Viral Corner

What is happening in the area today in regards to viral threats to our industry? Those major viruses being PRRSv, Swine Influenza Type A virus (IAV-S) and Swine Coronavirus (PEDv, Delta).

PRRSv: If you have been hit with PRRSv this year, it has been a struggle cleaning up. Most people were hit with a strain 1-7-4. This struck many farms causing sow mortality, abortion storms, and reproductive failure. The industry has been moving toward testing of piglets at a younger age to determine time to stability at birth. Upon knowing this, some wean down techniques have been implemented to try and clean the virus up in a more timely manner. We have seen that the sow unit environment has played an important role in clean up time. Important areas to monitor are farrowing room hygiene, castration/tail docking equipment management, how often needles are changed, and how piglet mortalities are disposed of, to name a few. The next page provides a graph showing the trend of PRRS. Continue reading “Viral Corner”

Common Swine Industry Audit

Over the past few years, many packers have initiated a Third Party auditing requirement for your farms marketing swine to them. These programs are intended to assure consumers that the animals that produce their pork are well cared for throughout their lives. To prevent complications to farms of having to comply with multiple auditing programs, the National Pork Board (NPB) announced an effort to work with packers to create a common swine audit in June 2014.   The NPB wanted a credible, affordable solution to assure on-farm animal well-being. The common audit can be found on the NPB website. The purpose of this is to be proactive and help verify that the pork industry’s approved animal well-being  standards are followed. This will be a point-in-time snapshot of your farm by an independent party and there is no educational component to it. There will be 4 focal areas; including records, animals, facilities, and caretakers. It is based on a points scale for pass and fail. There are a few critical failure points around animal welfare, which means if the auditor sees any willfull acts of abuse or improper euthanasia, your farm will fail the audit. Please take a look at the requirements. Four Star has partnered with Kari Steele to work with you and your farms to prepare prior to these audits. She will go through all of the paperwork with you and your employees, looking for areas of improvement to help insure that your farm will pass these audits. Please contact your Four Star veterinary office to set up an appointment with Kari.

FDA Guidance #209/#213

What is going to happen with food animal antibiotic usage in the next couple years and how do we prepare for a smooth transition? Many of you are aware of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) Guidance #209/#213; however what do they mean for the industry?

FDAs goal is to protect human health and curb development of antimicrobial resistance. The industry will retain access to our current feed grade/water grade antibiotics; but, these guidelines will change the way they are used. VFDs are issued only under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Therefore, producers will be required to have a valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) if they want to use feed medication. Many of you already have this relationship with your Four Star veterinarian as your current PQA plus certification requires it. Record keeping will be critical for this, as well as the common audits that will be talked about in the next section. A VFD will only be valid for 6 months, so knowing your renewal dates will be important. Veterinarians, feed suppliers, and producers must keep a copy of each VFD for 2 years. Continue reading “FDA Guidance #209/#213”

Reproduction Tips

I challenge you to think through the daily routines on a sow farm. Sometimes these activities are so ingrained that we never stop to think about it. If semen is not delivered as expected, what kind of panic does it cause? What effect does this have on the sow farm production? As an owner, manager, and/or employee it is so important to take the time to reflect on what is going on and how to better improve productivity. In this article, I want to highlight some areas to focus on, which will hopefully keep conception and farrowing rates up and non-productive days low. Continue reading “Reproduction Tips”

Seasonal Concerns (Summer)

Summer heat brings on additional stress for pigs and therefore, we do tend to see an increase in some diseases over the summer months. Two of these being Lawsonia intracellularis (Ileitis) and Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS) and you should consider visiting with your veterinarian to make sure that appropriate programs are in place to help combat these issues. Both of these can cause sudden death and can be confused without proper diagnostics. Continue reading “Seasonal Concerns (Summer)”

Fly and Rodent Control

Fly season has made its appearance. What can be done to control flies and rodents? Flies and rodents, first of all, are pests; can cause damage to your barn, increasing the need for repairs, and also cause irritation to the swine. Furthermore, both flies and rodents can transmit diseases, by being a mechanical vector. A mechanical vector is a living organism that transmits an infectious agent via physical contact from an infected animal to a susceptible animal. In this article, I will focus on flies. Eleven different kinds of flies are common around swine facilities and they come from different places. Below is a chart to summarize these differences. Continue reading “Fly and Rodent Control”

Avian Influenza

Why are we talking about avian influenza in a swine newsletter? It is important to know the effect that avian influenza may have on other species.

Recently in December 2014 and early January 2015, “USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (migratory bird paths). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 to be low.” Currently, no human cases of these HPAI H5 have been reported. Additionally, avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat. Continue reading “Avian Influenza”

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRSv)

Unfortunately, PRRSv has not followed the same trend as PEDv this past winter. PRRSv continues to be one of the main threats to the swine industry, and economically devastating. PRRS was first reported as “mystery swine disease” in the mid-1980s. This January and again mid-April, western Ohio sow units were hit with a 1-7-4 strain. The effects varied slightly depending on previous PRRSv history, and vaccination strategies. Current work is being done to compare these differences among the herds. Producers worked with their veterinarian on a plan for herd stability, which all included a load, close, homogenize strategy. In general, this strain of PRRSv has been associated with significant late term abortion losses, and sow deaths. Continue reading “Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRSv)”

Swine Enteric Coronaviruses

It has been said that “the only thing constant in life is change”. As an agricultural industry, farmers are very well aware of this; it’s just how significant that change affects your bottom line. Many of these changes, such as weather, market prices, and disease introductions are out of our hands.

I hope that your spring planting season has found everyone well. So, you might ask what happened to Swine Enteric Coronaviruses this past winter compared to winter 2013. Continue reading “Swine Enteric Coronaviruses”