On a closed farm, sows are the engine of the business. They produce the piglets, they ensure the production results. If a sow does not perform well, it costs money. It is therefore important to protect and support sows at all times and to guide sow farmers in the most optimal approach to their sow management.
It all starts with proper gilt rearing. Quarantine policy, adaptation and vaccinations are just some of the things that need to be taken into account to ensure the longevity of sows. The necessary attention must also be paid to housing, feed management and the climate. When it comes to vaccination and disease prevention, there are many vaccines on the market and it is often difficult to see the trees for the wood
The most frequently asked question is: on what basis do you determine your vaccination schedule and choose a vaccine?
The most important aspects are listed below.
Before sows are vaccinated, it is useful to know what to expect after implementation of the vaccination. It is therefore important to know what is going on at the company and which germs are present. Of course you can use one diagnose relatively quickly whether there are clinical signs, such as the typical skin lesions of spot disease, diarrhea in the newborn piglets and the appearance of mummies around farrowing. But latent diseases, such as PRRS, influenza, Glässer and Bordetella, which affect the general well-being of the sows and piglets, cannot always be diagnosed with the naked eye. The protection, which is passed on to the piglets via the colostrum to prevent diarrhoea, for example, is also not always easy to determine. Several techniques are required to make a reliable diagnosis. In addition, the time of vaccination plays a major role. If sows are vaccinated two to four weeks before farrowing, the concentration of antibodies is highest in the colostrum. If we want to protect the sows during pregnancy, it is better to vaccinate the sows before insemination.
Vaccination induces an immunological response, protecting the sows against the disease for which they are being vaccinated. Side effects, which can sometimes occur after vaccination, should be mild and transient. In practice, we sometimes see severe vaccination reactions, such as lethargy, leaving food alone or a temperature rise to fever. Many pig farmers call this normal or even experience it as positive, because they then have the feeling that the vaccine is certainly doing its job well. These grafting reactions are really no longer necessary nowadays and can even cost money!
There are various options to make the vaccination policy more pleasant and to create more job satisfaction. Consider, for example, the combination of certain vaccines, which means that fewer injections have to be given, or the use of the intradermal needle-free application with the Hipradermic®, which means that no needles are needed for vaccination at all. This method of administration offers many advantages; the vaccination is faster and it is much safer because no needles can break off. This also prevents needlestick accidents and prevents diseases from being transmitted through the needle. In addition, it also promotes animal welfare.
And finally, not unimportantly, you want to achieve good results with the vaccination. To check whether the vaccination procedure is going well, the amount of mottled disease antibodies in the blood of the sows can be examined. A good quantitative test is available for this disease, with a clear increase in antibodies after vaccination. If we don’t notice this increase, we need to look at where things are going wrong around vaccination. Is the vaccine properly stored and prepared, is the injection technique correct, and is the vaccine administered at the right time to achieve optimal effect?
But the solution is not always in a bottle. For PRRS, for example, we need to take a close look at biosecurity and management. For birth diarrhoea, we also need to take a closer look at the climate, environment, colostrum production, feed, cleaning and disinfection process and farrowing house management in general. Forgetting the search bear when vaccinating against Parvo or spot disease can also ensure that the infection is maintained on the farm and that there are still breakthroughs despite vaccination. But it already starts with the gilts, if the adaptation is not done with the necessary care, this can cause problems. A double basic vaccination, in peace, is a must for further vaccinations to take effect.
Do you have any questions or would you like support with the sow vaccination on your farm? Feel free to contact one of our veterinarians for more information: Maartje Wilhelm +31 6 8264 5058, Josine Beek +31 6 8299 1395, Theo Vercammen + 31 6 3024 9632 or Eric Van Esch + 31 6 1431 0007.