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ABC of Pig Health and Performance

by 5m Editor
20 May 2011, at 10:33am

UK - Tackling sub-clinical disease in pig herds is essential for profitable, sustainable production and requires attention to detail.

This was one of three clear messages from Boehringer Ingelheim’s David Strachan during a BPEX Two-Tonne Sow (2TS) workshop at Pig and Poultry LIVE.

David spelled out his ‘ABC’ of pig health management for the pig industry:

  • ‘attention to detail’ to deal with the diseases currently on farm, in particular sub-clinical problems that are often overlooked
  • ‘biosecurity’ to protect against the diseases already out there
  • ‘co-ordination’ of an integrated disease surveillance network to help minimise risk of new diseases yet to come.

He said: “Health and welfare is the key to sustainable pig production. The importance of sub-clinical disease cannot be underestimated. The effect of pre-weaning diarrhoea on weaning weight is huge and the underlying infection means the problem can often be even worse than it appears.

“Rotavirus is typically under-diagnosed and its effects can last a long time after the post-weaning check.”

Attention to detail is essential to identify health problems and adjust management accordingly to minimise the impact on pig performance.

“Biosecurity is another of my ‘rants’. Producers cannot risk losing health status. You must keep out what you don’t have already and avoid the need for treatment. I’m referring to costly diseases such as PRRS, enzootic pneumonia and swine dysentery. Health declarations and more open information between producers is something to consider and the regional health initiatives can help here.”

And to reduce the risk of new diseases that have yet to emerge in the UK, David is keen to see greater collaboration on disease surveillance. For example, building an integrated surveillance network that could co-ordinate BPEX Pig Health Scheme information with vet quarterly visits, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the SAC.