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• Integra Veterinary Services • • Spring 2009 •
On 8th December 2008, Integra Veterinary Services moved across the road to our new premises.
Our contact details are now as follows: Integra Veterinary Services, 32 St Leonards Street, Mundford, Thetford, Norfolk, IP26 5HG. Tel: 01842 879379, Fax: 01842 879479. Email: email@example.com. My email address remains as before: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily has also joined us – and she is keen on setting up a website, so this is another project for us to be getting on with sometime soon hopefully!
We are thankful to God for the provision of these premises – it has been a long road to come along but finally we came to the day when we could move in.
At a recent meeting we were privileged to be given updates on PRRS by Scott Dee from Minnesota but also of world-wide fame.
Interestingly, he has changed his position on PRRS transmission following some new experimental data. His earlier PRRS challenge studies concluded that even over short distances PRRS did not transmit. His latest experiments are with a more virulent strain of PRRS called MN-184. In a study which is still ongoing and is scheduled to last several years he has good evidence that PRRS has travelled 4.7km from the source herd to a mobile virus collecting apparatus.
Weather station data was also collected to see what kind of weather conditions predisposed
to the virus travelling this distance. The days when virus was recovered at this distance
tended to be • Dull • Cool • Low visibility – misty autumn and winter days. • The wind-speed needed to be low so there is not much turbulence in the air-stream. • The site to be infected needs to be down- wind from the source farm.
As regards protecting farms from PRRS challenge the virus was able to break through all traditional bio-security barriers because it is wind-born over 4.7km. Traditional bio-security means: • Personnel controls – 12-hours pig-freedom, showered, clothes and boots changed and special attention to hand-washing on entrance. • Transport controls – lorries washed, disinfected and dried before use.
We Have Moved!
• Integra Veterinary Services • Page 2
• Fomites (objects) – all incoming equipment to be washed and disinfected
and dried before use. • Insect controls – screens needed to keep insects out.
The only way that Dee demonstrated that he could keep the virus out of a herd was by using air-filtration of the in-coming air. This is successful with no breakdowns recorded unless there are lapses of the traditional bio-security measures.
To achieve successful air-filtration the buildings need to be air-tight, with mechanical ventilation to pull all incoming air through MERV-16 filters. To enter such a building incoming staff and presumably pigs must pass though a sealed entrance lobby where they remain for a few seconds whilst all the air they brought in with them is extracted and replaced with filtered air before the door can be opened into the pig accommodation itself.
In the UK this would not be easily implemented but could be something for AI studs to think
about in the future.
Dee found his views change as the PRRS virus itself changed – and this is something we are having more of a problem with in East Anglia. When the Porcilis PRRS vaccine was first introduced the field strains were very similar to the vaccine strain. At that time we achieved very good cover using the vaccine and with few clinical signs of breakdowns occurring. The situation started to change 'on my patch' in summer 2006, and ever since we have 'divergent' strains where the wild strain is genetically quite different from the vaccine strain. These strains cause PRRS which does seem to break through vaccine protection to cause clinical disease in sows, such as infertility, and growing pigs, where it usually manifests itself as complex respiratory disease or intractable Salmonella problems.
Meanwhile we must continue to do all we can within the limitations of bio-security and vaccine availability to minimise the impact of this disease.
The BPEX Knowledge Transfer meeting in Stamford was very worthwhile with something for all of us to take home.
For me Dr Emma Baxter’s presentation on piglet deaths was an excellent overview of this major cause of loss of production on our farms – 2 million pigs die just before or after birth every year in the UK – you can work out for yourselves the cost of this.
Stillbirth is caused by several factors: • Longer farrowings • Placental insufficiency (the placenta is too small or gives up too early before the pig is born) • Perinatal asphyxia – piglet stuck in the process of birth
• Piglets born later in the litter
• Older sows Survival is linked to: 1. Piglet shape – piglets born heavier and shorter with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) are more likely to survive. For example Meisham piglets, although small are well-rounded and mature and actually survive very well. Long thin piglets have the poorest rate of survival. 2. Placenta size – we were told how much within-litter variation in placenta size there is. This determines how big the piglet can grow as a small placenta can only deliver the nutrients to grow a small piglet. The placental development mostly takes place in the first 5 weeks of pregnancy and this is why sows should be fed well during this period – a strong placenta should equate to a strong piglet. 3. Foetuses always grow a lot in the last weeks before birth – anything that checks
Stillbirths and Neonatal Mortality
• Integra Veterinary Services • Page 3
sow appetite or feed intake in these last few days is expected to have negative effect
on birth weight. As a take home message for me we should not really be using vaccines in the last week or so before farrowing such as on entry to farrowing for example. 4. Nesting. The farrowing process can be speeded up by having a settled sow that is allowed to go through the psychological process of nesting – providing some straw for the sow to move about before farrowing helps the cascade of hormone changes needed for farrowing to go smoothly. Preventing nesting runs a very much higher risk of savaging as well. 5. Speed of farrowing is also linked to farrowing house temperature – around farrowing the sow area should be 20°C. Higher temperatures are more tiring for the sow and so the later piglets will be born slower and at higher risk.
Neonatal deaths are linked to birthweight – optimal size of piglet is 1.6kg – a target perhaps for breeding companies to select for.
Chilling is a big killer – a piglet will lose temperature rapidly after birth and this is influenced significantly by flooring type, what bedding there is, temperature of the farrowing house and creep area and how quickly the piglet can find a teat and start to suckle.
The farrowing house itself should be 20°C, but for the creep area the piglet requirement is a localised 34°C.
Draughts greatly influence temperature requirement – keep to a minimum at piglet level. Once the piglet has found a teat and suckled some warm, energy rich colostrum its chances of survival are far better.
Genetics does have an influence – a vigorous piglet, even if small, will have a higher chance of finding a teat and then surviving than a pig that lays about looking around. More careful sows also lead to lower numbers of overlies – so again a calm sow that is hormonally well balanced is beneficial. Perhaps this is why outdoor systems perform so well when the environmental factors are often stacked against them. The sow is more relaxed and the time from piglet birth to suckling is perhaps lower.
Savaging is a very disappointing cause of neo- natal mortality – we heard it is linked to stress in mid-pregnancy – so mixing gilts at this time should be avoided if possible.
I am sure many of these factors are well known but I thought it was good to review such a straight-forward summary of the basics.
Recently, a relatively unknown pharmaceutical company, called Huvepharma, have launched a new presentation of a well-known product. We now have available Tilmovet liquid for use in water which is based on the active ingredient Tilmicosin found in Pulmotil. Although, like Pulmotil, it is costly, it also concentrates in the macrophages of the lung for perhaps 2-3 weeks or more so its effect is long-lasting. We have been trying it in the face of severe respiratory disease associated with the onset of wasting symptoms with encouraging results thus far. It is used in the drinking water at a rate of 6-8ml Tilmovet per 100kg bodyweight daily for 5 days. Withdrawal period is 14 days.
New Oral Antibiotic for Swine Respiratory Disease
• Spring 2009 •
• Integra Veterinary Services • Page 4
Integra Veterinary Services, 32 St Leonards Street, Mundford, Thetford, Norfolk, IP26 5HG Tel: 01842 879379 Fax: 01842 879479 Email: email@example.com
B a y c o x 2.5% is
a well-known product but one which we have only had available in a formulation designed
for chickens. We always needed to dilute it down before use with something such as Propylene Glycol to
make it palatable enough for oral use in piglets as
otherwise it was so strongly alkaline it could cause vomiting or even ulceration of the mou