HStreptococcus infection not only causes health problems for animals but also has economic consequences for pig farms. Infected animals perform less and need more antibiotics. Addressing or preventing problems is not easy, but it is possible.
It is one of the main pathogens that occurs in Belgian pig farms. Pigs of all ages can get sick as a result of a streptococcal infection. As a pig farmer, you are probably familiar with the problem especially in young pigs soon after weaning: affected animals develop thick legs and neurological symptoms or die suddenly.
The company, which prefers to remain anonymous, is located in West Flanders, has 250 seeds kept in a four-week regimen. The pig farmer has been dealing with pig problems for some time. Several piglets in the barn suffered from swollen joints. However, it worsened after weaning.
In the swine department, in addition to swollen joints, the pig farmer also saw neurological symptoms in his pigs and severe death in the animals. The farmer and his company’s veterinarian went to look for the cause and investigations confirmed it was streptococci. Treatment has been established and management has been modified. However, the problem kept coming back.
This had serious consequences for the company. The health of the pigs was not ideal, so the performance was not, and the use of antibiotics increased dramatically. This situation was unfavorable economically and it was not a pleasant business for the ranchers either. That’s why the company’s vet called Project Vee Poller. Caroline Bunkert, a veterinarian at DGZ, started mentoring.
Caroline began an exploratory conversation and listened to the problems the farmer was facing, what he expected from guidance and what he wanted to achieve with it. Then I delved into the problem to identify possible causes and action points. Since the problem on this farm was already beginning in the greening fold, Caroline looked at the guessing pen management in more detail with the farmer and company vet.
The company’s ranchers and veterinarian have already implemented a lot of improvements, but thanks to the point of view of an outside expert from DGZ, two points of action can still be identified. In consultation with the livestock breeder and the veterinarian, two important risk factors were identified for immediate action.
Administration and vehicle vaccination
On this farm, pigs’ teeth were still cut, which poses a high risk of infection with wounds that streptococci can penetrate. Teeth grinding reduces these risks and does not cost pig breeders any extra time or effort. However, it can make a difference in the health of animals. Caroline also provided advice on castration. Sanitary work during castration is a must. This is because the wound is made to serve as an entry port for infection. This can be easily avoided by using two blades that you change with each piglet, while dipping the blade you are not using in disinfectant liquid. It is again a simple and practical measure that has quickly convinced the pig farmer and is now building it in the way it works.
In addition to adjusting the management, it was also decided, in consultation with the farm veterinarian, to automatically vaccinate pigs with strains of Streptococcus isolated on the farm. The combination of a modification of administration in a slimming pen with an autoimmune vaccine has been successful. The problems have visibly diminished and there are now fewer deaths, the animals are healthier, and the use of antibiotics has been greatly reduced. It is of course important to keep a close eye on management: there are always areas for improvement. In this way, DGZ gradually seeks the optimal approach, where the health and well-being of the company and the animals is paramount.
You can visit the DGZ booth in Agridagen from May 20-22 for more information on the new project. So make sure to bring your own seatMarket report on antibiotic use on your farm.