Animal Nutrition

Pig Farming: major diseases and how to avoid them

That Pig Farming has expressive money transactions, job opportunities and other numbers that are related to the production chain, we’ve already heard many times.

However, to ensure its success it’s indispensable that strong and consolidated pillars support all the production chain.

They are:

• Animal’s genetics;
• Ambience;
 Nutrition;
• Sanitation.

In this context, we will address the issue of Sanitation and some diseases that affect pigs inside farms.

The prevention and control of these diseases inside the process contribute for the pillar of sanitation to be strong and consolidated, ensuring that the production is successful.

The major pathological agents of swine are bacteria and viruses, but there may be other agents such as protozoa and fungi, for example.

It is important to reinforce the basics: Healthy animals guarantee quality to the final product to be commercialized, according to the buyer’s requirements.

In general, biosecurity programs ensure the ideal sanitation inside farms, besides fighting against and avoiding major swine diseases.

 

1. Swine Dysentery

Dysentery is a bacterial disease in which the pathogenic microorganism (Brachyspira hyodysentariae) is lodged in the animal’s intestine.

It is considered a highly contagious disease and the main symptom is mucohemorrhagic diarrhea. Piglets in the nursery and finishing phase are the most affected ones.

Symptoms:

In addition to mucohemorrhagic diarrhea, the disease can be characterized by:

• Anorexia;
• Intense thirst;
• Withdrawn abdomen;
• Weight loss;
• Fever
• Feces with feed.

An interesting fact that the CRMV-GO mentions is that this disease can increase the cost of production by up to 20%, causing big economic losses to the producers.

Prevention

In the past, several antibiotics have been effective against dysentery. But with the indiscriminate use of this type of drug, the Brachyspira hyodysenteriae has become resistant to some types of medicines, making it impossible to use the medication to eradicate the disease inside the farms.

There aren’t 100% effective vaccines for the control of this disease yet.

Therefore, prevention is still the best option to avoid the presence of dysentery. Preventive actions that can be adopted:

• Collective medication for animals (ask for a veterinarian);
• Cleaning stalls;
• Avoid the entrance of people, vehicles and other animals in the farm, as they can be transmitters of the bacterium;
• Perform quarantine between batches;
• Biosafety programs on farms.

2. Porcine Parvovirus Infection

This disease is caused by a virus of high prevalence and universal distribution.

The virus belongs to the Parvoviridae family of the parvovirus genus. Only in the swine species the disease causes embryonic death, affecting the reproductive phase of the species.

Symptoms:

• Repetition of heat periods due to fetal resorption;
• Abortions;
• Mummified fetuses;
• To have less than 4 piglets;
• Stillborn piglets;
• False gestation.

Because of the main reason that it affects the birth of piglets, Porcine Parvovirus Infection is a disease that causes huge economic damages due to the low number of piglets born.

This happens because when infecting the female, the virus enters the bloodstream and lodges inside the uterus, crossing the placenta, and causing the death of piglets.

Contamination:

The transmission between animals happens through contact with contaminated substances, ingestion or contact between mucous membranes (placenta, feces, urine and secretions).

Prevention:

• Disposal of contaminated animals to avoid contamination;
• Cleaning and disinfection of facilities;
• Vaccination programs on animals;
• Laboratory tests;
• New animals on the farm with laboratory reports.

An interesting fact is that infected and non-discarded animals can become asymptomatic carriers of the virus, especially males, since they don’t have reproductive symptoms.

One male inside the farm is usually enough for several females through natural mating or artificial insemination. This ends up contaminating a large number of breeding herds, so prophylaxis in males should have the same, or greater, attention than in females.

 

3. Exudative Epidermitis

Exudative dermatitis is also known as “wet eczema” and usually affects suckling piglets and recently weaned piglets. It is a disease caused by a bacterium called Staphylococcus Hyicus.

Symptoms:

The main symptom is the growth of crusts on piglets’ skin, which usually start from the face and then spread through the body.

Contamination:

The main problem of contamination of this disease is the general sanitary conditions of the farm, as the bacterium is in its preferred environment (dirty and contaminated).

The management during castration, cutting of teeth and tails, should be done with great care and attention, as unhealed wounds become the entrance door for the contamination of the animals.

Treatment and control:

The treatment is performed through antibiotics, added to cleaning and disinfection protocols of the farm facilities.

