15 March 2002

Proof that stress is cause of PMWS

IF there was any more proof needed that stress contributes to levels of Post-Weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome, the increase over Christmas confirms the theory, says vet David Chennells.

Mortality associated with PMWS rose in January to about 12%; generally double the incidence before Christmas.

"Over Christmas, the normal routine is disrupted by changes in labour rotas, with possibly less time spent looking at pigs. More pigs are held on farm as abattoirs close over Christmas, increasing stocking densities in weaning units. The cold snap of weather can also disrupt water supplies, tractor scraping of pens and some pigs may become chilled.

"This shows that every time management rules for controlling PMWS are broken, units will see the consequences," he adds. &#42