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WPX: How to Diagnose and Prevent Ileitis on Farms

29 September 2021, at 12:30am

At the 2021 World Pork Expo, Dr. Kevin Eggers, senior technical services veterinarian with Zoetis, discussed ileitis and methods that producers should take to diagnose and prevent the disease on their farms.

Dr. Kevin Eggers discusses oleitis with The Pig Site's Sarah Mikesell

“Ileitis is a very important disease, but it's an unrepresented disease,” said Eggers. “Typically it has two forms, one's clinical and one's subclinical. Those are big words, but clinical is you see it and subclinical is you don't see it. The problem is that most people have it.

"It's a bacteria that affects the pigs' gut. It’s only a pig disease, it has nothing to do with people. It causes diarrhea in pigs and therefore economic losses. Because, as you know, pig prices are very high right now; feed prices are very high right now. If you have an animal that's 'loose' as we call it, it's going to not perform as well. The problem is that most times the disease is in the subclinical form. You don't necessarily see it. It's a bacteria; it's in the gut; it's causing these losses; the producer doesn't see it.”

Producers should use diagnostics to determine if their farm is being impacted by ileitis. People tend to rely on their eyes to diagnose, but there are more efficient diagnostics in today’s world that have been developed in the last decade that can accurately determine the level of disease on the farm. Producers can take a fecal sample or a rectal swab sample from a pig and send it to a lab, and they will inform the producer if they have the disease and the severity of it. Producers should also work with their local veterinarian.

“Producers should know that diarrhea in pigs is not normal,” said Eggers. “Some producers think that some of that's just normal with feed changes, but in fact, you might have Lawsonia, which causes ileitis.

"Producers should have a monitoring program in place. One, there’s diagnostics. Two, there's good vaccines out there, some of them can be applied to the water. Some of them can be applied through injection. They're good vaccines. There's also feed and water medications, strategic pulses of medication that would treat not only the ileitis, but other, sometimes respiratory diseases, in addition.”