This disease, when not present throughout the farm, is of easy recovery to the animals. Therefore, farm breeders should be alert to hygiene conditions, because affected animals may have late growth and compromised body development.

 

4. Swine Fever

Swine fever is a disease caused by a virus. The infection in animals is highly contagious and, because it has no cure, producers are forced to slaughter all contaminated animals.

Symptoms:

• High fever
• Diarrhea;
• Hemorrhages;
• Convulsions;
• Tremors;
• Red or dark skin.

Contamination:
Contamination takes place through contact with infected food, vehicles and people who can carry the virus into the farms. This can happen through clothing, direct contact with contaminated animals, etc.

Prevention and control:

• Slaughter of contaminated animals;
• Vaccination;
• Protocols for cleaning and disinfection of facilities.

Good Practices

Knowing a bit about some diseases that affect the animals, we can determine hygiene measures and prophylaxis in general that help to prevent and control many diseases.

The pathological agents, in almost all cases, can be avoided and eradicated through cleaning and disinfection protocols, good practices in feed production, rules of entrance and exit of people, trucks and animals in the farm (biosecurity).

Measures:

• Quarantine in facilities;
• Vaccination protocols;
• Cleaning and disinfection protocols of facilities that include:

    • Dry cleaning;
    • Cleaning of gutters and septic tanks;
    • Wet cleaning;
    • Use of disinfectants;
    • Use of flamethrowers;
    • Sanitary break;
    • System all-in, all-out (in which the production system is divided into phases). The phases use and vacate the facilities at the same time. This management ensures the cleaning and disinfection of the environment respecting the sanitary break).

• To respect the maximum number of animals;
• Periodical laboratory exams;
• Pay attention to behavior and symptoms of animals;
• Ambience conditions, that is, the ideal conditions of facilities and environment that guarantee better zootechnical results associated with healthy animals. Therefore, climatic factors, ideal facilities, available water at ideal temperature, luminosity, air humidity should be in accordance with each animal phase;
• Good practices in feed production;
• Constant training for staff to ensure protocols success.

All these measures are to prevent the proliferation of diseases within the farm.

On the other hand, even doing all these prophylactic actions, they do not completely exempt pathological microorganisms from entering facilities and contaminating animals.

Because of that, it’s really important that the ambience is in accordance with each animal phase and that the nutrition given to the animals is balanced and adequate.

They ensure that the animal does not become stressed and does not suffer unnecessary metabolic actions. Consequently, good health conditions are guaranteed.

The aim is that the environment and food do not decrease the immunity of pigs. However, it is necessary to be aware of the feed formulations, a factor that directly affects the health and welfare of animals.

 

Nutrition and Health

An adequate nutrition ensures good body conditions and nutritionally healthy animals.

Pigs with balanced diets may still be affected by some type of disease. In these cases, they can recover more easily than animals with nutritional deficits.

Nowadays, we know that the feeds are balanced, guaranteeing the necessary amounts of vitamins, minerals, energy and other nutrients that the animal needs in each stage of life.

Therefore, formulating feeds with only corn and soybeans is a poor and ineffective move.

The technology in the food sector focused on animal production does not stop, and every day presents new options and solutions of ingredients that are added to the formulations’ compositions, such as the case of pig farming.

In the market there are options that guarantee a series of benefits such as high digestibility, high protein content, and essential amino acids for animal development.

Among them, we can highlight the chicken protein hydrolysate.

Chicken Protein Hydrolysate

The chicken protein hydrolysate is a new highly proteic and natural ingredient, specially developed to improve the performance of the feeds.

It is produced through technological processes that generate smaller chains of amino acids, which we call peptides.

This process is known as Enzymatic Hydrolysis. The peptides originated, because they have a smaller structure, are quickly absorbed into the organism of the animal showing benefits, such as: to improve food conversion rate and digestibility.

Consequently;

the product stimulates the immune and nervous systems, freeing animals of stress and other pathologies.

This happens because these bioactive peptides are, in general, antioxidants and antimicrobials. It allows them to act against free radicals and to be used as a barrier against bacteria, viruses and other pathogenic microorganisms.

This way, with a combination of a safe environment and a balanced diet, the health of the whole swine production system is guaranteed.

As we said at the beginning of the article, health and nutrition are essential pillars that must walk side-by-side. Even when a disease takes over the farm, the animals will be healthy and nutritionally attended, ensuring good productive results.

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