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Respiratory Diseases

(628) These are a major problem on many farms today and they usually appear at predictable times that coincide with an increased demand for energy together with a change in the environment. Of all the factors highlighted in Fig.14-5 the following three will always be important if there is a disease problem;
  • An incorrect diet during and for 7 to 10 days after pig movement that creates a negative energy situation.
  • A change in environmental temperatures associated with movement that creates negative energy state.
  • Exposure to infection and the development of disease at the same time.
A typical example would be the development of respiratory disease caused by actinobacillus pleuropneumonia. Pigs carrying these organisms will often develop acute pneumonia when they are moved from solid concrete floors onto slats. This increases the lower critical temperature for the pig and therefore more energy is required. A change in feed or system of feeding, together with a reduction in stocking density, further exaggerates the problem. The immune system does not respond efficiently, the metabolism of the pig alters and acute disease results. Energy cannot be considered alone to the exclusion of other nutrients and the following other factors need to be considered:
  • Identify the time when disease first becomes evident.
  • Note when nutritional changes take place. When pigs move from one house to another there is often a drop in the nutrient density of the diet. This also coincides with a drop in intake for the first 2 to 7 days.
  • This reduced feed intake and change can result in catabolism and the pig dropping below the LCT.
  • Maintain high energy diets at critical times. Do not change the feed for at least 5 days when pigs move from one house to another.
  • Provide adequate water at all times. Look at the type of nipple drinkers, their availability and accessibility to the pig, particularly when it moves from one house to another.
  • Look at the methods of feeding. Are there any features of design or feeder placement that inhibit access to the feed.
  • Is there sufficient hopper space.
  • Make sure there are adequate levels of vitamin E in the diet. Add an extra 50-100 gm to the tonne if there is a disease problem.

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