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Archive for February, 2013

Swine Disease Notice – February 14, 2013
The Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph has recently diagnosed two cases of swine dysentery in southwestern Ontario.

Swine dysentery (SD), also known as bloody scours, is an infection of the large intestine of pigs caused by the bacterium Brachyspira hyodysenteriae. Swine dysentery has been present in Ontario for many years. The prevalence of this disease greatly decreased with changes in production practices and improved biosecurity practices through the 1980s and 1990s. There has not been a confirmed case in Ontario since 2008. In the past several years there have been cases in the US and Western Canada associated with Brachyspira hyodysenteriae as well as a new strain that has been named Brachyspira hampsonii.

The two Ontario cases are both due to B. hyodysenteriae. The new strain has not yet been identified in Ontario.

The cause of the B. hyodysenteriae infection in the two herds is unknown but it is likely that this bacterium has been present at low levels in the province continuously. The disease causes diarrhea in finisher pigs that may be bloody. It can be easily confused with other causes of diarrhea, such as ileitis. Swine producers should notify their veterinarian if signs of diarrhea are observed in growing pigs. Establishing an accurate diagnosis is critical to effective treatment of the disease as well as ensuring that appropriate biosecurity measures specific to this infection are in place.

The low prevalence of B. hyodysenteriae in Ontario and Canada provides an opportunity for creating an industry strategy for control of this disease. Effective biosecurity is crucial to ensuring this disease does not become widespread in the Ontario or Canadian swine population. Biosecurity is extremely important in preventing transmission from infected farms. Infected pigs are the primary risk for SD, thus pigs and pig trucks are the main concern. Rodent control is also important.

If a herd tests positive for B. hyodysenteriae, an important biosecurity measure is to ensure that the producer communicates this information to all of their suppliers to reduce disease spread from the infected farm.
It is very important that our industry understands these may not be the only B. hyodysenteriae infected herds in the province and that further cases will not be unexpected. Producers should notify their veterinarian if signs of diarrhea are observed in growing pigs.

For more information, please contact your herd veterinarian.

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This winter’s extreme cold temperatures justify a closer look at the extra care required when transporting pigs to avoid death losses and pse. Persons trucking and handling pigs during cold weather need to understand the wind chill factor. Wind chill can kill livestock. Modifications to the ventilation on the trailer should be made to balance the effects of wind chill with the need for adequate ventilation.

During cold weather transport, pigs should have adequate bedding and space to move away from cold areas that may cause frostbite. Pigs stocked at 55 lbs/ft² (265 kg/m²) can move to get away from a cold spot, whereas pigs stocked at 65 lbs/ft² (315 kg/m²) cannot move to a warmer spot, increasing the potential for frostbite. Wet bedding should be removed after each trip to prevent it from freezing.

Changes to the health of animals regulations have made it an enforceable law when animals are transported in a way that will cause undue suffering. Keep concerns for quality and humane handling in the forefront when transporting or contracting transport for swine.

See more tips at Cold Weather Transportation

(Source: Temple Grandin, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University).

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February 20, 2013 at Rudy Brown – Rural Development Centre, University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus

3:30 p.m. – Registration and Refreshments
4:15 p.m. – Conference Convenes

Session Speakers:

  • Ted Oke, Agriculture Finance Specialist
  • George Charbonneau, DMV
  • Dave & Jeff Linton, Lin-Dell Farms – Producer Profile
  • Marc Lalonde, Biosecurity Specialist

Feature Speaker:  Lee Whittington, President & CEO, Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatoon, SK

Register by February 17 by calling 1-866-222-9682; fax 519-674-1512 or email rcabc@uoguelph.ca

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