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Pig Farming Biosecurity: Preventing Infections and Controlling Spread

An important element in pig farming to keep infections at bay is biosecurity. Under the guise of: “prevention is better than cure”, it is very important to keep the door tightly closed against unwanted germs. But also to streamline the course of events within the company in such a way that internal spread is no longer possible between age groups within the company. This can prevent a lot of consequential damage after the introduction of a germ.

External biosecurity
Everything what enters a company poses a risk of introducing a germ, but there is a difference in risks per event. We will mention the most important ones here. The greatest risk of introducing a disease is by far the supply of animals. This obviously applies to fattening pig farms, with every new flock that is imposed. But this risk certainly also applies to breeding farms, when new gilts are supplied to replace old sows. This risk can be reduced somewhat with good preparation.

1. Origin of animals:
First of all, look critically at the origin of the animals. It is advisable the animals always come from the same origin whether we are talking about fattening pigs or breeding gilts. The fewer origin addresses, the smaller the risk of disease introduction. Furthermore, it is recommended health status of origin and target company in detail and to ensure that they are well coordinated. This means that monitoring of the most important pathogens must take place at both companies.

2. Quarantine and adaptation:
Secondly, quarantine and adaptation of supplied gilts is important. Do not send the animals directly from transport into the stable to mix them with the existing flock. Much better to have them to be housed in a quarantine stable, completely separated from the company (with its own hygiene lock, own stable equipment, separate treatment tray, etc.). The advice in pig farming is to quarantine period of approximately 6 weeks to be maintained (42 days). After arriving at the company, the animals are unloaded, placed in the quarantine department and left alone for a few days. Only food, water and good care (“rest, cleanliness and regularity”) to pass the transport stress. If the animals are healthy, they can then be vaccinated to protect them against conditions against which they do not yet have immunity and that do occur on the target farm. In a final phase, it is good to bring the animals into contact with farm-specific germs, for example by offering chewing ropes or jute bags that come from the piglet battery or the farrowing pen. Make sure that the animals have sufficient have time to get sick and build up resistance before they are mixed with the animals already present on the farm. When supplying piglets to fattening pig stables, it is important to work strictly all-in/all-out per department.

3. Cooling down:
If the gilts are subsequently introduced directly into the company, they may still be reactive to various conditions. One possibility is to still have them Allow to “cool down” for 6 weeks: no new vaccination or adaptation, the diseases already present can disappear during this period. The gilts can then already be inseminated. After this period, the excretion is much less and introduction into the flock is safer.
With this system, space is needed to house gilts separately for 12 weeks. Under Dutch circumstances this is often perceived as too expensive and in most cases it only amounts to 4 to 6 weeks of quarantine and adaptation.

Means of transport:
It is of course very important that transport also takes place with clean means of transport, which are suitable for transporting the relevant animal group. Means of transport can be a source of contamination because they have had animals from multiple origins (and therefore with different health status) on board. Stress during transport increases germ shedding. Transport vehicles can also become contaminated at the companies where they load and unload. It is important where at the company loading and unloading takes place.

Internal biosecurity
If infected animals have entered the company, there are still some things we can do to prevent a disease from spreading like wildfire. We summarize this under the term internal biosecurity.

1. Running lines and running order:
Design the walking lines on the farm in such a way that there are: no cross-contamination occurs. But the order in which different animal groups are cared for is just as important. Always walk from young to old and not the other way around, this can prevent infections of unprotected animals. Work clothing and materials per animal category also ensure that germs cannot simply be transferred from one group to another.

2. Cleaning and disinfection:
Another important part of internal biosecurity is cleaning and disinfection. Make sure that departments are completely emptied regularly (after each production round). Remove as much loose materials as possible and then sweep the department clean. Then the cleaning can begin. First with warm water and soap, then rinse and, after drying if necessary, treat with a disinfectant. After disinfection, rinse again and allow to dry thoroughly. This all depends on the substances used and the prescription for use. Then, if necessary, warm it up before the animals come in. This is important for weaned piglets and young fattening pigs.

What is described above is only a small selection of biosecurity measures. Biosafety is actually a subject that can never receive too much time and attention. Especially in the case of PRDC, which is a condition caused by several factors, it is important to protect the animals as best as possible against outside intruders. And if diseases have invaded, protect the animals against uncontrolled spread.

Do you think PRDC rules your company? Then have an analysis done by your company veterinarian, with possible support from one of our veterinarians. Maartje Wilhelm +31 6 8264 5058, Josine Beek +31 6 8299 1395 or Eric van Esch +31 6 1431 0007.

2024-01-05 17:53:27
#HIPRA #Good #biosecurity #door #closed #PRDC

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