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.
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.

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.

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:-
Raised Stillbirth Levels
MMA and Farrowing Fever
Reduced appetites in hot weather

Copyright NADIS 2005

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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