Producers warned over swine dysentery

BPEX are urging pig producers to be extra vigilant for symptoms of swine dysentery and step up defences after further cases of the disease have been reported across the North Yorkshire region.

The disease spreads rapidly, particularly in the current cold weather conditions, warns BPEX’s veterinary projects manager, Helen Clarke.

As the infection is very damaging economically, it is imperative any suspected symptoms are reported as soon as possible, she says. “Swine dysentery causes a rapid loss of condition in affected pigs, and eventually loss of stock. Clinical signs affecting growing and finishing pigs include bloody diarrhoea, but for outdoor breeding units, clinical signs may not be evident at all.”

She recommends that all producers tighten up on biosecurity measures. “The bacterium Brachyspira hyodysenteriae live in the large intestine and are passed out in dung. This is why it is so easily spread on boots, vehicles and implements, as well as by rodents and birds, and why hygiene is so important.”

To raise awareness of this issue, BPEX is hosting a meeting on the subject open to all pig keepers and their vets in the North Yorkshire region. “We will be welcoming leading vet David Burch of Octagon Services. He is highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of dysentery, and will give guidance on how to control further spread of infection across the region.” There will also be a review of current diagnostic testing services.

Swine dysentery symptoms

• Affects growing and finishing pigs

• Symptoms of bloody diarrhoea and mucus

• Causes inflammation of large intestine

• Current strains showing resistance to medication

Swine dysentery meeting

• A meeting on swine dysentery will be held on 20 March at The Crown Hotel in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, YO51 9LB at 7pm, with refreshments available from 6.30pm.

• The event is sponsored by Novartis Animal Health and the BPEX Pig Health Improvement Project (PHIP).

• Those wishing to attend should email or phone 0247 647 8877. A factsheet can also be requested via the same contact details.

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