AASV Update on Piglet Diarrhoea in Europe

US - Looking into the recent reports of piglet diarrhoea in France and Denmark, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) concludes that we are not facing a new widespread well-defined 'syndrome', and that French veterinarians are not diagnosing abnormal incidence of prolific untreatable diarrhoea in newborn pigs.
calendar icon 29 September 2009
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AASV reports that there have been a number of recent reports suggesting the possible emergence of a 'new' syndrome exhibiting increased diarrheal disease in suckling pigs in France and Denmark.

According to the reports, herds were experiencing mortality rates of up to 40 per cent in suckling pigs with 15 to 20 per cent of herds affected. The herds most commonly affected are reported to be high-performing, hyper-prolific herds. There appears to be some on-going debate, however, regarding the existence of an emerging syndrome. It has been hypothesised by some that the clinical signs observed can be associated with management changes, the increased adoption of hyper-prolific sows or antimicrobial use.

Dr Guy-Pierre Martineau recently presented a series of studies examining neonatal diarrhea during the first European Symposium on Porcine Health Management. He describes reports of diarrhea and vomiting in piglets less than one week of age which is poorly responsive to antibiotics or vaccinations. Laboratory results implicate a variety of bacterial aetiologies including Clostridium perfringens type A, Clostridium difficile and Enterococcus durans.

Results of diagnostic testing at the Laboratory of Swine Diseases, operated by the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, were also presented during this same symposium. They report that approximately 80 per cent of the laboratory submissions over the last three years were due to clinical problems with neonatal diarrhoea. Necropsy results were fairly unremarkable and non-specific with no observed pathology outside the intestinal tract. Microbiological analysis revealed a variety of microorganisms. In addition to those described above, the laboratory also diagnosed haemolytic and non-haemolytic E. coli, enterotoxigenic E. coli and rotavirus. In general, the findings were variable and inconclusive.

Recent responses to inquiries of veterinarians familiar with swine production in these areas do not seem to support the emergence of any new widespread well-defined 'syndrome', according to AASV. Likewise, informal reports from a recent meeting of a number of French veterinarians do not indicate that they are diagnosing abnormal incidence of prolific untreatable diarrhea disease in newborn pigs. Similarly, sources in the European Union indicate that although there has been some discussion of possible increases in neonatal diarrhoea, most observers do not feel a new syndrome has been identified.

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