23 Jun 2017
Richard Pearson, a specialist pig vet from The George Veterinary Group based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, says depopulation and repopulation with high health stock may be needed to eliminate some pathogens such as Swine Dysentery or Strep meningitis, but it is possible to reliably eliminate Enzootic Pneumonia (EP) from a herd of pigs using a targeted medication technique.
“The great advantage of this technique is that if it’s successful, all weaners produced henceforth are of a higher health status and shouldn’t need treating,” he says.
Richard devised a novel elimination strategy for 4,000 outdoor sows across five batch-producing herds in the South of England which were EP positive.
The farms all operate three-week batch farrowing with pigs weaned into straw- based finishing systems taking them to sale weight at around 115kg.
“The strategy we devised was relatively simple but important aspects included strict rules on biosecurity, minimum age at start of treatment and pig movements. It wasn’t easy but then nothing worthwhile ever is!’’ says Richard.
“During the eliminations, starting August 2015, each sow was prescribed a total of 31g of active antibiotic which was administered under veterinary prescription in the feed over a six-week period.
“The results were great – EP elimination was successful in all five herds and they all remain test negative well over a year later,” says Richard.