Biosecurity for your swine project
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Just like on a hog farm, there are biosecurity measures you should take with your swine project to decrease the chances of infectious diseases.
“Before the show, at the show and after the show are the three main components regarding biosecurity for a swine project,” says Mark Knauer, swine specialist at North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.
Follow these recommended guidelines to help prevent the introduction or transmission of disease while exhibiting pigs this summer.Date Published: June 19, 2015Date Updated: June 19, 2015
Before the show
It’s important your pig meets specific show requirements and is properly identified, vaccinated and has the proper health papers before taking the animal to a show.
You also want to clean and disinfect all of your show equipment, and make sure you have adequate show supplies so you don’t have to borrow from others.
“Monitor the pig’s health prior to the event, so it doesn’t get other pigs sick at the show,” says Knauer. “Look for signs of abnormal eating behavior, coughing or respiratory issues such as shallow, rapid breathing, and loose stools.”
Knauer also suggests that exhibitors go through the Youth Pork Quality Assurance program. The training goes over proper animal handling, husbandry and helps prepare exhibitors for shows. According to Knauer, PQA is required for some fairs, but not all of them. You can access the PQA from pork.org.Date Published: June 19, 2015Date Updated: June 19, 2015
At the show
Direct contact between pigs is the most common way diseases are spread. While it’s inevitable there will be some contact amongst the animals in the show ring, it’s wise to minimize direct exposure to other pigs as much as possible.
Knauer recommends not borrowing or sharing equipment with other exhibitors and to keep you area and equipment clean at the show. Also wash your hands frequently when coming into contact with other pigs and equipment.
“Continue to monitor the pigs, daily, for signs of illness. If you think your pig is showing symptoms you need to inform the vet in charge or the show’s director so proper procedures are followed,” Knauer says.Date Published: June 19, 2015Date Updated: June 19, 2015
After the show
“After the show is when I think of biosecurity being most important,” says Knauer.
If you have other pigs at home, Knauer recommends quarantining the show pigs for 30 to 60 days or until they test negative for specific diseases, such as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRV). If you don’t have other pigs at home, then you don’t have to quarantine.
“Generally, if those pigs do pick up a bug at the fair, that quarantine time will allow them to settle down,” He explains. “However, if you have breeding stock at home, I recommend testing for PRRS before introducing them to any other breeding stock on the farm.”
Once again, you’ll want to clean and disinfect your equipment and let it dry in the sun. The sun will help dry out the equipment and rid of any pathogens that may be hanging around.
When quarantining the show pigs, you also want to take into consideration any wild animals or feral swine in the area.
“In many parts of the country, there are wild pigs or feral swine. If you have feral swine in the area, you want to take that into consideration and either put the show pigs in a different part of the farm, or put up a double fence to make sure there’s a barrier between the wild animals and your swine project.”Date Published: June 19, 2015Date Updated: June 19, 2015
When it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, cleaning means to generally keep animals and their pens or living area clean and picked up. Disinfecting show equipment is also important to rid of the pathogens that carry the infectious diseases.
According to Knauer, what’s more important than the specific type of disinfectant you use, is that you get the equipment dry.
“The best way to kill all bacteria and viruses is to get the equipment dry after using a disinfectant. The pathogens aren’t going to be able to survive in a dry climate.”Date Published: June 19, 2015Date Updated: June 19, 2015
How diseases are transmitted
1) Direct transmission: transfer of disease from one pig to another. It’s the most common method of disease transmission. Examples of direct transmission include contact transmission (nose-to-nose contact), aerosol transmission (exposure to droplets from coughing or dust), fecal transmission (manure) and venereal transmission (infected semen).
2) Indirect transmission: spread of disease from pig to pig by exposure to dirty objects (scale, trailer)
3) Vector-borne transmission: spread of disease to a pig by another animal (mosquito, tick)
Zoonotic is the ability to spread from people to pigs and pigs to people, like influenza. It is recommended that you wash your hands frequently and not sleep in the same area as the animals.Date Published: June 19, 2015Date Updated: June 19, 2015
Diseases, symptoms and prevention
Transmission: Direct transmission (pig-to-pig, aerosol, fecal-oral, venereal), indirect (fomite contamination), vector-borne, indirect transmission (fomite contamination), vector-borne transmission
Clinical Signs: Causes a variety of problems in swine herd including high abortion rates, death in pre-weaned pigs, respiratory problems in finishing pigs
Prevention: Quarantining new and returning stock and managing equipment, vehicle and human traffic through your herd. PRRS vaccine also available from local veterinarian.
Procine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD)
Transmission: Direct, indirect, vector-borne
Clinical Signs: Respiratory, enteric, reproductive
Prevention: Limited pig-to-pig contact, decrease stress levels in your pigs, good hygiene, good nutrition. Vaccine also available through local veterinarian.
Transmissible Gastro-enteritis (TGE)
Transmission: direct (fecal-oral), vector-borne
Clinical Signs: Vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite
Prevention: Biosecurity measures regarding traffic an pest control. Vaccine available.
Swine Influenza Virus (SIV)
Transmission: direct (Pig-to-pig, human-to-pig, aerosol) indirect (fomite contamination), vector-borne
Clinical Signs: Rapid outbreak of respiratory disease, includes: pneumonia, fever, animals unwilling to eat
Prevention: Strict biosecurity protocol, reduce exposure of pigs to SIV, don’t buy pigs from sources where SIV is active. Vaccine available from veterinarian.
*Vaccinating show pigs for influenza prior to exhibition may reduce potential for human illness.Date Published: June 19, 2015Date Updated: June 19, 2015
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