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Protecting pigs - effective biosecurity and disease management

Protecting pigs - effective biosecurity and disease management

By Scout Nelson

Diane Dewitte, along with her colleagues from UMN Extension, introduced the BEET (Biosecure Entry & Education Trailer) to educate 4-H members and their families on fundamental biosecurity principles. This initiative emphasizes the ease of disease prevention and the risks of spreading pathogens from humans and equipment to animals.

Show Pig Care Recommendations

  • Quarantine new pigs for 14-30 days to ensure they are healthy before integration.
  • Vaccinate pigs as recommended and monitor their health consistently.
  • Maintain clean and disinfected environments, including pens and transport equipment.
  • Limit equipment sharing and control wildlife exposure to prevent disease transmission.

Controlling Virus Movement

Virus prevention is crucial, particularly for zoonotic diseases that can affect both humans and pigs. Strategies include:

  • Restricting visitor access to pigs, especially those with their own livestock or recent international travel.
  • Ensuring biosecurity by wearing clean clothing and shoes and avoiding uncooked garbage feeding.
  • Implementing high biosecurity measures such as complete clothing changes and showering, or medium measures like hand and face washing plus footwear changes.

A study by the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine revealed that high and medium biosecurity levels effectively prevent the spread of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus.

Addressing Bacterial Threats

While much focus is given to viruses, bacteria also pose significant risks to swine health. Key bacterial concerns include:

Streptococcus suis, common in pigs but also an emerging zoonotic threat, especially in Asia.

Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can cause severe symptoms in young pigs, often leading to high mortality rates.

Glaesserella parasuis, crucial in nursery pigs, leading to internal organ inflammation and lameness.

Effective management includes strict sanitation practices, proper ventilation, and stable temperature control to reduce disease outbreaks. For specific bacterial infections, timely antibiotic treatments are crucial, as affected pigs may be too weak for oral medication.

Importance of Cleaning and Disinfection

Maintaining cleanliness in all aspects of pig management is crucial. This includes thorough cleaning and disinfection of transport vehicles, equipment, and barn surfaces to break the cycle of disease transmission. Suitable disinfectants and their proper use can significantly enhance biosecurity efforts.

By adhering to these guidelines, pig caretakers can significantly reduce the risk of disease, ensuring the health of their livestock and, by extension, their business.

Photo Credit: istock-srdjan-stepic

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Categories: Minnesota, Livestock, Hogs

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