CANADA - Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine have kicked off a three year effort aimed at preventing swine dysentery caused by Brachyspira hampsonii, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Last week, Brad Trost, the MP for Saskatoon Humboldt, announced funding through Growing Forward two for research aimed at gaining a better understanding of Brachyspira hampsonii, a bacterial infection which causes diarrhoea and colitis in grower finisher pigs.
The work will be conducted at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.
Dr John Harding, a professor of veterinary medicine at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says the infection is typically seen between 10 and 13 weeks of age and, while it is not causing a lot of disease in western Canada right now, it is certainly capable of causing disease.
Dr John Harding - Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Because it is a disease on the grow finishing pig we are most concerned about its impact on both feed conversion and average daily gain.
I don't have hard fast numbers on that.
There's been no economic data generated in field situations.
I can tell you based on what we have learned from our laboratory experiments, and these would be in younger pigs, that the disease will cause certainly loss of body condition and bloody diarrhoea and loss of appetite for about a one- to two-week period.
Once pigs recover from infection and this would be even a case where we're not treating with antibiotics they appear to grow back at the rates that we would expect them for normal healthy pigs so it seems to be a short term problem but can be quite devastating at the time.
It will cause mortality in rare situations but it would certainly not be a disease we associate with high mortality.
Dr Harding says the thrust of the research is to control and prevent Brachyspira disease on farms through the development of new vaccines and there is also a surveillance component aimed at determining the global spread of the infection.
Find out more information on swine dysentery by clicking here.
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