Free test offered for pig oedema disease

A free diagnostic test for oedema disease in pigs is available for the first time to UK pig farmers.

The test, known as STEC-Check, worth up to £200 and produced by Hysoly Animal Health, can quickly diagnose oedema disease by identifying the presence of the shiga-toxin-producing E-coli on the farm, a cause of serious losses in individual herds.

See also: MRSA-infected British pork sold on supermarket shelves

Carried out in collaboration with the farm vet, the test provides a quick and accurate diagnosis, enabling appropriate action to be taken on the farm.

Faeces and/or intestinal samples are sent away to either the Animal Health and Plant Agency (APHA), Weybridge, or SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, Penicuik, so results can be confirmed within a few days.

“Oedema is a lethal infectious disease, primarily among young piglets,” says Richard Brealey of Hysolv Animal Health UK.

“Oedema disease is not always obvious and may be masked or controlled by the use of antibiotics, the use of zinc oxide or low-protein feeds, which can also negatively affect productivity. We are therefore advising farmers to contact their vets to discuss using STEC-Check on their farms,” says Mr Brealey.

A vaccine has recently been licensed for use in the UK. With pressure on vets and farmers to reduce the use of antimicrobials and vaccination, this, together with other measures, will help them do this, adds Mr Brealey.