tending to choose to lie wet in solid floor farrowing crates).

Growers
Grower scours continue to attract attention with loss of growth detected in many farms.  The removal of copper as a growth promoter is being widely blamed and does not bode well given that antibiotic growth promoters will be banned completely at the end of next year.

Respiratory ailments were commonly reported in herds with all the usual suspects implicated in various combinations e.g. Enzootic Pneumonia, PRRS, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, Swine Influenza and Glassers Disease. The latter continues to be a major complicating factor in PMWS.

Vice in the form of tail biting continues to be widespread.  An acute outbreak of severe lameness and dog sitting in 40kg stores was believed to be due to Mycoplasma hyosynoviae, although response to treatment (usually good with this condition) was slow and erratic.

Another rarity reported was an outbreak of weaner scours associated with Salmonella Cholerae-suis.

Piglets
E coli and Clostridium perfringens were both implicated in piglet scours.  More and more herds are trying to avoid teeth clipping or tail docking of piglets but facial necrosis/oral necrobacillosis was widely seen in undocked sucking piglets.

Starvation and hypoglycaemia were reported, implicating sow nutrition and/or mastitis.

In May, watch out for:

  • Vice
  • Uneven farrowing patterns
  • Sunburn in outdoor situations
  • Grower scours
  • Erysipelas as weather improves


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


FURTHER INFORMATION     SPONSORS‘ LINK
• To find out more about PRRS – click here

 

FURTHER INFORMATION    SPONSORS‘ LINK
• Want to know
more about
ileitis? Click here
 

 

FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS‘ LINK
Supporting British
Livestock
click here
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