Nadis Pig Veterinary Report and Forecast – February 2007

UK - This is a monthly report from the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS), looking at the data collected from their UK farm inspections.
calendar icon 17 February 2007
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Visits reported since the new year continue to include reviews of production through the latter half of last year and the long term effects of the hot weather on sows in the summer are still being seen. With higher return rates in June/July servings the 4th quarter of the year reveal either reduced or uneven farrowing pattern with dips and surges of numbers of pigs weaned and therefore continued disruption to normal pig flow through the feeding herd.

In addition to these long-term effects, more immediate impacts have been seen in more recent serving periods. Thus management faults in terms of oestrous detection shortcomings, and errors in timing and practical supervision have led to “infertility” issues on a number of farms. In addition autumn lighting patterns have been blamed for sporadic problems such as high litter scatter within litters born in January (late Sept/Oct served) although , as had been anticipated following a summer of good light levels, the overall incidence of ‘autumn infertility’ does not appear to have been high.

Despite the mild winter, problems have been seen outside with feeding errors associated with either poor calibration and malfunction leading to underfeeding, weight loss and the anticipated production decline that would be expected to result.

Unusual manifestation of mange in one outdoor herd and occasional cases of the now rarely seen pyelonephritis/cystitis syndrome were the only infection problems reported in sows. There were no reports of Swine influenza in January in sows.


With the exception of a specific and serious problems with Greasy Pig Disease problems in weaners were almost exclusively of the respiratory variety with mixed viral and bacterial infections suspected in most instances although Glassers Disease featured frequently. Many reporters seem to be seeing less primary PMWS in weaners and the predominant view is generally there is less respiratory disease about than is normally experienced in the middle of winter. It remains unclear how much of this decline is weather related and how much related to herds coping better and better with wasting disease.


This picture was carried through into the older growing pigs and whilst Glassers, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae and mixed pneumonias were all seen, the shift to Piertrain/Hampshire or Duroc boars is baring fruit for many producers in terms of lower mortality and “wasting related” disease. Notwithstanding these improvements, late onset PMWS in the finishing herd rather than in weaners is a significant problem for many producers.

A few outbreaks of tail biting were reported, often in conjunction with other diseases, overlying the low grade vice commonly seen on so many farms.

Growth is reported to have slowed down in a number of herds but for specific and various reasons eg feed intake problems with a wet mix diet; very boggy conditions in outdoor finishers.

More unexpected or unusual problems in finishers reported in January included a large outbreak of Erysipelas in yarded pigs and an unusual lameness problem in mid-stage growing pigs that caused knuckling of the front legs which then corrected itself as the pigs reached slaughter weight. The cause was unknown.

One encouraging feature of the reports is the fact that farms are starting to take notice with their vets of slaughter house data derived from the British Pig Health Scheme (now well into its second year). Milk spot livers – the result of migrating Ascariasis suum larvae – have caught the attention of a number of farms especially in the South West of England. This monitoring exercise is starting to generate useful and useable information which deserves to be more fully utilised on farm.


Few problems were reported as specific outbreaks during January in sucking piglets although the usual grumbling scours have increased to cause significant losses in occasional farms especially due to E coli infection.

Some reports of mixed respiratory disease (probably Glassers associated) were received producing coughing, sneezing and loss of bloom in the approach to weaning.

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