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Dealing with swine dysentery

The deadly disease has started to reemerge after years of low prevalence

The following real-life question was asked of swine veterinarians recently. Their response follows.

A part-time farmer owns a few sows to raise show pigs. He purchased a 250-pound gilt which he has kept in isolation for 120 days with no clinical signs of illness, although the gilt had a bout of diarrhea right before her purchase. He just found out that the farm he purchased the gilt from has had a bout of Swine Dysentery. He would like to keep the gilt, but is concerned about bringing dysentery into the farm. What are the chances of her infecting this small farm?

"Once infected, always infected" is the old saying about dysentery. The swine veterinarians concur: Do not let the animal out of isolation except to slaughter. Thoroughly clean the isolation area and control all rodents, as they can harbor the organism.

Elimination and exclusion are the best way to deal with the disease. In contaminated, or potentially contaminated, environments thorough cleaning, disinfection, and whitewashing are recommended. Desiccation (thorough drying) is paramount. Contaminated fecal slurry is also a source of environmental contamination which needs to be addressed.

Removal of the organism through medication or depopulation and repopulation are also effective methods of elimination from the animal. Some medications are hard to get in the USA because the disease has just started to reemerge after years of very low prevalence. In the situation above, removal, cleaning, and surveillance are the recommended course of action.

 

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