Ileitis: Make it Disappear in as Little as 10 Days

Denagard has been proven highly reliable for the control of ileitis time after time, according to Novartis Animal Health.
calendar icon 4 January 2012
clock icon 6 minute read
By: tweek

Ileitis Control: Important for Profitability

Ileitis, caused by Lawsonia intracellularis, is the most common enteric disease found in grow/finish pigs. According to the National Animal Health Monitoring System 2000 Swine Report, ileitis was found in 36.9 per cent of all sites tested. When an ileitis infection strikes a building, at least 20 per cent of the population may be affected.1

Poorly Performing Pigs

In a typical group of pigs affected by ileitis:

  • 10 per cent will have reduced weight gain1
  • 40 per cent will have various degrees of diarrhoea1
  • Other pigs may appear normal but have poorer feed efficiency and greater weight variation

Lost revenues result, making ileitis control important and necessary to increase your profitability.

Spread of the Disease

Clinical signs of ileitis may not appear for two to three weeks after infection. Pigs may or may not exhibit clinical signs but can shed L. intracellularis for about two to four weeks after first infection. Re-exposure is common within a group of pigs. A pig population exposed to L. intracellularis falls into one of three categories:

  • Diseased and showing clinical signs
  • Infected but not showing clinical signs
  • Susceptible to infection because of proximity to infected pigs

These three categories must be taken into account to reduce the number of pigs that remain susceptible to ileitis. Shedding from the infected groups prolongs disease transmission and there is a possibility of re-infection.

Control Strategies

Operations with a history of ileitis must have an ileitis control plan to minimize repercussions from the disease. To control the disease, antibiotic treatment timing must be appropriate and there must be an effort to decrease L. intracellularis shedding.

Continuous antibiotic use will alter the disease transition dynamic between pigs in a pen

Some medication strategies recommend preventing L. intracellularis infection with a high level of continuous antibiotics. This practice may actually extend the period of susceptibility to L. intracellularis, thus delaying infection until the removal of antibiotics.2

Continuous exposure to high levels of antibiotics also lowers the exposure of pigs to L. intracellularis, thereby delaying active immunity1 or preventing infection. This leaves pigs susceptible to L. intracellularis infections after antibiotics are removed.

The key is to allow exposure to L. intracellularis without allowing clinical disease, thus giving pigs a chance to develop their own immunity. This can be done with targeted antibiotic use.

Targeted antibiotic use

It is important to administer appropriate antibiotics to ileitis infected pigs at the proper time. Each farm has a different pattern of infection and disease. In some cases, farms can predict when an ileitis outbreak may occur based on herd history.

Denagard 10 controls ileitis in as little as 10 days

Denagard 10 works faster against ileitis than any other feed medication. Research shows that Denagard 10 fed at 35 grams per ton and administered for as little as 10 days controlled a severe challenge of ileitis in growing pigs.3

Trial protocol

  • Forty-eight 3- to 5-week-old pigs were acquired from a closed swine herd that had no history of ileitis. The pigs were divided into two groups:
    • Unmedicated control group
    • Medicated group (Denagard 10 at 35 grams per ton)
  • Both groups were challenged with a pure culture of L. intracellularis on day 0.
  • Pigs in the medicated group were started on medicated feed on Day 9 when 15 per cent of the herd demonstrated clinical signs of disease. The medicated feed was administered for 28 days.
  • Clinical scores, based on the severity of diarrhea, including blood in faeces and general appearance, were recorded daily.

Trial results

After receiving the medicated feed for 10 days, the Denagard-medicated group demonstrated statistically significant improvement over the control group. Therefore, the minimum treatment duration for control of ileitis was set at 10 days.

In this study, the group medicated with Denagard showed statistically significant improvement (p<0.05) over the unmedicated group after 10 days of medication. Therefore, the minimum treatment duration for control of ileitis was set at 10 days.

Effective at 35g; Less Time on Medication

Denagard 10 offers cost-effective ileitis control:

  • At 35 grams/ton, the dosage is less than other antibiotics approved for ileitis control
  • The only FDA-approved feed medication for ileitis that works in as little as 10 days; both Tylan® and Lincomix® are approved to be fed for 21 days
  • Can be fed in combination with chlortetracycline (CTC) for broader disease control

Cost Advantage of Denagard

No other feed medication fights ileitis faster than Denagard 10. And now, a new, 15 per cent lower price makes Denagard 10 more cost-effective.

Pork producers have counted on it for years. Now, more than ever, it makes sense to give grow/finish pigs the kind of ileitis control that only Denagard 10 can provide.


Denagard has been proven highly reliable for the control of ileitis time after time.

  • Denagard works faster than other treatment protocols to control ileitis
  • Just 10 days of Denagard medication is required to control ileitis compared to 21 days medication required for Tylan and Lincomix
  • Denagard is a cost-effective way to control ileitis in pig herds
  • Denagard can be given in combination with CTC to broaden the spectrum as well as increase the sensitivity of Lawsonia intracellularis and other important economic pathogens of swine


1. McOrist S. 2004. Managing proliferative enteropathy in pigs: controlling chronic, subclinical and acute ileitis. Perspectives on swine disease management. Novartis Animal Health Inc.

2. Collins A.M., van Dijk M., Vu N.Q., Pozo J. and Love R.J. 2001. Immunity to Lawsonia intracellularis. Allen D. Leman Swine Conference.

3. Data on file. NADA 139-472. Freedom of information summary, 26 November 2001.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on ileitis by clicking here.

January 2012
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