Alberta Pork Releases: Fighting Swine Dysentery: Healthy pigs mean healthy profits

When it comes to swine dysentery, an ounce of prevention can save you a ton.

Monday 16 April 2012 (7 years 6 months 4 days ago)

Alberta PorkWhen it comes to swine dysentery, an ounce of prevention can save you a ton.

Swine dysentery (SD), which is caused by small snake-like bacteria, can be one of the most expensive diseases of the growing pig. The disease is common in pigs from 12 to 75 kg weight and occasionally in sows and piglets. It is spread entirely by the ingestion of infected feces or from carrier pigs that shed the organism in feces for long periods. It may enter the farm by the introduction of carrier pigs or from infected feces via equipment, boots or birds.

The disease has a marked depressant effect on feed conversion and daily gain with symptoms appearing intermittently often associated with stress, such as the movement of pigs which increases the output of organisms. The organism survives in slurry for up to eight weeks. Continual exposure to infected feces is a major factor in the maintenance of disease in a herd.


The costs of disease are associated with mortality (low), morbidity (high), inefficient production and continual in-feed medication. Disease often appears in cycles and previously affected pigs will still transmit infection to susceptible ones for at least 10 to 12 weeks. SD can be spread by flies, mice, birds (starlings) and dogs, all these species shedding the organism for up to 21 days. SD will survive outside the pig for up to eight weeks in moist conditions, particularly in cold slurry, but it dies out in two to three days when allowed to dry.


* All breeding herd purchases should involve a vet-to-vet health review to ensure the source herd is negative, as suppliers do not routinely test for this pathogen.

* Chlorinate surface water.

* Keep birds and dogs away from your pigs, and try to minimize the presence of flies and mice.

* A proper Danish entrance is a must. Tracking SD in on your footwear is a real concern.

* Transports arriving at your farm should be cleaned, washed and disinfected. If you can see visible manure, send the vehicle away.

April 13, 2012 - Alberta Pork

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