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Best Possible Production Practices Best Defense Against Spread of Disease

by 5m Editor
4 December 2007, at 12:06pm

CANADA - The Western College of Veterinary Medicine suggests maintaining the best possible production practices is the first line of defense against the spread of disease in the swine nursery barn, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Disease conditions in the nursery barn fall into three groups, postweaning diarrhea, respiratory diseases which may be accompanied by wasting and diseases that result in septicemia and may be manifested as convulsions or meningitis, possibly arthritis or sometimes just sudden death.

Western College of Veterinary Medicine Associate Professor Dr. John Harding notes direct pig to pig contact after weaning is a common way of spreading disease and, in some cases, disease may be spread from the sow to the piglet but stock people can often be responsible for spreading disease.

Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Producers or technicians enhance disease spread by many common activities that they conduct while they do their daily jobs.

One could be walking from pen to pen and transmitting diseases that may be spread through manure in boots.

Another way could be in handling pigs.

That would be more common probably in the young pigs where they pick up a sick pig and then walk over and pick up a healthy pig so they could be transmitting diseases through their hands.

The other way that producers can transmit diseases would be through inappropriate sanitation or not washing or sanitizing the room properly.

Perhaps they're rushed or perhaps they don't understand the processes, haven't been outlined to them.

Other things like not having adequate fly control in the buildings then flies or other vectors can spread disease from pig to pig or room to room as well.


Dr. Harding says producers have several options, the first being good production practices including the segregation of unhealthy pigs into hospital pens and appropriate treatment.

He also recommends making sure ventilation is working properly to maintain the best possible air quality and all in all out production.

5m Editor